Back To My True Hokkien Roots
(A Visit to Quan Xiang Yuan Restaurant)
252 Jalan Besar Rd.
pictures from left:(1) Fritters made from Prawns, Yam, Pork eaten with Radish Pickle; (2) Fried Vermicelli with Leek and Pig's Stomach
It's true that taxi drivers know best. I was introduced to Quan Xiang Yuan many years ago, by a taxi driver. This taxi driver belonged to an unofficial taxi drivers' eating club that made it a point to meet there every night after work. Earlier in the day, they had already gone marketing, and brought the fish, meat, vegetables to the restaurant. Then the cook would whip up some dishes using the food they brought. Then, they would enjoy a splendid repast accompanied by good Chinese tea. How happy they were!
Quan Xiang Yuan serves unpretentious Hokkien food, the type my great-grandfather, a Hokkien immigrant would have loved. No delicate Cantonese dishes, no refined Teochew food,just good old Hokkien peasant food in great amounts, to be slurped up noisily, and if you wish to squat on the chair, you are welcome.
On this visit, I ordered the Prawn Rolls, and the Fried Vermicelli. Now , the Prawn Rolls are not the dainty little things you find in tim sum restaurants, but big globs of with yam mixed with prawns and pork. Crispy on the outside, but soft and moist inside, they go well with Tsingtao Beer. The Vermicelli looks plain, but the stock it has been fried in gives it an unsurpassed tastiness. Pieces of prawns, fish, pork, squid, pig's stomach, and leek make it a true original Hokkien dish.
The Prawn Rolls cost $4.00, and the Vermicelli another $4.00. My Chinese tea cost $1.00. What a meal!
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