There is something about Crab Bee Hoon that I so adore. You see, I love both bee hoon (the economical kind) and crabs. When cooked together, the wok hei, wet sauce and umami-ness all add up to become one divine zhi char dish.
One of my favourite renditions has to be Sin Huat Eating House at Geylang – that is if you can endure the long wait, non-air-conditioned environment, very expensive service and Chef-owner’s Danny well, scolding/nagging. Whatever you call it.
Long Ji Zi Char seems like the opposite.
Wait was tolerable (especially if you do not come during peak hours weekends), air-conditioned, reasonably priced comparatively, with prompt service.
The environment is like an old-school Chinese restaurant of the 80s, the type you would celebrate Ah-gong’s and Ah-ma’s birthday at.
Chef-owner Mac Kong of Long Ji used to have a stall at Bukit Merah View, Havelock Road then Tiong Bahru (called Long Ji Da Pai Dang), and moved to this current location at 251 Outram Road. (Note: this stretch of shophouses opposite YWCA Child Development, and near Link Hotel has quite good foodie finds.)
The star dish of Long Ji is unquestionably the Crab Bee Hoon ($70 per kg).
Its appeal is partly the robustly appealing gravy, cooked with crabs, cabbage and oyster sauce with a peppery aroma. Plus point, no MSG or chicken powder are used in the stock.
If you like your Crab Bee Hoon semi-wet (okay, more wet than dry), this is for you.
Plus point number 2, mid-way dining through, a service staff came in and poured down a bowl of hot broth in the beehoon. Like how they would do in a Bak Kut Teh stall. Though that only happened once.
You would notice that both the beehoon and gravy are in a light brown colour. That is because Chef would fry the vermicelli all the way till almost to a point of getting burnt. Full of wok hei.
That would require perfect timing and skills.
The let-down however, was the crab itself – somehow not as fleshy and sweet as I would have expected.
I have come back from time to time to try out their other zhi char dishes, from Sambal Kang Kong ($8), Minced Pork Omelette ($8), Shrimp Roll ($8) and Singapore Fried Bee Hoon ($6).
Not all dishes were remarkable, but were definitely above the average zi char shop. Price was not that expensive considering it was in a restaurant setting.
Perhaps it is time to identify more star dishes other than the Crab Bee Hoon, though almost the entire menu was pasted with golden stars.
Long Ji Zi Char
251, 253 Outram Road Singapore 169049
Tel: +65 9790 5682
Opening Hours: 5:00pm – 10:30pm (Mon – Sun)