Wok Hey, which is usually spelt as “Wok Hei”, literally translates to “breathe of the wok”.
It is what we as diners usually pursue in zi char dishes, and can be used to distinguish between outstanding stalls, and the not-so-impressive.
Not all chefs are able to achieve fullness of that, and can be a test to their skills especially in the field of Cantonese wok cooking.
Located at the basement of Bugis Junction Food Street, it is not difficult to miss the stall from its huge yellow signboard which screams “WOK HEY”.
Wok Hey is a takeaway kiosk, and its menu showcases zi char staples in cylindrical shapes, which I initially thought was a ‘cousin’ of Food Anatomy.
Until I noticed the text in italic fine print, “Pictures are for illustration purposes only”.
Here’s what I am skeptical about: Wok hei is usually achieved in restaurants and zi char eateries under conditions of intense heat. Can they do this within a kiosk of space constraints?
There are four items to choose from, and available in basic form:
– Egg Fried Rice ($5)
– Shanghai Fried Rice ($5.50)
– Fresh Ramen ($6)
– Fresh Udon ($6)
For meat lovers, simply add $0.80 for Grilled Chicken and $1.80 for Braised Beef or Seasoned Prawns option. Additional toppings are also available at $1 top-up.
Interesting to note, the range of toppings ingredients spans from Sous Vide Egg, Thai Asparagus, Brussel Sprouts, Tobiko to “Lap Cheong” (Chinese sausage). This could add a notch of premium-ness to ordinary egg fried rice.
While waiting for your order, you can also find entertainment in observing the wok masters doing their stir-fry tricks. Like imparting “qigong” which embed the smoky wok fragrance into every order.
So, WOK HEY got WOK HEI or not?
It was evident that all four items had an alluring wok hei aroma. I also liked how the usage of Japanese rice gave an additional bite texture to the fried rice.
However, taste turned out to be bland, and lacked the robustness expected from fried rice. Perhaps it was also because the combination toppings didn’t work out well.
The fried ramen and udon had a stronger savory note, though could be on the sweet side. Also not too sure about the texture this time.
While waiting for my orders, I overheard a couple who went:
“Looks interestingly leh, want to try?”
“Don’t want lah, so expensive for fried rice and looks so little.”
True that, you can easily get wok hei fried rice from zi char stall at half the price and twice the portion.
Good to announce Wok Hey has ’Wok Hei’.
It is still enjoyable to customize your own zi char staples with varied ingredients, which should gather some love from the nearby office crowd which would like easy take-away convenience.
Without the heat.
200 Victoria Street #B1-K3, Bugis Junction, Singapore 188021
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm Daily
* Written by Lewis Tan @juicyfingers, a self-proclaimed coffee addict. Daniel’s Food Diary pays for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.