Talk about one of the most-ordered zi char dish, and it would probably be Prawn Paste Chicken 虾酱鸡 aka Har Cheong Gai.
The dish is a balanced combination of delicious fried chicken in a thick fermented shrimp paste contained within its batter.
There are many variations of the dish depending on where you get it from, but the main ingredients essentially stay the same everywhere.
Note that the shrimp paste used is not the darker Malaysian style paste used for rojak sauce, but the pinkish grey south-eastern Chinese style.
With so many overwhelming choices in restaurants and hawker stalls, here is a list of 10 places serving delectable Har Cheong Gai, some with islandwide delivery.
Ah Tan Wings – Yishun
Yishun Park Hawker Centre, #01-40, 51 Yishun Ave 11, Singapore 768867
Opening Hours: 11am – 8pm (Mon – Sun)
Talk about the best “Har Cheong Gai” in Singapore, and it would probably be Ah Tan Wings which started from Yishun Park Hawker Centre, with a newer outlet at Timbre+.
The owners Wee Yang and Yu Yan spent more than a year developing the Har Cheong Gai crust, trying over 800 variations of the recipe before finally arriving at this “special version”.
The chicken wings are marinated in a specially-developed paste for two days before getting coated in a batter.
They are then deep-fried to achieve that crispy netting-like crust which traps pockets of air to give the wings more crunch, volume and oomph.
Available items are its Basic Wing Meal, Atas Wing Meal, Half Cutlet Meal, Almighty Cutlet Meal, and ala carte Wing & Drumlet. (The above quoted are delivery pricing)
Ban Leong Wah Hoe Restaurant
122 Casuarina Rd, Singapore 579510
Tel: +65 6455 4013
Opening Hours: 11am – 2:30pm, 5pm – 11pm (Sat – Thurs), 11am – 2:30pm, 5pm – 12am (Fri)
Ban Leong Wah Hoe Restaurant is known to be one of the best zi char place in Upper Thomson, and usually filled with loyal customers during the weekends.
Its scrumptious and crunchy Har Cheong Gai, known to be one of the best in Singapore.
Before the Prawn Paste Chicken dish arrived, the ‘aroma’ would already make you salivate, especially if you are for this particular fragrance.
I specially loved how delicious the marination was, and also got a little tip from the chef to use shrimp sauce from the jar containing the ‘dragon head’, which is made in a shrimp sauce factory in Hong Kong.
Ban Leong Wah Hoe Restaurant has delivery services, with areas covering Yishun, Sembawang, Woodlands, Ang Mo Kio, Yio Chu Kang, Punggol, Seng Kang, Hougang, Serangoon, Toa Payoh, Thomson, Bishan, Novena and Balestier.
Alumni Medical Centre 2 College Road, Singapore 169850
Tel: +65 6473 6686
Opening Hours: Lunch 11:30am – 2:30pm, Dinner 5:30pm – 9:30pm (Mon – Sun)
Ka-Soh has been featured in Michelin Guide Singapore with Michelin Bib Gourmand,
Its Prawn Paste Chicken ($16, $24) is one of the highlight dishes, with an obvious prawn-paste flavour and aroma.
The pieces were deep-fried golden brown and crisp, considered relatively juicy.
Ka-Soh now delivers islandwide from either its Greenwood or Outram outlet.
With a minimum order of $30, their delivery charges start from $5 (for locations within a 5km radius of either of their restaurants). When you key in your postal code, the platform will calculate the distance to the nearest outlet.
For islandwide deliveries, orders are required to be placed online at www.ka-soh.com.sg. 100% of the delivery fees goes directly to the taxi drivers and PHD who are assisting on the deliveries.
Self-collection is available through contacting outlets directly at:
Ka-Soh (Outram): 2 College Road S169850, Medical Alumni Association
Tel: +65 6473 6686
Ka-Soh (Greenwood): 22 Greeenwood Avenue S289218
Tel: +65 8754 7481
Bee Kia Restaurant
1 Thomson Rd, Balestier Hill Shopping Centre, Singapore 300001
Tel: +65 6254 8490
Opening Hours: 12pm – 11pm (Mon – Sun)
Located near Thomson Medical Centre, no matter what time of the day you visit this restaurant, you will find a fresh hot serving of Har Cheong Gai almost at every table (before “Circuit Breaker” days of course).
It is a popular ‘side dish’ that its regulars cannot resist.
Their Prawn Paste Chicken ($10, $12, $15) is known for aromatic and sinfully crispy texture, with a tasty golden-brown shell covering the tender chicken that’s bursting with flavours.
Besides the crispiness, I also thoroughly enjoyed the subtle prawn paste flavour that didn’t overpower the succulent chicken flesh.
Interesting to note that you don’t get mainly wings or drumlets, but different parts of the chicken instead.
Pow Sing Restaurant
59 Serangoon Garden Way, Singapore 555961
Tel: +65 6284 0800
Opening Hours: 9:30am – 9:30pm (Mon – Sun)
Pow Sing Restaurant is quite famous, mostly for the wide range of chicken dishes they serve.
The owners of the restaurant are Hainanese, and they take pride in serving food that has an authentic, flavourful taste.
Although highly famous for their Hainanese Chicken Rice, the restaurant also serves a mean Prawn Paste Chicken.
The Prawn Paste Chicken ($8 for 4 pieces or $16 for 8 pieces) is surprisingly not in their signature dish collection.
With an extremely aromatic and tender crispy fried chicken wings, you can get the delectable taste of prawn paste which doesn’t overpower the dish.
Island-wide delivery available on GrabFood and foodpanda.
Otherwise, you can also call for deliveries +65 6284 0800. Delivery charges: $5 within 5km, $10 within 10km from the Serangoon Garden restaurant. You can also call for pre-orders and takeaways.
Hong Kong Street Chun Kee
Blk 339 Ang Mo Kio Ave 1 #01-1601 Singapore 560339
Tel: +65 6457 3280
Opening Hours: 11am – 2pm, 5pm – 10:45pm (Mon – Sun)
You may want several Hong Kong Street Chun Kee around in various coffee shops, known for Cantonese zi char cuisine.
That is because the late Mr Loh Mun Hon who was at the helm for the original brand, had passed down his recipes and skills to his disciples, who started their own “Hong Kong Street” restaurants with his blessings.
They usually offer a wholesome menu consisting of a variety of famous local delights, from Fish Head Bee Hoon Soup to San Lou Hor Fun.
The Hong Kong Street Old Chun Kee name is most synonymous with Har Cheong which is popular amongst Singaporeans.
The chicken wings are said to be marinated a day before with their secret concoction of fermented prawn paste and a mixture of spices to create flavourful, juicy and crispy chicken.
However, the standard and portion may vary between the various outlets.
556 Balestier Road, Singapore 329872
Tel: +65 6356 7371
Opening Hours: 11am – 11:30pm (Mon – Sun)
As its name suggests, Whampoa Keng is most famous for the seasoned fish head steamboat which is a crowd favourite and most in demand.
However, digging deep you will find some signature in their menu that are just as sinfully delicious.
One of these is the Prawn Paste Chicken ($14) which has a unique marination combo with four types of flour forming a tempting golden lattice crust.
This is then spiked with the scrumptious shrimp sauce and fried until golden brown.
Whampoa Keng offers free islandwide delivery for all orders $50 and above.
Holland Village XO Fish Head
19A Dover Rise #01-05 Jumbo Coffee Hub Singapore 131019
Tel: +65 6778 3691
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2pm, 5pm – 11pm (Mon – Sun)
The corner zi char stall at Dover often has a swarm of dedicated customers queuing at the stall during peak hours, so make sure you go in a bit early.
The Fish Head Soup is the star dish at the stall, though most customers also go for the Har Cheong Gai is also amazingly delicious.
The popular Har Cheong Gai had a decent portion size and a very strong fragrance.
Some people may be sceptical due to the paler batter colour compared to the average. I would say that while the outer layer was quite crisp, I wished there was a stronger prawn paste fragrance and succulence within.
A not-bad version, though not mind-blowing.
Two Chefs Eating Place
116 Commonwealth Crescent, #01-129, Singapore 140116
Tel: +65 6472 5361
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm, 5pm – 11:30pm (Mon – Sun)
This eatery is nestled in Commonwealth area like a hidden gem. They have some innovative zi char dishes that attract customers with a whole array of choices and a speedy and swift service.
While most would definitely order the Butter Pork Ribs, they are quite famous for the common local treat of Har Cheong Gai as well.
For a regular portion size of Har Cheong Gai ($8 $12, $16), I found the serving quite adequate.
While they looked ordinary on appearance, the chicken wings had a generous batter that completely encapsulated and added a nice crunch at every bite. Also quite juicy.
25 Mackenzie Road, Singapore 228681 (Little India MRT)
Tel: +65 6238 6263
Opening Hours: Lunch 11.30am – 2pm, Dinner 5.45pm – 10pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
Chef Ang Song Kang, better known as Chef Kang, shot into further fame and limelight when he was awarded one star in the Singapore Michelin Guide.
The Prawn Paste Chicken ($24), also a pricy zhi-char dish with just 6 pieces of mid-joint, was commented by chicken-wing-lover-PinkyPiggu as one of the best she had in Singapore.
She refused to commit to say if it was the top, but did say ”It is somewhere there” as she wished there was more har cheong aroma.
Chef explained that instead of simply coating the wings with flour, he used a more tedious process of ‘slapping’ the flour mixture until the chicken.
This is so that there would be no thick layer of batter surrounding the chicken, and the outer layer would start both crispy and fluffy.
No.5 Emerald Hill
5 Emerald Hill Rd, Singapore 229289
Tel: +65 6732 0818
Opening Hours: 12pm – 10:15pm (Mon – Sun)
Added the one bonus entry, which is not from a zi char place or Chinese restaurant.
While No.5 Emerald Hill is known to be a pioneer cocktail bar, peple do come for its famed Chicken Wings.
These are marinated with shrimp sauce and Chinese wine, available in half or full portion.
The Har Cheong Kai was yummmmmmmy, the smell of the prawn paste apparent as you take that first bite off the juicy meat, with the outside crispy skin staying that way after minutes. Plus they were not overly greasy.
If there is no zi char stall nearby and you are running some HCK craving, then make your way here .
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