When we talk about zi char in Singapore, the emphasis has usually been about variety of dishes, price, and wok-hei – the ‘breath of a wok’ which imparts alluring heat to the food.
Quan Ji 權記 at Amoy Street Food Centre has been a favourite among the office workers in the Tanjong Pagar area.
Across the years, I found the stall to be consistent and fast.
Even during peak hour lunchtime, they are able to serve up my Beef Horfun in a relatively speedy manner.
But a tip for newcomers: you got to be ‘brave’ enough to head to the front and make your orders assertively, because auntie has a lot to handle and may just come across as ignoring you.
Quan Ji has been around since 1955, and currently operated by third-generation hawker Tony Liew at the Amoy Street Food Centre.
Highlight dishes include San Lao Hor Fun, Crispy Noodles, Fried Bee Hoon, Beef Horfun, Fried Fish Bee Hoon, Fish Head with Bitter Gourd, Kailan with Sliced Fish, Braised Bean Curd, Prawns Paste Chicken, Sweet & Sour Pork Ribs and Prawn Roll.
While some of the dishes were comparable to perhaps a neighbourhood zi char eatery, there were some standout dishes.
During recent times, food bloggers talked about its Wong Po Lou Meen aka Yellow Cloth Noodles.
This off-menu item ($20 per portion, good for 3 to 4 pax) is now almost an open secret.
Made with thin egg noodles – choose between sheng main (raw noodles) and lou mien tossed in oyster sauce and lard, then topped with a silky-soft omelette, plump prawns, and blanched chye sim on the side.
I think what it manages to achieve is fluffy eggy texture, but this probably has to be eaten fresh out of the wok, I am not sure how this would go dabao
For solo diners, go for the Beef Hor Fun ($5.50) for your zi char fix. Tender beef slices are drenched with a thick brown peppered gravy, combined with veggies and wok-fried kway teow.
I once interviewed fashion designer Keith Png, and he said the Beef Horfun here was his favourite.
“It serves the best beef horfun I have ever had. The kway tiao has a slightly burnt taste to it, the amount of gravy and beef are generous and the beef is oh so tender yummy.”
The winner here was indeed the black bean sauce. Once I added some of the red chilli sauce, and turned out to be a delicious combination.
However after takeaway, the sauce and noodles somehow clumped together, it didn’t work as well as I would have expected.
Another popular signature dish, Har Jeong Gai or Prawn Paste Chicken ($12, $18, $24), an order gives you about 8 pieces on a plate.
Golden brown and crispy outside, not excessively oil. Inside, the meat is still moist. The flavour of prawn in the batter is quite evident at each bite.
What I really enjoyed was the chilli sauce that gave it a good lift, yet didn’t overpower the juicy chicken.
The Sweet & Sour Pork Ribs ($13, $16, $20) one of their bestsellers. Over time, Chef Tony has perfected his sweet & sour sauce, balancing its acidity with the right level of sweetness.
That overwhelming taste of fat in pork is tempered with the tanginess of the sauce.
Call them +65 9746 1926 if you want to pre-order for takeaways.
Quan Ji 權記
Amoy Street Food Centre #01-56, 7 Maxwell Road, 069111
Tel: +65 9746 1926
Opening Hours: 12pm – 10:15pm (Wed – Fri), 4pm – 10:15pm (Sat – Sun), Closed Mon – Tues
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