Perhaps because Singaporeans are craving for good-old Hong Kong food, yet cannot travel freely there (remember the burst travel-bubbles?)
Therefore, it is not surprising to find Charmaine Hui – better known as TVB veteran actor Benz Hui’s daughter, open a modern Hong Kong café.
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The location of JuJu 津津 is just steps away from her other café concept Café Bakeaholic at Wheelock Place, Orchard Road.
I waited for her till the end of my meal (I visited anonymously and paid as a usual customer) before she was free for one quick photo.
She explained that four of her staff was down, and was extremely busy in the kitchen.
”Would you be okay if only my dad was in the video?”
I didn’t mind waiting, because I felt that this café should be about her, as too many other writeups and attention were focused on her celebrity dad – but it is understandable.
The café didn’t look that crowded (surprisingly), but everyone looked kind of busy or lost – opening jitters it seems. Daddy and mummy were around attending to guests and clearing tables. Ah, parents’ love.
Otherwise, the wait wasn’t that long for the food, though cha chaan teng is usually known for serving food at faster-than-fast speeds.
Some of the signature JuJu items were Fried Chicken Thigh with Fries ($8.90), Egg Luncheon Meat Noodle ($8.90), Toast with Ham and Scrambled Eggs ($7.30), HK French Toast ($5.90), JuJu Curry with Fishballs ($4.90), and JuJu Wings ($7.90).
For pastry items, there was a small selection of Cocktail Bun ($3.50), Bolo Bao ($3.80), and Egg Tarts ($2.50). Not all items were available for ordering though, so do a double-check with the cashier (mine had to double-up as the tea-maker).
The Fried Chicken Thigh with Fries ($8.90) was… okay I guess. While the meat was considered well-marinated, the skin could have been crispier and meat juicier to bring it to the next level.
The weaker link happened to be the fries, which tasted like they were not thawed properly before deep-frying.
I preferred the Toast with Egg and Luncheon Meat ($6.90) – the scrambled egg being considerably creamy, though the toast could have been thicker and more buttery?
A taller ‘hill’ of egg (taking reference from Capital Café 華星冰室’s version) would have provided a better mouthfeel.
As for the Curried Fishballs ($4.90), they probably found the right supplier for the balls which had a familiar ‘Hong Kong’ bite, though the sauce lacked of the fragrance and viscosity that could bring you to the streets of Mongkok.
Unfortunately, the Bolo Bun which was heavily publicised to be house-made was possibly the weakest link as it lacked the characteristic sugary-crunch on the outer layer, while the bread was rather doughy.
The thing about Hong Kong cha chaan teng food is that these Canto-Western food happen to sound and look simple, but it needs to be extensive, comforting, and tasty at the same time.
JuJu has the potential, but perhaps give the team some time to settle down first to work through some of the operational details.
JuJu 津津 Singapore
Wheelock Place #02-17/17A, 501 Orchard Road, Singapore 238880
Opening Hours: 10am – 9pm (Mon – Sun)