Mentioned Guan Hoe Soon, many locals may know of the popular Peranakan restaurant located in Joo Chiat area. It used to be along Joo Chiat Road before relocating to Joo Chiat Place. Guan Hoe Soon is the oldest Nonya Restaurant in Singapore since 1953. Under its management, there are Straits Chinese Restaurant located at Cecil Street and Straits Chinese Nonya Restaurant which has recently moved into its new premises at Chinatown Plaza.
Prawn Cracker 3/5
Dinner at Straits Chinese Nonya Restaurant started with some complimentary Prawn Cracker or Keropok, served with chilli dip at the side.
I also ordered a glass of Lemongrass. I like the fact that a stalk of the lemongrass is used as a stirrer. It seemed like the more it's stirred, it brought out the lemongrass fragrant even more.
Hee Peow Soup 4/5 and Itek Tim 3.5/5
Whetting up our appetite, we started with some soups. We tried the Hee Peow or Fish Maw Soup ($5.50) and Itek Tim or Salted Vegetable Duck Soup ($5.50). Both soups were comforting and homely. It felt like having a meal right at home.
Nonya Chap Chye 4/5
One of my favourite nonya dishes is the Nonya Chap Chye ($10). Cooked with fermented soybeans, I have always enjoyed how the mixed vegetables are stewed until soft, absorbing the flavours. The chap chye at straits chinese nonya restaurant comes with a crunch but I preferred it to be even softer.
Babi Pong Tay 4.2/5
I was introduced to the dish Babi Pong Tay or Babi Pongteh ($12) during a Knorr cooking session with fellow blogger Keropokman last year. Since then I fell in love with the the dish. Babi Pongteh is now a dish that I will order whenever I dine in a Peranakan restaurant. The pork belly here is stewed in a rich and flavourful sauce that melted in mouth. This delicious dish calls for a bowl of rice to go with it.
Ikan Kepala Assam Curry (Curry Fish Head) 2.8/5
At Straits Chinese Nonya Restaurant, it also serves the Curry Fish Head or Ikan Kepala Assam Curry ($30) in a claypot. While the fish head was fresh and meaty, I did not really fancy the curry. It neither has the assam tanginess or lemak creaminess. It fell short of my expectation, lacking in character for a good pot of curry fish head.
Udang Sambal 4/5
The Udang Sambal ($15) coated in a mild sweet sambal sauce was well executed with the prawn still retaining its crunchiness.
Nonya Otah Otah 3.8/5
The Nonya Otah Otah ($8) is made using a recipe that is passed down over generations. It is understand that the restaurant uses only mackerel to make the otah and it has been the same over the years. In my opinion if it can be a bit spicier would be perfect.
Ayam Buah Keluak 4.2/5
Ayam Buah Keluak ($15) is a staple Peranakan dish that is very labour intensive to prepare which will take days. The nutty keluak flavour maybe acquire to some but I simply adore it. The keluak black flesh was mixed with minced meat and stuffed back to the shell, giving it a nice extra texture. The chicken, stuffed nuts, rempah (pounded spices) were simmered for hours to get the thicken sauce. The chicken was tender and well flavoured by the spices.
Nonya Ngoh Hiang 3.5/5
Interestingly the Nonya Ngoh Hiang ($6.80 for 4pc) is wrapped individual almost into a ball shape. It actually was quite enjoyable popping one of these into the mouth that comes with a bite of everything. There were carrots and chestnuts in the minced meat mixture but I was hoping for more of them to give it a more crunch.
Chendol 3/5 and Sago Pudding 3/5
Bo Bo Cha Cha 4/5
A selection of desserts such as Chendol ($4.50), Sago Pudding ($4.50), Durian Pengat ($4.50) and Bo Bo Cha Cha ($4.50) is available on the menu to end the meal on a sweet note. Among the few I tried, my favourite is the bo bo cha cha. However I thought the servicing portion was a bit small for the price.
Being the oldest nonya restaurant since 1953, I am glad that the owners are still cooking and offering their authentic straits chinese cuisine. I can't said that the restaurant offers the best nonya restaurant but it definitely comes across as a family oriented restaurant offering a hearty home cooked meal.
Straits Chinese Nonya Cafe
34 Craig Road
Tel: +65 65347328
Nearest MRT: Outram Park (EW Line, NE Line)
Daily: 11am - 10pm
1) Alight at Outram Park MRT station. Take Exit H. Turn left onto Teo Hong Road. At the end of Teo Hong Road turn left and continue on Bukit Pasoh Road. Walk to the end of the road. Cross Neil Road and turn left. Walk towards Craig Road. Walk to destination. [Map]