Zhong Zhong Fine Spice: Old-school Ngoh Hiang store passing down generational secrets

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There’s no doubt that Ngoh Hiang will always be my sinful guilty pleasure. When I think of Ngoh Hiang, I always think of my go-to Zhong Zhong Fine Spice at Bukit Timah Food Centre.

Zhong Zhong Fine Spice - storefront

Previously run by a husband and wife duo, the son of the duo has stepped up and even their daughter has taken over cashiering on different days. What sets them apart is their ingredients being fried to perfection and yet have no greasy aftertaste.

Zhong Zhong Fine Spice - ingredients

What I tried at Zhong Zhong Fine Spice

Zhong Zhong Fine Spice - plate of ngoh hiam

Lack of greasy taste, perfectly fried and also no burnt or charred bits are some of the most important criteria in a good Ngoh Hiang store.

Zhong Zhong Fine Spice - prawn crackers

A test for how good it is can just be found in every Ngoh Hiang store’s Prawn Cracker (S$2). Unlike prawn crackers from other stalls, this one was thin which also meant that it did not absorb too much oil. It should also be noted that being fried to perfection allowed it to be crispy enough not to be hurting your teeth while you bite into it.

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This also leads to an addictive and non-greasy Prawn Cracker. This explosive crisp had a multitude of flavours starting with this savoury prawn flavour followed by nuttiness from the batter.

I recommend dipping it into their homemade chilli sauce which is topped with freshly crushed peanuts. These peanuts accentuated the nuttiness of the crackers while the tangy and slightly spicy chilli sauce prevented the Prawn Cracker from being too Jelat.

Zhong Zhong Fine Spice - prawn cracker in sauce

One hidden trick I would say is to ask for the sweet sauce – the aunty will not give it to you unless you ask for it. To change the flavour up before dipping into the chilli sauce you can also dip it into the sweet sauce. It has this stringy and gooey texture which softens the cracker ever so slightly. While there is not much flavour to the sweet sauce other than it being, of course, sweet, this gives it another way to enjoy these amazing crackers.

Zhong Zhong Fine Spice - bee hoon

These crispy crackers go well with their daily fried Bee Hoon (S$1.30). While this sounds boring I must commend them for making these Bee Hoon with so little oil. This results in a very fluffy plate of Bee Hoon that goes so well with any of their items.

Zhong Zhong Fine Spice - meat roll

With over 20 items to choose from, my next favourite would have to be their Ngoh Hiang Meat Roll (S$1.50). While they have plenty of meat roll options to choose from, I recommend the original one. These have a soft crust on the outside elevated by crunchy chestnuts on the inside.

The meat filling is also generous and tastes slightly gamey with fresh coriander. Dipped into the chilli sauce, it cuts through the gaminess. It is also worth mentioning that Zhong Zhong Fine Spice not only has 1 but multiple variations of Ngoh Hiang with different filling in each of them including the Innard Ngoh Hiang (S$2).

Zhong Zhong Fine Spice - chinese sausage

Another must-have for any Ngoh Hiang store is their Chinese Sausage (S$3). Unlike other places that often skimp on the meat and load up on flour, the rendition here is juicy and packed with meat; every bite was an absolute pleasure.

Zhong Zhong Fine Spice - chestnut and egg

There are also some ingredients that are not easily found in other Ngoh Hiang stores like their Chestnut and Egg (S$1.50) slices and a battered Whole Squid (S$8.10). Despite its slightly pricier options their squid was very juicy and was stuffed with its own tentacles giving it a meatier mouthfeel.

Final Thoughts

All in all, Zhong Zhong Fine Spice has to be one of my favourite old-school Ngoh Hiang stores. I feel that these stores are a dying hawker tradition with fewer new generations wanting to take over and even fewer of them popping up.

With that said, due to relocation plans for Bukit Timah Food Centre, Zhong Zhong Fine Spice will be relocating to a new location just across the road from the original location starting in Q4 of this year. Hoping this stall lasts another few decades so that many more people can give it a shot.

Expected damage: S$2 – S$15 per pax

$3.30 dim sum promotion at atas chinese restaurant in Takashimaya with no catch

The post Zhong Zhong Fine Spice: Old-school Ngoh Hiang store passing down generational secrets appeared first on SETHLUI.com.


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