Tucked under the HDB blocks in Geylang Bahru, is Hao You Ji Charcoal Roasted Delights (好友记炭火烧腊). Bendemeer is an area that is packed with many coffee shops with different types of food, so identifying a gem is equivalent to finding a needle in a haystack. Located in the coffee shop called First Eating House Pte Ltd, Hao You Ji Charcoal Roasted Delights is situated on the far left, noticeable with its long queue of people.
The store looks like any other roast meat store, and to be honest I nearly mistook it for another roast meat place just across the road, just because of the sheer saturation of hawker stalls selling this particular dish. Clearly, it has become a staple for most of us, and roast meat noodles have been ingrained in our diet for a very long time.
Its storefront is decked with a typical spread of roast meats: Roast Pork, Char Siew and Duck. They also have Soy Chicken and Roasted Chicken.
Their ducks were hung in vacant spaces that filled the store, drying them out a day before to attain that crispy skin that most of us love. Apparently, this whole process is worth the wait.
I usually have this as a takeaway option; my dad packs this on a weekly basis for me and this was my first time visiting their physical store. So when I arrived, I was taken aback to see the long list of options available. Have you ever seen a roast meat store sell boiled soup?
What I tried at Hao You Ji Charcoal Roasted Delights
I am a noodles type of person any day, so you can totally expect me to pair my roast meats with noodles.
First on the list was their Soy Chicken Noodles. For S$4, I was served a substantial portion of chicken, alongside boiled vegetables and a big portion of noodles. I requested for the chicken thigh, which was nicely deboned and served tenderly. Apparently chicken thigh sustains flavour better than breast does, no wonder my protein choice tasted super flavourful and juicy!
Next, the noodles. The noodles were very springy, even though they were the thicker type. The noodles were tossed in a fragrant brown soy sauce that had a balance of sweetness to savoury, and the sauce covered the usual alkaline taste that comes with egg noodles.
The sambal belachan added another layer to this dish. I usually mix up chilli in my noodles for the constant spice, instead of individually dipping my ingredients into the saucer. It is salted with hints of ikan bilis and it isn’t that spicy.
Now for the ultimate test, Hao You Ji Charcoal Roasted Delight’s roast meats! I have been set on a task to find the best char siew noodles in Singapore, so you can imagine how seriously I take finding the best char siew in Singapore.
I opted for the 3 Combination + Stew Soup Set. Featuring three kinds of meats, their charcoaled char siew, duck and crispy sio bak and a bowl of soup of your own choice! For S$13.80, the price is very affordable for what you receive on your plate.
Nothing defines satisfaction better than eating a slice of char siew that melts gracefully in your mouth. This has to be the best component of my whole experience here because their char siew really stays true to its char!
Personally, I am not a fan of fatty meats, but for them, I would happily finish my bowl of noodles with their cuts of meats— the char siew specifically. The pork is well marinated with a fantastic proportion of smokiness to the lean parts of the meat. And its fatty side simply melts; it is not too chewy or too chunky.
On the other hand, the roasted pork fell short for me. Although it had a great crunch to it, I was anticipating a larger wow factor like I had with the char siew. Nonetheless, it was still decent! I believe that if they could work on improving the taste of the roasted pork to be more prominent, such as to make it slightly saltier, that might leave the fans wanting it more.
Next, I had the roasted duck. I had to pick up a slice of the skin first to give it a test. To my pleasant surprise, their whole process of preparing the duck paid off! The skin was crispy and slightly salty from its roast, and the fat under gave it a caramelised flavour unique to its own.
Underneath the skin lies its succulent meat which was not too tough— just like how I like it. It’s very easy for places to mess up duck meat, just because of how easy it is to overcook it!
This dish comes along with a bowl of sweet sauce to pair up nicely with the duck. For those who fancy a slightly sweeter tasting duck, this would be a nice condiment to dip your meats into.
Like I mentioned previously, roast meats are my staples in life. After having this over and over again in takeaway portions, I am glad I made the trip down to try out their other dishes. I even had a go with two different kinds of soup! They definitely prioritise the idea of having a balanced healthy meal with their incorporation of vegetables and soup. It reminds me of a very homely Cantonese meal.
With all things considered, Hao You Ji Charcoal Roasted Delights by far has to be one of my favourite places for a solid plate of roast meat rice. With that being said, I also found out that they have quite a number of outlets scattered all over Singapore. I guess that’s good news for all of us! Even though they are not relatively famed on the media, I think it’s time they deserve their due recognition.
Expected damage: S$4 – S$5 per pax
Other articles you might like:
The post Hao You Ji Charcoal Roasted Delights: I found the best char siew in Singapore at Geylang Bahru appeared first on SETHLUI.com.