Woh Hup Cantonese Zi Char: Old-school zi char with 54 year-old history at Hong Lim

·4-min read

On the second floor of Hong Lim Market & Food Centre, one would find Woh Hup Cantonese Zi Char – not to be confused with Woh Hup Soy Sauce. It’s tucked away in a corner but is hard to miss with its welcoming sign board.

Woh Hup Cantonese Zi Char initially started out in 1968 along the old Chin Chew Street and has over 54 years of history serving old-school Cantonese zi char

Woh Hup – A picture of the storefront
Woh Hup – A picture of the storefront

What I tried at Woh Hup Cantonese Zi Char 

At Woh Hup Cantonese Zi Char, there was a four paged menu that had over 87 choices. After scouring every single item, I chose a few that I thought would make for a satisfying meal. After ordering, we sat down at a table nearby, and the aunty from the stall started bringing our dishes to us.

Woh Hup - A picture of the chinese tea served
Woh Hup - A picture of the chinese tea served

There was Chrysanthemum Tea available at the store itself, which cost S$1 per person. We had to order some, as what is zi char without Chinese tea?

Woh Hup - A picture of Fried Prawns with Special Garlic Sauce
Woh Hup - A picture of Fried Prawns with Special Garlic Sauce

Fried Prawns with Special Garlic Sauce (S$28 for medium) consisted of fresh succulent prawns that had plump meat. It was coated well in a garlic sauce that was savoury. The prawns were very fresh, which one could tell from the springy texture of its meat. This was one of the better dishes of the night, with it being gone pretty quick into the meal.

Woh Hup - A picture of Sweet and Sour sauce
Woh Hup - A picture of Sweet and Sour sauce

Sweet & Sour Pork (S$12 for small) was fried well, with the pork meat being coated in a thin layer of batter that resulted in it still being crispy despite being doused in the sweet and sour sauce. Some pieces were more soaked than others, which made it slightly more chewy, but it was still edible.

Woh Hup - A picture of Ham Choy Tofu Soup
Woh Hup - A picture of Ham Choy Tofu Soup

Ham Choy Tofu Soup (S$7 for large) caught my eye on the menu as it was a salted vegetable soup. Within it were many ingredients such as prawns, tomatoes, pork meat and tofu. It was slightly disappointing, as I was expecting a hearty soup, but this was just salty and was a bit too light on seasoning for my taste. I appreciated the various generous ingredients, but the balance of flavours didn’t entirely agree with my taste buds.

Woh Hup - A picture of Deep Fried Chicken
Woh Hup - A picture of Deep Fried Chicken

Deep Fried Chicken (S$12 for small)

really surprised us. It’s one of Woh Hup Cantonese Zi Char’s signature dishes. It looked like your typical home cooked fried chicken, where the pieces have a tendency to be dry. On the contrary, the skin was crispy despite being out for quite some time during the picture taking. The chicken had little to no fat, thus it was not oily at all.

The meat within was moist and delectable, even for the parts with less fat, such as the chicken breast. It was fried with oil but the oil taste was not obvious at all, and the chicken meat had a savoury and salty taste that was delicious. Hands down, this was the best dish of the night.

Woh Hup - A picture of Fu Rong Omelet
Woh Hup - A picture of Fu Rong Omelet

Fu Rong Omelet (S$8) was your typical egg omelette, and the edges were delightfully crispy. However, the middle was a little too dense for my liking. It came with some small shrimps within, and tasted normal. If it were slightly fluffier, I reckon it would have been better.

Woh Hup - A picture of Sauteed Kailan with Garlic
Woh Hup - A picture of Sauteed Kailan with Garlic

Sauteed Kailan with Garlic (S$10 for medium)fell a little flat. The oyster sauce coated the vegetables well, but despite being fried in garlic, the garlic taste was not obvious at all. The kailan was fresh, as one could tell from the leaves’ vibrant green colour, but taste wise it was a little bland. It could do with a little more seasoning.

Woh Hup - A picture of Deep Fried Grouper with Special Sauce
Woh Hup - A picture of Deep Fried Grouper with Special Sauce

Deep Fried Grouper with Special Sauce (S$39.50) was supposed to be the star of the show at Woh Hup Cantonese Zi Char, but it was slightly below my expectations. The meat was definitely fresh, crispy and moist, but there were quite a few bones within the fish.

As someone who has a fear of swallowing and choking on fish bones, I generally avoid fish dishes that have a high amount of bones. Therefore, I wasn’t able to enjoy this dish to its full extent, but I could definitely see my parents slowly picking away at this dish and polishing it off clean.

Woh Hup - A picture of the meat of Deep Fried Grouper with Special Sauce
Woh Hup - A picture of the meat of Deep Fried Grouper with Special Sauce

The fish meat was sweet, and was coated well in the sauce. The special brown sauce was a variation of savoury oyster sauce with some pepper. It was slightly spicy due to the presence of chilli padi, but non-chilli lovers would be able to eat this too. 

We ordered White Rice (S$0.50) to go with the dishes, and the rice was well-cooked and balanced out the different flavours in the dishes. 

Final thoughts

Woh Hup - A picture of Fu Rong Omelet, Sautéed Kailan, deep fried chicken, Prawn in garlic sauce, sweet and sour pork, deep fried fish in special sauce, and ham choy tofu soup
Woh Hup - A picture of Fu Rong Omelet, Sautéed Kailan, deep fried chicken, Prawn in garlic sauce, sweet and sour pork, deep fried fish in special sauce, and ham choy tofu soup

Overall, the food at Woh Hup Cantonese Zi Char was generally mild tasting, with most having little to no salt except for the Deep Fried Chicken, which was definitely marinated well. The food was by no means bad, but it was just average. 

If the dishes were better seasoned, it would have made for a more satisfying meal. 

Expected damage:S$7 – S$25 per pax

Other articles you might like: 

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20 delicious zi char in Singapore that won’t hurt your wallet

The post Woh Hup Cantonese Zi Char: Old-school zi char with 54 year-old history at Hong Lim appeared first on SETHLUI.com.

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