Monday, July 7, 2014

Xiang Gang Jie Zhen Ji at Blk 158 Ang Mo Kio Ave 4 - Dinner with Bob G2 Stanley

The Beginning 
Xiang Gang Jie Zhen Ji (Hong Kong Street Zhen Ji) is a classic brand in Singapore that started in Bukit Merah Lane 1, Alexandra Road right next to AIA Tower Building in Alexandra Road in the 1990's where I used to work as a part-time AIA Agent. Back then I fell in love with the Song Fish head with its delectable yummilicious lightly spicy black bean paste that the chef drizzled all over, with a generous dose of crispy fragrant fried lard that lends a crunchy bite to the fish. 

The original founder of the classic Xiang Gang Jie Zhen Ji (Hong Kong Street Zhen Ji) is the late Mr Loh Mun Hon who started the restaurant in the 1990's serving wholesome home-style cooked food commonly known as Zhi Char  featuring Signatures such as : San Lou Hor Fun, Song Fishhead, Prawn Paste Chicken, XO Fish Bee Hoon soup, Bitter Gourd with Pork Ribs in Black Bean paste. Besides the Signature classic dishes, the restaurant stands out from other coffee shop in its distinctive large round marble table tops and matching round wooden stools. Mr Loh passed away in 2008 after he lost his battle with cancer and the original flagship restaurant at Alexandra Rd has since been managed by his younger brother Loh Mun Cheok. 

There is a second outlet of Xiang Gang Jie Zhen Ji (Hong Kong Street Zhen Ji) located in a coffee-shop at Blk 151 Ang Mo Kio Ave 4 that sprouted in the 1990's bearing the "Xiang Gang Jie Zhen Ji" in mandarin and having the same font as Signage, & the signature round large marble table tops with matching round wooden stools typically found at the Bukit Merah Lane 1, off Alexandra Road outlet. This coffee-shop with its Xiang Gang Jie Zhen Ji branch at 151 Ang Mo Kio Ave 4 previously operated by the late Mr Loh Mun Hon was sold to Mr Jackie Goh in 2008 for $3.5M when Mr Loh Mun Hon passed away. 

Jackie Goh got his two friends Chan Hon Mung, 46 & Tay Lian Chye, 50 (himself a Chef) to operate this outlet at Blk 151 Ang Mo Kio Ave 4,  serving the same fare as that which was served during Mr Loh's time. The outlet here truly live up to the expectation of the late Mr Loh, and indeed serves up really wholesome fare such as the Prawn Paste Chicken, Bittergourd with Pork Ribs in Black Bean Paste, Song Fish head. 

In June 2013, Jackie Goh sold the coffee-shop at Blk 151 to Mr Kiong Tai Weng for $7.4M and decided not to run the restaurant anymore. 

His two friends Chan Hon Mung & Tay Lian Chye not wanting to lose the goodwill and reputation that the restaurant has built over the years to go to waste, took over the Xiang Gang Jie Zhen Ji restaurant operations, secured a new site - the coffee shop at Blk 158 Ang Mo Kio Ave 4, and started operations since 26 May 2014. The restaurant despite having just moved to its new premise at Blk 158, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 only barely 4 weeks old here, has already seen many of its longtime loyal fans & customers like yours truly flocking to its new premise.  These astute customers recognised the many familiar faces as well as the distinctive round marble table tops & matching wooden stools, not forgetting the restaurant's Signature chilli sauce in blood red & in orange - sweet sour or sweet spicy depending on your palate preference. The restaurant at Blk 158 serves mainly Zhi Char fare (Chinese Asian Cuisine) from the kitchen helm by head chef with his team of about 6 chefs, mostly Malaysians. 

The Signatures
The Xiang Gang Jie Zhen Ji (Hong Kong Street Zhen Ji ) restaurant serves delicious signature dishes such as these: 
  • Song Fish head 
  • XO Fish soup
  • Bitter-gourd stir-fry with pork ribs
  • Oat Prawns
  • Yam Basket 
  • Marmite Chicken

Mr Tay Lian Chye (below) welcomes you to savor delectable Zhi Char fare at his restaurant

The Open Kitchen 
A typical busy Sunday evening dinner peak period sees an average of six chefs at its open kitchen, busy churning out delectable dishes to satisfy the hungry diners.

The Ambience 
This is how crowded it can get on a busy Sunday evening so be certain to call to reserve a table specially if you can coming in a group of 10 & above.  

Here's our dinner of 3 dishes served at our table.
Bittergourd with fish slices - made using black bean paste, bittergourd, fish slices stir-fried. 

Stir fry Xiao Nai Bai with garlic 

Braised Pork Belly with mushrooms - this is the Chef's specialty for the day.The pork belly is fully infused with the braised sauce, full of herbs & spices, that lends a sweet savory flavor to the tender & delicious meat. 

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