Beng Thin Hoon Kee Hokkien Restaurant @ OCBC Centre

This traditional Hokkien restaurant could trace its roots back to 1949, founded by a Chinese migrant. While it first opened in a humble, old shophouse, it soon expanded to 2. Overtime, in order to accommodate a growing business, Beng Thin shifted to its current location at OCBC Centre in 1979. As a Hokkien myself, its heartwarming to know that I can still have traditional food of my own dialect. Though we have many contemporary restaurants mushrooming these days, it’s always comforting to go back to more familiar tastes. This is one restaurant often patronised by my late grandparents in the past as well.

With some revamps, the interior looked just like any other modern Chinese restaurant, barring the vintage baby-chair.

Fujian Style Duck Salad w Fresh Mango ($25) – A must-order at Beng Thin! I really liked how the crunchy fruits and fragrant mango slices come together so well with the shredded duck. A great salad to whet your appetite with its sour plum sauce!

Fishmaw Soup ($30) – Fishmaw soup, old-school style. The thick soup with egg wash had lots of flavours and textures within. The fish maws were cut into irregular chunks while carrots, mushrooms and spring onions were sliced loosely. Soup is a almost must for Chinese communal meals and fish maw soup here has always been a perennial s0up choice.

Fujian Style Prawn Balls ($12) – Huge prawn balls and ngo hiangs which were so amazingly aromatic that they could become as addictive as fries. Appropriate and ingenious use of spices for the fillings made them shine out from the usual meat patties.

Sea Cucumber – My favourite delicacy, the sea cucumbers were done just right – not too springy nor too soft.

Steamed Pomfret Teowchew Style (Seasonal Price) – Don’t ask me why Teochew-style in a Hokkien restaurant ‘cos it beats me too. Nonetheless, the broth was very gratifying, with a balance of sweetness from tomatoes and saltiness from preserved vegetables. The pomfret was steamed to a perfect timing, enhancing the taste of freshness in the fish.

Braised Pork Bun ($16) – A signature dish at Beng Thin, this is as traditional as it could get. Squeeze a slice of pork belly into those fluffy buns, drizzle some gravy and be prepared for food-gasm. The layers of fat and meat would melt inside your mouth while the plain buns will be bursting with flavours within seconds of soaking up the gravy.

Fujian Style Fried Noodles ($20) – This photo was taken after the dish was portioned out. I think you can tell by now that the Fujian cuisine is one that emphasizes on strong flavours. Heavy seasonings were put into this dish, which made the smooth and flat noodles all the more delectable.

I would say that service here was still rather backwards, but the food dishes were certainly all timeless. I find it really hard to have a taste of our own heritage in this modernised society but I’m glad that Beng Thin survived through these decades of change. It is sad though, from my observation, that many customers were elderlies and I strongly feel that this is a cuisine, of lost recipes, that should be greatly appreciated by the younger generation too.

Beng Thin Hoon Kee Restaurant
#05-02 OCBC Centre
Chulia Street
Tel: 6533 7708

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