qun zhong eating house
Naturally not all my dining experiences in Singapore were posh blow-out feasts and there were plenty of hawker breakfasts and other cheap eats (mostly stolen bites between meals) during my stay. In fact the first place I ate at after landing at Changi was the humble Qun Zhong Eating House in Tanjong Pagar. Specialising in Peking dumplings and noodles, the family business has been around for ages and about 10 years ago the brothers fell out and one left to open a competing restaurant a couple of streets down but the original was always the better of the two.
Massively popular, there was a queue snaking out the door when we arrived (they don’t take reservations and are closed Wednesdays) which thankfully shifted quickly as the brisk service and somewhat shabby interiors means diners don’t generally linger long.
Weeks before my trip I had been dreaming about the dumplings, and the pot stickers (guo tie) were just as good as I remembered them to be with a crunchy crusty base, flavourful juicy chive-laced pork and seafood filling and thin elastic skins. They never seal the ends up which is unusual, but it works and you don’t enjoy them less for it.
The water dumplings (jiao zi) that I doused in black vinegar and ginger had a similar filling as the pan-fried numbers and were also good – lovely, soft and pillowy.
Some say their xiao long bao are the best in town but personally I found the meat filling too soft and mushy, immediately disintegrating in the mouth. Having said that the soup that burst out of the delicate skins was very tasty indeed and I happily wolfed down a few of them.
They serve three types of noodles: noodles with minced pork with soy bean paste (zha jiang mien), hot and sour noodles, and noodles with sliced pork and Sichuan vegetables. We all chose the latter and were disappointed all round – the strands were soggy and overcooked, and the soup base didn’t have as much depth or chilli heat. There was also far too much of the salty preserved vegetables and not enough shredded pork, not that I wanted more of that seeing it was dry and tasteless.
A simple plate of blanched bean sprouts topped with minced pork and soy bean paste (the same mixture that graces the zha jiang mien) was a surprise hit – the bland crunchy sprouts a perfect foil to the delicious intense meat sauce. We also ordered the spinach with oyster sauce which was perfectly decent but nothing to shout about.
It has been a fair few years since I visited and standards have definitely dropped on the noodle front but the dumplings (especially the guo tie) are still excellent. And all that for 3 for less than £30? Bargain.
Qun Zhong Eating House
21 Neil Road
t. +65 6221 3060