[SG] Kow Loon Hong Kong Tim Sum

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A hidden gem in the estates of Ang Mo Kio, this is a family-run store coupled with the famous chain of Hong Kong Street Chun Kee (香港街珍记) in an ordinary coffee shop. By a friend's recommendation that this place has one of the best 流沙包 (flowy custard egg yolk bun), it was definitely a place to check out. Don't belittle it because of its location, I was surprised to find snaking queues and every table occupied twice that I visited. Even at supposed off-peak hours of 8plus in the night, it was still as packed.

Cheong Fun with Char Siew ($2.80)

An absolutely disappointing plate of Cheong Fun, despite me starving by the time this first dish arrived. The 'fun' was too thick and it seemed as though we were eating kuehs instead. There was too much 'fun' surrounding the dish, such that the Char Siew bits were like a side dish sprinkled onto it. The sauce was also too salty, a tad too strong for my liking. Last but not least, I thought the presentation of the dish was quite bad, making it look like a pile of leftover 'fun' put together for our serving. 

Nom Factor: 5.0/10

Ordered this again the second time round with another friend who wanted to try it. The presentation looks much more decent this time, with slightly improved taste of it. The 'fun' wasn't as thick and there were more fillings inside. The sauce didn't change though. 

Cheong Fun with You Tiao ($3.00)

The youtiao version was alot better. There was alot more fillings inside, with better proportion as opposed to the charsiew one. The youtiao went better with the sauce but could have been better if it was toasted and crispy before wrapping, so that it could have been slightly crispy upon serving. Just like the previous dish, it was too salty and the 'fun' was too thick for my liking. 

Nom Factor: 5.5/10

Carrot Cake

I usually don't fancy carrot cake but this one caught the attention of my taste buds. It wasn't too sticky and I like the pan-fried surface. There was an added crisp to every bite, adding to the texture of the otherwise soft and boring carrot cake. It was well-blended inside, making it softer than usual. A little too oily, but the crisp sure made up for it. 

Nom Factor: 7.5/10

Special Dairy Salted Bun/ Flowy Custard Egg Bun ($3.50)

Oozing out through the folds of the bun

The reason for me visiting in the very first place, well, it did satisfy my cravings. A super major fan of 流沙包, I often have random cravings and am always on the lookout for good ones around. So if you know of any, do let me know! Anyway, this was a decent one recommended by my friend. I like the fillings, it had a good blend of sweet and savory and had right balance of milkiness. Call me picky, I thought it was just a little too sweet. As you can see, there are still some parts that aren't flowy too. Perhaps there was a bit more custard used in the blend. I thought the bun could have been finer too, it was a little too airy for my liking. Nonetheless, that is just me on the search of the best bun. I thought this was quite a good one, worth making a trip there if you happen to be around the area.  

Nom Factor: 8.5/10

Steamed Pork Ribs ($2.50)

Seeing how it was soaked in oil, I was put off initially but decided to give it a shot for review purpose. Very tender pork ribs, it was well marinated. A little too bland for my liking though. It was quite a large portion considering the price, but don't expect anything fancy. 

Nom Factor: 6.5/10

Special of the Day (Seaweed)

A special concoction, it was a complimentary dish as my friend knew the boss' daughter. As someone who's anti-vegetable, seeing this was my nightmare coming alive. Different types of seaweed marinated and out together in a dish, the curious and adventurous side of me decided to give it a shot anyway. It was an acquired taste, a mix between jellyfish and raw vegetables. It had the texture of jellyfish, except this is harder and more chewy. There was also an odd twist to its taste, with a full shot of raw vegetables essence and an added flavour that I couldn't quite identify. According to the boss, this dish is full of nutritional value as it helps lower blood pressure and in detoxification. It wasn't to my liking, but definitely recommended for those who are adventurous and well, you'll probably have to like vegetables in order to enjoy it. 

Nom Factor: 6.0/10

Steamed Shrimp Dumpling/ Har Gao ($3.00)

Impressed by this, I thought this was one of the rare places that managed to do hargao well. With its ordinary looks, it surprised us by how good it simply was. Fresh prawns used, you can taste the natural sweetness of the seafood, complemented well with its seasoning. The skin was of the right thickness, it was chewy enough to add to the texture of the dumpling, yet it managed to hold the piece together well and it didn't feel like you were just chewing on thick bland skin. 

Nom Factor: 8.5/10

Minced Pork & Shrimp Dumpling/ Siew Mai ($2.50)

An apparent lack of QC where you can see one siewmai lacking the toppings. This was a rather decent dish, it had fresh shrimps and succulent meat, retaining its natural sweet juices within each dumpling. There was just a little too much skin and it could have been better if the meat used were minced together better. Some pieces seemed to be dislodged from the dumpling upon biting, making it seem like a mixture of meat used over different batches. 

Nom Factor: 7.5/10

Sesame Mango Prawn Roll (not listed on the menu)

Be sure to hunt for this dish or ask the service staff there. It is a very addictive one in my opinion. Combination of fresh succulent prawns and juicy sweet mango, wrapped in thin crispy sesame skin, the different layers of texture never fails to surprise with every bite. Perhaps it was the season of mangoes when I visited, they chose the right type where it was very sweet and complemented the savory prawn and skin well. Don't belittle the sesame skin, it gave that extra oomph to the dish with its distinct flavour. It's definitely a dish that I will return for!

Nom Factor: 9.0/10 

With its very affordable prices and rather decent food, it is quite a good find that I will return. Despite several misses in the list, I think it's still worth a visit given how the family-run stall exudes a friendly and warm feel. There might be a little miss in its QC efforts, as some of the dishes tasted slightly different for both visits. They are rather open to feedback and the boss is extremely friendly and it's interesting to hear more about the special concoctions he has. 

Overall Nom Factor: 7.5/10
Blk 151 Ang Mo Kio Ave 5
(Next to Mayflower Primary School)

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