The previous shop selling Heng Hua cuisine closed, and in its place is Putien, the original Heng Hua restaurant that introduced this genre to Singapore. CWP is their 17th outlet in Singapore.
Putien has a 1 Star restaurant at its honten in Kitchener Road, which they have kept the accolade since 2016. They have since expanded into the heartlands and also back to China, where Heng Hua cuisine is not really considered a main stream cuisine. Heng Hua cuisine 兴化菜 originates from Putian 莆田, Fujian Province in China, but unlike the traditional Hokkien dishes found in Singapore, they are more similar to Teochew food in that it is light and flavourful.
一品醉蚶 Drunken Cockles
Their signature appetiser, 一品醉蚶 Drunken Cockles topped with the sharp taste of fresh minced garlic and wine marinade makes a good start to a meal. But due to the supply, the cockles we had that day were really small. It would be better with Thai cockles, which are much larger, however are not imported to Singapore on a regular basis.
And to make matter worse, they over blanched the cockles, so what was left were some very bland cockles. I would not recommend this dish anymore since they served cooked cockles instead of fresh ones.
福建老酒焗海蛏 Duotou Clams Baked in Fujian Old Wine
Popular for their sweet flesh and plump size, these fresh razor clams are harvested by hand in the Duotou village of Putian, Fujian. These clams are then cooked in a variety of ways, and Putien was running a promotion for clams. So we ordered two different cooking style that would bring out the natural sweetness of these shellfish.
First style, 福建老酒焗海蛏 Duotou Clams Baked in Fujian Old Wine. The plump clams were cooked quickly in yellow wine and the jus of the clams enhanced the stock and wine took out the muddiness inherent in the clams. Beautiful combination. The clams were perfectly cooked and sweet with every bite.
铁板盐焗蛏 Salt-baked Duotou Clams
铁板盐焗蛏 Salt-baked Duotou Clams is cooking the clams using their own jus. This intensified the taste of the clams with their natural sweetness and umami, with added light saltiness from the salt bake. The only complaint was that the clams were placed opening downwards, so their natural jus escaped during the baking process.
兴化炒米粉 Fried Heng Hwa Bee Hoon
Heng Hwa cuisine features a lot of seafood and is characterised by clean and comforting flavours that highlight the fresh produce. This characteristic is captured in a single homely dish of 兴化炒米粉 Fried Heng Hwa Bee Hoon. The restaurant chain sources its Heng Hwa bee hoon from artisanal noodle makers in Putian who mill the rice flour by hand and dry the noodles under the gentle morning sunlight resulting in a springier noodle. As a result, Putien’s bee hoon was not brittle while absorbing all the flavour from the broth it was braised in.
阿溜土笋冻 Chilled Jello Worms
Sea worm jelly 土笋冻 is a Quanzhou specialty. It is made from boiling sea worms to extract the natural gelatinous collagen from the mollusc and then leaving the liquid to cool and form the jelly. It is usually eaten as an appetiser with shredded cucumber, ginger and a dash of vingear and chilli oil. Acquired taste, a bit like Teochew pig skin aspic. But this one had very little sea worms to make a difference. You could only taste the garlic and chilli sauce.
家常猪蹄冻 Cold Pork Trotters Jelly
水晶猪蹄冻 Cold Pork Trotters Jelly is where the Teochew and Henghua cooking influenced one another. Chaozhou region and Henghua region are very close to each other geographically, so there was a lot of shared heritage, like use of seafood. The aspic from Henghua has a strong five spice flavour, which Teochew uses a simpler braising liquid. I wasn’t impressed the last time, and still not convinced that they had nailed this dish.
家烧海带苗 Home-cooked Kelp Seedlings
When they served this dish, I thought it was the classic three-eggs spinach. They used young kelp to make this wonderful vegetable dish. The broth was rich with the umami from the kelp and I scooped every last drop of broth from the plate. There’s no need for three types of eggs (which could have too much sodium) to achieve the same taste.
经典南煎肝 Stir-fried Liver
It was so difficult to reach perfection for this dish as liver cooks very easily and the quality and consistency of good pig liver are very hard to come by as we do not have an abattoir in Singapore. The liver was coated and flash fried and then returned to the wok for a quick stir fry with the sauces. Any mistake would result in a chewy liver, which was exactly what happened.
建莲雪耳汤 Lotus Seed with White Fungus Soup
Amazingly underwhelming with so little white fungus, even though it was an inexpensive ingredient. But it had the right sweetness and almond flavour.
薄荷枇杷冻 Chilled Loquat in Herbal Jelly
Couldn’t quite place the loquat flavour, and tasted like a famous cough mixture.
酥炸冰心榴莲 Deep-fried Durian Puree
This turned out to be the best dessert among the lot, deep fried frozen durian. It reached the right texture after the deep frying.
The decor was inherited from the previous Heng Hua restaurant except for a change of colours to the Putien corporate palette of Tiffany turquoise and teak. The service was consistent of the Putien brand, and the food was quite good, not Michelin good, but good. Definitely one of the better choices in this side of the island for good eats.
Putien Causeway Point
1 Woodlands Square, #05-09 Causeway Point, Singapore 738099
Tel : +65 6219 5857
Visited in Jul 2022