Qun Zhong fans rejoice! Since this local establishment shut for business some ten months ago suddenly and without apparent reason, lovers of the restaurant have grieved and despaired. Well fret no more! The restaurant has finally re-opened on 9th February with as little fanfare as it had closed, spruced up and bigger. And lucky us, the menu has stayed true to the original in offering, quality and price!
The shop has now expanded into the adjoining unit on Neil Road and in this case, bigger is better. The wait for a table at this popular haunt is still inevitable but it is noticeably shorter now. Qun Zhong has rebranded its Chinese name as Jing Hua though its English name remains as Qun Zhong Eating House (perhaps a consideration for its huge non-Chinese and foreign fan base). The restaurant has retained most of its original design style, with white and tomato red still taking prominence in the colour scheme.
The familiar face of the ever grumpy boss greeted guests at the door. As he beckoned the groups into his shop when their seats became available, I couldn’t help smiling; some things haven’t changed and that is comforting.
Here’s a peek for those of you who haven’t been able to make it down yet.
Xiao long bao (steamed soup dumplings) are better than I remember them to be. Minced meat wrapped in thin dumpling skin containing precious savoury soup with a hint of sweetness – to be handled with care please. They are very delicate and you will regret it if any of that soupy goodness leaks away with one reckless stab. Shrieks of horror often follow a serving of xiao long bao; you’d know when there’s a novice in the house.
Guo tie (pot stickers) are a must-order each time I visit and they didn’t disappoint. Rolled in a dough blanket that has been fried to crisp brown, the filling of mince and chives is moist and flavourful and oh-so-delightful. One thing though, their ginger slivers are still a tad too thick for my fancy. Wonder how the boss takes to constructive feedback…
Bean sprouts with minced meat and soybean sauce are next. The sprouts are very fresh, blanched perfectly and topped with a lip-smacking minced meat and soybean sauce. This is the guilt-free version of the delicious zha jiang mian (noodles with the same sauce, which I love). No carbs!! Means space for dessert.
Saving the best for the last and this is a knockout. The beautifully fried pancake is generously filled with sweet creamy red bean paste. The skin is crispy on the outerside and springy on the innerside. Not too greasy, just lovely. I can’t imagine how this can be better done.
I am checking my calendar for my next visit.
Qun Zhong Eating House (“Jing Hua Xiao Chi” in Chinese)
21 Neil Road | +65 6221 3060
Written by Jack.D
Photographed by Jack.D