singapore: fish head bee hun (hoon)
My father is admittedly not into street food. He likes it, and appreciates it, but I think he just enjoys the environment of a restaurant more. As a compromise we went to a small restaurant in Chinatown with street appeal.
Holland Village XO Fish Head Bee Hun is a small restaurant or Zhi Char which moved from Holland Village to Chinatown (hence the name). The restaurant is a stall filled with a few tabled inside and a scattered few out front. Inside a wall unit air conditioner provides a bit of relief from the Singapore heat.
XO fish head bee hun, the restaurants namesake dish, is a fish soup fortified with an XO liquor. The soup can be ordered in a few sizes and even the smallest is a hefty portion. The broth is a milky white with a sweet lightly creamy taste. I’m not sure I can taste the XO, but it likely adds a subtle richness. The slices of fish are soft and cooked just right.
To go with the soup we also ordered the fried ho fun with fish meat and bean sprouts, prawn rolls (Ngo Hiang) and baby kailan. The stir fried fish meat was savory with the smoky flavor of the wok. The dish comes with some pickled peppers. The pickled peppers (nursery rhyme time?) really help set off the bean sprouts and fish meat.
The prawn rolls were not what I had expected, in a good way. The rolls had a crisp skin but inside had a soft minced prawn meat.
Each roll had an intense shrimp flavor with a distinct hint of pepper. The perfect bite to dip in a bit of sweet dipping sauce.
The food at Holland Village XO Fish Head Bee Hun is humble and unassuming with the appeal of street food; albeit in the somewhat more comfortable setting of a restaurant.