Celebrities venturing into food businesses is nothing new, but Chew Chor Meng brings something different to the table with his hawker stall pursuits. As the co-owner of 888 Mookata and Famous Zhou, alongside Dennis Chew, it might seem he already has a lot on his plate. It’s also notable that most of their outlets are located in the heartlands.
His latest food venture is no different. It’s a stall at a kopitiam in Sultan Plaza, and this time he’s hawking pao fan(submerged rice).
For the unfamiliar, pao fanis steamed rice that is soaked and cooked again in a steaming broth, and then topped off again with crispy rice. And it’s the perfect rainy weather comfort food.
Well, I wasn’t the only one who thought so. When I stepped into the kopitiam on a drizzling Monday afternoon for lunch, there was a queue of just over 10 people waiting in line to order their bowl of pao fanfrom Famous Pao Fan.
There are seven types of pao fan available, with the usual seafood options, including lala (clams), fish and prawns. Each bowl ranges from $4.50 to $8. There’s also a more atas lobster option that’s going for $16, as well as a kurobata pork with lala option. Also available are side dishes of spam fries, prawn rolls and fried tofu.
I waited for nearly half an hour before I was served my bowl of piping hot pao fan. But that could be because each bowl is made to order. It’s only when the order comes in that they start assembling the ingredients and cooking each bowl.
By the time it was my turn to order though, the initial picks I had — kurobata pork or fried red garoupa — were both sold out. Hence I opted for fried sliced fish with lala, and the cashier kindly obliged with my request to swap the prawns out. They also happened to run out of the deep fried egg floss that they usually top each bowl off with at my turn unfortunately.
The broth is flavourful but light and I enjoyed the mixture of textures with every mouth I took, thanks in part to the puffy rice. I got a generous heaping of clams too in my bowl, though more fish pieces would have been appreciated too. Given the rainy weather outside, it was a hearty comforting meal to have.
I would opt to have it again, and try the kurobata pork version. However, perhaps not so soon, given the wait involved even on a Monday afternoon. The staff manning the stall shared with me that weekends are more hectic than what I was experiencing, so be forewarned if you are looking to visit soon.
Address: #01-06/07 Sultan’s Kitchen Food Court, 100 Jln Sultan, S199001
Opening hours: 10.30am – 8.30pm, daily
Text: Seow Kai Lun/AsiaOne