Choon Seng Hng (CSH) is a one of a kind restaurant. Had not eaten there in years but it remains the same. Rented from the Hakka association, this building sits next to the N - S Malayan Railway track and probably encroaches on Malaysian land - in case you do not know, Malaysia still owns the land 4-5 meters on either side of the railway track. Poor tasting, overpriced and lousy service. Thought it was great the last time we were there - must have been very hungry and not a HGW member yet.
Food: Menu has changed already, used to be a zhi car outlet but they now only serve ready cooked food with rice and porridge. We were in a hurry and ordered the preserved vegetables, some pork and a slice of fish. All were tasty but not the best I've had.
Ambience: Rather dumpy and unchanged in 15yr. Cement floor, slow moving fans and bare tables.
Value: Overpriced for such a low cost location.
I arrived at the restaurent at about 8pm. There were very few people having their dinner despite it being dinner time. Having no air conditioning, the ceiling fans served pretty well. The place being near loads of grassy areas and vegetation, had plenty of insects as it just rained. The place looks untouched for maybe 20 years?
The food was excellent!
Pork ribs with special sauce
Suan pan zi
Baby kai lan fried w/ garlic
Prawns with salted egg yolk sauce
All the above were really good! I'm not really a fan, so I don't want to comment about the suan pan zi. I highly recommend the prawns ($26 for 8 prawns!!! Expensive!), the ribs, and the chicken (1/2 chicken $12).
Strangely, I didn't notice that the restaurant had switched to serving ready-cooked food as the previous reviewer mentioned. Just went again yesterday, and the Zhi Char operations were still present.
We love this place for its down-home style of cooking, where every dish looks like it's come out of a home kitchen cooked with love. It’s like stepping back into the early Eighties (or suburban Malaysia) with its non-airconditioned interior, plastic chairs and slightly grubby surroundings. A pleasant (though sometimes annoying) quirk is that the staff refuses to let you order more than they think you should eat, which helps chronic over-orderers like us, but is often slightly disappointing as we don’t get to go the whole hog.
Some of the highlights are the Crab Tung Hoon, Steamed Fish topped with deep fried ginger strips, Hakka (Ke Jia) Tofu, Abacus Seeds (suan pan ji), Prawns with salted egg yolk, roast chicken (simple but surprisingly good!) etc.
Still one of the best kept secrets -- let's hope this insitution remains going strong.
we went to dinner at this restaurant honestly for want of anywhere else to go and also because my dad and baby sister had never been to this place - the former having never seen the restaurant sign despite having lived within 3 km of the place for like the past like 20 years.
anyway, we had
Half a roast chicken
fried tang hoon
fried kailan with sliced fish
fried pork rib with special sauce
2 herbal teas
2 lime juices
Service is a little slow at the restaurant, which is housed on the first floor of a khek foundation building. so they ask you what you want to drink and basically you can like finish the drink, and the food wouldnt have been served yet. my dad and i had the herbal tea which was iced and purple in colour! my dad said the drink was probably from some lotus root thing, and the purple was natural. (othewise it looked terribly artificial and cancer causing probably) anyhow it tasted like how herbal tea tasted. not too sweet but not bitter or anything. if youre the traditional herbal tea drinking kind it would be rather refreshing. their lime juice is made from syrup and water, so not impressive.
the half roasted chicken was pretty good. with skin that was crisp and meat that was succulent (if you dont get the parts with bones.) my dad was of the opinion that it was very salty, but i thought it was okay. there is however, no need for the additional salt that they serve. the chicken goes well with the chilli sauce they provide - not the one with cut chilli in soya sauce.
the hotplate beancurd was my babysister's and my favourite dish. when they served it, they took off the lid and there was so much bubbling and fizzling and smoke. but honestly, you cant go wrong with the combination of egg and tofu - its very comforting. it wasnt salty, just enough flavour and the dish also contains minced meat, shredded carrot, mushrooms and capsicum. yum. they all went very well together.
the fried tang hoon was served last but i thought it was something different from the usual fried rice fried noodle dish that people inevitably order at such restaurants. it was my dad's idea and i think he was pretty happy with the dish. the fried tang hoon comes with egg, minced meat and shredded carrots and onions. again, very tasty. people should order this in place of fried noodles! its feels like a light dish also, so youre not like carbo overloaded.
the fried kailan with sliced fish was the most expensive dish at $16. it was okay, tasted decent and healthy in the sense that it wasnt oily or salty or anything, tinged with some garlic. the fish was really fat. like thick fat. im not sure if they were the mass produced kind of sliced fish but i think at $!6, they probably werent.
the fried pork ribs with special sauce was one of my favourites, as was my dad's. they say it is special sauce - english translated, but in chinese they state like honey or something like that. it was so TASTY! like sweet and yummy with enough salt. it was also cooked with capsicum and onions. it was just great. the amazing thing was that it wasnt oily or anything, and my boyfriend whose like this health freak also gave it a thumbs up.
it is pretty much sort of like a ONE restaurant coffee shop, so i mean thats why ambience wise its going to score so low. it isnt a place for people who need the comfort of air conditioning and the whole nine yards. also, parking might be a problem. but what the hell.
service and cooking time, as mentioned above was a little slow. but i mean if it is for a leisurely family saturday evening dinner, its okay. but either go early (at 6pm) or later ( 8?) i suspect they might close early like by 10? so better call if youre going late.