Good Chance Popiah: tracing back my roots

Mastering languages has never been my forte. My existing problems with spoken Mandarin, a tell tale sign of my skills, or lack thereof. That being said, I've always held deep regrets for not picking up dialect when I was younger, seeing that it serves as a potential tool to bridge gaps in working relationships; especially so in the kitchen environment; I am always ashamed to say that I am Hokkien but sadly I do not speak the language.

The language of food, on the other hand. That, I can comprehend.

In fact, the language like 5-dimensional travel in the Interstellar; transcends all boundaries, a simple dish evoking memories, transporting you thousands of miles away in a seconds, bonding strangers, it seems that possibilities are endless when it comes to the all important grub.

At Good Chance Popiah, an air-conditioned zi char store set in the outskirts of sleepy Tiong Bahru, traditions are kept alive with the communal practise of rolling Hokkien Popiah together at the table.

The Hokkien Popiah ($18 for 6pcs, $34 for 12pcs, $48 for 18pcs) is something that is usually neglected at a hawker feast, a side dish to the main players on a table; but here at Good Chance Popiah, this is their jewel offering. Showcasing attention to detail throughout the labour intensive process. Garnishes include ribbons of omelette, crunchy beansprouts, coriander leaves, chopped peanuts, sweet soy sauce, chilli paste and lettuce. the turnip filling was nicely cooked and not too oily, retaining a bit of chunk for contrast. My advice would be to add a plate of sliced prawns ($6), the succulent prawns adding crunch to the rolls.

Another dish with a fiery personality is the Fish Head and Yam Soup ($16, $22, $28). Do not resist this. Despite it's unappealing appearances, the soup received praises from diners all round the table. Cooked low and slow, it was as though the fish head had melded into the soup, yielding a bowlful of gelatinous savoury broth, raptured by the occasional sweet yam chunks and napa cabbage. 

I homed in on the Hokkien Mee ($8, $11, $17), an old childhood favourite dish of mine, only to be disappointed by its gloppy consistency. Definitely not the best I've had.

Deep Fried Chicken with Prawn Paste ($12, $17, $22) tempted the weak at heart with it's beguiling shades of gold. I luxuriated in the crispness of the skin and dug deep for the flavors of prawn paste only to be met with empty stares. 

So far, Hokkien food had presented itself in a manner of successful dishes that was easily comprehensible, seemingly rich and unhealthy and very irresistible; the Stewed Pork with Buns ($16) adds to the pageantry of the feast. It's quivering layers adding instant inches to my waistline. The pork could have used a little more time in the braising liquids, the meat a tad chewy for my liking. Minor grouses.

Another signature dish is the Prawn Roll. Personally, I found the mixture a little too minced up, a occasional hunk of crunchy water chestnut could have rescued the mixture and elevate the dish. 

The Salted Egg Yolk Crayfish ($42, $75, $95) was not too bad. The mustard shade gravy weighing heavy on the heart. Despite the crayfish being a little over cooked, it was undeniably fresh and this dish has the potential to be a showstopper on the table if you are accompanied by a large group. To round up the meal, we were served the Fried Vermicelli ($8, $11, $17), a homely dish with a comforting vibe to it. Problem lies in its inadequate seasoning and the lack of control of heat, I conclusion reached at first glance of the curdled nodules of scrambled eggs in the mixture. 

A meal at Good Chance Popiah constituted a rally of hits and misses, more of the latter to be frank. However, it's down to earth pricing and nostalgia factored in does provide for many happy bellies. There's a good chance I'll be headed back for more with my family in the future.

Good Chance Popiah
149 Silat Avenue
t: 6271 0698

Opening Hours:
Tues - Sun: 11am - 2 30pm; 6pm - 9.30pm
Mon: Closed

1 comment:

Linda said...

Wonderful review with lovely photos. Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada.