Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant has been serving a wide range of Peranakan dishes in Joo Chiat since 1953 and lays claim to be one of the oldest Peranakan restaurants in Singapore. The setting and service of the restaurant will not be its selling propositions. Guan Hoe Soon Peranakan Restaurant is a place to go to for good simple nonya dishes.
The decor of the Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant in Joo Chiat Place is fairly basic and functional. There are some art pieces on the wall but on the whole it looks like not much thought has been put into making the dining space attractive. The hiring and training of the staff may be another area which can be improved. While we were in the restaurant, there were 5 or 6 waiters, all dressed in black, standing around and staring at the customers (being too attentive) and looking quite intimidating.
Menu of Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant
Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant has an extensive range of Peranakan food including all the nonya staples – sambal prawns, assam fish, babi pong tay, ayam buah keluak etc. It also has a good selection of the typical zhi char dishes. Here are pictures of the current menu of Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant for Nonya Food and Chinese Food.
Dinner at Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant
We went to Guan Hoe Soon Peranakan restaurant for a quick meal. We ordered the staples nonya chap chye ($11.80) and ngo hiang ($11.80) as well as the crab foo yong ($11.80). Rice was $1 per bowl. GST would be added to the bill but there was no service charge.
The crab foo yong was very good. The crab and vegetables cooked with beaten eggs looked plain and simple but the dish was enjoyable. The texture of the eggs was light and smooth. The crab meat and other ingredients combined well with the eggs to make a very tasty dish.
The nonya chap chye had a good mix of cabbage, mushrooms, beancurd skin, black fungus and bits of pork. The vegetable was well braised and still just slightly crunchy in parts. The well balanced gravy was well absorbed by the various ingredients of the dish. It was a better than average nonya chap chye.
Guan Hoe Soon’s ngo hiang was a little different from those we had tried in other Peranakan restaurants. The skin was thin and deep fried will it was brown and crispy. The filling was dense and smooth but lacking in crunchy bits. It was not bad when eaten with the chilli provided.
Overall the nonya food at Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant we tried was very good but we could not say that we had a great dining experience. Neither the atmosphere nor service at Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant would make us think of going there again soon. Guan Hoe Soon has a thriving outdoor catering business. Perhaps in the catering business, proving good food is the most important thing and everything else is secondary. Perhaps those boys in black double up as bouncers when Guan Hoe Soon caters for outdoor events.
Overall Rating: 3 TOPs
Guan Hoe Soon Restaurant
38/40 Joo Chiat Place
Tel: +65 6344 2761
Opening Hours: 11am–3pm, 6pm–9:30pm