Popiah or Spring Roll has a long history. Various sources trace the origin of spring rolls to third century China. According to Singapore infopedia, Popiah (meaning “thin pancake” in Teochew) as we know it in Singapore has its roots in Fujian Province where it was eaten during spring (unsurprisingly) when there was an abundance of vegetables. Over time, it has become a tradition to welcome the start of the spring festival by eating spring rolls or chun juan (春卷). In Singapore today, although spring roll is especially popular during Chinese New Year, popiah is eaten throughout the year, since we do not have spring anyway. A place where we can enjoy the traditional Fujian popiah any day of the year is Good Chance Popiah Eating House, a family restaurant with a heirloom recipe passed down the generations.
Good Chance Popiah Eating House
Good Chance Popiah Eating House has a fairly long history. It started business in 1977 and is now run by third generation family members. The family restaurant has gone into the catering business and has recently launched a DIY Popiah Party Box. The main restaurant is located in Silat Avenue in Bukit Merah and it has a branch in Jalan Berseh.
The restaurant in Silat avenue occupies shop space on the ground level of a HDB block. The interior has the typical old school local eating house look. The furnishing is functional and photos of various celebrities who had visited the restaurant decorate the walls.
Traditional Hokkien Popiah
The main reason for going to Good Chance Popiah Eating House is to roll your own popiah without having to prepare all the ingredients yourselves. The traditional Hokkien popiah involves a lot of painstaking preparations. The main component is the braised vegetables which would include finely sliced turnips,carrots, bamboo shoots and French beans. Crushed peanuts, coriander, lettuce, beansprout, minced garlic and strips of fried eggs are among the condiments and toppings for the spring roll. Of course popiah skin, chilli and sweet sauce are also key components.
At Good Chance Popiah Eating House we could just turn up and roll our own popiah by ordering a 6 Piece Popiah Set for $19. Everything needed for a good traditional Hokkien popiah would be provided, with the braised vegetables served piping hot. How the popiah would turn all would then simply depend our own popiah rolling skills.
We did not manage too badly and our popiah turned out to be reasonably presentable. They tasted good too. Of course each family would have slightly different popiah recipes and each family would probably believe their family popiah tastes the best. We have tried various homemade popiah and those available in restaurants and would say the popiah in Good Chance Popiah Eating House is one of the best versions.
Zhi Char at Good Chance
Besides popiah, Good Chance Popiah Eating House also offers a good range of zhi char dishes.
We ordered items like Fish Maw Soup ($24.80) Kai Lan ($9.80) and Oyster Omelette ($15.80) and they were all very good renditions of the typical zhi char dishes. The oyster omelette came with plumb oysters and a delicious chilli paste.
We ordered the 5 Piece Stewed Pork with Pumpkin Bun ($18) as it sounded rather unusual and interesting. However, it did not quite live up to expectations. The bun was yellow instead of the usual white but did not taste any different from the normal bun. The stewed pork was soft and tender; not very special in terms of taste but nice enough. The pleasant surprise was finding slices of tasty soft fried yam among the pieces of pork
We also had the Pork Trotters Bee Hoon ($16.80) and Hokkien Mee ($8.80) and the latter was the dish of the night. The black Hokkien mee with sticky sauce was very good and really enjoyable.
We ended our sumptuous dinner at Good Chance Popiah Eating House with Yam Paste with Gingko ($4.80 per bowl). The yam paste or orh nee was not the best version we had tried but still quite enjoyable, especially for those who would prefer their orh nee to be not too sweet.
Good Popiah & Zhi Char
Good Chance Popiah Eating House in Silat Avenue is a basic unpretentious restaurant. It is probably not the place to go on a first date when you are trying to impress. It is, however, a good place for a reasonably priced zhi char meal with family or colleagues. Good Chance Popiah Eating House is definitely a great place for the experience of rolling your own popiah without having to prepare all the ingredients yourselves.
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs
Good Chance Popiah Eating House
Block 149 Silat Avenue, #01-58
Tel: +65 62710698
Opening Hours: 11am–2:30pm, 5:30–9:30pm
Closed on Monday
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an independent Singapore food blog