Saturday, November 14, 2009

Whampoa Keng - Makansutra Dinner Nov '09

The Nov 2009 Makansutra forum dinner was held at Whampoa Food Street (Keng) Fish Head Steamboat Eating House aka WFSKFHSEH (aka whattaf-ingmouthful!). Easier known as Whampoa Keng for short. The food is decent, down-to-earth and without pretensions. They seemed to have some trouble handling our big crowd of over 70 diners, but it was a good meal.

"Hae Cho" or Dep-fried Prawn Roll
We started with some really good "Hae Cho" or deep-fried prawn roll. I like that the filling was peppery and had coarsely chopped ingredients rather than a pulverised paste. The beancurd skin is fried to a roaring crisp - always a bonus in my books!

Fish slice charcoal steamboat
Charcoal steamboat is the signature dish here. I'm not a fan of steamboat but I have to concede the soup stock is indeed delicious. I had at least three bowls of the soup! However, folks at a neighbouring table felt that their Rangoon Road branch served a better version.

Whampoa Keng's signature fish steamboat
We had the sliced fish version, which came with lots of ingredients - thick chunks of "batang" fish, vegetables, fried yam slices, seaweed and and large pieces of "ti por" (dried fish - see the dark piece in left photo). It's a small pity that the fish was not the freshest catch but the stock made everything tasty.

Fish lip with broccoli and mushroom
Fish lip with broccoli and mushroom - I was intrigued by the name. I was picturing tiny slivers of aqua-puckers. Then the dish arrived. These large, chewy, gelatinous yellow slabs are the lips of some fish? I'd be afraid to see the rest of the fish! Certainly is unusual but not my favourite thing. I'd go for fish maw instead any day.

Salted Egg Prawns
Salted Egg Prawns - these were incredibly rich in colour and taste. Thick, crusty batter coated with sandy salted egg yolk. There was a distinct taste of curry powder too, complemented by the finely shredded kaffir lime leaves.

Yam Basket with prawns
Yam Basket with Prawns - this gorgeous photo is taken by a long lost friend of mine who came for the dinner. We have not seen each other for 10 years! Wow, he's better at using my camera than I am! Look at the composition and nice depth of field he managed to get! I'm reminded that I have much, much more to learn.

Oh the yam basket is fantastic, by the way. And I mean the yam ring itself - it didn't really need the filling, it was good enough to eat on its own. I feel like taking a bite out of this photo...I love yam rings.

Prawn paste chicken
Prawn paste chicken - one of the better ones I've had. Everything deep-fried here seems to be super deep-fried. It's all so supercrispy!

Black pepper pork chop
Black pepper pork chop - by this time, we were all quite full. Well, we drank a lot of soup earlier! I did feel that the seasoning in this dish was "too busy" - too many flavour elements muddying the taste.

Khong bak pau
The "Kong Bak Pau" or Braised pork belly slices with steamed buns (in the background). The pork was fabulous, but the buns were still semi-hard. I think they were rushing the dishes (it was getting late) and were not able to steam the buns properly for such a large number of guests. But the pork slices were really well-executed.

Hotplate Venison
Hotplate Venison - very tenderized and robustly seasoned, this goes best with rice. Yup, there's always lots of meat in the lineup for these dinners! Sorry I did not get a good photo of this dish. But it was very popular, gone in a flash.

Fried Tang Hoon
The final carb. Fried Tang Hoon that's surprisingly not oily! It was delicately flavoured, so it probably is meant as a base for other dishes. I like that they gave lots of shredded fresh vegetables, which nearly makes this a salad! There are also bits of the "ti por" that add a burst of flavour here and there.

Fresh Fruit Platter
Fresh Fruit Platter to cleanse the palate. After a heavy meal, this is the best dessert.

All in all, a wonderful meal, with more than a few dishes competently done. I'm filing this place as worth coming back to.

Main Outlet: 556 Balestier Road, Singapore 329872
Branch: 116/118 Rangoon Road, Singapore 218394
Tel: 9769-4451
Both open daily
Mon-Fri: 11am-3pm, 5pm-11pm
Sat-Sun & PH: 11am-11pm


  1. guess i'm just finding trouble for myself to check out ur blog at this timing. So i deserve to hear my tummy growling.. the food look very delicious via ur photo shot! Did you use ur new flash for the shots?

  2. food looks excellent . the spat of rainy weather we've been having calls for hot soup/hot pot for sure. love the shot of the prawn roll. crispy!

  3. i'm so craving kong bak pau now...

  4. If that is Makansutra, then every lovingly taken picture of the dishes is a delicious new position suggestively offered to your readers, no? ;)

  5. the food looks v good! i notice that there's quite a number of meat dishes.. hahaha..

  6. I completely agree with you about ending a big meal with a simple plate of fruit -- I dont know why restaurants wont do that more often. Totally fell in love with the pork belly slices gaaaah it looks so succulent!!!

  7. Sizbelle: thanks, yes I used the new flash for the photos but not all turned out well! Still learning!

    Jas: service? what service? lol
    Well, I don't know if it was the size of our crowd but the wait staff seemed harried and curt. We helped ourselves to water refills.

    Ciki: indeed, this soup is great for rainy weather! The monsoon season's hit us too.

    Jules: the kong bak is very gooood!

    LFB: Hi Kenny, you're back? Haha, Makansutra is not quite the sexy thing you're imagining, but the food at the gatherings is always a feast for the senses!

    Dory: yes, the veg is often a token item!

    Joy: a big dessert for simple meals, and a simple dessert for big meals! Ah the pork belly slices...I'd go back for those!

  8. OOOH Camemberu (whoever you are!) I cannot belieeeeve I just discovered your blog! The worst part is I can't just nip out to get any of the above as I'm all the way in Manchester!
    BELACAN CHICKEEN?? AAWRRHHWRRHH *dribbles* It's been too long. So hungraay.

    Your photos are amazing! Well done. What camera do you use?

  9. Whoops don't answer my last question - I just saw it on your sidebar..

  10. I enjoy your blog, especially the pictures, I would love to hear what you think of my own food pics:

  11. halo camemberu!
    i really enjoy reading your blog! n i've brought my family to whampoa keng on sunday for hubby's birthday celebration, n his whole family enjoyed the food very much! they luv the charcoal steamboat and we asked for refill of soup thrice! the food is really yummy! thanks for the recommendation!


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