Time Out says
Sichuan cuisine is experiencing a moment in Singapore. And with more restaurants and hawker stalls opening up, it’s not just a trend but a weekly ritual for some. Enter Chuan Hung, a small noodle shop tucked away from the busy stretch of Telok Ayer Street, ready to feed the spice-seeking CBD crowd.
It counts Birds of a Feather and the new 51 Soho just around the corner as sister concepts and shares kitchen space with the latter. The noodle shack is decked out in bamboo poles, rattan chairs, hanging pendant lightbulbs and noodles drying out in the open – all adding to its cosy, hole-in-the-wall ambience. The environment is an upgrade from the cramped stores you find minutes away in Chinatown, where you sit facing soup-stained walls made even more apparent under harsh LED lights.
But does the food live up to the joints around People’s Park Complex?
We order the top three noodle dishes on the menu – there are eight varieties in total – namely, the signature braised beef ($12.50), braised chicken, mushroom and bamboo shoot ($12.50) and Australian ox tongue with vine pepper ($14.50). Of the three, we like the Australian ox tongue the best – mainly because it comes in a peppery soup made with green chillies and Sichuan peppercorns that leave a tingling sensation on the lips. The subtlety of the soup allows for other components of the dish to shine through: the gaminess of the thinly sliced beef tongue, the sweetness of the mashed peas and the salinity of the seaweed, while also enabling us to fully enjoy the texture of the silky rice noodles Chuan Hung sources from a village in Mianyang, China.
The other two come in your choice of red, clear or mixed soup (for those that can’t quite handle the heat). The fiery red pork broth, which we have with the braised beef, is spicy but one dimensional and when we try the clear soup – which we have with the braised chicken
and mushroom – we understand why. The stocks lack depth and don’t quite hit the spot. We end up piling on the preserved vegetables and chilli sauce at the table to make it tastier.
As much as Singaporeans love spice, we’ve graduated from just wanting a tongue-numbing experience to hankering after the nuances that make up the cuisine. Chuan Hung is close to delivering the seductive balance of spicy, aromatic and fresh of Sichuan cookery, but it’s just not there yet.
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51 Telok Ayer St
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri 10am–3pm, 5pm–9pm; Sat & Sun 10am-9pm|
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