[Singapore] "Char siew" (Cantonese-style caramelised BBQ pork) at Fook Kin, Killiney Road

I still remember, back in the “bad old days” of 1980s Singapore, good Cantonese food could never be had here. Generations of Singaporeans would jet off to Hong Kong each year for our “Chinese fine dining” fix. Then, we’d lug back bags of HK food produce: roast duck, roast geese, char siew, even some varieties of fresh leafy vegetables which we couldn’t find in Singapore back in those days.

I remembered a HK-born socialite aunt in Singapore who had to endure years of gibes from her HK guests/visitors to Singapore about how “terrible Singapore food tasted like”.

That was, until 1991, when HK-born Alfred Leung opened the game-changing Crystal Jade restaurant at the now-defunct Cairnhill Hotel. For the first time ever, we had HK-standard Cantonese cuisine in Singapore, surpassing any that we’d had before at the time. Crystal Jade quickly overtook other top Chinese restaurants then (Li Bai, Fook Yuen, Tung Lok, Pine Court, etc.) to become the Chinese fine dining of choice for any special or celebratory events.

Its flagship Crystal Jade Palace at Ngee Ann City became Singapore’s epicentre for good Cantonese cuisine: dim sum at lunch-time, and some of the best “char siew” (caramelised BBQ pork) and “siew yoke” (crackling-skinned roast pork) at dinner-time, together with authentic Cantonese dishes.

Today, Crystal Jade Palace is still at its Ngee Ann City location, much upgraded and looking sleek and spiffy. But it’s no longer the best in town. Alfred Leung and his brothers, Vincent and Jimmy, had long left the group (after a bust-up with their brother-in-law, fellow HKer Ip Yiu Tung, who took over the Crystal Jade group of restaurants) and set up their own group of Chinese (mainly Cantonese) fine restaurants: the Imperial Treasure group in 2004. Today, my favourite Chinese restaurants in Singapore are Imperial Treasure Teochew at ION Orchard which serves Teochew/Chiuchow/Chaozhou cuisine, and Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck at Paragon.

But, overall, Cantonese food in Singapore has improved by leaps-and-bounds ever since Alfred Leung started his food revolution. Today, one can find good “char siew” and “siew yoke” all over Singapore - one just needs to know where to find them.

Last week, a foodie friend introduced me to roast pork specialists, Fook Kin, on Killiney Road. So glad their food marches up to all the hype they’d garnered by cheekily coming up with a name which became a favourite meme in Singapore’s social media circles.

The rustic-looking casual eatery is located on Killiney Road, within spitting distance of busy Orchard Road. A few doors down is the birthplace, and main outlet of the famous, homegrown Killiney Road Kopitiam Hainanese coffeeshop chain.

Our dinner order:
:small_orange_diamond:Fook Kin 6-Flavour Prawns - a colourful platter of very fresh batter-fried prawns, coated with mayonnaise tinged with various flavours: wasabi, salted duck’s egg yolk, Sichuanese, etc. Very tasty and definitely worth ordering as a starter if one comes here.

:small_orange_diamond:Char siew (Cantonese-style caramelised BBQ pork) - definitely one of the best I’d ever tasted in Singapore. It was more KL-style, with its unctuous, sticky caramel covering on the surface of the BBQ pork, than the lighter, drier HK rendition.
I couldn’t stop eating this.

:small_orange_diamond:Siew yoke (crackling-skinned roast pork) - this was good, but not as outstanding as its “char siew”.

:small_orange_diamond:Siew ngarp (Cantonese-style roast duck) - very good effort, with paper-thin crispy skin, and juicy meat underneath. The version here was brushed with truffle oil - a nice touch.

:small_orange_diamond:Mee pok (fettucine-like Chinese wheat noodles)

:small_orange_diamond:Mee kia (fine Chinese wheat noodles)

Definitely the best “char siew” I’d had in town.

Fook Kin
111 Killiney Rd, Singapore 239553
Tel: +65 6737 3488
Opening hours: 10am to 9.15pm daily


Not dissimilar to one of my local Vietnamese places, owned by Mr Kew. That’s Pho Kew.

I’ve never seen char siu with such a glossy sticky finish. It’s always a much drier finish but your mention of that being the HK prep makes perfect sense bearing in mind the UK’s colonial links. By the by, in the last couple of years, we’ve seen significant immigration from HK with something like 150K holders of “British National Overseas” passports fleeing the repression there. I anticipate that they will make a positive contribution to the community, as immigrant groups tend to.


:joy: :joy: :joy:

I hope so, too. It’s heartbreaking what’s happening in HK. I used to regard it as my “second home” after Singapore. Not anymore.

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