On the scale of tze char dishes, we can all agree that crab bee hoon sits right up there. But crab bee hoon that’s both yummy and reasonably priced is hard to find!
Enter Long Ji Zi Char. Helmed by Chef Mac Kong who hails from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Long Ji Zi Char has its roots in a stall at Bukit Merah View Hawker Centre in 2013, before moving to a Tiong Bahru coffeeshop in 2014. Finally, it settled into its current home at Outram which, to our relief, is fully air-conditioned. Say no to sweating while cracking crab shells!
The ambience at Long Ji is by no means fancy, but it is clean and minimalist, much like the old-school Chinese restaurant of the 80s where you would celebrate your grandparents’ birthday. The service is fast and efficient, and all requests are fulfilled quickly. Staff are quick at cleaning tables and resetting it for the next group of guests. Wait time for food is relatively short as well, even during peak hours!
The main highlight at Long Ji is unquestionably the Crab Bee Hoon (S$140 per kg). Chef Mac is very hands on and is often busy in the kitchen, whipping up plate after plate of their signature dish. Made with Sri Lankan crabs, the robust gravy, well cooked bee hoon and smoky wok hei adds to its appeal.
If you prefer your Crab Bee Hoon on the wetter side, then this will surely be right up your alley. The bee hoon are fragrant as they are adequately soaked in the gravy. Chef Mac fries them to the point where it’s almost burnt and just before it turns black – a process which requires perfect timing! The accompanying gravy is sweet, robust and fragrant, made by simmering the crab with cabbage and oyster sauce, along with a healthy smattering of lard bits and fried shallots. No MSG or chicken powder are used in the stock, or in any of the restaurant’s dishes! And the best part is that the gravy can be topped up, so don’t be afraid to ask for more.
You can also call ahead to reserve larger crabs, as the heftier Sri Lankan crabs have firmer and more succulent flesh. Otherwise, the crabs offered hover around a modest 1–1.2kg.
As a tze char restaurant, Long Ji also specialises in a variety of other dishes. One of them is the Fermented Pork Belly (from S$17). Strips of pork belly are coated in a marinade of red fermented beancurd, five-spice powder and rice wine before it is deep fried. Savoury, tender and moist, it pairs really well with rice or even the Crab Bee Hoon, adding an extra layer of flavour to the dish!
Chef Mac likes to add his own innovative twists on his dishes, such as the Salted Egg Pumpkin (from S$15). Chunks of pumpkin are braised till soft and tender with some sugar. It is then deep fried and coated in a savoury, rich and addictive salted egg sauce. Folks who don’t like veggies should absolutely try this. It’s worth all the extra calories!
Speaking about veggies, the Green Dragon Vegetable (from $14) features coveted chives from Cameron Highlands and are stir-fried with bean sprouts. Garlicky and crunchy with a good wok hei, the dish is a yummy way to get some greens into your indulgent meal.
And who could forget a staple and almost every tze char joint – Shrimp Paste Chicken! Even though compared to the other dishes here the Shrimp Paste Chicken almost pales in comparison, it still makes for an incredibly satisfying plate of chicken wings. They are juicy, tender and moist with the meat coming off the bone easily.
All in all, you can expect above average tze char dishes at Long Ji that are dependably good and generously portioned. You will surely not be disappointed here!
Address: 253 Outram Rd, Singapore 169049
Opening Hours: 5–10:30 pm