Monday, June 18, 2018

Chong Wen Ge Cafe at Telok Ayer Street

This cafe is located in Chong Wen Ge building owned by Singapore Hokkien Huey Kuan right next to Thian Hock Keng Temple that was once a Chinese school founded by Tan Kim Seng in 1949. There is also a Peranakan Tiles Gallery next to the cafe and a Music Box Museum upstairs owned by a Japanese. The cafe is named after the school to pay tribute to its past opened in May 2016. The menu focuses on Peranakan dishes like Nonya Laksa, Mee Siam and different types of Nonya Kueh.

The cafe was still quite crowded at 2 pm. I ordered at the counter and decided to have the Nonya Laksa ($11.80) and Iced Coffee ($2.50). I was given a buzzer after paying. I also wanted some of those Nonya kueh on display and I said, "I want to order some of those." The bespectacled auntie at the counter, said, "It is self-service." I stood in front of the display counter, wondering whether should I lift or slide the glass door to access to those kueh? The helpful foreign lady behind the counter was telling me to lift it. She handed me a small plate. Next moment, I was looking for a tong which I could not find. I tried asking the same lady. She pointed to a box on top of the counter. The tong was inside that box. I picked 3 different types of Nonya Kueh and proceeded to the cashier for payment. It was $4.50 in total and $1.50 per piece. There was a glass of Iced Coffee at the counter and I asked the same bespectacled auntie, "That's my Iced Coffee?". She nodded. 

I collected the Iced Coffee and that plate of kueh, holding onto the buzzer and walked out of the cafe towards the seating area outside. The buzzer sounded in about 5 minutes. I picked it up and walked towards the cafe, left the buzzer at the end of the counter and collected my bowl of Laksa.

The Iced Coffee was a better choice on such a crazily hot day but the taste was not quite memorable. The only outstanding one amongst that plate of kueh was Seri Muka Durian, the Kuih Lapis and Kuih Pulut Init were just average. 

The nicely presented Laksa came with 3 pieces of relatively fresh large-sized prawns that were neatly butterflied and de-veined. It was served along with a hard-boiled egg and slices of fishcake together with a handful of bean sprouts and chopped laksa leaves. The subtle spiciness was balanced with thick coconut milk for a richer flavor. The addition of bean sprouts has given the dish a desired texture. I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

This is an interesting cafe but there is room for improvement for the service.

168 Telok Ayar Street SINGAPORE 068619
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 5.30 pm (Daily)

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