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Jing Hua Restaurant (京华小吃) – Singapore-brand Xiao Long Bao speciality restaurant with a 25 years history

Jing Hua Restaurant (京华小吃) – Singapore-brand Xiao Long Bao speciality restaurant with a 25 years history
Singapore-brand Xiao Long Bao from Jing Hua Restaurant

Singapore-brand Xiao Long Bao from Jing Hua Restaurant

Before Crystal Jade and Din Tai Fung conquered the Singapore food scene with their Xiao Long Bao (steamed soup dumplings), there was Jing Hua (京华小吃) Restaurant, operating in Neil Road, Chinatown, from 25 years ago till now.

Jing Hua has since opened another restaurant at Rocher Road and recently added a restaurant and bar at Palais Renaissance in the Orchard shopping belt. Officially opened on 4 November  2014, the latest expansion coincides with the home-grown restaurant’s 25th anniversary.

JIng Hua at Palai Renaissance

JIng Hua at Palai Renaissance

Established in 1989, Jing Hua first opened doors at “Qun Zhong Eating House”. Started by Singaporean couple Mr. and Mrs. Han, the flagship was one of the first occupants of the refurbished shophouses along Neil Road. At the Palai Renaissance outlet, you can spot a prominent mosaic-tiled wall art with the Chinese fonts for “Qun Zhong”, a reminder of Jing Hua’s humble roots:

Qun Zhong wall art

Qun Zhong wall art

The Hans were selling their Singapore Xiao Long Bao, way before if became a trendy Chinese snack in more recent times.

Jing Hua introduced its second venue along Rochor Road in 2013. Located at one of the restored shophouses in Bugis Village, the outlet brings the Jing Hua experience to a younger audience in its new location.

Today, the reins have been passed on to the Hans’ eldest son, Guo Guang. “Jing Hua is the legacy of the Han family and represents years of hard work and passion. I hope to uphold the reputation of the restaurant, and spread the word on our cuisine so that future generations can enjoy and experience the true tastes of Jing Hua,” said Guo Guang.

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In its bid to evolve with the times while honouring its humble heritage and roots, Jing Hua’s new Palais Renaissance outlet continues to offer signature Jing Hua creations but in a modern dining ambience for a fresh dining experience. The menu is slightly pricier than the other two outlets, but the ambience and offerings are more premium. Guests can also enjoy the food with a wide selection of alcohol.

I quite like the decor at the latest Jing Hua restaurant. The 95-seater exhibits a bold and graphic take on a Straits Chinese tea room design with hints of Art Deco elements while retaining its welcoming communal essence. Drawing inspiration from the original Neil Road flagship, which features bold red pillars and an emerald green roof, the new outlet showcases a vibrant juxtaposition of these bright colours against monochrome striped flooring throughout the main dining hall for a contemporary twist:

Restaurant interior

Restaurant interior

“We feel we have respectfully distilled the qualities of Jing Hua, a 25-year-old pioneering family restaurant, well known for its traditional-style Xiao Chi, into an authentic and fun Singaporean dining & bar experience fit for the prestigious Orchard Road location,” shared Michele Low Richards, owner and principal designer of Blow Inc., who was commissione to work on Jing Hua at Palais Renaissance’s interior design with her partner Siti Khadijah Khamis.

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Due attention has been paid to the details – handmade customised crockery by local artist and ceramist Francis Poon elevate the dishes while the background music is a blend of delightful 80’s Chinese tunes with classic international radio hits from the same decade, cool jazz and contemporary retro hits.

The bar in Jing Hua

The bar in Jing Hua

One especially new feature of the restaurant is a full length 7-metre bar with a striking red marble countertop that was inspired by Mr Han’s own traditional Chinese tea table. The bar stocks a broad variety of beverages selected to complement Jing Hua’s signature Chinese snacks, from Pu’er tea to Chinese Shao Hsing wine and Baijiu, German beers to whiskies and cognacs. Highlights include the 1999 Chen Nian Da Ye Ripe Pu’er tea ($18++ a pot), Original Schlenkerla Smoke Beer ($18++ for 500ml bottle), Aberlour 10-year old Scottish whisky in a soda highball ($16++ a glass), and Tomino Hozan sweet potato-based shochu ($18++ a glass, $110++ a bottle) from Kagoshima.

The menu features a variety of homemade dumplings to share. The signature is their Xiao Long Bao of course ($5++ for four pieces):

Little Juicy Steamed Meat Dumplings (小笼汤包) ($5++ for 4 pieces and $8.80++ for 8 pieces)

Little Juicy Steamed Meat Dumplings (小笼汤包) ($5++ for 4 pieces and $8.80++ for 8 pieces)

Other highlights include the “Pan Fried Mixed Seafood & Pork Dumplings” ($6.50++ for six pieces), “Crispy Pork Dumplings” ($5.50++ for four pieces) and “Steamed Vegetarian Dumplings” ($5++ for four pieces).:

 Boiled Mixed Seafood and Pork Dumplings (三鲜饺子) ($5++ for 4 pieces and $9++ for 10 pieces)

Boiled Mixed Seafood and Pork Dumplings (三鲜饺子) ($5++ for 4 pieces and $9++ for 10 pieces)

The ingredient inside

The ingredient inside

Pan Fried Mixed Seafood & Pork Dumplings (三鲜锅贴) ($6.50++ for 6 pieces and $9.50++ for 10 pieces)

Pan Fried Mixed Seafood & Pork Dumplings (三鲜锅贴) ($6.50++ for 6 pieces and $9.50++ for 10 pieces)

Signature main dishes include the “Noodles with Minced Pork and Soya Bean Sauce” ($6.80++), the restaurant’s version of Beijing specialty zha jiang mian with a lighter take on the soybean sauce, and “Chinese Pizza” ($10.80++), pan-fried pockets filled with minced pork and chives, inspired by the traditional Chinese-style pancake:

Noodle with Minced Pork & Soya Bean Sauce (炸酱面) ($6.80++)

Noodle with Minced Pork & Soya Bean Sauce (炸酱面) ($6.80++)

Chinese Pizza (三鲜盒子) ($10.80++)

Chinese Pizza (三鲜盒子) ($10.80++)

Close-up of the ingredient inside the Chinese pizza

Close-up of the ingredient inside the Chinese pizza

For dessert, there is the “Sweet Osmanthus Flower Rice Ball Soup” ($4++), which comes with a refreshing Osmanthus-infused soup with glutinous rice balls filled with peanuts, red bean paste, lotus and walnut paste, and black sesame. Finally, there is the “Crispy Red Bean Pancake” ($10.50++), a pan-fried snack topped with sesame and a sweet red bean filling:

Crispy Red Bean Pancake (豆沙锅饼) ($10.50++)

Crispy Red Bean Pancake (豆沙锅饼) ($10.50++)

Sweet Osmanthus Flower Rice Ball Soup (桂花汤圆) ($4++)

Sweet Osmanthus Flower Rice Ball Soup (桂花汤圆) ($4++)

Green Tea Red Bean Steamed Dumplings( 绿茶豆沙小笼包) ($4.50++ for 4 pieces)

Green Tea Red Bean Steamed Dumplings( 绿茶豆沙小笼包) ($4.50++ for 4 pieces)

The food at Jing Hua is traditional Chinese food adjusted to better suit the Singaporean tastebuds. At the Palai Renaissance outlet,  these little snacks can be paired with a wide variety of beverages in a very nice ambience. If you are interested to visit:

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Address/Tel :

Original Chinatown Shophouse
21 Neil Road, Singapore 088814
Tel: +65 6221 3060

Rochor Road
159 Rochor Road, Singapore 188434
Tel: +65 6337 7601
Orchard

Palais Renaissance #B1-04/05
390 Orchard Road Singapore 238871
Tel: +65 6733 8231

Seating capacity :

Neil Road (100)
Rochor Road (50)
Palais Renaissance (77 in main dining area, 10 in Pavilion dining room, 8 at the bar counter)

Operating Hours :

Neil Road
Lunch from 11.30am to 3.00pm
Dinner from 5.30pm to 9.30pm
(Closed on Wednesdays)

Rochor Road
Lunch from 11.30am to 3.30pm
Dinner from 5.30pm to 10.00pm
All day weekends and public holidays

Palais Renaissance
Lunch from 11.30am to 3.30pm
Dinner from 5.30pm to 10.00pm
All day weekends and public holidays

About The Author

alvinology

Alvin is a marketer by day and blogger by night. He is a 100% geek who spends too much time surfing the web.

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