It’s not every day that I get to venture as far west as Boon Lay (practically never, in fact), and so roaming around Jurong Point Shopping Centre made me feel a little bit like a vegetarian in an abattoir (or maybe just a vegetarian in Singapore, for that matter). However you may want to look at it, I felt misplaced – a little suffocated, if you will. People crowded and barged, voices echoed, and vulturous salespersons watched, ready to pounce. Not the sort of place that appeals to the ideal of a leisurely weekend particularly well, believe me.
Food-wise, there are three thematic enclaves (set apart from the usual identikit shopping centre stuff): Japan Street, Korea Street, and Hong Kong Street. The first was full of boutique stalls manned by excitable Singaporean sales assistants shouting “This one from Ja-PAN you knooow?”, the second comprised just two (maybe three) (m)eateries, the third mostly clothes stalls alongside a Chinese supermarket and – the whole point of this post – Legendary Hong Kong. Legendary Hong Kong, I couldn’t agree more!
After the general distastefulness of everything else in Jurong Point Shopping Centre, LHK was an oasis of frenetic and (relatively) authentic Hongkiness. From the clattering of plates and cutlery to the tiled floors and walls and monochromatic surfaces, the thick-rimmed glasses of the managers to the tick-box ordering chits, the cans of evaporated milk lined-up on countertops to the general sense of purpose – this place felt like the real deal. If an authentic Hong Kong cafe experience is what you’re after, I can’t think of a more suitable place to find it than at Legendary Hong Kong. Legendary, indeed!
On a slightly more sober note, this is not the most suitable place for one to exercise ones’ vegetarian muscle. A place of options this is not, so don’t go with the expectation that you can burp and belch your way through the menu. Instead, go for tea, and the love of Hong Kong-style baked stuff. For me this means only one thing: BO LO YAU.
The bo lo yau (or, as LHK calls it, “custard crust bun with butter” – whatever – SGD 2.50) was served piping hot with a wedge of butter on the side. You, me, the consumer gets the pleasure of inserting said wedge into the pre-cut slit in the bun. Fun. All in all, this thing was great. The crust was salty, crunchy, and had a subtle egg wash, whilst the inside was steaming hot. The grittiness of the crust, the softness of the bun, and the silkiness of the melted butter blended together to form one of the best BLY’s I’ve had in Singapore. Stopping at one precipitated a battle of mind over mouth, the scale of which can be described as nothing less than biblical.
The mini baked egg tarts (SGD 4.00) were recommended to us instead of the “crispy egg tart” (SGD 1.80) – probably because they command a bigger margin. Pah. These things were authentically Hong Kong-style inasmuch as shortcrust pastry was used instead of the puff pastry more commonly found in SG. They had a nice egg-cum-saltiness to them, but, apart from that, were nothing to get too worked up about.
Words cannot describe the sense of discovery I felt upon finding LHK. It’s the real deal, and worth trudging all the way out west just to sample the bo lo yau. I may be venturing into the realm of hyperbole here, but these things put the mmm into mmm’goi. It may take a while to seek them out, but it’s still a lot faster and cheaper than flying for four hours on a north-easterly trajectory, that’s for sure.