Like many others, I’ve heard so much about Hill Street Tai Hwa’s Minced Pork Noodles at Crawford Lane, the tiny coffee shop located just behind ICA building. This coffee shop, Tai Hwa Eating House, houses about 5 to 6 stalls; however, you’d see majority of the people at the coffee shop having food from either the Western stall or minced pork noodles. I was, of course, really surprised when I first heard that there were amazing dumplings under this very roof. Because huh minced pork noodle and western stall don’t have dumplings one leh.
This was when the name Shen Yang Feng Wei was being introduced to me by two of my most trusted people. But trust people and trust their tastebuds are 2 different things right? HAHA! So we specially made a trip down the very next day to check it out, as we were suckers for hidden gems like this!
Well.. As compared to the brightly lit and colorful signboards of their counterparts in the same coffee shop, I could see why Shen Yang Feng Wei looks less than appealing for diners in the area. With the faded food menu and Chinese words everywhere, no, this does not appeal to the Gen Y diners – who are the majority running the social media world right now, and whatever that’s instagrammed most often, gets the most customers. RIGHT?
So, we took a leap of faith, JUST FOR ALL OF YOU GUYS. Touched or not? Nothing ventured, nothing gained eh? Moreover, we’ve had Chinese food and dumplings from hawker centers before – while they were good enough to satisfy your cravings, they weren’t always memorable nor impressive. Hence we were really curious about how Shen Yang fared.
They serve a variety of noodles, as well as dumplings done in a couple of ways – blanched, steamed and pan-fried, and of course, xiao long bao as you can see from the menu above!Besides the mains, they also have “Chinese pancakes” – like that of the red bean pancake and my coach’s favorite – “OMG NAN GUA BING!” (Fried pumpkin mochi like stuff).
While not a lot of people dine at the coffee shop, their frozen dumplings are apparently really popular for take-away!
10?! We initially thought it was too much, but after the first mouthful, we couldn’t stop, and concluded that we needed more of these amazing dumplings. So, what makes their dumplings SO different from the others?
Well.. For one, the skin of their dumplings is paper thin, and the fillings are really generous and juicy! While the fillings were not as flavorful as the ones from din tai fung, you could tell that the ingredients used were as natural as they can get, especially since you don’t get that kind of thirsty after the meal. And it’s only 50 CENTS a pop.
2. Xiao Long Bao (5 for $5.50)
We added the order of a xiao long bao after the entire meal because we supposed it would be good since their dumplings were so satisfying and we couldn’t get enough of it.
Look at just how plump these were. It seriously needed quite a lot skill for us to fit it into the spoon without accidentally tearing the skin.
JUST ADMIRE THIS FATTY. It’d probably explode if we accidentally dropped it. These XLBs were the most satisfying ones I’ve had so far because what is XLB without SOUP. I had the same comment about the slight lack of flavor in its fillings, like the dumplings, but the soup made up for EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING. I tell you.
3. Zha Jiang Mian
Since they do have their own shou gong mian (hand made noodles), we thought we HAD to give their noodles a try. I wasn’t quite a fan of zha jiang mian, but this bowl might have just made me a convert.
The savory sauce just went together SO WELL with the noodles. I loved the texture of the noodles from Shen Yang, as it was really SPRINGY and smooth. I’ve never really got what people meant by noodles being springy, because I’ve never had SPRINGY noodles before. But this one was the definition of such noodles, and together with that black bean sauce thingy, WHY ARE YOU GUYS QUEUEING FOR MINCED PORK NOODLES IN THIS COFFEESHOP?!
4. Red Bean Pancake
I’m not even a fan of red bean but I loved this rendition done up by Shen Yang. The red bean taste was not exactly overpowering, and the crispness and the sesame taste really got me hooked.
As you can see, each piece is quite thin, this ensured of its crispness and flavors, without the need to bite through layers and layers of flour (CARBS EEK). The boy had a huge shock when he saw me going for this plate piece after piece when I usually would just shun away from fried foods and say EEE VERY UNHEALTHY LEH.
5. Nan Gua Bing (Pumpkin… something)
I was highly recommended to order this dish, and my coach even said that she could eat TWENTY of this at one go. OMO.
Taking the first bite, I expected to bite through a crisp crust and a mushy, yet sweet, pumpkin interior. NO I WAS WRONG. This nan gua bing had a mochi-like texture, as you can see when we tried to pull it apart. To me, that needed a little getting used to because it was not exactly what I expected! The pumpkin taste, while present, it was weird for me to eat pumpkin flavored mochi.
It was good but NO IT IS NOT MY KIND OF FOOD cause I’m not a fan of its texture.
We could even make Pac Man out of its chewy interior! A refreshing change from the usual, but not everyone’s kind of food! If you like mochi, I reckon you’d LOVE this.
It seems like Tai Hwa Eating House is a pretty star-studded coffee shop serving delicious and affordable food in the Lavender neighborhood. Shen Yang was a pleasant find for us, because honestly, I wouldn’t have ordered from them if I weren’t told about their food because of its lack luster appearance. However, like I always say in my posts, don’t judge a book by its cover. Really. Shen Yang has impressed us with its authentic Chinese cuisine, and who knew you could actually get such quality and generously stuffed dumplings and xiao long baos at a coffee shop? I, for one, had experiences ordering XLB in hawker centers, and none of their standards came close to this. Good food doesn’t always have to be expensive or hyped up by social media – Shen Yang Feng Wei is one good example of a humble place that prepares food with the heart and will warm your bellies with their offerings.
How to get there?
Tai Hwa Eating House
466 Crawford Lane
Daily; 9am to 9pm