Choon Hoy Parlor Review: A Celebration of Singapore Soul Food

Most of us might know Chef Dylan Ong as the young chef who opened casual French restaurant Saveur back in 2010, providing French-inspired dishes at affordable prices. More recently, instead of whipping up French cuisine, Chef Dylan has launched a new concept: Choon Hoy Parlor, a retro-chic restaurant that pays homage to Singaporean heritage and family recipes.

chef dylan
Chef Dylan Ong

Chef Dylan’s first encounter with the food business was actually his family’s kway chap hawker stall, where he started helping out since he was seven. After his father fell ill, his mother took over the stall single-handedly, while he became his father’s primary caregiver.

The weight of these responsibilities became overwhelming for Mrs Ong Choon Hoy, and she made the difficult decision to give up the stall. Instead, she took on three different jobs – assisting at a breakfast hawker stall in the mornings, working at another stall in the afternoons, and cleaning the hawker centre in the evenings.

Chef Dylan’s mother played a significant role in shaping him into the person he is today, as he learnt the importance of kindness, hardwork, and commitment from her.

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As such, the new restaurant is also a loving tribute to his mother – Choon Hoy Parlor is named after her.

A Retro-Chic Interior

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Choon Hoy Parlor’s interior design reflects the warmth and comfort of the concept. With vibrant colours, neon signs, and blooming flowers, the restaurant offers a welcoming atmosphere that complements the soul food experience.

How’s The Food?

Choon Hoy Parlor pays homage to Singaporean heritage and family recipes. Chef Dylan Ong, along with Chefs Renee Tang and Benji Chew, have come together to create a menu that bridges generations, offering familiar flavours to older folks and exciting new experiences for younger diners.

choon hoy parlor rojak
CHP Signature Our Rojak, Our Own Way (S$8.90)

Start off with a cold appetiser, the CHP Signature Our Rojak, Our Own Way (S$8.90), Chef Benji’s take on the classic rojak salad. Here, the rojak sauce is transformed into ice cream, served with seasonal fruits and vegetables, century egg, you tiao (fried dough fritters), crushed peanuts, and a touch of nostalgia.

This enjoyable dish is distinctively rojak yet offers a refreshed take on it that had me pleasantly surprised.

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Mini Fried Pomfret (S$8.90 for 5 pieces, S$15.90 for 10 pieces)

For a hot appetiser that’s great for sharing, consider the Mini Fried Pomfret (S$8.90 for 5 pieces, S$15.90 for 10 pieces). These crispy fish are addictive to snack on, so I’ll highly recommend that you over-estimate what you think you could eat.

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CHP Signature White Pepper Pig Stomach Collagen Soup (S$25.90 for 2-3 pax)

If you enjoy soup, go for the CHP Signature White Pepper Pig Stomach Collagen Soup (S$25.90 for 2-3 pax). Inspired by Chef Renee’s grandmother’s winter melon soup and her family’s love for pork innards, this comforting soup combines chicken stock, chicken feet, white pepper, pig’s stomach, winter melon, and goji berries for a complex and satisfying flavour.

Looking for a unique dish that’s memorable? I recommend the CHP Signature Salad: Ulam (S$15.90). This exquisite plate comes with a colourful assortment of vegetables: paku fern, white corn, rose apple, lady’s finger, Japanese cucumber, jicama, served with sambal belacan and ginger flower emulsion as dips.

I enjoyed the Ayam Goreng Berempah (S$15.90 for 6 pieces), which is marinated in a rich blend of spices for a complex flavour. The outer layer offers a satisfying crispiness, while the inner meat is succulent, offering a warm and aromatic taste that lingers on the palate.

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CHP Signature Hainanese Kampong Chicken (S$15.90 for half, S$28.90 for full)

There are also many other delectable options from the Meat menu. The Roasted Pork Belly (S$18.90) served with plum lemon sauce is worth a mention and the CHP Signature Hainanese Kampong Chicken (S$15.90 for half, S$28.90 for full) is a delicious dish that offers great value for money.

My personal favourite is the CHP Signature 16 Hrs Bone in Coffee Angus Short Rib (S$69 for 700-800g), an elevated version of the Coffee Marinated Ribs that we often see at Singaporean Tz Char stalls in kopitiams. This flavourful dish is paired with garlic chips, pickled cucumber and lettuce on the side to add a refreshing touch to balance it out.

But the most unique dish of all is probably the CHP Signature Braised Duck Served in Tau Kwa Pau Style (S$69). This dish is a family favourite of Dylan’s mother and a familiar sight at kopitiams. It features braised duck served with tau kwa paus, fried bean curd pockets stuffed with a mixture of fried fish cake, cucumber, braised egg, and fried yam, all drizzled with a Teochew braised sauce.

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Yuzu Citron Chng Tng (S$10.90)

For desserts, consider the Yuzu Citron Chng Tng (S$10.90) for something refreshing or indulge in the CHP Signature Durian Chendol (S$13.90). The latter is a cooling treat made with red dates, goji, longan, white fungus, and sea coconut, while the latter is a decadent dessert featuring gula melaka sponge cake, durain, corn espuma, chendol toppings, and a scoop of coconut ice cream.

Our Verdict

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Choon Hoy Parlor is a must-visit for anyone seeking a taste of Singapore’s rich culinary heritage.

The menu offers a delightful exploration of heirloom recipes, classic dishes with a twist, and recreated favorites, all presented with a focus on fresh, high-quality ingredients. With its welcoming ambience and dedication to family traditions, Choon Hoy Parlor promises a heartwarming and delicious dining experience.

True to the Chef Dylan’s ethos towards food, prices are very reasonable too.

In fact, I’ll highly recommend that you try out its Set Lunch menus, priced at S$18.90 per pax and S$24.90 per pax.

For the former, you get a choice of rice or noodles, a choice of hot or cold appetiser, a choice of meat or seafood, the Wok Fried Hispi Cabbage, and a choie of beverage. It’s a very hearty meal made up of delicious dishes that you’ll certainly leave feeling satisfied.

Choon Hoy Parlor is located at 85 Beach Road, #01-02, Singapore 189694. It’s open from 12pm to 3pm for lunch and 5.30pm to 9pm for dinner daily. Call 6266 0061 for reservations and enquiries. You can also make an online reservation.