Not so long ago, we bid adieu to one of the best arp geok pao (Duck
Leg Wrap) and roast meats in Singapore, but now, they are back. The Hong Kong
Jin Tian (
, a popular eatery
serving authentic Hong Kong style roast meat along Eng Hoon Street in Tiong
Bahru that closed on 27 April 2014 is back, at Zion Road. The eatery opened its
door again on 15 July 2014. These folks took over the vacated Nasi Padang River
Valley shop lot.
Owner Mr Yip Kwok Ching, 59 and his wife, Mrs Yip moved from Hong
Kong to Singapore about 28 years ago, are currently running the shop with their
They had to leave their original spot in Tiong Bahru due to rental
increases, so my obvious question to the owners was why, when the rentals here
is just as, if not higher than before (the main reason the nasi padang folks
left). Qi Xian mentioned that their current rental is $1,000 more than their
old shop in Tiong Bahru but he said, ‘We are not allowed to use the kitchen
there so we were forced to leave and to take up this shop.’
When asked why did they choose this current location? Mrs Yip
answered in her heavily Cantonese accent Chinese, “This place is closer to
Tiong Bahru, it would be easier for our old customers to patronize us again.” About
a week into their opening, business is still a little slow particularly in the
morning as there are no breakfast crowds here as compared to before.
Mrs Yip also talked about the raising costs in running their
business. She mentioned that the cost of their specially blended five spices
powder; which is a part of the seasoning for their roasted duck is twice as
much as compared to those readily available ones. She talked about the
difference in costs when selecting better grade raw ingredients from a trusted
source. She also talked about the difficulties in hiring locals as no one has
responded to their recruitment advertisements.
We talked about her decision to revive their roast meat business.
She said, “This has never been my decision, as I bear in mind the high
operating costs, but my sons wanted to continue the business as they have
already mastered the required skills to carry on the trade.” She said that the
shop is registered under her sons and that she and husband are merely helping
Their specialty, the fondly missed ‘Duck Leg Wrap’ or pao (directly
) is $2.80 per piece now. She said it is not commonly
available in Singapore and Hong Kong now though it used to be a popular dish in
the 1970s and 1980s. This delicacy consists of a duck’s foot with a piece of
yam in the centre surrounded by a slice of pig liver, fatty pork meat and char
siew bundled together using pig intestine then barbequed in their special sweet
We ordered a hindquarter of roasted duck,
Duck Leg Wrap, Char Siew, Sio Bak, a plate of rice and a plate of noodle for a
total of $22.00. You can choose either rice or noodle to go with the affordably
priced roasted meats.
roasted duck was impressively done to give the skin a noticeable crispiness and
the desired tenderness right within. The Char Siew and Sio Bak might have left
an equally good impression only if it has been chopped uniformly into chunky
pieces. As for the
duck leg wrap
, I could not fully appreciate
this unique taste.
I can sense her pride when Mrs
Yip said, “We serve our foods with our hearts and that’s what made it tastes so
HONG KONG JIN TIAN
55 Zion Road Singapore 247780
7 am to 8 pm (Daily)
Also read: Bye Bye, Arp Geok Pao?