Gen Shu is one of those places which are sometimes easy to miss. A small store in a small hawker center in Toa Payoh. Not very heavy food traffic. But come lunch time, long queues form at the store. All because Gen Shu, who used to be the chef at Mouth Restaurant, in the wisdom of his retiring years, decided to share his cuisine with the masses...hence this store.
The food is rather typical hawker fare...perhaps more than a bit leaning towards Cantonese, and Hong Kong...as he is true to his roots.
The dishes are one dish meals...but we didn't let that bother us. The 6 of us who descended on Toa Payoh, we had 9 dishes...two chicken rice, two abalone chicken, one pork belly, two chee cheong fun, one fried bee hoon and one pepper beef. Shared.
First off, my favourite of the day...the steamed pork rice
No regular pork rice this. Its chicken, topped with a few leaves of chye sim (remember I told you it was one dish meals...so a balanced diet must be catered for)...the yolk of a salted egg, and a layer of pork sitting on piping hot rice. The fragrance is incredible. The pork was minced...and I suspect with some fragrant salted fish, por chye, and other herbs. Excellent dish. Really shiok.
We also had the abalone chicken
More gingery and salty than the chicken rice, but with generous slices of canned abalone sitting on top opf slivers of chicken. This was good as well...though for me, a tad less salty would have been perfect.
The beef pepper rice.
Tender slices of beef, almost swimming in black pepper sauce sitting on top of steamed rice. Again very nice, and kind of homey feel.
The pork belly was a bit terrifying for those on a diet
The pork belly was braised in black sauce...possibly black bean with dark soy till tender, and smacked on top of a bowl of steamed rice. And served with a sprig or two of chye sim. Comfort food. The braising liquid was thick...a bit powerful tasting...more or less masking the taste of the pork belly, which...also due to the long time it had been braised has taken on the character of the sauce. Nice, but for me, not to upseat the pork rice.
Their chee cheong fun was also very nice.
No fuss...this was not made in-situ, this was not stuffed full of prawns or exotic ingredients. Just simple, plain, chee cheong fun, with a dollop of sweet bean sauce, chilli and a generous sprinkling of sesame seeds. Very good. In fact, nostalgic and very very good.
The fried bee hoon was also excellent...
The dish doesn't look much. The bee hoon was a bit pale. The ingredients were decidedly low end...bean sprouts, a little shrimp here and there, a load of deep fried scallions, a sprinkling of spring onion...and a dollop of chilli paste. But the taste was rather good. The bee hoon had been infused with a savoury stock...fortifying it and making it delicious. The sambal is very good, providing superb tones to support the savoury taste and texture of the springy bee hoon. Quite masterful.
While Gen Shu is not about to win any prizes for plating, he more than makes up for the lack of artistic wizardry in his plating with pure, genuine, home cooking. All of his dishes taste good...and for me the steamed pork was spectacular. Go early to prevent having to queue for a long time during lunch hours.
Address: 74 Lorong 4 Toa Payoh #01-03 Singapore
5.30am – 1.30pm
(Closed on Mon)