Monday, 18 January 2016

Love Popiah at Jalan Besar

Source: National Archives of Singpaore
Jalan Besar (often called 'Big Road' or "Tua Lor" in Hokkien) has a rich history way back in 1830s, of which the two brothers - Richard Owen Norris and George Norris, the sons of an East India Company army officer, who purchased 3 hectares of land north of the Rochor River in the 1830s and planted betel nut, nipah palms and fruit trees such as mangosteen and built a road through their land, which was on swampy ground. The road - Norris Road which ran past their estate was named after the family in 1890s.
Used to be a swampy area or the road, the original road, a mere dirt track. From the late 19tj to the early 20th century, the surrounding swampland which was slowly reclaimed until new streets were laid out and the adjoining plots sold to the landowners who built shophouses, worshops and factories that processed timber, oil and rubber.

The Chinese people who lived or worked in the area during the late 19th century had their own names for Jalan Besar, calling it Kam-kong Ka-poh thai-tu-long in Hokkien and Kam-pong ka-pok thong-chu-fong in Cantonese. Both phrases meant the same thing: "The slaughter-pig depot in Kampong Kapor, a village by the lower reaches of Jalan Besar, was where the lime (chalk) or kapor that accompanied betel nut consumption was made.
New World Centre
This is the location where my hubby and I met my nostalgia brother, James Seah who invited us and Hui Hwang over the lunch treat on the 17th Jan 2016 Sunday afternoon which he mentioned the famous "Popiah" in town - Good Chance Popiah Restaurant locates at New World Centre. Ever since I heard about this road, I would recall the two former swamps along Jalan Besar - one by the north bank of the Rochor River and the other at the basin of the Kallang River.
Good Chance Popiah Restaurant 
Good Chance Popiah Restaurant recently opened its new premises in 2015 and they had another branch at Blk 149 Silat Ave.
As we reached on our destination, we saw my nostalgia brother, James Seah walking across the road on the side of the building and he immediately saw us there. This restaurant of what I heard the place was formerly Mcdonalds outlet which Good Chance Popiah restaurant occupied the space.

 3rd Generation Ah Boy with Bro James Seah
Ah Boy, Me and Bro James Seah
3rd generation owner restaurant “Ah Boy" who expand its business after being around for 30 years. I am quite ‘surprised’ as it is my first time here despite hearing so much about this heritage restaurant. Well, I love to eat Popiah since I was a kid.
This "famous" restaurant is often seen with MediaCorp artistes dining, including Xiang Yun, Jin Yinji, Richard Low, Henry Thia, Harley Woo and so on. This is no big deal as they come in as ordinary people just like us.
Huge Banner: Ah Boy and his 97-year old grandpa
I saw a huge banner on the wall of the restaurant with Ah Boy and his 97-year old grandfather who is strong and well. Ah Boy's grandfather is around the same age as my hubby's late father (b1920-2006) in their times.
 Bro James Seah writing on signature 'launched' book
While we are chatting away, James Seah busily writing on his signature book by Lynette Wan - " Kindred Memories" who was launched on January this year 2016 as a contribution of pioneer generation Singaporean for SG50. You may read here on James Seah's blog of his 'Bukit Ho Swee Fire in 1961' recount story.
Launched New Book - Kindred Memories
Brother James Seah personally gave us a book with his signature on it and our heartfelt thanks him in return.
Now, our DIY Wrapping Popiah has come...we looked down on these foods as if we are in the heaven and feeling blessed to have such a good meal during lunch time and which was given lunch treats by generous James Seah.
 DIY Wrapping Popiah skin
Good chance popiah has a lots thing to offer and it is opened by a 3rd generation Singaporean chef who is super passionate about food, they also have a few items which are unique to their restaurant which is hard to find elsewhere. There are also very few restaurants in Singapore where you can gather the whole family to have a “roll your own popiah”.
 Good Chance Staff Demonstration
Good Chance Popiah staff demonstration on how to fill different types of vegetables on popiah skin.
They use seven different types of vegetables in their filling which has a robust flavour from plenty of dried prawns, bak kwa, bean sprout and sliced omelette.
DIY: Before roll up popiah
 DIY: Final roll up popiah
From the basic set, you can then add on stuff like XO sausages, crab meat and prawns but just be forewarned that these will all add on significantly to the final price of one piece.
Hae Zhor
Special Tofu

Fried Mee Sua
The fried mee sua is the house speciality. It tastes delicious and less salty, Ah Boy only uses fresh seafood that he buys from the market. I love mee sua and this is a good dish to order for birthdays and other occasions.
It's time for us to leave as we have been here for almost two hours. But before we leave, we saw Ah Boy and his staff stood near the entrance and greeted us 'Goodbye'. It is indeed a good 'super' friendly service.
I hereby thanks Brother James Seah for his wonderful meal treat and presented his signature "Kindred Memories" book to us. We are indeed enjoyed our meals with him and his good friend, Sim Hui Hwang.

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