Dragon Palace

In the second episode of our Post Covid Comeback Challenge, our team heads down to the famed street of Joo Chiat in search of good stuff to share. Our first instalment will be on the Top 5 Quintessential Zichar Places in Joo Chiat, Zichar places that are unassumingly good, and better than expected. Our first recommendation is the Dragon Palace Restaurant.

Dragon Palace Restaurant – Nothing fancy, just Wok Hey

 

Newly moved to its new place in Joo Chiat just 2 months ago, Dragon Palace has scaled down to just a single unit from its earlier 2-unit location, also along Joo Chiat. We got the opportunity of sitting down with the owner cum chef, a really down-to-earth man who preferred us to just call him Ah Siong. Ah Siong speaks fondly of how he came from Malaysia to train as the previous restaurant’s chef’s protege, and how he felt the right to do when the previous chef retired was to carry on the 20-plus years legacy of the restaurant’s brand name.

Honestly, we don’t do anything fancy here, just the traditional signature dishes. But one thing I’m very particular about, is the Wok Hey

Ah Siong


“Honestly, we don’t do anything fancy here, just the traditional signature dishes. But one thing I’m very particular about, is the Wok Hey,” Ah Siong says matter-of-factly when we asked him about what his restaurant stands for.

“I’m just really thankful for my family, and my customers who keep coming back,” he sums up.

Interestingly, contrary to what the name of his restaurant denotes, dining in Dragon Palace is actually quite a modest affair, almost like eating at Ah Siong’s home itself. While Ah Siong cooks up a storm in the kitchen, his wife runs the store front while his toddler son in his baby chair seems to be passed on from table to table entertaining diners who have become friends of the restaurant.

Dragon Palace Special Dish

 

We got treated to the “Dragon Palace Special Dish” ($70), which was a spiced broth brimming with tiger prawns, lala, seafood, and topped off with an entire crab. Don’t be intimidated by the price tag though, the portion was good for an entire family of 4 or 5, and the seafood within was juicy, sweet and fresh. Fringing on decadence, this dish is the perfect dish for special occasions, or just wilful indulgence.

Signature Pork Ribs King

Another of Ah Siong’s signature dish we got to try was the “Signature Pork Ribs King” ($13). A quintessential zichar dish, I believe we all agree that good pork ribs should comprise a well-flavoured sauce topping, juicy and tender meat, and the unmistakable taste of Wok Hey. Ah Siong’s pork ribs we must say really went above and beyond in ways hard to describe. His pork ribs were deliciously crispy to the bite but juicy and tender as we sank our teeth into the meat. It was as if a whole evolution of flavours burst forth in our mouths as we chewed and ate the pieces of pork. Nuff’ said. Please try.

 

Claypot Lao Shu Fen

As we commended Ah Siong on the Wok Hey in the pork ribs, he insisted we try another of his more Wok Hey-centered dishes, the “Claypot Lao Shu Fen” ($8). The minced pork he used in the dish was really tasty and well-seasoned, but the taste of Wok Hey in this dish was really some next-level-stuff. We’ve all probably tasted good fried rice with Wok Hey, but Wok Hey Lao Shu Fen?! Friends, nuff’ said again!

If you aren’t a regular at the Dragon Palace Restaurant, you might be intimidated by this broadly-built dark brown dog leashed at the front of his restaurant. Blackie, as he is known fondly by the entire street as Ah Siong claims, was an abandoned stray when Ah Siong adopted him at an estimated 4 months old. Its been around 8 years since, and Blackie is one of the most loyal doggos you’ll ever find. He comes to work with Ah Siong, and just chills outside the restaurant during working hours, and then follows Ah Siong home. He is surprisingly docile towards strangers! In the older days when “NEA regulations” were more relaxed according to Ah Siong, Blackie would wander the long street of Joo Chiat and be widely welcomed by most stall owners as a passing guest.

Well, if you do drop by the Dragon Palace Restaurant, Ah Siong would be more than happy to share with you his heartwarming story with Blackie.

Dragon Palace
157 Joo Chiat Rd,
Singapore 427435

Producer: Raymond Goh | Crispcontrasts Studios
Art Director: Felicia Pang
Photographer: Fadly Azhari | Crispcontrasts Studios