Zi Char - Hong Sheng Restaurant

Zi Char - Hong Sheng Restaurant
203 Toa Payoh North #01-1121

Cheap And Good Draws Crowds

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 8
Ambience & Setting: 5
Food & Beverage: 9
Service: 6
Value for Money: 9
Spent about SGD $12 per person.


For over 45 years, Hong Sheng Restaurant has been drawing crowds with its excellent, tasty Zi Char dishes, cheap prices, and hearty portions. Only open from 5pm - 10pm in the evenings daily, Hong Sheng Restaurant still manages to draw crowds to this sleepy part of Toa Payoh, just opposite the Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) headquarters.

Located in a coffeeshop, don't expect much ambience at Hong Sheng Restaurant. The Zi Char shop takes over the whole coffeeshop at night, even the drinks still isn't operational, so Hong Sheng Restaurant serves its own drinks (Tea). Still, the atmosphere is pretty good, the area is clean, and the surrounding greenery and open air cool the place.

Service at Hong Sheng Restaurant is brusque, bordering on rude, but efficient. Orders are taken quickly, and served just as quickly, despite the crowds. However, you might have to wait some time for dirty tables to be cleared, as only 1 uncle is assigned to that.

The main attraction at Hong Sheng Restaurant is the low, afforable prices, and hearty tasty dishes. Food is nicely portioned for sharing. The signature dish at Hong Sheng Restaurant is the Claypot FIsh Head, with nearly every table ordering this.


The signature Claypot Grouper Fish Head With Vegetables is a one-size dish, sufficient for 3 or more people. The grouper is fried, then stewed together with the cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, yam, tofu and pork belly till soft. The gravy is just lovely, and you can drink it like a soup.

Claypot Grouper Fish Head With Vegetables 01

Claypot Grouper Fish Head With Vegetables 02

A decent attempt at the Pork Rib King, though the serving size is quite small. The meat is tender and well marinated, but isn't particularly outstanding. Good, but not great.

Pork Rib King

The Stir Fried Young Chinese Spinach With Garlic is the recommended vegetable dish here, and features young chinese spinach / water spinach that is fragrant from being stir fried with garlic.

Stir Fried Young Chinese Spinach With Garlic

The Stir Fried Prawns And Asparagus was recommended to us by staff, and I liked that the prawns were big and meaty, and very fresh. The asparagus complemented the prawns nicely, and were also fresh. Clean flavour, and a good accompaniment for a meal.

Stir Fried Prawns And Asparagus

The Spinach Soup With Seafood And Pork has a lovely savoury flavour to the thin broth, a sure sign that the soup has absorbed the essence of the spinach. The vegetables, prawns, squid and sliced pork are fresh, highlighting the natural taste of the ingredients. I also love the little bits of egg floating inside the soup.

Spinach Soup With Seafood And Pork

While the Tofu With Prawns is a recommended dish, I didn't quite like it, due to the thick, gloopy texture of the sauce. The taste also wasn't as 'satisfyingly oomph', as compared to the rest of their dishes. But the prawns are fresh and meaty, and the tofu is well braised till soft.

Tofu With Prawns

Nearly every table ordered the Prawn Paste Chicken, and it's easy to see why. The skin is light and crisp, with a nice coating of the prawn paste flavour, while the chicken meat is hot, juicy, and slightly sweet. Lovely!

Prawn Paste Chicken