This is the queue outside White Restaurant (also known as You Huak Restaurant 友发餐室 yǒu fā cān shì) at Sembawang on Monday night at 8pm. Yes it is very long, even approaching an off-peak timing on a weekday night. This is a real testament to the popularity of the establishment when they have a reasonably large seating area and they are still able to command a long queue at that timing.
White Restaurant has one of the most ridiculous ratings on HungryGoWhere as well, with a 97% positive rating over 30 votes. We brave the queue to give you this article on the place.
Service and Ordering
The ordering system here is a bit peculiar but it is highly efficient. You queue first to place your order, and after you place your order, you have to wait at the side for your table to be ready. However, once your table is ready, the dishes are almost served instantaneously. So even though we had to brave the super long queue on a Monday night, we’d say that the time from our arrival to the time when the food landed on our table was no longer than your average Chinese restaurant.
We also have to commend the service staff, one of whom volunteered to help us take a group photo without being asked.
White Restaurant – Seafood White Beehoon
This is their signature dish and it is so popular that they re-branded their restaurant name after this dish. We must agree that White Restaurant sounds infinitely more inviting than You Huak Restaurant.
This dish is really very unique. The gravy is something of a cross between the wat tan hor (滑蛋河 huá dàn hé) gravy and the usual Singapore hokkien mee gravy. The included egg is not just the usual soft egg cracked into the gravy, but they include some separately prepared fried egg as well. Basically this is 滑蛋米粉 (huá dàn mǐ fěn) on steroids. For those that are not familiar with the wat tan genre it is simply your common hor fun gravy in Singapore.
The folks at White Restaurant have really paid a lot of attention to this dish, with taste taking priority over efficiency and cost. The beehoon is nice and smooth and the gravy is super fragrant and delicious. You will finish your portion and it won’t be enough. We rate this addictive dish 4.2/5. Their large sized portion as you see in the picture will set you back S$13.
I’ve seen quite a few zi char stalls rise and fall. Some had good food but simply couldn’t compete. Others jumped into a ton of customers only to lose them all when they reduced the ingredients and increased the price.
White Restaurant is somewhat of a cross between your coffee shop zi char stall and a full fledged Chinese restaurant. You can find addictive food, an advanced ordering system, and advanced pricing too. All this without air-con. Perhaps this is the direction that traditional zi char stalls should strive to move towards, I would say that White Restaurant has become a successful modern zi char restaurant.