Monday, June 22, 2009

Heung Fa Chun Sweet House : Philadelphia

**Edit Aug 22, 2009** Added fried sesame pancakes, lo mein.

Heung Fa Chun Sweet House is one of the restaurants that really makes me love Phili as a food town.

Let me just demonstrate my love for this place in the most cheesy, non-masculine, non-mature way possible.


I've actually been here before for their bubble tea (which also is good), but it was my Dad who again suggested going here for breakfast when we were looking for an early morning meal.

And this place has gone into my craving memory. In fact, my gf and I visited a second time within the week and since gone back quite a few times.

The main selling point of their breakfast is their house-made tofu, in full glory in their various dou hua 豆花 (dou fu fa 豆腐花).

Dou Hua - This really focuses your attention on the dou hua itslef and oh boy, this stuff is so silky smooth, putting any past renditions of this I've tried to shame. Texture-wise, it's somewhat unique, slightly more structured than a good custard, but which still leaves you with that soft, elusive feeling in your mouth. Just lovely lovely stuff.

Dou Hua with ginger syrup & small tapioca balls - A slight variation of the above. The ginger syrup was nicely balanced and not overly sweet (unlike the usual version at dimsum places). And the tapiocca balls appropriately cooked added a nice textural contrast to the silky smooth dou hua.

Salty Dou Hua - Unlike the above versions, this is more of a Northern Chinese style, with soy sauce and savory ingredients, with more emphasis on the savory flavor than the dou hua. And this was quite good as well, the strongly flavored ingredients, garlic pieces, dried shrimp, and pickled vegetables each having their own distinct and strong flavor. (Just a word of warning, their garlic is pretty strong, so if you're thinking of a morning date, you might want to rethink it. :P )

Sticky Rice with Chinese Sausage - A guilty pleasure, but one that is done well. Yes, if you ask for it hot, they'll just nuke the stuff in a microwave in the back. But it's just the right amount of greasiness and stickiness to satisfy without making you feel ill to your stomach.

Fried Taro Cake - Like above, another true guilty pleasure, which I suspect was also nuked in the microwave. And this one might be even worse, since it leaves grease streaks on the table-top. But oh man, I do like this very much. A oily greasy, slightly crunchy batter over a taro cake, somewhat similar to how a good turnip cake (蘿蔔糕) at dimsum should be. Greasy as heck, but so good.

Red Bean Soup (Hong Dao Sa) - Not everything was a raving success, including this. While this wasn't bad at all, it just wasn't flavored much. It was mostly just cooked red beans, without the usual gratuitous amount of sugar.

Zong zi - This is the Hong Kong style Zongzi with yellow beans, pork (fat), and egg yolk. I probably wouldn't order this again. While it's ok, it just doesn't compare to the other dishes available here and other zongzi that I've had before.

Dou Jiang (豆漿) - Ahh, nice. They allow you to add your own sugar and drinking it straight, it actually has the more neutral taste of regular cow-milk, only it's soy-milk. I do like this much better than the generically sweet stuff you get in the bottle.

Fried Sesame Pancake - I'm unsure what this is, but it tasted like a greasy-good cross between a pumpkin donut and a Ox tongue pastry (牛脷酥)

Vegetable Lo Mein - Slightly greasy, but tasty for having no meat.

This place has become a go-to place for breakfast or a snack-time. Some of the things may lie on the greasy side, but you can always balance things off with a dou-jiang or leave it as a guilty pleasure.

Heung Fa Chun Sweet House
112 N 10th St Philadelphia, PA 19107 (Map)
(215) 238-8968
($Brunch, $Chinese, $Philadelphia, $Recommended)

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