Chuan Wei Xuan Sichuan Restaurant in Joo Chiat


I chanced upon Chuan Wei Xuan 川味轩 Sichuan Restaurant last week and have been there twice in four days. A hidden gem in my neck of the woods! Even though we have many Sichuan restaurants that are run by Chinese nationals (aka PRCs) in Singapore, not many of them do it well. I've tried quite a few in Geylang and Chinatown but have yet to find one that would have me craving for more. When I first visited Chuan Wei Xuan, I was a little apprehensive as it was completely empty during lunch on a Saturday. However, I figured that perhaps Sichuan food is not at the top of most diners minds when they visit Joo Chiat since many diners are there for Chinese food, Peranakan food, Vietnamese food and desserts.

Mapo Tofu (Extra Spicy) - Chuan Wei Xuan, Joo Chiat
Mapo Tofu 麻婆豆腐 @ $8

Mapo Tofu is one of my favourite Sichuan dishes. Chuan Wei Xuan's Mapo Tofu was delicious! The silky smooth tofu cubes had been simmered in a fragrantly tasty and spicy minced pork sauce. I think the dish could do with a little more Sichuan peppercorns for a more intense palate tingling experience but it was still a decent version. Although the sauce didn't have the rich and smoky flavour that Shisen Hanten's Mapo Tofu has, it's nonetheless one of the best Mapo Tofu dishes from a PRC-run Sichuan restaurant that I've dined at this year. Best eaten with steamed rice, the Mapo Tofu here is a Must-Try!

Shui Zhu Yu - Chuan Wei Xuan Sichuan Restaurant at Joo Chiat
Ma La Shui Zhu Yu 麻辣水煮鱼 @ $15

Another of my favourite dishes, the Shui Zhu Yu (loosely translated to mean “water-cooked fish”) here is spicy without being excessively so. To many, the dish looks intimidating because of the thick layer of chili-infused oil, dried chili and Sichuan peppercorns but this is worth a try unless you absolutely cannot take any chili. The tender slices of poached fish and crunchy strands of soy bean sprouts had absorbed some of the saltiness and spiciness of the broth. My only gripe with the Shui Zhu Yu at Chuan Wei Xuan is that they used a "muddy-tasting" and bony freshwater fish unlike the slightly cleaner tasting and less bony fish used in many other Sichuan restaurants. That said, the aromatic flavour of the spices masked the muddiness of the fish. Be really careful while eating this dish as there are quite a lot of small bones embedded in the flesh. The accompanying ingredients vary from one Sichuan restaurant to another. There were thinly sliced lotus roots on my first visit here but that was replaced with pickled green chilis (suan la jiao) and firm tofu slices on my second visit. Each variant has its own merits as the thinly sliced lotus roots were crunchy and tasty whilst the firm tofu slices offered a slight reprieve from the assault that the spices were making on our taste buds. I usually like versions with potato starch noodles as the noodle strands absorb the flavour of the spicy sauce very well. Try adding some of sauce to your rice for a tasty kick. If you’re trying this dish for the first time, drain away as much oil as possible from the ingredients because the “heat” is in the chili oil. Avoid biting into any Sichuan peppercorns or dried chili. This is a Must-Try unless you're absolutely fearful of spices or bony fish. 

La Zi Ji at Chuan Wei Xuan Sichuan Restaurant in Joo Chiat
四川辣子鸡 Sichuan La Zi Ji @ S$12

Another dish that I order to benchmark a Sichuan restaurant's authenticity and skill of the chef is La Zi Ji. I love savouring juicy morsels of deep-fried chicken encased within a tasty, golden-brown crust. If done well, the heat builds up as you eat more chicken but if done badly, the chicken is dry and the skin isn't crisp. Speaking of skin, don't miss the crispy chicken skin! The La Zi Ji here is also a Must-Try!

Gan Bian Si Ji Dou at Chuan Wei Xuan Sichuan Restaurant, Joo Chiat
Gan Bian Si Ji Dou干煸四季豆 @ $8

Another dish that goes perfectly with rice, the Gan Bian Si Ji Dou would have been better if the skin of the sectioned beans were a little more crisp. In spite of that, it was fairly well-executed as the juicy beans tempered the saltiness of the dark bits of Preserved Mustard Green (Sichuan Ya Cai) and minced pork.

Fen Si Lao Xia at Chuan Wei Xuan Sichuan Restaurant
粉丝捞虾 Fen Si Lao Xia @ $15 

Chuan Wei Xuan doesn't serve Ma Yi Shang Shu, loosely translated to mean "Ants climbing up a tree". One of my favourite dishes, it refers to Stewed Mung Bean Vermicelli with a Spicy Minced Pork Sauce. The lady at Chuan Wei Xuan recommended that we try a similar dish albeit without the spice kick. This dish was disappointing as it was too salty with the excessive use of a brown MSG-laden sauce.

珠兰茶 Chloranthus Tea at Chuan Wei Xuan Sichuan Restaurant
珠兰茶 Chloranthus Tea @ $5 per pot

If you like Chinese Tea, you might like to order a pot of Chloranthus Tea - a scented Jasmine Tea with hints of sandalwood. Although the restaurant was empty each time I visited, the staff were kept fairly busy with delivery orders presumably by people living or working close by.

Chuan Wei Xuan Sichuan Restaurant 川味轩
348 Joo Chiat Road,
Singapore 427597
Phone: +65 63488003
Operating Hours: 12 noon to 12 midnight daily