[Written by Dale Butler]
Strategically located at the corner of Court and Victoria Streets in Hamilton, across from the historic St. Paul AME Church and the Dame Lois M. Browne-Evans Buildings, is Sung Sing Restaurant, in business since 1998.
With four out of seven restaurants already reviewed along The Heartbeat Restaurant Gateway on Court Street, it was a pleasure to eat Eurasian/Chinese cuisine at Sung Sing, which over the years has adapted more to Western preferences . Which meant I couldn’t taste Dim Sum Lanzhou’s hand-pulled noodles, fish head curry, Hokkien Mee, or Laksa, etc.
Executive Chef Kevin Lim and his assistant Rosmar Fernandez were a small team, but they have enormous expertise between them to speed up their extensive menu of lunch and dinner treats.
Chef Lim has extensive experience in Singapore and Bermuda, having worked at the Hamilton Princess Hotel, Fourways Inn & Catering, Mac Herman’s Restaurant, Conch Shell, The Wok and Showbizz restaurants. With such diverse culinary experiences in Bermuda and Singapore, I was able to unlock his secret. Two years ago, I spent three weeks in Singapore, eating in posh hotels and busy takeaway centres, enjoying perfectly cooked food, no matter how elaborate or simple the venue. They have him cooking in Singapore and he’s been using his training at home in Bermuda since 1976.
Bermudians, however, in the 1960s received their first taste of Asian food at the Chinese restaurant just down Court Street, and later at the New Queen Restaurant on Church Street. Over time, local favorites have become chicken fried rice, spring rolls or sweet and sour chicken. But once Bermudians started attending school abroad or traveling abroad, that quickly changed as they were exposed to a wider variety of Asian foods.
Chili chicken, honey garlic chicken, sweet and sour chicken, boneless Thai chicken and “all of our rice dishes” are now popular at Sung Sing, Chef Lim said with great pride. Having already sampled Bermuda’s usual weaknesses, I decided to break the bank and Bermuda’s preferences and it was worth every penny.
Service from Kevin’s wife, Vivian, is always efficient and she is very aware that many Bermudians don’t like hot or spicy food. So when I ordered the Thai Stir Fry, I was gently reminded of its contents, but I continued anyway. I was not deceived. It was absolutely delicious, enough for two people and no nukes. Additional dishes I ordered over a period of days included:
- Chicken rolls
- Curry puffs
- Sung Sing Fried Rice [Chicken, Shrimp, Pork]
I salute the chefs for finding a winning formula, as all the dishes were excellent. But there was a surprise.
Sung Sing offers a full menu with
- 12 entries
- 19 vegetarian dishes and sides
- 5 types of soup
The rest of the menu is fit for an emperor, with a large choice of chicken, prawns, fish, beef, pork, Egg Foo Young [Chinese omlettes], noodles and chicken nuggets. And, not to be outdone, they even have lamb plus a hot $10.50-$16 lunch buffet of meats, starches, and vegetables for your selection. They also offer a variety of soft drinks and water as well as all utensils to go. To ensure your dishes are hot with sauces, sealed to taste and spill-proof, they pack the largest containers carefully.
The surprise was the Chicken Wonton Soup. ‘Oh my God!’ As soon as I peeled the top off and took a spoonful, it burst with flavor. I’m a soup connoisseur, having grown up in a household with an uncle who specialized in making soup – usually enough to feed an army but always fresh and well seasoned. Therefore, I know the quality and taste of a delicious soup, which I eat at least three times a week.
Their Chinese wonton soup was exceptional, with tender chicken and a broth that I had never tasted before, not even in Singapore. It had a distinctive taste that would soon become a signature dish for them. I ordered crackers to go with the soup which also surprised me. Served hot in a brown bag; I think I’m addicted.
Sung Sing Restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; close on Sunday. Phone orders can be placed at 296-8758. They provide a pick up catering service for family or large scale events.
– Dale Butler is a former educator and Minister of Culture. He has written numerous food and music reviews and his first book review recently published in Bernews was on why i killed my brother by Zavane.
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