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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Paper-wrapped chicken restaurant to reopen soon

The Union Farm Eating House, famous for its paper-wrapped chicken, will be reopening on Sunday for takeaway orders.
The Straits Times - October 1, 2012
By: Jessica Lim
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Paper-wrapped chicken restaurant to reopen soon Madam Teng Oi Choy, 68, preparing takeaway boxes. The Union Farm Eating House will accept takeaway orders from Sunday. It will start serving dine-in customers in one or two months. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

IF YOU thought that juicy bit of heaven wrapped in a square of parchment paper and deep-fried had gone for good, well, there's good news.

The Union Farm Eating House, famous for its paper-wrapped chicken, will be reopening on Sunday for takeaway orders. And it will start welcoming dine-in guests in one or two months, after it has hired enough kitchen and wait staff, said owner Chia Ka Wing.

The restaurant on Clementi Road closed in February after it discovered that its kitchen sat on land owned by the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) next door.

The private tertiary-level school, which has been at its current location since 1999, had asked for the land back by March 7 after it bought the plot from the Government to expand its campus in 2009.

SIM realised that the restaurant was encroaching on its land in December, when a detailed pre-piling survey was done.

Mr Chia said the kitchen had been built by his father with the permission of the landlord. "Maybe the lines weren't clear back then," he said.

"We had to make the kitchen smaller, which meant removing a toilet inside, moving the grease trap, and lots of construction," he said, adding that it cost him "hundreds of thousands of dollars".

The new kitchen was approved by the authorities on Wednesday, said the 49-year-old.

A smaller kitchen, however, means a smaller menu. The kampung-style restaurant's menu of more than 15 items has been whittled down to seven dishes.

But it will still offer signature dishes such as the paper-wrapped chicken, prawn rolls and oyster sauce noodles.

Union Farm started life as a chicken farm in 1953 and it began serving paper-wrapped chicken at the same time.

The idea for the dish came from a visiting Hong Kong opera singer, who suggested that Mr Chia's father create a recipe of his own using the chickens he was rearing.

The site became a full-fledged restaurant in the 1960s and has been a popular hangout since.

Mr Chia said he had looked at alternative locations for the restaurant but it was too expensive to move. He added that he would be calling his regular customers to inform them about the opening date soon.

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