Popo Ong’s Hainanese Chap Chye

Written by: Tong Jess Ning

Yearly Affair – memories and traditions behind my popo's Chap Chye recipe. My popo always cooks this dish alongside delicious home-cooked chicken rice during our annual Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner.

My popo, aged 80, is the Jack of all trades in the family — adept in plenty of traditional practices from tailoring and altering clothes to cooking scrumptious meals for the family. My mother always tells me that Chap Chye used to only be cooked on special occasions (such as Chinese New Year) when she was growing up; but now, I am fortunate to have my grandma whip up this dish whenever we want to eat it!

“I always look forward to a soul-warming Saturday night at my popo’s house as I get to spend quality time with my grandparents over a table of mouth-watering food cooked by my popo.”

Ingredients needed

She often worries that the food is not enough for us and tends to cook her dishes in abundance as if for a whole village. You will never need to worry about going hungry at my popo’s house! I simply find comfort and joy in my popo’s food as I know it is made with lots of love. I will readily go over and help my popo whenever I hear that she is cooking a big feast for the family! Over the years, I have always posted my popo’s delicious food on my IG; and over here, you’ll learn one of her specialties — Hainanese Chap Chye!

Popo didn't want her face in the picture. Haha!

Heavenly roasts, hearty stews, and comforting noodle soups are all staples on my popo’s kitchen table, and this Chap Chye dish is no exception. Chap Chye is a mixed vegetable dish braised in a warm, soothing chicken broth. One of the key ingredients in my Popo’s Hainanese Chap Chye dish is the lily buds. Many believe that lily buds are a symbol of wealth. It is often tied in a knot and added to this braised vegetable dish – giving a chewy and slightly crunchy texture to her dish!

Popo Ong's Hainanese Chap Chye

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Recipe by Popo Ong


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 10 grams dried lily bud

  • 1 beijing cabbage

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 5 grams beancurd skin

  • 5 grams pig skin

  • 1 bowl vermicelli

  • 5 grams black fungus

  • 20 grams chicken stock

  • 5 grams lean pork

  • Garnishing for Taste
  • 1 cup spring onion

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • 2 tbsp pepper

  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce

  • 3 tsp light soy sauce


  • Soak lily buds, black fungus and beancurd skin in water for 30 minutes
  • Tie lily buds into knots
  • Cut cabbage into pieces (not too small as it will shrink when frying)
  • Chop spring onions into small pieces for garnishing
  • Heat up the wok and add oil
  • Once heated, fry the garlic until slightly brown, then add the meat
  • Toss in the cabbage, black fungus, lily buds, beancurd skin, pig skins and vermicelli to fry
  • Add light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and pepper for seasoning
  • Pour in the chicken stock and let it simmer for 20 – 25 minutes
  • Serve with steaming white rice and enjoy!

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With special thanks from the Kampung Eats team to Popo Ong and Jess Ning!

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