Tuesday, 6 December 2022

9 of the best restaurants in Singapore for authentic Teochew cuisine

Purveyors of Teochew cuisine are known for prioritising clean and natural flavours. Dishes are lightly seasoned and cooked in ways that bring forth the freshness of each ingredient. That said, chefs still make use of the full spectrum of Chinese cooking techniques to prepare their food. These range from steaming and poaching to braising, stir-frying and deep-frying, resulting in varied dishes. Here’s where you can find some of the best authentic Teochew restaurants in Singapore.

1. Swatow Seafood

Swatow Seafood restaurant has been a stalwart in the industry ever since it was established in 2010. All three of its outlets in Toa Payoh, Serangoon Gardens Country Club and Singapore Recreation Club have a casual atmosphere and serve similar fare – healthy, fresh food with only the lightest of seasonings to bring out the natural flavours inherent in the raw ingredients. Stop by in the morning for some delicate, freshly-made Teochew dim sum or head over for dinner to indulge in comfort food dishes. Signature items include the Teochew cold crab, a dish that is first steamed and then served cold with a generous portion of crab roe; and the tender Teochew braised sliced duck with beancurd – a staple in most Teochew eateries. Other highlights include the crispy prawn roll and the chilled jellied pork knuckles.

Various locations

2. Liang Kee Teochew Restaurant

The original Liang Kee Restaurant was started in 1974 at the former Ellenborough Market by the late Ng Bak Liang, a Teochew immigrant from China. Today, it’s located in a non-descript spot along MacPherson Road where it serves up a mix of traditional and contemporary dishes in a cosy, family-friendly setting. Signatures include pomfret cooked two ways, Teochew braised cabbage with dried scallop; and Teochew braised duck with beancurd, while more modern fare includes the salted egg chicken and Mami pork ribs.

556 MacPherson Road. Nearest MRT: Tai Seng

3. Teochew Restaurant Huat Kee

Founded by the late Lee Jee Tee in 1969, Huat Kee started as a humble canteen stall before progressing to a zi char outlet; moving to a couple of locations before settling in Amoy Street; and, finally, its current location at RELC Building along Orange Grove Road. The family-run restaurant stays true to its roots and features classics prepared using authentic Teochew cooking methods. Crowd-pleasing favourites here include the oyster omelette, steamed pomfret and sliced braised duck.

30 Orange Grove Road, RELC International Hotel. Nearest MRT: Stevens

Huat Kee Teochew restaurant in Singapore
Huat Kee’s Cold Dish Combination comprising dishes such as spring roll, jelly pork trotter, prawn roll and brawn terrine. Photo credit: Teochew Restaurant Huat Kee

4. Chin Lee Restaurant

Chin Lee Restaurant is practically an institution to residents in the east. Located under an HDB block in Bedok North Road, the humble, fuss-free eatery has been around since 1973 and has a loyal following. It is currently helmed by chef Eric Chua who inherited the business from his father. Expect big juicy oysters in the oyster omelette and satisfying crackling skin in the Teochew crispy pig trotter. Other favourites include the plump and crispy homemade Teochew prawn ball paired with a perfect sweet sauce and tender coffee pork ribs. Make sure you try the house specialty, the Teochew yam paste and pumpkin served with gingko nut (orh nee) – a rich and smooth concoction that makes a fine ending to the meal.

115 Bedok North Road, #01-285. Nearest MRT: Bedok Reservoir

5. Di Wei Teochew Restaurant

Situated in a quaint colonial bungalow in Seletar Aerospace Park, Di Wei is a storied restaurant headed by chef Khoo Tai Guan, a man who came from humble beginnings. He worked his way up, starting as a kitchen helper in his younger days before progressing on to hold the title of assistant chef. He then opened a food stall within Food Canopy at Botanic Gardens in 2014 before finally launching his own 140-seater restaurant at The Oval two years later. All in, the affable chef has been whipping up authentic Teochew dishes for more than 50 years. Stars on Di Wei’s menu include braised crab beehoon, pork rib yam ring and Teochew fried kway teow with preserved radish. Finish with a sweet plate of sugar yam strips – an addictive dessert of deep-fried yam that’s coated with sugar.

1 The Oval, Seletar Aerospace Hub. Buses: 102, 103, 117, 117M

Di Wei Teochew Restaurants in Singapore
Sweet and sour pork yam ring from Di Wei Teochew Restaurant. Photo credit: Di Wei Teochew Restaurant

6. Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew Cuisine

If you’re looking for Teochew restaurants in Singapore that offer an elevated take on the cuisine, look no further than the one-Michelin-starred Imperial Treasure. While the restaurant takes a fine-dining approach to Teochew cuisine, traditional fare still takes centre stage. Its Ion Orchard premise boasts an airy and bright dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows. Standouts include a Teochew-style marinated platter of selected meat, deep-fried black moss roll, oyster omelette, fried hor fun with diced Chinese broccoli (with a heady dose of wok hey) and mashed taro with pumpkin.

2 Orchard Turn, ION Orchard, #03-05. Nearest MRT: Orchard

7. Chui Huay Lim

Located in the historic Chui Huay Lim Club that’s been around over 175 years, Chui Huay Lim is managed by Jumbo Group and has been offering more than 150 Teochew-style dishes since 2011. The ambience is clean and elegant, and the dishes are simple but delicious. Besides the quintessential braised duck, cold crab and steamed pomfret, you might want to try the crispy fried sea cucumber and shiitake mushroom; the comforting Teochew seafood fried mee sua; and the Teochew “puning” fermented bean chicken – a dish of plump free-range chicken with a side of pickled vegetables. For a varied sampling of its highlights, get the Teochew classic platter which features a variety of meat.

190 Keng Lee Rd, #01-02, Chui Huay Lim Club. Nearest MRT: Newton

Teochew restaurants in Singapore Chui Huay Lim
Braised duck with beancurd from Chui Huay Lim. Photo credit: Chui Huay Lim

8. Ah Orh Seafood Restaurant

While many Teochew Restaurants in Singapore offer contemporary takes on the classics, Ah Orh Seafood Restaurant keeps things traditional. The restaurant’s roots date back to 1919, when it was a pushcart along the former Ellenborough Market. It’s also one of the oldest Teochew restaurants in Singapore and has been managed by three generations. Today it continues to offer traditional fare using its decades-old recipes at its HDB location. There are no contemporary dishes here like salted egg pork ribs; only dishes rooted in heritage. The food is cooked by the late founder’s grandsons, while his granddaughter manages the front of house. Favourites include oyster omelette, Teochew cold prawn, cold crab and sliced braised duck with pork belly.

115 Jalan Bukit Merah, #01-1627. Nearest MRT: Tiong Bahru

9. Lee Kwang Kee Teochew Cuisine

Despite being a relative newcomer to the scene, having opened in 2014, Lee Kwang Kee has developed a devoted following thanks to its extensive selection of Teochew classics. For an introduction to Teochew-style braised dishes, opt for the Lo-Shui Combo which comes with four braised meats – duck, pork skin, pork belly and pork intestines. If you’re not a fan of offal, there are plenty of other dishes to savour including the oyster omelette, Teochew-style cold crab and sweet and sour sliced garoupa. The specialty here is the Jing Tai Lan Fish Head Steamboat – a visually impressive dish served in an intricately painted and enameled copper steamboat, brimming with tender fish slices, togu, enoki mushrooms and vegetables. Good news for night owls: the Toa Payoh outlet is open 24/7 while the Bukit Batok outlet opens till 4am daily.

Various outlets

Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours before visiting and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.

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