SinLee Chinese Cuisine, Singapore
3 Chowhounds met up at SinLee Chinese Cuisine restaurant this evening. It was one of visiting CH girobike’s stated favorite restaurants in Singapore, so CH FourSeasons recommended that we meet there for dinner. It was a great choice – all the seafood items were up-to-the-minute fresh – they were all alive & swimming a few minutes earlier in the blue tanks which formed the backdrop of the restaurant’s ground-floor dining room. FourSeasons did the ordering, and I must say that every dish was simply exquisite:
- Live bamboo clams, which are 8-inch oblong-shaped crustaceans, finely sliced, then steamed. Served on their shells, the delicate clam-meat was topped with chopped garlic & julienned ginger/shallots, and drizzled with sizzling hot oil & very fine Chinese soy-sauce. It was the most divine-tasting shellfish dish you’d ever taste anywhere in Singapore;
- Alaskan king crab, sautéed Shanghainese-style with salted duck-egg yolks. A very rich dish, which can be a bit cloying towards the end;
- Red garoupa fish, this was absolutely fresh & was steamed Cantonese-style: topped with julienned green shallots & fine ginger strips, and resting on a pool of delicious sweet-salty soy sauce;
- Braised green boxthorne leaves with century-eggs & salted ducks-eggs; and
- Seafood & mushrooms fried rice served in a clear consommé.
I guess SinLee does it best when it comes to Chinese-style seafood dishes. You do have to pay for its premium quality ingredients – the Alaskan king crab was US$200 for just half a crab! One interesting thing to note - the Duxton Hill/Neil Road area where SinLee is located seems to be undergoing a "de-gentrification" process, with bars/nightclubs popping up everywhere.
It is a pleasure to meet you and girobike; I had a great time as well, maybe we should organize more Chow dinners in Singapore.
Yes, agree with you that the Alaskan king crab, though just half the crab, is perhaps too much for just the three of us. Perhaps five persons would be the right size to order such a dish.
If you like shark fin soup, then don't miss Sin Lee's braised shark fin on your next trip there. I think it is about S$50 per pot, and I rate it among the best in Singapore. And the seafood hor fun, that I ordered to go on that evening, is always delicious and at S$4 per plate, perhaps the cheapest comfort food in Sin Lee.
Thanks so much for your recs, FourSeasons.
BTW, Ya Kwang Dai Pai Dong (in Geylang)'s crab bee hoon, studded with large chunks of orange-ish crab roe, can also qualify as comfort food, and at S$35 for a medium-sized Sri Lankan crab which is enough for 4 persons, is really more "affordable" than Sinlee's Alaskan king crab. I dined at Ya Kwang 2 weeks ago. The other bee hoon noodle dish offered by Ya Kwang, cooked with clams, was earthy & delicious - like a sort of Chinese linguine con le vongole in bianco.
Another must-not-miss dish at Ya Kwang is the Penang-style fried koay teow (recommended by visiting CH Peech). Essentially flat rice noodles, stir-fried in lard over high heat with prawns, eggs, Chinese sausages, beansprouts & chives, then sprinkled with chilli flakes, it exudes a wonderful "wok-hei" aroma & is dangerously addictive.
I am quite familiar with Ya Kwang; I have been there a few times. My only problem with Ya Kwang, beside looking for a parking space in Geylang, is that its signature dishes seem to be bee hoon, tang hoon or kway teoh. I only want to order one noodle dish on each visit, and will be overwhelmed by all the above dishes if presented at the same time. So I feel Ya Kwang is still a one dish stall; its complementary dishes are still not as good as its noodle dish. That is an area that I feel Jason, the boss, has to improve to be a good Tse Char place.