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Mar 18, 2012 07:58 AM

Singapore - Sunday Luncheon at Chui Huay Lim Teochew Cuisine

Had a satisfying Sunday family lunch at Chui Huay Lim Teochew Cuisine near Newton Circus today. Dishes which we had:
- Teochew Puning Steamed Chicken with fermented beans - deliciously marinated chicken. The sauce went well with steamed white rice;
- Deep-fried Ngoh Hiang - light & crisp, one of the better-tasting versions in Singapore
- Pig Trotter Jelly - not to my taste: too jelly-like than the flavorsome aspic-encased pig's trotters I'd expected. Avoid this;
- Teochew Steamed Pomfret - the BEST in town, bar none. A bit expensive: I ordered a 1kg pomfret which costed S$98 (US$70). Served 6 though, so quite worth it. The Teochew-style flavorings included salted mustard leaves, tomatoes, sour plum, ginger and lard. Delish!
- Braised conpoy with eight vegetarian treasures - also one of the best I'd ever had in Singapore. Highly recommended!
- Teochew Fried Oyster Omelette - delicious. Strong oyster flavors permeate the omelette.
- Teochew Fried Kway Teow with Kai Lan - "wok hei" fragrance. Slightly salty for my taste, but not oily like the famous Swa Garden version.
- Teochew braised goose with tofu - I found the goose here to dry and hard. Tofu was nice.
- Sweet Yam Paste with Pumpkin and Gingko nuts - light and not too sweet. Perfect ending to a good meal.

Address details
Chui Huay Lim Teochew Cuisine
190 Keng Lee Road
#01-02, Chui Huay Lim Club
Singapore 308409
Tel: +65 6732 3637

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  1. The place seemed to be the flavor of the day amongst Teochew food connoisseurs in Singapore at the current moment. It's certainly the poshest-looking one. Fab service, too.

    2 Replies
    1. re: klyeoh

      Looks like a place where walk-ins would be out of luck. (Does one need to be a member of the club to eat there?)

      1. re: huiray

        It's opened to public, but is currently the "hottest" Teochew dining spot, so reservations are a must!

    2. A nice meal. The chicken and fish dishes in particular look very good to me. I haven't had nice fresh pomfret for a long time. I preferred black pomfret (黑鯧) over silver/white pomfret when I was growing up, though.

      BTW that chicken, no matter how tasty, would be an example of a chicken preparation that would be disliked by many (if not most) USAmericans. It's the "rubbery skin", very evident in your picture [which is what brought up that reflection in my mind]. Hainanese chicken, "pak chit kai", etc also suffer the same dislike from folks here. (Of course, folks of East Asian/Chinese heritage would probably not have that objection) Many folks would strip off the skin and eat just the flesh, if they have to. *Roast* chicken, or other preps with crispy skin - the crispier the better - is what folks would tend to prefer. Ditto for duck. Some folks get very upset, too, if there is *any* significant (or even any at all) un-rendered fat still there under the skin. Diff'rent folks, diff'rent strokes, I guess.

      4 Replies
      1. re: huiray

        Not just Americans - I noticed that Malays in Malaysia also preferred roast chicken to poached chicken for "Hainanese chicken rice", so Singapore chains like Sergeant Chicken Rice sell mainly roast chicken in KL, whilst in Singapore, that constitutes only 10% of their sales

        1. re: klyeoh

          That's interesting - about the Malay preference. Yet in Malay/Indonesian wet curries (those with "soupy" sauce) wouldn't the chicken skin be left on in most cases and its resulting "rubbery" texture, or at least non-crisp texture, be fine by them, so one imagines?

          1. re: huiray

            I think the Malays probably didn't go for the pale "color" of poached chicken skin?

            1. re: klyeoh

              I think generally Malays and Indians have an aversion to chicken skin unless it is KFC. The fried chicken at the mamak stores have no skin nor do most local tandoori chicken. This is just an observation and is not meant to be a racist comment. If there are any Malay or Indian board members reading this, please feel free to correct me.

      2. How does this place compare to Huat Kee (, Teochew City ( or Swa Garden on MacPherson Road?

        Also interested in knowing more about Hung Kang (North Canal Road) and Chin Lee (Bedok North Road) which are both renowned for their Teochew cuisine.

        1. I just made a steamed (fresh) silver pomfret dish with plum sauce/lime juice/sesame oil; slivered ginger, shiitake mushrooms and wood-ear mushrooms; sliced pickled scallion bulbs; and a dash of oil and good soy sauce. :-)
          [1/2 kilo fresh (uncleaned) pomfret, US$12]

          2 Replies
          1. re: huiray

            Wow, US$12 for a half-kilo pomfret - that's quite a bargain, compared to US$70 for a 1 kilo steamed pomfret at Chui Huay Lim.

            1. re: klyeoh

              Well, I have to supply all the other bits and pieces and cook it too, let alone be without benefit of being waited on in a pleasant restaurant. :-) And anyway, it wouldn't (couldn't!) be fresher than what you had, for obvious logistical/geographical reasons; and couldn't have been as expertly prepared! :-D

          2. how far in advance do u need a res? im adding this place to my list for next time

            11 Replies
            1. re: Lau

              A week in advance should suffice, unless they had some special events - which had been happening a bit too often recently :-(

              1. re: klyeoh

                what do u think is the best teochew restaurant in singapore these days?

                1. re: Lau

                  IMO, Lee Kui (Ah Hoi) on No. 8, Mosque Street - it's packed every single evening!

                  The proprietor-chef is Lee Huat Kee (not to be confused with Huat Kee restaurant, whose proprietor-chef is Lee Chiang Howe). Lee Huat Kee is the son of the late founder, Lee Chye Hock, whose nickname was Ah Hoi. Note that the restaurant closes every Tue and for 2 weeks over the Chinese New Year period.

                  1. re: klyeoh

                    awesome thanks, its top of list next time im in singapore. last time i did almost strictly hawker food, next time im going to hit more real restaurants

                    btw sorry to pick your brain so much, but what about your favorite hokkien restaurant?

                    1. re: Lau

                      Aah, Hokkien restaurants - there's a big disagreement within my family as to which one is the best! So, I'll give you the rundown:

                      1. My personal fave: Beng Hiang (茗香菜馆) on Amoy Street - the guy (part-owner & chef) who started it is Tan Hee Ang, a Teochew! His business partner (who also mans the front of the restaurant) is a Hokkien, Ng Han Kim. It opened in 1978. I love their fried Hokkien noodles with dark soy-sauce, pork & shrimp - absolutely yummy! Their "kong bak bao" - braised pork belly slices, served with steamed buns, is also another fave dish of mine. The fishmaw soup is also very good indeed. I can come back to this restaurant again & again, and not get tired of it.

                      2. For some reason, my mum didn't take a liking to Beng Hiang, despite us having family Sunday lunches there since it first opened (in Murray Terrace then). Her favorite Hokkien restaurant is Beng Thin Hoon Kee (茗珍奋记菜馆) located on the 5th floor of the OCBC Bank building on Chulia Street. The restaurant dates back to 1949 when it operated in Hokkien Street, but moved into OCBC Building in 1979 as the OCBC bank chairman had a great liking for Beng Thin's cuisine - many folks wondered if the restaurant gets to operate rent-free, or else at the great discount, there. Their Hokkien dishes are pretty much the same as Beng Hiang's but you MUST try their special duck-jellyfish-rockmelon salad - unique and one of the best salads you'd have ever had.

                      Still, I am quite frustrated that all large family get-togethers for a Hokkien meal will inadvertently take place at Beng Thin Hoon Kee - a case of "Mother Knows Best" :-(

                      3. For some strange reason, my dad will never back me or my mum up in our choice of the best Hokkien restaurant in Singapore. *His* fave is Bee Heong Palace (美香酒楼), now pretty much downsized & operating at Telok Ayer Street - it used to be at PIL Building on Cecil Street. Bee Heong Palace also does a mean fried Hokkien noodles in black sauce - oilier, more sinful than Beng Hiang's. Too oily for my taste actually. It's also famous for a braised duck dish, and also its fishmaw soup (I think Beng Hiang's better though). Current owner-chef, Goh Eng Bee is the 2nd-generation of the Goh family which opened the restaurant back in 1981.

                      1. re: Lau

                        Lau, why don't you try all 3 of the restaurants the next time you're in town, and tell me who in my family's right in his/her choice of the best Hokkien restaurant in Singapore ;-)

                        1. re: klyeoh

                          i would actually love to do that! haha (and i love kong bak bao btw)

                          btw you ever been to this place, Quan Xiang Yuan Jing Ji? looks great in the video

                          1. re: Lau

                            Yes, I have. Somehow, its location didn't quite appeal to us: difficult to find parking, and Jalan Besar has a "rough neighborhood" image, with its red-light district reputation & gang turf wars.
                            The food at the restaurant is pretty robust & rustic.

                            1. re: klyeoh

                              haha singapore and "rough neighborhood" don't really go together (safest place i've ever been to!), run down is probably closer to the right word haha, but i hear u, its the type of thing i dont care about, but most people i eat with do...still the food looked good

                              did some searches on your recommendations and they look fantastic

                              1. re: Lau

                                Lau - I just found out that a Singapore food forum (which I joined recently) uses Quan Xiang Yuan Jing Ji regularly for their chowdowns! Next one is in mid-May - I'll be trying it for the first time!

                                1. re: klyeoh

                                  oh cool please report back! it kind of looks like an old school gem, but we'll see