TeoCHEW on this!


This week sees the return of our beloved cookbook author, restaurateur & Makan Kaki, Violet Oon, who’s been keeping very busy with the launch of her third and latest restaurant, Violet Oon Satay Bar & Grill at Clarke Quay. Lucky for us, she’s taken some time off her very full plate to share with us a few more of her current favourites to dine at in Singapore, so let’s start with this famous, classic Teochew institution that has seen many location changes, but thankfully the quality of food has remained largely unchanged! Violet has been eating at Huat Kee since the 1980s, but this authentic Teochew Restaurant has been around since the late 1960s, first operating out of Wayang Street, before moving to the old Ellenborough Market (present day Swisshotel Merchant Court), then Happy World in Katong, followed by a longish stint along Amoy Street, before finally settling at the RELC Building along Orange Grove Road. But what about the food? Here’s what Violet really enjoyed at her last visit:

The suckling pig is excellent with a shatteringly crisp, fragrant skin.

Also try their Teochew Fried Kway Teow with kailan, which has a tremendous “wok hei” and lovely depth of flavour because theu use two types of chye por (preserevd radish) – the sweet and salty kind.

If it’s crispy, typically Teochew snacks you crave, they have it all – Hae Cho (Prawn Rolls) and the Liver Rolls too.

Another stand-out dish which Violet raves about is their Seared Sea Cucumber, which is first braised for hours in a rich pork broth, before it is seared in a hot pan for an extra smoky flavour. Now in itself, sea cucmber is tasteless and is usually eaten for its texture, but in this dish, you get the best of both worlds – delicious flavour from the arduous cooking process and amazing crunchy texture from the spongy, collagen-y meat!

To round off your feast at Huat Kee, you simply can’t go wrong with the classic Orh Nee (steamed, mashed yam cooked in oil, with hand-peeled ginko nuts).

If you prefer, the labour-intensive traditional Tau Suan is also good, as is the Teochew-style Cheng Tng, a cooling, nutritious brew of longan, white fungus and other herbs. Best thing about it is the hint of persimmon perfuming this dessert!

Violet loves Huat Kee for several reasons. Firstly, it continues to serve up wonderful Teochew cuisine after all these years in the business. Secondly, it’s a family business that has been passed on from generation to generation and continues to do well with the passing on of traditional recipes. Also, they’ve gone into food production, sourcing good quality, all-natural seafood like abalone and sea cucumber from countries like New Zealand, before distrubuting far and wide to places like China.The abalone, in particular, is unbleached, which means you get a natural, less processed product, free from bleach and other nasty chemicals. That’s why their abalone has a greyer hue. As for the sea cucumber, they semi-dry it for good texture and it is available to buy and take-home for your own future cooking endeavours. But why take home when you can let them cook it for you? And finally, location location location! It’s current RELC venue is big enough to seat 200 diners comfortably and there is ample parking.

So there you have it, the many reasons why Huat Kee remains Violet’s Teochew favourite – if you want quality produce cooked the proper way, maintaining the original taste and traditions, look no furthur than this family-run restaurant!

Teochew Restaurant Huat Kee
30 Orange Grove Road
#02-01 RELC Building
Singapore 258352
Open Daily: 11am – 3pm; 6 – 10pm
Tel : 6423 4747

Teochew-style Fish Porridge

Click HERE to listen to this week’s tasty Teochew episode!

This week, our ever-reliable, down-to-earth Makan Kaki Chef Daniel Tay waxes lyrical about his Teochew roots (his mother is) and recommends one of his favourite restaurants for tasty Teochew delicacies. This is a restaurant that has been recommended before, but has since moved from its original location at Beach Road to larger premises at Phillips Street.

Chao Shan Cuisine is a classic restaurant that has been serving up yummy Teochew classics for years and Chef Daniel has gotten to know its boss, Ah Liang, well enough to ask for fresh recommendations each time he visits for a meal. Certainly, from Pomfret to Threadfin, Ah Liang is the man to tell you which fish of the day is the freshest. Business is brisk at Chao Shan, which sees customers returning for Chef Daniel’s favourites like steamed fish,  Jellied Pork Trotters and crispy-fluffy oyster omelette.

48919cb0b079923b270775fbfb671a45But of all the dishes you can find at Chao Shan, this is, hands down, Chef Daniel’s ultimate comfort food: fresh fish slice porridge. There’s just something so wholesome, virtuous, pure, simple and yes, comforting about the watery rice delicacy. Chef Daniel swears by the basic ingredients – fresh fish slices, rice, stock, salt, ginger, coriander and spring onions – that come together in one steaming bowl of heart-warming simplicity. Don’t go to Chao Shan without trying this dish!

17 Phillip Street
Grand Building
Singapore 048695
Open Daily: 11:30AM–2:30PM, 5:30–10PM
Tel: 63362390

For more pictures, descriptions and our other Makan Kaki Willin Low‘s review of Chao Shan from 2 years ago when it was still located at Beach Road, click here!

Tasty Teochew at Lee Kui

Listen to this week’s tasty Teochew episode here!

Today our Makan Kaki, Lee Chin Sin of restaurants Lolla & Lollapalooza, wants to take us to his favourite Teochew restaurant that really represents the flavours he grew up with as a child. So yes, there is first of all, that nostalgia factor, but most importantly, the food is really really conisistently delicious!
Lee Kui (Ah Hoi) Teochew Restaurant is a bit of a Singapore institution with a 40-year (and counting!) history of tasty tradition that keeps hoards going back for more of their signature dishes, like their cold steamed crabs, jellified pigs’ ears and steamed pomfret with salted vegetables. But Chin Sin is partial to these other classic Teochew dishes:

Braised Duck with Tau Kwa is a savoury delight, comforting, meaty and with lots of robust soya sauce flavour.

Hae Cho is another must-try at a Teochew restaurant and Lee Kui’s doesn’t disappoint. These deep fried prawn rolls are crispy outside and sweetly-tender with prawn juices inside.

But of all the dishes available to enjoy on Lee Kui’s menu, Chin Sin’s ultimate favourite is the crispy deep fried large pigs’ intestines. While some may be put off by the pungent innards, Chin Sin adores the maximum contrast in textures of this dish – the shatteringly-crispy, perfectly deep fried outside that complements the soft, pillowy, gooey, yummy inside!

If you have a sweet tooth, Orh Nee, the decadent Teochew classic dessert is another must – Yam paste made with lard and ginko!

Lee Kui (Ah Hoi) Restaurant [李貴(亞蟹)席館]
*** UPDATE ***
Sad news foodies, but since this episode aired, Lee Kui has closed. Not for lack of demand – many customers are sad to see the shutting of their doors, but the owners are getting on in years and need a much-deserved rest, so they made the difficult decision to cease business.
8, 9, 10 Mosque Street
Open daily: 11am – 2:30 pm, 5:30pm – 10pm
Tel: 62223654

Terrific Teochew

This week, our Makan Kaki Willin Low tells us about one of his favourite restaurants, which serves up tasty, traditional Teochew cuisine from within its cramped, no-frills quarters to many satisfied stomachs daily. And who needs frilly surroundings when the food’s this good?

You’ll find all the usual Teochew favourites here, like steamed pomfret with preserved plum, braised goose with tofu and orh nee (yam dessert with lard & ginko)…

Steamed Pomfret
Braised Goose with Tofu
Orh Nee

… But what Willin really loves & recommends you try, are these 2 other phenomenal dishes executed to yummy perfection:

1. Chai Por Char Kway Teow
Fried flat rice noodles with preserved turnip. It’s packed with umami flavours and that all-important wok hei.

2. Orh Luak
The fried oyster omelette is awesome, with crispy edges, fragrant egg and plump, wobbly oysters bursting with briny flavour.

Be sure you call for reservations before going, this place is always packed!


Chao Shan Cuisine
85 Beach Road
Tel: 63362390
Open Daily: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 6-10pm