Took a lengthy hiatus from blogging because school got a little overwhelming – as usual. You’d think that after 4 years in university/college and another 5 years in graduate school, I’d finally know how to manage time and not have everything crash down on me at the same time. Nope. *hah*
Anyway, my uncle brought my grandma, mom and I to Chui Huay Lim Teochew Cuisine. We have never been to Chui Huay Lim before, but was told that it used to be a Teochew gentlemen’s club – whatever that means. I was very excited to eat some authentic Teochew food though. As a Teochew, I’m a little sad that I can’t cook Teochew cuisine as well as other types of food. It is so delicate and simple, which is why it is so hard to cook! Also, the ingredients used have to be top notch, which sadly, doesn’t quite fit into a student’s budget.
Note: Since this was a treat, I didn’t pay for anything and thus don’t know the price. I do know that this meal for 7 came up to more than S$500, so it’s on the pricier (or uber pricey) side of things.
The restaurant is next to the famous Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh, if other people are into that. I have never been to this Ng Ah Sio, but the East Coast one is pretty good!
This is the entrance to Chui Huay Lim Club. You actually don’t have to be a club member to enter. Everyone can eat here!
Here’s my cousin and aunt. They have an impressive tank of fresh seafood. I kid you not, those little shrimps were super active – must be really fresh!
On the opposite end of the wall, they have traditional Chinese instruments! The decor is definitely updated and oriental-yet-fresh.
Gongfu Tea: Gongfu tea is the first thing usually served in a Teochew meal. It is an incredibly strong tea that is supposed to clean your palate before you start eating. Gongfu tea also made in an elaborate tea ceremony that consists of many steps and formalities. People don’t do this when served in a Teochew restaurant anymore, but I really wish they did.
Teochew Cold Crabs – S$28 each: This is my favorite part of any Teochew meal – cold steamed crabs! The crabs have been steamed, dried and cooled and usually have a lot of roe. Of course one has to work to eat these, but when dipped in the tangy plum sauce that comes with it, it is really close to the best thing ever.
These crabs were a little on the small side, but were filled with roe. If you are a roe lover like my mum and I, you would go head over heels with these crabs. The meat was firm, and relatively fleshy for their size. It was fantastic!
Braised Goose – From S$14: Few places sell braised goose these days. Most of them sell Teochew braised duck instead. This Teochew goose dish came with boiled and braised eggs as well as tofu. While the dish was good, I have tasted much better. My grandmother makes the best braised ducks/chickens I have ever tasted, and it would be hard to beat, if not impossible. This dish was well seasoned, but the lo or braising sauce was not very fragrant. I would have enjoyed a tiny bit of herbal fragrance from 5-spice. The meat was also a little on the dry side for my taste.
Teochew Liver Rolls – S$8: Liver rolls are so hard to come by these days because people are more health conscious. However, I would rather eat good food and die, and so this was a pleasant surprise for me. I really loved this dish. It was perfectly deep fried with the outsides being so lightly crispy. The filling was fragrant with the right amounts of liver and minced meats. I could eat this every day! Definitely recommended!
Shrimp Roll – S$8: Here’s the more usual shrimp roll that you can find in most restaurants. This was also crispy on the outside like the liver roll. While good, it was not as fragrant as the liver roll, and came in a smaller portion. There was not much shrimp in it, and would have passed off as a meat roll. I would recommend the liver roll over the shrimp roll.
Teochew Style Steamed Pomfret – From S$8/100g: The star of any Teochew meal is always the steamed pomfret. It is also the one dish that can help gauge the competency of the restaurant’s kitchen because it is just too easy to under or overcook the fish. The pomfret at Chui Huay Lim was just perfectly cooked, and had the right amount of tangyness from the salted plums and vegetables. It was another highlight of the meal! For those who don’t know, choose a fish about 800g so that the meat would not be too thick and tough!
Lobster with Preserved Bean Paste and Garlic – approximately S$50 per lobster: I have never tasted this before going to Chui Huay Lim, and it was recommended by my uncle, who has had this at the restaurant before. The lobsters were presumably steamed, cut in half, then fried with a ton of garlic.
The lobster, while well seasoned and tasted amazing, was a little on the overcooked side and was a tad rubbery. A slight pity.
There was so much garlic on the plate that we had at least twenty cloves of garlic per person (or per half a lobster.) The garlic tasted like cooked nuts, and had a very very slight garlic flavor. I had about 8 cloves of garlic, and couldn’t finish the rest.
Braised Conpoy with Eight Vegetarian Treasures – S$28 (M) / S$42 (L): Braised veggies have got to be one of my favorite dishes because they are tender and go down so easily. This dish did not disappoint at all, and you can tell that they didn’t skimp on anything at all; the mushrooms were huge and whole, as were the scallops. The thick broth was also very light and flavorful. A good dish! Definitely try it!
Teochew Fried Mee Sua – From S$14: The fried mee sua is another Teochew classic. Here, the fried mee sua was good and not very oily at all! I really enjoyed having a large variety of ingredients fried with the mee sua that included shrimp, scallops, squid, mushrooms, carrots, bean sprouts etc.
Or Nee (Yam Paste) – S$4: The classic end to any Teochew meal would be the or nee or yam paste. Here, the yam paste was smooth and had a slight hint of shallot oil. Topped with a slice of candied pumpkin and gingo nuts, this dish is so classy and the flavors and textures blend perfectly. Definitely something you definitely want to get here!
Address: 190 Keng Lee Rd, #01-02
Chui Huay Lim Club, Singapore 308409
Phone: +65 6732 3637
Hours: M-Su | 11.30am – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm
Price Range: $$$$$ (much more than $50 per person)
Overall: Will come back again (if someone else is paying)