We thought we have visited all the Teochew Restaurants in Singapore but apparently we missed a popular one in the East. Chin Lee Restaurant in Bedok received rave reviews in the net. Its popularity is obvious when you call to book. Even with a reservation at 8pm (late for dinner in Singapore), you are put on waiting list. Usually, I wouldn’t be bothered to wait but that night, we had plenty of time to spare before sending Ivan to the airport for his flight at 3am, so we didn’t mind. We were pleasantly surprised though that our table was ready at 7.30pm. (Yes, good service means under promise but over deliver.)
I didn’t expect much service but tea was promptly filled and requests acknowledged fast. Our plates were also changed a few times. Great service for a void deck restaurant.
There isn’t really much variety to order Teochew food. We ordered the things we usually order in a Teochew restaurant, except steam Pomfret.
The Pork Trotter jelly ($12) was not anymore different from the other restaurants.
The cold crabs (which we had reserved before hand) was small. The restaurant, being located at a void deck of a HDB flat, charges the crab at a whopping $36 each, $8 more expensive than at Chui Huay Lim.
There wasn’t as much roe and the crab was definitely smaller. Too expensive in my opinion but everyone enjoyed it.
The compoy fish maw soup ($30) was highly recommended too. It was starchy and I prefer the one served at Ah Orh. Still, this is a less sinful alternative than shark’s fin soup and tasted almost the same.
The Teochew prawn roll ($12)was crunchy. Mike would have preferred the liver prawn roll but I like this.
The braised duck ($18) on sliced well, thin and tender, but I find the lor (sauce) too thick. (Quite liberal use of starch in most food.)
I was surprised to see the Zhejiang Pork Rib ($15) and wondered why Mike ordered this. There was too much tenderizer on the meat. One should never order outside Teochew province in a Teochew restaurant. Bad choice.
The fried vermicelli ($15) was another highly recommended dish. This dish is more commonly found in Hokkien restaurant. My friend D and I found it a tat salty but otherwise well fried, not too oily.
The stir-fried Hong Kong Kailan ($16) was very good, something I know my niece Nat would have liked very much.
A Teochew meal is not completed without dessert yam paste (Orh-nee, $18).
Not a fan of yam, my boys proclaimed the one Ah Kong cooked the night before much better (and healthier without oil.) I found the yam too starchy and couldn’t open my mouth after I put the spoon in. To be fair, my friend D loved it we had to restraint her from licking the bowl.
I was surprised at the high charges as compared to Chui Huay Lin which I thought was expensive. (Steamed peanuts was $2 for a tea-cup size.) Now I know, only the Pomfret is expensive at Chui Huay Lin – so a better deal and better food there.
But I can’t complain. We were celebrating Ivan’s 19th birthday (23 August) and a farewell to his departure to Taiwan for NS. My ex-neighbours and good friends joined us. An occasion with great company, the food is really secondary.