Chui Huay Lim Teochew Cuisine

Our Hanoi travel guide recently visited Singapore, and we took the opportunity to show him around our little island city-state. He'd been instrumental in our new-found love for Vietnamese cuisine, and we wanted to inculcate a reciprocal love for our local cuisine. Turns out, our friend wasn't too keen on our spice-and-oil-laden signatures like laksa, chilli crab, char kway teow and hokkien mee. In hindsight, it made sense that a Hanoian, who's accustomed to light and clean flavours, would find our typical "national dishes" overwhelmingly robust.

It was serendipitous, then, that we suggested he sample Teochew fare, a Chinese dialect cuisine characterised by clear and delicate flavours. This meal alone changed his opinion of Singaporean cuisine; he couldn't understand, before, why everyone seemed to rave about Singaporean food.

We brought our friend to Chui Huay Lim Teochew Cuisine, an anchor restaurant at the Teochew Chui Huay Lim Club. The Jumbo-affiliated restaurant was grand and opulent in a traditional chinnoisserie way. Reservations are strongly recommended; even on a Thursday night, they were operating at a full-capacity, mostly with towkay-types. It's easy to see why, the food was fantastic, especially the seafood.

Despite the full-house, service was efficient, warm and friendly in that sweet motherly way made familiar by the Crystal Jade & Imperial Treasure restaurant empires. Dishes arrived in quick succession, our water glasses were kept brimming, so even though my request to hold off any parsley/cilantro/coriander was inadvertently forgotten by the kitchen multiple times, I was okay to let that lapse go.

A must-try, the Teochew Puning Chicken ($16 for half) was balanced and muted, subtly accented by fermented bean sauce slathered over the plump and succulent free-range chicken.

The Deep-Fried Ngoh Hiang Rolls ($10 for small) possessed a lovely crunch, and chunky texture. If I had a gripe, it'd be that it was lightly laced with coriander.

Another must-try, the Teochew Braised Duck ($28 for half) was impossibly fresh, with a nuanced soy-based braise seeped into the moist tender meat, and smooth soft beancurd.

Seafood is integral to Teochew cuisine, and the Teochew-style Steamed Threadfin Tail ($52 80) was absolutely stellar. Swimmingly fresh, barely seasoned with a few salted vegetables, plums, ginger, chilli, mushrooms and tomatoes strewn about, this was simplicity at its most refined.We lapped up all of the wonderfully restorative broth.

The Braised Conpoy with Eight Vegetarian Treasures ($32 for medium) was just glorious as well, I loved the luscious velvety sauce, and the sweetness of the cabbage layered with a medley of dried scallops, enoki, Chinese black mushrooms, straw mushrooms, black moss, and carrots.

The Seafood Fried Mee Sua ($20 for small) was a commendable rounder, plentiful fresh prawns and squid, married together with a nice smoky wok hei.

Chui Huay Lim Teochew Cuisine
190 Keng Lee Road
#01-02 Chui Huay Lim Club
Tel: 6732 3637
Open daily from 11.30am to 3pm for lunch; 6pm to 11pm for dinner
Website: chlteochewcuisine.com


Anonymous said...

daylight robbery

Bern said...

it IS expensive, i agree, but to be fair, prices are comparable to Crystal Jade Teochew or Imperial Treasure Teochew. And, i think, as with most restaurants, the fish made the bulk of the bill.

and eh, i made a typo...it's $52, not $80...my bad!! so not really 'daylight robbery' lah

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