February 2018
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Hi there,

Over the weekend, we celebrated my mum’s birthday. Was having a headache wondering where we should go, somewhere we never been before will be great. Japanese, Korean, Western, Buffet.. nah.. looking for something more traditional, may be Sze Chuan but didn’t feel like anything spicy, then randomly, one of us proposed to have it at Chin Lee Teochew restaurant. Yeah!

Have always wanted to try Teochew cuisine, as I am a fan of Teochew style steamed fish, so this is probably a great chance to try this out. Since there are a few of us, we will also be able to order quite a few items and savor their signature dishes.

chin lee teo chew restaurant table setting

We reached about 7pm and immediately found out it was a big mistake to not make a reservation before hand. The restaurant was bumping! and was also told waiting time could be more than half an hour. My usual self will definitely leave but since it is for a special occasion and the dishes served looks really appetizing, we decided to give it a try.

This place which is just located downstairs a hdb flat is rather unique, I wouldn’t expect a Teochew restaurant to be there, honestly. There were red latterns hanging around, which created a very cosy ambience.

chin lee teo chew restaurant outside

The wait wasn’t that bad actually because it is quite windy, they have large ceiling fan and also standing cooler to ventilate the whole area, you can choose to sit either outside (with ceiling fan) or inside (with air con). And you can also see every table that came are large families, many tables were celebrating birthdays for the old folks too. 🙂

The photo below looks empty because we were actually one of the last table to wrap up our dinner because we ordered quite a lot of food, but you can see there are actually quite a number of tables there.

chin lee teo chew restaurant decor

After about 45 mins wait, we were seated comfortably near the cooler, we were given some braised peanuts ($1.5) as appetizer to whet our appetite. The dishes came quite quickly because the waitresses has been taking orders during the waiting time. It works as a good strategy to keep the customers from leaving and also quicken the whole dinner.

chin lee teo chew restaurant appetizers

We were first being served with the Cold Dish ($35) , which consist of prawn salad, Vietnamese spring roll, jelly fish with dressing and also fried Ngoh Hiang. We decided to order this dish mainly because for the jelly fish, because we have not eaten for a long time.

The dish however did not goes down well at all. The only one that I find was marginally okay, was the prawn salad, which is something that could never go wrong, boiled prawns mixed with salad cream topped with cucumbers & mango cubes. The Ngoh Hiang was mediocre, tasted slightly better with the sweet sauce but nothing to shout about. The jelly fish was way too chunky and thick, instead of tasting the crunchy ribbons like jelly fish, you feel like you are biting through “ropes” of rubber bands.

chin lee teo chew restaurant cold dish

The worst was actually the vietnamese spring rolls, although the netted skin was crispy as what you expect. The main problem was the fillings. There were fresh prawns in there. I was busy looking after my son during the meal and just chowed down the whole piece, thought it was a bit fishy at first, but the rest of us, did bite half of it and found out the prawns are all uncooked! That’s what it is, we immediately told the waitress and they apologised. The thing was that they served us a total new plate, however, by then I already do not feel like touching it at all – period.

Dinner went smoother after this. They came fast & furious, and luckily some commendable dishes finally appeared.

chin lee teo chew restaurant cripsy pork knuckle slices

The cripsy Teochew pork knuckle ($10)  is similar to those that you buy from cold storage, or eat at any German restaurant, I was quite surprised that they serve this in a Teochew restaurant, didn’t know it was also a Teochew delicacies. Anyway, this is one of my favourite dish. This boneless version comes with crispy pork skin with lots of meat. Some of the meat can be a little tough, but most of it are tender, and goes very well with the sweet sauce or the chilli sauce.

chin lee teo chew restaurant steamed promfret

Next came the must-have of every Teochew dining experience. Teochew steamed fish ($38) , we choosed promfret and it comes in a huge plate with salty preserved vegetables, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, chinese mushroom and also some pork fats. Besides the ingredients, the fish comes with this broth which has been infused with all the good stuff in it.

Taste wise, my mum thought it was just okay, but I must say the fish was extremely fresh, the flesh was firm and plentiful for us to share and the broth goes well with it. I actually end up slurping all the broth in the end, because it practically taste like some really good fish soup.

chin lee teo chew restaurant sweet & sour pork

Alright come this dish, I was torn between ordering sweet & sour pork or the pork ribs. Ended up with sweet & sour pork ($8) but probably a wrong choice. The meat for the sweet & sour pork are all lean meat, which was something I am not used to. The really nice ones that I have tried are with crispy coatings encased with some belly meat, which has some fats in it so that every mouthful is tender yet succulent and not very oily.

This version already failed because the meat were tough. The sauce also was not tart enough and tasted like coffee ribs, which we suspect the chef cooked this right after he served coffee ribs without cleaning the same wok.

chin lee teo chew restaurant asparagus

Next we have sauteed asparagus ($12), we wanted to have asparagus with scallops, but somehow our order was lost in translation, and ended up with just plain sauteed asparagus instead. And we have no regrets to it at all!!  This is really one of the best asparagus I have ever had!!! Everyone at the table, all agreed with me.

The asparagus was thick, yet so crunchy and fresh, it was cooked perfectly, I suspect they boiled the asparagus half way and then sauteed for a short while to let it cooked till fragrant. I am telling you, this is a dish you must not miss. 🙂

chin lee teo chew restaurant braised duck with sea cucumber

We also ordered braised duck with sea cucumber, as we saw other people had it and looked quite nice, we have half a braised duck with sea cucumber ($36). I personally didn’t like sea cucumber so I didn’t try that, but I did try the vegetables and the braised duck.

The braised duck was a little tough, and the sauce was a little too salty too. My mum said it will taste really good with plain porridge, so we decided to take it back home instead so that we will still have room for other dishes. (Actually the funny thing was that after bringing this back home, the next day we cooked it further, and it tasted much better, great to goes with soup kway teow. 🙂 )

chin lee teo chew restaurant seafood ho fun

We had a choice of either ordering the dry chai po kway teow or seafood kway teow ($8) . But my husband wanted something soupy so we chosed the latter. In the next table I did see diners ordering the chai po kway teow. The noodles look like very sticky and thick, actually it doesn’t look bad at all, and looks like something that will goes well with the meal.

The seafood kway teow came with prawns, meat, fish slices and couple stalks of kai lan vegetables. The flavour was what you will expect, sauce infused with the ingredients, topped with some green chillis and you are good to go. This one is slightly different. The kway teow was very chewy and thick, which my husband like, but not too much for me and he gobbled up everything instantly.

chin lee teo chew restaurant longevity bun

Since it was my mum’s birthday, we decided to order some longevity buns to go with the dessert. It cost $6 for half a dozen so $1 each. Size of a quarter palm size each. Took about 10 mins for them to steam up, and the buns were fluffy while the fillings tasted great. The fillings was not very sweet and the amount is proportion to the buns, so you won’t end up scooping out a big chunk of the fillings.

chin lee teo chew restaurant longveity buns

And how do you qualify to have completed a Teochew dining experience without Oh Nee? We opted for both Oh Nee with gingko nuts ($3) and also Oh Nee with gingko nuts & pumpkin ($3.5) – single servings as we were really full by that time . I have to tell you, I have never been a fan of Oh Nee, because of how it looks and what it makes of, not really the yam part, but more like the oily part.

However, I know now why I have never been a fan…its because I have never tried anyone that is good!!!! Finally now I know what good Oh Nee taste like. This is seriously really good stuff. After mixing up the yam paste with the oil, it turned instantly into a velvety smooth custard like dessert. The one that all of us like rather is the one with the pumpkin, because the sweetness of the pumpkin blend so well with the yam flavor and the gingko nuts gave it a lot of bite. Love it.

chin lee teo chew restaurant oh nee

Overall, there were hits & misses, but I can tell you, just the Oh Nee, steamed fish and asparagus is enough to bring me back.

During our dinner, there were quite a few tables celebrating birthdays, I think this place is really popular, some even goes to the extend of ordering some old school traditional cream cakes to celebrate granny’s birthday, with the whole big families singing birthday song. I can tell why there is a certain nostalgic charm in this little restaurant that can cheer up the old folks.

Cover charge for 5 pax was $7.5, soft drink was $1.5 each and they have no service charge, only GST. Service was commendable even there was no service charge, all the waitress was quick and seemed to have worked there for a long time, they are really organized and worked closely together which is not something you see often in restaurants.

Give this place a try if you want to impress your parents or in laws or grannies for some no-frills nostalgic experience. 🙂

Restaurant Reviews : Chin Lee Restaurant Pte Ltd

Locations : Blk 115 #01-285, Bedok North Road, Singapore 460115

Tel : 64445554 / 64495454

Business Hours :

  • Mon – Fri (Lunch) 1130am – 230pm / (Dinner) 6pm – 1030pm
  • Sat, Sun & PH (Lunch) 1130am – 230pm / (Dinner) 530pm – 1030pm

Happy Dining!

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