Chui Huay Lim is a well-known restaurant among the Teochew community in Singapore. Used to be opened to only the members of the club of the same name, they have since open their doors to the public as well.
Located on a quiet side street off Newton Circus flanked by towering apartment blocks is a very unlikely building. The structure is a sight to behold: through an ancient Chinese gateway with giant roaring lions guarding either side of its doors lies the Chui Huay Lim Club that was founded in 1845 for rich Teochew families to meet.
The fare is traditional Singaporean-Teochew, with influences from Chaozhou, China.
Jellied Pig Trotter 豬腳凍
It easy to screw up this dish. Luckily they didn’t . But I suspected that they added agar-agar as the jelly can withstand room temperature without melting.
Teochew Cold Crab 潮州凍膏蟹
Too small and too dry, and there’s no roe. Complete miss. Not a promising start to the dinner.
Teochew braised goose 鹵水鵝
I was surprised that they have Teochew braised goose 鹵水鵝. The import of goose had resumed, but most Teochew restaurants would skip it because the goose was frozen and of a wrong constitute – i.e. not the famous Swatow lion-head goose. It turned out my worry was true. The goose was dry even though the braising sauce was really tasty. So best part of the dish was the tofu on the bottom of the place.
Oyster omelette 蚝烙
A dish that they have excelled consistently was the oyster omelette 蚝烙. While the texture was consistent and crispy, the oysters used were really small.
Teochew-style steamed pomfret
Finally, something that they do well consistently. Somehow, they can get the freshest pomfret of a reasonably larger size and for Teochew-style steamed pomfret, you need a fish that’s around 1kg. Excellent.
Japanese tofu with crab meat 蟹粉日式頭髮
The manager highly recommended this dish and said it was the chef’s specialty. Quite ordinary and not even Teochew style. The crab sauce was full of starch. and there were only three pieces of tofu. Not impressed, another miss.
Chives with prawns 韭黃炒明蝦
I could not believe my eyes when this was served. The size of the dish was the same as my serving plate, and there was only three prawns (we were a party of six). Also the chives were too dry. Another miss.
Teochew fried kwayteow 潮州炒粿條
The fried teochew kway teow was burnt and tasted bitter, but the manager tried to defend themselves and said it was supposedly so. She even questioned if I knew what it should taste like because that’s how everyone liked it. The last time I was here, we have been warned about the smokiness. But it was not burnt that it turned bitter. A total failure. They took back the dish and replaced with fried mee sua.
Candied yam 反沙芋
Another big miss. Candied yam 反沙芋 is a quintessential Teochew dish and required very good wok skills to repeatedly turn the cut yam to evenly coat the melted sugar around the yam. Also, the yam must be of very high quality and cooked thoroughly but not over cooked such they crumble to bite. Their version was not well cooked, the yam was still hard and evenly coated with a sugary skin and the sugar just fell off the yam.
Almond pudding with longan 龍眼豆腐
Nothing to shout of, a very simple dessert but I was shocked that it only had one piece of longan! Another miss.
I am actually disappointed by this visit. Most of the courses were off the mark. The cold crab was a rip-off. The waitresses are not well-versed with Teochew cuisine. But it would still be a good place for entertaining customers as they have an excellent service team that are used to serve the rich towkay that come to this private social club. If only they could maintain the food standard.
Chui Huay Lim Club
190 Keng Lee Road #01-02
Tel : +65 6732 3637
Date Visited : Jul 2019