SINGAPORE - Well-known Teochew restaurant Swa Garden in MacPherson served its last meal on Sunday (April 16). In 2013, 58-year-old family-run Teochew restaurant Mong Hing, also called it a day.
While these well-loved Teochew restaurants have shuttered, there are at least 10 others that offer good traditional fare.
Tuck into Teochew classics including braised duck, oyster omelette, pork jelly, braised abalone and sea cucumber, as top off your meal with that sweet-savoury orh nee yam paste for dessert.
1. HUNG KANG RESTAURANT
Hung Kang opened in 1962 in North Canal Road and moved to its current location at the Poh Heng Building a few doors away, in 2002. Jewellery business Poh Heng took over ownership of the restaurant in the 1970s. Its specialities include Teochew braised superior (whole) shark's fin ($45 a bowl), sliced braised duck (from $18), and oyster omelette (from $18).
WHERE: 28 North Canal Road, 01-01, Poh Heng Building, tel: 6533-5300
OPEN: 11.30am to 3pm, 6 to 10pm, daily
INFO: Call 6533-5300 or go to http://www.teochewhungkang.com.sg/
2. TEOCHEW RESTAURANT HUAT KEE
Huat Kee, which serves traditional Teochew cuisine, has been around since 1969.
It started as a zi char stall on the pavement of a coffee shop in Wayang Street. In the 1980s, it was an open-air restaurant at the former Gay World Amusement Park. In 1993, it opened as a full-fledged Teochew restaurant in Amoy Street and moved to its current premises in 2015.
Its signature items include braised abalone ($40 and upwards) and traditional stuffed sea cucumber ($18 a serving). It also serves items such as liver rolls ($12), jellied pig's trotters ($12), and oyster omelette ($18).
WHERE: RELC Building, 30 Orange Grove Road, 02-01
OPEN: 11am to 3pm, 6 to 10pm, daily
INFO: Call 6423-4747 or go to https://www.teochewrestaurant.com/
3. AH ORH SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Ah Orh zi char restaurant has been in business for 98 years. It started as a bak kut teh stall at a market in Merchant Road. Since 1965, its menu grew to include zi char dishes and it moved to the now-defunct Ellenborough Market Hawker Centre in 1980. It opened in 1997 at its current premises, a Housing Board block void deck in Jalan Bukit Merah.
Popular items here include its braised duck (from $18 a serving), Teochew fried kway teow ($13), braised sea cucumber with fish maw ($40), yam basket ($25) and jellied pork ($18).
WHERE: 115 Jalan Bukit Merah, 01-1627
OPEN: 11am to 2pm, 5.30 to 10pm, daily
INFO: Call 6275-7575
4. CHUI HUAY LIM TEOCHEW CUISINE
Offerings at Chui Huay Lim include braised goose (from $26 a serving), braised duck (from $18 a serving), and braised pig's trotters (from $14 a serving). Other popular items include deep-fried liver rolls ($12), and ngoh hiang ($12). There is also a wide range of soups, meats, and seafood, as well as the must-have Teochew dessert of orh nee.
WHERE: Chui Huay Lim Club, 190 Keng Lee Road, 01-02
OPEN: Lunch - noon to 3pm (Mondays to Thursdays), 11.30am to 3pm (Fridays to Sundays, and public holidays); Dinner - 6 to 11pm (Mondays to Thursdays), 5.30 to 11pm (Fridays to Sundays and public holidays).
INFO: Call 6732-3637 or 6352-5955; go to http://www.chlteochewcuisine.com/en/home
5. PARADISE TEOCHEW
The Paradise Group of restaurants opened a second Paradise Teochew outlet at Scotts Square last year. The first is at the Chinese Swimming Club in Amber Road.
The extensive menu features a wide variety of seafood, meats, vegetables and soup. Highlights include chilled yellow roe crab in Teochew style, and braised crispy sea cucumber in abalone sauce.
ST food critic Wong Ah Yoke recommends the Braised Sliced Duck (from $20 a portion to $70 for the whole duck). He also recommends that diners pre-order the Teochew Style Roasted Suckling Pig ($188), at least two days ahead. Unlike the Cantonese way, Teochew-style suckling pig is eaten with the crackling and meat together. The crackling here, which is amazingly crispy, makes the dish, he says.
WHERE: Scotts Square, 6 Scotts Road, 03-04/05/06/07; and Chinese Swimming Club, 21 Amber Road 03-01 (Arrival Pavilion)
OPEN: 11.30am to 3pm and 6 to 10.30pm (weekdays), 10.30am to 3.30pm and 6 to 10.30pm (weekends and public holidays)
INFO: Call 6538-0644 (Scotts Square), 6348-7298 (Chinese Swimming Club) or go to www.paradisegroup.com.sg
6. IMPERIAL TREASURE FINE TEOCHEW CUISINE
Located at Ion Orchard, Imperial Treasure Fine Teochew Cuisine seats 190 people and has five private rooms. It won a Bronze award at this year's inaugural Best Asian Restaurants awards, presented by The Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao.
Some of ST food critic Wong Ah Yoke's favourite dishes here include the Deep-fried Prawn Ball and Deep-fried Black Moss Roll (both $5 a piece), which he says boast "delightfully springy textures that avoid coming across as plasticky".
Other highlights here include the sliced duck meat ($10), crunchy duck’s tongue ($12), the tender pig’s intestine ($16), the pork knuckle ($16), and Fried Hor Fun With Diced Kai Lan & Preserved Radish ($18).
Another must-try is the Pan Fried Baby Oyster In Flour Omelette ($24). Mr Wong says the omelette is fried with a generous amount of starch that gives it a gooey texture, but there is also enough egg to provide a crisp coat and a nice contrast in textures.
.WHERE: Ion Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn, 03-05
OPEN: Lunch - 11.30am to 3pm (weekdays), 11am to 3pm (Saturdays), 10.30am to 3pm (Sundays and public holidays); Dinner - 6 to 11pm daily.
INFO: Call 6736-2118 or go to http://www.imperialtreasure.com/res_FD_ITFTC.php
7. SWATOW GARDEN SEAFOOD RESTAURANT & SWATOW SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Swatow Seafood, which opened in Toa Payoh in 2010, opened a second outlet at Serangoon Gardens Country Club last April.
Some of the restaurant chain's signature items include Crispy Oyster Omelette ($15) and the Imperial Fried Egg With Duck Meat ($12) - a delicious omelette that is a good alternative for those who are allergic to or do not like oysters.
Of the omelette dishes, ST food critic Wong Ah Yoke says: "Unlike traditional versions of the dish, in which the oysters are fried with the egg, Swatow serves them separately in a small bowl of savoury-sweet sauce. This allows the chef to get the omelette as crisp as a cracker, which makes this a hit with kids – and many adults too."
Also try the Chilled Jelly Pork Knuckle ($8) and Teochew Chilled Slice Braised Pig’s Head ($8), as well as the steamed pomfret (seasonal price), Teochew Braised Duck Meat With Bean Curd ($15), and orh nee with gingko nuts ($5).
WHERE: Swatow Seafood - Blk 181 Lorong 4 Toa Payoh, 02-602; Swatow Garden Seafood - Serangoon Gardens Country Club, 22 Kensington Park Road
OPEN: 8 to 10.30pm, daily (Toa Payoh); 11am to 3pm (weekdays), 9am to 3pm (weekends and public holidays), 6 to 11pm daily (Serangoon Gardens)
INFO: Call 6363 1717 (Both outlets)
8. CHAO SHAN CUISINE
Popular items at Chao San Cuisine, which relocated from Beach Road to Phillip Street last year, include braised goose ($20), and oyster omelette ($18).
Expect a spread of other Teochew fare, from steamed pomfret to mustard greens served in a claypot, and the quintessential must-have Teochew dessert, orh nee. The version here is fragrant with shallot oil.
WHERE: 17 Philip Street
OPEN: 11.30am to 3pm, 6 to 10pm, daily
INFO: Call 6336-2390
9. G7 LIANG KEE RESTAURANT
At G7 Liang Kee, one of its most popular dishes is Steamed Pomfret In Two Ways - in a sour plum soup, and deep-fried, Thai-style (price depends on the weight on the fish, from about $40 and upwards).
It also has a big spread of Teochew offerings such as oyster omelette and chye poh omelette, Teochew-style pork shank, fish maw soup, cold crab, and mee sua.
WHERE: 737 Havelock Road
OPEN: 11.30am to 2.30pm, 5 to 10.30pm, daily
INFO: Call 6278-7026 or 9733-7595; go to http://www.g7liangkee.com
10. CHIN LEE RESTAURANT
The restaurant started in 1973.
It serves dishes such as Teochew chye poh fried kway teow ($10), chilled Teochew pig's trotter jelly ($8), housemade hae chou or Teochew prawn rolls ($12), and oyster omelette pancake ($16).
Set menus start at $368 for a table of 10 people.
WHERE: Block 115 Bedok North Road, 01-285
OPEN: 11.30. 2.15 6 to 5.30 10pm.
INFO: Call 6444-5554 or 6449-5454; or go to http://chinlee.com.sg/
11. YUAN XING CHAO ZHOU RESTAURANT (GUAN HIN)
The restaurant in Whampoa West, which is more commonly known as Guan Hin, has a range of Teochew dishes that include braised goose ($16 a serving) and Teochew-style suckling pig ($200, order a day in advance).
Tuck into other offerings such as prawn balls, steamed pomfret, steamed leather jacket, cold crab and more.
WHERE: Block 34 Whampoa West, 01-01, off Bendemeer Road
OPEN: 11.30am to 2.30pm, daily; 6 to 9.30pm (weekdays), 5.30 to 9.30pm (weekends).
INFO: Call 6298-3179 or 6293-3274; or go to http://www.yuanxingchaozhou.com