We’re back at Chui Huay Lim again, this time for dinner. Service has taken a plunge compared to our previous visit. Staff were overwhelmed by the crowd; it was so difficult to catch their attention, such that I had to fetch the menu myself. If this was just an eatery, I wouldn’t have minded at all. But prices at Chui Huay Lim are steep, hence this standard of service is appalling. We made a mental note to avoid this restaurant on weekends.
As mentioned before, Teochew cuisine sets itself apart from most other Chinese cuisines by being light-handed on flavourings, salt and oil. Commonly regarded as being very healthy, cooking methods often involve poaching, steaming and braising, depending much on the freshness and quality of ingredients for taste and flavour. While dishes are competently executed, Chui Huay Lim did not rock my world. Certainly did for my FIL though, who is Teochew and loves the authenticity of cooking here.
Slow braised in earthy aromatic spices, the Teochew Braised Duck ($16/per portion, $28/half, $54/whole) exudes a mouth-watering aroma. Nesting on a bed of silky tofu, the tender meat oozes flavour with every bite. I like to pair this with the Teochew chilli, garlic and vinegar dipping sauce to add a tangy punch.
It’s hard to go wrong with salted egg yolk. Wok fried Salted Egg Yolk Prawns ($20/$30/$40) were conveniently deshelled so one will not have to waste precious time, and dive straight into the dish. Each succulent prawn was generously coated with a thick layer of salted egg yolk paste, with diced capsicums that added a delightful crunch.
The highlight of any Teochew meal is always the Steamed Pomfret (seasonal price). The flavourful broth was light, which accentuated the fish’s freshness. It’s simplicity at its finest.
Plump and juicy scalloped graced our greens. Spinach with Scallops ($24/$36/$48) was a refreshing change from the common broccoli rendition.
The unassuming Si Ji Dou/French Beans ($12/$18/$24) was an unexpected surprise. Stir fried with minced pork and preserved black olives, your taste buds will reveal in the abundance of flavor.
I was excited to see Sugar encrusted Deep Fried Yam Sticks ($10/8 pieces) on the menu. It’s new to me, and as fan of taro, I was eager to try them. It’s essentially smooth and creamy yam, with a thin crisp crust, coated with sugar. The quality of the yam makes or breaks this dessert. If you’re fond of natural, unadulterated flavor of yam, you’ll love these warm sticks of comfort. Do note that the kitchen needs 25 minute prepare this dessert.
Other popular desserts we had were Sweet Yam Paste with Hashima ($7.80), Sweet Yam Paste with Pumpkin and Gingko Nuts ($4.50) and Almond Jelly (3.50), which were all lovely, especially the Orh Nee.
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