Most diners would not expect good seafood restaurants to be located in Singapore’s heartlands. But a notable exception is Chin Huat Live Seafood Restaurant at Sunset Way. The restaurant is like a “cze char” open air coffeeshop located on the ground floor of the HDB shops in Block 105 of Clementi Street 12. Its indoor dining area is air-conditioned, while the outdoor area is cooled by electric fans. There are also two air-conditioned private dining rooms and they are very popular with diners who book them well in advance.
The restaurant was started by the late Mr Low Chin Huat and is now managed by his wife, daughter Amy, and her husband. The late Mr Low started his first live seafood restaurant in 1995 at this location, which allows diners to choose and even fish for the seafood of their choice directly from the fish tanks that flank the restaurant.
In spite of the “no frills” ambience, the food at this restaurant is good and some of the dishes are even better than the established seafood restaurants on the East Coast belt.
Despite its reputation for quality seafood, we started our meal with other dishes. One of the vegetable dishes that we found most unusual is the Green Snake Gourd stuffed with seafood patty. The food styling of this dish got top marks for being creative. It was served like a bamboo plant on a plate. The gourd came with deep fried enoki mushrooms at the side, which gave the dish an added crunchiness.
We heard of the restaurant’s suckling pig, which they roast in the open area. We ordered half of a pig to try and it was delicious. The skin was crispy and wafer-thin with the meat moist and succulent.
Another item that stood out was the Bamboo Clams steamed with garlic and vermicelli. The bamboo clams were fresh and the aromatic garlic embellished this simple dish.
For seafood, we prefer it either steamed or stir fried to taste the freshness. We ordered the Boston Lobster to be stir fried in ginger and onion. The flesh of the lobster was firm and springy.
A ‘must-try’ dish in any seafood restaurant is the crab, to be done in either black pepper or chilli sauce. At Chin Huat, they serve not only these two popular versions but also crab in salted egg yolk and golden sauce crab.
The black pepper crab was intensely hot, yet we could taste the sweetness of the crab meat. The chilli crab was delicious. It was in fact “finger-licking” good. The gravy was the perfect dip for the fried buns.
To round off the meal, we had the Pumpkin Sweet Yam with Gingko Nuts. This is the famous Teochew dessert that did not disappoint. The yam paste was smooth and not too sweet. Some coconut milk was also added to the yam paste to make it “lemak” (or rich in Malay).
Dining at Chin Huat is a casual affair. The restaurant is usually packed with diners and service may not be very attentive. For the quality of the food served, we considered the price to be reasonable, which came to be about S$70 per person.
Blk 105 Clementi Street 12
#01-30 (Sunset Way)
Opening Hours (Daily):
Lunch: 11:30 am – 2:30 pm
Dinner: 5:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Note: Unless otherwise stated, Biz Daily pays for all the meals reviewed in Dining.