Welcome the new year with a feast at Chin Huat
Established in 1982, Chin Huat Live Seafood rose to prominence in the 1990s with its live lobster offerings.
After the death of the founder Low Chin Huat in 2005, his 25-year-old daughter took over the struggling business. Despite facing closure, she pressed on and turned the business around.
As long-time patrons, my family and I have always favoured this spot for chili crabs.
This year, we tried its Chinese New Year menu for 5 people ($568). Featuring shark fin, lobster and fish, it was a feast befitting the majestic grandeur of the dragon.
In keeping with our family's Chinese New Year tradition, we started the meal with yusheng.
The Prosperity Yu Sheng was topped with mini abalone, crispy fish skin and pomegranate. Deviating slightly from our usual topping of salmon, the mini abalone was a nice change, its tender texture complemented by the crunch of the fish skin.
Vegetarians can opt for the Hong Kong style yusheng which is made with salad greens.
Next up was a classic favourite: Braised Shark’s Fin. Each spoonful was filled with tender morsels of shark fin, dried scallop and crab meat. The soup was flavourful, the crab meat firm, fresh and bursting with natural sweetness.
If you choose not to consume shark fin, you can opt for the Fish Maw soup with crab meat instead.
The next dish was the seemingly simple Steamed Live Turbot. Seasoned with light soy sauce, the dish was a hit with the family. The turbot was cooked to perfection, its tender and flaky flesh a proof of its freshness.
The late Mr Low's live lobsters shot the restaurant to fame in the 1990s. And we could see why.
The Live Boston Lobster in Superior Broth was delectable, a clear favourite for my daughter Sarah and me.
The lobster was cooked just right, the firm yet succulent flesh retaining its natural sweetness and buttery taste. The broth added a touch of richness that enhanced the flavours without eclipsing the star of the dish.
We were then served the Whole Abalone with Black Moss and Dried Oyster – a dish that was a bit like pen cai without the rice. Loaded with roast pork, mushroom, black moss, oyster and whole abalone, I did wish I had white rice to sop up the goodness.
Oh, boy. Was I glad I resisted the temptation to order a bowl of white rice.
The Fragrant Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaf was truly aromatic, the mound of rice topped with julienned omelette and crunchy bits of fried dried shrimp. Within the rice mound were delicious bites of mushroom and Chinese sausage. I liked how the rice was less sticky and more grainy like fried rice.
We concluded the meal with tang yuan – a symbol of togetherness – opting for the Glutinous Rice Balls in Longan Ginger Tea. The rice balls had the right amount of chewiness to them and were packed with a lightly sweetened black sesame paste. The longan flesh complemented the mildly spicy ginger tea, which was a hot and soothing way to end the meal.
What a wonderful meal we had at Chin Huat. I'm confident you'd enjoy dining there as much as we did. Only one piece of advice: Book early.
The Chinese New Year menu is available till Fab 24.
Daddy and daughter approved! And we wish you a great Year of the Dragon.
Chin Huat Live Seafood (Sunset Way)
105 Clementi Street 12, Sunset Way, #01-30, Singapore 120105
Daily: 11am-2.30pm, 5pm-10.30pm
Tel: 6775 7348
CULINARY EXPLORER ON A JOURNEY OF FLAVOURS
Embarking on a delectable adventure that spans continents, Ray Tan joins our news outlet as an avid food reviewer. Recognised by his digital alter ego, @beyondtheisland, Ray has carved a niche for himself as a distinguished foodie, and is often accompanied by his daughter to local dining.