Being half a Teochew (my mum’s a Teochew-Nang), special occasions were celebrated at old-style Teochew restaurants. Those memories of sitting around round tables to jiat dot and relish signature dishes like the Steamed Pomfret, Prawn Rolls and Orh Nee still linger.
Many of such restaurants are no longer around, and so we frequently search for good authentic Teochew food that provides this sense of familiarity.
Paradise Group’s Paradise Teochew Restaurant is a pleasant find, and this is somewhere my uncles and aunties (all my Ah Beh, A Mm, Ah Zeg, Ah Sim, Ah Gou, Ah Gu, Ah I, Ah Gim), and even the young ones should enjoy thoroughly.
Its location is on the 3rd level of Chinese Swimming Club’s Sport Complex at Amber Road, and 2nd branch at Orchard Scotts Square.
“Peculiar choice of location”, I first thought. Then I learnt that many Teochew families reside around the East Coast area. The early lunch crowd looked like a mixture of families, friends for a get-together, and office workers for a corporate lunch at the other end of the restaurant.
The younger generation (boy, I sound old here) may not be aware of the different cuisines between the dialect groups.
Teochew style dishes are known for being light-handed on seasonings with minimal use of oil, hence commonly regarded as being healthier.
Teochew cuisine is said to be originated from Guangdong province in China. The cuisine also focuses on the freshness and quality of the ingredients, and uses heavily on cooking methods such as poaching, steaming and braising.
The Executive Chef Cheng Fa Kwan is from Hong Kong, and has 34 years of culinary experience under his belt. He came from a family of Teochew chefs, with skills passed down from grandfather to father and finally to him; the 3rd generation. So if you actually tried Teochew food in Hong Kong and long for some particular dishes, you may actually find familiar taste here.
There is a good mix of both popular dim sum items such as Steamed Pork Dumpling “Siew Mai” ($5.80), Prawn Dumpling “Ha Kau” ($5.80), Pan-fried Radish Cake ($4.80) and Steamed Spare Ribs with Yam Strips ($5.80); and Teochew style appetizers in the likes of Porridge with Sliced Pomfret ($8.00), Teochew Prawn Ball ($16 for 6 pieces), Teochew Pork Roll ($10 for 6 pieces) and braised specialties.
Steamed Custard Bun in Piggy Shape 奶香猪仔包 ($5.80)
Couldn’t resist the cuteness of these buns – shaped like a piggy and filled with custard and pine seeds.
No flow in this though, this is a milk yolk ‘nai huang’ custard bun, rather than the molten salted egg yolk type.
Baked BBQ Honey Pork Bun 紫麦雪山包 ($5.40)
The Chinese name of these BBQ Pork Buns happens to be aptly called as “Snow Mountain Buns”, as the slightly crusty sweet outer layer covers like a snow-capped mountain.
Beneath the chewy layer of crust were sweet-savoury char siew fillings, the moist and sticky type that I enjoy.
Main Courses – Teochew Style Signatures
Teochew Style Steamed Pomfret 潮式蒸鲳 (Seasonal Pricing)
The quintessential Singapore Teochew dish prepared the quintessential way.
The chioh her is steamed with the salted vegetables and tomatoes, purposefully kept simple to bring out the natural sweetness of the fish.
This silver pomfret was fresh with chunky meat, no fishy taste, had a clear soup base with an appetizing tinge of sourness coming from the plums. Mum will like.
Sautéed Sliced Beef in Satay Sauce 沙爹酱炒牛肉 ($22.00)
I wasn’t expecting to see a satay-something on the menu, and this turned out to be my favourite dish of all.
After taking a bite of the superbly tender sliced beef, then I recalled “Hong Kong, Hong Kong!” I had something similar over there, though Satay Sauced Beef may not be a common-thing in Singapore.
The sauce covering the crunchy Kai Lan was slurp-worthy, and is specially imported from Hong Kong.
Braised Trio Combination in Teochew Style 潮式卤味三拼 ($24.00)
The classic Braised Sliced Duck, Braised Sliced Pork Belly and Braised Octopus in a platter – is the best way to sample the restaurant’s forte.
Braised dishes are still prepared following traditional recipe and method passed down from generation to generation; with emphasis on the sauce especially.
iners will certainly enjoy the goodness in every piece – soft, yet with a bite. I noted that the seasoning was not too strong on this dish, much lighter than the average Chinese restaurant.
Sautéed Scallop with Asparagus in XO Sauce XO 酱芦笋带子 ($32.00)
Plump scallops cooked with crunchy asparagus, not missing the much-needed wok-hei.
Steamed Diced Chicken wrapped in Egg White Crepe 菊花石榴鸡 ($18.00)
When I heard how this dish was prepared, I got overwhelmed. How much patience is needed?
First, the white skin wrapping is not made from flour, but an egg white crepe which would require much skill for it to be thin yet strong enough to wrap the ingredients so that it remains unbroken. Then, this skin is used to wrap up a mixture of chopped chicken bits, Chinese ham, diced water chestnut and bamboo shoots.
Taste wise, somewhat on the plain side.
Pan-fried Oyster Omelette in Teochew Style 潮州蚝煎蛋 ($18.00)
An Oyster Omelette dish that was not too oily, so much so that you shouldn’t feel guilty having second and third bites.
This was a flat round version, encapsulating fluffy eggs and plump oysters. If the omelette was crisper on the exterior, this would have been a perfect ten.
Crispy Sweet and Sour Noodle in Teochew Style 潮式干煎糖醋面 ($14.00)
I must admit this is the very first time I have seen a main staple presented this way.
Said to be found only in Hong Kong, the noodles specially imported was pan-fried to crisp on both sides, yet leaving it moist on the inside. Almost felt like eating a snack.
It’s recommended to douse some vinegar and sprinkle some sugar on it before consuming. A bite and you could experience both that sweet and sour taste of the vinegar. I was not the greatest fan (needed some getting used to), but I think it could grow on you.
Mashed Yam with Gingko 福果甜芋泥 ($4.50)
The Orh Nee served with gingko nuts was smooth with a good consistent amount of sweetness; neither too starchy nor cloying.
Steamed Sweetened Yam, Sweet Potato and Gingko 高烧三宝 ($8.00)
If you would like to experience something different, this dessert, which comes in light and royal purple coloured cubes made of yam and sweet potato, might interest you. For those with a sweet tooth, this dessert is definitely the best way to end your meal.
Generally, I find the dishes at Paradise Teochew Restaurant to be lightly-favoured with the usage of little oil, even lighter than many Teochew Restaurants that I came across.
While some may find that mild, I thought it allows the essence of some of the ingredients to surface, and the older diners would certainly find this a refreshing change from heavy tastes.
Time to jiak-bah-bah.
Paradise Teochew Restaurant
21 Amber Road, #03-01 (Arrival Pavilion) Chinese Swimming Club, Singapore 439870
Tel: +65 6348 7298
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 3.30pm, 6.00pm – 10.30pm (Mon – Fri),
10.30am – 3.30pm, 6.00pm –10.30pm (Sat, Sun & PH)
6 Scotts Road, #03-04/05/06/07, Scotts Square, Singapore 228209
Tel: +65 6538 0644
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 3pm last order 2.30pm, 6pm – 10.30pm last order 10pm (Mon to Fri),
10.30am – 3.30pm last order 3.00pm, 6pm – 10.30pm last order 10pm (Sat, Sun and PH)
* This entry is brought to you in partnership with Paradise Group.