Singaporeans can travel ANYWHERE for good food, including the rather ulu sounding Bah Soon Pah Road for Lobster Porridge.
“Bah Soon Pah Road? I know, I know. Seafood restaurant, right?” The taxi uncle actually knew how to get there, lessening my need to seek help from Google Maps.
This branch of Orchid Live Seafood is located off Sembawang Road, within hectares of land occupied by Green Valley Farms where organic vegetables are grown right in the compounds.
Upon reaching, I thought I was immediately transported to the late 1990s, where rows of seafood tanks were placed right outside the modest looking restaurant, with its ‘good old days’ interior plain, simple, with family style round tables.
Customers kept coming. I was told that the customer base has expanded beyond the locals, with the Japanese and Koreans visiting more previously for signature dishes of Fresh Lobster, Crab, Bamboo Clams, Mussels and Fish especially the Patin Fish.
Orchid Live Seafood has been around since 1999, originally located at Orchid Country Club. Thus its name. It has since moved into two other locations at Bah Soon Pah Road and Jalan Kelulut (Seletar Hills Estate).
Carparking won’t be much for a problem for those who drive, just take note to turn left into the first unit you see, and not to the farms beyond.
Signature Lobster Porridge (100g/$10)
Orchid Live Seafood is known to be the originator of the famed Lobster Porridge, and also one of the largest, if not the largest importer of lobsters in Singapore.
Freshness? Definitely. The lobsters are as fresh as it gets, come from the ‘live’ tanks right outside.
The lobster porridge is cooked Teochew style, with a watery base and rice still mainly in grain form.
Upon drinking the robust broth cooked for more than 4 hours, the draw was its superbly tasty sweetness, coming from the natural flavours and juices of the lobsters.
Couldn’t stop taking spoonfuls to appreciate the comforting goodness, so much so that the server asked, “How come you are not having the rice?”
A small pot of 600g is good for 2 diners, 800g for 3, 1kg for 4, 1.5kg for 6 and 2kg is recommended for 8 diners and above.
Steven Chicken ($12)
This was the dish that was swept clean the fastest by the group of us, named after the creator and owner of restaurant Chef Steven.
There was an interesting story that went to its conception: The special sauced fried chicken was originally created as customers were frequently asking for pork ribs. However, the kitchen has a no-pork, no lard policy.
Chef Steven was then set on cooking a substitute dish for pork ribs.
Chicken pieces were then skilfully sliced to take on the appearance of pork ribs, where the main portion of meat was pushed down to the end. Diners can hold the chicken up by the bone, and bite the meat off as you would with ribs.
Marinated with marmite sauce and honey, sprinkled with white sesame seeds, then deep-fried Steven Chicken pieces were succulent and sweet-tasting. Very addictive.
Chili Prawn Toufu ($30)
This Chili Prawn Toufu is a new addition to the menu which is launched for Mother’s day special this year.
Its gooey eggy sauce enveloped the deep fried beancurd, and should please those who loved to drizzle abundant sauces over rice.
I thought that the sauce base was very similar to the chilli crab style, except that it had a spicier quality and less of the tomato-sweetness one would typically expect. To each his own.
Signature Cold Crab ($52)
In the old days, Teochew fishermen would steam crabs then keep them in ice boxes to still enjoy them while they were at seas. The Cold Crabs has become a known Teochew delicacy, but yet difficult to find in local restaurants.
This version was cooked using a combination of Teochew and Hong Kong methods – the crabs were steamed in a special chicken stock, and chilled to seal in the flavour.
Those had thick thick layers of yellowish ‘gor’ which you can joyfully suck from the various parts of the crabs. I recommend dipping with some of their vinegar.
Boston Lobster ($60- $70)
Perhaps an east meets west dish, Boston lobster cooked zhi char style.
While the flesh was chunky and succulent, I wasn’t too sure if the creamy mayo-like sauce did enough justice to the lobsters, and more buttery aroma would have elevated this dish further.
Still, you could order this for lean and flavoursome meat, at a good pricing.
There are different set meals catered for smaller groups to families, such as a Buddy Meal for 2 pax at $88 which includes Live Lobster Porridge, Steven Chicken, Baby Kailan, Live Chilli Mussels and Mussels; or a Value Menu for 6 pax at $288 with Cold Crab, Live Lobster Porridge, Steven Chicken, Smoked Duck, Live Prawn, Live Patin Fish, Mixed Vegetable, and Ice Cream.
One special thing to note is that vegetables that used to cook in the restaurant are plucked out from the backyard, fresh and organic. If you are up to it, you can take a short walk after the meal to visit the farms – a disappearing sight in Singapore.
Note: Advanced booking of Mother’s Day Dinner on 7th & 8th of May is available. Diners are advised to call early (Tel: +65 6756 0311) as tables typically get filled quite fast during special occasions.
Orchid Live Seafood (Sembawang)
No.1 Bah Soon Pah Road Singapore 769959 (off Sembawang Road)
Bus: 167, 169, 171, 980.167 & 980 comes from Sembawang MRT Station, while 169 & 171 comes from the bus stop opposite Yishun MRT Station.
Tel: +65 6756 0311
Opening Hours: 11am – 11pm
Orchid Live Seafood (Jalan Kelulut)
16 Jalan Kelulut, Seletar Hills Estate Singapore 809033
Tel: +65 6484 2495
Opening Hours: 11am – 11pm
* This post is brought to you in partnership with Orchid Live Seafood.