For zi char lovers, the eatery Keng Eng Kee Seafood 瓊榮記海鲜 probably needs little introduction.
Keng Eng Kee Seafood (in short KEK) which was patronised before by British Celebrity Chef James Martin and the late Anthony Bourdain, is one of Singapore’s most well-loved zi char places.
It is also listed in the Singapore Michelin Guide with a Michelin Plate.
The original store of Keng Eng Kee is located at Bukit Merah Lane 1 near Alexandra Village Food Centre, and it will be opening its second outlet in the East at Tampines SAFRA.
Note that the new outlet is still in the soft launch phase, not opened for dine-in yet, and only offers deliveries for now.
The originality of the dishes is quite mixed. Founder Mr Liew is a Malaysian who learnt his craft from his Hainanese father-in-law, and serves mainly Cantonese-styled dishes.
The business is currently helmed by 2rd generation owner Wayne Liew.
One of their recommended dishes is the Chilli and Black Pepper Crabs, in which their crab dishes were featured in Netflix’s Street Food.
The Crabs (seasonal price) are also available in Salted Egg, Stir Fried Ginger Onion, Tomato, Steamed, Claypot (with thick/thin beehoon) and Stir-Fried Thin Beehoon styles.
There are a number of dishes that regulars order.
Chef Specialty dishes are the Claypot Seafood, Roast Chicken, Coffee Pork Ribs, Deep Fried Goby in KEK Special Sauce, Salted Egg Squid, “Choy Hiang” Beancurd, Chinese Spinach with 3 Kinds of Eggs, and Crab Meat Broth with Fish Maw and Sea Cucumber.
The Golden Pearl Roll or Mingzhu Roll ($14.80) is a dish unique to Keng Eng Kee, that looked elaborate and creative for a zi-char dish.
It is fried tau pork stuffed with a variety of ingredients – salted egg yolk, prawn, ham, mushrooms and parsley served with a sweet cream sauce.
You can get it as part of the Sharing Platter ($58.80) which also includes Prawn Roll, Dough Fritter with Seafood Paste, and Yam Basket.
I usually like to order their recommended Signature ‘Moonlight Horfun’ ($7.80, $12.80, $18.80) as well, where an egg yolk is crack in the middle of wok-fried rice noodles.
It reminds me of a cross between dark-sauced fried horfun (like beef rice noodles without the beef) and the local char kway teow especially with the addition of dried lup cheong (Chinese sausages).
The dish to order again for me would be the Coffee Pork Ribs ($15.80). You can already smell the smoky coffee fragrance from a distance away.
It had the right combination of everything – sweet slight-bitter coffee coating, crisp outer layer and surprisingly tender meat, and distinct mouth-watering aroma that remained unforgettable.
I think Keng Eng Kee Seafood has generally maintained their standards. Sometimes it is about ordering the ‘right’ dishes as well.
Keng Eng Kee Seafood 瓊榮記海鲜 – Bukit Merah
124 Bukit Merah Lane 1, #01-136, Singapore 150124
Tel: +65 6272 1038
Opening Hours: 11am – 2pm, 5pm – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
Keng Eng Kee – SAFRA Tampines
1/A Tampines Street 92, Singapore 528882 (Opening soon)