Daily: 18:00 - 00:00
Located along Geylang Road, Sin Huat Seafood Restaurant specialises in tze char and seafood dishes. Priced at $120, Sin Huat's signature crab beehoon has received raving reviews from local foodies and even American television personality Anthony Bourdain.
It has become a custom of sorts to have crabs during my birthday. We have tried a good number of different stalls in the past years- Black pepper crab from Eng Seng, creamy butter crab from Seafood Paradise, chili crab from Jumbo, crab bee hoon from Melben and the list goes on.
Since turning thirty is a momentous occasion of sorts, I didn't just want to settle for any ol crab this time. It had to be 100% good and if possible, the best in Singapore.
After sniffing around for ideas, the answer became increasingly obvious- Crab with vermicelli from Sin Huat Eating House at Geylang. Many of the reviews I read came with disclaimers- enter at your own risk, beware of the obnoxious Nazi chef, don't be tricked into over-ordering, be prepared for a long wait, tanks are crusted with algae etc. However, most reviews also consistently gave two thumbs up to the vermicelli crab served in this dingy eatery.
If even Anthony Bourdain was willing to throw in his vote of confidence, surely I should at least give this place a shot?
It was thus with a little trepidation that Hubby and I meekly made our way to Lorong 35 for our crab dinner, decked in our scruffiest tee shirts and flip flops. There is something slightly romantic about sitting cross legged by the roadside, sipping from a crummy plastic cup of artificial tasting lime juice and watching the world go by.
Danny, the "bogey man" cum owner chef soon made his appearance at our table to take our orders. His voice was gruff, his eyes piercing and his aura unmistakably authoritative. I could almost sense a seriousness about him that could only come from someone fiercely passionate about his craft.
There isn't any menu to peruse from so make sure you know what you want beforehand. I ordered a serving of vermicelli crab, kailan and black bean scallops. Somehow I also managed to diplomatically decline Danny's suggestions of gong gong ("Sorry I don't eat gong gong") and roast pork ("Just had it for lunch. Maybe next time") without ruffling his feathers. Phew.
Since the business setup is pretty much a one-man show (save for some bossy aunties and semi clad ah peks who double up as servers and drink assistants), Danny collects orders en mass from the various tables before cooking all the dishes at one go.
True to Danny's style, food is served on a simple silver platter with no bells and whistles.
First to arrive were the scallops in garlic and black bean sauce. The scallops were fresh and simply steamed, with a slight sweetness about them that was overwhelmed by the gooey richness of the garlic black bean sauce. The use of garlic was so generous that I swear it took a full day for me to cure myself of dragon's breath. Sadly, this dish was my least favorite of the lot, as the over elastic rinds of the scallop seemed bent on challenging my back molars, resulting in an unpleasant squeaky sensation that I still can't seem to get out of my head.
When the kailan dish arrived next, I could not help feeling unimpressed. It looked like something mom could easily whip up for dinner. What was the hype about? After taking the first bite (with eyes closed, hoping to detect some hidden flavor), I think I somewhat got it. The vegetables were flash fried with ginger, garlic and XO sauce before being quickly served to diners piping hot, thus retaining their crisp texture and wok hei undertones. Don't get me wrong though- at the end of the day, this is just a simple dish of fried vege executed really well. It also just so happens to be the only vegetable dish served in the restaurant (thus accounting for why everyone usually ends up ordering it).
Things reached a climax when the crab arrived. The crustacean looked magnificent in every way, with strong mighty claws (translated to meaty in foodspeak terms) and a fiery red hue. In its heyday, it must have been a true Romeo. Dripping off its back like jewels were strings of glorious gravy soaked vermicelli. Not wanting to prematurely soil our fingers, we tucked into the vermicelli first, only pausing momentarily to extract the bits of shell hidden within. The flavors were complex, charred and brimming with the briny richness of the sea without coming across too fishy.
Good crab is typically determined by the firmness of its flesh and natural sweetness. In this case, Romeo did not disappoint. When pried open, every single pincer burst forth with plump strands of fresh crabmeat. The flesh did not stick to the shell- indicating excellent control of temperature. Perhaps the Singapore Tourism Board should appoint Danny to be the chief purveyor of quality crabs.
Dinner damages didn't turn out as hazardous as we expected. Our total bill came up to SGD101 comprising:
SGD60 for the crabs
SGD25 for the scallops
SGD6 for the kailan
SGD10 for peanuts and drinks
As we were leaving, the sour faced aunties even surprised us by wishing us Happy New Year. Apparently, even grouches have their soft spots.
Would I come back again? In a heartbeat.
Click below link for pictures
Been there years ago with a group of colleagues. still remembered the wait wasn't that long and the food quality was still ok ...at least the seafood were fresh despite the exorbitant pricing.
Returned tonight with 2 girlfriends and the experience was so unbelievably disappointing!!! We were out rightly being fleeced! And I wonder if I can report to CASE on this, have this place closed forever so that other innocent people will not be fleeced!!
Firstly, the service was S***ty! That obnoxious, thinks he is dmn great owner/chef gave us a super black face for just ordering a kailan and crab bee hoon. Secondly, we have to wait nearly 2 hours for our food! And the dishes tasted HORRIBLE!! The kailan was super salty, the bee hoon tasted like rubber and the crabs were not fresh! I have reasons to believe this lousy fare was cooked up on purpose because we ordered so little!!
To make it worst, this lousy, S***ty dinner costs us $200+! Totally not worth every cent!! This is daylight robbery! So why are the supporters still blindly supporting and patronizing this place?!?! It's time to WAKE UP!
We went to celebrate a friend's birthday who has been to Sin Huat before. She told the owner who took orders that there were 3 of us because from her previous experience he insisted that customers have to order X number of dishes. She requested for 1kg of gong gong as not everyone eats it (4 of us). When the bill came he billed us for 2kg and when we questioned him and told him that if he continues bullying customers into ordering and charging them more food than they ordered the crowd would dwindle. He actually told us it's none of our isomers.