Hey Kee Review: New HK-Style Dai Pai Dong Restaurant | Eatbook.sg
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Hey Kee Review: Retro HK-Style Dai Pai Dong With 6H-Crispy Roast Chicken

4th January 2024

Hey Kee is a new HK-style dai pai dong near Old Airport Road

hey kee - flatlay

There’s a new Hong Kong dai pai dong-style eatery in town that’s worthy of placing on your list, especially with the upcoming Chinese New Year festivities. Opening tomorrow, 5 January 2024, is Hey Kee, a joint venture between Keith Kang of the famed Yang Ming Seafood and Great Nanyang Heritage Cafe, as well as Reuben Chua, the man who brought Yun Nans to Singapore.

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hey kee - decor

For those who’ve heard of, but are unfamiliar with the concept of dai pai dong, it’s Cantonese for 大牌档 (dà pái dàng). Literally translated, the words read big license stall, named for the license plates that these stalls held—bigger than those of other licensed street stalls.

They grew commonplace after WW2, when you’d find these open-air stalls along the streets and alleys in Hong Kong, serving affordable, wok-fried dishes, questionable hygiene levels included. There are precious few of these left, but if you’re looking for the fare without the air ticket and the grunge, Hey Kee is where you should head.

Food at HEY KEE

hey kee - temple street crispy roast chicken intro

We started with what turned out to be our favourite dish of the meal: ‘Temple Street’ Crispy Roast Chicken ($22.80+/$39.80+).

hey kee - temple street crispy roast chicken interaction

It’s no regular crispy chicken—these are French roosters specifically chosen for the quality of their meat, which are hung to air-dry in a fridge for six hours, marinated thrice over in milk, and then fried to order.

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hey kee - temple street crispy roast chicken drumstick

The proof is in the pudding, or the chicken in this case. We found the meat uber smooth and juicy, with a good bite. It was thoroughly tasty—somewhat reminiscent of salt-baked chicken, though my colleague thought it could be less salty.

hey kee - temple street crispy roast chicken meat closeup

Honestly, I felt the fried garlic crumbs were almost negligible next to the chicken. Good to have, but can do without. Before I move on, there’s also the matter of the skin, which was paper-thin and crisp, with golden-yellow layers of fat.

hey kee - typhoon shelter style stir fried crab intro

Next up, ‘Typhoon Shelter’ Style Stir Fried Crab (market price), AKA 避風塘炒蟹 (bì fēng táng chao xiè). It doesn’t get more iconic than this dish, said to be created by fishermen and their boat-dwelling families, who docked their boats in the typhoon shelters in the harbour.

hey kee - typhoon shelter style stir fried crab fried garlic

They would fry up the crabs they caught with massive amounts of garlic, fermented black beans, chilli, and scallions—just like the version you’ll find here at Hey Kee. We hear that trays of minced garlic are left out in the kitchen to air-dry, making for extra crispy garlic bits in the dish.

hey kee - live seafood

If not crabs, you have your pick of live prawns, lobster, or mantis shrimp, better known in Chinese as 瀨尿蝦 (lài niào xiā) or urinating shrimp, thanks to the stream of water they shoot out when they’re picked up. With the boss of Yang Ming Seafood also calling shots around here, you can be sure that your seafood is top-notch, with tanks of them on full display in the restaurant.

hey kee - typhoon shelter style stir fried crab claw

Our plate came with a mid-sized, 1kg crab, which we found most satisfyingly sweet and fleshy, its meat not overcooked to dryness. Dredge it through the mountain of fried garlic for maximum enjoyment. Alternatively, get yourself some white rice, or pour the crispies over porridge.

hey kee - steamed soon hock with chopped yellow chilli intro

Similarly fresh was our Steamed Soon Hock with Chopped Yellow Chilli ($9+ per 100g), topped generously with the pickled chillies.

hey kee - steamed soon hock with chopped yellow chilli detail

Like the crab, the fish was perfectly cooked. You could also have this done with Red Garoupa or Turbot.

hey kee - steamed soon hock with chopped yellow chilli sauce

Fruity, savoury, and just lightly sweet-sour, the hit of spice in this sauce comes later but isn’t overwhelming. Truly, it’s best enjoyed with rice, and I appreciated how there was lots of sauce on this plate.

hey kee - deep fried cuttlefish with salt and pepper closeup

There was also Deep Fried Cuttlefish with Salt and Pepper ($20.80+), which came in meaty cuts, fried with an even, thin coating of batter. Most importantly, they were cooked just right so the texture of the cuttlefish didn’t cross over into being tough and chewy.

hey kee - deep fried silver fish with salt and pepper

For a more kid-friendly option, go for Deep Fried Silver Fish with Pepper and Salt ($8.80+); it’s also a great appetiser to munch on. I liked that they weren’t greasy to the touch too.

hey kee - sizzling kai lan with dried prawns in claypot

I previously loved the kai lan at Ju Xing Home, and while the Sizzling Kai Lan with Dried Prawns in Claypot ($23.80+) didn’t come with the same fat-stemmed vegetables, this portion was heartier, with more minced meat and visibly large pieces of dried prawns—if there’s anything I’ve learned shopping at 海味舖 (hai wèi pù), as the dried seafood stores in Hong Kong are called, it’s that the larger the dried shrimp, the better, and more expensive they are.

hey kee - pan fried beef tenderloin cubes with potatoes intro

A more zi char-style dish we tried was Pan Fried Beef Tenderloin Cubes with Potatoes ($36.80+), which came sizzling on a hotplate with house-made black pepper sauce. Some of the beef I had tasted was a little metallic, but it’s nothing the piquant sauce couldn’t fix. The meat was sufficiently tender, too.

hey kee - signature claypot seafood porridge intro

Finally, we came to Signature Claypot Seafood Porridge (market price), which we had with live tiger prawns.

hey kee - signature claypot seafood porridge detail

I had high hopes for this because it’s impossible for Cantonese congee with live seafood to go wrong. It didn’t, but I was a touch disappointed by the chicken stock-cooked porridge here, which was slightly watery and resembled our local porridge rather than extra smooth juk.

hey kee - signature claypot seafood porridge prawn

The prawns that my colleague and I had were also not as firm and succulent as expected. While fragrant and comforting, we had thought the sweetness of seafood was overshadowed by the chicken flavour.

hey kee - drinks fridge

Drinks-wise, there is, first of all, free corkage at Hey Kee. Next, they stock Hongkong Vitasoy ($3+)—the legit glass-bottled sort, and Hong Kong Blue Girl Beer ($8+).

hey kee - making drinks

You can’t have a HK-style eatery and not have milk tea; here, HK-Style Milk Tea comes hot ($3+) or cold ($3.80+). It was a tad milky, but isn’t a shabby iteration.

Ambience at HEY KEE

hey kee - storefront

Found at the old Singapore Badminton Hall, Hey Kee is an eight-minute walk from Mountbatten MRT Station, or 11 minutes on foot from Aljunied MRT Station.

hey kee - ambience

The nostalgic factor is really amped up here, from the bright green round tables to the old-school red and silver chairs. However, it’s all spanking new and shiny, so it needs some wear and tear to get that grungy 1980s look. Hong Kong’s iconic neon signs might be no more, but Hey Kee has got a wall feature that’s so vivid, it almost feels like you’re dining in Mong Kok.

hey kee - outdoor seats

For an even more authentic experience, consider the al fresco tables, in the same red and green furniture, except you get folding plastic chairs here. It’s not Hong Kong-style if you’re not packed into a space, and at full capacity, you’ll definitely feel the bustle at HEY KEE.

hey kee - private room 2

There’s also a private room that seats 20 and comes with a minimum spend of $1,500+. It’s fully equipped with a KTV system, and a panoramic LED display of a street view in Hong Kong. All it needs, IMO, is a mahjong table in a corner.

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The verdict

hey kee - drinks counter

The food here might lean salty for some, but my preferences do lean savoury, rather than sweet. I’ve been raving about that ‘Temple Street’ Crispy Roast Chicken to anyone who’ll listen; my colleague rated Hey Kee even higher than I did, despite feeling like they could have gone lighter with the salt. Apart from the live seafood, which you’ll have to be prepared to shell out for, most of the dishes are kept pretty affordably priced too!

Hong Kong-style eateries are seeing a resurgence in recent times—check out our review of Ju Xing Home, a famous eatery from Hong Kong that’s frequented by both Michelin-starred chefs and celebrities! Otherwise, head to Friends Kitchen HK in Chinatown for retro cha chaan teng vibes and tasty HK-style fare.

Address: 102 Guillemard Road, #01-01, Singapore 399719
Opening hours: Daily 11:30am to 3pm, 5:30pm to 10:30pm
Tel: 6514 1588
Hey Kee is not a halal-certified eatery

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Photos taken by Daryl Lim.
This was a media tasting at Hey Kee.

Hey Kee Review: IG-Worthy, HK-Style Dai Pai Dong With 6H-Crispy Roast Chicken Near Mountbatten
  • 8/10
    Hey Kee Review: IG-Worthy, HK-Style Dai Pai Dong With 6H-Crispy Roast Chicken Near Mountbatten - 8/10



– Well-crisped, juicy and tasty roast chicken
– Generous portions
– ‘Gram-worthy interiors


– Food can feel too salty for some
– Chicken stock-based porridge

Recommended dishes: ‘Temple Street’ Crispy Roast Chicken ($22.80+/$39.80+), Steamed Fish With Chopped Yellow Chilli (market price), Deep Fried Cuttlefish with Salt & Pepper ($20.80+)

Opening hours: Daily 11:30am to 3pm, 5:30pm to 10:30pm

Address: 102 Guillemard Road, #01-01, Singapore 399719

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