Jia Li Seafood Soup Review: Umami Crayfish And Seafood Soup Hidden At Aljunied - EatBook.sg - New Singapore Restaurant and Street Food Ideas & Recommendations
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Jia Li Seafood Soup Review: Umami Crayfish And Seafood Soup Hidden At Aljunied

14th February 2020

Generous portions of crayfish at Jia Li Seafood Soup

Flatlay

A bowl of light-tasting, Teochew sliced-fish soup is what you’ll get at most hawker centres and food courts. However, a more modern take on seafood soup has sprung up in the past decade or so, focusing on adding more premium ingredients into the mix to make a delicious, rich broth. Jia Li Seafood Soup is one of these stalls.

Jia Li Seafood Soup was once known as ‘Sin Kee Seafood Soup’, which was located all the way back at their Marsiling outlet. I used to frequent the Marsiling branch, and I’d go down to get lunch with my family every Saturday. It’s a familiar, comforting taste, and I remember those times fondly. The original owners moved here to Aljunied, leaving the Marsiling branch in the hands of their friends. 

The stall was rebranded to ‘Jia Li’ to match the name of the coffeeshop that it moved to. The owners also manage three other stalls in the shop, which sell bee hoon, zi char, and Western food. 

Food at Jia Li Seafood Soup

Jia Li Seafood Soup Cooking

Before being plated, the ingredients for each serving were tossed into a pan that contains a shallow amount of concentrated stock. This allows the rich broth to permeate into the fish and meatballs. The flavours of the prawn and crayfish were drawn out by this process, giving each type of soup a distinct seafood flavour.

Seafood Soup

The signature item here is the Seafood Soup. It comes in two sizes, large and medium, with three different types of fish—dory, batang, and red grouper. We were served a medium bowl of Seafood Soup With Batang ($6.50). The cloudy soup was a bright shade of orange, and it was packed to the brim with ingredients. 

Jia Li Seafood Soup

As soon as we got the bowl, the first thing I did was try a sip of the broth. I was already well acquainted with the taste at the original store, and I wanted to see if they maintained the same consistency after the shift. True enough, the taste was exactly as I remembered. It was packed with flavour, and the natural prawn sweetness shone through. The umami flavour was strong, but no aspect of it was overwhelming. 

Prawn

Two huge prawns sat in the bowl as well. They were incredibly thick and fresh, with juicy meat that had a satisfying snap when bitten into. As with their Marsiling branch, the size of the prawns was consistently big. I never remembered receiving paltry, undersized prawns, and even at a new branch, the size was impressive. 

The batang fish was fresh and sweet, and there was a generous amount tossed inside. It was flaky and pleasant to eat, with minimal chewing required.  

Meatballs

Jia Li also had handmade meatballs floating around inside the bowl. They were made of minced meat, roughly shaped together and with bits of mushroom packed inside. The huge pieces of meat soaked up the soup well, and the rich briny seafood stock was present in each bite. 

Jia Li Seafood Soup Crayfish

The other option is the Crayfish Soup. In this bowl, we forgo the prawns for three crayfish halves instead. We picked the Crayfish Soup With Batang ($12), which only came in one size. This filling dish was always my favourite, and I’d always pick crayfish over prawn—partly because these are easier to get out of their shell. It’s a little pricier, but I feel like it’s worth it.

Crayfish soup

The soup is a lot stronger than the version with prawns. It has a deeper, more briny flavour, and is more savoury than the first bowl that we had. Instead of the rich prawn sweetness, this was a more robust, umami-filled soup, with the heavier flavours of crayfish changing the taste of the whole dish.

Crayfish meat

Apart from the crayfish, all the ingredients were the same. The three crayfish halves had meaty tails, with chunks of fresh meat inside. The meat was juicy, robust, and succulent, with an intense briny taste.

Ginger braised duck

A new item added to the menu was the Braised Duck w/Ginger ($4). I asked about it, since they didn’t have this back at the old branch. I was told that this crowd-favourite was added to the menu since the neighbourhood had a large elderly population.

Ginger braised duck

The duck came in a decent amount for $4. The meat was tender, juicy, and flavourful, especially when dipped into the sauce. The sauce was slightly sour, and the vinegar helped add another layer of complexity to the meat. 

All in all, the entire meal was filling and satisfying. My stomach was full of warm soup and succulent seafood by the time I was done, and I felt a food coma beginning as soon as I got back to the office. 

Ambience at Jia Li Seafood Soup

Jia Li Seafood Soup Ambience

Jia Li Seafood Soup is located at an Aljunied coffeeshop, quite a distance away from any MRT Station. It’s a little inconvenient to reach there, since it took a five-minute bus ride and another five minutes of walking from Aljunied MRT Station. The coffee shop is roomy, kept cool by fans, and has a variety of other options; such as zichar stalls, Indian food, and Western fare.

The verdict

Jia Li Seafood Soup Storefront

I’m glad that I got a chance to try one of my old favourites again. Despite the rebranding, Jia Li Seafood Soup has maintained the same quality that I knew and loved. The number of high-quality ingredients are impressive, and the soup was packed with the same nostalgic flavour. However, the price is a bit too high to enjoy all the time, so it’ll most likely be a once a week treat for most customers. 

If you’re a fan of seafood, check out Apollo Fresh Cockle Fried Kway Teow, which sells huge plates of char kway teow that’re packed to the brim with flavourful cockles! The nearest mall from Jia Li Seafood Soup is Paya Lebar Quarter, so if you feel like visiting, check out Shiokoji Tonkatsu Keisuke, a tonkatsu restaurant at PLQ that has free-flow salad! 

Address: Blk 115 Aljunied Avenue 2, #01-35, Singapore 380115
Opening hours: Daily 10:30am to 10:30pm
Tel: 9225 0168
Website
Jia Li Seafood Soup is not a halal-certified eatery.

Photos taken by Kerrianne Goh.
This was a media tasting at Jia Li Seafood Soup.

  • 8.5/10


    - 8.5/10

8.5/10

Summary

Pros
– Generous portions
– Flavourful soup and fresh ingredients

Cons
– Inconvenient location
– Slightly expensive

Recommended dishes: Crayfish Soup With Batang ($12)

Opening hours: Daily 10:30am to 10:30pm

Address: Blk 115 Aljunied Avenue 2, #01-35, Singapore 380115

 

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