Quan Le Yan Seafood is an old-school Teochew restaurant on Havelock Road
When a restaurant has no menu, and everyone who walks in is enough of a regular to not require one, you know it’s gotta be good. Quan Le Yan Seafood is the restaurant in question, and you can find them on Havelock Road, in Tiong Bahru.
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You might have heard tell that Quan Le Yan closed in the 2010s—but they in fact reopened in 2020! Their legacy dates back to 1968, which makes the family-run eatery 56 years old this year.
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With no menu available, you’ll have to depend on recommendations you see online, the staff, or a regular to accompany you on your visit. P.S.: some reviewers have suggested speaking in Teochew to get an in with the aunty taking orders!
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Start with an order of Ngoh Hiang, or hei zou, AKA Homemade Teochew Prawn Roll. These fried rolls are said to be well-made, and fried to crispy ends without being greasy in the mouth.
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For something super traditional, try their Pig Trotter Jelly: a dish that requires long hours of boiling down less-desirable parts of the pig, then allowing it to cool and set.
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If that’s a little too adventurous for you, stick to Braised Duck, which you might order by parts including wings, web, gizzards and more.
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Their Cold Crabs come highly recommended—you have to call ahead not only to book your table but also to reserve seafood dishes such as this. Come in the right season, and your order of crabs will be double-shelled and bursting with roe.
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If there’s another seafood dish you have to order at a Teochew seafood restaurant, it’s Teochew-style Steamed Pomfret, a clean-tasting but oh-so-comforting dish of fresh fish in a tangy-savoury broth, accented with sour plums, fresh tomatoes, and other aromatics.
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On the stir-fry front, try their Oyster Omelette, loaded with plump oysters in fluffy fried eggs—some reviewers have touted this as being the best orh luah they’ve had.
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Pair your dishes with rice, or order yourself some Fried Kway Teow with Preserved Turnip, which you might know as chye poh fried hor fun. Unlike the thinner kway teow that is more commonly found these days, Quan Le Yan Seafood still uses a wide, fat version! You might want to request for more chye poh though, as they’re said to be quite light-handed with this ingredient.
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End your meal here with the classic Orh Nee, which is said to be smooth and not too sweet. It’s also topped with ginkgo nuts and steamed pumpkin.
While there are no stated prices for the dishes, one can expect to spend around $50 to $70 per person if you’re dining in a group.
For more old-school eateries, there’s Tian Nan Xing Minced Pork Noodles in Bedok, which makes bak chor mee with a 100-year-old recipe! There’s also Hua Yu Wee Seafood Restaurant in Kembangan, who has been around since the 1950s.
Address: 725 Havelock Road, Singapore 169647
Opening hours: Wed-Mon 11:45am to 2:15pm, 5:30pm to 10pm
Tel: 6273 4960
Quan Le Yan is not a halal-certified eatery
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