Believe it or not, some of Singapore’s best tze char spots are hole-in-the-wall establishments, hidden away in industrial areas. One of them is Chuan Kee Seafood Restaurant. While it is not located in the most convenient area, the industrial canteen at Lower Delta is always densely packed in the evenings, with tables spilling out into the empty carpark areas.
Chuan Kee Seafood started out as a stall at Tanjong Rhu Food Centre, and apart from the outlet at Lower Delta, they also have another joint located at Toa Payoh. Specialising in seafood dishes in a casual setting, no matter which outlet you visit you are in for the freshest seafood dishes at affordable prices. What’s also special about them is that they offer free ice cream, popcorn, cotton candy, tau hway and even helium-filled balloons!
One of the must-try dishes here is the Nonya Assam Fish Head (S$25). While we are fans of the curry version that’s made with coconut milk, this version did not disappoint either. The flavour of blue ginger flower resonates beautifully and the sauce has just enough punch – sour, spicy, not overly thick and with a hint of sweetness. The seabass fish head is fresh and well-cooked!
The signature Bi Feng Tang Wok Fried Prawn (S$22) is a crowd-pleaser. They are made with soft-shelled grey prawns and fried crispy, then buried in crispy garlic bits and dried chilli peppers.
Another wonderful communal dish is their Fish Head Steamboat (market price). The milky white stock is rich and flavourful, with added ingredients such as chunks of dried flatfish, goji berries and ginger to enhance the taste of the broth. The whole pot is also full of various vegetables like Chinese cabbages, beech mushrooms, tofu cubes, yam and tomato slices. The pomfret is fresh, meaty and well-cut!
Slightly bigger than a ping-pong ball, and fried for a crunchy exterior, the Signature Deep Fried Prawn Ball (S$10) are slightly mushy within as they’re made from a mixture of minced prawns and tofu. For the dip, what you get is a sweet dark sauce similar to what’s used in popiah, but we personally prefer eating them with sambal chilli.
It’s not all about seafood at Chuan Kee, as their Duck Wrapped in Lotus Leaf (S$18) also comes highly recommended. The duck is very well-cooked too, and it is tender with no gamey smell. The gravy complemented the braised meat and vegetables which includes carrots, mushrooms, baby corn and chestnuts in the stew. Definitely worth an order!
The Salted Egg Pork Ribs (S$12) feature a salted egg sauce that is thick, not watery and still had the grainy texture of the egg yolk. Though a bit on the sweeter side, the sauce has some spice to it with the chilli padi infused in the sauce. Pork ribs are incredibly tender and crispy! Especially if you’re a salted egg lover, these are a definite must-try.
Whilst the Four Heavenly Kings (S$10) is a very popular dish in most tze char places across the border, it’s hard to find one here that does it well. Chuan Kee’s definitely hits all the right spots! Fried with sambal, okra, string beans, petai, brinjal and topped with crispy ikan bilis, there is a great wok hei to the dish that would convert even veggie haters.
For some carbs to pair with the yummy dishes, fried rice lovers will be pleased to find more than 10 versions here, from Classic Hokkien, Beef Fried Rice, Salted Fish Chicken, Sausage, Ikan Billis, to Sambal Fried Rice.
Once you are done with dinner, be sure to ask the staff about the free dessert available and they will show you to the freezer to choose your ice cream! The only rule they have is that diners need to consume it within the establishment and not dabao them home.
If you don’t mind dining in a non-air-conditioned environment, Chuan Kee Seafood is a great spot to dine with your family and friends. The best part is that their prices are reasonable, and parking is abundant, especially in the quiet industrial area at night! We do recommend making reservations, especially if you’re coming on weekend nights.
Address: 1091A Lower Delta Rd, Singapore 169207
Opening hours: 12–3:30 pm, 4:30–10 pm daily