East Ocean Teochew Restaurant 东海潮州酒家 (Ngee Ann City)
Highly reputed for only serving the best of traditional Teochew classics and favourites, East Ocean Teochew Restaurant is no stranger to the Teochew cuisine and Dim Sum scene here in Singapore. Popularly known for their original location back in Shaw House (they have since relocated to Ngee Ann City), where they have resided since 1992 when they were first established, East Ocean is your one-stop destination for good authentic Hong Kong styled Teochew cuisine.
A definite hit and favourite with the locals, it is necessary and almost a MUST to make reservations prior to coming here. After hearing about the huge crowds on the weekends and how even with reservations, waiting is still mandatory, I told myself a weekday trip down was definitely in order instead.
I did however still take precautions and made a reservation for four on a Friday afternoon. I was the first of the group to arrive and was half expecting myself to have to sit outside and wait for the rest of the party to arrive before we were allowed to our table (a common practice most popular Chinese restaurants seem to insist upon) so I was pleasantly surprised when the lady directed me straight to my table and politely asked if I would like to order some tea first while waiting for my friends. Another waiter even proceeded to place an empty chair next to me and offered to put my bag there so I could sit more comfortably. I was very impressed with these little thoughtful gestures because we all know how curt and non-existent service can be at Chinese restaurants.
The whole group finally arrived and we proceeded to order. As usual, we started with the classics…
Steamed Ha Kau $5.80
Clear translucent skin that was so delicate but not fragile enough to break when you picked it up with the chopsticks. The prawns encased inside were huge and very fresh. This was a sure pass for all of us.
The Steamed Beancurd Skin Roll $5.80 was chewy and filled with shreds of carrots, turnips and mushrooms. The broth that it was steamed in was flavoursome and very tasty too!
The Steamed Assorted Rice Roll with Prawn, Scallops and Pork $5.80 was a bit lackluster. The rice roll skin was too starchy and thick with not enough ingredients in each bite. It did feel like we were almost eating plain rice rolls instead.
Pan-fried Black Pepper Beef Bao $5.80 was something new to try. Not a usual I would order for dim sum and this tasted a tad more like fusion food instead. However we did enjoy the almost crisp exterior that went well with the soft tender marinated black pepper beef inside.
Another Dim Sum classic, the pan-fried carrot cake $4.80 was well received by all of us. It was tasty without being too oily and I loved biting the crispy brown bits from the top part.
And moving on to the sweets…
Steamed Custard Layer Cake $4.80 was a pretty sight. Alternating layers of sweet smooth custard with more crunchy and chewy tapioca coconut. A lovely mix of textures and a favourite with us! Until…
Their Steamed Custard Buns $4.80 arrived! We were initially quite disappointed at how small the buns were but once we bit into it… all disappointment was gone because this was so good! I used to think the Liu Sha Bao at Taste Paradise and Royal China were amazing but once I tried East Ocean’s verson, this sure beats the former two hands down!
The little buns had the perfect custard to bao ratio with the thick salty but sweet custard flowing out like lava. This is by far my favourite liu sha bao!
And of course there is always space at Dim Sum for some Mini Egg Tarts $5.80. Great pastry and egg custard combination. It was almost too easy popping these into our mouths and polishing them off quickly.
East Ocean also has a special animal-shaped dim sum menu catered for the kids! And of course being the ‘kids’ we were, we could not resist ordering a few to try!
Mister Crab $5.80 was made up of crabmeat, sweetcorn and topped off with some pork floss. This unfortunately had looked very little like the adorable crabs they had featured in the menu and did not taste very special either.
However, these Sparrow Fly $5.80 were absolutely too cute for words! The chef had cleverly used the shrimp paste to mould a body for the little sparrows with the shrimp tail perfectly pointed to the end as the sparrows’ ‘tails’ as well! With a head made of quail’s egg and a carrot beak, this seemed almost barbaric to eat because the sparrows looked too real!
Mister Penguin $5.80 too was greeted with squeals of excitement at the table. I loved the attention to little details of the beady black eyes, tiny flippers on each side, little feet and of course the most adorable beak in the middle of the penguin’s face. Filled with lotus paste on the inside, it was almost like eating half a steamed mantou and half a deep fried mantou as only the back of the penguin was fried for that lovely brown colour contrast.
Overall, I dare say that East Ocean has now become my favourite Dim Sum place. With great service, prices comparable to most leading Dim Sum establishments and good quality dim sum dishes, it is no wonder this place is packed all the time with families and large groups of people. I do want to come back on a weekend though and experience their trolley-cart dim sum service for that true Hong Kong Dim Sum experience. Mark this place down people, it’s a must try for all dim sum lovers!
391 Orchard Road
#05-08/09 Ngee Ann City
T: 6235 9088