Hua Yu Wee is an award-winning restaurant with a background going back to the 1950s, providing an authentic experience of Singapore cuisine. At reasonable rates, they believe in serving unpretentious and tasty seafood and ‘Zhi Char’ dishes. Chilli Crab, Black Pepper Crab, Feng Sha Chicken, Lobster with Italian Sauce, La La Hor Fan and Olive Fried Rice are just some of their signature dishes.
Occupying the Upper East Coast Road colonial bungalow, it is the last remaining original seafood restaurant on the stretch. The restaurant offers some of the best Upper East Coast Road seafood and Chinese cuisine, serving a tantalising selection of dishes perfect for family, friends and large groups.
There are 2 main dining areas in Hua Yu Wee. Within the old bungalow is an air-conditioned dining hall. In the rear courtyard (which used to be just by the sea before land reclamation), there is a larger dining area. In Singapore, there are several restaurants that evokes the sense of nostalgia in you with their olden days Singapore themed decor. One thing that stands out about Hua Yu Wee is that it really is a retro restaurant with its vintage restaurant ambience from old Singapore. Stepping inside this East Coast Road seafood restaurant would feel like time stood still and suddenly you’re back to the way Singapore once was without all its modernisation and urban redevelopments. It’s a unique experience and one that really gives diners of Hua Yu Wee an authentic experience. It is even listed in the Bedok Heritage Trail and is described as a restaurant which “continues to operate today from its original 1920s bungalow.”
The service staff are uniformed in olden days “kebayas” that really added to the whole old school Singapore, very similar to what the air stewardess of SIA adorns. It aided to the feel of the restaurant and their service was also commendable with the staff ensuring that all your needs are met and the food turnaround rate was good despite it being a weekend and the place was crowded. The service throughout was courteous and the smiling faces each time we ordered or requested something was really nice and set us in a good mood. The food arrived steadily rather than hurried from the kitchen. The plates were cleared regularly and the tea was constantly topped up.
Hua Yu Wee’s menu book consisted of photocopied sheets put together with a ring binder. They include all the usual seafood, meats and vegetables. Food presentation was simple, but the flavours of the food the chefs brought out was spectacular. We decided to try their signature crabs dishes such as the Chilli Crab, Black Pepper Crab and also their popular Feng Sha Chicken, Drunken Prawns, La La Hor Fun, Seafood Bee Hoon, and Olive Fried Rice.
Succulent and tasty crab meat. The thick sauce was spicier than the usual chilli crabs you would get otherwise but I’m not complaining as a fan of spice. It had layers of flavor and with crisp-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside deep-fried Man Tous, the thick eggy gravy that’s sweet, but with enough spice to balance things out was very enjoyable. The Chilli Crab is reminiscent of the traditional version that was available in the 60s. Less sweet and lots more punch. It’s as good as some you would get at big named seafood restaurants such as Jumbo Seafood and Long Beach, except it’s significantly lower in price which was a great steal.
Black Pepper Crab
If you’re feeling adventurous, also go for the Black Pepper Crab. The crabs were fulfilling, meat was good, fresh and definitely juicy! The pepper flavour permeated all the way through the crab meat. The sauce has got the aroma of dark soya sauce which adds extra flavour to it! A must-try if you love black pepper crab!
Feng Sha Chicken
This is a popular Cantonese dish, renowned for its crisp skin, tender meat and flavourful seasoning, which generally tastes better than roasted chicken. It’s a Chinese spin of “Ayam Penyat.” Deboned and roasted to perfection, this chicken dish was juicy, tender and the crispy skin was to die for! Served with unique spring onion, garlic, ginger and probably a pinch of lime dipping sauce and it was so addictive!
The prawns cooked with Chinese wine in an aromatic herbal broth were truly fresh and sweet. The shells could easily be peeled off which was a great plus as I’m the kind of person who hates struggling with prawn shells. The herbal soup in which the prawns are cooked is so flavourful and gives an immediate boost of energy. The soup is light and refreshing and cooked just right with the prawns. The prawns are very large and you can taste the freshness.
Lala Hor Fun
Soft and silky but topped with a crispy garnish of deep-fried noodles for texture. The crunchy bits made the dish a lot more unique, interesting and enjoyable. The Hor Fun was permeated with the sweetness of the seafood with the generous plump and juicy lala which added to the overall mouthwatering dish.
Seafood Bee Hoon
My quest to find the best Seafood Bee Hoon has been accomplished at Hua Yu Wee. It has achieved that wok-hei flavour and springy bite to it. The seafood gave a contrast of sweetness and freshness against the saltier broth. The starchy broth is completely absorbed by the bee hoon and the portion size is a good value for money. Definitely recommend it if you’re a fan of Seafood Bee Hoon. Or if you’re not, try it either way and you’ll be converted!
Olive Fried Rice
I’ve never had an olive fried rice worth remembering but this one was a game changer. It’s no surprise that it was one of their signature dishes and it was a good closure to the enjoyable meal. Very well seasoned and well fried without being too oily. There were crispy rice puffs and ikan bilis as well as Chinese lap cheong. Mix it with some sambal sauce and it is a flavour explosion.
If you’re looking for an authentic Chinese Zi Char experience, Hua Yu Wee is the place to go with their traditional feel and perfectly executed dishes. The ambience added to the entire experience and the food was delicious and memorable. This is for sure not going to be my only visit and I would definitely bring more people to enjoy the food and the ambience for a reverse back in time to olden day Singapore.