Monday, April 09, 2007

Hua Yu Wee Restaurant @ Upper East Coast Road

Hua Yu Wee Seafood Restaurant (462 Upper East Coast Road) is almost an institution in these parts. It's been here for the longest time (DH even remembers celebrating his birthdays here as a child). Even though I always see many cars and crowds of people on weekends, one usually can find a seat there as it is a very spacious place, converted from a large colonial bungalow, with one's choice of air-conditioned or al fresco dining.

The food here is great value for money, with no service charge. It's quite funny really, 'cos the aunties that serve you are all kebaya-clad (same blue-ish prints as the ones for our famous Singapore girls), but that's where the similarity ends. I think part of the reason why there isn't a service charge is because, the aunties aren't really that good with the service part. The service with a smile campaign didn't quite reach these corners. But it's quite ok, they aren't rude or anything. Just pretty harried with the full crowd. I think they might be pretty friendly if one comes here on weekdays.

We started with mee goreng (large portion for SGD 12), it was slightly spicy, al dente and with a decent amount of squid and prawn and fish. Not everyone at our table got one piece of each, but we did get lots of noodles and beansprouts and at least one piece of seafood.

Braised Spinach tofu with mushrooms next (SGD 12 for a big portion). Can't complain, crispy on the outside and smooth and soft on the inside, with some tasty starchy gravy.

Ahh, this one was FANTASTIC - black pepper crayfish (SGD 28 for about 500g, it's sold by weight you see). About 1 crayfish per person, the flesh was fresh and succulent, and the yummy sauce it was smothered with was sticky and peppery ooh, delicious. DBiL liked it too! DBiL and I have the same tastes, so we both raved about this one.

Then, the steamed live prawns in herbal broth (SGD 30) arrived. Before they cooked it, they brought this whole bowl of jumping prawns and asked, can we cook it now? Err, yes yes yes. When it arrived, it was great. Steaming hot, the prawns were sweet as can be. The broth was quite peppery, rather than herbal, so that was a little odd. Look, it's a perfectly peeled prawn. There is not a single bit of shell, not even on the head or tail, so I could pop it all in my mouth (except the eyes and feelers lah!). DH peeled it for me! I feel so loved!

We also had some obligatory stir-fried dou miao (pea shoots, SGD 12), which were fine. DM wanted greens so we ordered some. Funny thing is, I am not fussed about greens when I am with DM, but when it's just DH and I, I find that I tend to worry more about whether we are eating healthily or properly.

Then, finally, the piece de resistance - the crabs! Lovely Chili Crab (female, with roe but smaller) and Lovely Black Pepper Crab (without roe, but larger and meatier), so explained our server. The crabs cost SGD 33 per kg.

The chili crabs were spicy but not overly so. The chili crab gravy, with a hint of tomato and the unmistakeable fragrance of the crab roe, was great with the steamed and fried buns that we ordered. The crabs were really meaty and tender. All parts of it were delicious.

But, I really preferred the black pepper version. Dry sticky black pepper sauce fried with the crabs until every bit of the shell and exposed flesh is coated. It is fragrant and not too spicy. I don't mind getting my hands dirty for this! DH, bless his heart, tried to peel every pincer for me, until I had to ask him to stop... I like shelling my own crabs cos that's were the tasty bits are!

Look, just look at the size of this monster! It was pure delight biting into this juicy meaty crab claw!

Total damages, SGD212 for 7 adults, with a 10% discount for UOB credit card holders, not bad, wouldn't you say?

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