Eastern House of Seafood – My New Favourite Zichar Place!
Like every other Singaporean, I absolutely love a good zichar. Be it zichar at a hawker stall, kopitiam, or even atas shopping malls, there is just something about wok-fried dishes prepared at high temperatures that cooking at home simply cannot replicate. To satiate my never-ending cravings, I am always on the lookout for new zichar places. Recently, I came across Eastern House of Seafood, a zichar place located at Geylang Lorong 23. I am actually late to the game as Eastern House has been around for some time. It was previously located at 55 Chai Chee Drive. Eastern House of Seafood specialises in Malaysian-style zichar and does their dishes with finesse. Interesting fact : the owner, Mr Alvin Tay, has a background in interior design!
Eastern House of Seafood has introduced a few new dishes to its extensive menu, which include Dong Po Pork ($18), and Salted Egg with Bitter Gourd and Pumpkin ($12). The Sri Lankan Crabs are going at a promotional price of 2 for $30 (600g) to celebrate the opening of the space. Fresh, succulent crabs cooked in your preferred style, what a steal!
Apart from the new dishes, Eastern House of Seafood continues to offer old favourites to its long-time customers. The crowd favourite Fried Hokkien Mee (S/$10, M/$15, L/$20) which used to be sold only during non-peak hours is now available everyday! Other popular dishes that we tried were Dry Roasted Sotong (S/$17, M/$24, L/$30), Chye Poh with Minced Meat Beancurd (S/$10, M/$15, L/$20), Charcoal Red Grouper Steamboat (S/$33, M/$40, L/$50) and Salt Baked Chicken ($30).
I have heard great things about their famous Hokkien Mee and boy, it sure didn’t disappoint! Fragrant and creamy with the subtlest hint of wok hei, this rendition by Eastern House definitely is one of the better Hokkien mees that I have tasted. We were told that instead of the usual prawn broth, Eastern House uses its own superior stock to stir fry the prawn mee. Fresh prawns, gems of crispy pork lard, spicy belacan chilli, luscious noodles — what’s not to love?
The Dry Roasted Sotong sees squid, which has been marinated overnight, go for a quick dip in the fryer. The springy squid carried a lovely smokiness and char. Although the squid was slightly on the saltier side, possibly due to it soaking up more marinate as it was sitting at the bottom, it was still a commendable dish.
It is rare to find Salt Baked Chicken at zichar places these days. The Salt Baked Chicken from Eastern House of Seafood has to be pre-ordered. The chicken, which is made fresh daily, is first steamed and marinated for two hours with a mix of chicken essence and dang gui, before being steamed again for half an hour. The chicken is then ‘baked’ with tea leaves, sugar and rice for a minute before it is ready to be served. Admittedly, the smokiness of the chicken was too overwhelming and bore a bitter and unpleasant aftertaste. But credit must be given to the tenderness of the meat which gently slides off when pried using a fork. If the smokiness could be taken done a notch, the Salt Baked Chicken would be perfect.
After trying so many wonderful dishes, I find the Salted Egg with Bitter Gourd and Pumpkin to be my personal favourite. Mr Tay informed us that fresh salted eggs were used in the preparation of this dish. The production cost is higher but the dish achieves that full-bodied flavour that using salted egg powder lacks. The inspiration for this dish came from how the chefs noticed that some people dislike eating bitter gourd on its own. So Eastern House thoughtfully combined bitter gourd with the widely loved salted egg and sweet pumpkin to tone down its bitter aftertones. The dish might not look like much with the seemingly limp bitter gourd and pumpkin slices, but it will definitely win you over. The bitter gourd slices were surprisingly crispy and generously coated with salted egg sauce. It was a sheer delight to alternate between bitter gourd and pumpkin slices, with the saltiness and graininess from the sauce making it extremely addictive. Truly, the Salted Egg with Bitter Gourd and Pumpkin was undeniably brilliant. You really have to try it to know what I am talking about!
Other than the aforementioned highlights, there were other noteworthy dishes as well. You can tell that Eastern House of Seafood really takes pride and great care in the execution of their dishes — evident from the amount of care and detail that goes into the preparation of each unique dish. The Chye Poh with Minced Meat Beancurd sees silky soft homemade tofu paired with salty chye poh and minced meat for an extra bite. Scoop a generous helping of the tofu and drizzle the gravy over some plain rice! The newly introduced Dong Po Pork was stellar as well. Carefully braised for two hours to achieve that right consistency and texture, the final result was melt-in-mouth, indulgent pork belly that makes you want to kiap many pieces at one go! Due to the high fat content of Dong Po Pork, it might get gelat after a while unless you are huge on meat. We also tried the Charcoal Red Grouper Steamboat, which I found to be lacking in flavour even though I enjoyed the freshness of the ingredients.
We tried so many dishes and the quality of food at Eastern House of Seafood generally remained consistent and of high standards. Quality zichar at reasonable prices, I foresee myself returning to Eastern House of Seafood again and again!
Eastern House of Seafood
Address: 46 Geylang Lor 23 Singapore
Phone: 9339 0714
Opening Hours: 1130am to 11pm daily.
Note: This is an invited tasting.
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