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Lai Wah Restaurant – the birth place of Yu Sheng (鱼生)

In an article in Bloomberg “Where in the World to Feast for Chinese New Year” on 25 Jan 2017, two places in Singapore are listed as great restaurants to welcome the lunar new year.  Lai Wah Restaurant is one of them.  According to the article and also the Lai Wah Restaurant website, they are said to be the first restaurant to serve the yu sheng (鱼生) dish – raw fish tossed with vegetables to bring good fortune for the new year.  Today being the eve of Chinese New Year 2017 and tons of raw fish will get tossed tonight,  we thought our readers might be interested to see the birth place of yu sheng.

Lai Wah Restaurant is located on the ground floor of Block 44 Bendemeer Road.   It has the old world look of restaurants of yesteryear. They have apparently been serving Yu Sheng (鱼生) since around 1963, according to the Lai Wah website.  Probably from some other location.  Another interesting piece of information from the website is that the sauce that is now associated with chilli crab was created by the Four Heavenly Kings of Chinese restaurants, two of who were at Lai Wah restaurant.

In line with the simple decor of the restaurant, the menu was equally no-frills. The four-page laminated menu is quite limited, but contains a sufficiently wide range of items from sharks fin to steamed fish and fried vegetables to host a traditional “jiak tok” Chinese dinner.  The famous yu sheng costs $40 or $80 depending on size with optional abalone for $16.   We did not eat yu sheng that day, just a couple of simple dishes for lunch.

We tried the crispy roasted chicken ($26 for half).  The skin of this chicken was amazingly crisp.  It must have been subjected to really temperatures. The meat was slightly dry. If only it was more moist this would have been perfect.

Our other dish was a vegetable dish – broccoli and cauliflower combo ($16 for a small portion).  This simple dish was very well done. These vegetables were cooked just right, remaining crunchy yet with the cooked taste.  Just the dish to go with some steamed rice ($1 each) to round up a simple lunch.


It was quiet during lunch but we could see the tables being prepared for dinner, with many tables  being reserved. A large tent was set up right outside the restaurant. So if you intend to have lo hei and try the yu sheng at Lai Wah Restaurant, the place where it was “invented” – it is best to book early.   If you are driving, there is a multi-storey carpark diagonally across the back of block 44.

This is our last story in the year of the Monkey. We wish our readers good health and happiness in the year of the Rooster!  🀅 !


Food: 4
Service: 3
Value: 3
Atmosphere: 3
Overall Rating: 3 TOPs 

3 Tops


Lai Wah Restaurant
Blk 44, Bendemeer Road,
Singapore 330044

Operating Hours:
11am to 2:30pm (last order 2pm), 6:00pm to 9:30pm (last order 9:00pm)

Tel: +65 6294 9922


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