There are many restaurants in Singapore taking advantage of the draw of nostalgia with retro-themed decor. Hua Yu Wee is unique in that it looks like a vintage restaurant from old Singapore because it is really a vintage restaurant. Stepping inside this seafood restaurant in East Coast Road feels like stepping into Singapore at the time when our island home first became an independent country.
Hua Yu Wee is the last of the seafood restaurants left standing in Upper East Coast Road. It is listed in the Bedok Heritage Trail and described as a restaurant which “continues to operate today from its original 1920s bungalow. The bungalow features detached double-storey wings, outhouses and steps to the former beachfront”.
Hua Yu Wee Restaurant is like a place where time stands still. The furniture, menu and the service staff uniform are decidedly old school. It is unpretentious and remains as popular as ever for its seafood and zhi char dishes.
Hua Yu Wee has 2 main dining areas. There is an air-conditioned dining hall within the old bungalow. The larger dining area is in the rear courtyard (which used to be just by the sea before land reclamation took place).
Hua Yu Wee Menu
Hua Yu Wee’s menu book comprised photocopied sheets put together with a ring binder. The menu items include all the usual seafood, meat & poultry and vegetables. Below are photos of the menu of Hua Yu Wee.
Dinner at Hua Yu Wee
We recently had dinner at Hua Yu Wee again.
We started off with Prawn Roll ($12.80) and Sambal Kankong ($10.70). They were simple straightforward dishes that were well done – exactly as we expected and delectable.
We had ordered Bamboo Clams without asking about the price. When they arrived, we were worried because the clams were large and meaty. Each of the clams was about 20 centimetres in length. They were very tasty. We were very happy (or relieved) when the bill arrived and we saw that the clams were only $7.30 each.
We also had Drunken Prawns ($34 for medium) and Tilapia in Nyonya Style ($50). The prawns cooked in an aromatic herbal broth with Chinese wine were really fresh and sweet. The shell could be peeled off easily. The fish was also fresh and had a good firm and smooth texture. The sauce had a nice balance of spiciness, sweetness and sourness, which went very well with plain steamed rice.
The highlight of a seafood restaurant meal would be the Chilli Crab ($63). Hua Yu Wee’s Chilli Crab would be one of our favourite versions of the iconic Singapore dish. The crab meat was succulent and sweet. The thick sauce was spicy – spicier than the chilli crab in most other restaurants in Singapore. It had layers of taste and really enjoyable with crisp fried man tous.
We rounded of the sumptuous dinner with Seafood Hor Fun ($19.30 for medium). It was rather unusual because the hor fun was topped by lots of crispy bits (which we believed were deep fried bean curd skin). The crunchy bits made the dish more interesting and enjoyable.
If you are looking for an eatery that serves up some nostalgia, you can go to a kitschy retro-themed cafe or a touristy over-sanitized heritage restaurant or you can go to Hua Yu Wee – an unpretentious restaurant that has real old-school atmosphere and where the food will conjure up memories of the good old days.
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs
Hua Yu Wee
462 Upper East Coast Road
Tel: +65 6442 9313
Opening Hours : 11.30 am – 10.45 pm (call to check)
The Ordinary Patrons | Real Dining Experience of Ordinary People
an independent Singapore food blog