Hua Yu Wee Restaurant : Where Time Stands Still

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 (华友园)

Hua Yu Wee Restaurant

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 Seafood Restaurant Upper East Coast

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 Restaurant

Hua Yu Wee Seafood Restaurant

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 Seafood Restaurant

Hua Yu Wee Seafood Upper East Coast

Hua Yu Wee Kitchen

Hua Yu Wee 华友园

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.

Hua Yu Wee Restaurant Menu

Hua Yu Wee Menu

Hua Yu Wee Restaurant Menu
Hua Yu Wee Menu

Dinner at Hua Yu Wee

We recently had dinner at Hua Yu Wee again.

Hua Yu Wee Restaurant

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.

Hua Yu Wee Restaurant East Coast

Hua Yu Wee Seafood Restaurant

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.

Hua Yu Wee Seafood Restaurant

Hua Yu Wee Restaurant Seafood

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.

Hua Yu Wee Restaurant Seafood

Hua Yu Wee Chilli Crab

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.

Hua Yu Wee Seafood

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.

Hua Yu Wee Bedok

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.

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

Hua Yu Wee
462 Upper East Coast Road
Singapore 466508

Tel: +65 6442 9313

Opening Hours : 11.30 am – 10.45 pm (call to check)

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The Ordinary Patrons | Real Dining Experience of Ordinary People
an independent Singapore food blog

1 thought on “Hua Yu Wee Restaurant : Where Time Stands Still”

  1. I dined on 8 Mar 2021 at 9.24pm and was served by Wei Fung. It was the worst dining experience and I will not return again for the following reasons:

    1. Scam and cheating, calling a scallop doufu dish when there was only 2 strands of scallop in the entire plate, which they had to dig around to find.

    Wei Fung recommended the dish called 干呗宝合 (Doufu with scallop) but had only 2 strands of scallop on it. When I questioned Wei Fung and her colleague, they tried to look for the scallop but found only 2 strands. They tried to explain away saying this is how it is and wanted me to just accept it for the $18 the dish (small size) charges.

    2. We asked to see the manager to ask about the dish but Wei Fung told us the manager was not available. She insisted that that’s how the dish is and that there is already “alot of enoki”. What ridiculous audacity retort!

    2. Poor service attitude.

    We asked Wei Fung for sambal chilli, she said there wasnt any. We asked for green chilli and red chilli, she said if she sees any, she will bring whatever she sees. She came back with 2 small saucers, one green chilli with dauce and another green chilli without soy sauce. She was obviously not bothered to go to the kitchen for it or get the kitchen to cut at all and wil just give us whatever she can see around her.

    3) When we arrived, the first thing Wei Fung told us was they were closing at 10pm although website says the restaurant closes at 10.30

    4)No one answered the phone from 8pm till 9.10pm when we tried to make a reservation. When I mentioned that, wei Fung said that was the wrong time to call because they were all busy. Actually, there was only 2 tables of diners when I arrived.

    It seems like the workers were uninterested in serving or in carrying out their duties, were rushing to go home before time and tried to short change customers unless its a company policy to short change customers for the price they pay, calling a dish scallop doufu when there wasn’t any scallop!

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