Sin Chao Gardens (新潮園) is a small Teochew restaurant along River Valley Road. Our traditional Teochew lunch at this restaurant with a retro decor brought back memories of the 70s.
Retro Chinese Restaurant Decor
Sin Chao Gardens Teochew Restaurant occupies both levels of the premises. The kitchen is located on the ground floor where there is a small dining space. This is probably the place for diners to have a quick and casual meal. For more serious dining, the main dining room upstairs is more suitable.
There was a time when dining out at restaurants were rare occasions. An opportunity to ‘jiak tok’ happens only when someone gets married or a senior family member celebrates a birthday. The upstairs dining room looks like a restaurant from those days. Teochew restaurants from those days that ceased to exist such as Lee Kui and Hung Kang came to mind. We were thrilled that such a restaurant still exists in modern day Singapore in 2022.
Sin Chao Gardens Teochew Restaurant Menu
Here are some sample pages from the Sin Chao Gardens Teochew Restaurant Menu. They have a wide range of dishes including Teochew restaurant classics such as steamed fish of various species and braised dishes. For those planning a traditional Teochew dinner for a special occasion, they have longevity buns, roast suckling pig and high value items like abalone and sharks fin on the menu.
We were there for a simple Teochew porridge lunch. Various dishes were ordered, some of their details now escape me although I will try to describe them as best as I can.
The best dish at our Teochew porridge lunch at Sin Chao Gardens was the steamed fish. It arrived covered with a leaf. I thought it was a grey mullet as it is sometimes steamed in this way and is a suitable dish to be eaten with Teochew porridge.
But it turned out to be a different type of fish. I cannot remember what this fish was, only that it was very good. The meat was clean and pleasant tasting. Its bone structure was also easy to navigate.
Next was a dish of steamed squid. Also prepared Teochew style i.e. without any gravy or sauce so that its natural flavours could be best appreciated, with a small amount of the dipping sauce if so desired.
The best items to eat with Teochew porridge are the braised items. In fact, the braise gravy or the “loh” would be enough to make Teochew porridge tasty. We had a mixed platter that included all the items associated with Teochew braised dishes – pork belly, skin, intestines, ear, tofu and egg. Some of these items were not my personal favourite but they were enjoyed by my lunch companions.
Other Dishes at Sin Chao Gardens Teochew Restaurant
Oyster omelette and ngoh hiang, classic side dishes at Teochew restaurants, were also served at lunch.
They were followed by chicken claypot and fried bitter gourd with black beans.
Overall Impressions of Lunch at Sin Chao Gardens Teochew Restaurant
We thought that all the dishes served were prepared in a traditional way. With heavy sauces in the braised or stewed dishes and minimal flavouring in the steamed ones. Presentation of the dishes were honest and straightforward without much in terms of decoration. The restaurant itself is similar – functional and has no frills. In fact some parts of the premises and furniture look like they have seen better days. Despite its flaws, it has an appeal because of its old fashioned Teochew approach.
Overall Rating: 3 TOPs
Sin Chao Gardens 新潮園
297 River Valley Road
10.30 am to 3.30 pm; 5 pm to 10 pm
Tel: +65 6369 0328
The Ordinary Patrons | Real Dining Experience of Ordinary People
an independent Singapore food blog
Hi! Thanks for featuring this, thought of bringing my Dad for his birthday. May I know how did you ordered the fish style? Is it steamed or teochew steamed and what is the cost? Thanks!
Hi, for this meal someone else hosted lunch so we don’t have some details of the fish which we believe was teochew steamed. Dishes involving whole fish at restaurants are usually charged at “market price”. In such cases, it is ok to ask about the fish prices before ordering or at the time that you make a reservation. We suggest you do this to avoid any surprise.