Lai Huat Sambal Fish: Singapore Restaurant Review

“The Perfect Sunday Meal”

lai huat sambal fish

There was once a Grand Master of frying fresh fish, and Lai Huat is his name. Lai Huat Sambal Fish at Upper East Coast, opened at the beginning of 2012 by grandson and chef Patrick Lim, continues a half-century long lineage of impeccable seafood dishes, is one of 4 current spin-offs of the original local treasure of similar name.

Chef Patrick amusingly shares with us how although all the other Lai Huat ‘branches’ are members of his extended family, they operate independently and is adamant that his sambal has been uplifted beyond the original recipe.

lai huat sambal fish interior

Lai Huat Sambal Fish is designed for the family dinner, as evidenced by its traditional business model and homely setting in Siglap. It may be worth noting that the internal air-conditioned area is not exactly the most spacious and would be a first come, first serve privilege. Having been invited for lunch, we brassily occupied the indoor table, where fragrant whiffs from the kitchen occasionally reach.

lai huat sambal fish menu

Generally, the restaurant with all its offerings seems like a perfect match for my close-knit family who make it a point to have a meal together every Sunday:

  1. Dad’s requirement: Ample Parking Spaces   ✓
  2. Mom’s requirement: Fried Fish                       ✓
  3. Sister’s requirement: Crispy Baby Squid       ✓
  4. My personal favourite: Salted Egg Prawns    ✓

The onus on the choosing of the next diner location rotates among us 4, and well, I have to say that with what I tried here, it will be my suggestion for the following Sunday.

lai huat sambal fish

Lai Huat Famous Fried Sambal Fish ($32, but fluctuates depending on seasonal price). The name ‘Lai Huat’ is synonymous with Fried Sambal Fish and I need to add that their homemade sambal is THE REAL DEAL. Arrived heavily slathered with an amazing layer of red, I was already beginning to be blown away by the dish’s fragrance. Underneath the perfectly crispy skin of the fish is tender, snow-white pomfret flesh indicative of a frying technique that keeps the fresh and sweet goodness within separate from the oil.

lai huat sambal fish

I wholly enjoyed this flagship dish that gives you the chance to experience an immaculate marriage of meat and dress- the fish and fiery sambal nicely complement each other without any overpowering flavour from either side. Without a doubt, their famous sambal fish will be the highlight of your meal.

lai huat sambal fish crabmeat soup

Fish Maw with Crab Meat Pottage ($16 / $25 / $35). As with most Chinese households, soup, like rice, is a dining staple. Some pottage tends to be overly starchy and you can tell just by the first serving. This one was easy to scoop and drink, being neither overly viscous nor salty.

Also, I found the portions of meat to be really generous, with every spoonful containing a brilliantly chewy gift of fish maw and crab meat. Flavourful soups without heavy artificial tasting seasoning, this was quite a competent soup.

lai huat sambal fish baby squid

Crispy Baby Squid ($12 / $18). If the appreciation of seafood correlates with age, then fried sambal fish is to adult and crispy baby squid is to child. This dish is likely to be an all-time favourite for children because of its caramelized taste (children love their sweets!) and crunchy exterior.

Lai Huat’s version was fried to a nice golden brown and this makes it so much more appetizing as opposed to other charred black end-products in other places. My only gripe was it was a tad too rubbery. I dislike chewing on overly rubberized squids, so it is best to eat such fried items while hot. As with most other fried food, sogginess is a natural result over time.

lai huat sambal fish vegetables

Macadamia Nuts w/ Seasonal Vegetable ($14 / $24). Lai Huat did a refreshing take on this typical Chinese vegetable dish with the introduction of macadamia nuts instead of the usual roasted cashews. Nevertheless, the alternating bites between crunchy nuts and evenly tossed vegetables truly delighted me. Like what I always say- love your veggies, love your life.

lai huat sambal fish homemade tofu

Tofu w/Crab Meat and Egg White ($14 / $28). I always cave in to homemade tofus, so I relished hearing that this dish that the restaurant specifically recommends is a result of painstaking conversion of soya beans to in-house tofu. Patrick spoke with so much conviction of his fried tofu that I had to sink my teeth into one almost instantly. I really liked the soft and silky body beneath the firm skin, and believe most will, like me, take to the delicious sauce laden with egg white.

lai huat sambal fish salted egg yolk prawns

Salted Egg Prawns Fritter (Upwards of $20). I love salted-egg anything! If you are like me, who will lick the shell off every salted egg crustacean dish just to get every bit of the mix, be pleased- The succulent prawns served here are partially de-shelled and evenly covered in salted egg mix. Full-on salted egg flavor in every bite. Absolutely Delectable.

Lunch at Lai Huat was a wholesome affair and it definitely will be one of the restaurant choices I have up my sleeves to impress if there are any family gatherings in the future.

Expected Damage : $20-30/pax

Lai Huat Sambal Fish : 17 Upper East Coast Road Singapore 455208 | Tel: 6448 9077 | Website

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