Last Updated: December 16, 2015
Opened by a Teochew family by Chef Steven Chua, Orchid Live Seafood Restaurant first started out at Orchid Country Club in 1999, hence the name and the Teochew influences on the dishes served here. They have since moved their location to Bah Soon Pah Road with a second branch at Jalan Kelulut.
Definitely a hidden gem amidst the greenery and farms, Orchid Live Seafood at Bah Soon Pah Road is nestled in Green Valley Farms, the first turn into Bah Soon Pah Road. Look out for the huge parking space, the restaurant is located just a bit further down, with tanks of live seafood lining the outer perimeters of the entrance.
Orchid Live Seafood Restaurant’s founding chef Steven Chua, is a name known to many patrons of the place, media and well received by many celebrities for his impeccable cooking skills.
Famed for their original Lobster Porridge, Orchid Live Seafood Restaurant is the highest importer in Singapore of that particular breed of live Asian lobsters, the mother ingredient for their signature dish. Curious, I asked for the story behind the creation of it.
The current owner, Jason Chua, son of the founder of Orchid Live Seafood Restaurant, told of how proudly Teochew the family is and that they wanted to come up with a unique dish to call their own while remaining unarguably Teochew. This gave birth to the Lobster Porridge that is influenced by Teochew mui (porridge).
Teochew mui is very different from the Cantonese style of congee. The former being less flavoured in the stock that it is served in, making the grains still rather tough and whole, giving rise to textures in the porridge. The latter, Cantonese congee is completely flavoured by the stock and cooked to a creamy and soft texture. Though so, it doesn’t mean that the stock isn’t important for the former, in fact, it makes a whole lot of difference since that would become the determining point of the flavour.
Over here, there is guaranteed freshness as the ingredients used are literally right outside the restaurant, as mentioned earlier. And if you do wish, you can witness the catching even choosing your own ‘victom’, attesting to the freshness of your dish.
The restaurant has a simple and modest interior, fully adorned with air conditioner. It can get really crowded on the weekends and especially so during meal times, I will recommend calling in to make reservations before heading down. After all, you don’t want to be missing their Lobster Porridge.
Teochew Cold Crab ($38.50). This dish is served with two separate sauces, sweet orange oil and vinegar. The cold crab itself remains very fresh and cooling due to its temperature. The flesh is sweet, aromatic and pairs well with the vinegar sauce that lends a slight zest.
The sweet orange oil may be slightly too sweet for my liking but I’d definitely recommend a try to those preferring a heavier taste.
Seth: I prefer it by itself to fully appreciate the fresh sweetness of the crab, but try the vinegar ginger dip as well to break a bit of monotony.
Lobster Porridge ($60 for 600g shown above, suitable for two person, 100g/$10, two pax minimum order).
Here comes the stellar dish of the restaurant and boy does it not disappoint. The broth that the Teochew mui is served in is nourishing, remarkably sweet and aromatic, spiced with some ginger to give another layer of flavour to it.
Using live lobsters for the stock means that the essence and freshness of the lobsters are completely locked in the broth while cooking and I can’t stop myself from refilling the comforting bowl of lobster porridge. The lobsters that came with the dish is chewy and should be consumed with the stock for its essence. Oh yes, a definite must try when here.
Top-shell with Crispy Tofu ($12). The top-shell is supple and is dressed with a sweet and sour sauce, served with onions and tofu that is fried to a golden brown. The tofu is crisp on the outside, with the insides remaining soft and tender.
Steven Chicken (small $12). A dish creatively created by their master chef, the chicken is delicately stripped down from its bones to give a butterfly shape for fuss free eating. The sauce coats the chicken in a sweet and tangy fashion, the skin is deep fried till its crisp and fragrant, with the meat remaining tender, juicy and not overly oily.
You’ll see the similar dish at their other subsidiary business The Chicken King.
Patin Fish, Steamed Hong Kong Style ($40/fish).
The Patin fish is a breed of fish that has no scales, feeds only on fruits and is a lively bunch. With that said, it can only be steamed Hong Kong style in order to maximise its flavour and retain the freshness of the fish.
The flesh of the fish is exceedingly soft and silky, much more deliquescing than most fish flesh. The umami (savoury) style sauce infused with garlic oil makes for an aromatic accompaniment to the fresh fish. Definitely something different from what you would get at usual chinese restaurants, very fresh, very smooth and lighter than usual that worked very well for me.
Though Bah Soon Pah Road might be a little too ulu (secluded) for some, I do think it is well worth the hassle if you drive. The seafood is intensely fresh and the restaurant’s experience in maximising those qualities and presents only the best onto your table. Not to mention their unique dish of Lobster porridge that is reason enough to make your way there for.
I’d recommend gathering a group make a reservation, get a taxi in or get someone with a car, go in really hungry and order as much as possible to share and to feast to your hearts content.
Expected Damage: $50 – $60 per pax