Last Updated: February 28, 2021
Here’s a confession for you; I have been using these food showdowns as an excuse to have multiple plates of my favourite food. I’m talking burgers, vadai, and scrumptious Fuzhou oyster cake. Oh, what fun I had, travelling across the island trying all of their different renditions. Not so great for my waistline but, you know, what will I not do for the content? This week, we shall dive into the ever-satisfying oyster omelette or orh luak as most would most like to call it.
Not to be confused with oyster egg, an oyster omelette is where fresh, plump oysters are fried together with a seasoned batter so you get these soft, pillowy starchy bits. Oyster egg is fried without starch, meaning you get crispier edges compared to the oyster omelette.
There is no shortage of hawker stalls peddling tasty plates of oyster omelette. Each stall does prepare it their own way, so you can imagine how difficult it was to narrow down just three, but I did. I chose these three stalls based on their popularity and how quickly their name came up in a Google search. So, if you do have any grievances, don’t blame me; it’s clearly Google’s fault.
Without further ado, here are the contenders for this food showdown: Famous Old Airport Road Fried Oyster, Lim’s Fried Oyster, and Ah Chuan Oyster Omelette. We’ll judge them on four main criteria—eggs, oysters, starchy bits, and their chilli.
With the word ‘famous’ in the stall name, you better hope it lives up to its reputation. Famous Old Airport Road Fried Oyster needs no introduction, although there is quite an interesting story with its neighbouring stall. Trust me; it’s as juicy as the oysters they use, so have a read as you savour your oyster omelette.
What you have to love about most of the oyster omelette stalls is that your plate is always made-to-order. My plate of Fried Oyster (S$4) was a glorious little number with huge, chunky bits of fried starch in between crispy pieces of egg and plump oysters.
A good plate of orh luak is a delicate dance of getting those crispy edges while ensuring the insides remain pillowy soft. That’s not all, anyone can make a slurry and fry it with some eggs, but it’s how each cook spikes their batter is why you keep coming back for more.
It seems that ‘famous’ is right; each bite of oyster omelette hits all the right spots. It’s savoury beyond measure and just a touch of spicy. Here, their fried egg remains tender and fluffy, and the mixture is not entirely homogeneous, so you get portions of egg yolk and egg white.
The starchy bits were a tad large for my liking but were dutifully seasoned. After all, bland fried flour is just a no-no. The oysters were fresh, briny little nuggets that were nicely interspersed with the fried eggs. Some places can be rather stingy with their oysters, but Old Airport Road doles out just the right amount.
Another essential component of having orh luak is the chilli. It is the bow that ties everything together. Famous Old Airport Road’s one is vinegary and packs a punch but with velvet gloves. Not enough to make you sweat but does a wonderful job at cutting through all that richness. It’s an excellent plate of oyster omelette and one you won’t be disappointed by.
51 Old Airport Road, Old Airport Road Food Centre, #01-54, Singapore 390051
Mon, Wed to Fri: 11am – 2pm & 5.30pm – 9.30pm
Sat: 11am – 9.30pm
Sun: 4.30pm – 9.30pm
Closed on Tue
I have a theory that all the best hawker food is sequestered in Berseh Food Centre. Besides the renowned Lim’s Fried Oyster, Berseh Food Centre is where you can find Fuzhou Poh Hwa Oyster as well.
Lim’s Fried Oyster had just come back from a Chinese New Year hiatus, so the crowd was extra excited to see the husband and wife team back at the stall. Since each plate is made-to-order, do be prepared to wait a while for your steaming hot plate of orh luak.
Both of them work like a well-oiled machine, with the auntie taking orders and uncle sweating furiously over the pan. There is no better feeling when the aunty calls your order number and hands you the plate of Oyster Omelette (S$5).
At Lim’s, their orh luak is a riotous mix of eggs, oysters, and starch that’s more separated than the one I had at Old Airport Road. Closely resembling scrambled eggs, this fell into the ‘wet’ category of oyster omelette. Still, it came with those charred corners that I can’t help but polish off.
The eggs were of a more homogeneous mixture and were more broken up and scattered around the plate. The oysters here were fat, fresh and aplenty. As for the starch bits, Lim’s Fried Oyster has ensured there be an equal distribution of both egg and starch so that you can have both in each mouthful. It’s this kind of attentiveness that has cemented Lim’s Fried Oyster as one of the go-to places for orh luak.
As for the chilli, it’s a potent vermilion mixture that you’d wish you could bottle home. It toes the line of being just spicy enough to satisfy spice fiends but not so much that it overwhelms the palate.
It’s no wonder why there has been such a loyal following for Lim’s Fried Oyster all these years.
166 Jalan Besar, Berseh Food Centre, #01-32, Singapore 208877
+65 9386 0732
Daily: 6pm – 12am
Another titan in oyster omelette circles is Ah Chuan Oyster Omelette, which many consider as one of the best orh luak you can get your hands on. A well-established stall of over 40 years, Ah Chuan has seen numerous accolades, awards, and even minister endorsements.
You know the drill, I got my plate of Fried Oyster (S$5) and dug in. It’s a rather generous portion that comes with a copious shower of cilantro. The plate is an amalgamation of craggy shards of fried egg amidst the soft, velvety pieces of omelette, with fresh Korean pudgy oysters poking out from underneath—what a sight for sore eyes indeed.
The eggs manage to strike that balance between being both crispy on the outside and marshmallowy soft on the inside. Large sections of eggs come cradling the freshest Korean oysters that burst with such seafood-y goodness; you’d wish you were at the beach to savour this.
The ‘gloopy’ bits of an oyster omelette has earned a bad reputation from sometimes being heinously undercooked or notoriously bland. If you’ve ever had a bad experience with oyster omelette, let Ah Chuan change your mind. Each starchy piece is of a good size, and rather than a ‘gloopy’ texture, it resembles the chewy nian gao instead.
With a smear of that bright, fiery lime-infused chilli, you couldn’t want for anything more.
22D Lorong 7 Toa Payoh, #01-25, Singapore 314022
Wed to Mon: 12pm – 3pm
Closed on Tue
Oyster omelette stalls are aplenty on our foodie-filled island. However, there are only a few that warrant multiple visits. For me, that would have to be Ah Chuan Oyster Omelette. Everything was executed with exceptional balance, skill and technical prowess. While the other two were stellar, Ah Chuan stood as the indisputable winner.
Seeing as I have eaten my month’s quota in oyster omelette, perhaps I shall choose something less heavy for my next showdown. How do salad wraps sound?