Last Updated: August 23, 2021
Most locals are familiar with the agonising process of deciding where to eat whenever Chinatown is in question, simply because the options are aplenty, and every street and corner boasts of an eatery sporting a long, snaking queue. Nestled in Chinatown’s huge maze of old school shophouses and towering buildings lies Maxwell Food Centre—a hawker centre known and beloved by Singaporeans and tourists alike. Newly opened Ying Jie Seafood sits at the heart of it all, a vibrantly coloured stall that’s eye-catching enough to give you pause, especially if you’re still debating on what to have for lunch.
If you’re in the mood for something indulgent, opt for their Seafood Soup (S$8), which is topped generously with venus clams, fresh and chewy prawns, and thickly-sliced fish. You don’t even have to wait until cheat day to give Ying Jie Seafood a shot, because their vegetable soup bases are all MSG-free and made flavourful with tomatoes, celery, prawn heads, chicken and fishbone.
The resulting flavour is a broth that’s fragrant without being overly salty, making this an affordable way to indulge in a guilt-free lunch consisting of your favourite seafood ingredients. You can even go the extra mile and treat yourself—elevate your meal by topping up a little extra for Scallops (additional S$3), and go to town on your lunch.
Nothing is more deserving of the title of comfort food than a steaming bowl of Fish Soup (S$5) is—its savouriness as familiar as home itself. Ying Jie Seafood gives you the best bang for your buck with thick slices of fish that are chewy, yet melt in your mouth in a matter of seconds.
To make this a more filling meal, you can opt to add on carbs such as Thick Beehoon (additional S$0.80), or Rice (additional S$0.60) to give you more energy for long days. I do think that it’s not easy for any stall to revolutionise the perennial fish soup loved by Singaporeans of all ages, and its similarity to all the fish soups I’ve had before meant that it didn’t quite stand out for me.
However, if you’re looking to tapau something dependably tasty and healthy for dad on the way home, Ying Jie Seafood will tick both of those boxes without fail.
The next offering is dedicated especially to fans who love any and all things spicy. Ying Jie Seafood’s Truffle Chilli Noodle (S$7.50) boasts of springy, thin noodles doused in their homemade chilli and topped with truffle oil, fresh jumbo prawns, scallops, and clams.
The texture of their noodles gives most noodle stalls a run for their money, though it’s worth noting that you should only give this a shot if you’ve got a reputation for your formidable spice tolerance. While it most definitely packed a punch, I found that the chilli completely overwhelmed the taste of the truffle oil, making me wish that they’d been heavier-handed with the latter instead of the former.
Even as someone who enjoys the spice kick, I’ll admit that the spice level of the truffle chilli noodles definitely intimidated me after the first mouthful.
Ying Jie Seafood is also expanding its menu with a range of Pao Fan, which comes served with Scallops (S$7), Baby Lobster(S$10), or Prawns (S$7). I’ve never been a huge fan of pao fan, though I have to admit that when paired with scallops and topped with crispy fried rice puffs, this dish easily became my favourite one out of all.
Just like their seafood soups, the broth their pau fan is served in does not contain any MSG, yet doesn’t fail to give you a pleasant burst of savoury flavours with every mouthful. Their locally-sourced seafood is commendably fresh, with a generous portion of soup, rice, and seafood that’s perfect for those who have bigger appetites.
Like many food and beverage businesses encouraging patrons to get vaccinated, Ying Jie Seafood is offering a promotion for those who’ve gotten both their shots. Customers can enjoy a free scallop on the house if they’re fully-vaxxed. If you’re hankering after a steaming bowl of pao fan but want to err on the side of caution, they also offer island-wide delivery on Grabfood, so that you can indulge from the comfort of your home, wherever and whenever.
I’ve realised that one of the reasons why it’s difficult to stand out or revolutionise comfort foods is that all who seek them want something that’s reliable and tastes familiar. As far as comfort foods go, Ying Jie Seafood definitely ticks the boxes. Though no harm can be done with some fine-tuning to give them an edge in an already saturated market, they offer a ‘bare essentials’ type of comfort food that can never go wrong.
Expected damage: S$5-S$8 per pax
*This post is brought to you in partnership with Ying Jie Seafood.
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Our Rating: 3 / 5
Ying Jie Seafood
1 Kadayanallur Street, #01-059, Singapore 069184
1 Kadayanallur Street, #01-059, Singapore 069184