Third time’s a charm. For the past two Sundays, we’ve tried to get a table at East Ocean for yum cha at lunch time, only to be thwarted by snakingly long queues, and a booking system that simply doesn’t stand up to the insane lunch crowd. This time, we got there at 2 pm, and a table was readily available. The only downside to coming late is that you have to order the dim sum from the menu – the trolleys stop making their rounds at around 2. Also, last order is at 2.30 and the restaurant shuts promptly at 3, so no lingering over your tea.
Still, I guess it does live up to the hype and queues. While the har kow and chee cheong fun were only slightly above average (chee cheong fun had kng chye/coriander/cilantro, a big no-no in my books), the char siew pao and the feng zhao/phoenix claw (chicken feet) were one of the better ones I’ve had in Singapore. The steamed carrot cake even surpassed the one at Victor’s, which was already very good in my opinion.
We also ordered a few appetizers – the drunken chicken wing, and chilled pork belly. The chicken was a bit of a let down. I expected the wine marinade to be more fragrant. The chilled pork belly was great though, and extremely addictive. It even came with a traditionally Teochew dipping sauce of vinegar, garlic and diced chilli padi (sng nee chou).
This is probably a good place to introduce kids to dim sum, because they have a whole selection of dim sum in cute little animal shapes – cobra-shaped cha siew and mui choy buns, mushroom and shrimp paste turtles, and coconut and egg white bunnies. We ordered too much this time to try these out. Maybe next time. Their a la carte menu looks pretty interesting too, so even though they don’t serve dim sum for dinner, I’ll still be happy to come here and try their other dishes. Maybe it’ll be less manic than at lunchtime too.
Good food and excellent service once you get inside, but with the queues, getting a place is just too much of a hassle for it to be worth it.
East Ocean Teochew Restaurant
1 Scotts Road
#02-18 Shaw Centre
Mon to Fri: 11.30 am to 3 pm/6 pm to 11 pm
Sat, Sun and Pub Hol: 10 am to 3 pm/6 pm to 11 pm