Oh Crab! Who Is Uncle Leong? – Uncle Leong Seafood Restaurant 龍海鲜螃蟹王

Who Is Uncle Leong?

Black Pepper Sri Lankan Crabs.

According to Mr. Hawazi Daipi, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Manpower, “Singaporeans’ love for food is reflected in the growth of the food and beverage industry in Singapore. According to latest figures by the Department of Statistics, the Singapore F&B industry now comprises about 6,200 establishments, employing some 91,300 workers, or an average of about 15 workers per establishment. Revenue for the industry exceeded $6 billion in 2010, an increase of 10.6 per cent compared to 2009.

Singaporeans love to eat. Singaporeans do not eat simply for the sake of filling their stomachs. In other words, Singaporeans love good food. Most of all, Singaporeans love to eat good and cheap food.

Eating is indisputably a very significant aspect, if not the most important part, of Singapore culture! We greet our neighbours and friends not by saying “how are you?” but by affectionately asking “have you eaten?” This is the usual question anyone would ask of their relatives, friends or colleagues who visit their homes or offices. And those who have not eaten are often asked to stay for “makan”  (Malay word for eat), especially if meal time is nearing.

Of the 3 main meals (and be sure there are many in between smaller meals) that Singaporeans consume daily, dinner is the most important meal time in our society… be it personal or social. In family context, dinner is the time where most if not all the family members are gathered around the table. It is a time for communicating and sharing. The annual Reunion Dinner is the dinner of all dinners for all Chinese around the world! In the social context, dinner is looked upon as some sort of deserved reward especially after a hard day’s work – it is also a time for friends and colleagues to catch up and mingle on a more personal basis, and even more intimate, when the number of diners is small. One feels nice to be included for lunch but one feels important to be invited for dinner. And if  dinner is to be held during the weekends, the importance felt is duely magnified. Such is the effect of the main meal time in Singapore.

Enough said… time to find something good and cheap to eat 😀

Adrian suggested a Friday dinner gathering when we met at Irene’s birthday party. The venue would be finalised after some “word-of-mouth” recommendations have been verified within the next two days. On Thursday, the chosen place was decided to be at Uncle Leong’s. Who’s uncle? No, it’s Uncle Leong Seafood Restaurant located at Toa Payoh Braddell Tech, an industrial building in a public housing estate.

From this angle, the place looked sparsely littered with a few occupied tables...

From this angle, the place looked sparsely littered with a few occupied tables…

Crabs of all sizes.

Crabs of all sizes.

Crab shells every where.

Crab shells every where.

IMG_0186©BondingToolIMG_0190©BondingTool

Now that I have walked up to the main entrance of the restaurant, I could see how crowded the place was.

There were quite a number of Indian families and Indians with Chinese friends eating here.

There were quite a number of Indian families and Indians with Chinese friends eating here.

Adrian trying to control himself - he got hungry looking at the menu.

Adrian trying to control himself – he got hungry looking at the menu.

While waiting for May and Ros to arrive, I fiddled with my camera to test the lighting. I am still fumbling with this camera. There was no food so I took pictures of the chillies :)

While waiting for May and Ros to arrive, I fiddled with my camera to test the lighting. I am still fumbling with this camera. There was no food so I took pictures of the chillies 🙂

Beer for us and Stout for Ros.

Beer for us and Stout for Ros.

We'd initially wanted 2 types of crabs and other dishes but in the end we opted 1 crab, 1 meat, 1 vegetable, 1 prawn and 1 carbo.

We’d initially wanted 2 types of crabs and other dishes but in the end we opted 1 crab, 1 meat, 1 vegetable, 1 prawn and 1 carbo.

Signature Hor Fun 招牌河粉

Signature Hor Fun 招牌河粉

The first dish that arrived was their Signature Hor Fun 招牌河粉 – I was very impressed with the chunky pieces of prawns (the prawns and squid here tasted far more superior than Jumbo’s seafood mee goreng dish), the thick cuts of fish fillet, squid and wow, pacific clams! This dish costs us S$12.00.

In my photo-taking frenzy, the flat rice noodles (hor fun) had cooled off significantly but when I finally settled down to taste it... "Damn, the wok hei is good!" to which May quickly agreed. Every bite reconfirmed that our dilemma in not ordering the Crab Bee Hoon in favour of this carbo was a good first visit choice. Be assured we will be back in future for the Crab Bee Hoon Soup though, as it is one of their signature dishes, too.

In my photo-taking frenzy, the flat rice noodles (hor fun) had cooled off significantly but when I finally settled down to taste it… “Damn, the wok hei is good!” to which May quickly agreed. Every bite reconfirmed that our dilemma in not ordering the Crab Bee Hoon in favour of this carbo was a good first visit choice. Be assured we will be back in future for the Crab Bee Hoon Soup though, as it is one of their signature dishes, too.

IMG_0244©BondingTool

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The next dish was the Salted Egg Prawn 咸蛋虾, which you can choose prawns to be cooked with or without shells.

I had made the choice of Salted Egg Prawn 咸蛋虾 without shells so we could savour the entirety of salted egg yolk and prawns in every bite. It turned out to be a good choice, too. The yolk was not overpowering. The texture was crispy on the outside, juicy and succulent on the inside. Springy bite meant fresh prawns. There’s curry leaves infused into the dish but no sign of chillies.

IMG_0227a©BondingTool

The prawn dish costs us S$20.00. See recipe below.

IMG_0220©BondingTool

We wanted Sweet Potato Leaves but they did not have it that night. Next choice was Nai Bai 奶白 which I ordered to be cooked in Sambal (三岜) was unheard of. The Chinese (China) waitress told me that no one has ever ordered it to be cooked that way before but I think the chef did it very well if this was his first time. It was so good I could not complain (it’s the fourth time I ate this veggie 2 weeks).

This Sambal Nai Bai 三岜奶白 vegetable dish costs us S$12.00

This Sambal Nai Bai 三岜奶白 vegetable dish costs us S$12.00

Next, came the Three Spices Chicken 三杯鸡. The dish got heated up even more after a while as the flames fired up the claypot.

Next, came the Three Spices Chicken 三杯鸡. The dish got heated up even more after a while as the flames fired up the claypot.

Three Spices Chicken 三杯鸡 was very different from the other San Bei Ji 三杯鸡 I have eaten in Chinese Restaurants. San Bei Ji (3 cups Chicken) are usually 3 cups of 3 different types of Chinese Wine but here is not the case. Instead I was trying to decipher what are the 3 spices used that were given significance. I saw slices of ginger, whole garlic, scallions, curry leaves and chillies. The dish is sweet tasting, not spicy or chilli hot so your guess is as good as mine as to which are the 3 main spices that this dish was named after.

Three Spices Chicken 三杯鸡 was very different from the other San Bei Ji 三杯鸡 I have eaten in Chinese Restaurants. San Bei Ji (3 cups Chicken) are usually 3 cups of 3 different types of Chinese Wine but here is not the case. Instead I was trying to decipher what are the 3 spices used that were given significance. I saw slices of ginger, whole garlic, scallions, curry leaves and chillies. The dish is sweet tasting, not spicy or chilli hot so your guess is as good as mine as to which are the 3 main spices that this dish was named after.

The bone-in chicken pieces were deep-fried first before they were stir-fried and transferred to be simmered in this claypot. The texture of the chicken skin was slightly chewy (not in a bad way) due to the deep-frying and now slightly stewing in the claypot. In fact, I was picking at the dish for more skin. This dish costs us S$15.00

The bone-in chicken pieces were deep-fried first before they were stir-fried and transferred to be simmered in this claypot. The texture of the chicken skin was slightly chewy (not in a bad way) due to the deep-frying and now slightly stewing in the claypot. In fact, I was picking at the dish for more skin.
This dish costs us S$15.00

Yap and Adrian broke into smiles when the food arrived but Adrian's glee quickly turned into glum when he realised I have to take pictures first. May, Ros and Yap already knew the protocol, lol...

Yap and Adrian broke into smiles when the food arrived but Adrian’s glee quickly turned into glum when he realised I have to take pictures first. May, Ros and Yap already knew the protocol, lol…

Now that I have taken snapshots of all the food except for our last dish, I sat down to enjoy the meal. Everyone was too busy eating with an occasional nod and a sigh of mmmm.... yummay!

Now that I have taken snapshots of all the food except for our last dish, I sat down to enjoy the meal. Everyone was too busy eating with an occasional nod and a sigh of mmmm…. yummay!

Before we could clear the current dishes, our impatient crab crawled over.

Before we could clear the current dishes, our impatient crab crawled over.

IMG_0248©BondingToolBlack Pepper Crab黑胡椒螃蟹 is not exactly the kind I will order but I know not to order Butter Crab (Wong Poh Restaurant has the best – and I will grumble if it did not turn out well) and I just had Chilli Crab with Keef… We’d decided not to order Crab Bee Hoon since we’ve had the Signature Hor Fun and Adrian did not like their Signature Simmering Sand Crab Delight so the only wisest choice left is this old favourite of Singaporeans, heavily doused in cracked black peppercorns.

I'm truly glad we ordered this as I haven't had Black Pepper Crab for a long time (10 years at least!) and this dish did not hurt like I remembered. My last impression of Black Pepper Crabs were blistering lips and inflamed tongue that became so numbed, I couldn't taste anything after that.

I’m truly glad we ordered this as I haven’t had Black Pepper Crab for a long time (10 years at least!) and this dish did not hurt like I remembered. My last impression of Black Pepper Crabs were blistering lips and inflamed tongue that became so numbed, I couldn’t taste anything after that.

In fact, the texture was not as grainy as I imagined it might be. The spiciness was well balanced and subtle enough for the sweetness of the fresh crab (which was just alive minutes ago) to come through.

In fact, the texture was not as grainy as I imagined it might be. The spiciness was well balanced and subtle enough for the sweetness of the fresh crab (which was just alive minutes ago) to come through.

This was the last picture Adrian allowed me to take so I had to stop and start picking at the prized roe that had dropped off the shell and dirty my hands with the luscious crustacean.

This was the last picture Adrian allowed me to take so I had to stop and start picking at the prized roe that had dropped off the shell and dirty my hands with the luscious crustacean.

IMG_0269©BondingTool

Adrian – so happy that I’d stopped taking pictures and being able to eat.

"Anyone has a favourite part?" he asked, before taking the pincers.

“Anyone has a favourite part?” he asked, before taking the pincers.

The seasonal price of the crab tonight was S$50 per kilo and they only had smaller crabs left.

The seasonal price of the crab tonight was S$50 per kilo and they only had smaller crabs left.

Ros, absolutely happy with his stout and crab. The crab dish costs us S$40.00 so I reckon we had a 800g crab.

Ros, absolutely happy with his stout and crab. The crab dish costs us S$40.00 so I reckon we had a 800g crab.

pageUL12©BondingToolAny serious crab lovers know that sweetest meat comes from the body where the matrix of “bones” form in between the flesh. As the song goes “closer to the bone, sweeter is the meat”…

It's true, it's true... Closer to the bone, sweeter is the meat!!! Yumzzzzzzzz :D

It’s true, it’s true… Closer to the bone, sweeter is the meat!!! Yumzzzzzzzz 😀

This place turned out to be finger licking good! Thank you for a good and cheap meal, Uncle Leong!

This place turned out to be finger licking good! Thank you for a good and cheap meal, Uncle Leong!

Our rating for the food is an average of 8/10.

The service is polite but our waitress could do better if she could handle a smattering of English for poor Adrian.
The food came in at reasonably fast pace even though the restaurant was full.
The place is very clean and well kept, no roaches were wandering about where we sat.
It’s an open space concept but the humidity was low so the dining experience was pleasant enough.
This is a restaurant we will want to go back and try the other dishes.
There was no attack of msg on anyone of us – a very good sign.
There was no service charge but there’s GST tax of 7%.
Our total bill came to S$107.50 (food S$99 + towels S$1.50 + GST S$7.00).
Drinks are not inclusive and has to be paid upfront when served.

Uncle Leong Seafood Restaurant 龍海鲜螃蟹王
Address: 15 Lorong 8 Toa Payoh
Singapore 319262.
Phone:6554 3453
Transit: Blk 227

Excerpt taken from Mr. Hawazi’s speech in 2012: http://www.moe.gov.sg/media/speeches/2012/01/05/speech-by-mr-hawazi-daipi-at-the-rp-ichef-culinary-comp.php

Salted Egg Prawn 咸蛋虾
Recipe:
500g large Prawns (buy very large prawns as they shrink quite a bit when cooked – see the food picture above to guesstimate the size. You may prawns use with shells on, method is same).
3 pieces of Salted Duck Egg Yolks (roughly 30g egg yolks, more is okay if you like).
2 stalks of Curry Leaves (remove stem, use only the leaves).
1-2 Chilli Padi, remove seeds and chopped (opt out if you don’t like spicy).
2 tablespoons of Butter.
¼ teaspoon of chicken granules/powder.
½-1 teaspoon Sugar.

Coating for Prawns:
2 Eggs (Chicken Egg), beaten.
50g Corn/Potato or Tapioca Starch (for dusting).
Enough Groundnut Oil for deep-frying prawns.

Method:
1. Devein (cut a slit at the back of the prawn to remove its vein), rinse and pat dry the shelled prawns.

2. Crack open the salted duck eggs and throw away the albumen. Rinse the yolks under a tap and cook them (steam or microwave). Finely chop or mash the cooked salted egg yolk, and set aside.

3. Dip shelled prawns in beaten egg yolks. Then, dust the prawns completely with corn/potato or tapioca starch.

4. Heat wok with oil over medium-high fire. Put the prawns in the hot oil and deep-fry until the prawns curl, are crispy and golden in colour. Remove from oil and drain on absorbent paper towels.

5. Remove oil in wok and reduce heat to medium low fire. Add butter. Once starts to melt, add in the cooked salted egg yolks. Keep mashing and stirring them with the back of the ladle to prevent burning. When the mixture turns foamy, add in chillies and curry leaves. Continue to stir fry till aroma releases.

6. Add in chicken granule and sugar. Taste and adjust seasoning. Adding more sugar or salt if necessary. This is because some salted yolks are saltier and some are not.

7. Increase the heat to high and once the sauce bubbles, return fried prawns to the wok. Toss all the ingredients till well blended and the prawns are coated with the sauce.

8. Dish up and serve with steamed white rice or eat as snack with ice cold beer.

Tip: Substitute prawns with 1 kg mud crab (cut into bite sizes), 50g cooked Salted Egg Yolks, 3 tablespoons Butter. The rest of the ingredients remain the same. Increase the beaten eggs and dusting starch to coat the chopped crab. Adjust seasoning according to your taste.

Happy cooking 🙂

Comments
7 Responses to “Oh Crab! Who Is Uncle Leong? – Uncle Leong Seafood Restaurant 龍海鲜螃蟹王”
  1. thenerdyscribe says:

    Cool post! 🙂 hope you will not be mad with me but I disagree about the cat. I have commented on the reason why on my blog.

  2. Fleta says:

    Very interesting comparison, you lend up the fact so clean.

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