Founded in 1951, Lai Huat has been known for its original creation of deep-fried pomfret topped with chili. My friends and I weren't exactly looking for spicy dishes though, so we gave it a miss. BTW, our evening was apparently ruined by the disgraceful service by the boss. Read more to find out what happened.
King's Pork Ribs (Small) S$12.00
Beautifully glazed and sprinkled with sesame seeds, the boneless pork ribs were tender. The portion didn't disappoint either. Having said that, I feel that they were just a tad too sweet to be eaten on their own without rice.
Claypot Chicken with Cashew Nuts (Large) S$24.00
The chicken cooked with mushrooms, onions, bell peppers and cashew nuts was served on a plate instead of a claypot as it was getting late. Not only was the chicken juicy, but the dish also had a delectable sweet and savoury balance.
Old Chef Cereal Prawns (Medium) S$30.00
The medium-sized prawns were executed well, fried till crispy without jeopardising their tenderness. The cereal oats could be crispier, but they were enjoyably buttery. Overall, the dish wasn't too oily.
Crab Meat Tofu with Egg White (Small) S$14.00
It took me just one look to confirm that there wasn't enough tofu in the dish, but I enjoyed the starchy gravy. The sweetness lent by the wolfberries was great. I must say that the egg white masked the crab meat well. Haha... :P
Aiyu Jelly with Longan S$3.80
After the tension, which I'm going to elaborate more below, it was nice to cool down with the cold dessert recommended by one of the servers. The light texture of the aiyu (lit. loving jade) jelly, juxtaposed by that of the crunchy longans, made me happier. The calamansi-based simple syrup was aromatic and adequately sweet.
Okay, what happened was that service was extremely slow. The interminable wait in between the dishes arriving at the table was unbearable. After three dished appeared, we asked whether the other two would be coming soon: pork trotter jelly and claypot chicken. The conceited male boss said that the former wasn't available, and proceeded to scold us why we didn't say earlier that the latter hadn't come out as the kitchen was already closing. The female boss could only sit at the cashier desk most of the time. Having said that, the servers were really kind. We couldn't resist talking badly about the bosses to them. Would I return? No, definitely NOT, no matter how good the food is and how convenient the place is from my house. I actually feel sorry for the friendly and well-mannered servers, old women and foreigners from mainland China, who have to work there.
Anyway, I forgot to take a picture of the free appetiser dish of acar (Malay picked vegetables) with peanut sauce, which I found a bit too sweet for my liking. Pika's advice: If you want to try their signature pomfret dish, you can visit either this newer branch in Chinatown (you've been warned!) or the older one at 17 Upper East Coast Road.
Lai Huat Signatures
23 China Street
(Daily: 11.00am - 11.00pm)
*Prices quoted are subject to 10% service charge.
Have a nice meal,