Seafood Paradise

The best seafood restaurants in Singapore

Despite its city leanings, Singapore is pretty much an island paradise and we've got the beachfront seafood restaurants to prove it

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It's no secret that the chilli crab is Singapore's national dish. And there's no place better to have a taste of it at the city's best seafood restaurants and zi char joints. But they're no one trick pony. These seafood experts also have prawns, fish, clams and other types of shellfish on their menus prepared in all sorts of ways. Peel the skin off your drunken prawns, set your mouth on fire with a hotplate of sambal stingray or wrestle with crab claws doused in black pepper sauce at these top seafood shacks.

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  • City Hall
New Ubin Hillview
New Ubin Hillview

Think of this as Singapore’s savviest zi char restaurant. Despite its rural Pulau Ubin beginnings in 1986, this wok shop’s kept up with the times, and its innovation has paid off – it was awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2018. Unlikely bestsellers include the US Black Angus ribeye ($14/100g) and Carabinero prawn sashimi ($18/prawn). The joint's more traditional Chinese-style steamed fish ($6-$6.50/100g) is still reared and caught off the Ubin coast. Crabs are priced from $45 for a 500 g crab, which can be cooked in 12 different styles. While the classic chilli is a must, we also recommend the baked garlic.

  • Seafood
  • Marine Parade

Proclaiming itself as the originator of the Chilli Crab, Roland's has been in business since 1956. Roland's parents are Lim Choon Ngee and Cher Yam Tian, who have gone down in the history books as the creators of the now-famous dish. Other seafood dishes to try include the black sauce prawns ($24), sambal mussels ($12), as well as the moreish crispy baby squids ($12). 

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  • Seafood
  • Punggol

Uncle Leong's Seafood has four outlets islandwide, a testament to its popularity among seafood and zi char fans. The joint is well-known for its crab dishes, in particular, the claypot crab beehoon (seasonal price) – a filling dish that consists of a whole crab submerged in a thick broth that has been simmered for hours. Other signatures include the Gold Coast Prawn ($20), the XO lala vermicelli ($9) and Guinness pork ribs ($13.80) – juicy, tender ribs covered in a glistening, caramelised glaze for when you've had too much seafood.   

  • Seafood
  • Bukit Merah

While Keng Eng Kee manages the usual seafood fare with aplomb, the brand is more well-known for its range of zi char dishes. One of its homemade specialities is the prawn roll ($8) – crispy beancurd skin wrapped around minced pork, carrot and prawn, with diced water chestnuts for a sweet crunch. Fish head ($18) prepared in a variety of ways (deep-fried, marinated in black bean sauce, sweet and sour sauce or soy sauce) is popular here too. It's mostly outdoor seating, but those who make reservations ahead of time might be able to snag a seat in the air-conditioned space across the courtyard.   

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  • Seafood
  • Raffles Place

Touted as the King of Crabs by loyal customers, Ban Leong Wah Hoe's owner Teh Chor Joo began his cooking journey at a zi char stall in 1986 near Caldecott. The proximity of his stall to Mediacorp's previous headquarters meant many local celebrities often visited his joint, adding to its growing reputation. Today, the restaurant at Casuarina still sees waves of customers both old and new. Its three bestsellers are the prawn paste chicken ($8), made with 85 percent pure shrimp paste; birthday noodles ($8) – lightly-fried vermicelli served with generous portions of prawns, squid rings and quail eggs; and of course, the chilli crab ($60/kg). 

  • Chinese
  • Geylang

Step into JB Ah Meng's space and you'll find the faces of international chefs and celebrities plastered all over its walls. It also counts Michelin-starred local chefs like Jason Tan from Corner House as regulars. The crowds keep coming back for its unbeatable zi char dishes like the san lou bee hoon ($7-$14). It appears simple enough, but the pancake-resembling seafood noodle dish is the joint’s star. Charred and crisp on the outside but soft on the inside, each strand of bee hoon is coated with a smoky wok hei. JB Ah Meng also does a killer rendition of white pepper crab (from $24) – the dish is only mildly spicy and lets the natural sweetness of the crustacean shine. 

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  • Hawker
  • Bedok
East Coast Lagoon Food Village
East Coast Lagoon Food Village

Nothing beats dining by the beach. After a dip in the sea and sand, show off your brand new tan at the East Coast Lagoon Food Village for piping hot street nosh. The food centre is big on barbecued seafood and local fare such as chilli crab, satay, mee goreng and popiah. With plenty of stalls serving up a variety of dishes, as well as seats catered for larger groups, stuffing yourself silly with food and beer at East Coast Park with fellow beach bums is a given. 

  • Thai
  • Sembawang

Think of JJ as a Thai-style zi char. It has all the usual offerings of traditional zi char restaurants – soups, vegetables, noodles and rice, chicken and pork, with more of a spicy Thai kick. Having moved from a humble hawker stall at Bukit Merah to a fully-fledged restaurant at Sembawang, it still sees hoards of loyal customers queuing for up to two hours every weekend. Its must-tries include steamed lemon seabass ($22), handmade prawn cake ($10), and minced pork stir-fried with basil leaves ($8).     

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  • Seafood
  • Bedok

Jumbo's name is apt as it's arugably one of the biggest names in Singapore's seafood business. The chain has even expanded regionally to China, Thailand, Taiwan and Vietnam, with more to come. It's been serving chilli crabs (from $78/kg) at its birthplace, East Coast Park, since 1987 and has long been a favourite of many. The reason for its popularity has to be its choice of crabs – they’re all extremely meaty. Its sauce is pretty unique, too, deploying ground peanuts for an added crunch. Other crowd favourites include the salted egg prawns ($24) – wok-fried in a thick, salted egg sauce, and the plump, juicy scallops wrapped in a fragrant yam ring ($18). 

  • Seafood
  • Marina Bay
Seafood Paradise
Seafood Paradise

Seafood Paradise was once a humble zi char stall located in a coffee shop on Defu Lane. Today, the Paradise Group brand has expanded to include more than 30 restaurants in Singapore with almost 30 more around the world. The new flagship outlet has also moved away from the dingy industrial estate to the glittering hallways of Marina Bay Sands. Live seafood is the order of the day here –  have the classic chilli Sri Lankan crab or the restaurant's signature creamy butter Dungeness crab topped with coconut crumbs (both starting from $38).

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