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[Writer’s note: The restaurants in this list are selected based on Google ratings and reviews and may not reflect personal opinions]
Singaporeans have a huge appetite for seafood and we have a wide range of seafood dishes in Singapore from fish head curry to chilli crab to cereal prawn.
As an island surrounded by water, Singaporeans are spoilt for choice with both local and imported seafood playing a big part in our cuisine.
When it comes to seafood, popular brands like Jumbo, TungLok and Uncle Seafood jump almost instantly to our minds.
However, as someone living in the North region, I find that popular seafood places are often concentrated in other parts of Singapore.
With that, this sparked me to look at the geographical battleground of Singapore’s seafood restaurants.
Restaurant chain Jumbo Seafood first opened in 1987 at the East Coast Seafood Centre. For the last 2 decades, it has been a go-to seafood destination for Easties.
The seafood centre, which houses a few well-known seafood restaurants, is a popular seafood paradise for locals and tourists alike.
Jumbo is best known for its chili and black pepper crabs and the company has grown to over 20 restaurants in Singapore, China and Japan.
The famous black pepper crab was arguably first created by the chefs at Long Beach Seafood Restaurant in 1982. Also located at the East Coast Seafood Centre, it is another popular option for those living in the Eastern side.
Aside from the Singaporean classic, they also specialise in exotic seafood like Live Alaskan King Crab, Live Southern Australian Lobster, and Live Geoduck.
No Signboard Seafood started out as a seafood hawker stall at Mattar Road Hawker Center in the 1970s.
Back in those days, it was uncommon for hawker stalls to sell fresh seafood and much less, crab dishes.
Its founder then created their White Pepper Crab dish to differentiate their hawker stall from the competition. Today, they are also popular for their chili crab.
First founded in a neighbourhood coffeeshop in the Ang Mo Kio estate in 2002, Uncle Leong Seafood has now expanded into three restaurants, with one located at Punggol.
Known for its affordable seafood, its Punggol outlet lies along the waterfront and is frequented by people residing in the North-East region.
They are famous for their chili crab drizzled with their signature sauce and topped with a sprinkle of oat.
G7 Sin Ma Live Seafood is a local seafood restaurant that has stood in Geylang for decades, offering Chilli Crab, Black Pepper Crab, Mango Fish, and Shark’s head among many favourites.
It is your neighbourhood seafood joint that is affordable than the bigger brands in a casual and relaxed setting.
A hot spot for tourists, its Riverside Point and Riverside Walk outlets are highly frequented by overseas celebrities and personalities alike.
Jumbo is best known for their chili and black pepper crabs and it is located near the Singapore River for those who want a view and a stroll after dinner.
Palm Beach Seafood Restaurant started as a pushcart roadside stall in 1956. They are said to be the creator of the local chili crab dish and sold stir-fried crabs mixed with bottled chili and tomato sauce at the stall.
The stall grew into a restaurant along Upper East Coast Road in the early 1960s.
In 2008, they moved to One Fullerton and attracts mainly a crowd of working professionals and tourists.
Established in 1976, Red House Seafood first opened along Upper East Coast Road.
It is best known for their Braised Alaskan Crab Bee Hoon to the Signature Creamy Custard Lobster and Crab Meat Pao Fan.
It has a strong presence in the CBD area, with three restaurants located in Prinsep Street, Clarke Quay and Grand Copthorne.
One of many dining concepts under the TungLok Group brand, TungLok Seafood specialises in Singapore-style seafood dishes.
TungLok Seafood’s Orchard Central outlet is a highly popular spot for people in the Orchard Road area who are craving seafood.
According to their website, “perennial favourites are the Black Pepper Crab, voted the best in town, and Chilli Crab that uniquely combines orange juice and tomato sauce”.
Also located at Orchard Central, Dancing Crab serves Louisiana-style Cajun seafood. It is co-founded by the same man, Andrew Tjioe, of the TungLok chain of restaurants.
Dancing Crab is a refreshing American counterpart to any city with a preference for seafood and rich flavours.
They are known for their signature Seafood Boil, ranging from Boston Lobster to Dungeness Crab.
With its roots in East Coast Seafood Centre, Long Beach Seafood has went on to open restaurants in other regions, including one at Dempsey.
The black pepper crab is said to be an original Long Beach creation, and they are also popular for exotic seafood like Live Alaskan King Crab, Live Southern Australian Lobster, and Live Geoduck.
Mellben Seafood sits in the heart of Ang Mo Kio/Bishan and was started from a stall along Commonwealth Avenue in 1979.
Heartlanders are familiar with the Mellben Seafood or Uncle Leong Seafood brand.
According to some reports, Uncle Leong Seafood is run by the elder brother of the owner of Mellben Seafood.
Both restaurants feature the same signature dishes of Claypot Crab Bee Hoon and Shimmering Sand Crab.
Known for their premium seafood at friendly prices, Uncle Leong is typically located in the heartlands — Punggol, Toa Payoh and Jurong East.
Its Toa Payoh outlet is situated in a coffeeshop and is a crowd-favourite for Singaporeans living in the Central region and who don’t want to pay for exorbitant prices in town.
The Boiler is a Southern American-inspired seafood joint that serves up fresh seafood in Cajun style known as seafood boil.
Its founder is a banker-turned-entrepreneur who first experienced Cajun cooking in LA. Upon returning to Singapore in 2008, he resolved to bring the flavours of the Louisianian seafood boil to his home city.
Located in the Novelty Bizcentre at Howard Road, right by Tai Seng MRT station, it is just a short trek away for foodies in Geylang, Hougang and Toa Payoh.
The restaurant chain has another TungLok Seafood outlet located at Upper Jurong Road.
It is located in The Arena Country Club, which is near Joo Koon MRT station, the end of the East-West line.
Seafood lovers living in the West find themselves heading there, for a respite from the busy crowds in town.
The heartland restaurant is located on Jurong West Street 91. Their house specialities include their crab dish drenched in salted egg gravy as well as their crab bee hoon soup.
They also serve steamed fish and other familiar “tze char” dishes at affordable prices, which makes it the go-to spot for Jurong foodies.
Located at The Grandstand at Turf Club Rd, it has more than 100 kinds of live seafood to choose from.
They house their live seafood in tanks, where you can pick and choose.
For anyone looking for a scrumptious seafood dinner, this is a popular restaurant for the Westies, especially for huge families.
Born with humble beginnings, its founder Low Chin started out working in a butchery in the 1970s.
His experience in food handling coupled with sharp business acumen brought him to establish Singapore’s first live seafood restaurant in 1995 – Chin Huat Live Seafood.
The first of its kind, the local seafood restaurant allow diners to select their choice of catch directly from the tanks.
Located 10 minutes away from Yishun MRT station near Chong Pang, Bei Sheng Seafood sells affordable Thai and tze char dishes.
Also known as Taste of Thailand, foodies in the north region would surely know of this place that offers delicious yet wallet-friendly prices.
Their star items on the menu include their deep fried fish and deep fried cuttlefish.
Along Sembawang Road lies an open-air, Malaysian-style seafood restaurant — 1036 Live Seafood.
According to HungryGoWhere, items to look forward to includes Salted Egg Crab, Chilli Crab, Prawn Noodle, and a lot more.
There are a lot of mixed reviews — such as “dishonest pricing” or “poor service” but there is no doubt that it is one of the seafood places located in the North region.
Located at the newly opened HomeTeamNS Khatib, they are famed for their lobster dishes, especially their lobster porridge, which they are known to be the original creator for.
Orchid Live Seafood started out as a snack bar in Orchid Country Club’s bowling alley. They set up their first restaurant at the club’s driving range, before shifting to their now-defunct Bah Soon Pah Road outlet. They currently have another outlet at 16 Jalan Kelulut.
It could be still early to say that they have conquered the North region, but Orchid Live is a strong contender. For one, Food King by Night Owl Cinematics has reviewed and raved about the restaurant.
Previously known as the iconic Bottle Tree Park, it reopened as ORTO, a free access public park with dining options and sporting activities available.
It is a highly-frequented spot in Yishun/Khatib area with prawning and fishing facilities.
You will find seafood and local food outlets like Chinese seafood restaurant Long Jiang Chinos and Thai seafood restaurant Aroy Jing Jing.
No Signboard Seafood owns and operates four restaurants which are strategically located at the iconic places across Singapore such as Esplanade, Geylang and VivoCity.
Its VivoCity outlet is popular with tourists and the working crowd.
They are said to be the original creator of the White Pepper Crab and are also popular for their chili crab.
Also located at VivoCity, the outlet overlooks the waterfront for diners looking for a dining experience with a view.
Famed for their Cajun-style seafood boil, it is an alternative seafood place for people visiting the South area, especially tourists.
Each region has their own seafood spots and there is no doubt that Singaporean foodies are spoilt for choice.
In a small country like Singapore, it means that we can easily travel to other areas for food.
It is interesting to see how restaurant chains such as Jumbo Seafood, TungLok Seafood and Dancing Crab have conquered the regions frequented by tourists and working professionals and command higher price points.
On the other hand, Uncle Leong is more present in the heartlands to cater to the regular Singaporean craving for a simple, no-frills seafood dinner.
While the market has been dominated by traditional seafood restaurants for years, modern seafood brands such as Dancing Crab and The Boiler have also entered the market to vie for a slice of the F&B pie.
Featured Image Credit: EY / Uncle Leong Seafood / CapitaLand / Asiastyle.Asia / TripAdvisor / Living + Nomads
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