I first ate in Tung Lok Seafood a few years back when a friend from Japan came to visit and told me about the chilli crab here as it had been recommended in her guide book. Since then I’ve been back a few times for the chilli crab as it’s definitely one of the best in Singapore and is slightly different from the usual chilli crab that you would find elsewhere as they add orange juice to the sauce to give it a very unique citrus flavour.
Tung Lok Seafood have an a la carte menu but they also offer an a la carte buffet every day during lunch and dinner which I think most people usually go for as it’s such great value and there’s a good selection of dishes that you can choose from. Their lunch buffet is $26.80++ and the dinner buffet is $36.80++ but you have to have a minimum of four people in your group if you want to have the buffet. There’s also a deluxe dinner buffet available for $58.80++ which has practically the same menu as the regular dinner buffet but with some extra seafood dishes including lobster, abalone and clams but you are only allowed one serving of each.
I went there last Saturday to have the dinner buffet and we were given a table by the window where you get a nice view of the buildings near Orchard Road. We reserved a table for 6pm and they told us that we had to finish by 8.15pm, which was enough time to eat our fill. We arrived just before 6pm and half the tables were already full as it’s a popular restaurant!
The a la carte dinner buffet menu has a variety of appetisers, soups, salads, desserts, seafood, meat and vegetable dishes, rice and noodle dishes as well as some dim sum and even Japanese sashimi and sushi. Certain dishes such as the TungLok Chilli Crab, Braised Shark’s Fin with Fish Maw and Green Mussels with Sambal BBQ Sauce can only be ordered once but the rest of the dishes can be ordered as many times as you like.
We ordered the Crispy Eggplant with Pork Floss, Green Mussels with Sambal BBQ Sauce, Braised Shark’s Fin with Fish Maw, Crispy Fish Skin with Salted Egg Yolk, Fried Rice with Bacon and Garlic, TungLok Chilli Crab, Deep-fried Buns, Deep-fried Prawns with Crispy Oats, Poached Pork Dumplings Served with Spicy Sauce, Deep-fried Sea Bass with Light Soy Sauce, Sautéed Sliced Beef with Honey Black Pepper Sauce, Jellyfish with Pomelo Sauce and ‘Zhen Jiang’ Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs.
We were given a small bowl on our table of what they call “pickles” but it’s actually Japanese edamame (soybeans in the pod) which had been boiled in salted water. These aren’t actually complimentary and they will charge you $3 for it but it’s nice to munch on whilst waiting for the food to arrive and isn’t too filling.
The Crispy Eggplant with Pork Floss arrived almost immediately and the eggplant was piping hot, light and crispy and was delicious with the sweetness of the pork floss.
The Green Mussels with Sambal BBQ Sauce were nice, the mussels were cooked perfectly and the sambal (chilli paste) was mild but it didn’t really have a BBQ flavour.
We were each given a small bowl of Braised Shark’s Fin Soup with Fish Maw and although it was very tasty, I couldn’t find any shark’s fin at all and it just had fish maw and some shitake mushrooms in it. As it was a small bowl it wasn’t too filling and was just the right amount.
The Crispy Fish Skin with Salted Egg Yolk is one my favourite dishes there, the fish skin is light and crispy and tastes absolutely divine with the sweet and salty egg yolk powder on it. The plate was finished within minutes and I could see a lot of other tables ordering second and third helpings of it.
The Fried Rice with Bacon and Garlic was very tasty, the rice was delicately flavoured with tiny bacon bits and garlic which weren’t too overpowering.
The TungLok Chilli Crab was as good as it’s always been, the sauce was sweet and tangy and the Deep-fried Buns (Man Tou) that we ordered were delicious dipped into it. Besides the Crispy Fish Skin with Salted Egg Yolk, this is a dish that I will always come back to Tung Lok Seafood for.
I wasn’t too keen on the Deep-fried Prawns with Crispy Oats as it had very little flavour or seasoning and the “poop chute” of the prawns had not been removed which was a little off-putting.
I enjoyed the Poached Pork Dumplings Served with Spicy Sauce except the dumpling skins were a little bit thick but the dumplings had a generously stuffed juicy pork filling and went well with the sweet and slightly spicy soy sauce that they were in.
The Deep-fried Sea Bass with Light Soy Sauce was nice and crispy, we were given a whole sea bass so there was a lot of flesh and it was perfect with the light and slightly sweet soy sauce.
The Sautéed Sliced Beef with Honey Black Pepper Sauce was also good, the beef was extremely tender and tasty and came with pieces of green pepper and onion.
The Jellyfish with Pomelo Sauce salad was very light and very refreshing to the palate. The jellyfish pieces were mixed with thin strips of cucumber and yellow pepper and the pomelo sauce was sweet and tangy.
The last dish that we had was the ‘Zhen Jiang’ Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs. I have been craving for a good sweet and sour pork recently and unfortunately this one was a big disappointment. The tiny ribs were around 80% fat and you could hardly find any meat and the sweet and sour sauce was also a little too sour and not very well balanced.
We finished off the meal with some dessert and I had the Herbal Jelly Served with Honey and the Glutinous Dumplings with Sesame Filling. The herbal jelly was extremely bitter but the honey helped to counteract some of the bitterness. The Glutinous Dumplings with Sesame Filling were nice though and were dusted in crushed peanuts and had a sweet black sesame paste filling. They also have Chilled Chrysanthemum Jelly with Osmanthus, Sweetened Green Bean Soup and Ice Cream Puffs on their dessert menu but we were unfortunately too full to fit any more in.
The meal was good overall and even though there were some mediocre dishes, the good ones were very good. Service was efficient and I think that the restaurant is a good place to go for a family dinner or with a big group. Although they accept online reservations on their website, you may want to phone up to reserve a table as the restaurant never got back to me after I tried to reserve a table online twice.
Tung Lok Seafood (Orchard Central branch)
Address: Orchard Central #11-05, 181 Orchard Road, Singapore 238896 (Nearest MRT: Somerset)
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday: 11:30am – 3pm, 6pm – 10:30pm, Sunday & Public Holidays: 10am – 3pm, 6pm – 10.30pm (Last Order: Lunch – 2.30pm, Dinner – 10pm)
Hope you’ve enjoyed my Tung Lok Seafood review, please feel free to leave a comment below with your own review or if you have any questions!