Uncle Leong Seafood, Punggol: Unexpected Great Service and Extremely Fresh Crabs

When we asked the waitress why Uncle Leong Signatures at Waterway Point costs more, she said that it is a different management from Uncle Leong Seafood at Punggol. After some sleuthing, Uncle Leong Signatures has that one restaurant whereas Uncle Leong Seafood has three branches located at Punggol, Toa Payoh and Jurong East, but the Jurong East outlet has changed its name to Legacy Seafood. Not sure what’s going on here… but we have all watched TVB family drama before. Mo’ money, mo’ problems. Despite whatever is going on, I have to say kudos to them for running a restaurant well.

To be clear, this review refers to Uncle Leong Seafood at Punggol by the greenery and river.

Uncle Leong Seafood, which started as a cze char stall in Ang Mo Kio, is best known for their crabs. Many customers order their chilli crab (market price) and crab beehoon but they are best known for their shimmering sand crab 金沙螃蟹, which was $97.50 for 1.3kg when we went. There is really no secret to their signature dish: they use very plump, very fresh Sri Lankan crabs, so when you eat it, your mouth feels satisfied to have big chunks of sweet, sweet crab meat in it.

At first, we thought the “shimmering sand” sauce means salted egg yolk, but it tasted more like a butter mixture (with pumpkin? salted egg?); it is a well-balanced savoury with a tinge of sweetness, instead of the salted egg’s salty and creamy. Oats are sprinkled on top. The sauce with curry leaves goes well with the crab; it accentuates the sweetness of the crab. Unlike my mom and I who are gluttons, my dad, who is usually austere and simple in his eating habits, could not get enough of the crab; yes, the crab is outstanding. Be sure to order at least 2 mantou ($0.50 per piece) for each person to mop up the delicious sauce.

The creamy pumpkin prawn 金瓜奶油虾 ($20), however, is pathetic. It is bland and there are few pieces. I’d rather they not waste time and cost to craft the flour-basket (which is pretty to be sure), and use the money to give another piece of prawn and add more flavour to the dish.

The Guinness pork rib 黑啤酒排骨 ($15)–we opted for fewer/no bones–is excellent. Tender with a nice, rough, textural surface. And a nice smokiness either from wok hei or the beer marinade or both.

My family liked the Chinese spinach with three types of eggs ($12) and in all fairness, it is not bad. But I had an amazing version at Pu Tien (main outlet, not the branches) before and you can taste the integrity of the stock. Here, the stock is weak and entirely bolstered by seasoning.

Fried mee sua 炒面线 $10

One word about the service: It’s pretty awesome. I don’t care for them bowing to us after they talk to us–come on, this isn’t Japan and we don’t live in a feudal system anymore; servers shouldn’t bow. But the PRC waitress who took our orders is polite and helpful with her suggestions. She asked questions like “Do you want male or female crabs” and went on to explain the differences. She also asked what type of pork ribs we wanted, etc. A male manager(?) was amicable enough to chat with and entertain my mother amidst a busy backdrop of dinner crowd.

It is best to make a reservation because it gets crowded; make a reservation for the inside of the casual, air-conditioned restaurant. You can sit outside, al fresco, but it’s near a river and nature, and there is bound to have insects and mosquitoes. We paid $189.10 for 5 adults. Because of the excellent service and the delicious crabs, we will be back. Next time, I think we will just order all the three crab dishes: chilli crab, shimmering sand crab, and crab bee hoon. Cholesterol? What dat?

Uncle Leong Seafood
6 Tebing Lane #01-03 Punggol East Singapore 828835
tel: +65 6441 1848

Food: 7/10
Price/value: 7/10
Decor/ambience: 6/10
Service: 9/10

You may be interested in…
SG Braised Rice 十格捞饭, Ion Orchard Food Opera: Super Affordable Modern Ricebowls with Abalone, Crab, and Wagyu Beef
HolyCrab, Bugis: Home Chef For Seven Years Serves Crabtivating Dishes
Joyden Seafood Restaurant 欣艺海鲜, West Coast: Den of Joy (Unless You’re a Crab)
37 Heng Kee 兴记: Crab Beehoon

Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.

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