Ming Kee Live Seafood

This is not an invited review. ๐Ÿ™‚



This was a gathering of friends, who came to feast on excellent food, great wine (courtesy of ้™ˆๅ…ˆ็”Ÿ), and unspoken camaraderie in the company of passionate foodies.

Fried fish skin

Fried fish skin, S$8.00.

First dish, a starter of fried fish skin, recommended by the ่€ๆฟๅจ˜ [lady boss]. Made from the skin of eel, which, in its raw state might cause squeamishness among some.

True to the no-parts-go-to-waste spirit of Chinese chefs, said eel skin was transformed into paper-thin, light-as-air, slightly salted, and oil-free crisps. Dip into the accompanying soy dip to enjoy. Impressive, but not something on my must-have list.

To do justice to supremely fresh seafood, steaming is the method to go. This explains why the next 3 dishes are steamed.

Sweet clams / flower "lala"

Sweet clams / flower "lala", S$38.00.

Based on previous reviews, we wanted to try their highly acclaimed steamed mussels. But the lady boss cajoled us into trying the sweet clams instead. โ€œTrust me, sweet clams are just as good, if not better than, mussels.โ€

She was right. The sweet clams had much sweeter and tenderer meat than the green-lipped mussels of my memory. And I couldnโ€™t get enough of that gorgeous soy sauce gravy imbued with fragrant fried garlic. It’s perfect for drenching over fluffy steamed rice.

Bamboo clam

Bamboo (or razor) clam, S$91.00 for 9 clams.

I had reservations about bamboo clam, as my last experience with it was that of chewing rubber. Ay, most unfortunate! It wasnโ€™t cheap either.

But Ming Kee has completely transformed my negative impression into a beautiful one. In the hands of a master, bamboo clam is incredibly sweet, succulent, and crunchy. In short: Insanely delicious!

And there was no need to worry about stinky breath from the blanket of crushed garlic. How did they get garlic to taste so sweet without its characteristic pungency?

At 10 bucks a pop, bamboo clam is no austere bivalve mollusk, but it was absolutely worth it.

Steamed soon hock (marble goby)

Steamed soon hock (marble goby), S$77.00 (about 1.1kg)

The Hong Kong-style steamed soon hock was very good indeed. Very fresh, smooth flesh, perfect cooking time, and no muddy taste.

We thought the three steamed dishes would be a one-note affair, but the chef surprised us with different sauces for each dish. Each pairing was a marriage made in heaven; the seasonings complemented the seafood beautifully without overpowering its natural sweetness.

Crab with bee hoon (rice vermicelli)

Crab with bee hoon, about S$143.00 (2 crabs, gross wt 3.4kg).

The piece de resistance: Crab bee hoon. This is what we came for. And it didn’t disappoint.

The table fell silent as everyone worked on the jumbo Sri Lankan crabs (2 crabs, total gross weight 3.4 kilos). They were very firm and meaty. And the bee hoon was fabulous too. It had soaked up the robust crabilicious stock. I liked that the taste was subtle, but naturally flavorsome.

"Thank you Mr Crab, you were yummilicious!"

"It was a pleasure meeting you, Mr Crab, you were yummilicious!"

Here’s Mr Cow thanking Mr Crab for a crabby time.

Homemade tofu with mushroom & broccoli

Homemade tofu with mushroom & broccoli, S$12.00

The homemade tofu was good, but unspectacular. Perhaps in the absence of “wow” factor dishes like crab, we’d be more impressed.

Guiness pork

Guiness pork...

Another signature dish of Ming Kee’s, I liked this very much. We didn’t taste any alcohol from the stout, as it has already evaporated in the cooking process. But what’s left is a sweet, sticky reduction that caramelizes the pork. It’s great that they use pork belly (with the fat trimmed off), as this cut is satisfyingly juicy and firm to the bite.

Smoked duck breast

...and smoked duck breast combo, S$40.00.

Sorry I don’t have a more flattering picture of the smoked duck breast, but believe me when I say it’s a must-try! The skin is delightfully crisp, and the duck meltingly succulent and bouncy. Smells and tastes like smoked ham, but even better, IMHO!

Stir-fried French bean with sambal

Stir-fried sambal French bean, S$15.00.

The obligatory veggie dish in a Chinese meal. It was a bit too spicy for my tastebuds.

Coconut jelly

Coconut jelly, S$16.00.

Ah, this is a nice dessert to cool down your palate after a spicy dish. There’s fresh young coconut flesh embedded in the agar jelly. Hmm, I’m thinking of replicating this at home. Shouldn’t be too hard, right?

Teochew yam paste

Teochew yam paste, S$12.00.

Or nee, or Teochew yam paste, would be trickier to replicate. Ming Kee’s version was pretty good. It’s quite light and not too sweet.

Total damage of this feast? S$488 for 9 people, which works out to about S$54 each. Sounds extravagant, but do remember this is live seafood, and we ordered big ticket items like jumbo crab, bamboo clam, and whole fish.

The price also included tea, rice, and starters. Best of all, corkage is free. Yes, BYOB is encouraged here, and they provide quality crystal glasses. Service was excellent. Our plates were regularly cleared and the staff were attentive and obliging, despite it being full house on a Saturday evening.

Even though Ming Kee isn’t a fine-dining place, the food here is outstanding. They use fresh, top quality ingredients, and the dishes are superbly executed. If there’s a special occasion or we’re feeling rich, we won’t hesitate to return.

My fellow foodies at this feast were: Black Tie White Lie+XLB, Camemberu, HungryCow, Keropokman+Momo+Sis, and my dear hubby!

Three other foodies couldn’t make it this time. We should arrange for another makan session soon! ๐Ÿ˜€

Ming Kee Live Seafood
556 MacPherson Road
Singapore 368231
Tel: (65) 6747 4075

If you prefer to dine in air-conditioned comfort, do call to make a booking. If the air-conditioned section is full, you’ll have to sit al fresco (next to the main road).



  1. ladyironchef says

    whoa whoa whoa! it’s more like a zi-char place right? the 10 clam is omg. really nice eh? hee i want lobster! ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Betty says

    The food is indeed outstanding looking. When making razor clams I soak clams in soda water to open up the clams. Mostly I stir fry it quick in green onion and ginger and soy sauce ect. instead of the soda water soaking. Eel skins look so interesting but the one I like was the crabs such huge claws from that typed crabs.

    I had the yam or taro paste in San Francisco Chui Chow restaurant very tasty they put gingko nuts on top.

  3. says

    great fun that night! i’m still thinking about the bamboo clams. yeah, i was wondering where the garlic smell went also. great stuff. oh, and the or nee’s da bomb as well. must plan for a revisit!

  4. ct says

    I remember my mum buying a bundle of live razor/bamboo clams (at least 10pc in a bundle) from either Sheng Siong or NTUC (can’t recall) when they are in season.

    And they aren’t the small type. Each clam meat was as big as my fingers but longer. My mum dun make too much fuss about the price so they must be quite affordable. She stir fried them with garlic, onions, leek, capsicums & cili padi.