Food Review: KEK Seafood At SAFRA Punggol Is Packed With Nostalgia & Wok Hei

Keng Eng Kee (KEK) Seafood continues its storied legacy of 54 years with a third outlet at SAFRA Punggol.

By Sean Yee        6 February 2024

Keng Eng Kee Seafood, better known as KEK Seafood, is a popular mainstay in Singapore’s zi char (wok-fried dishes) scene, known for its bold flavours and fully booked eateries. And this isn’t an overstatement – patrons should make an early booking if they don’t want to face a lengthy queue of hungry diners.

Once a hidden gem known only to prolific foodies, KEK Seafood’s popularity soared when it caught the attention of the Michelin Guide. It has held onto a Michelin Plate since 2016, alongside other honours such as a spot in the Top 50 World Street Food Masters list in 2017, and The World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ Essence of Asia in 2021. 

Having just debuted its third and latest 160-seater restaurant at SAFRA Punggol, it promises new dishes exclusive to the outlet, and reinvented the signature dishes that placed KEK Seafood on the culinary map. 

Staying true to their wok hei roots

Paul and Wayne Liew of Keng Eng Kee Seafood
(L-R) Paul and Wayne Liew

The ongoing culinary legacy built by the Liew family is borne out of a multi-generational appetite for great food and hard work. As per an interview by The Michelin Guide, Paul and Wayne Liew witnessed first-hand their father’s devotion to his craft. They recall a childhood centred around KEK Seafood’s first hawker stall at Old Havelock Rock, where they spent most of their time helping their parents out. 

Now as KEK Seafood’s third generation owners, they hope to introduce zi char to younger families in a manner that Paul describes as “true to our roots, but reinvented”. Given Punggol’s dense population of young families, it is the perfect testing ground for them to experiment with and modernise decades-old favourites for newer generations of diners. 

The KEK Seafood chronicles in full display

Frequent patrons of their other two outlets will be delightfully surprised when they set foot into the new restaurant. From its array of mural art pieces to elaborate displays, KEK Seafood boldly utilises nostalgic local visages to convey the brand’s story.

A replica of an old-fashioned bus stop acts as the backdrop of the restaurant, as well as several artefacts of a bygone era.

To KEK Seafood, it represents their enduring legacy spanning over 54 years and counting. 

KEK Seafood’s showstoppers

The menu here features several of KEK’s signature dishes such as their Moonlight Hor Fun and Signature Chilli Crab, and some outlet-exclusive items. 

A SAFRA Punggol exclusive, the Grilled Assorted Seafood with KEK Homemade Sauce is a decadent spread of fresh prawns and clams in a garlic-infused broth, with a bed of bee hoon (rice vermicelli) that soaks up the broth perfectly

The prawns were firm and plump, elevating the dish with their tender crunch.

Another SAFRA Punggol exclusive is the Otah Charcoal Fried Dough Fritters with Salad. This is a must for diners who love dough fritters (you tiao) and otah, as the otah’s moist and melt-in-the-mouth consistency pairs really well with the crispy and fluffy dough fritters.

Every piece is like a slider, albeit an ingeniously delicious variant infused with wok hei.

A staple at most zi char restaurants, the Marmite Chicken is a good complement to a bowl of rice. The dish carries a great balance of sweet, salty and savoury.

The Sizzling Claypot Moonlight Hor Fun is a recreation of KEK’s signature Moonlight Hor Fun, which is traditionally served with a raw egg cracked on top. Diners who enjoy zi char dishes that are bursting with wok hei will love this.

And finally, the Cereal Hei Bee Hiam Fried Ice Cream, that comes in the form of a modest-looking fried pastry holding a rich filling of coconut ice cream and dried shrimp crisps (hei bee hiam).

The mild sweetness of the coconut ice cream is uplifted by the piquancy of the sambal-infused dried shrimp crisps, their spiciness adding a layer of complexity to the neutral profile of coconut. And as the grand finale, the fried pastry’s crunch softened when combined with the melted ice cream, resulting in a sponge-like texture that is simply gratifying,

SAFRA Punggol: 9 Sentul Crescent, Singapore 828654

Operating Hours: 11am to 2pm (last order at 1.45pm), 5pm to 10pm (last order at 9.45pm)

SAFRA members enjoy 10% off the final bill. You can find more information at safra.sg/amenities-offerings/kek-seafood

Please note that the SAFRA member discount is not applicable during the following blackout dates as the set menus are already discounted:

  • Lunar New Year Eve: 9 Feb 2024
  • 15 days of Lunar New Year: 10 Feb to 24 Feb 2024
  • Mother’s Day weekend: 11 and 12 May 2024
  • Father’s Day weekend: 15 and 16 Jun 2024

KEK Seafood isn’t alone in serving great food at SAFRA Punggol! From delicious chicken wings by Wingstop and fiery Sichuan-style hotpot at Huo Guo Kung Fu to continental delights by Jack’s Place, SAFRA Punggol has a trove of F&B offerings for families and friends to come together and share a good meal. Check out SAFRA Punggol’s other dining options at safra.sg/clubs/punggol

What’s more, from 9 to 24 February 2024, earn 2x SAFRAPOINTS* when you spend at eligible SAFRA F&B outlets. Simply present your valid SAFRA membership card upon payment and get 2 points for every $1 spend. Click here for the list of participating F&B outlets at SAFRA.

* T&Cs apply.

Save more with SAFRA! Enjoy special deals and discounts on dining, entertainment, travel, fitness and more from over 1,500 merchant outlets islandwide. Sign up or renew your SAFRA membership for one year at $43.60 inclusive of GST) and get two years FREE! Plus, get your spouse and children on board to enjoy the same privileges too at $5.45/year. Visit safra.sg/savemore for more details.

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