One of Singapore’s oldest seafood restaurants, Pioneer Seafood, is celebrating its 35th anniversary with a buzz by making a return opening back at its homeground at Tuas. A place that holds fond memories for the restaurant and its founder Mr. Lee Choon Huat, Pioneer Seafood promises to whip up loving seafood dishes at family friendly prices and settings. Indulge in delights such as the famed Steamed Fish with Pioneer Nonya Assam Sauce to the lipsmacking Prawn Fillet with Macadamia Nuts in Orange Sauce or even take away some of the restaurant’s special Pioneer XO Sauce. For those looking for an adventure to the far western side of Singapore or simply want to indulge in a more placid, laidback good old days setting, this journey to Pioneer Seafood will be well worth the trip.
Pioneer Seafood at the Tuas Amenity Centre
Pioneer Seafood’s Mr. Lee is a familiar face with the seafood scene. He first started the restaurant back in 1979, drawing his many experiences from his growing up years in the fishing village. Keeping Pioneer Seafood traditional and its menu at the most reasonable prices for family friendly wallets is part of his nostalgic quest to preserve one scion of Singapore’s heritage scene. As part of its 35th anniversary and homecoming, Pioneer Seafood is offering a $3.50 one out of five Pioneer selected seafood dish promotion for dine in customers with a minimum spend of $130 in a single receipt on the Seafood A La Carte menu or the Seafood Set Menu.
The lime juice was definitely refreshing after the long ride in via taxi.
One of the highlights for the evening goes to the Pioneer XO Sauce. Made out of a range of special ingredients that Mr. Lee would keep as a closely guarded secret, this XO sauce is probably one of the best and most memorably flavoured yet. Savoury and gritty with a good amount of dried prawns enveloped within a coalition of fragrant oil, meat and nutty spices with just the slight touch of hotness at the end, this XO sauce potentially goes well with almost any main or just with hot steaming white rice. Fantastic. And it is available for takeaway.
The Crispy Scallop Mango Fritters ($12 for 4 pieces) was first served to get appetites rolling. Pieces of scallops and fresh Thai mangoes are tucked within an envelope of edible rice paper, and then later deep fried with a bread crumb batter to golden brown perfection. Crisp and crunchy, and a burst of sweet salty savoury delight from within, makes this an easy favourite around the table. It could do with a touch more scallops though but no complains on the loving sweetness from the mango that complemented very well with the side of mayonnaise dip.
The next dish is particularly new to me. Baby Squid Stuffed with Pioneer XO Sauce ($4.50/100g) is just as the name suggests. However, what is unique about this dish is the whole in the mouth experience of popping a single squid in and the biting through to release the savoury salty and spicy flavours of the XO sauce stuffed within. Mum found it particularly nostalgic.
The fresher the seafood, the better to have it steamed and enjoyed for its sweetness. Or so the old adage says. Still, the Steamed Live Crab with Egg White Custard ($12/100g) is kept simple with only the freshest crabs steamed to a gorgeous orange red in a basin of egg white that absorbs in all the crab juices in the cooking process. The meat is tender and sweet, with full emphasis to the freshness of the ingredients.
For the night, tuck in to some Seafood Egg Fried Rice. I particularly enjoyed the fried rice as it was served hot, opening up palates and tastebuds up a notch. A little oily, but lightly flavourful with egg yolk and seafood sweetness. This is a good complement to the meal.
A winner for the night goes to the Prawn Fillet with Macadamia Nuts in Orange Sauce. Fresh prawns are first fried to a crisp tender. Subsequently, the prawns are stir fried together with orange sauce and macadmia nuts that gets coated with a tinge of caramelized sweetness. The balance in tangy, citrus orange flavours with the deep prawn sweetness is well complemented in a single sitting. Thumbs up for the macadamia nuts in adding a slightly different texture to the dish.
The shop’s signature Steamed Red Garoupa in Pioneer Nonya Assam Sauce ($9/100g) is one dish that will go very well with rice. The nonya assam sauce is spicy and tangy, giving tastebuds a run for the glass of water on every other occasion. The fish is fresh, sweet and nicely paired with the robust flavours from the sauce. As a whole the dish is good, but I prefer my dish to be tangier with the use of tamarind and possibly bubbling to make you sweat a little.
To end off the meal, call for the Teochew O Ni ($18). The dish easily serves an entire table of 6-8 persons and is specially made with fresh yam paste, chestnuts, pumpkin, and gingko nuts. I loved the runny yet viscous consistency coupled with the tender sweetness that stood well against the earthy yam flavours that is so distinct of this dish. The pumpkins added a touch of colour with a slight contrast in sweetness and is well appreciated through and through.
Pioneer Seafood as a whole promises a range of nostalgic dish with some refreshing touches along the way to keep things novel and delightful for all ages. The dishes are generally good with selects such as the mango fritters, prawn fillet and yam paste hitting the Must Try list for me. The side of Pioneer XO sauce is also another worthy dish to tuck in with a good bowl of rice and would make great little bites in between dishes. While the journey to Pioneer Seafood at the Tuas Amenity Centre is quite a distance, the restaurant makes up for it with affordable pricings, freshness and a good amount of nostalgia thrown within. A highly recommended visit, and best done by taxi if you intend to sing and drink the night away in one of its karaoke rooms.
Thank you Pioneer Seafood for the invitation.
71 Pioneer Road
Tuas Amenity Centre
Reservations : 6863 3933
www.pioneerseafood.com.sgOpens from :
Mon to Sun 11am to 2.39pm / 5.30pm to