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[Malacca, Malaysia] Old-world Chinese dining at Sin Yin Hoe

klyeoh | Mar 30, 201507:27 PM

Sin Yin Hoe is one of those old-world Chinese coffeeshop-eateries which dotted Malacca (and most Malaysian towns). We were brought here for dinner by a Malaccan relative who attested to its popularity among the locals. What we had:

- "Oh chien" (oyster omelette) - this is Sin Yin Hoe's claim-to-fame, a 3-decade-old fried oyster omelette stall which, according to local Malaccans, churn out a better rendition of the dish than the town's most famous oyster omelette stall at Medan Makan (Boon Leong) Bunga Raya.

The oyster omelette here is the Hokkien/Fujianese variety (i.e. the same as you'd find in Taiwan, Singapore or Malaysia) - a mixture of tapioca starch, mixed with water into a slurry before being fried on a wide, flat pan reminscent of those used to cook paella. Eggs are cracked over the starchy crepe, minced garlic sizzled on some oil/lard on the side, and a handful of tiny local oyster added at the end. The end-result should be a tasty crepe-like egg omelette, fragrant & crispy at the edges, its centre a mix of gelatinous tapioca mush, streaked through with eggs, and with the little oysters providing bursts of salty-sweet flavour.
I don't know - Malacca is supposed to be famous for its "oh chien", but the version here don't really hold a candle to the ones we have back in Singapore, or the greasy, utterly delicious ones I found in some Penang spots. The chilli-vinegar dip at this Sin Yin Hoe spot was the one saving grace - else, the omelette was simply too dry and tasteless for me.

- Fishball and bittergourd soup: a generous bowl of sliced pork and bittergourd soup, with fishballs and springy porkballs floating on top. The soup was okay but not mind-blowing.

- Teochew-style steamed pomfret: very well-done here, with the requisite Teochew ingredients for the dish - salted mustard leaves & stems, tomatoes, ginger, shitake mushrooms and sour plum. The white pomfret was very fresh, though a bit smallish.

- Crispy, batter-fried soft-shell crabs: another house specialty, though I don't really see anything amazing about it - basically small, soft-shell crabs covered in batter and fried till golden & crisp, served with a mayonnaise dip.

- Chicken cutlet with salad dressing: yet another batter-fried dish - this one with boneless chicken fillets, drizzled over with Thousand Island dressing. I'm surmising that Sin Yin Hoe's dishes are a throwback to the 1980s - local-Chinese renditions of "new" dishes at the time which they regarded as "Western".

- Stir-fried sweet potato leaves: my fave dish for the meal - sweet potato leaves have a soft, cooked spinach texture which I liked. Over here, the greens were stir-fried with shrimp sauce & cut-red chillies.

I find the meal pretty "average" by KL-standards, although local Malaccans flock to this place for its oyster omelette and soft-shell crabs. The restaurant seemed to be permanently full.

Address
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Sin Yin Hoe
135 Lorong Hang Jebat (cnr Jalan Kampung Pantai)
75200 Malacca
Malaysia

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