Hey Kee restaurant: Brings retro 1980s vibes, authentic Hong Kong da pai dong experience to Singapore

By Phyllis Leong January 9, 2024
Hey Kee restaurant: Brings retro 1980s vibes, authentic Hong Kong da pai dong experience to Singapore
Experience the authentic Hong Kong dai pai dong experience at Hey Kee. Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

What is it about nostalgic retro-themed cafes that we can’t get enough of? Perhaps it’s because they remind us of happier days of the past when times were simpler (and cheaper, too).

Hey Kee restaurant is the latest old-school establishment to join the fray of F&B outlets along Guillemard Road. (There’s also the newly opened Vernacular Coffee, which now occupies the space that once housed the now-defunct Brawn & Brains Coffee.)

The new eatery is a culinary partnership between Keith Kang — the founder of Yang Ming Seafood and Great Nanyang Heritage Cafe — and restaurateur Reuben Chua, who introduced Chinese chain Yun Nans to our local shores. 

The eatery takes inspiration from old-school da pai dongs (also referred to as open-air licensed food stalls) in Hong Kong. It oozes an archaic charm, which is a welcome ambience amid the many contemporary, modish joints in Singapore.

The interior of the restaurant

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Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

First things first: Hey Kee restaurant is astoundingly ’gram-worthy. 

Between the striking neon signs, the vintage celebrity posters plastered on the walls and the choice of rustic red fixtures, the interior is thoughtfully designed to reflect what it was like to dine in 1980s Hong Kong

Throwback Cantonese songs also play in the background as you dine in an open-air space, surrounded by enthralling graphics of the vibrant, bustling streets in Hong Kong. 

Hey Kee restaurant has photo spots galore. Situated at its doorstep is a replica of a bus stop from a bygone era, complete with a stop sign and bus service signboards. 

The interior includes a mock-up barber shop, with a spread of hair-styling props and makeup brushes laid out on the counter. Feel free to sit in the barber’s chair, snap a selfie and get your hair “done”.

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This place is perfect for hosting private events. Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

If you’re hosting an event for big groups, Hey Kee also features private rooms that accommodate up to 20 diners, which comes with a minimum spend of S$1,500. 

They’re fully equipped with karaoke systems to keep your guests entertained throughout the night. Note that you do have to book the rooms on its website at least a day in advance.

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Fancy fresh seafood? Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

Feel free to also take your pick of fresh seafood from the live seafood tanks. Options include soon hock (marble goby fish), crabs, lobsters, prawns, and others. 

They’re offered at competitive prices, sans service charge. 

The menu at Hey Kee

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Pan-fried beef tenderloin cubes and potatoes — yum! Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

This is undoubtedly our favourite dish at Hey Kee Restaurant: The pan-fried beef tenderloin cubes and potatoes (S$36.80). It’s a signature dish regularly savoured at da pai dongs and understandably so. 

Served in a sizzling hot pan, generous morsels of angus tenderloin beef are tossed with a medley of potatoes and onions. It looks simple, but it’s the perfect marriage of ingredients

The house-made black pepper sauce ties all the savoury elements together, adding dashes of spice to the dish. Though the beef and potatoes are thoroughly coated with the gravy and cooked until tender, they’re still firm to the bite and incredibly succulent — not in the least bit soggy.

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We can’t get enough of the signature claypot lobster porridge. Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

If you’re on a “see-food” diet, the array of seafood dishes on the menu will have you spoilt for choice. But if you can’t decide on one, the signature claypot porridge (subject to prevailing market prices) is our top recommendation.

We had our porridge with lobsters, which were sweet and creamy. Firm and tender in texture, they paired well with the fragrant porridge. They also lent a slightly salty, briny tang to the dish, which elevated the otherwise subtle, clean flavours of the porridge.

This is a great order for those who wish to enjoy seafood with a hearty carb on the side. We think it feeds up to four, solely based on how ginormous the portion is.

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Feeling crabby today? Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

Don’t miss the “Typhoon Shelter”-style stir-fried crab (S$98/kg). It’s a beloved Cantonese seafood dish in Hong Kong that’s said to be created by fishermen — their ode to the typhoon shelters that once shielded them from storms. 

Hey Kee has recreated the popular dish as one of its signatures. The crab is stir-fried with garlic and scallions, as well as chilli peppers and fermented black beans. It’s also tossed with a blend of aromatic spices. 

The finishing touch is a copious dusting of dried, crispy garlic bits, which gives the crab dish an extra oomph. The juicy crab meat was sweet and pulled apart from the shell effortlessly — truly one of the better crab dishes around. 

Other bestselling dishes include the “Temple Street” crispy roast chicken (S$22.80 for half, S$39.80 for a whole chicken) and sizzling kailan with dried prawns in claypot (S$23.80), though we found them pretty run-of-the-mill.

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We’re taking the Coca-Cola bottle home. Photo: Phyllis Leong/HungryGoWhere

What’s a Hong Kong-style restaurant without its classic, traditional milk tea? 

We ordered one with a slight twist: The iced HK-style yuan yang milk tea (S$3.80). The beverage was milky and creamy with a gentle sweetness from the tea. Nothing extraordinary, but a good pick-me-up nonetheless. 

And not forgetting the Coca-Cola soft drink (S$3), which we got simply to admire the old-school bottle it came in. If you’re feeling a fizzy drink, the soft refreshments at Hey Kee are packaged in nostalgic bottles you can take home as a souvenir.

This was a hosted tasting.

For the latest eats, check out Kwaa Song Bakeshop’s flaky croissants and Yang Ming Seafood’s latest zi char outpost in Ubi. Alternatively, catch up on the newest openings in town

Book a ride to Guillemard Road to savour authentic Hong Kong-style dishes at Hey Kee Restaurant

Do explore the new GrabFood Dine-in service for awesome deals.

Hey Kee

102 Guillemard Road, 01-01
Nearest MRT station: Mountbatten
Open: Monday to Sunday (11.30am to 3pm, 5.30pm to 10.30pm)

102 Guillemard Road, 01-01
Nearest MRT station: Mountbatten
Open: Monday to Sunday (11.30am to 3pm, 5.30pm to 10.30pm)

Picture for WP

Phyllis Leong


The resident sweet tooth with a severe addiction to desserts.

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