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Singaporean Seafood Gem: Claypot House Review

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Singaporean Seafood Gem: Claypot House Review

Singaporean Seafood Gem: Claypot House Review

Singaporean foodie gem serving up some of the best seafood in town

Situated in an unassuming, no thrills, Khmer-style shop-front eatery on St. 183, is a Singaporean gem.

At Claypot House, you feel as though you are stepping into one of the ubiquitous, family-run, hole-in-the-walls scattered around the city: steel tables, basic chairs, the odd fan hanging from the wall. Only a large tank of Singaporean crab atop a counter hints at the quality of the seafood. Chinese, Singaporean and Khmer businessmen sit and smoke strong, local branded cigarettes that don’t quite mask the scent of fresh and live seafood wafting from the kitchen. They don’t look at the menu much. They already know what they came for. It’s that kind of place.

… Tuol Tom Poung hipster haunt this is not.  

When we arrive, charismatic owner Barry Yip (who, when he isn’t enthusiastically recommending dishes or serving up crab, runs the go-kart track just out of town) pulls up a chair, lights up a Marlboro Red, and starts talking us through the menu – in particular, how he gathering the freshest ingredients to his restaurant on a daily basis, from all over the continent, and why he’d rather focus his money and effort on this instead of getting air con or pretty surroundings.

This, he explains, is how he keeps the authentically Singaporean menu from ballooning into Singaporean prices. Not that these are your standard Cambodian prices; the huge, meaty and incredibly fresh Singaporean crab costs $35 per kilo and other Singaporean favourites such as curry fish head will set you back $25. But seriously: it’s worth every cent.

The Broccoli with Hokkaido scallop, in particular, was exquisite: scallops so fresh and delicate it was as if they’d been transported direct from the ocean, alongside carefully grilled and seasoned broccoli in a little light fish broth. Never could I have imagined that a plate of broccoli could provide so much pleasure. The king prawns were also cooked to perfection, although the heavy sauce – a sweet, sticky, tomato concoction – didn’t have quite the same wow factor as the scallop dish.

But really, Claypot House is all about the crab. It’s what all the chain-smoking businessmen had ordered in advance, and what Barry was keenest to have us try. For good reason: it’s what makes you forget about normal concerns like affordability and ambience. The tender white meat crumbles in your hands and melts in your mouth, and the spicy curry sauce ours came in was so delicious I’m getting hungry just thinking about it now. This was one of those meals that you know, logically, you’ll never be able to finish, but my God you are going to try.

And the feast did not end there. Unfortunately for your waistline (and wallet), attached to the Claypot House is its sister restaurant, a dessert spot called Mille Crepes Story. The cakes at Milles Crepes are made up of 20 layers of crepe, with a layer of chocolate (or other flavours) between each one. Each layer is heaven on the tongue.

Yip, who trained under top French chefs in Singapore, treats the classic French recipe with reverence, refusing to allowing anyone who hasn’t been trained to the highest standard to create these delicacies. He still does most of them himself, including the spectacular made-to-order cakes.

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While Claypot House’s no-frills decor won’t be to everyone’s tastes, the food really should be. Hands down, this is the best seafood we’ve had in Phnom Penh, and if you’re a self-respecting foodie, you’re going to take the financial hit and try it out for yourself.  

The Claypot House is situated on St. 183

 

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