Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Song Kee Fishball Noodle : back with their handmade fish dumpling

It all started in 1966 when Mr Chua Keok Sip opened the first stall in Toa Payoh. He opened another stall in Simei but has since closed down after his passing. There is also a Song Kee Fishball Noodle in Ang Mo Kio and another Song Kee Fishball Noodle in Eunos, both run by their relatives. There was also a Song Kee Fishball Noodle at Upper Serangoon Road started by the children of the late Mr Chua Keok Sip but was shut down in July 2016. The shop space is taken over by Finest Songkee's Fishball Noodle, run by a cousin that is also the owner of the original Song Kee Fishball Noodle in the food centre at Toa Payoh Lorong 5. 

The Song Kee Fishball Noodle that used to be at Upper Serangoon Road resurfaced after 8 months in a spacious coffee shop at Tembeling Road in Joo Chiat and is directly opposite Haig Girls' School, not too far from Dunman Food Centre. It is opened by Chua Soo Meng, 48, the elder brother, Chua Soo Chai, 47, the second brother and Chua Poh Seng, 45, the youngest of the brothers with Chua Mui Khim, 37, their younger sister and together, they wanted to keep their family tradition alive. 

The brothers and sister play a different role in running the business, their wives are in charge of taking orders and serving the food to the customers. Chua Soo Meng is mainly serving the food and making the drinks, Chua Soo Chai is the resident noodle chef and will be cooking along with Chua Mui Khim. Chua Poh Seng is the one making the 'herh keow' (fish dumpling). He has started making them at 21 years old at his late father's old stall. He insists that the skin has to be handmade as the quality would be compromised if making it using the machine, the skin might end up being too thick and it might even tear during the process. The fishballs are machine-made though.

It still tasted the same and it is, in my opinion, better than the Finest Songkee's Fishball Noodle that took over their vacated shop space along Upper Serangoon Road. The perfectly cooked noodles will then tossed together with their special chilli mix that is made of dried shrimp and buah keluak paste. A basic bowl of noodles is priced at $4 followed by $6 and then the $8 portion. A number tag will be given when you place your order and it will be served to the table later.

There is an ice cream counter at the corner of the coffee shop, it is named "Sng Gor", which means "ice cream" in Teochew and it is manned by Norman Chan, 42, their cousin. He used to run a catering central kitchen in Beijing and he was taught how to make ice cream by his Italian neighbour. A supplier is sourced to make those 25 flavours of ice cream based on his recipes. Some of the popular choices are Salted Caramel and D24 Durian, each scoop is priced between $3.80 to $2.80. You can have the option to have it with the waffle or their house-made cone. Local coffee and cafe style coffee are also available there. 

There is also a change in their operating hours, it is from 11.30 am to 9.30 pm and no longer from 6.00 pm to 1.00 am. They are still in the midst of monitoring the crowd levels and might adjust the operating hours if need be. Apparently, the parking is still an issue at this new location.

128 Tembeling Road SINGAPORE 423638
Operating Hours: 11.30 am to 9.30 pm (Daily)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Kar Soh Wanton Noodle : Handmade Hakka Noodle

There was a short queue of a few people when I came here for lunch on a rainy Wednesday. It is a coffee shop at the block just opposite Toa Payoh Vista Food Centre. I was looking for the stall serving Hakka Noodle as posted by a friend on Facebook. There are 2 stalls under the same name and manned by an elderly Auntie all by herself. One of the stalls is serving Hakka Yong Tau Fu, the Yong Tau Fu set is at $3.00 which consists of 5 pieces of Yong Tau Fu items with noodles and every additional piece is priced at 0.50 cents, there is a choice of dry or soup version with an option for Curry Laksa Yong Tau Fu at $3.50.  The other stall is serving Wanton Noodle ($2.50/$3), Ipoh Hor Fun ($2.50/$3), Homemade Hakka Noodle ($3), Century Egg Porridge ($2.50), Shredded Chicken Porridge ($2.50) and Lean Meat Cuttlefish Porridge ($2.50). 

The queue was at the Yong Tau Fu stall and I did not know whether I should join in so I just stood there and waited. The Auntie spotted me and she asked, "What do you want, Miss?". I pointed at the Hakka Noodle on the picture and said, "Hakka Noodle." She did not ask me whether I want the dry or soup version. The picture showed the soup version but I remember seeing the picture posted by my friend was the dry one. I just stood there and waited. The other 2 customers have collected their orders then the Auntie placed a bowl of soup noodle on the tray and called out to me, "Miss, your order is ready."

I collected it and went to one of the tables along the walkway and seated down. It was raining rather heavily at that time so the soup Hakka Noodle is a better option. It consists of a good portion of noodles with ingredients like fried beancurd, skin, handmade meatballs and meat wantons. The noodles were nicely cooked and served with a lightly flavoured hot soup. 

It was a comforting choice and I would definitely go back for their dry one soon. This stall might be moving to the Toa Payoh Vista Food Centre and is in the midst of getting the approval, it is likely to happen in May or early June. 

Block 66 Toa Payoh Lorong 4 Yong Liang Food Centre SINGAPORE 310066
Operating Hours: 6.00 am to 2.30 pm (Daily) (Closed on last Wednesday of every month)

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Rahmath Cheese Prata : skip the cheese prata, go for the plain one

It was a rainy Wednesday when I came specifically to look for this stall in this food centre. I was expecting a queue but there was none at 12.40 pm. This is a stall located at Toa Payoh Vista Food Centre, near Toa Payoh MRT station and is directly opposite Church of the Risen Christ. It is in the same food centre with the famous Gen Shu Mei Shi Shi Jia (根叔美食世家). They serve Prata in the morning and Mee Goreng from 1.30 pm to closing, at about 4.00 pm. 

Makansutra award of 5-chopsticks was given to their Apom in 2013, it could be easily overlooked and mistaken that award is for their prata. Ali, the owner, acquired the skill in making prata from a friend and started off with his first shop in Ang Mo Kio before moving to Toa Payoh about 11 years ago. Ali named the stall as 'Rahmath Cheese Prata" using the name of his grandfather and also to include their signature prata on the signboard. 

I initially ordered 2 pieces of plain prata for $1.80 but decided to change a piece to cheese prata since it is their signature. Their prata is usually freshly made upon order. A piece of cheese prata is priced at $2.00, which is slightly expensive for just a piece of normal cheese to be added. It was served on a piece of brown paper placed on a tray and curry sauce in a small disposable bowl. 

I was looking forward to tasting the cheese prata but it did not quite meet my expectations. Perhaps, I am just expecting too much? I would actually prefer the plain prata to the cheese one as the cheese has not much effect in enhancing its flavour and it did not go quite well with the curry sauce, too. It might taste better if eat it with just sugar, the rather old-school way of enjoying prata. You should, in my opinion, skip the cheese prata and just go for the plain ones as it does not quite make sense to pay extra for that piece of cheese. It might not be the best prata but its texture was fluffy and slightly crispy on the surface. The accompanied mutton curry sauce was not as diluted as compared with some of the other stalls out there. 

I might just come back for their Apom someday as I am curious how good it is. 

74 Toa Payoh Lorong 4 #01-08 Toa Payoh Vista Food Centre SINGAPORE 310074
Operating Hours: 6.30 am to 4.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Eat 3 Bowls : Taiwanese fare in Food Centre

They started off as a mobile stall in February 2015 at the street market, which is commonly known as Pasar Malam, at different locations before moving to Seah Im Food Centre on 15 January 2016. Lim Pei Tang and Ng Jie Wei, both at 30, are the 2 earnest owners and they named their stall as "呷三碗" in Taiwanese Hokkien, it simply means "eat 3 bowls". Their menu includes Braised Pork Rice ($2.50) and Intestine Mee Sua ($3.50) with sides like Fried Fish Fillet ($4.50), Fried Intestine ($4.00), Salted Crispy Chicken ($4.00), Fried Squid ($4.50), Braised Intestine ($3.50), Braised Chinese Cabbage ($3.00), Boiled Vegetable ($3.00), Bittergourd Pork Ribs Soup ($3.00) and Braised Egg (0.60 cents).

Their signature dish is the Lu Rou Fan, which is also known as Braised Pork Rice or Minced Pork Rice. This is a Taiwanese-style rice dish commonly seen throughout Taiwan, particularly at those night markets. This particular one consists of diced pork belly that is first stir-fried then braised in soy sauce and served on top of steamed rice. If you have ever tried the famous Jin Feng Minced Meat Rice (金峰卤肉饭) in Taipei, the taste is quite close though. The braising sauce was a little light and not as fragrant but the texture of the meat was meltingly tender. They are using Japanese premium short grain rice with rice wine and black vinegar from Taiwan. This is one of the best in Singapore and its authenticity is unquestionable. 

Their Intestine Mee Sua is a must-try. It tasted like the famous Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle (阿宗面线) at Xi Men Ting (西门町) but they only serve it with braised big intestines and not the oysters. They are using the special "red mee sua" that is commonly used in the Taiwan. The "red mee sua" is developed through steaming the white mee sua over a long period of time to cause it to lose its springiness and elasticity thus become tolerant to subsequent cooking. It has rather good texture and consistency, its taste is enhanced by drizzled a dash of the Kong Yen Black Vinegar from Taiwan. 

Their Salted Crispy Chicken (盐酥鸡) is another must-try dish. This Taiwanese salted & pepper chicken is a popular Taiwanese street food that can be found at their night markets. The well-seasoned chicken pieces were lightly coated with a layer of flour for deep-frying and when it is ready, mixed it with the fried basil leaves then sprinkled with pepper salt and dried chilli powder before serving. The basil leaves are part of the key ingredients and if without it, the taste would somehow be compromised and will not taste quite right and authentic. This dish can be quite addictive. 

2 Seah Im Road #01-21 Seah Im Food Centre SINGAPORE 099114
Operating Hours: 9.30 am to 8.00 pm (Closed on Sundays)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Kopi More : Cafe quality coffee at hawker price

Lawrence Tan, 43, the owner, used to be in petroleum broker business but was retrenched about a year ago. He spent a few months researching before setting up this stall at Golden Mile Food Centre. Coffee is an integral part of the daily routine of most people and that urged Lawrence to set up this coffee stall, purely for practicality.

Right here, you do not get to see those traditional steel coffee pots with coffee socks but rather, you will see a European espresso machine. He is using a mixture of Robusta and Arabica coffee powder roasted with sugar and margarine for a richer taste. It is ground right at the stall in small batches to ensure its freshness.

It tasted just like the expensive coffee from those cafes but at a much cheaper price, it is just $1.50 per cup though. Though it is slightly more expensive than the usual coffee from the coffee shop and food centre but the quality is worth it. There are already a group of regular customers supporting his stall.

They serve Coffee ($1.50), Tea ($1.20), Iced Coffee ($1.80), Iced Milk Tea ($1.50) and Salted Egg Custard Bun ($1.60). 

505 Beach Road #B1-49 Golden Mile Food Centre SINGAPORE 199583
Operating Hours: 10.00 am to 10.00 pm (Daily)

Sunday, May 21, 2017

BURGS by Project Warung : quality burgers at affordable prices @ Golden Mile Food Centre

BURGS is by Project Warung Pte Ltd, a Muslim-owned company created by Ridz Uan, Lee Syafiq and M Shah Indra, the 3 young chefs who want to change the halal culinary scene in Singapore. This is their first outlet located in the basement of Golden Mile Food Centre, it has just opened about a week ago on 13 May 2017. They aim to serve quality gourmet burgers at affordable prices to accommodate the growing needs of quality halal burgers. 

When I was there, the shutter was down with a notice on it to inform of their adjusted opening hours as they were away for their Friday prayer. I was happy to see their shutter up after 2 pm and I was told apologetically that they will only be ready at 2.30 pm and they even further explained that they went for their prayer earlier. I went back at 2.30 pm to place my orders. There are quite a few choices on their menu. For beef burgers, there are the Marinara Burger ($4.90), The Classic ($4.50), Mushroom Burger ($5.50), Burg's Breakfast Burger ($6.50) and Burg's Cheese Burger ($5.90). If you prefer the chicken burger, there are Teriyaki Chicken Burger ($5.50), Country Fried Chicken Burger ($5.00) and Burg's 'Seoul' Fried Chicken Burger ($4.50). There are also choices for the fish burger which includes Fish & Chips Burger ($4.50) and Nacho Fish & Chips Burger ($4.90). All the burgers are served with fries or upgrade to onion rings for an additional $1.00. There are also options for sides and add-ons on their menu. 

I went with Mushroom Burger ($5.50) and Country Fried Chicken Burger ($5.00). I wanted to change the fries to onion rings but I was told that it would not be available for the rest of the month as they could not get those quality onions for onion rings. Then, I was asked, "Do you want any side to go along?" I decided to get half a dozen of fried chicken wings for $4.90. I asked for a recommendation when come to choosing the flavour. Lee Syafiq that took my order, said, "I will recommend Honey Soy flavour for the fried chicken wings." The other option is the Korean style. I paid a total of $15.40 and was given a pager to collect the food later. 

When I was taking the picture of their menu, I was asked by M Shah Indra, "How did you get to find out about us?" I replied, "The stalls that I wanted to eat happened to be closed, I was just walking around and spotted your stall. I actually waited for your stall to open."

When collecting the food, I asked, "You buns look special. Do you custom made them?" Ridz Uan answered, "They are from an artisan bakery." They actually have their logo printed on those buns. They mentioned on their Facebook page that only the best ingredients are used for their burgers. 

The Mushroom Burger ($5.50) consists of an American cheese topped beef patty that was well-grilled to medium doneness and served on the artisan buns. It was garnished with a handful of caramelised onions together with a pile of crispy oyster mushroom that added a textural contrast and with nacho cheese sauce. The unique combination is a classic on its own. It was served with a good portion of hand-cut fries. 

The Country Fried Chicken Burger ($5.00) consists of spiced marinated chicken thigh, homemade coleslaw, a sunny-side-up egg and Sriracha Mayo. The fried chicken was nicely fried to the desired crispiness, though a slightly saltish but the homemade coleslaw brought upon a refreshing twist. The texture was further enhanced by the runny egg yolk and it has a slight hint of spiciness from the Sriracha Mayo. And, with the aforementioned ingredients as its toppings, it is one of their special burgers that is not available elsewhere. 

The half a dozen of Honey Soy Fried Chicken Wings ($4.90) was served slightly drizzled with the honey soy sauce then garnished with sesame seeds and chopped spring onions. Those parts that did not coat with the sauce was slightly bland as the chicken itself did not have much flavour. It was nicely fried and it still crispy even after leaving it for a while. 

Lee Syafiq came over to ask, "How was the food?". I said, "I prefer the Mushroom Burger more and the buns are really nice." My dining companion commented, "The fried chicken for the Country Fried Chicken Burger was slightly saltish." He acknowledged and replied, "The chicken patty might be slightly over marinated for today." He handed a copy of their name card and said, "Do check out our Facebook and Instagram."

And, right here, you are getting much better quality burgers at about the same prices with those burgers that are available at the fast food joints. So, which is a better choice? You choose.

505 Beach Road Golden Mile Food Centre #B1-24 SINGAPORE 199583
 Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 2.30 pm / 5.00 pm to 9.30 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Jin Chen Coffee Stall : 30 years of hawker business

This traditional old-school hawker stall has been around for more than 30 years. It is a really long time. All things in life change quickly in this rapidly changing environment and it will take more than just the willingness of heart for sustaining and surviving it through the years.  Interestingly, they are quite active on Facebook with the usual updates and sharing.

Darren Tay, 40, better known as Ah Boy, is running the stall with his mother.  The stall started in 1986 as a Vegetarian stall run by his mother, he was already started helping out at the stall then. They converted it to a drink stall in 2008. This is the all-time favourite drink stall of their many regular customers, not just in the food centre but also in Raffles Place. They also offer delivery service within Raffles Place. They serve traditional coffee and tea, canned drinks, homemade drinks, toast bread and bun, soft-boiled eggs, desserts and snacks like Chee Cheong Fun and chwee kueh as well. They are also selling ready packed traditional coffee powder at $5.80 for  250 grammes. 

Their coffee has the right proportional of coffee powder, sugar and condensed milk to give it just the right creaminess and sweetness and even so, after adding ice cubes to make iced coffee. Everything about this stall is just so down-to-earth. Apparently, traditional coffee is not just traditional coffee but it is also a part of our hawker culture and heritage. 

50 Market Street #02-30 Market Street Food Centre SINGAPORE 048940
Operating Hours: 6.30 am to 7.30 pm (Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Aw's Signature Minced Pork Noodles : by a passionate Gen-Y Hawker

It was a rainy morning when I came by this food centre in the quiet estate of Tanglin Halt, near to Commonwealth MRT station. It is about 5 minutes' walk away and you will first come across Tanglin Halt Food Centre, a smaller one near to those old shop houses. This stall is at Commonwealth Drive Food Centre across the road, this food centre is an iconic building in this heritage estate. I used to be attending Blessed Sacrament Church nearby and always hung out with friends and drinking Teh Halia, a ginger tea, in this food centre.

I was there at about 11.30 am and I was their only customer at that time. The owner was seated at the table right beside his stall and his baby was in a baby chair just beside. He stood up when he saw me. I said, "Signature Noodle, eating here.". He asked, "Do you want mee pok or mee kia?" I replied, "Mee pok, extra chilli please." While waiting, I asked, "Can I add braised pork? It looks quite nice." He replied while cooking, "Thank you. You can. That's an extra $2." His wife came back and he said to her, "Signature Noodle with braised pork." Then, she looked at me and said, "The total is $7." I continued waiting for my order to be ready after done with the payment.

Under the "About" on their Facebook Page, it stated, "A Gen-Yper wishing to serve the public with cheap food." This next generation owner is passionate enough to want to make a difference in the hawker trade. 

The menu includes the different types of noodles, like Signature Noodle ($5/$8), Minced Pork Noodle ($3/$5), Handmade Fishball Noodle ($3/$5) and Shredded Chicken Hor fun ($3/$5).

If you like varieties then Signature Noodle is a good choice as it consists of ingredients like prawns, quail egg, meatball, sliced abalone, fish maw, fish dumpling and mushrooms. The noodles were cooked nicely to the right texture with no alkaline taste detected. Though I requested to have an extra amount of chilli to be added but its level of spiciness was still pretty mild. Apparently, the sauce seemingly did not have a distinctive taste thus, overall, it did not taste too memorable. 

It changed my opinion when I took a bite of that braised pork. It was perfectly braised to the right flavour and texture. When done right, such a simple dish could be the best thing that you ever eat. The braised pork is cooked based on a recipe that has passed down from his granny. I will be happy to just order the bigger portion of Braised Pork Noodle at $6, perhaps added with an extra portion of braised pork for another $2 next time.

It is heartening to see the young hawkers wanting to do their part in preserving our hawker heritage. This is particularly crucial as most of the pioneer hawkers are retiring and without the younger ones coming in, the hawker trade is at risk of dying out and might just be gone some day. 

Block 1A Commonwealth Drive #01-08 Commonwealth Drive Food Centre SINGAPORE 141001
Operating Hours: 7.30 am to 2.00 pm / 5.00 pm to 9.00 pm (Mon to Thu) / 
7.30 am to 3.00 pm (Fri & Sat) (Closed on Sundays)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Lim's Fried Oyster : the 4-decades old Fried Oyster

Mr and Mrs Lim, the owners, have been selling Fried Oyster in this food centre since 1977, took over the stall from Mr Lim's father. Mr Lim, the 2nd generation hawker, has been helping his father since the 60s from a pushcart along Sam Leong Road.

There is an old-school feel about this fried oyster, something nostalgic about it that made it stood out amongst the others. Mr Lim has skillfully fried it perfectly to achieve the desired texture of having the slight crisp on the surface but still moist within. I really enjoyed it and this has to be one of the best that I have ever eaten. Another favourite is from Hock Kee Fried Oyster at Serangoon Garden Food Centre.

They also offer a wetter and softer version of fried oyster and is often eaten with a spoon, this is particularly popular amongst the elderly customers as it is so soft and it does not require much chewy. It is a less common version that does not often come across in Singapore. Hock Kee Fried Oyster that I mentioned earlier does it too. They also serve Oyster Omelette that has more eggs added to it. 

Mr Lim is still making the batter with 2 different types of house-made chilli to go with the fried oyster. He added the first type to the fried oyster while cooking it and the other is a dipping sauce. Their oysters came from Korea, it is much bigger in size as compared to those from the other stalls. They garnish with coriander leaves before serving it. 

166 Jalan Besar #01-32 Berseh Food Centre SINGAPORE 208877
Operating Hours: 6.00 pm to 12.00 am (Daily)

Monday, May 15, 2017

Ah Ho Teochew Kway Teow Mee : a Taste of the Yesteryear

This stall has been around for 4 decades in a small coffee shop at the junction of Verdun Road and Sam Leong Road, serving Teochew style noodles. Mr Liang, the elderly owner in his 70s, is not cooking when I was there, it was cooked by an Auntie while a younger girl was taking the orders. The noodles are priced in between $3 to $5 and the fish dumpling soup is at $4, this is so much cheaper and better tasting than most of the others out there. There was no queue during lunch on a Saturday but with a constant flow of customers while I was there.

It is served with ingredients like slices of lean pork and fish cake, braised mushroom, fishball, minced pork, fish dumpling and dried sole fish, which is also known as tee por.

Their secret ingredient is nonetheless the house-made aromatic chilli, it is made with pork lard and buah keluak, dried chillies and dried shrimp (hak bee), though flavourful but not overly spicy and extremely addictive, it complemented the noodles well. The dried sole fish and crispy pork lards have added crunch as well as the extra flavour.

It was added with well-braised and flavorful sliced mushroom to bring forth the flavours. 

The taste of those fishballs was generic and likely to be factory-made. 

The fish dumplings have a slightly gooey texture and a little slippery with seasoned fish and meat paste wrapped in slightly thick but resilient skin, it is the classic Teochew-style fish dumpling that you do not usually get these days. The pork-based soup was lightly flavoured, without a hint of MSG together with bits of minced pork and fried garlic.

It is a simple pleasure to enjoy such a bowl of noodles but how much longer would such a taste of the yesteryear be around?

12 Verdun Road, Kim San Lee Coffee Shop, SINGAPORE 207278
Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 4.00 pm (Closed on Wednesdays)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

No Name Fish Soup : comforting Sliced Fish Mee Sua

This Fish Soup stall has no name and it used to be a Teochew porridge stall but it was too laborious for the owners so the owners decided to serve Fish Soup instead. Their simple menu include Fish Slice Soup ($4/$5), Fish Head Soup ($5), Fish Porridge ($4/$5), Fish Thick Bee Hoon ($4/$5), Fish Mee Sua ($4/$5), Fish Poh Chai Mee ($4/$5) and white rice is served at 0.50 cents per bowl. 

I was there during lunch, though no queue but there was a constant flow of customers. There was only another customer right in front of me. I went with a $5 portion sliced fish mee sua, it was served in a deeper bowl with a slightly larger portion of mee sua and more slices of fish as compared to the $4 portion. While waiting, I helped myself to their 2 different types of chilli and they do have the fermented bean sauce too, a typical Teochew style of enjoying the sliced fish soup.

I brought it to the table that I used to seat with my late Grandpa for our lunch and coffee sessions. It has been 5 years but it was just like yesterday when he passed on and it brought back lots of fond memories with him whenever I dine here. Our usual noodle stall is no longer around though. 

The soup did not have much taste but those slices of fish tasted relatively fresh, eat it fast before the sua mee turned gooey. Though simple, it is comforting particularly on a rainy day.

Block 341 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 #01-13 Teck Ghee Court Food Centre SINGAPORE 560341
Operating Hours: 10.00 am to 2.00 pm / 5.00 pm to 9.00 pm (Closed on Sundays)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Your Nasi Lemak : a Nasi Lemak specialty shop at Sembawang

It started by Fabian Seet, together with the other 2 co-founders, these 3 hoteliers including an executive chef shared the equal passion for nasi lemak and they created Your Nasi Lemak, a Singapore brand. It all started with one of them being a nasi lemak fanatic and his inspiration is for foodies from all over the world to enjoy and savour the best nasi lemak which truly representing Singapore. Their recipe is originated from Macik Som, their Advisor Chef, it is a family recipe that has handed down from generation to generation and together with their Executive Chef, they have perfected the recipe as mentioned on their Facebook page. They are using the traditional cooking methods with carefully selected ingredients for their nasi lemak. It opened on 11 April 2017 at one of those shophouses along Sembawang Road and is just beside Sembawang Shopping Centre.

This is an unassuming neighbourhood eatery, unpretentious and simply furnished. Their menu consists of nasi lemak sets and these sets come with options including fried chicken wing, kuning fish, fish fillet, pong pong otah, fried tempura vegetables, sambal cuttlefish and beef rendang differently, from $5.80 to $6.80. Most of their sets are serving with a sunny-side-up egg, cucumber, ikan bilis with peanuts and sambal chilli. There is also a weekday special during lunch and drinks like Kopi, Teh, Lime Juice, Bandung and Barley are available at just $1 for every $5.80 set ordered.

I wanted to order the Fried Sotong set but was not available and so, I decided to go with the Beef Rendang set ($6.80) and Otah Sundae ($5.80) with an additional piece of chicken wing ($1.60) added together with a canned drink ($1.50). The Beef Rendang set came first, it consists of a generous portion of beef rendang with the usual components.

The aromatic rice was infused with the fragrance of coconut milk and pandan leaves, its texture was fluffy and loose. The ingredients all tasted fresh but I would like the egg yolk to be a little runny. The peanuts and ikan bilis were rather crunchy and the sambal chilli has a slight sweetness with a mild spiciness that lingers on but it would be good if it is less wet. The beef rendang was tender and with just the right amount of spiciness.

The chicken wing was a pleasant surprise, it was coated with a layer of crispy batter that gives it an extra crunch but still juicy beneath, with a subtle turmeric flavour. 

The Otah Sundae, their signature dish is listed as a must-try on their menu. It came 15 minutes later and while waiting, the female service staff came over to inform that it would take a little while longer though she did not say why it was so, a reasonable guess would be the Pong Pong Otah was likely to be freshly made. It came when my dining companion was done with his Beef Rendang Nasi Lemak. 

It consists of a piece of Pong Pong Otah rested on a pile of coconut rice and topped with another coconut rice ball then drizzled with sambal chilli and coconut milk. The Pong Pong Otah was packed with flavours from galangal and lemongrass together with small chunks of fresh fish embedded within, it tasted different from the usual version of otah as it omits the usual spicy paste. It needs a little getting used to and there was also a lack of texture. Perhaps they should have a spicy and non-spicy version of Pong Pong Otah. It was served along with slices of cucumber and peanuts by the side. This is no doubt an innovative creation, though seemed a little gimmicky but also lacking in value as compared to other sets. 

This is pure comfort food at affordable prices in a cosy ambience with friendly service. Do support this Singapore brand if you happen to be in the vicinity, even though there is a famous Chong Pang Nasi Lemak just nearby but this one is worth a try too. 

596B Sembawang Road SINGAPORE 048545
Operating Hours:11.30 am to 9.30 pm (Closed on Mondays)