Hello Makan Kakis! This week, we’re joined by two strong, talented women who also great cooks! We last met Oniatta Effendi when she was cooking on stage for Singapore International Festival of Arts and her legendary recommendation of Nasi Jenganan. This time, she’s back with Petrina Kow, whose voice you might recognise as a one-time DJ and voice actor for commercials, audio guides, online learning websites and animations. She’s now a voice and presentation coach with a new project to share – one that Oniatta is performing in! Call it an extension of Petrina’s wonderful monthly Telling Stories Live project, Walking in Beautyis an evening of women telling heart-warming, heart-breaking, real stories about how they relate to beauty. And of course when it comes to good cooks who tell great stories, MAKAN is never far away when they rehearse! Here are some of these foodie friends’ recommendations for a delicious good time…
Greetings, Makan Kakis, we start 2018 with a brand new foodie friend, one who’s no stranger to the F&B business, having successfully started his own Chinese casual dining restaurant that broke even within 3 months of its opening, probably due to their signature recipe for saucy, succulent Char Siew (which you can see and read about here). Please meet Anthony Ung of CHAR Restaurant!
CHAR Restaurant first appeared on the dining scene in Singapore in 2014 when it was launched by Vietnam-born, Birmingham-UK-raised Anthony & his brother Alvin, a chef by profession. With his 30 years of experience working in Chinese restaurants in Birmingham from dishwasher to head chef in traditional Chinese cooking, Alvin’s culinary expertise combined perfectly with Anthony’s meticulous science and IT background & passion for experimenting with Western food preparation techniques on Asian ingredients and produce. They definitely hit on a winning formula and after a wildly successful run at their original location along Guillemard Road, Anthony and his Singaporean Wife are delighted to have moved CHAR to a bigger, brighter space along Jalan Besar.
HEAR: Click here to listen to Anthony’s story about fleeing Vietnam to the UK and how Char got started in Singapore Click here to listen to Anthony’s culinary influences, childhood food memories and why he loves Chicken Rice Click here to listen to Anthony’s recommendation for his favourite Chicken Rice in Singapore
Anthony professes an obsession with our local Chicken Rice, which he ate everyday for 3 months when he first moved to Singapore, leading to a 5 kg weight gain, which also means he’s eaten his way through many plates, many brands and many types to arrive at the conclusion that this is HIS FAVOURITE Chicken Rice and in his humble opinion, THE BEST in Singapore.
As the monsoon season descends upon our island, we find ourselves seeking out belly-warming comfort foods and in my humble opinion, one that certainly ticks all the boxes for warm and comforting is Hainanese Curry Rice, which, while was indeed an invention of the Hainanese diaspora, is also a perfect amalgamation of Singapore cuisine. You have carbs, protein, vegetables, fat and a curry that marries Malay, Indian & Chinese cultures in a gloriously sloppy one-plate meal. For an authentic Hainanese curry rice experience, you’ve got to include the holy trinity of crispy pork chop, soy-stewed pork belly and cabbage over your rice (and then whatever else takes your fancy), before its pre-requisite drenching of curry. Here, we bring you two options where you can either go time-honoured traditional, or Next-Gen with a tasty twist… Continue reading “VIDEO: HEARTY HAINANESE CURRY RICE”→
As the days get wetter and we crave warming comfort food, our Makan Kaki Chef Petrina Loh of Morsels has the perfect dish to recommend. Definitely one of her childhood favourites, she has been patronising this old-school porridge stall since she was a little kid. And after eating there for 30 years, nostalgia plays a big part in her love for Ah Chiang’s Porridge. Continue reading “Charcoal-Cooked Porridge”→
HEAR: Listen to this week’s mouthwatering East-Meets-West episode!
This week, our Makan Kaki, Fatfuku’s Annette Tan, brings us the best of East meets West in one stall that started in the East Coast-Katong area, but has since moved to Beach Road. But the Katong-Kampung community spirit continues at its new venue, where its two owners, Silas & Desmond are passionate about supporting & fostering relationships with their fellow tenants and focused on serving up excellent comfort food made with fresh ingredients and a lot of heart. At Kampung Corner, we get Corner Burger & Kampung Bowl combined, serving up superb, yet affordable burgers, along with hearty rice bowls that are rich in South-east Asian flavours.
Let’s start with the value-for-money burgers, which feature beautiful, buttery golden Brioche buns which are nice and toasty round the edges.
In particular, Annette loves the Luncheon Meat & Egg Burger. You get a pair of crisp, fluffy buns, a slab of griddled luncheon meat, a fried egg with a jiggly centre and (honestly, negligible – come on, this is a fried luncheon meat and egg burger! Haha.) some lettuce and tomato. When you bite into this decadent burger, you get a mouthful of that salty, rich meat and the runny yolk, all combined for one of the most enjoyable things to eat for very little money!
Their Wagyu Burger, comprising an Australian Wagyu, Chuck & Sirloin patty, slicked with lemon mayo and melted Cheddar, is pretty awesome too – it’s as good as any burger you could get at any high-end joint and at only $13!
You could also try their unusual Tonkatsu Burger seasoned with fermented Tofu (Fuyu) – it’s breaded, deep-fried, pungent, porky perfection!
As for their comforting rice bowls, these are packed with an array of South-east Asian ingredients and flavours. With the ubiquity of Japanese Rice Bowls and Poke Bowls, why not go local, right? Desmond uses some modern techniques like sous vide, which gives a luscious quality to the meats.
While their Ayam Masak Merah Rice Bowl is one impressive whole chicken leg drowning in rich red sauce, Annette is especially partial to the Beef Adobo Rice Bowl. She cannot recommend it enough!
Resting on a bed of rice, is meltingly soft meat, lacquered with this beautiful, shiny, sweet, salty gravy. And while Adobo is Filipino by culinary heritage, Singaporeans will find the flavours familar because of the soya sauce, cinnamon sticks and star anise used. It’s like an atas version of Tau You Bak (braised soy sauce pork belly), elevated by fresh corn & carrots, as well as a runny egg!
Pop by Shaw Towers for a taste of Kampung Corner, where not only do you get really delicious East-West dishes, but also, an encounter with a couple of guys who are truly passionate about what they do – stay a while, chat with them, ask them questions – they’ll be happy to tell you the stories behind their food.
This week sees the return of our Makan Kaki, Batik Fashion fashion designer, avid home cook & rice-mad “Nasi Girl”, Oniatta Effendi. There’s not a day that she doesn’t eat rice, so really, you should trust her when she says this makan place that specializes in two unusual rice dishes is SO GOOD! Have you heard of Nasi Jenganan or Nasi Rawon? Frequent customers to Bedok Corner Food Centre may be familiar with these complete plate meals, but Denise confesses to never having heard of them till now. And after a trek to the East to try Oniatta’s recommendation, you have a convert in Denise.
Both dishes come with the same ingredients – steaming hot rice, Paru (fried beef lung), Begedil & Sambal Sotong. The difference is in the wonderfully aromatic and tasty gravies poured over each rice dish.
For Nasi Jenganan (which is only available on Sundays), the gravy is a thick, peanut sauce with a spicy chilli kick that’s not too sweet. So deliciously rich and nutty, it smothers a serving of boiled kang kong, bean sprouts and fried bean curd. Everything mixed together is a wonderful experience of textures and spicy-savoury-sweet flavours.
The Paru is delightfully crisp & springy, yet tender, with a hint of that beefy, metallic offal flavour (but not unpleasantly so). The squid is soft and yielding having been simmered in a sweet and spicy sambal.
The Begedil is outstanding here, as it is cooked to order and arrives on your plate fresh out of the kwali, hot and crispy on the outside, meltingly soft and creamy on the inside.
As for the Nasi Rawon, the gravy is an earthy sauce made from Buah Keluak! The bitter-sweet, pleasingly muddy flavour of this nut is cooked with beef shin, seasoned & sweetened, then poured liberally over the rice plate, till every ingredient is bathed in the liquid black gold!
Chunks of meaty beef shin soaked in the Rawon sauce dot the plate & with the addition of a mind-blowing sambal chilli that’s salty & tangy, you have the perfect balance for the sweet, earthy Rawon gravy.
The rice is topped off with crispy, sweet and spicy Serunding, which takes the entire plate just over the top!
Satay Solo also serves classics like Satay, Ayam Penyet as well as Mee Soto, but truly, it’s their Nasi Jenganan & Rawon you should try. Just remember the Nasi Jenganan is served exclusively on Sundays only and Satay Solo sees long queues from as early as 8am. But thankfully when we went on Sunday at 12.30pm, we still managed to get 2 plates of Nasi Jenganan despite the queue! While you’re at Bedok Corner Food Centre, Oniatta also recommends the Chang Tng stall for an icy dessert to complete your meal!
TASTE: SATAY SOLO
1 Bedok Road, Bedok Corner Food Centre (opposite Bedok Army Camp)
Stall No. 9, Singapore 469572
Open 7am – 10pm (Tues – Sun, closed Mon)
Tel: +65 97110116
Hello Makan Kakis! In recent weeks, our nation and its netizens have been all abuzz with opinions about MacDonald’s NASI LEMAK BURGERS, which, to the disappointment of many, sold out in 2 weeks. Personally, I think a nasi lemak burger should at least contain nasi (rice) so come with me as we follow the coconut-fragranced trail of one other worthy nasi lemak burger, that could fill that empty space left by said fast food restaurant! But if it’s the un-burgered, original form of Nasi Lemak you prefer though, then I have another recommendation for the purists.
Click the on the picture above to WATCH this latest video episode of Gold 905’s feel good food guide, in which I recommend two Nasi Lemak options – one hipster burger, one hearty tradition – on offer.
Click here to LISTEN to our aromatic on-air episode!
TRY THIS: With National Day on the horizon, a little tasty competition seems to have emerged amongst several makan places which have come up with their own versions of the new-fangled Nasi Lemak Burger. From the fray emerged one that stood out – in description, that is. I was delighted to hear that my Makan Guru KF Seetoh had persuaded the folks at HK St Old Chun Kee (Gluttons Bay branch) to bring back their Nasi Lemak Burger all this month of August. It sounded like an improvement on the fast food restaurant version, so I made it my mission to try it the very day it launched.
Caution: Sensory overload! Make no mistake, this is one dirty, decadent, minyak and lemak creation, featuring coconut rice mixed with otah (for extra umami and colour), shaped into “buns” using a ring form, then wok-fried till crispy and toasty brown on the outside, tender and fluffy on the inside.
These rice “buns” sandwich a breaded fish fillet, fried egg and a mellow-sweet smear of sambal scattered with crunchy ikan billis and peanuts. This Nasi Lemak Burger is delicious and definitely gives you all the taste and aroma of the rice dish. This is a novel re-imagining of a Singapore classic, with lots of punchy flavours and contrasting textures, but be warned though, you’ll probably find it hard to finish even one on your own.
It may be small in size, but this $7.50 Nasi Lemak Burger is hefty on your tastebuds and stomach. Bring a friend to share, or a takeaway container. If you’re looking for a uniquely Singaporean dish to feast on this National Day, you could do much worse than enjoying alfresco dining by Marina Bay, soaking in the views as you soak up the greasy goodness of the Nasi Lemak Burger here.
TASTE: HK St Old Chun Kee (Gluttons Bay Branch)
Makansutra Gluttons Bay
8 Raffles Avenue, #01-15H,
Esplanade Mall, Singapore 039802.
Open Daily 3pm – 1am.
OR THAT: If you’re thinking why go to the trouble of turning Nasi Lemak into burgers when you can have it the old-fashioned, traditional way, then you’ve got to try Nasi Lemak Kukus.
Kukus literally means “Steam” in Malay and this is the really old school, traditional way to cook the coconut rice. To save time and effort these days, most Nasi Lemak restaurants will just use a rice cooker to boil the rice and cook it. But steaming is what sets Nasi Lemak Kukus apart from others. A lot of care is taken to steam the rice, which means you get a more springy product, with a light coconut fragrance that permeates each and every grain. What you don’t get is an overpoweringly coconutty, sticky mush. This one has great texture that’s firm to the bite and beautifully flavoured with coconut milk, pandan leaves and salt. Honestly, it’s so good, you can eat the rice all on its own. Best of all, servings are unlimited!
Help yourself to as much of it from the large steamer they have set up at the buffet-style counter, along with the unlimited helpings of sambal tumis. Nasi Lemak Kukus has two types – a sweet and mild one and then there’s the “power” one – super spicy, but with just a touch of sweet to balance out the fire.
All-you-can-eat rice and sambal aside, another star item on their menu is the deep-fried chicken wing. Delicately seasoned with spices like turmeric that gives it its golden yellow hue, these are fried in small batches for maximum freshness and crispiness.
As an introduction to what’s on offer, try the Nasi Lemak Kukus standard meal set, which gets you unlimited rice and sambal, along with 1 chicken wing, 1 piece of egg omelet, 1 whole ikan kuning and a scoop of crunchy ikan billis and peanut mix. For just $4, this is one satisfying, value-for-money meal.
But with so many other dishes on display, you’ll be hard-pressed to resist naughty tidbits like the super-tasty deep-fried chicken skin and otah-otah.
You can also get other add-ons from their special pots bubbling away on burners, including lip-smackingly lemak sayur lodeh…
…savoury-sweet beef paru (lung) and the rich, tender mutton rendang.
Depending on your mood, wash down your hearty meal with a strong and sweet Vietnamese drip coffee, or a freshly squeezed home-made calamansi lime drink.
Nasi Lemak Kukus is a great stop for a quick lunch at its sun-drenched premises, but also pretty special at night in their courtyard complete with twinkling lights, hanging wall creepers and a gorgeous distressed spiral staircase.
What you get here is unpretentious quality food, friendly staff and a relaxed self-serve atmosphere in a charming old Selegie shophouse, its interiors charmingly adorned with the colourful scribbles and artwork of customers (a lot of who are Lasalle students). TASTE: Nasi Lemak Kukus
229 Selegie Road, Singapore 188344
Open Monday – Saturday 12pm – 10.30pm. Closed Sunday.
Tel: 8222-9517/ 91443764
SEE: This week, we introduce you to TWO new foodie friends who are avid and prolific cooks, soon to be seen in the Singapore International Arts Festival’s O.P.E.N. Kitchens, a series of interactive and delicious culinary performances, in which you get to prepare a meal with them, whilst enjoying stories and perhaps even songs! Please meet Asha Adnan of Asha & Co. and Oniatta Effendi of Baju by Oniatta, both with wonderful stories and dishes to share (Listen to the audio of them sharing above)! For today’s episode of Makan Kakis, we begin with self-confessed “Nasi Girl” Oniatta recommending a restaurant that ruined her for ordinary Nasi Lemak. She says this place turned her into a Nasi Lemak snob and no other will do. Nestled in a cosy part of Ann Siang Hill, Coconut Club has made waves with their instagrammable environment and food, but aesthetics aside, this is really a solid, outstanding plate of coconut rice and dishes. The brainchild of 3 friends who went to a Nasi Lemak convention in Malaysia, Coconut Club was opened with the best quality in mind. Nasi Lemak in itself is a basic comfort food, but Coconut Club really elevates the humble home dish with their expert handling of quality ingredients – from the otak-otak to the fried chicken, everything is truly sedap, says Oniatta. And on days their sambal lala is available, be sure to get your order in ASAP – soooo good! Be sure to leave room for their array of coconutty desserts, traditional kueh-kueh, from Kueh Salat to Kueh Bingka Ubi. Coconut Club lives up to its name with their Kueh Ko Swee or Kuih Kosui, absolutely smothered with grated coconut! Oniatta has since discovered that the intense coconut flavours that pervade all their dishes come from special coconuts they source at a secret plantation in Malaysia… Finally, wash all that coconutty goodness down with a excellent teh tarik or kopi, from Master Desmond, who usually plies his trade outside Changi Prison but was lured over to Coconut Club to serve up his fantastic drinks. All in all, Oniatta says whilst there has been a lot of hype about Coconut Club and their “atas” Nasi Lemak, the $12.80 price per plate is more than worth it!
TASTE: COCONUT CLUB
6, Ann Siang Hill, Singapore 069787
Open for lunch: 11am – 3pm (Tuesday – Sunday)
Open for dinner: 6 – 9.30pm (Tuesday – Saturday)
Tel: +65 6635 2999
For more on Oniatta’s Batik fashion line, Baju by Oniatta, check this out!