To celebrate crispy, juicy, deep-fried 🐔🍗, Denise has delved into the archives & compiled a handy list of fried chicken places worth checking out. From Southern Fried to Ayam Penyet to Har Cheong Gai, there’s something for everyone:
Please meet our newest Makan Kaki, Cynthea Lam – wellness coach, nutritionist-in-training & founder of Super Farmers, a company focused on helping people to eat well and live well through food and nutrition education. It’s a one-stop-shop for wellness workshops, urban farming kits and restorative herbal teas brand Apoteacary.
Quite by chance, we got to talking at her booth in Boutique Fairs and I ended up purchasing three boxes of deliciously soothing teas and an urban farming trio of microgreens to try growing myself at home (the kang kong, chye sim & gai lan were a success for this noob!).
Cynthea has a great story to tell and a wonderfully engaging personality, perfect for conducting her wellness workshops and dishing out sage advice, so enjoy our podcast and the first of her makan recommendations this week!
Click to listen/ download podcast – In Part 1, Cynthea tells us why she started Super Farmers, what we can expect from her wellness company and shares advice on common dilemmas like getting your kids to eat more veggies and getting over insomnia.
Click to listen/ download podcast – In Part 2, Cynthea answers the usual fun food-related questions, including why Thai cuisine is the biggest influence on her cooking-style, what 3 things she can’t do without in the kitchen, who she’d invite and what she’d serve at her fantasy dinner party (it involves four fiesty females!).
Cynthea takes us straight back to her childhood with this delicious and nostalgic treat. She studied at St Nicholas Girls’ School throughout her pre-primary, primary and secondary school education. And St Nicks’ alumni will relate to this – Cynthea simply cannot forget the one thing she (and so many other school mates) loved to eat at recess time – Aunty Meow Lang’s fried chicken wings.
Cynthea remembers that she once ate 10 chicken wings at a go and ended up with tonsillitis. But she still thinks it was totally worth it! That’s how irresistible those chicken wings were. Crispy, golden-brown and deep-fried to perfection, the wings were coated in a batter that was not too thick, just a thin, crunchy sheath that gave way to a moist, tasty interior. In her opinion, she hasn’t tasted anything better since.
Besides the power of nostalgia, Cynthea reckons the secret to Aunty Meow Lang’s wings was in the way she marinated and fried them with so much love. Sadly, Aunty Meow Lang is no longer with us and her school stall has since closed. However, good news is, her grandson James is now carrying on her legacy at his stall (Coal 3606) and has started selling the same famous chicken wings according to his grandmother’s beloved recipe. Coal 3606’s Facebook page mentions that the wings were sold at at CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School from 1972 till 2013.
Interestingly taking the leap from one institution of education to another, Coal 3606 operates out of Republic Polytechnic’s foodcourt, The Lawn. There was a stall in Bukit Merah Lane, but that no longer is in operation and has yet to be updated on their FB. If you don’t fancy a journey into the poly located far North in Woodlands, don’t worry – you can still sink your teeth into the mouth-watering wings by placing an order via text message and have them delivered. Cynthea recommended that, so I did!
I’m happy to report, the wings arrived exactly on time and were still hot as James promised (he stored them in a large aluminium tray surround by tin foil, but not covered, so they wouldn’t get soggy). I wasted no time ripping into one immediately. It was just as Cynthea had described. Crispy on outside, juicy on the inside.
My teeth broke through the crisp batter with an audible crunch, the fragrance of the well-marinated chicken wing making the experience all the more pleasurable. I couldn’t pin point the aromatics, but I think I detected a heady mix of garlic, ginger, soy sauce and honey. Deeply umami flavours played off the hint of sweetness. Crispy skin and meat were thoroughly infused with flavour right down to the bone. And indeed, the flesh remained tender, juices running freely at first bite.
One of Cynthea’s favourite parts (mine too) is the wing tip. Those stayed gloriously crunchy (not burned) and were a delight to gnaw on. Some were so shatteringly crisp that I could devour them entirely, bone and all! I was starting to realise why these wings were near-obsession for Cynthea, who said, “I think I can eat that everyday!”
TASTE: COAL 3606 (Old St Nicks/ Aunty Meow Lang’s Chicken Wings)
Republic Polytechnic The Lawn Foodcourt
9 Woodlands Avenue Block W4/W6 #03-11 S(738964)
Open: 9.30am – 4.30pm (Mon – Fri; closed Sat & Sun)
Tel: +65 98589792 NOTE:
Open to public only during off-peak hours – before 11am or after 1pm.
Best is to call/ text James Ngiam to be sure the wings are available and entry permitted. He takes delivery orders too. I simply texted him to agree on the quantity, date & time, then made payment via PayNow. Easy!
What do legendary actor P. Ramlee & fried chicken have in common? They are the passions of one man – Mr Haswandi Hashim – converging deliciously at his stall in Jalan Besar. After my Makan Kaki Chef Bjorn Shen, judge of MasterChef Singapore and Middle-Eastern restaurant Artichoke proclaimed it “the most amazing ayam goreng in Singapore” earlier in February this year, I hurried down to confirm this and was not disappointed. A few things have changed since February and on my last visit, I finally met the man behind Chef Bjorn’s favourite fried chicken. Turns out, this ayam goreng comes with rice and sambals as colourful as the story behind it.
Mr Haswandi and his wife Nur Hafizah Ahmad launched La Porpo just two years ago with little fanfare, but have quickly gained a still-growing fan base. As a massive fan of film legend P. Ramlee, Mr Haswandi decided to name his stall after a catchphrase from his idol’s 1972 movie Laksamana Do Re Mi.
“It was a hilarious comedy and there’s one part where P. Ramlee was sitting on a flying carpet when he said ‘la porpo’, which sounded Spanish to me,” he explained. “La porpo is a phrase used often between me and my childhood friends. We all watched the same movie, so that’s our connection and appreciation of P. Ramlee. To us, it means something friendly, warm, creative.”
Like a secret password or magic code within his social circle, it brings together their shared love for movies and makan that Mr Haswandi hopes will extend to his customers. “I want them to come and get crazy about our flavours,” he said with a smile.
That’s why he even named his F&B company Rasa Loca (an amalgamation of Malay and Spanish words that means crazy taste) and one of his spicy chilli pastes Sambal Loca. Mr Haswandi is also pleased he has his son’s seal of approval for a greeting he often uses (almost like the stall’s tagline) and can be seen in signage on the storefront, “Yo… What’s good?”
So what is good at La Porpo? Hands down, their ayam goreng or fried chicken, of course. Mr Haswandi’s recipe, “legendary in the family since my grandparents’ time”, has been passed down orally through generations. Combined with Nur Hafizah’s own family recipe, husband and wife have created the ultimate fried chicken, after much trial and error. Theirs is a fundamental fried chicken recipe versatile enough to use in many dishes like their best-selling Kelantan-style nasi kerabu, ayam penyet and ayam geprek. All started off with the same fried chicken foundation, but the difference is in the sambals.
Taufik fills us in on what else is in store this month for Chix Hot Chicken & also shares where likes to go for his favourite steak and Nasi Padang! Scroll down for descriptions, pictures and locations!
These sliders are arguably one of the BEST things on the menu! Huge, juicy pieces of boneless chicken, coated with a super crispy batter, sandwiched between two small, pillowy buns and slathered in their house-made tangy pink mayo. You can order the chicken in the level of spice you prefer and it packs a powerful flavour punch. So, so good!
This week, it’s our foodie friend, Chef Anthony Yeoh‘s turn to recommend some yummy eats and as the weekend approaches, brace yourselves for BRUNCH! If you’re looking for something yum in the city/ CBD area, do check out this multi-concept restaurant/ bar on the corner of Tanjong Pagar Road & Tras Street, Crackerjack. There you’ll find a coffee counter brewing till late afternoon, a beautiful cocktail bar that opens later in the evening and then there’s the restaurant that serves delicious new-American food. Chef Tony recently tried their weekend brunch and recommends these stand-out dishes:
The super-comforting Bone Broth, featuring egg stracciatella (like an egg drop they stir in), kale & barley. But truly, the star is broth, which is really flavourful, made in-house and so restorative, especially if you’re at brunch nursing the effects of the night before!
Another great hangover antidote is their Funnel Cake. Why? Well, this is typical American carnival food – batter funneled into hot oil and deep fried to light, doughy, crispy perfection. And we all know fat means flavour and a good way to soak up the sins of the night before! But make no mistake, these are next level funnel cakes – adult funnel cakes smothered with (hair of the dog!) a boozy whipped cream made from Amaretto (almond liqueur), along with candied bacon and bananas. This is a delicious, high-brow / low-brow play on an American classic.
The play doesn’t stop at Funnel Cakes – try Crackerjacks’s play on corned beef hash, their Sweet Potato Hash! This hearty plate featured house-made breakfast sausage crumbled on sweet potato, along with sauteed capsicum, kale, caramelised onions and an egg. Stick-to-your-ribs good!
Finally, Chef Tony recommends the QFC – Quinoa Fried Chicken. It’s a boneless chicken thigh encrusted with quinoa, which is a super food, a grain that’s high in antioxidants and protein. So could this possibly be healthy in an, er, deep-fried way? Haha. Jicama (Bangkwang, which we use in Popiah) slaw and homemade spicy banana ketchup complete the crunchy chicken dish. With this weird & wonderful banana ketchup, you get a distinct caramelised banana flavour, and a pleasing sauce that’s tangy and spicy at the same time.
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
On a recent work trip to Miami, a friend from Houston recommended I try Yardbird, a restaurant renowned for its signature Southern-fried chicken and waffles. I was not disappointed by my visit there as a solo diner. Great food, cocktails and service got me all excited when I discovered upon return to Singapore, that they were opening a branch here at Marina Bay Sands! Even better, I got to meet the man behind the brand and pick his award-winning brains about everything from food, to creativity and music. The affable John Kunkel was recently in town for the official launch of Yardbird, but made a little time to discuss with me his favourite things on the menu and also to recommend some makan places he’s enjoyed in Singapore.
First of all, the Yardbird restaurants in different locations are not cookie-cutter – while the classics like their fried chicken with cheese waffles, Bourbon-maple syrup & house-made hot sauce and minty watermelon salad remain the same, Chef Kunkel has taken time with his staff to come up with new cocktails and dishes that are specifically designed for the Singapore palate. Take their Low Country Laksa – a South US meets Singapore dish that gets inspiration from New Orleans Creole-style cooking, featuring seared Snapper in a ginger-coconut broth. There’s also the Black Pepper Crab Cakes, where Maryland meets Singapore. Don’t miss their deviled eggs, given a little umami twist with smoked trout roe topping. Wash everything down with a yummy Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade – dangerously refreshing & fruity, with an alcoholic kick.
B1-07, Galleria Level
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
LUNCH Daily 11:00am – 4:00pm
DINNER Daily 4:00pm – 11:00pm
DRINKS & LIGHT SNACKS Daily 11:00pm – 2:00am
WEEKEND BRUNCH SAT & SUN 10:00am – 4:00pm
TEL: +65 6688 9959
Some Local Places John Kunkel recommends:
1. Burnt Ends Modern Australian Barbequefor that open fire-style of cooking. Try their signature Sanger – made from pulled pork shoulder, homemade cole slaw & chipotle aioli sandwiched in a brioche bun. BURNT ENDS
20 Teck Lim Road
Lunch: Wednesday – Saturday 11:45am – 2pm
Dinner: Tuesday – Saturday 6:00pm to Late
Tel: +65 6224 3933
2. FOC for excellent Catalan-style Spanish Tapas, including their grilled octopus, croquetas, patatas bravas & squid ink paella. FOC
40 Hong Kong Street
Open Mon – Sat 12 – 2pm, 6 – 10:30pm
Tel: +65 6100 4040
3. Atlas Bar for great cocktails in a gorgeous Art Deco environment. ATLAS BAR
600 North Bridge Road
Open Mon – Sat (Closed Sun)
Mon – Thu: 10am – 1am
Fri: 10am – 2am
Sat: 3pm – 2am
Telephone: +65 6396 4466
4. Roti Prata from Lau Pa Sat – for that perfect balance between crispy, fluffy pastry and mellow, spiced curry.
Lau Pa Sat (Telok Ayer Market)
18 Raffles Quay, Singapore 048582
Open 24 hours Daily
Tel: +65 6220 2138
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!