Click to listen/ download podcast of this week’s deliciously patriotic encore episode featuring Indian Rojak & Hokkien Mee!
Hello Makan Kakis, in the lead-up to National Day, we’re continue special feature by revisiting your favourite local dishes. On this week’s menu, we start with Indian Rojak! An excellent one to try at at Ayer Rajah Food Centre has become quite the household name. Started in the 1960s by Mr Akber Ali, his legacy continues under the management of the stall’s namesake. Formally trained as an electrical engineer, Mr Abdhus Salam is the son of the late Mr Akber. After a stint in the corporate world, he decided to fulfil his father’s dream and stepped in to take charge of the business he’d been helping out at since he was sixteen.
The first thing I noticed on arrival was the mind-boggling array of deep fried things on display. Battered, golden-brown and stacked high in tightly packed piles, they beckoned. Relieved I’d come armed with a very empty stomach, I grabbed a large plate, tongs and picked one of everything. Yes, all NINETEEN items – crispy prawn fritter, big prawn fritter, two-in-one tofu and prawn fritter, vegetable flour fritter, plain flour fritter, egg flour fritter (battered hard-boiled egg), potato flour fritter (battered boiled potato), coconut fritter, battered tempeh, lentil fritters (dhal vadai), hotdog sausage, hard-boiled egg, fried firm tofu, fried fish cake, breaded fish fillet, boiled potatoes, fried beef lung (paru), cuttlefish and squid.
Everything was sizzled in a giant wok of hot oil, then chopped into bite-sized pieces and arranged like a mini mountain, its patchwork of browns and oranges only broken up by the green of fresh chillies, cucumber and the purple of raw onions. These garnishes were a wise addition, just to freshen everything up and cut through all the oil and sugar.
Two tubs of warm, thick, syrupy sauce accompanied the platter of deep fried wonders. Personally, I would have liked the neon orange, sweet and spicy sauce to be saltier and spicier, but the sweetness seemed to be real highlight for customers, seen blanketing their platters with the viscous, glossy gravy. The chatty cook was happy to let me in on a few ingredients that go into their signature Indian rojak sauce, but stopped short of giving away trade secrets. A blend of sweet potato, peanuts, chillies and sesame seeds, the roasty nuttiness of the sauce came across in both fragrance and flavour.
Overall, Abdhus Salam Indian rojak was very exciting for the whole palate because of those contrasting tastes and textures. An extragavanza of fat, carbs and sugar that delivered ultimate comfort and indulgence, this was a dish that encourages glorious gluttony, especially if you’re indecisive, hungry, or want to share. I encourage all of the above, so go with your family or friends (remember, no more than five people!) and share the calories. You’ll get friendly service from the youthful, energetic staff and you’ll be spoilt for choice by the sheer variety of delicious ingredients.
Abdhus Salam Indian rojak is located at 503 West Coast Drive, Ayer Rajah Food Centre, #01-73, Singapore 120503.
Open from 11am to 9.30pm Sundays to Fridays, 12 noon to 9.30pm Saturdays.
Available on Grabfood, Foodpanda, Bungkus apps for delivery.
SEE HOKKIEN MEE:
Our encore celebration of the top local eats (as voted by Gold 905 listeners) must also include quinessential South-China noodle dish, Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee. Two stalls worth a visit are Come Daily in Toa Payoh & Singapore Fried Hokkien Mee in Whampoa. For belly-busting details, click the link below: