El Cubanos at Short St (Selegie)

El Cubanos
1A Short St #01-01
Singapore 188210
Tel: +65 9162 5540

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 12pm to 11pm
Sat: 4pm to 1am
Closed on Sundays

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 10/10
Average spend per pax: S$11 including a drink
Recommended dishes: Signature Pulled Beef Cubano with Cajun Fries (S$8.80), Grilled Chicken Cubano with Cajun Fries (S$8.50)

WHERE DID THE WEEKEND GO YOU GUYS 😭😭. I always dream of having a super nua stay-in weekend where I sequester myself at home and get my life in order, like do some laundry, tidy up, maybe go for a run, take naps, and get caught up on my favourite TV shows. For some reason it never happens and I always end up going out. Half of me is just this lazy homebody, and the other half always has major #FOMO ugh.

Anyway this weekend I managed to squeeze in a couple of brunches, did two loads of laundry AND blazed through 5 episodes of Stranger Things Season 2 omg. HAVE YOU GUYS WATCHED IT?! It’s so great.

You know what’s also great though? THE SANDWICHES FROM EL CUBANOS 👅💦😭💯.

El_Cubanos_Pulled_Beef_Signature

Just look at this.

My friend and I meet up for lunch once every couple of weeks and we usually try a halal place that’s anywhere between our two offices. Couple weeks ago it was The Big Cheese (review to come!), and this week it was El Cubanos!

Located just off Selegie Road at 1A Short St, El Cubanos serves up Cuban-style pressed sandwiches as their specialty. Think grilled cheese panini but with a generous serving of meats as well. SO SO GOOD.

El_Cubanos_StorefrontJPG

The El Cubanos Storefront

Here is the menu display at the shop:

El_Cubanos_Menu

“Good people serving good food to make you feel good” – I a hundred percent support

I had the Signature Pulled Beef Cubano with Cajun Fries (S$8.80), which featured a pressed pulled beef and cheese sandwich with jalapeños, served with a side of cajun fries:

El_Cubanos_Pulled_Beef_Cajun_Fries

Signature Pulled Beef Cubano with Cajun Fries (S$8.80) – 10/10!!! ❤️

OK not even kidding but the first bite was transcendental. I still remember it so, so vividly. The bread was crisp on the outside, and the pulled beef within was just so tender and flavourful and cheesy. It was really sublime, and I recall just melting into a delirium of sounds as I consumed the rest of the sandwich.

UGHHHHH the beef was really so juicy and there were heaps of it too in the sandwich. There were a couple of jalapeño slices adding mild heat. Also loved the fries with the savoury Cajun seasoning. They reminded me of 4 Fingers fries in terms of texture. But of course it was the Cuban sandwich that stole the show. 10/10

My friend got the Spiced Up Grilled Chicken Cubanos with Cajun Fries ($8.50) in extra spicy:

El_Cubanos_Spiced_Up_Grilled_Chicken_Cubanos

Spiced Up Grilled Chicken Cubano (S$8.50) on top, Signature Pulled Beef Cubano (S$8.80) below.

So my friend and I swapped one half of our sandwiches with each other’s so we could have the best of both worlds. I really liked the grilled chicken version too, except that it somehow had more onion inside. Also pulled beef is way shreddier and juicier so I’m giving this grilled chicken cubano a 9.5/10.

The both of us left the place feeling thoroughly satisfied and also kicking ourselves for not having discovered it way earlier! Literally, we were texting later that Friday about how we were still thinking about the sandwich. Next morning, he joked that he “dreamt he was eating the cubano and woke up to find his pillow gone” LOLLLL DEAD. Seriously, I was thinking about it all weekend and we’ve already fixed another date later this week to go again 😀

Service is pleasant, the ambience is terrific (look at all the Cuban photographs and paraphernalia adorning the walls!) and they have good Cuban/Latin music to put you in the mood. I went to Cuba in 2015 and being here just brings me right back. It makes me wonder if we have any sort of Cuban expat (exiles?! ok maybe émigrés.) here in Singapore because if so I hope they know about this place.

YOU GUYS HAVE TO VISIT!!!

El_Cubanos_Shirt

Getting sassed by this t-shirt.

El_Cubanos_Signature_Pulled_Beef_Sandwich

Post swap: Chicken cubano on top, pulled beef cubano below

El Cubanos
1A Short St #01-01
Singapore 188210
Tel: +65 9162 5540

Opening Hours
Mon-Fri: 12pm to 11pm
Sat: 4pm to 1am
Closed on Sundays

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 10/10
Average spend per pax: S$11 including a drink
Recommended dishes: Signature Pulled Beef Cubano with Cajun Fries (S$8.80), Grilled Chicken Cubano with Cajun Fries (S$8.50)

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New Hawa at Selegie Road

New Hawa Restaurant
213 Selegie Road
Singapore 188335

Opening Hours
Daily: 12 noon to 1130pm (or later depending on crowd)

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 10/10
Average spend per pax: $8 with drinks
Recommended dishes: Hokkien (Prawn) Mee!! (S$6)

Hello everyone! The weekend’s almost over boo! It’s 1155pm as I’m writing this now and I really should get myself to bed, but I felt like blogging so why not.

I wanted to share with you guys a great Hokkien Mee place I know called New Hawa, at Selegie Road. By virtue of its location and late opening hours (ok I checked with the folks at New Hawa and their official closing time is 1130pm but on busy nights they stay open past midnight!) — New Hawa has become the go-to spot for me and my friends whenever we watch plays at the LaSalle College For The Arts.

New Hawa - 213 Selegie

New Hawa itself is actually at the corner of the coffeeshop, you can see the ‘Awa Rest’ just peeking out between the pillars!

I’ll put the menu at the end of this post since there are so many pages, so for now let’s look at the food itself. Here is the Hokkien Mee (S$6) that I like to have:

New Hawa - Hokkien Mee

Hokkien Prawn Mee (S$6) – 10/10

Truly guys, this is the best halal Hokkien Mee I’ve ever had!! It’s always so basah (wet) and freakin’ tasty, the gravy is savoury af (astaghfirullah what’s this af all) and to die for! As you can see in the picture, it’s pretty spartan with just the 2 prawns and with no squid unlike Puncak’s version, or fishcake unlike Cahaya’s version. Don’t be fooled though, what it lacks in fancy ingredients, it more than makes up for with taste and texture. Just typing about it and thinking about that gravy is making me drool ugh. Please always order this. 10/10

I didn’t really taste the other stuff, but I will leave you with a couple of pictures of my friends’ orders so you have an idea what they’ll look like.

Here is the Tomyam Fried Beehoon (S$6.50):

New Hawa - Bee Hoon Goreng Tom Yam

Tomyam Fried Beehoon (S$6.50)

Here is the Chicken Fried Rice (S$6):

New Hawa - Nasi Goreng Ayam

Chicken Fried Rice (S$6)

And finally, here is a look at the menu!

New Hawa Menu

 

 

New Hawa Restaurant
213 Selegie Road
Singapore 188335

Opening Hours
Daily: 12 noon to 1130pm (or later depending on crowd)

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 10/10
Average spend per pax: $8 with drinks
Recommended dishes: Hokkien (Prawn) Mee!! (S$6)

 

Encik Tan at JCube

Encik Tan
JCube, 2 Jurong East Central 1
B1-K05
Singapore 609731

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 7/10
Average spend per pax: S$5-7

Hey guys! So it’s been a while since I last posted – have been kind of busy with unimportant things like bingewatching The Night Of – omg!! Have you guys watched it? It’s a new HBO miniseries about this well-behaved, 2nd-gen Pakistani college kid in Queens, who goes out one night, meets this cool girl, ends up sleeping with her at her place after trying some drugs and drinks, wakes up downstairs in her kitchen, goes back upstairs to sheepishly put on his clothes and bid her goodbye, only to switch on the light and discover her in bed all bloodied up and stabbed to death!!! He inexplicably grabs the knife and hides it in his jacket, runs the hell away in his dad’s cab that he’d snuck out in earlier, gets caught for making an illegal left turn, is detained, found with the bloody knife, and is charged with murder. The rest of the series explores the possibility of his culpability, other suspects, the criminal system in America and ugh the horrible things that go on in prisons like Rikers Island. It’s FASCINATINGGGGG please go watch now. It’s not on Netflix though! I had to procure it via other means if you catch my drift.

Anyway I digress. I’m actually here to write a review of Encik Tan, the halal chain that serves Chinese hawker fare at very reasonable prices and in air-conditioned comfort. I LOVE Chinese food, great prices and air-conditioning, so I guess it was only a matter of time before I went over like a moth to a flame. I went to the JCube one which is closest to my home, but they have 10 outlets in total – 3 in the west, 6 in the east and 1 at Bugis.

Here is a look at the menu:

Encik Tan - Menu

I’m kind of a fishball fiend and I enjoy eating fishballs either fried on their own, or cooked in soups and instant noodles! My go-to is Dodo chilli fishball added to Mama creamy shrimp tom yam instant noodles, together with some enoki mushroom for texture! SO YUMMY UGH.

Which is to say, it was an easy decision for me to get the Fishball Noodle (S$4):

Encik Tan - Fishball Noodles Dry

Fishball Noodles (S$4) – 6.5/10

I was really hoping for more, but the fishballs were not terribly fantastic. Don’t get me wrong, they’re good enough, but I have tasted better, fluffier, Teochew-style fishball that I was really hoping would be similar to these ones. These just weren’t as tasty or as tender as I would’ve liked. (using tender to describe fishballs is making me a little uncomfortable, I won’t deny it). I liked the soup though! It was light and salty – the perfect broth.

Noodles – I found them a little dry and hard – perhaps more chilli oil would solve that? So overall not terribly fantastic, but I suspect I’ll keep coming back here for my halal fishball noodle fix since the outlets are pretty accessible. If you guys know of a better halal fishball noodle place, let me know!! 6.5/10

My friend opted for the Signature Noodles (S$5) which comes with not only fishball but also fishcake slices, along with some chicken ball (that’s the brown thing):

Encik Tan - Signature Noodles

Signature Noodles (S$5) – 6.5/10

My friend also found the noodles and ingredients pretty average. Nothing to write home about but hey it’s cheap and it fills you up. She rated it a 6.5/10 too.

Encik Tan - Noodles

Group shot LOL

After having the noodles, I was feeling a little unsatisfied so I decided to spring for a plate of Fried Oyster Omelette (S$5), because truly I can’t resist the fluffy goodness of a fried oyster omelette:

Encik Tan - Fried Oyster Omelette

Fried Oyster Omelette (S$5) – 7.5/10

This was pretty yummy! I can’t stand spring onion, which there was SO MUCH OF. I much prefer when they have coriander, but thankfully the fried oyster omelette itself was really yummy!! It was really fluffy and soft in parts, and crispy at times too. My two gripes are that I found only one sad oyster in the whole omelette, and the chilli dipping sauce that they provided wasn’t as good. 7.5/10

All in all, I thought Encik Tan is a decent place to go if you’re craving halal Chinese food – the fact that it has its own seating sure beats having to find tables in regular foodcourts or coffeeshops. I might come back for the fried oyster omelette and try the carrot cake too while I’m at it.

Encik Tan
JCube, 2 Jurong East Central 1
B1-K05
Singapore 6097

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 6.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$5-7

Kowloon Express at 321 Clementi II

Kowloon Express
321 Clementi, #01-01
Eng Wah Cinema Mall
Singapore 129905
Reservations: +65 6250 0833

Opening Hours
Daily: 11am to 10pm

Halal status: 100% muslim-owned, and MUIS certification in process
Halalicious Rating: 10/10 for Dimsum, 8/10 for noodles

Average spend per pax: S$17
Recommended dishes: Charcoal golden sand pau (S$5.20), chilli crab pau (S$5.20), har kow (S$5.20), Salted Egg Fish Skin (S$8.80)

Hey guys! It’s been well over a month since I last posted, yikes. Sorry for the radio absence but I’ve been so caught up with Raya and other things like my week-long work trip right in the middle of Syawal (downright cruel), being stricken with the flu after said trip (I get the flu once every 3 years or something), bingeing on Gilmore Girls on Netflix (again!! GG ruined my social life back in college days lol).

While we’re on the subject of TV, have you guys watched Stranger Things on Netflix? It is just SO good and the perfect combo – it’s part supernatural thriller, part sci-fi, all nostalgia. Set in the 1980s, the series opens with a terrifying scene of a scientist running away from some creature (naturally it gets him in the lift), and progresses to the mysterious disappearance of a boy Will Byers from his small Indiana town. It’s really creepy and if you’re a scaredy cat like me, I would strongly counsel against watching it alone haha. I got my whole family hooked on it and boy am I glad I don’t have to watch it alone now.

OMG anyway I’m so sorry for the novel-length opener to this post, which is supposed to be about my recent visit to Kowloon Express at 321 Clementi!

I realised that my first post on it is woefully outdated as Kowloon Express has a new, more comprehensive menu now and also they raised their prices (boo, but ok. I want them to survive!) Here’s a look:

 

So the last time I was here, they had crispy fish skin on the menu, but this time around, I realised it got majorly upgraded to Salted Egg Fish Skin (S$8.80)!!! Of course, of course, we had to get it.

Kowloon Express - Salted Egg Fish Skin

Salted Egg Fish Skin (S$8.80) – 10/10

You guys. You know like most people I have a weakness for salted egg anything, right? This exceeded my expectations. It comes out piping hot, steam and aroma rising, and the fish skin is delightfully crispy and light, with just enough coating of delicious salted egg sauce. SO DELICIOUS AND SO CRISPY. Yes. Always and forever 10/10.

My friend was also pretty hungry so we got a plate of Beef Hor Fun (S$8.90) to share:

Kowloon Express - Beef Hor Fun

Beef Hor Fun (S$8.90) – 8/10

The beef hor fun was quite good to be honest – I was a little hesitant to get it initially as I just wanted to stuff my face with baskets of dim sum, but the noodles and gravy were very flavourful, with just a hint of that charred taste (wok hei) that makes the Hor Fun less jelak. The serving of beef was also pretty generous. Our only gripe came from my friend who says they used regular kway teow noodles which are a little less broad than regular hor fun noodles. I didn’t quite mind 🙂 8/10

On to the raison d’être of this establishment  – the dim sum! We went with the classics again this time – the Charcoal Golden Sand Pau (S$5.20 for 3), the Chilli Crab pau (S$5.20) and the shrimp Har Kow (S$5.20 for 4):

Kowloon Express - Dim Sum Baskets

Clockwise from L to R: Charcoal Golden Sand Pau (S$5.20), Chilli Crab Pau (S$5.20), Beef Hor Fun (S$8.90), Shrimp Har Kow (S$5.20)

Kowloon Express - Table Spread

Dim sum verdict: 10/10 for all. YUMMMMM 😀

As with my previous review, all 3 were superlative. The Charcoal Golden Sand Paus (S$5.20) are just so fluffy and chewy, while the salted egg custard within is generous and the right balance of sweet and salty. You guys can check out the ooze video on my instagram @halalicioussg if you want to whet your appetites! 10/10

The Chilli Crab Pau (S$5.20) is spicy with the slightest hint of coriander, and super flavourful. And the fluffy white buns are just SO soft 😭. The prawns in the Harkow  (S$5.20) are plump and bursting with flavour! Please don’t forget to try it with the amazing home-made chilli sauce they provide in bottles. That chilli sauce is just heavenly UGH. 10/10 for both.

We were there around 3pm on a Saturday and there was barely anyone there, which meant attentive service and a very relaxed, lazy weekend vibe! Loved it. Will definitely go back here again the next chance I get!

Here are more random pictures of the place:

Kowloon Express - Bite With Caution Wall Poster

The ooze is real, guys.

Kowloon Express - Wall Decor

Kantonis! Cracks me up.

Kowloon Express -

Muslim-owned and halal, yay!

Kowloon Express
321 Clementi, #01-01
Eng Wah Cinema Mall
Singapore 129905
Reservations: +65 6250 0833

Opening Hours
Daily: 11am to 10pm

Halal status: 100% muslim-owned, and MUIS certification in process
Halalicious Rating: 10/10 for Dimsum, 8/10 for noodles

Average spend per pax: S$17
Recommended dishes: Charcoal golden sand pau (S$5.20), chilli crab pau (S$5.20), har kow (S$5.20), Salted Egg Fish Skin (S$8.80)

 

Penang Culture At Changi Airport T2 II

Penang Culture 
Changi Airport Terminal 2 Departure
Viewing Mall Level 3,
#036-087-01,
Singapore 819643

Operating Hours
Daily: 10.30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(Last order at 9.30 p.m.)
Tel: +65 6546 7793

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 9/10

Recommended dishes: Premium Crab Meat and Salted Egg Fried Kway Teow (S$15.95), Premium Lobster and Scallop Noodles (S$16.95), Penang Fire Wings (S$6.55)

First things first, how are you guys? Belated Nisfu Syaaban to my fellow Muslims! I cannot believe Ramadan is coming so soon. Second of all, have you guys watched Drake’s guest spot on SNL?! SO FUNNY. I love that he can laugh at himself. Check out the Beef music video, wherein he has a ‘beef’ with everyone at SNL.

Back to reality though – last week I was invited to try Penang Culture’s new menu, which will make its début 1 June 2016. Longtime fans of the casual dining restaurant (yours truly included) will be pleased to know that in addition to most of the old menu items, we will be getting new dishes which consist of all-time classics reinterpreted with a twist.

Penang Culture - Tasting Spread

The table they prepared for us to take photos. Super helpful for super terrible photographers like me! 

We opened the feast with the humble Penang Rojak (S$5.95), which features cubed pineapples, cucumbers and turnips, unlike the thinner slices that feature in the local Singaporean rendition. In addition, the Penang-style rojak has you tiao that is a little soggy and not as crispy as our Singaporean version.

Penang Culture - Penang Rojak

Penang Rojak (S$5.95) – 6.5/10

Verdict: The black sauce was really tasty, and we learned that the fermented prawn paste  was specially imported from Penang, so it’s legit. I have to say I prefer the Singaporean rojak because of the crispy texture of the you tiao, which gives you a satisfying crunch when you bite it. I thought the cubing of the fruits and vegetables did not make a big difference for me.  6.5/10

Next up we had another appetizer, the Penang Curry Fish Balls (S$4.95), which feature fish balls steeped in Penang chicken curry.

Penang Culture - Penang Curry Fish Balls

Penang Curry Fish Balls (S$4.95) – 9/10

I suspect this dish was probably targeted towards kids and other younger diners, but to be frank I really liked it myself. The curry was SO rich and flavourful, with some shreds of chicken if you’re lucky. I could also taste the bits of grated coconut in the curry, which added body and texture to the curry. It isn’t altogether that spicy, although after having all of the curry I did feel a very light buzz on my lips. I think the next time I’m craving some good old curry, I would probably head here.

Verdict: I love curry and I love fishballs, but given a choice, I would probably go with the regular Chicken Curry instead for more protein! Goes very well with plain white rice. 9/10

The Penang Fire Wings (S$6.55) were next in line – the base for this is their signature Belacan Wings (which I LOVE and have reviewed here and here) , which are then further coated with sweet plum and Thai chilli sauce.

Penang Culture - Penang Fire Wings

Penang Fire Wings (S$6.55) – 9.5/10

Verdict: These tasted like Korean fried chicken, with a slightly sweet, slightly spicy sauce. Although the name suggests otherwise, I did not think it was all too fiery. For perspective, this was nothing compared to Badoque’s punishing Kepak Bing Bing devil wings. Loved the slightly crispy chicken skin with the sauce. 9.5/10

Our 4th course was the BBQ Salmon (S$11.95), which features two slices of grilled Norwegian salmon fillet, topped off with Chef’s sweet, spicy sambal paste made from chilli, lemongrass, onions, ginger flower, tamarind and sugar.

Penang Culture - BBQ Salmon

BBQ Salmon (S$11.95) – 8/10

Verdict: You guys. I love the sambal so much, I wish I could order a giant vat of it. This is the exact same sambal from the BBQ Lala dish that I always order at Penang Culture. It’s so unbelievably fragrant and tasty and appetizing, I almost cannot even. The salmon was fresh and exceptionally tender, which was a good thing. However, I did not think the sambal goes well with a fatty fish like salmon, and the whole thing was a little too rich for me. I would have much preferred the sambal with a leaner white fish. 8/10

The next dish was my absolute favourite of the night – the Premium Crab Meat & Salted Egg Fried Kway Teow (S$15.95), which comprises fried kway teow with mashed salted egg (both yolk and whites!), stir fried together with prawns, squid, fish cake and cockles, and topped with chunks of mud crab and salted egg crumbs:

Penang Culture - Premium Crab Meat and Salted Egg Fried Kway Teow

Premium Crab Meat and Salted Egg Fried Kway Teow (S$15.95) – 10/10

Penang Culture - Salted Egg Char Kway Teow

All stirred together! YUM

Now some of you guys might have read my previous review of this item, so this is not a new-new item, but a mid-season item that was experimentally introduced just a few months ago. I LOVE this dish always and forever, I have to break it down into the reasons why.

  1. The amount of salted egg in it is perfectly balanced so it does not overwhelm the dish, and you get subtle waves of salted egg with every bite or two.
  2. Did I mention there are curry leaves peppering the kway teow? YUMMM I love curry leaves in salted egg dishes!!
  3. The entire thing is just bursting with ingredients. BURSTING. It felt like a really opulent char kway teow that done got an upgrade.
  4. There is a great char taste to the noodles which prevents you from getting jelak of it after a while – much R&D and numerous taste tests have gone into making an authentic-tasting but still halal char kway teow, and you can taste the results.

Verdict: Always order this unless you hate Char Kway Teow, or salted egg, or seafood. 10/10

Our penultimate course that night was the Salmon Assam Laksa (S$11.95), which features the regular assam laksa with slices of Norwegian salmon and a drizzling of hae kor, or fermented shrimp paste.

Penang Culture - Salmon Assam Laksa

Salmon Assam Laksa (S$11.95) – 8/10

I honestly loved the fat laksa noodles which were specially imported from Penang. I thought the salmon slices were lovely, but the oil from it did pare down the sourness of the broth which I find a key element in assam laksa. However, the strips of cucumber, pineapple and onions throughout the bowl did compensate for the dialed down sourness, by adding a refreshing twist with every bite.

Verdict: Stick to regular Assam Laksa unless you want a milder assam taste and you need to up your omega 3 fatty acids intake. 8/10

In our last main dish, we were treated to Premium Lobster and Scallop Noodles (S$16.95), which is a pimped up adaptation of their regular Penang Hokkien Prawn Noodles, with scallops, chicken slices, fish cake, kang kong, beansprouts, a hard-boiled egg and a whole slipper lobster (oy vey, what a mouthful literally and textually).

Penang Culture - Lobster and scallop noodles

Premium Lobster and Scallop Noodles (S$16.95) – 9/10

Can I just say, there is just so much ingredients in this bowl of goodness? A common theme running through all the dishes here at Penang Culture is that they are not stingy with their premium ingredients, despite the very reasonable price tags of each dish.

I absolutely loved the broth. The stock was created by slow-boiling a bounty of prawns, crabs and chicken bones for several hours, and this is well-reflected in the flavourful broth. What a delight! The slipper lobster was a little mushy, I wish it could have been a little springier. Otherwise, everything worked beautifully together and fans of Penang hokkien prawn noodles would do well to give this a try.

Verdict: Definitely a must-try, especially at that reasonable price tag. 9/10

All in all I had a great time stuffing my face at Penang Culture. Always have, always will! It’s a great family-friendly place that serves really good quality Penang hawker food in air-conditioned comfort, at prices that won’t break the bank. The menu is really extensive so personally I find that it’s better to try new items a couple of times before determining which ones will be your go-to staples 🙂

I’ll end off with a short note on drinks – please try the Ampla Ice Blended Drink with sour plum! It makes for a refreshing palate-cleanser with all the rich Penang food you’ll be eating! Also the Chempedak Milk Shake is just heavenly, so give it a go!

 

Penang Culture 
Changi Airport Terminal 2 Departure
Viewing Mall Level 3,
#036-087-01,
Singapore 819643

Operating Hours
Daily: 10.30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(Last order at 9.30 p.m.)
Tel: +65 6546 7793

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 9/10

Recommended dishes: Premium Crab Meat and Salted Egg Fried Kway Teow (S$15.95), Premium Lobster and Scallop Noodles (S$16.95), Penang Fire Wings (S$6.55)

Springleaf Prata Place at Upper Thomson

Springleaf Prata Place
No. 1 Thong Soon Ave
Singapore 787431
Tel: +65 6459 6970
Open 7am-12am daily (last order 1145pm)

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 8.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$10
Recommended dishes: Murtaburger (S$7), Portobello Mozzarella Cheese Prata (S$6)

Hello guys! Sorry I haven’t posted in a while – I’ve been so busy with family stuff, but rest assured I have been eating so much halal food and taking pictures on the reg LOL. You can check out my newish instagram account @halalicioussg for a sampler.

On to brass tacks – I know I’m so ketinggalan (left behind/outdated) but I finally got around to trying the notorious Murtaburger from Springleaf Prata Place near Upper Thomson Road!! Even then, it was at the behest of a colleague who was dying to try the Plaster Blaster, which is sort of like an eggs benedict but with prata instead of english muffin/brioche.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s have a look at the menu at Springleaf Prata Place:

Springleaf Prata Place - Menu 1

Ewah-ewah, check out their Ultimate Hawkerfest section right thurrr

Springleaf Prata Place - Menu 2

Dranks and stuff

We arrived early on a Tuesday evening, and were the second ones there (apart from the abang-abang airforce making their orders in the reflection):

Springleaf Prata Place - Ambience 1

Red, like the interior of WORD. too.

Springleaf Prata Place - Ambience

Order and pay at the counter first, so you can leave without a care in the world after you’re done eating

Springleaf Prata Place- Alfresco

If you don’t want to sit inside, you can also sit at the wilderness-adjacent tables outside

Springleaf Prata Place - Halal Certificate

So halal it hurts

So I got the Murtaburger (S$7), which features a ramly-style mutton patty wrapped in egg, and mixed in with gooey mozzarella cheese and mayonnaise, with a delicious, crispy prata folded over it:

Springleaf Prata Place- Murtabak Burger

The Murtaburger (S$7) – 9.5/10

Springleaf Prata Place - the Murtaburger

YUMMMMM

I was really worried the portion was going to be insane and it was just going to be one massive heart attack on a plate, but thankfully it was pretty sensible! I think there was only one mutton patty in this serving, although reviews that I’ve read in the past talk about a two-patty party. !!! I guess one patty is enough for me, while a second one might have taken me over the edge, so it’s all good.

The explosion of textures and tastes in my mouth when I had my first forkful, was just phenomenal. The prata was crispy, the mutton patty ultra juicy, and the cheese!! Oh, the delicious, stringy, gooey cheese was just the best. It was the most satisfying prata dish I’ve had in years. 9.5/10

My colleague had the Plaster Blaster (S$5), which features slices of ham (probably turkey) on a bed of crispy, plain prata, and topped with a beautiful poached egg with hollandaise sauce:

Springleaf Prata Place - Plaster Blaster Prata

Plaster Blaster (S$5) – 8.5/10

I thought this would be an odd combo, but strangely enough I thought the textures and tastes worked well together, especially due to the salty taste of the ham slices. Personally, I still much prefer the Murtaburger though! More is more. 8.5/10 

We were also curious to try the other specialties at Springleaf Prata Place, so we got the Special Paper Prata with Milk and Sugar (S$1.90).

Springleaf Prata Place - Special Paper Prata

Special Paper Prata with Milk and Sugar (S$1.90) – 7/10

This was a little disappointing – I don’t know what I was expecting, but this was like basically really, really, crispy prata with condensed milk drizzled all over it. I think I wanted it to be crispy on the outside but to still retain a bit of the chewiness within. Alas, this was all crisp so it was like eating plain old Khong Guan biscuits with milk and sugar on them. A novelty and worth a first try, but probably not for repeat visits. 7/10

We followed up these earlier acts pretty quickly with the Portobello Mozzarella Cheese Prata (S$6), which is basically a bougie version of the regular mushroom cheese prata:

Springleaf Prata Place - Portobello Mozzarella Prata

Portobello Mozzarella Cheese Prata (S$6) – 9.5/10

I have to say, I REALLY enjoyed this. The slices of portobello mushroom imparted a lot of flavour, whereas the relatively blander mozzarella cheese provided a beautiful stringy, oozey texture. The prata here isn’t crispy, maybe because of the cheese, so it was pretty soft and tender, which I also thought was great in this instance. A winning combination. 9.5/10 

Being the greedy guts that I was, I gatal-ly (naughtily?) ordered a bowl of Kambing Soup (S$4), just to try even though I was nearing capacity:

Springleaf Prata Place- Mutton Soup

Kambing Soup (S$4) – 7/10

The colour was not at all inspiring, as was the very discernible layer of oil, but I have to admit it tasted slightly better than it looked. Slightly only! I found it a little bland and dilute, which was disappointing. I like my mutton soup rich and ultra tasty. This was pretty weak. Luckily the chunks of mutton within were very tender and delicious, so it wasn’t all bad. 7/10

I ordered a Mango Lassi (S$3) to wash down all this food:

Springleaf Prata Place - Mango Lassi

Mango Lassi (S$3) – really delicious

The colour of the lassi was not at all inspiring, but the taste was delicious! It was sweet, not tart or sour, and you could really taste the mango in the drink. Yum.

After inhaling all of that food, we trooped out of the restaurant feeling full and satisfied. The location is a bit of a pain for a Westie like me, but I really enjoyed the specialty pratas here. I definitely foresee myself coming back here (or the Jalan Tua Kong branch) for more of the murtaburger when I’m feeling a little #PBG (perangai budak gemok, which loosely translates to fat kid behaviour).

Springleaf Prata Place
No. 1 Thong Soon Ave
Singapore 787431
Tel: +65 6459 6970
Open 7am-12am daily (last order 1145pm)

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 8.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$10
Recommended dishes: Murtaburger (S$7), Portobello Mozzarella Cheese Prata (S$6)

 

Puncak at Far East Plaza

Puncak Best Noodles & Halal Muslim Food
#05-94 Far East Plaza,
14 Scotts Road
Singapore 228213

Open daily 10am to 10pm
Tel: +65 6738 4348

Last Friday my lunch buddy and I made our way to Far East Plaza to have our regular Cahaya session. To our chagrin, it was CLOSED!!! With nary an explanation! We’re hoping that was a one-off occurrence and not portentous of a permanent shut-down.

Struggling to quell our staggering disappointment, we slunk over to Puncak right next to it, having long ignored this rival establishment.

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Just a sliver of closed shutters to the right, where Cahaya is 😦

The first thing we noticed was that it felt much smaller and less bright than Cahaya. The second thing was that the prices at Puncak were slightly higher than Cahaya’s!

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But anyway we were hostage to our tremendous food disappointment and already built-up cravings, so we got what we’d always get, first of which is the small Fried Wanton (S$5).

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Lighting here was great and rather conducive to #flatlay, in case you were wondering

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Omg why so crispy and perfectly golden-brown!

The wanton texture was perfect – crispy, light, and not too hard. The filling was orange and tasted a little bit of carrots, which I’m not a fan of, but otherwise the paste inside was pretty decent. If you recall from my previous Cahaya post, we HATE the black dipping sauce that comes with these wantons, so it was ever to Puncak’s credit that they served it in a separate dipping cup instead of directly on the plate. This way the black slick would not contaminate our beloved wantons. Plus points for that. 8/10

We ordered a plate of fried Hokkien Mee (S$5.50) too:

 

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OMG guys. The Hokkien Mee is LOADED with ingredients, and is so moist and delicious! The sauce was extremely flavourful and prawny, whereas the sambal was really shrimpy/belacany. Compared to Cahaya’s, Puncak’s definitely fared better. Gosh, to think I was all ready to write off Puncak as a poor man’s Cahaya! Boy did I have to eat my words. Notably, Puncak’s rendition had rings of squid in addition to the fishcake and prawns. Gosh, sorry Cahaya, but 10/10 for Puncak’s hokkien mee.

All in all, I definitely had a good meal at Puncak. The waiting time however left much to be desired; we waited about 25 minutes after ordering, for our food to arrive! I’m not sure if that was due to excessive orders spilling over from Cahaya’s closure, but yeah it was not great. Because of my loyalty to Cahaya, I’m not sure if I’ll go back to Puncak, but yeah you guys should check it out!

Puncak Best Noodles & Halal Muslim Food
#05-94 Far East Plaza,
14 Scotts Road
Singapore 228213

Open daily 10am to 10pm
Tel: +65 6738 4348