Rasa Istimewa C2K at SAFRA Jurong

**Please note that Rasa Istimewa has shifted out of Choa Chu Kang Park to SAFRA Jurong!**

Rasa Istimewa SAFRA Jurong
333 Boon Lay Way
Singapore 649848
Reservations: +65 6877 9339

Opening Hours
Sun-Thu: 12 noon to 11pm
Fri-Sat: 12 noon to 12 midnight

Rasa Istimewa C2K
Choa Chu Kang Park
Choa Chu Kang Drive
Reservations (highly recommended): +65 6877 1913

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 8.7/10

Average spend per pax: ~S$28.50

First of all, Selamat Hari Raya to all of y’all! I hope your Ramadan went well, insyaaAllah. My stomach can’t take all the ketupat/rendang/satay assault for the past 2 days you guys. Thankfully Ramadan is over and we can start exercising normally again!

During one of the Ramadan weekends my family and I had our iftar at the zi char place Rasa Istimewa C2K, which is located at Choa Chu Kang Park. I actually really love the place because the food is always really good and it’s kind of perfect for a low-key, satisfying dinner with the fam.

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Fat, squishy dates YUM.

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The decor is kind of kitschy and eclectic, but I am grateful for the ubiquity of ceiling fans.

Halal zi char/seafood places are kind of few and far between in the West, particularly compared to areas like Chai Chee, teeming with competing halal seafood restaurants, so I am really grateful this place exists!

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Officially halal!

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Where good halal food congregates…in my mouth and belly, maybe.

We like to start off with some Satay ($0.60 a stick for beef/chicken/babat, and $0.70 a stick for mutton).

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We ordered 20 mutton and 10 chicken this time. I LOVE mutton satay; they’re just so juicy and satisfying; much more so than chicken, which my younger brother prefers. So my family will drive up to JB once in a while to have some cheap seafood; the satay there somehow is at best on par with the ones at Rasa Istimewa, and I find the sticks here much meatier than the anemic onces across the causeway. I suppose those places in JB cater almost exclusively to Singaporean tourists and don’t feel the need to improve their satay. But really, the satay at Rasa Istimewa is savoury, sweet, juicy, and super flavourful. LOVE. The peanut sauce is also surprisingly decent – spicy, and rich. 9/10 for the satay here!

I forgot to take a photo of the Fish Otak-Otak ($0.60 per piece) but it merits special mention. They serve the otak-otak piping hot, and the flesh within is moist, juicy, spicy, and SO GOOD. It doesn’t have that compact, smooth, too-processed taste and texture you get with some vendors. Love these, and will keep coming back for them. 9.5/10

The bulk of our order here is made of the Set Menu 1 for 4-6 pax ($88 excluding 7% GST).

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The first dish of the set is the fish; you can choose between Grouper or Siakap fish, and my family always picks the Grouper Fish in Tiga Rasa (tri-flavour) Sauce. I think they must mean sweet, sour, and spicy? Who even knows.

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It’s actually really delicious. The sauce is savoury, sweet, and sour, and garnished with these amazing strips of what I think is mango. Because of that the taste is rather Thai. Totally delicious. The fish is fried just right; crispy exterior (I personally love crunching on the crispy bones) and tender, rich fish meat within. 9/10

Item number two is prawns with a choice of 5 different cooking styles – cereal butter, black pepper, nyonya style, sambal chili, and sweet & sour. Our choice is the Cereal Butter Prawns.

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YUMMM. These are also divine. The cereal bits are buttery and sweet; in short, super tasty. The bits of coriander are a great complement to the dish! The prawns are usually really fresh, and I confess there’s nothing I love more than to savour the heads (I know some people find it a little disgusting). 10/10

The third dish of the set is chicken with a choice of 5 styles. I’m not even going to talk about the others – the Prawn Paste Chicken is Rasa Istimewa’s specialty and I LOVE IT.

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YUMMMM. Look at how crispy and un-oily it looks.

The chicken is always so crispy yet juicy. The prawn paste taste is moderate so that it doesn’t overwhelm the senses, but you can taste enough of it. Perfect all the time. 10/10

The fourth dish is the vegetable course – I always go for the Kangkong Belacan because that’s really my favourite dish at every seafood/zi char place.

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Rasa Istimewa usually does them pretty well, but on this particular visit I found the kangkong to be a little dry and bland. I think they didn’t cook it in enough belacan sauce, which is a huge pity. Subjectively I loved it anyway and ate almost all of it, but I know objectively it could be better if the kangkong were coated in more sauce and if the taste had been stronger. 7/10 this time around.

The fifth and final item on Set Menu 1 is the soup course. My family always goes for the Seafood Tom Yum Soup since we figure it is probably the tastiest of the lot:

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Not too inspiring, I must say. Plus those crabsticks are just not ideal.

The soup contains prawns, fish slices, cabbage, oyster mushrooms (which I LOVE LOVE) and -gasp- crabsticks. Hate seeing them – they make the dish feel really cheap in a bad way. That being said, the taste of the soup is decent; it’s flavourful and spicy. The ingredients could stand a bit of an upgrade but I guess it’s not the star attraction of the menu, or of the restaurant for that matter. 6.5/10

On top of the set menu, I’ll usually add a plate of Fried Sotong With Salted Egg (S$18 for a small portion):

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I LOVE salted egg dishes!! They’re really so, SO good. Rasa Istimewa’s rendition of the salted egg squid is laudable; they don’t skimp on the salted egg taste; plus, they garnish with – what else – coriander! My absolute favourite garnish. A respectable 8.5/10 for this dish.

All in all, I think it’s a great place to bring your family – the setting is casual. Service can sometimes be a little elusive, particularly on busy nights. The trick is to attach yourself to one particular server that looks industrious (there are a few; we’ve definitely singled them out with great success). Try to stick to one server to avoid frustration and disappointment. My experience here has been mostly positive. You just need to have a little patience 🙂

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A night view of the restaurant from afar.

Below is a gallery of the full menu so you guys can decide in advance what you’d like to eat there. Happy selecting! Oh I almost forgot – please try the sour plum ice blended drink here! It’s SO yummmmm and provides a refreshing counterpoint to all of the food you’ll be eating!

 

**Please note that Rasa Istimewa has shifted out of Choa Chu Kang Park to SAFRA Jurong!**

Rasa Istimewa SAFRA Jurong
333 Boon Lay Way
Singapore 649848
Reservations: +65 6877 9339

Opening Hours
Sun-Thu: 12 noon to 11pm
Fri-Sat: 12 noon to 12 midnight

Rasa Istimewa C2K
Choa Chu Kang Park
Choa Chu Kang Drive
Reservations (highly recommended): +65 6877 1913

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 8.7/10

Average spend per pax: ~S$28.50

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Cahaya At Far East Plaza

Cahaya Muslim Halal Restaurant
#05-91/92 Far East Plaza
14 Scotts Road
Singapore 228213

Opening Hours
Daily 11:30am to 09:00pm
Notes: Cash only!

Halal Status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 10/10

Average spend per pax: S$9

Back when I was an angsty teen I used to go to Far East Plaza a lot with my friends after school, mostly for food and for some shopping. Our favourite place to eat was Dahlia’s Cafe, which used to be on the 5th floor right in front of the lifts. I would always get the Bee Hoon Bandung, which was absolutely perfect – the soup was so good and so spicy, and I swear I would spend the first 5 minutes just sipping on the broth before getting started on the noodles and the other ingredients. Yum. Unfortunately, Dahlia’s Cafe closed a couple of years ago to be replaced by some cafe I don’t even bother to remember the name of.

Nowadays I like to get my cheap-but-good food fix from Cahaya Restaurant, just around the corner from the erstwhile Dahlia’s Cafe. The menu is pretty standard:

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With these old nostalgic places I tend to be a creature of habit, so whenever I’m here I always get the Beef Fried Rice With Chicken Topping (S$6), although I did go through a Chilli Crab Sauce Rice (Jimba Rice) phase a few months ago.

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Mmmm what’s better than chicken? Chicken AND beef!!

This plate literally has everything – it’s got moist, fluffy, spicy rice, it’s got juicy beef slices at the bottom of the plate, and then it’s got tasty chicken slices on top! For you healthy types, you’ll be pleased to know the rice comes some bits of mixed vegetables, so everyone can party! It’s a dish for everyone, and my absolute favourite thing to have at this place. I can safely say it’s one of the most satisfying plates one can have for lunch (the Novena Nasi Padang comes close) . The price point is also very attractive – S$6 is a small price to pay for a plate of goodness, my friend. 10/10

My Far East lunch buddy and I like to share a small plate of Fried Wantan (S$3) on top of our rice when we’re feeling greedy:

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YUMMAYYYY pockets of crispy golden brown crunch

Truth be told they’re not very generous with the filling, but hey it’s a whole plate for $3! The texture is spot on – so, so crispy and surprisingly not oily! 10/10

I have to warn you guys though, the plate of wantan comes with this horrid, bitter black sauce. I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be, maybe tar, but you HAVE to ask them not to add it, since it’s a default sauce that comes with every order of wantan!

Sometimes, we would forget to tell them not to add it, and then this happens:

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Worse than BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill 😦

Basically the perimeter of the plate becomes just another surface for us to wipe the icky black sauce off our wantans. My advice is to eat the wantan with this amazing chilli sauce available on every table:

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There are two communal cups of sauces at each table – one is filled with this spicy, delicious chilli sauce; the kinds they serve with Hainanese chicken rice. I LOVE dipping my wantans in this sauce, and also drizzling it over my rice sometimes. It’s really very very good! The other cup is filled with green chili in vinegar, or lada jeruk in Malay, which is not really my thang, but those who do love it will be pleased they have it here!

Overall Cahaya is a reliable go-to place to get your hawker food fix at really affordable prices, and it’s situated in the Orchard area too, so it’s very convenient if you’re doing some shopping or watching a movie in the area. Service is efficient though not the friendliest at times (depending on which server you get), but it’s ok since they get my food to me real quickly and that’s what matters in a place like this! Plus there’s no gst/service charge here so one can’t fault them for not trying to charm you! You guys should definitely check this place out 🙂

Cahaya Muslim Halal Restaurant
#05-91/92 Far East Plaza
14 Scotts Road
Singapore 228213

Opening Hours
Daily 11:30am to 09:00pm
Notes: Cash only!

Halal Status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 10/10

Average spend per pax: S$9