I’m not sure if it was my last trip that triggered my search for good Malaysian food — going back to my roots kind of thing. I ended up looking for good local food instead as good Malaysian food is more easily found, well, across the Causeway. Recently, I seem to have taken a fancy to coconut rice and after my second visit to nasi lemak kukus, I found myself trying nasi lemak at different places to see how differently coconut rice tastes in different places.
The place I went to tonight always has a long queue (I guess I don’t really go to food places with no queue unless it is one of their less busy days). They open from 6pm to 5am — for the owls and fowls. There is obviously a demand for such food at nocturnal hours, minus the legitimate dinner time.
I must have visited this place about four times before but I’ve not really visited it with a view to review the food until now. I’ve also visited the branch at Katong. I have to say that the coconut rice there was better than the one here at Upper Serangoon Road. I don’t know why there is a difference though. If I compare the coconut rice at nasi lemak kukus, this one did not seem well cooked at all. There wasn’t much coconut fragrance to begin with. While I am happy that they always have a queue of customers waiting to buy their food, I was not too happy with their production-line mentality. I guess they are just trying to minimise the queuing time for the next customer. I was fortunate as I got there before the queue got really long. In fact after I paid for my order, the queue really started getting long.
What I like about this place is their vegetables — achar and french beans. I love the pineapple in their achar and I usually get two portions of their vegetables because there is not a lot in one serving. Achar is vegetables preserved in vinegar and chilli, with added sesame seeds. Err… that’s it. Just their vegetables. I usually also get their otah but it was not homemade and I could not taste any real fish in it. However, it was still decent and did not cost as much as the homemade otah at nasi lemak kukus though.
I’ve never had their fried chicken before though I am told that that is the reason why people go there. So tonight, I decided to be big and brave and try their fried chicken wing. I usually don’t take deep fried stuff when I eat out as I do not like the fact that they fry stuff repeatedly in the same oil. This one was no different. On top of that, they had coated it with something which I suspect has prawn paste in it and when they fry it at very high temperatures, the heat is retained such that even though I ate the meat last, it was still slightly hot when I bit into it. The chicken was well cooked on the inside and did not taste oily. I would probably eat this sparingly though.
After my dinner, I decided to have dessert. Instead of going to the ever popular soya bean store across the street, I decided to go to Serangoon Soya Bean which is located at a hawker centre near the Serangoon Gardens market. Why? Well, the gula melaka and the soya bean there is a lot more authentic and frankly, less commercialised. The lady there cooks the soya bean herself, with her husband, and the gula melaka always has the same fragrance and consistency. There are other types of soya bean desserts and drinks there as well.
Punggol Nasi Lemak, 965 Upper Serangoon Road. Tel: 6281 0020. If one drives, do not park along the road as there are happy LTA summoners on motorbikes who are only too happy to oblige. Park at the public carpark on the opposite side of the road and walk a little or turn left and keep your fingers crossed for a parking space there.
Serangoon Soya Bean, 49A Serangoon Garden Way, #01-24 Serangoon Garden Market and Food Centre.