New ‘old’ food

The place was so crowded on a Sunday that we had to share seats. At first I thought I was seeing double. Initially, it was a man eating curry chicken with bread on the side. His bag was on a chair at the side. When I returned after ordering my food, it was a lady eating the same dish. I thought, “I shall order the curry chicken and bread the next time.” As it turned out, the two of them were a husband and wife couple, eating at separate times as each took turns to look after their young son.

When my meal finally came – it took a while to come – I tucked into my chicken rendang thick sandwich. I was not prepared for how good it tasted. The taste of the rendang and spices had gone into the tender chicken which was spicy enough. I was happy I had ordered that as it was a more substantial meal and value-for-money, compared to the kaya toast which I always order. I concluded then that whoever prepared their chicken rendang clearly got their recipes right.

Did I say I was going to try the chicken curry next?

Ya Kun is probably the first chain of food shops to turn the humble kopitiam coffee and kaya toast into something that customers would pay a little more for, compared to what was offered in coffeeshops all over Singapore, and have it in air-conditioned comfort. The prices of food and drinks are between what is being charged at the local coffeeshops and cafe chains like Starbucks and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (where coffee is concerned). The food is clearly local and Starbucks and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf do not compete on the same food front. After Ya Kun started doing well with local coffee and food, other similar joints have sprung up and joined the bandwagon. Recently, this chain has added more traditional food to their menu like the curry chicken and sambal sandwiches and newer Tom Yum and sweet and sour-type sandwiches. The newer range of food is only found in the Ya Kun Family Cafes. The older cafes do not offer the newer menus. Check their website for more details. This chain is a franchise.

Ya Kun Family Cafe, 80 Marine Parade Road #01-14B, Parkway Parade, Singapore 449269. Tel: 6345 5322.

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Yummilicious chicken rendang sandwich! Serving it this way is a novel idea and the sweet and sourish achar tasted really nice with the crunchy keropok (prawn crackers).

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