Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Malaysian's Take on the Malaysian Food Street (Resorts World Sentosa)

Ask a Singaporean and a Malaysian which country's Street (Hawker) Food is better, and chances are they will be in huge disagreement. We always see strong opinions on food, particularly when discussing which is better. Or discussing the origins of certain types of food (Bak Kut Teh, anyone?). My take on the matter is that your taste buds grow accustomed to whatever food you grow up eating, so you'd naturally have a preference for your home country's cuisine.

For what it's worth, Reuters just released an article on Top 10 cities for street food, in which Singapore is ranked #2, and Penang #3. Take that how you will :)

Anyways, having spent over two decades in Malaysia, my taste buds remain firmly entrenched in Malaysia-taste land. So I'm not too sure why it took me so long to come to the Malaysian Food Street in Resorts World Sentosa to get my makan on.

Opened half a year ago, the place is set up a little like a food court. Similar to Lot 10's Hutong Food Court, each stall is a branch/outlet of some well-known hawker from various places in Malaysia.

Lim Brothers' Char Koay Teow is first up. I was a bit hesitant while ordering because the ... Chef (for lack of a better word) was cooking something like half a dozen plates at a time - which is normally a pretty big red flag for good CKT. It turns out to be pretty decent, though, and you get a much larger portion that you normally get in Penang. At SGD5 per plate, prices are reasonable, too.

Up next we try Ah Mei Hokkien Prawn Mee - SGD5 per bowl, add $1 for pork ribs. Fragrant and sweet, with quite a nice flavorful prawn broth, slurping up the noodles reminded me of every trip back to Penang to visit the grandma and tour the city eating different hawker food. Looking back over the years I'm not sure whether the former or the latter was my primary motivation for the visits :)

Two years ago the darling and I went to Melaka to eat Chicken Rice Ball and we were very unimpressed. That sentiment hasn't changed much when trying the offering here in Singapore. It's the cheapest dish of the day at SGD4, and the chicken is pretty smooth (if served a little too cold), but the rice ball itself tastes too much like the Nasi Impit you eat with Ketupat.

I'm not sure which shop was 'chosen' to represent Klang Bak Kut Teh, but it does a horrendous job at flying the flag. SGD6.50 gets you a bowl of herbal soup (all herbs, no porky taste) with a few miserable pieces of dry and flavorless pork. A huge shame that RWS couldn't get any of the "real" BKT shops in Klang to come open shop here and had to settle for this pretender instead.

There are quite a few other stalls like Ampang Yong Tao Foo, KL Fried Hokkien Mee, etc, but two stomachs can only eat so much food at one sitting. We did manage to find room for some Penang Cendol (SGD2.50). We thought that it was a little too sweet (too much gula melaka, too little coconut milk), and the ice shavings were too "big" such that we ended up needing to "crunch" ice bits in our mouths. Not fun.

Some hits and misses overall; I think when eating your home food in a foreign country, you have to give some slack (you wouldn't go to the UK and expect perfect nasi lemak, would you?), so in that respect I would say generally speaking the food here doesn't disappoint.

Except for the Bak Kut Teh, which you should avoid at all costs, because it will disappoint.

Malaysian Food Street is located at The Bull Ring - which is that row of shops directly circling the big rotating "Universal" globe at the entrance to Universal Studios. It's easiest to drive or take a cab here, but if you're public transport-ing, take the MRT to Vivocity and then the Sentosa Express monorail to the Watefront Station. Non halal.


  1. oooh, but that's a generous helping of cendol though, with lots of beans, exactly how i like it (though i guess i prefer ais kacang anyway) :D i wonder if they do KL hokkien mee here =)

    1. They do have Jalan Alor Hokkien Mee, but between the two of us there, four orders of food was all we could stomach at one go :)