1. Play hopscotch, chapteh, five stones and goli (marbles) when you are young?
2. Live in the generation when pager is still the “in thing”?
3. Once owned a robotic pencil box, which had many functions, springy buttons and “secret” compartments?
4. Watch Singapore Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) dramas?
5. Enjoy eating sng bao (ice pop), White Rabbit Creamy Candy, Hawflakes or A&W Root Beer Float?
If your answer has more than 2 “yes”, you probably belong to the “OLD SCHOOL” category!
Many of the things which we have used / played during our childhood days kind of disappeared or changed. But upon visiting Old School Delights for dinner last Saturday, it felt like a walk down the memory lane and alot of items we once have now appeared right before us!
This lil’ cafe in Upper Thomson is decorated into a classroom setting, with chalkboards on both sides, classroom style wooden furniture, menu that comes in an exercise book, and card games to play with. Love their website as well, which is very interactive!
What do you eat in school when you are young? I remember when I was in Primary School, I would either spend 50 cents on a bowl of wanton noodle soup or 70 cents on Nasi Lemak. These food has accompanied for so many years and once in a while, I will still go back to my alma mater to eat the nasi lemak. (They no longer sell it at 70 cents of course!)
Old School Delights is about re-living culinary memories of Singapore’s past through authentic recipes handed down through generations. What sparked their desire to go on this culinary journey into the heydays is that special bowl of Mee Siam that his grand-aunt used to serve to her guest every Chinese New Year.
Therefore, if there is one dish that you must try in this cafe, bee sure to try their signature Old School Heritage Mee Siam ($5.50). Using a 30-year-old recipe comprising of a secret blend of 11 fresh grounded spices, the mee siam is accompanied by half hard boiled egg, and tau pok (beancurd). The gravy was thick and robust, a burst of a little spicy, sour and sweetness in every mouthful.
Hainanese Chicken Cutlet with Fried Rice ($8.90) doesn’t taste anything like our typical Hainanese pork cutlet, more like sweet and sour fried chicken. The fried rice had too much garlic, which was overpowering. But the good thing is, the cutlet was crispy and not very oily.
A house speciality, OSD Signature Pulut ($2.20) is made up of Gultinous rice with a filling of savory sweet “Hay-bee-Hiam” (dried shrimps) in it. We can’t really find this now, except for those traditional kueh shops or malay stall. Personally, it was pretty expensive for such a small piece and it will taste better if the hae bee hiam has the punch.
Another appetizer which we ordered was Jumbo Otak ($2.40). It wasn’t as jumbo as we expected and it arrived at our table in room temperature. Despite its unappealing outlook, it tasted quite good! Fresh fish meat was marinated with coconut milk and ground chilli, wrapped in banana leaf. Of course, will taste better when eaten hot.
I may not be crazy over cakes and chocolate, but I have a soft spot for traditional desserts. The Chendol ($3.80) here is excellent. Using pure 100% gula melaka with no artificial sweeteners, it is served with homemade, preservative-free chendol worms and red beans. The chendol worms has a lovely dark green, it is fat and has a good bite. I may just come back for that.
After a hearty meal, you can grab some childhood biscuits at the counter for $1.
It is definitely not easy running a cafe selling Singapore classics. Because I am sure some of you won’t pay double the price for something we can be eaten in hawker centre. But well, I guess the ambience of the restaurant plays a big part for its popularity as well. By the way, they are not halal-certified but they use halal products to prepare their food, and there is no pork or lard in the dishes.
Old School Delights
Address: 215M Upper Thomson Road