195 Pearl Hill Café – Tiong Bahru Satay Man is now in Chinatown!
Located in the heart of Chinatown, at Pearl’s Hill, the former Upper and Lower Barracks were among the few remaining police buildings designed and constructed under the colonial government. It now houses 195 Pearl Hill Cafe where you will get to try the famous satay from Tiong Bahru Satay Man (affectionately known as Ah Pui).
For those who live in Tiong Bahru, you will be familiar with Ah Pui. This street hawker has been peddling satay on a pushcart around Tiong Bahru for more than 30 years. He is famous for his freshly made pork skewers. Unfortunately, Ah Pui was often fined for selling food without a license and he decided to retire.
But now, you get a chance to try Ah Pui’s satay at 195 Pearl Hill Cafe! Reservation is strong recommended if you wish to order his satay. I visited the place once without booking but the satay was sold out.
Ah Pui’s hand-made traditional Hainanese-style pork satay ($9/10 Sticks) is served with a unique peanut-pineapple satay sauce.
Infused with a smokiness imparted from burning charcoal, the sticks of pork belly had charred edges, and were dripping with savoury juices. Each stick of satay had a good balance of meat and fats. In fact, I am so happy to see the lard in between the meat because that makes the satay juicy and using a charcoal grill makes the meat more fragrant. It is not too greasy and very addictive.
To pair with the satay is, of course, the peanut sauce. But what makes it different from the rest is the use of pineapple pulp which provides a bright sweetness. We started with only 10 sticks, but the server told us that it was definitely insufficient. True enough, we ordered 10 more sticks. Belly satisfied!
Besides the signature pork satay, chicken satay ($9 for 10 Sticks) is available as well. This is different from our usual satay. It feels more like the Japanese yakitori, drizzled with a lovely chimichurri sauce.
We also shared a plate of Pesto Prawn Pasta ($13.90). Pretty decent, the rich and creamy pesto sauce coats the pasta perfectly and comes with pan-fried prawns and shredded cheese. The Saturday Grandpa Meatballs ($7.90) comes with 6 handmade meatballs that are deep-fried, chef’s secret sauce and parmesan cheese.
Note that there is no air conditioning in this cafe and you have to climb a flight of stairs to reach Upper Barracks. But don’t worry, no hiking boots required for this ascent. To cool you down, have a cup of Iced Nanyang Latte (S$6). The Indonesian Robusta beans are roasted using butter and sugar.
195 Pearl Hill Café
Address: 195 Pearl's Hill Terrace, #01-56, Singapore 168976
Phone: 9748 9904
Opening Hours: 11am to 5pm, closed on Sundays