Restaurant Guide at JEM
Being the first lifestyle hub in Singapore’s west, JEM is the third largest suburban mall which has a retail space across 6 levels. Good news especially for people living in the west, you are spoilt for food choices. Be it Western, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese or Thai, you’ll certainly find something to tempt the palate.
Healthy eating is a cinch with the extensive variety of salads, wraps, soups, fusion and panini sandwiches by Saladworks – America’s fresh-tossed salad restaurant concept. All Saladworks’s salads are made-to-order, chopped fresh daily, and under 500 calories! They come with a basic base of romaine and ice berg lettuce and then tossed with an array of ingredients like grilled chicken, mushrooms, cheese, tomatoes and more. Sixteen proprietary dressings are made in store to ensure optimal freshness.
Be sure to try Chef Signature Salad ($15.90) featuring salad with medium rare steak, drizzled with slightly spicy salsa sauce. You can also pick a salad and make it into a wrap. We tried the Fire Roasted Cabo Jack ($9.90) which is an oriental medley with lettuce spring mix served with creamy sesame vinaigrette.
If you need some carbo, Saladworks also offers Turkey Melt Panini ($10.50), pairing hot melted cheddar cheese with slices of turkey and bacon, served on either crusty sourdough or focaccia bread. Chicken Carvery Sandwich ($14.70) comes with with Lemon Chicken or BBQ chicken, grilled red peppers, spicy mustard and mayo sandwiched between ciabatta bread. It comes with a choice of rice or salad, substantial enough to power you through the afternoon.
Tel: 6339 0322
Shin Kushiya specialises in skewers grilled over bincho. Known as the king of white charcoal, its dense property allows it to burn with excessive smoke yet impart a distinct ‘smoky’ flavor to grilled food, leaving charcoal-grilled food to be crispy on the outside yet tender and juicy on the inside.
Not to be missed are the tsukuna or chicken meat balls ($2.40) which are firm and delicious, and “Black Angus” Ribeye ($6.80) which is tender and juicy. I also like the Tomato Maki ($2.40) and Sashimi-grade Sake Mentai ($4.60). Other specialities include Sashimi Moriawase which comes in a platter of salmon, bluefin tuna, swordfish, yellowtail, and sweet prawns; and cold noodles served with handcut thin udon with duck dipping sauce ($13.80). The restaurant also offers set meals for students and senior citizens at $13.80.
Tel: 6268 9960
By weaving Western spices and cooking styles with classically Thai spices, herbs and cooking methods, Bangkok Jam dishes out contemporary Thai and pan-Asian cuisine that is unique yet familiar.
The tomyams here did not disappoint, whether one opted for the clear (or white) tomyam or the red tomyam. Seafood in Red Tom Yum Soup ($7.90) has well-balanced flavours working in harmony to deliver a delicious soup, and with the spiciness kicking in only after a few spoonfuls.
I will come back for its Fried Chicken Wings with Fish Sauce Marinade ($9.50) which is juicy and flavourful. Another good dish to try is the Bangkok Mixed Grill ($23) which is a combination of grilled squid, prawns, chicken and beef.
Tel: 6339 0059
So Pho offers an array of Vietnamese specialities such as Banh Xeo ($9.80), a Vietnamese crepe with generous amount of bean sprouts and seafood. In Hue central Vietnam, there is a small variant of this crepe called banh khoai – “Happy Pancake”. I enjoyed the Cha Ca La Vong ($10.80). The combination of ingredients used to season the chunks of moist fish— turmeric, dill, lemongrass and fish sauce — delivers an intriguing muskiness bolstered with rice vermicelli.
Not to forget the traditional Vietnamese Pho Noodle Soup ($9.80) which comes with sliced beef, brisket and beef balls. It is delightfully tasty. You definitely need to do some hand exercises here with their selection of self-wrap rolls ($10.80). Being unsophisticated yet very appetizing dish, this dish is the perfect combination of grilled skewered prawn cakes, springy rice noodle, fresh herbs and tangy dip. So phô so good!
Tel: 6734 8908
Started in 2008 by Madam Sim Sin Sin as a social enterprise, Laksania employs persons with disabilities in their central kitchen and cafés to prepare the various Laksa pastes and marinades. Madam Sim’s Kelantan and Sarawak laksa recipes form the basis of the business, and are among the five variants (the others are Singapore, Penang and Vegetarian) of laska specialities served here.
I tried its Sarawak Laksa ($8.50) which is spicy and flavourful, with prawn and chicken broth served with fine rice vermicelli. More than 6 hours is needed to boil the soup base to bring out the full sweetness of the chicken and prawns. Never be deceived by its dull brownish gravy. It has a refreshing herbal flavour every mouthful, enhanced with a squeeze of lime juice and a dollop of homemade chilli belachan paste.
If you have an adventurous palate, you should try the Laksa Goreng ($8.50), a dry version of the Singapore Laksa. The noodles is fried for an intense flavour with laksa gravy and accompanied with prawns, fish cake, cockles, taupok, egg and laksa leaves as garnishing. Pair it with Laksania Chicken Satay ($4.20/3pcs) which comes in huge juicy chunks. Their Chendol ($4.90) is worth trying. The chendol strips has a lovely pandan aroma, and their gula melaka is thick and gooey. Put it in your mouth and experience the contrast of textures between the coconut infused shaved ice and chendol strips.
Tel: 6694 1588
Having been away from her hometown for 20 years, Taiwanese owner Fiona Lee missed the true Taiwanese flavour that she was never able to find anywhere locally. Hence, she started Lee’s Taiwanese, offering a variety of popular Taiwanese street fare such as Braised Minced Pork Rice, Pig Intestines Mee Sua, Spicy Beef Noodles and Salt & Pepper Chicken.
Having been here many times, my favourite is still the Braised Pork on rice ($10). A favourite in Taiwan, it is quite a simple filling food, which is popular among farming families if they want a satisfying meal. The minced pork belly is braised for a long time, until it is so soft, with all the flavours completely absorbed. It is accompanied with Taiwanese pearl rice, which is rare in Singapore as many other shops usually use Jasmine rice.
The restaurant has recently introduced a new appetizer –Deep Fried Tofu with Taiwanese Kimchi ($3.80). Tofu has a crispy golden crust on the outside, yet retaining its moisture on the inside. I like the Taiwanese Gwa-Bao (割包, Braised Pork Wrapped in Steamed Buns) which is a kind of steamed bun filled with braised pork. As it is eaten like a sandwich, it is sometimes called a Taiwanese hamburger. It is similar to Singapore, except that our local kou rou bao uses pork belly. The soft oval-shaped bun is filled with braised pork, pickled vegetables, Chinese parsley and minced peanut. The pickled vegetables and minced peanut gives it a nice flavour.
Tel: 6694 0895
There is everything to love about Ambush at JEM — an open kitchen and homely atmosphere. Indulge in the uniquely created Italian pasta and Spanish paella, and delicious German sausages and Belgium mussels pot prepared in the freshest way. We started with a Mussel Pot ($18.60) cooked with white wine. The mussels are air flown twice weekly and it is succulent and juicy, full of shellfish flavor. We also had some Confit Duck Leg ($18.50) that day which was served with onion compote, potato puree and marmalade pork jus. It has well-seasoned but the meat that day was too chewy.
My favourite is the Roasted Pork Knuckle ($18 half, $29.50 whole). Go early if you wish to enjoy a portion of it. As we bit into the crisp, crunchy skin, our teeth found its way into a layer of fat, which melted lusciously in our mouths. It is light and not cloying even after numerous mouthfuls. The layer of soft fat and firm strands of meat which are the perfect match for the beer stocked here.
This handsome cut is the ultimate guilty pleasure sided with soft whipped potatoes and tangles of sauerkraut. The light brown sauce that comes with the dish sweetens up a little of the pork’s flavour, but the scrumptious dish is so flavoursome it hardly needs a condiment.
Tel: 6734 7398
Conceptualised and born in Texas, Spageddies is a family oriented restaurant that serves generous portions of mouth-watering American-Italian food. Don’t forget to order their signature Seafood Sizzlelini ($28 single, $48 double) while you are there. It comes in a large sizzling skillet of succulent prawns, scallops, mussels, crayfish, marinated onions and bell pepper served with spaghetti in a spicy neapolitan sauce. Made with chunks of tomatoes, the neapolitan sauce offers a tangy taste to the dish. This is a big plate of sinful goodness! Definitely a value-for-money pasta and you can eat to your heart’s delight.
Another favourite of mine is the Crayfish Parmigiana ($23.50) which is a dish full of lavishness and lip-smacking deliciousness. Chunky pieces of crayfish is first sauteed with spicy neapolitan sauce before being baked with mozzarella cheese. Pairing it with aglio olio cooked al dente with olive oil, garlic and chilli, it definitely bowl me over with its smoky, wok-heat aroma and flavour. We ended the meal with tiramisu which hits the spot for me – perfect combination of spongy cake, marshmallowy mascarpone and just the right kick of espresso and liqueur
Tel: 6338 7368
LENAS looks like a place that will serve you fancy gourmet pizzas with crazy ingredients, but it is not. Instead, its crispy Italian thin-crust pizzas are humble and homely. Lena’s version of Hawaiian pizza ($14.50 regular, $17.50 large) has a right balance of sweet and salty, with cooked ham and pineapple on a bed of freshly baked dough. If you can’t make up your mind on which pizza flavour to choose from, add an additional $2.50 for 2 flavours in a pizza (only available for 12-inch large pizza). They also dish out modern and classic all-time favourites like pizzas, pastas and mouth-watering selection of American flame-grilled meat to satisfy your every appetite.
Vanilla & Almond Brownie Hot Pan ($12) is a rich, gooey, sinful and truly indulgent dessert. Warm and fudgy brownie is drizzled with chocolate fudge and sprinkled with almond flakes. And what is a brownie served without a scoop of vanilla ice cream. A rich sensation in every bite!
Tel: 6339 0938
Having been to JEM so many times, my friends have been telling me so much good reviews about Rumah Sayang that I am so tempted to try it. And true enough, it didn’t disappoint. It was so crowded even after lunch hours.
While they serve a good variety of Nasi Padang dishes, you can also find various sizzling wok dishes such as fried rice, beef hor fun and nasi pattaya. For something old school, the Tahu Goreng ($3.50) is not to be missed. The sauce, a blend of garlic, chillies and tamarind juice, thickened with crushed peanuts, is a bold mix of sweet, sour and spicy flavours. Their Prawn Fritter ($1.60 for 2 pc) is deep fried till golden brown yet not too oily. Eat it with the chilli dip!
We love their signature item – Curry Fish Head ($18.90). The spicy gravy titillates the tastebud and makes you reach out for more to drizzle over the steamed white rice. The fish meat is cooked just right – tender enough for the flesh to just come off the fork. Don’t forget to order some papadum to dip the sauce. They currently have a set meal for 2 which consists of fish head curry, rice, tahu goring and papadum for only $19.90. Quite a steal!
Tel: 6734 3196
MADO is one excellent restaurant to go on a date in JEM. It’s another place with great atmosphere, having that fine dining feel with classy silver chairs while still a bit casual.
Mediterranean Beef Balls served with Butter Rice and Mixed Salad ($12.90 with soup of the day) looks plain but tastes lovely. The beef balls are perfectly seasoned and impressively juicy. Pairing it with fragrant butter rice and lightly roasted pistachio, it is exquisitely delicious.
When you order ice cream from MADO, you know that you are in for an extraordinary treat. Imported from Turkey, their ice cream is made from mixing the best quality goat’s milk with “schlep” that can only be found on hillsides of Ahirdagi. I love their Homemade Blueberry Cheesecake Waffle ($11.50) featuring a scoop of finest cheesecake flvoured ice cream topped with homemade blueberry sauce and almond chips. It is nothing less than satisfying, especially on a warm, humid day.
Be sure to download JemX Rewards on your iPhone or Android which is a new app-based loyalty programme to gain fantastic shopping rewards on-the-go!
JEM Food Trail
Address: 50 Jurong Gateway Road, Singapore 608549
Tel: 6225 5536
Parking: First hour $1.30; Subsequent 15 mins $0.30. After 6pm $2.50 per entry