Salt – Insanely Amazing Fried Chicken with Super Crispy Skin
Old Airport Road Food Centre is one of Singapore’s oldest, largest and most iconic hawker centres. In fact, it has even been named the holy grail of hawker centres, with tons of international food vloggers including Mikey Chen (Strictly Dumpling), Mark Weins (Migrationology) and the Fung Brothers (Fung Bros) singing its praises in their Youtube videos. Strictly Dumpling’s Mikey Chen even describes Old Airport Road Food Centre as a “food heaven with a roof on top”.
Imagine our delight when we found yet another promising food stall here. A little stall named Salt, opened by 2 young hawkerpreneurs, completely blew me away with their mouth-watering Western grub.
Here’s how the menu works : you choose either fried chicken cutlet, or the sous vide grilled chicken. Then, pick either a pasta (carbonara, aglio olio or bolognese) or garlic fried rice to pair your chosen chicken with. We eventually decided on the Cutlet Carbonara ($6.80) and Sous Vide Grilled Chicken Soy Garlic Fried Rice ($7.30).
The Cutlet Carbonara ($6.80) looked absolutely tantalising, with its crispy skin fried to golden-brown perfection. I almost burst into tears when I cut into that piece of juicy goodness — my knife slid through the tender chicken and a melodious shatteringly-crisp crackle rang out from that crispy skin. I kid you not, the crispy skin tastes like a heavenly combination of Japanese tempura and karaage, and trumps any I have eaten at the typical fast food chains. I devoured the entire fried chicken, including its skin which did not seem to turn soggy at all even after we had left it untouched for awhile. The meat was delicious too. The salty-sweet soy garlic sauce perfumed both pieces of fried chicken. In essence, the chicken was “dripping in finesse” (Yes, I just dropped a Bruno Mars reference)!
The accompanying carbonara had a sauce with a rather watery consistency – a far cry from the usually thick and creamy carbonara sauce. According to Salt’s friendly owners, they are not fans of the typical starchy carbonara sauce, which explains the adaptation of their carbonara to a lighter Japanese cream-based style. While the pasta was cooked perfectly al dente, I thought it could have used a tad more salt.
We also ordered the Sous Vide Grilled Chicken Soy Garlic Fried Rice ($7.30).
Salt’s sous vide grilled chicken was very tender, and deliciously savoury too. In fact, I would say it ranks among the better grilled chicken I have tasted. The garlic fried rice had deep flavours, with a buttery fragrance and a slightly bitter aftertaste. If I may hazard a guess, the slight bitter aftertaste could be due to the garlic bits or the heavy breath of the wok. My friend really enjoyed the garlic fried rice, while I thought it was just alright. However, I thought the cabbage slaw on the side added a refreshing touch to the otherwise heavy dish. I especially liked that the slaw was not doused in mayonnaise, but instead a pleasant goma sesame dressing.
After the yummy meal, I decided to talk to Salt’s young and friendly hawkerpreneurs, Naomi and Kenny, to find out more about Salt. According to them, the idea of Salt was borne when Naomi realised youngsters from other countries she had visited were willing to innovate for food. On the other hand, most Singaporeans, 3 to 4 years ago, were caught up with their 9-5 jobs. Furthermore, Naomi noticed that Singapore’s hawker scene, then, was burning out. In order to prevent “history from going down the drain”, Salt was set up in 2014.
Then, I dropped the million dollar question: How do you get your fried chicken so tasty? Apparently, Salt uses their very own mixture of flour to maintain the crispiness of the chicken, such that it does not become soggy at all! While the formula is a secret, it is slightly modelled after Korean Fried Chicken, and in my opinion tastes like a mix between tempura and karaage.
In conclusion, Salt sells some seriously amazing fried chicken at a really affordable price, and I would 100% make a return visit. It is no surprise most of their customers are repeat customers. The owners are lovely too. During our conversation, I learnt that the name “Salt” was derived from Matthew 5:13 (Salt of the Earth) in the Bible. Upon discovering that we shared the same religious faith, Naomi extended her hands and asked if she could pray for me — a request I gladly accepted. This certainly will live to be a day I will remember, long after my short stint as a food writer. After all, it is not everyday that someone holds your hands to pray for you, after a dreamy and super delicious meal.
Address: 51 Old Airport Road, #01-128, Singapore 390051
Mobile: 9488 1116
Area: East, Old Airport Road
Opening Hours: 12pm to 2.30pm, and 5pm to 9pm daily. Closed on Tues. Usually, closed for LUNCH only on Sundays too
MissTamChiak.com made anonymous visit and paid its own meal at the stall featured here.