Sanuk Kitchen – A Whiff of Authentic Old School Zi Char
Many of us travel to Malaysia in search of more good food. Nasi lemak, char kway teow, assam laksa, the list goes on. The zi char stalls in Malaysia are also revered for their aromatic dishes that have intense wok hei.
We recently stumbled upon Sanuk Kitchen along Jalan Minyak. The place is helmed by chef Erik Tan, who had stints in kitchens in Kuala Lumpur and Vietnam. He wants to recreate flavours and fragrances that will evoke nostalgia.
This zi char stall sits in an old school coffee shop which doesn’t look like anything you can find in Singapore. Located in an old neighbourhood, the HDBs in Jalan Minyak are over 50 years old. This explains why the atmosphere and décor of the coffee shop takes us back to a time long gone. It’s definitely a great place to get that Instagram #OOTD shot for #ThrowbackThursdays.
Sanuk Kitchen sells a mix of zi char dishes, as well as Thai food. Diners can look forward to Thai Green Curry ($5 to $6) and Tom Yam Soup ($5). The Thai word, Sanuk, means striving to achieve satisfaction and pleasure, and that is what chef Erik hopes to bring to his guests.
Beef Hor Fun ($6) and Seafood Mui Fan ($6) are common dishes at any zi char stall, and they can be found at Sanuk Kitchen too. Although the beef slices were a bit tough for our liking, the hor fun had a good amount of wok hei.
The rice used in the seafood mui fan was pre-fried, and thus has a smoky fragrance to it. The rice, together with prawns, squid and sliced fish, is doused in a good amount of egg gravy, before it is served piping hot to the table.
However, what stood out for us was the Kam Heong Jumbo Prawns (market price). Literally translated to “golden fragrance”, kam heong is a traditional Malaysian cooking method. Crafted from aromatics such as chilli padi, curry leaves, curry powder and other seasoning, this versatile stir-fried sauce can be used for a variety of meats. The kam heong prawns that we had were really fragrant, and left a deep impression. The prawns were fresh and each prawn was coated evenly with the kam heong sauce. Dig in with your hands because the prawns are really finger-licking good (no puns intended).
If you’re intending to visit, come prepared. The coffee shop has poor ventilation, so when chef Erik is frying his dishes, the place can get a bit smoky.
Address: Block 5 Jalan Minyak #01-328, Singapore 161005
Phone: 9833 1678
Opening Hours: 11am to 8pm daily, closed on alternate Mondays.
MissTamChiak.com made anonymous visit and paid its own meal at the stall featured here.