Waker X Oppa – Remarkable Halal Korean Favourites in a Coffeeshop
Waker Chicken X Oppa Grill at Tampines Street 21 (Block 201C) serves Korean hot favourites such as Korean Fried Chicken and Army Stew in a coffeeshop setting. For the purpose of convenience, I shall refer to Waker Chicken X Oppa Grill as Waker X Oppa throughout the article. A collaboration between Waker Chicken and Oppa Grill, Waker X Oppa is halal and 100% muslim-owned, and has a total of 2 menus – one from each partner. Both menus are prepared in the same kitchen so you do not have to re-queue at all.
We decided to order from both the Waker Chicken and the Oppa Grill menu so as to try more of their items. We were recommended the Dak’s Cheese cutlet ($8) and Emi’s Briyani ($6) from the former menu, which, according to the stall owner, are perennial favourites. From the Oppa Grill menu, we opted for the Army Stew ($18), in which we picked Seafood (+$7) from the slew of chicken, beef and mutton options.
When we visited around 11am on a weekday morning, operations had not gone into full swing despite opening hours beginning at 10.30am. Unfortunately, the oil had not been heated up, which resulted in the start of a long wait for us, which stretched till 11.45am. As such, if you are planning to make a visit, I would recommend visiting later so as to save on waiting time.
The Army Stew ($25 for seafood option), also known as Budae Jiggae, was served first. The army stew comprises a plethora of ingredients such as hotdogs, luncheon meat and a variety of vegetables. As we opted for the seafood option, fresh seafood such as dory fish, prawns and mussels were also thrown into the mix. Finally, a special army stew sauce was then added, and the concoction was rounded up with a flood of anchovy soup. Thereafter, the stall owner turned up the fire, allowing the soup to bubble and transform into a somewhat gloopy consistency.
In terms of texture, Waker X Oppa’s army stew sauce is definitely thicker than the typical army stew. According to my colleague who eats army stew on a regular basis, army stew is apparently supposed to be quite sweet. However, here at Waker X Oppa, we found the army stew rather spicy. If you cannot take too spicy food, I would recommend asking them to scale down on the amount of special army stew sauce. Nonetheless, the sauce was packed with flavour. The seafood was also fresh and meaty, and for the amount of ingredients in the army stew, I would say that the pricing was quite reasonable. This budae jiggae can feed up to 3-4 pax.
We were pleased when our items from the Waker Chicken menu were finally served. After all, it had been a lengthy wait for the oil to heat up to the optimal temperature. Emi’s Briyani ($6) arrived first, where Waker X Oppa put a korean spin on the traditional Indian dish by replacing the chicken with a korean fried chicken. The korean fried chicken had a light, airy and crispy skin, which was crunchy and satisfying to bite through. I loved that it was not greasy, and oil did not ooze out when i took a bite of the succulent chicken meat. The briyani rice was pretty legit too, Waker X Oppa held true to Indian tradition by using basmati rice with indian spices. I loved that red rice and black rice were also mixed into the grain mix, which made the dish “diabetes-friendly”. On the other hand, the accompanying curry was mild, watery and not spicy at all. To be honest, it was nothing to shout about.
Next, Dak’s cheese cutlet ($8). Did you know that “Dak” actually means chicken in Korean? Confusing much! I thought that Dak’s Cheese cutlet tasted like a pizza – strong cheesiness with an acidic tomato sauce. That was, until I took a closer look and realised that “tomato sauce” was in fact kimchi. Similarly, the piece of korean fried chicken had a crackly skin. Bite through the crunchy skin and you will encounter tender, juicy meat. The cheese added an extra layer of dimension to the otherwise plain dish due to its sharpness, while the kimchi added some tanginess and spiciness. The rice in this dish tasted quite healthy too, and I’m guessing it was a mix of brown rice and white rice.
Waker Chicken X Oppa Grill is definitely one-of-a-kind, for it is quite rare to see halal Korean favourites being sold in a coffeeshop environment. It is also great that they put little spins on each dish to cater more to the health-conscious. After all, since you are already eating fried chicken and army stew, saving on a little calories doesn’t hurt, right?
Waker Chicken X Oppa Grill
Address: 201C Tampines Street 21, Chang Cheng Mee Wah Coffee Shop, Singapore 523201
Opening Hours: 10.30am to 9.45pm daily
MissTamChiak.com made anonymous visit and paid its own meal at the stall featured here.