Sunday, August 11, 2013

Atas Hawker Fare @ Madam Kwan's

"Are you crazy or have you struck lottery?" was the first thought that popped into the bunny's head when the bf insisted that we go to Madam Kwan's at the ground level of Vivocity to try the Nasi Lemak for dinner . After all, Madam Kwan serves modest hawker food at atas restaurant prices. Turns out, it was neither. His rationale was a quest to find out what exactly was so special that made people willing to pay for prices such as $15 for a plate of humble Nasi Lemak and to queue for it.

Shopfront of Madam Kwan's at Vivocity

The Nasi Bojari ($18.90) comes with rice that is white, yellow and red, with the colours tinged by tumeric and served with a huge chicken drumstick, beef rendang, assam prawns, boiled egg, cucumber and tomato slices. The rice is certainly fragrant and thoroughly infused with the flavors of the spices used. The chicken drumstick is top-notch. It's well-marinated and fried to a crispy golden brown while the meat inside is tender and moist. The other accompanying items were pretty good too - the assam prawns teased the palate with their tangy and spicy taste while the beef rendang was rich and flavorful.

Madam Kwan's Nasi Bojari
The Nasi Lemak ($13.90) is served with sambal ikan bilis, shrimp floss and 2 chunks of chicken in curry. The rice is fluffy and soft and wafted the luscious aroma of coconut milk. The curry was thick and full-bodied. It started out mellow, but it's spiciness increased as I ate more of it, and the heat rose every mouthful. The flavors of the curry had fully permeated into the chicken, resulting in tender soft, well-seasoned meat with every bite. The sambal ikan bilis was sweet rather than spicy, with more onions than the tiny fishes. An important element of Nasi Lemak is it's chilli and the version at Madam Kwan's did not disappoint. It's spicy, but not overly so, and with a strong "hei bi" (dried shrimp) scent.

Madam Kwan's Nasi Lemak
It's a good thing that the bf thought of ordering the Bandung ($4.90) as the Nasi Lemak left me breathing fire. The drink is sweet, with the distinctive rose fragrance. There's also Thai basil seeds added in Madam Kwan's rendition which reminds me of bubble tea.

Madam Kwan's Bandung (Plain)
For dessert, it was the Goreng Pisang with Vanilla Ice Cream ($8.90). The batter for the bananas are different from the ones that are common in Singapore. It's thicker, softer and with just a hint of crunch. The bananas are very ripe which makes this a delish, sticky, gooey mess when cut into. Pair the warm goreng pisang with the cold vanilla ice-cream and there's a contrasting difference that just melds together in your mouth. This combination is a winner.

Madam Kwan's Goreng Pisang (Fried Banana) with Vanilla Ice Cream
The food at Madam Kwan's is delicious alright, but I still can't get my head around the exorbitant price. I still stand by my point that $16 (after GST and service charge) for a plate of Nasi Lemak is plain madness.

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