Let’s find an old place to eat.
The Missus has a weird penchant for nostalgic places to eat. Having been to a few interesting places that look like they were stuck in the 1980s or 1990s such as Shin Hi Sai Eating House and Wen Dao Shi Dim Sum, she has been intrigued with places that have survived throughout the years.
Finding such a spot could be difficult with the rapid modernisation of Singapore. After a search on Google Map, we decided our next meal out would be at Katong Delights.
|Katong Delights interior|
Tucked away along a row of residential shophouses deep in the Sigalp enclave of Figaro Street, this Peranakan restaurant could be easily overlooked. The bare exterior is flanked by 2 red lanterns with food photos adorning the entrance. At first glance, you might mistake it for a confectionary shop or even a residential unit.
Step into it, and you will be blown away by the appearance. This is not how a typical restaurant would look like. Instead, you have a space with only 4 tables that can fit about 10 people at any time. Half of the room was cordoned, taken up by desks with books piled on them. It looked more like a living room stuck in the 1970s than a restaurant. This is probably not the place you would bring your first date to.
The tables were covered with plastic tops, and the chairs looked like it was from an old Chinese restaurant. If you want a retro vibe, Katong Delights will win, hands down. From what we understand, the owners own a catering business, and this restaurant is probably just for passion.
|Katong Delights Dishes|
Let’s go back to the food. Katong Delights is essentially serving Peranakan Dishes with a speciality in curry. We decided to pick a few well-known Peranakan dishes for our meal as there were no pictures on their one-page menu. One interesting thing was that the walls were pretty thin, so we were entertained by the voices of a fierce chef during the preparation.
Mixed Vegetable Curry $9
|Mixed vegetable Curry – Katong Delights|
A sip of this mixed vegetable curry immediately dispelled any doubts about dinner. Unlike the ready-to-make pack from NTUC, this one is full of flavour that does not overwhelm the tastebuds. It is probably the best-mixed vegetable curry we had in a while, with the curry as the standout flavour of this dish.
Beef Rendang $16
|Beef Rendang – Katong Delights|
While the dish may look pricey, note that it is the nett price. The portion is good for two. Unlike other beef rendang we tried, this dish was tender and easy to eat. The beef rendang melts in your mouth and you do not have to resort to constant chewing for a bite.
Hae Cho (Prawn Rolls) $9.50
|Hae Cho – Katong Delights|
Get this as a starter or part of your main course. It has a nice crispy tender and comes with sweet chilli sauce.
Ayam Buah Keluak $16
We would usually order the Ayam Buah Keluak in a Peranakan Restaurant. This traditional Peranakan dish consists of chicken, tamarind gravy and buah keluak nuts. It is said to be one of the favourite dishes of Singapore’s founding Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew.
For this dish, the chicken was tender. The curry was a little light. Not the best we had, but good enough for a meal.
For those who prefer the sour aftertaste to go with your Peranakan dishes, do remember to request for the sambal.
Our final bill was about $58 for 4 dishes and drinks. It was reasonable for the quality of food and priceless for the experience.
It may take some diners a while to get over the nostalgic vibes, but the taste matters once the food arrives. Katong Delights is one of the better places for decent home-cooked Peranakan dishes that are aromatic, tender and tasty. For the more adventurous, this would be a good place to glimpse the past and enjoy good food.
If you prefer individual dishes, they serve at a reasonable price for dining or to go. The good thing about this place is that there is no GST or service charge, making it an affordable experience for something different. This is not something you would typically find in Singapore. Somehow, we felt we were transported to the Singapore of old when we dined there. It felt more like we are eating in someone’s living room than in a restaurant.
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