Friday, May 04, 2012

Old Punggol Satay

Pictures with celebrities hanging below their signboard

Chicken satay is one of my all-time favourite foods, something that I could eat once a week every week and never get sick of it. Who does not like BBQ'd meat on a stick? The problem was that besides Indonesian restaurants like Tambuah Mas, I did not know where to find good cheap satay. Most hawker centres near my home did not sell satay. East Coast Lagoon Food Village and Chomp Chomp were too far. Newton Food Centre was the nearest, but that place is a rip-off.

So when my family and I discovered Alexandra Village Food Centre, especially Old Punggol Satay, I was ecstatic at the possibility of good satay nearby at a reasonable price.

Old Punggol Satay's stall at Alexandra Village Food Centre looks like it is run by the lady on the right. There is usually a young man taking and serving orders, and one or two more young men within the stall BBQing the satay. Everytime I go to their stall to order, there is a long queue with some people ordering 20+ sticks.

Although the young man handling the orders is brisk, I was grateful to him one day for noticing the order of the queue and for being fair. What happened was that when I reached first place in the queue and was waiting for him to take my order, a middle aged woman stepped in from the side and simply spoke out her order to the young man without bothering to check with me whether I was in the queue. The young man looked up, glanced at me, and told the woman curtly that I had come first. He then ignored her until he had taken orders from me and the other people in the queue. Kudos.

Going back to the food, Old Punggol Satay sells chicken, pork and mutton satay. Each stick costs 50 cents. We tried both chicken and pork satay, which came with glorious charred bits that appear so rarely on satays served by other stalls and restaurants. Even though the pork was delicious, reminiscent of bak kwa, the chicken satay remains my favourite - each stick comes with about three chunks of tender, flavour-packed chicken interspersed with chunks of what seems to be pork fat. The pork fat must be the "secret ingredient", as halal satay does not come anywhere close in terms of lip-smacking-ness.

(Update @ 16 July 2012: Do note that sometimes you may be served with just the meat on a stick, with no pork fat in-between. This is an inconsistency I noticed after having ordered more than 5 times from Old Punggol Satay.)

I took this picture of a stick of chicken satay next to an average tablespoon
to show how much meat is served on one stick.

Each ketupat is 50 cents. The cucumber is free.

If you have your satay at the hawker centre, I think the peanut dip comes with pineapple. If you take-away, it does not. With regards to the taste of the peanut dip, I did not find anything magical about it. On the one hand, I was a bit disappointed with the averageness of the peanut dip. But on the other, the BBQ'd chicken satay is so full of flavour that you would absolutely enjoy it on its own without the dip. You would only want the peanut dip for the cucumber and/or the ketupat.

Verdict: Old Punggol Satay has been one of our best finds ever. Ever since discovering it, I have been feasting on satay about once a fortnight, and cannot get enough of their BBQ'd chicken on a stick. Old Punggol Satay currently has three stalls in Singapore, and judging from their popularity I think (and most definitely hope) they will remain for a long time to come. If you go to Alexandra Village Food Centre, you must definitely try their satay.

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