5 truly Malaysian Dishes You Can Eat in Singapore Instead of Paying $20 for the Tolls
by Safiah Alias Apr 06, 2017
Have you ever felt that sometimes it's very inconvenient to go to Johor Bahru from Singapore. Well firstly, you may need to own a car and now that there are tolls on BOTH sides of the Causeway, this amounts to approximately $20 as calculated by Dollars and Sense Singapore. On the other hand, if you take a bus instead, you might need to stand through the long traffic jams. Why should you suffer through all this hustle? When you don't want to travel much, there is a much more convenient option.
Agrobazaar Malaysia brings to Singapore the fruits of Malaysian agriculture. Literally. Aiming to support the local entrepreneurs of the country, Agrobazaar picks out the signature menu and tastes available from state to state to offer Singaporeans! Even though we wish that Singapore would have something like this one day, unfortunately we don't have a big enough agricultural offering to share with the world! Food is a very large part of the Malaysian culture and life, and this is easily represented in the extensive menu at Verandah @ Agrobazaar. Every dish of their menu truly delivers the authentic taste, the hospitality of Malaysia, and most of all the culture that binds it all together. And plus, it's not very expensive!
Sitting at the second floor of shophouse is a unique experience making Agrobazaar stand out among the halal restaurants and cafes in Kampong Glam.
This is a great place to chill! Not many restaurants in Kampong Glam have open rooftops like this!
When it gets too hot or sunny outside, you can choose to sit inside.
Agrobazaar also serves a Kendurian buffet where you can eat all the durian dishes you can in the comfort of a clean environment.
The shaded part of the restaurant at the Verandah of Agrobazaar in case it gets too sunny.
Look out for the monthly plating sessions where they feature the most representative dishes of every state. Of course it would be the best to go each state itself to eat but when you can't do that, there's always Verandah @ Agrobazaar. Besides their monthly rotated menu, which is based on the extensive cuisines from thirteen different states they have, they also have a few mainstays on the menu that is worth trying out.
Authentic cuisines from all over Malaysia that you should try out
(Prices in the description are in Singapore Dollar, Service Tax of 10% not included)
1. Penang Laksa
Just like everything in Malaysia, each state has it's own version of Laksa! At Agrobazaar, Penang Laksa is one of the favourites, and can be especially good for days when your nose is running, or your stomach is looking for something soupy. The Penang Assam Laksa is very addictive due to the spicy and sour taste of the fish broth. Tamarind is used generously in the soup base and hence, the word Assam (which means tamarind in Malay). Assam keping or peeled tamarind is also commonly added to give it an extra tartness. Another ingredient used is Polygonum leaf or daun kesom/daun laksa. With all these elements, it makes a tasteful dish to try!
2. Nasi Goreng, or Fried Rice
There are countless versions of Nasi Goreng from all around the world, but when you're eating at the rooftop of Agrobazaar, everything feels so... classy. Points for the effort put in jazzing up the presentation of this humble Nasi Goreng here, and including the satay in. It really completes the meal.
3. Mee Bandung Muar
Growing up, I thought Mee Bandung came from Bandung, a city in Indonesia. It is only while writing this article that I learnt that the Malay word 'bandung' actually refers to the literal meaning of the word in the Malay language. Translated, it means "mixed" or "pairs" and that's how Rose Bandung (over time simplified to just Bandung drink) also got its name! It is not a commonly used word in everyday Malay conversations though, so it's no wonder people usually think that it relates to the city in Indonesia! So similarly, Mee Bandung is a dish that originally consisted of only noodles and eggs, where its soup is made of a mixture of spices, shrimp paste, dried shrimp, chilli and onion. However later on it was improved upon by adding more toppings. Like the Laksa but in Malaysia, Mee Bandung in Muar is considered the best, especially with the signature prawns. Just the three main dishes above cost you less than $30 (including GST), saving you the time and effort to drive up to JB.
If you're there during tea time, try these two dishes, a staple in Malaysia for tea-time, and even for the Malays in Singapore, which is definitely below $20!
4. Keropok Lekor or Fried Fishcake Crackers
Pre-cooked Keropok Lekor is a little hard to find in Singapore unless it's pasar malam season - commonly during Ramadhan - or at specific marts. Resembling a fish sausage, it originated from the Malaysian state of Terengganu. You can compare it's texture and shape to South Korea's Tteok-bokki, albeit the crisp-chewiness differs slightly. Keropok Lekor is made by grinding fish flesh into a paste, mixing it with sago flour, seasoned with sugar and salt, then deep frying it. Yes although it looks slightly greyish, it tastes far better than it looks! The origin of the word "Lekor" is said to be derived from the Terengganu's Malay slang to mean "roll". Keropok Lekor is usually long and chewy but if you travel throughout Malaysia you can also find other versions like the thinly sliced and crispier ones, which are called Keropok Lekor Keping. Although, it can be said that good Keropok Lekor is even harder to find. A good Keropok Lekor has to be crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, with just the right touch of sweet and spicy chilli sauce to complement. Since many Malaysian states have their own version of Keropok Lekor, there's plenty of variations to test out starting with this one!
5. Pisang Goreng, or Banana Fritters
Again, like the Keropok Lekor above, every state in Malaysia also produces its own version of Pisang Goreng. Even within the states itself, you can already get different types just from going stall to stall. For the one served at Agrobazaar Malaysia though, it comes with a dark soy sauce, or kicap, following the general preference of the Johor people. Even though we are just a causeway away from Johorians, Singaporeans usually eat their Pisang Goreng on it's own, savouring the sweet caramelised texture of the fried bananas encased in a layer of crisp, fried batter. The people of Johor on the other hand, like to dip the Pisang Goreng in soy sauce, mixing the sweet taste of banana with the salty taste of soy sauce. So close yet such different preferences!
Shophouse front exterior of Agrobazaar Malaysia. Did you know they also have a cafe on the ground floor?
Address: 37 Sultan Gate, Singapore 198485
Opening hours: Sundays to Thursdays - 10am to 10pm, Saturdays & Fridays - 10am to 11pm
More info available here
*Prices above are subject to 10% service charge, but guess what! You can enjoy 10% off at Agrobazaar with your FRIENDS with halalfoodhunt.com Rewards Card.
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