Have you heard that you can experience Singapore for as little as P135 in the middle of Metro Manila? Yes, that’s true. All you have to do is head to My Singapore Food Street restaurant in the second floor of SM Megamall bridge way.
This fast casual food joint boasts of serving Singaporean dishes that are honestly authentic that your taste buds will be brainwashed into thinking you are actually in Singapore. Why would it not be authentic? From the ingredients, to cooking style to the ambience, they all scream Singapore.
How It All Began
When Singapore-born Vivien Tan (yes, the celebrity cook and TV personality) moved to the Philippines after marrying a Filipino, she, just like any expat, began to miss her home country, especially its cuisine. So, together with businessman Jean Henri Lhuillier, they brought forth My Singapore Food Street with the intention of “serving up a slice of Singapore in the Heart of Manila”
The My Singapore Food Street Experience
A few weeks ago, the restaurant hosted a bloggers’ event in which I was fortunate enough to be a part of. A cooking demonstration by the restaurant’s general manager, Mr. Emman Orbeta, was on the top of the agenda but, Ms. Vivien Tan made sure to warm us all up first with her many anecdotes about life and work experiences and of course, love of food, especially Singaporean food.
Donning our black cooking aprons, we entered the kitchen and Mr. Orbeta introduced us to the reasons why My Singapore Food Street is truly a Singaporean restaurant.
First, their ingredients are fresh and some of them come all the way from Singapore.
They cut up the vegetables and mix their own sauces in the restaurant. No frozen or packaged produce here. Artificial flavorings and additives are not allowed as well- yes, that means no MSG- when cooking the famed Singaporean dishes that they offer.
Just like in Singapore, they use a large wok over high heat when cooking their dishes. Char Kwey Teow (stir fried noodles with bean sprouts, red onion, shrimps, squid balls and fish cakes; “Singaporean Pad Thai”), Nasi goreng (stir fried rice with garlic, cabbage, red onions, carrots, green peas, sweet corn, shrimps, homemade Sambal chili and topped with scrambled eggs) and Black Pepper Beef (marinated beef with garlic, bell peppers, red onions, crushed black pepper and oyster sauce) were just some of the dishes that were prepared in front of us; some of us even got to actually cook these dishes (with the guidance of the chef of course.)
The customer is very much valued by the team behind My Singapore Food Street. When serving your chicken, for example, they prefer to serve pure chicken meat (sans the bones) so you get more out of each serving, unless the customers themselves request not to have the chicken deboned.
What makes them different from other restaurants is their willingness to enable diners to customize their meals; to let them “experience their own definition of Singapore”. Allergic to prawns? You can tell them to forego this ingredient in your Laksa Noodle Soup. Lover of all things spicy? You can tell them to amp up the spiciness level of your nasi goreng. This is their way of blending warm Filipino customer service with the Singaporean cuisine.
If you are a vegetarian, there is no need to fret. The restaurant has you in mind as well. They serve meat-free dishes such as 5 Spice Tofu, Garlic Broccoli, Bokchoy in Oyster Sauce and Eggplant in Black Bean Sauce.
After savoring several of their signature dishes, which also included the pork and chicken satay (diced, skewered and grilled meats) and roast style chicken served with Hainanese rice (rice cooked in chicken stew, lemongrass and pandan), the desserts came out next. Just because we were stuffed, it was not an excuse to not make our own Paratha (toasted flatbread), where we got to choose our own combination of fillings- tuna, cheese and vegetables. Yes, we got to flex our muscles and slam the dough on the tabletop in order to flatten it. This treat is usually served with a curry sauce but condensed milk was also made available.
Of course, it wouldn’t be an authentic Singaporean experience without the ever famous drinks- Frozen Milo Dinosaur and Kopi Tarik. You will not be disappointed. They do not scrimp on the ingredients (no over diluted Milo, thank you) and they literally ‘pull’ the coffee (or tea, if you ordered the Teh Tarik)- a skill mastered by Mr. Orbeta. But if you really want a burst of sweetness, there is the Milo Godzilla– a cold Milo drink topped with ice cream; think coke float without the coke.
As we approached the early afternoon hours and after filling our stomachs with delectable food, our minds with food facts (the Southeast Asian coffee used is fried, not roasted, which lessens its caffeine content) and our hearts with laughter and joy, it was time to take our picture with the Merlion- its smaller replica at least. This concluded our journey through the gastronomy of Singapore. We then gave our thanks to our gracious hosts, Ms. Vivien Tan, Mr. Emman Orbeta and Mr. Ramon Ferrer.
A goodbye was not uttered because I am sure to be craving back to My Singapore Food Street for some more nasi goreng.