A little birdie told me about Appam Aunty, located in the North Canteen of Republic Polytechnic. Not only does it sell over 35 varieties of appam, but it’s also easy on the wallet as well. The most exciting news is that it’s open to the public daily! I knew I had to check this place out since appam is a dish that I rarely try.
After exploring the massive grounds of Republic Polytechnic, I finally reached the canteen. As it was a Sunday, every stall had its shutters down, except for Appam Aunty. The whole place was so silent that you could literally hear a pin drop. Finding a washroom here was quite challenging, and you’ll need direction.
To my astonishment, there were a couple of students, a whole family, and a few delivery riders hanging around whilst waiting to collect their orders. The place wasn’t so dead after all!
The owner, Shalini (Appam Aunty) still does the traditional fermentation and flour preparation methods using the same recipe up till now, which had been passed down for generations from her late grandmother, since the 1950s.
I took a moment to compose myself, as I was a little overwhelmed with the sheer number of choices available. In the end, I settled for 2 sweet and 2 savoury appams.
What I tried at Appam Aunty
I kickstarted my Sunday lunch with the Egg & Cheese Appam (S$3.50) served with a Coconut Milk dip. There was a mound of shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese on top, concealing the centre of the pancake. As I pulled the pancake apart, the cheese pull wasn’t as glorious as I’d imagined it would be— how disappointing!
The egg had penetrated into the core of the pancake, transforming it into a golden-yellow sunshine-like piece. Although the appam was lusciously creamy and velvety from the richness of the egg, the texture still remained slightly chewy like a mochi.
The Coconut Milk dip had a faint tinge of sweetness, and contrasted well with the slight savouriness of the cheese. However, that being said, I would’ve preferred something spicy, like a curry, to pair it with.
To test that theory, I shall return next time to try the Fish Curry or Prawn Curry dip— we’ll see!
I then moved on to try the Satay Goreng (Mutton) (S$5). On top of the perfectly-round appam, there were chunks of mutton satay, cubes of red onion/cucumber, and a dollop of peanut gravy by the side.
The mutton satay was well-marinated with dominant hints of lemongrass and galangal. The peanut gravy was slightly spiced and went hand-in-hand with the meat. The cubes of red onion and cucumber provided elements of juiciness, spiciness and crunchiness altogether at once.
Similar to the Egg & Cheese Appam, the centre of the pancake was fluffy and had a honeycomb-like structure— Nyonya kueh fans will find it similar to kueh ambon.
When I ate this dish as a whole, it was a multi-sensory experience which was extremely satisfying— you’ll need to experience it for yourself to understand!
Next, I was excited to try the Kaya Toast Appam (S$3). Visually, it looked very appealing with the glistening puddle of kaya coating the centre of the pancake coupled with the melted cubes of butter.
Even before I took a bite, my senses were seduced by the aromatic whiffs of pandan. The rich and sweet coconutty taste of the kaya was further enhanced with the creamy lusciousness of the melted butter.
The crispy corners of the appam added some satisfying crunchy touches to the dish too.
I ended my afternoon with the last dish, the MSW Durian Appam (S$3.50). The pancake was loaded with a generous topping of Mao Shan Wang durian puree.
The intense aroma and taste of the durian would drive haters far away— not me! The natural bitter-sweetness of the puree didn’t overwhelm my palette with richness, allowing me to enjoy the dish without feeling jelak.
If you’re around Woodlands and would like to explore somewhere new for lunch, Appam Aunty would be the ideal choice.
Explore Republic Polytechnic on weekdays when it’s swamped with students, or on weekends when hardly anyone is around— the choice is yours. I was happy to visit when it was less packed.
Expected damage: S$2 – S$8.50 per pax
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