I’m always on the hunt for interesting snacks and as I get older, I crave savoury ones more than the sweet ones. My curiosity was sparked when I chanced upon Bakerdoo at Balestier Plaza, which offers spicy sambal ikan bilis-filled buns and beef rendang ones as well.
Bakerdoo is a Muslim-owned snacks cafe that opened in August 2021. It is owned by husband and wife team, Yusri and Tuty.
Balestier Plaza houses a lot of renovation companies as well as maid agencies, so it is a wonder that we chanced upon Bakerdoo that’s tucked away in a corner of the quiet mall. Inside the petite-sized cafe were just two small tables with a couple of chairs each.
Thankfully, I came to know that the main focus of their business relies on online deliveries and takeaway, which require orders to be placed one day in advance. They do not recommend dining in— do take note!
What I tried at Bakerdoo
We were offered three of their original flavours which were freshly fried by Mr. Yusri. Despite looking the same, I learnt that you can differentiate them by the colour markings on top, just like how you would for a curry puff.
I dived in for Sambal Ikan Bilis (S$12 for 6), which was identifiable by having no coloured markings on the top.
I tore it apart using my hands and noticed that the dough was stretchy. A satisfying mochi-like texture filled my mouth as I sunk my teeth into the fried bun. The sambal was fragrant and had the perfect amount of spiciness, reminding me of the ones used in nasi lemak. The anchovies provided some texture and I understand why this flavour is their most popular one.
Ms. Tuty told me that their homemade sambal involves a few days of preparation; the washing of the dried chilli to the cooking of the sambal alone takes three to five hours!
The next flavour on my mini fried bun adventure was the Cheese (S$12 for 6) which had a pink marking on top. Ms. Tuty said, “These are my children’s favourites!” The cheese was warm and gooey as the buns were freshly fried moments ago.
I would think that the cheese will become dry and cold the moment you leave them out in the open, especially if you are having them delivered to your home. Ms. Tuty recommends that you toast them for a few minutes to get them nice and hot before consuming them, for the best eating experience.
Frankly, I wasn’t looking forward to their Red Bean (S$12 for 6), which came with the green markings on top. Red bean isn’t my particular favourite flavour and I normally wouldn’t go for it, but Bakerdoo might have just converted me! The filling was thick and robust, and it reminded me of eating a mooncake. It wasn’t overly sweet and it was pretty addictive. I can see myself having seconds!
The Beef Rendang (S$12 for 6) is their latest offering. Mr. Yusri and Ms. Tuty launched this flavour during the recent Hari Raya Ramadan period. The filling, which is made from minced beef had notes of lemon grass and kaffir lime, which permeated my taste buds. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice flavour, but I just wished the beef rendang filling had a little more oomph!
Bakerdoo also offers Chicken Curry Puffs (S$12 for 6) and beverages like Bakerdoo Milk Tea (S$3), Belgium Hot Chocolate (S$4), and these interesting Hausboom Drinks (S$5), which come in flavours like Roti Bakar and Asam Jawa, all of which are available on their online platform.
The Roti Bakar instantly transported me back to an Arab Street bazaar I visited three years ago before the pandemic, where I had my first experience with butter beer. It had a strong caramel taste and would go very well with the fried buns. The Asam Jawa reminded me of a fizzy tamarind drink which tastes very refreshing.
Balestier is an area that one would usually go for bak kut teh and tau sar piah. It’s a place that I would normally avoid. Not many people know this, but heading there brings back sad memories of my late grandmother, who unfortunately passed on a few years back inside a nursing home within the vicinity.
After discovering Bakerdoo, I wouldn’t mind overcoming my negative feelings to head to Balestier to get my hands on their yummy fried breaded buns— especially the Sambal Ikan Bilis and Red Bean!
Mr. Yusri and Ms. Tuty head over to their cafe as early as seven in the morning daily, just to prepare their buns on the spot. The buns are only prepared according to their orders for the day and they only keep a small frozen stash for emergency situations.
Mr. Yusri is worried that their buns are a little on the expensive side, but given that a ton of hard work and dedication go into producing these beautiful golden brown breaded buns, I’d consider the price well justified. Their Beef Rendang and Sambal Ikan Bilis fillings are cooked slowly and go through a tedious process, not forgetting that every single bun is kneaded by hand, and individually breaded and fried.
To get your hands on their fried buns by delivery or self pick-up, click here.
Do take note that all orders via their website need to be made one day in advance as their handmade buns are made fresh for the day only!
Expected damage: S$12 – S$17 per pax
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