Dubai Express is found within Sims Vista Market & Food Centre, and can be found right as you enter the hawker centre. Upon looking at the signboard, it seems to sell many things— from Turkish wraps to pasta, but I was here for one thing only– nasi briyani.
I had heard many good things about the nasi briyani here and was excited to give them a try. Dubai Express’ nasi briyani claims to be based off a home recipe that has been around since 1921, which means the recipe is almost 101 years old!
What I tried at Dubai Express
The Mutton Beryanee (S$11) was served with a papadum, a bowl of Dalcha curry, achar (which is pickled fruits), and some sauteed long beans.
Growing up, I was not the biggest fan of lamb or mutton, mainly due to the slight gamey taste that was sometimes present. However, I have since learnt that it depends entirely on how the stalls prepare and cook the meat, and have since developed a newfound appreciation for the meat.
There were several chunks of mutton meat within this mutton briyani, and it was delectable. There was a very mild, almost undetectable gamey taste, and was cooked well with all of the spices. It was not spicy at all but very fragrant.
The meat of the mutton was not as tender as the chicken (which I had later), but was still easy to bite into, and had a good chew. It was coated in a savoury black sauce which went well with the meat and the rice. While I appreciated how the mutton had a nice bite, I wished it had been a tad more tender.
Similarly, the Chicken Beryanee (S$10) was also served with a papadum, a bowl of Dalcha curry, char (which is pickled fruits), and some sauteed long beans.
After taking a spoonful of rice, I found out that the rice was extremely fluffy and fragrant, and was spiced extremely well. The basmati rice was a long grain, and was not clumpy at all. The chicken meat in the Chicken Beryanee was served in a generous portion of chicken leg. The meat within was moist and tender, and was doused in a spiced sauce that was delicious with the rice.
One thing about the briyani at Dubai Express is that they were very generous with their portions of rice, so if you don’t want to waste food or are a small eater, do ask them for less rice. I couldn’t tell which meat was given under the mountain of rice––– that was how much rice I was given!
Both briyani dishes came with red achar and sauteed long beans. The achar consisted of pickled fruits such as pineapple and papaya, and had a slight sourish vinegary sauce that went well with the meat and the rice. I had only ever tried Chinese achar, so it was an interesting variation that I had not tried before, but was really delicious.
The long bean was a pretty typical vegetable that had been sauteed well. However, it was cold as it was cooked in the morning and was piled onto the plate to be served when the briyani was ordered. Nevertheless, I appreciated how they served sides with the briyani to cut through the heaviness and oiliness that the briyani could have.
The Dalcha curry was really spicy. After I had a mouthful of curry with the rice, my mouth was on fire and I had not brought water with me. After a series of deep breaths, sucking in cold air and releasing hot air, I felt better. Consequently, I learnt to take smaller spoonfuls of curry. It was delicious though, and I hoped that my spice tolerance would increase.
Tragedy struck while I was taking a photo, and one of the papadums flew from my dish onto the floor and shattered. I was heartbroken as I love papadum, and had no choice but to snap away at my sadness. Consequently, a lucky pigeon came along and commandeered this delicious piece of papadum.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
The papadum was overall delicious. It was seasoned well, but some parts were crispy while others were more stale and less crunchy, making it a somewhat bittersweet experience.
The Nasi Briyani at Dubai Express was delicious and I will be coming back to try their curry puffs that I did not manage to try the first time. While it is on the slightly pricey side, I believe that it was delicious enough to justify its price point. Considering how Dubai Express’ nasi briyani recipe has been around for over a hundred years, it’s a no-brainer that it’s definitely a delicious one.
Expected damage: S$10 – S$11 per pax
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