“Got wok hei anot?” Now ‘fess up; we’re all guilty of saying this phrase at some point in our lives. If you’ve lived more than half your life in Singapore, you’d know the struggles of finding the secret ingredient in most stir-fry dishes: wok hei. So, what’s the secret? While I’m far from mastering the technique myself, the team at Fried Rice SG located at Novena certainly impressed me with their incredible consistency.
The six-month-old takeaway kiosk abjectly named themselves after their pride and joy. You best believe there are 14 variations that are quite unlike any you’ve ever seen or tried.
It’s hard to miss the stall as you walk outside of Royal Square Mall. Their walls are covered in life-size styled shots of their fried rice renditions and it’s just a few stalls down from everyone’s favourite Two Men Bagel House.
Co-Owner Alan shared with me that Fried Rice SG is a side-project from the current seafood restaurant his wife and business partner runs. If there’s one thing you can count on the team here, it’s definitely the swimmers.
And since Uncle Roger’s huge hype over egg fried rice back in 2020, I thought I’d try it myself to see if it was a hit or miss. Boy, was I in for a huge treat!
What I tried
Right off the bat, I absolutely love these takeaway boxes. It makes for a quick and easy after-work meal, as you change out into your fluffy bedroom slippers to sit cross-legged on the sofa, as you turn that latest K-drama episode on Netflix. No need for any dishwashing!
As recommended by Alan, I opted for the two bestsellers first, Gam Hiong Prawn Fried Rice (S$8.90) and Italian Herb Chicken Fried Rice (S$8.50). The former is their take on hae bee hiam (spicy dried shrimp) fried rice, stir-fried with curry leaves and topped with a generous amount of prawns, while the latter is a cheeky spin of East meets West.
Take my word for it when I say this; the aromatic wok hei will engulf you like the heat at the beach as you open the lids of the boxes. A sensational moment that will go down in your book of wok hei experiences.
On one hand, the Gam Hiong Prawn Fried Rice delivered fresh prawns (and insanely generous), great integrity of the premium Japanese rice grains and solid flavours.
On another hand, it could use more spice and dried shrimp to elevate its base flavours. I added the belacan chilli (served on the side) which truly elevated the dish with extra zest and heat. An absolute yes. I repeat: Must. Add. Belacan!
The Italian Herb Chicken Fried Rice was a huge surprise as I was skeptical about the fusion dish prior to trying it. Peppery, tasty and delicious chunks of fresh chicken all in one, this was a game-changer.
Don’t be deceived by the lack of vibrant colours throughout their fried rice variations; this is living proof of never judging a book by its cover!
The highlight of the evening: Chicken Cutlet Fried Rice (S$7.90). Alan shared that contrary to popular belief, their chicken cutlet is more well-loved amongst his regulars as compared to the pork cutlet. I took his word for it and had no regrets.
My first question to Alan as I saw the huge portion was, “You mean one portion comes with this huge chicken cutlet?” He nodded confidently and said every box is packed separately to ensure the sinful chunk remains crispy.
Ugh. It was delightful nonetheless. A refreshing combination instead of the conventional Din Tai Fung-style pork chop and egg fried rice.
I expected one of the fusion flavours to blow my mind, yet here I am, having a slice of humble pie.
Not forgetting the outstanding wok hei from the egg fried rice, this is a simple yet killer combination. Who doesn’t love fried chicken and better yet, when it’s paired with fried rice?
Surprisingly, the Signature Kong Ba Pau (S$2.80 for one, S$8 for three), otherwise known as Chinese braised pork belly buns, was the dark horse of the carb-lovin‘ establishment. A thick slice of tender, fatty pork slice sits in between soft and pillowy flat steamed buns. Plus, it had just the right amount of sweetness.
Did I mention the pork just melts in your mouth? I’d come back just for this and their hearty range of sides, really.
Entirely deserving to be called wok hei masters. The Fried Rice SG team has outdone itself and I only wish more would try it for themselves. While other bestsellers include Chilli Crab Fried Rice (S$17.90) and Australian Scallops with Fish Roe (S$12.90), keeping it simple with the bare basics of fried rice does it for me. No need for anything fancy when the humble egg fried rice does the trick.
And if I may add, it’s easily better than its competitors out there. Residents of Novena, you got lucky with this gem!
Expected damage: S$7.90 – $17.90 per pax
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