Lying a mere 10 minutes away from Toa Payoh bus interchange, Lok Me Up is a lok lok joint that charges only 60 cents per stick and opens till 2.30am from Tuesday to Sunday.
Regardless of whether it is roti prata or crispy you tiao (twisted fried dough) dunked into a cold glass of soy bean, these foods hit differently when indulging in them in the late hours of the night (or morning).
Case in point, another popular supper snack especially among teenagers would be lok lok. This Malaysian street snack which used to cater to Chinese nationality in the 1800s has evolved and is now enjoyed by all ages and races.
Those lucky to be residing in the vicinity are known to pop by for a casual fuss-free and satisfying midnight treat.
The Lok Me Up team starts their night at 5pm where a variety of skewers are slowly but surely piled up into 2 big fridges. Although, during my visit, I noticed that there seemed to be much less variety than other more known eateries.
There was not even any chicken wings or fresh prawns in sight! Perhaps the night was still young and not all the options were stocked up just yet.
What I tried at Lok Me Up
The fridges stocked full of neatly piled vegetable and meat skewers await hungry diners like me. The usual lok lok ingredients can be expected, including a variety of mushrooms, vegetables, meat and processed foods.
While I was hoping to pick out some special items that may be exclusive to this eatery, the staff bluntly stated that there was nothing special. Consequently, I merely chose the items that I would usually order at any other lok lok stall.
While most items are priced at 60 cents (as indicated using 1 stick), some meat and fish options are priced double and indicated using 2 sticks (as shown in the above image).
Deep fried foods may easily result in an overly greasy mess, but the oil used to fry the skewers here was surprisingly clean. There were little to no traces of that unpleasant taste of it being re-used.
One should note that there is only 1 preparation method here — deep frying. A salty seasoning is then sprinkled onto the sticks before it is served to customers.
Certainly, an array of dipping sauces must come alongside the fried lok lok skewers. A table placed directly in front of the storefront presents 3 types of sauces. Diners are instructed to help themselves to the dips.
Besides the usual sauces consisting of Thai Chilli and Garlic Chilli which added that necessary kick to an otherwise flat and repeated taste of fried food, the crowd-favourite Nacho Cheese sauce is contained in a squeeze bottle.
Unfortunately, the sauce that I made the trip for was temporarily out of stock that evening — the Mentaiko Dip.
Some vegetables naturally took on the form of sponges and soaked up the frying oil. These include the Broccoli (S$0.60) and Eggplant (S$0.60) which resulted in an explosion of oil when I bit into them.
This may deter individuals from ordering them. But I must emphasise that it was the result of the vegetable form itself and the cooking method, rather than the quality of oil or ingredient being used.
Besides the 2 vegetables mentioned above, other favourites are the Otah Stick (S$0.60), Bacon-wrapped Enoki Mushrooms (S$1.20), and – unexpectedly – the Frozen Food selections (S$0.60 to S$1.20).
A more unique dipping sauce would be the Nacho Cheese. As a cheese fanatic, I would pick this over the other sauces any day. With a thicker consistency than the spicy dips, I love how it clung onto the fried Chicken Nuggets (S$1.20) preventing any drips before it is devoured.
I mean, who can say no to cheese and fried meat?
Customers with a sweet tooth may slather their skewers in Condensed Milk. My favourite pairing with this decadent thickened milk – like many others – is with the Mini Mantou (S$0.60).
The only downside was the absence of carbohydrate options. Without the offering of rice or noodles, I was embarrassed to purchase a plate of rice from its adjacent store to fill my extra-hungry stomach.
I love the concept of sharing a dish with a group of family or friends. I would even go to the far extent to say that it is a rare sight for me to witness anyone eating lok lok alone.
The ingredients used to prepare the dish can be easily found in supermarkets and grocery stores. However, I believe the reason why this supper snack has been well received is its ability to pair well with drinks and its convenience when eating them.
However, the small variety of ingredients and plentiful flies around the entire stall (though thankfully, the ingredients were in a fridge and safe from the flies) may deter some patrons to this particular store. Nonetheless, at only 60 cents per skewer, many have let this insect challenge slide.
Now that the cat’s out of the bag, I wouldn’t be surprised if the eatery is filled the next time I’m craving this street snack!
Expected damage: S$5 – S$15 per pax
Other articles you might like:
The post Lok Me Up: Super cheap lok lok at $0.60 per stick with mentaiko & nacho cheese sauce in Toa Payoh appeared first on SETHLUI.com.