When you think of street food in New York, the first thing that comes to mind is probably hot dogs. We’ve all seen it in many forms of media— hot dog stands littered on a cold and dry New York afternoon, with steam blowing across the wind. What if I told you that recently, rice bowls have been giving hot dogs a run for their money? Well, the folks at Overrice definitely did their homework.
No prizes for guessing which popular NY cult brand inspired Overrice’s inspired rice bowls. Each bowl comes with proteins, lettuce, and tomatoes, and is finished with a drizzle of an elusive secret sauce along with a helping of hot chilli sauce blend. Need more hints? The Halal Guys, a chain of halal restaurants that started as halal food carts in New York. You can now find this hyped favourite at Overrice, which is located at 48 Arab Street.
What I tried at Overrice
The Hal…I mean Overrice has a near identical menu to its inspiration. It has everything The Halal Guys has, apart from some additional snacks and desserts. Well, they do say that imitation is the highest form of flattery.
I went with the Combo Signature Bowl (S$14.90++) which has both pulled beef and chicken, as well as a side of Falafel Bites (S$8++).
For light eaters, they have pita pocket options such as the Chicken Pita Pocket (S$8.90++) and Spicy Popcorn Chicken Pita Pocket (S$9.90++). There were also snacks such as Yawn Balls (S$8++), Buffalo Chicken (S$8++) and Beef Fries (S$8++).
First up, the Combo Signature Bowl came with shredded lettuce, three pieces of pita bread, both pulled beef and chicken, and was drizzled generously with its secret white sauce. A separate menacing-looking red sauce was given its own container, maybe hinting at the pain it could cause.
“This tasted like biryani with yoghurt sauce,” I thought to myself as I went for another bite, which didn’t change my initial perception. The use of yellow basmati rice only made both dishes indiscernible from one another. The much-touted secret white sauce was really nothing more than any yoghurt-based sauce that you’ve ever had, perhaps just a touch milder.
Similarly, the pulled beef was nothing of note. It wasn’t the juiciest and was quite chewy. Maybe it’s a placebo, but I swore that it tasted a bit like those beef dishes that usually accompany a biryani. The chicken fared better and was seasoned well.
The pita bread was fluffy and had a nice chew. It also provided a refreshing change of texture if you ever get bored of the rice. I found that the best way of eating the pitas was to use them to pinch a piece of your rice bowl to make your very own tiny pita wrap.
The red sauce was pure heat and tasted too oriental to warrant a second look. I am glad that Overrice didn’t follow the practice set by The Halal Guys, which is to have the red sauce drizzled directly onto the dish by default. See, Overrice wasn’t copying blindly!
Despite my initial misgivings, I was thoroughly enjoying my meal as the individual elements, though pretty standard on their own, combined together to complement all the flavours and textures in the bowl. It was one of the rare times when I actually enjoyed the addition of lettuce to my meal.
The Falafel Bites came with the same signature secret sauce with scallions. It had an unexpectedly crispy exterior, and was almost crunchy like freshly fried breaded chicken. Its interior was soft and had a more herby taste to it as compared to a normal falafel. You could taste the grounded chickpeas but what followed after was this slightly bitter taste.
Predictably, it was dry, and I thought a more ample serving of the signature sauce or providing a dip would have done wonders for the falafel. Maybe a better way of having it would be to get a falafel wrap instead.
I never had The Halal Guys before, so maybe it does taste like biryani, to which I applaud Overrice for replicating it. Though I had higher expectations, my emptied bowl meant that I had a very good meal regardless.
It is easy to call Overrice “Overpriced”, and maybe it is, but considering it’s located at one of the most crowded tourist spots in Singapore and with all that’s going around in the world in terms of inflation and war, the price is at least understandable.
There’s also a certain novelty that comes with eating an apparently “foreign” dish that we’ve only stumbled upon through social media. But if that isn’t your thing, then Overrice is probably not for you.
Well, if you ever need fantastic biryani that is wallet-friendly, boy do I have a place for you!
Expected damage: S$8 – S$14.90 per pax
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