Really Something 非同小可: Taiwanese hawker sells affordable $4.50 lu rou fan at Chinatown Complex
Taiwan has always been one of my favourite places to visit. Its night markets, amazing scenery and yummy food easily makes it an amazing place for a holiday. If you’re not up for a trip to Taiwan just yet, I urge you to visit Really Something 非同小可, a humble hawker stall at Chinatown Complex, to satiate your Taiwanese food cravings.
And just in case you tend to get lost in Chinatown Complex (like I do), you can find Really Something 非同小可 nestled away in the blue section of the hawker centre, right opposite Tew Chew Street Tew Chew Porridge.
Really Something 非同小可 is single-handedly run by Mr Li, 34, a true-blue Taiwanese who grew up in Chiayi, a region in southern Taiwan.
Mr Li has been in Singapore for about 6 to 7 years, working for several restaurants before he decided to come out to start his own hawker stall in 2020.
“I like the flexibility and it gives me more time,” he shared. “When I used to work in a restaurant, you’ll easily clock up to 12 hours each day. For example, you start work at 9am and then work past 9pm.”
What I tried at Really Something 非同小可
What drew me to Really Something 非同小可 was its affordability and authenticity.
Not only are all of Mr Li’s recipes from Taiwan— especially its Chiayi Chicken Rice, which he travelled back to Taiwan just to conduct R&D for— all of its dishes range between S$4 to S$6.
In fact, before inflation forced Mr Li to raise prices, its dishes used to cost S$3!
The one dish that I was most excited to try was Really Something’s Braised Pork Rice (S$4.50).
Though simple enough— comprising white rice, braised pork, a braised egg and plenty of gravy— I noticed with much delight that Mr Li saved no expense in its portion size, and watched as he drenched my entire plate of white rice with lor (thick gravy).
The minute I ate my first spoonful of Braised Pork Rice, it gave me such immediate comfort that I had to close my eyes to savour it.
This was such a classic combination, and one that Really Something nailed: every spoonful of warm, fluffy white rice was paired with umami braised sauce, which leaned towards the sweeter side of things rather than savoury.
Above all, there was a fragrant taste of spices and star anise, which I enjoyed immensely.
As with most lu rou fan dishes, the pork belly was chopped into bite-sized pieces which made it incredibly easy to eat.
What I loved most about Really Something’s pork belly was that it retained a slight bite while being soft and tender, which made it all the more satisfying.
All in all, this was a really comforting and fuss-free plate of Braised Pork Rice that I’ll gladly come back for again. I only wished that it had come with some greens for contrast— be it salted preserved vegetables or blanched choy sum.
I decided to try the cheapest thing on Really Something’s menu— Chiayi Chicken Rice (S$4).
Chiayi Chicken Rice is nothing like the chicken rice we see here in Singapore. Also known as Taiwanese chicken rice, this recipe originated from Chiayi and consists of shredded chicken (or more traditionally, turkey) on top of white rice. It’s usually topped with shallot oil, fried shallots and spring onions.
Mr Li advised me to give everything a good mix before diving in, so as to ensure the shallot oil and sauce gets distributed evenly.
Though it looked like a straightforward bowl of white rice, shredded chicken and fried shallots, this was incredibly fragrant. I could taste the fried shallot bits, an aromatic shallot oil, and the sweet taste of soft, shredded chicken which tied everything together seamlessly.
Oh, so simple, yet so delicious!
This might not be a fancy Taiwanese cafe or restaurant that serves set meals, complete with bubble tea, dumplings or beef noodles, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself at Really Something.
Each bite of Braised Pork Rice and Chiayi Chicken Rice was comforting and delicious, and what was even better was how fuss-free and affordable everything was. While the portion sizes aren’t exactly the biggest around, each dish was authentic, hearty and substantial.
Just a quick note that as the stall is single-handedly run by Mr Li, it’s best advised that you check their Facebook page for any sudden changes in operating hours before heading down.
Expected damage: S$4 – S$6 per pax
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