I’m pretty sure that every Singaporean is familiar with our city’s vibrant hawker culture. It’s fed us our favourite comfort foods for decades, with an unending variety of cuisines, dishes, and flavours. I’ll admit that Latin-inspired fare isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of hawker food, but when the opportunity arose for me to try Tres Gorderas, I accepted happily.
Located in Sprout Hub at Henderson Road, this hawker centre is situated in what used to be Henderson Secondary School. The school tuckshop has since been revamped into a spacious dining area with tons of natural lighting. It is also pet-friendly and has plenty of seats suitable for long hours of studying (and wolfing down guacamole-laden nachos!).
What I tried
In true hawker fashion, the menu is simple—there are no frills, no fuss. There are three bases to choose from, four protein choices, and add-ons.
If you’re anything like our video intern, Sarah, who loves tortilla chips as much as I love desserts, then order Tres Gorderas’ Tortilla Chips with Chicken Salsa (S$12) and be ready to get your hands dirty. The tray of chips is topped with an unerring combination of shredded cheese, melted to light gold perfection, cream cheese, guacamole, jalapeños, pico de gallo, and finished off with spring onions and mayonnaise.
Tres Gorderas will deliver on their promise to go big or go home, and unless you’ve got a mammoth appetite, I wouldn’t recommend trying to polish this mountain off yourself. There is a lot going on—the flavours clamour for attention, resulting in a chicken salsa that was sadly overshadowed. You could, of course, scrape the ingredients off, but I would’ve loved for it to have held its own.
My main gripe when it comes to tortilla chips is that they get soggy too quickly, especially because I’m a slow eater. I’ve found that fries are usually a safer option, which is why the Fries with Pork Carnitas (S$12) was preferable in that aspect. Tres Gorderas didn’t skimp out on the toppings with this either. It’s just like the medley of toppings that come with the tortilla chips—though without shredded cheese.
The pork carnitas fell short for me for the same reason the chicken salsa did. I wonder if there’s a way to strike a healthy balance between being admirably generous with toppings and making sure the main meat of the dish retains a full-bodied flavour that lingers on the taste buds. It’s an attempt worth commending nonetheless, and perfect for sharing with a friend over a hearty catch-up.
The Burrito Wrap with BBQ Steak (S$12) was my first pick, and the one I saved for the last. It’s hard to go wrong with a simple burrito stuffed with turmeric rice, guacamole, Mexican beans, pico de gallo, and of course, a hearty serving of smoked BBQ beef chuck.
What truly blew me away was a generous portion of tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef, complete with a savoury smokiness to cart you off to food coma heaven and back. Pair that with the fresh crunches of the pico de gallo, and you’ve got yourself a flavour-filled bite that hits the nail right on the head.
It’s hard to go wrong when it comes to these staple ingredients, and especially so when they’re served over well-loved nachos and fries. I found myself wishing for something more, something that would make me rave about this to all my friends. It’s not quite there yet but shows great potential, hopefully with an expanded menu and more varieties.
Tres Gorderas also boasts of a variety of Add Ons, which you can add to your order of burritos to beef it up—take your pick from Tortilla Chips (S$4), Guacamole (S$4), Hummus (S$3), Falafel (S$3), or Pico de Gallo (S$2). Go on and treat yourself to something good, it’s definitely worth it.
Tres Gorderas does tick all the boxes if you just want a heaping plate of snacks to split with a friend over a long-awaited catch-up. I didn’t have extremely high expectations, but I still have to admit that this stall leaves much to be desired if you’re hankering after the real deal.
Expected damage: S$10 – S$12 per pax.
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