Visiting Market Street Hawker Centre, especially during lunch hour, is a crowded affair, but all it took was a single whiff of Yummy Nyonya Peranakan’s cai png offerings and I was already sold.
Run by a Peranakan family, Yummy Nyonya Peranakan has been dishing out authentic Nyonya items cai fan style ever since it first opened at Golden Shoe Hawker Centre in 2013.
The newly-launched Market Street Hawker Centre is nestled on the second and third floors of CapitaSpring, a 51-storey integrated building at Raffles Place. To find Yummy Nyonya Peranakan, simply head up to the second floor and walk straight— it’s located at the end of the row.
The smell of freshly cooked sambal belacan was bright, citrusy and fragrant, and like a moth to a flame, I found myself queuing for Yummy Nyonya Peranakan with a rumbling stomach.
Amongst the line-up of enticing dishes, I spotted familiar items such as ayam buah keluak, chap chye, beef rendang, and sambal goreng.
With The Caifan Song playing in my head, I readied myself and got down to ordering.
What I tried at Yummy Nyonya Peranakan
As I was dining with a friend, I decided to order two plates of rice from Yummy Nyonya Peranakan.
For the first plate, I went with Beef Rendang (S$4), Eggplant (S$1), Shrimp (S$2.50) and Chap Chye (S$1). Together with the White Rice (S$0.50), my first plate of Nyonya cai fan worked out to be S$9.
Okay, definitely not the cheapest cai fan around, but I knew the price wasn’t overly exaggerated because I had ordered both the Beef Rendang and Shrimp.
I took my first bite of the Beef Rendang and instantly knew why it cost me S$4.
It was incredibly soft, like pulled pork, with a hearty richness that stunned me for a couple of seconds. I could taste a fragrant milkiness from the coconut cream, which added an extra depth of umami to it.
Despite its hefty price tag, I’d order this again from Yummy Nyonya Peranakan in a heartbeat. It ticked off all the boxes on my list: it was juicy, fragrant, meaty and absolutely delicious. My only gripe would be its serving size— I wish they had given me more!
The Shrimp came in little bite-sized pieces and was accompanied by a chilli sauce that had shallots in it.
I enjoyed the combination of flavours and textures: the shrimps were plump and crunchy, while the gravy leaned towards the sweeter side, with a touch of tangy chilli that had a sharp bite.
For just S$1, I’ve got to say that Yummy Nyonya Peranakan’s Eggplant was a real steal. While it came in a long rectangular strip that was snipped into smaller lengths, its texture and flavours were spot on, especially when paired with the house-made sambal sauce.
The Eggplant was super soft and naturally sweet, and went hand-in-hand with the bright sambal, which crept in as a slow burn and was surprisingly less spicy than I thought it would be. It had none of that iconic sponginess or bitterness from undercooked eggplant, and was meltingly tender.
Last but not least, the Chap Chye— a Peranakan staple.
While Yummy Nyonya Peranakan’s rendition only included cabbage, black fungus and carrots, this was still authentically simple and tasty. If I closed my eyes, I could imagine having this at an actual Peranakan restaurant, complete with glass noodles and thin slices of beancurd skins.
Now, onto my second plate of Nyonya cai fan from Yummy Nyonya Peranakan.
I decided to order the Ayam Rendang (S$3.50), Sambal Goreng (S$1), Curry Vegetables (S$1) and Ayam Buah Keluak (S$3.50). Together with White Rice (S$0.50), this plate of cai fan cost me S$9.
Yummy Nyonya Peranakan’s Ayam Rendang, which is essentially chicken cooked in a curry-like rendang sauce, was my dining companion’s favourite item for the day.
The chicken meat was tender and juicy, but the star of the dish was the rendang, which was creamy and absolutely lemak. I enjoyed how fragrant it was while not being spicy at all, so those who cannot handle spicy food will love this dish.
Though frankly, for S$3.50, I had expected more than just one drumstick.
Yummy Nyonya Peranakan’s Ayam Buah Keluak was milder than expected with muted savoury notes that made me wish it had been saltier or more fragrant.
Admittedly, this was a little disappointing and I wished that its flavours had been stronger and more pronounced, but I suppose if you’re eating this as a cai fan dish, you wouldn’t want it to overpower the rest of the cai fan items with its iconic rich, truffle-like earthiness (which unfortunately wasn’t as pronounced here).
The Curry Vegetables were crunchy, sweet and tasty, and came with plenty of runny curry sauce that paired perfectly with the white rice. This was a simple vegetable item that was familiar and comforting, and while it didn’t exactly blow my mind, it sufficed.
As with every cai fan stall, there are hits and misses when it comes to each individual item. Not to mention, your experience will heavily differ depending on what you personally prefer.
As for myself, Yummy Nyonya Peranakan’s Beef Rendang and Eggplant definitely got my stamp of approval, and even though the former was a little on the pricey side, I’d willingly fork out S$4 so that I can enjoy the tender beef and savoury rendang. Personally, I’ll skip the Buah Keluak and Shrimp and go for fail-safe dishes like Chap Chye.
All in all, this was a satisfying zhng-ed cai fan, with hearty and authentic Nyonya flavours that I’ll come back for. Perhaps next time, I’ll try other ingredients like the Lady’s Fingers, Sotong, Ayam Lemak or even the Assam Fish!
Expected damage: S$5 – $10 per pax
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