I don’t know much about Singaporean food that when we set up a trip (thanks teacher joy!) to a restaurant in the Banawe area of Quezon City called Bugis Singaporean Street Food, I didn’t know what to expect. We got in just when the Sunday lunch crowd was preparing to leave and judging from the packed house, all doubts were gone about this being a legitimate foodie find.
Looking for a set that covered as much flavor as possible, we went for the Singapore Laksa (Php180), Crunchy Tofu with Mushroom (Php120), Hainanese Chicken (Php180), skewers of Fried Tofu, Lobster Rolls, and Chicken Sate called Numnums (Php35 each).
Off the bat, we dove right into the Laksa. Being the curry variant (the other being asam, a sour, fish-based type of soup) this dish was literally teeming with flavor. Served on a crude and small chafing dish, the broth kept on churning, creating puffs of aromatic steam.
Each spoonful was exciting because of the flurry of tastes all rushing in to have a go at your palate. From the hot notes of the spices to the rich coconut milk, the mouth gets lost in a savory sensory overload. There were eggs, shrimps, numnums, and thick rice noodles all swimming in the full-bodied soup. Everything melded into one, made for a treat of texture and tastes that does not leave one wanting for flavor.
The Tofu with mushrooms offered a welcome respite. The cool and crunchy breaded tofu, smothered in a light and sweet sauce, calmed the palate down. It also helped that the dish looked regal, with its tofu cubes seemingly crowned with dark bits of mushroom.
The experience picked up slowly with the supple flavor of the Hainanese Chicken. Served on top of a bed of tomato and cucumber slices, the chicken kept its chew yet fully covered in light gingery zest , making it a perfect bite with a buffer of Hainanese rice. You can season to taste with a serving of chili, ginger, and soy based sauces.
The Numnums were a jolt. Dipped in curry, deep fried and served with a sweet and sour sauce, the suckers were savory pockets best enjoyed shoveling mouthfuls of steamed rice. The Chicken Sate left a distinct impression, while the Fish Tofu cubes stayed light and the Lobster balls mildly seasoned. All in all, I would love to have tried the rest of the skewer offerings if it weren’t for the limited tummy space.
We decided to add sweets into the mix with a cold Grass Jelly (Php45) and a Frookie Monster yogurt sandwich (Php105) aptly ending the food trip with a combo of palate soothers.
Having never tried authentic Singaporean food, I was left impressed (borderline food coma) after this Bugis ordeal. The flavors that hit me, going through the different dishes, were bouncy yet balanced. The lows were as good as the highs which made the experience just and true.
I wouldn’t be surprised if I find myself there again, longing to immerse myself in the haze of hearty Lion City flavors.
Bugis Singaporean Street Food is located along Nicanor Roxas Street, between Banawe and Biak na Bato, in Quezon City.
Photos by: Jenina Talampas