|Ayam Penyet, 'Smashed Chicken'|
During the last few days I was in Singapore, my mum and I went to Bedok Point for a stroll since I hadn't been to the shopping mall at all. We came across Ayam Penyet Ria, which my mum said we should try since this place tends to be packed (How to tell the good places apart: There are always long lines waiting to get in!).
Ayam Penyet Ria styles itself as a cafe (I suppose), but it resembles a fast food joint. That said, I have no issues against fast food ("Alas!", cries my thighs) - I do love a good McSpicy. When we entered the cafe it was rather empty, yet we were directed to a small two people table, barely 20cm away from two school boys (who were all sweaty and were starting to smell... although that isn't really the fault of the cafe I guess, but why on earth couldn't they have given us any one of the other 15 available seating places? OH YES because they had placed a reserved sign on all of them). Who on earth would have reservations for a cafe at 3pm, anyway?
After some deliberation, we ordered their famous Ayam Penyet ($6.50), translated as smashed chicken. Now, now - If you're envisioning some arcade style game where people go around smashing chickens that pop out from the ground, STOP! The name is derived from the fact that the slain chicken (after marinating in their secret herbs and spices and whatnot) is smashed with a mallet before being deep fried. This dislodges the meat from the bones and make them literally 'peel' off the chicken with a few nudges from your fork.
As you can see, the chicken is served with deep fried beancurd, soybean cake (a Javanese delicacy known as tempe) and some vegetables. The whole dish is also topped with fried crumbs and served with a side of blacan-chilli relish.
What can I say? Maybe it's because we arrived during a dead time that our food seemed to be of poor quality. The rice we were served was NOT HOT. Furthermore, it was clumpy yet dry, like rice that was cooked some time ago and just left in a huge bucket of rice with all the condensation and water vapour inside the bucket. Honestly, how hard can it be to serve proper rice in ASIA? :(
The chicken was very tender indeed - and each bite was full of flavor. The meat was very soft - but after I progressed past the first layer, I found it hard to swallow. The chicken meat on the inside was extremely dry and reminded me of the dry shredded chicken strips our old canteen lady used to put in Macaroni Soup. Although the cooking DID remind me of authentic Indonesian cooking (it was very similar to the crispy duck I got in Bali), I am pretty sure that this dish is a lot drier than what was served to me in Bali.
HOWEVER. The meal was not a loss. THE CHILLI. OHMYGOD THE CHILLI. I cannot say enough about it. My mother found it too spicy (and it was). But the combination of the spiciness and the sour taste was practically addictive. I found tears coming out the corners of my eyes and my drink went *poof* in a jiffy. But damn, it was worth it.
Perhaps the stall at Lucky Plaza serves food of better quality (since that seems to be the one people rave about). But having read some reviews, I think not. (P.S. I might still go back for the chilli!)
Recommended for: Students, Budget eats, People with lots of saliva, People who like to kill their tastebuds
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Ayam Penyet Ria
Lucky Plaza #01-45, 11 AM - 10 PM
Lucky Plaza #04-25, 12 PM - 9 PM
Tampines Mall #04-27, 11 AM - 9.30 PM
Jurong Point #B1-06, 11.30 AM - 9.30 PM
Bedok Point #B1-05, 11.30 AM - 1 AM