Cha Cha Cha is one of those very few restaurants in Singapore which has stood the test of time somewhat. My first time here was back in 1991, when the restaurant was featured in Jacintha Abisheganaden’s “Mom’s Not Cooking”, Singapore’s first food guide programme on TV. Located on Lorong Mambong in Holland Village, the street was just starting to attract the attention of locals back then, mainly to Java Jive, a popular but now defunct night-spot. Today, 27 years later, much has changed in Holland Village, with dozens of new eateries and drinking spots. And Cha Cha Cha, still packing in the crowds, is perhaps the oldest surviving establishment there.
One dish I simply had to order was the Culaican, a dish featured by Jacintha Abisheganaden herself all those years ago - basically bacon-wrapped king prawns with melted cheese. Hardly Mexican, but that’s how it was in Singapore back then - localised rendition of “Mexican” food as Singaporeans knew it. The other “Mexican” in town, Chico’s & Charlie’s, also offered about the same types of pseudo-Mexican dishes.
The other main which we ordered was the Cerdo con Salsa Verde, a very tasty pork stew which actually tasted more “Filipino” than Mexican. It was served with “Mexican rice” and tortillas.
We had one side-dish: Taco Salad, which is also pretty tasty: a crisp tortilla bowl containing kidney beans, olives, grated cheese (Cheddar?), jalapeno, green salsa and onions, topped with guacamole and sour cream.
For pre-dinner drinks, I tried the strawberry Margarita - good by Singapore standards, but pretty watered down if compared to those in Mexico or the US.
Overall, a rather enjoyable meal for me - it’s like a trip down memory lane. Good to know that in fast-changing Singapore, there are some things which have actually remained the same.
Cha Cha Cha
32 Lorong Mambong
Tel: +65 6462 1650
Opening hours: 11am-11pm Sun-Thu, 11am-12am Fri & Sat.