Warung Selera Masakan Kampung on Changi Road, near the intersection with Joo Chiat Road, is a popular 30-year-old Malay rice stall with a huge loyal following.
You need to come early here - its lunch service gets really busy around10.30am, and most of the more popular dishes would’ve run out within an hour or so.
Founded in 1991 by a Malay matriarch of generous proportions called Kak Ani (meaning “Big Sister Ani”) by her customers, the stall serves Malay-style “nasi campur”, i.e., steamed white rice with a choice of cooked dishes which the customers can select at the display counter.
A foodie friend rounded up a posse of 6 of us for lunch here - the more bodies, the better, in order to enable our gluttonous desire to order and sample as many dishes as possible.
And that was what we did.
Our lunch-time selection of dishes consisted of:
Ikan masak lemak cili api - fish steaks cooked in a yellow, turmeric-inflected gravy, scattered with explosive little red habanero peppers.
Gulai telur ikan - fish-roe curry. Minang-style curries are heavy in their use of coconut milk, and turmeric, but the absence of ground red chili paste meant their curries are lighter in colour, thus giving them the trademark Minang appearance of a yellow hued.
Siput sendut masam lemak cili api - same cooking tehnique but applied to the escargot-like horn shellfish.
Gulai nangka - young jackfruit curry. Unripe jackfruit has the texture of artichoke hearts when cooked. Tasty dish, and one of my must-orders whenever I see them offered at Malay/Indonesian eateries.
Rendang daging - the classic Malay dry curry, a perennial favourite with its deep, beefy slow-cooked flavours complemented by an aromatic spice mix redolent of cumin, coriander, ginger and lemongrass.
Sambal goreng hati ayam - stir-fried chicken livers with chili and onions.
Sambal sotong - cuttlefish strips cooked in a spicy red chili paste, and tamarind juice. The Malay language does not differentiate between different cephalopods: squid, octopus or cuttlefish, and uses the word “sotong” to refer to all of them.
Bergedil - another personal favourite of mine: potato croquettes with spiced minced beef. The name “bergedil” is believed to be an Indonesian corruption of the Dutch word, “frikandel”.
One of the more interesting stuff we ordered was the unique “Laksa Siglap”, a Kak Ani’s original - it’s her take on the popular “Laksa Johore” from Southern Malaysia. Here, a thick, spicy fish-based gravy blanketed gluggy cakes of white rice noodles, blanketed with raw, chopped cucumber and beansprouts.
We actually finished every single morsel of food on the table!
My lunch plate:
We finished our meal with a selection of Malay “kuih-muih” (sweet meats), mainly steamed puddings made from rice flour or glutinous rice flour, flavoured with coconut milk and palm sugar.
There was also “bubur kacang hijau” - a mung bean dessert porridge, cooked in coconut milk, sweetened with Gula Melaka (palm sugar) and scented with pandan. It’s served warm.
Warung Selera Masakan Kampung is located on the edge of Geylang Serai, traditionally a Malay enclave in Singapore, with a burgeoning wet market that is worth exploring in the mornings, and a food centre with many good ethnic Malay foods on offer. One of the most colourful neighbourhoods on the island.
Warung Selera Masakan Kampung
60 Changi Road #01-01, Singapore 419712
Tel: +65 9199 1651
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm daily