Sunday, 25 January 2015

Review of Malaysia Boleh at Jurong Point

After our trip to Legendary Hong Kong at Jurong Point shopping mall, we were quite happy with the authentic Cantonese fare there, and decided to visit again to try out other dishes. When we got there, we had a change of heart, and decided we would try out the Malaysian themed food street, also in Jurong Point. Both the HK and Malaysian themed food streets are on the same floor but at 2 opposite ends of JP2.

"Malaysia Boleh !" means "Malaysia Can !" is a national campaign catchphrase launched by the longest-serving prime minster of Malaysia Dr. Mahathir as a way to give Malaysian an ego boost.

Malaysia Boleh food street, Jurong Point Shopping Centre, Singapore
We decided to try out the Malaysia Boleh for the sake of my brother and his wife, who are going to visit us in Singapore in a few weeks. They're living in UK countryside that's naturally quite deprived of a diversity of ethnic cuisines. My sis-in-law in particular is a foodie and wants to try out as great a variety of dishes as possible. We're more than happy to be guinea pigs to test out the different food streets in Singapore for them.

I had a little bit of reservation at first regarding to Malaysia Boleh, having tried out the similar Malaysian themed food street in Sentosa. Incidentally, I took them there in their last visit to Singapore when we walked around Sentosa.

I wouldn't say the Malaysia Food Street in Sentosa is terrible, but there's nothing I want to blog about it. Let's say I wouldn't make an deliberate trip to eat there. Without question, the setup of the Malaysian street theme there is nice. At the end of the day, I was there for the food. So I wanted to try out the food in Malaysia Boleh before recommending it to them.

So here I was in Malaysia Boleh, checking out the joint.

Malaysia Boleh food court, Jurong Point Shopping Centre, Singapore
Entrance: the lanterns are CNY decoraions

The Vibe: This is not a bad effort in the mockup of a Malaysian food street atmosphere of the days of old where itinerant hawkers roamed the streets. I'm particularly like the retro bicycled hawker stall setup. I was there around 3:30pm on Sunday, and the crowd started to leave (must be seeing me coming). I imagine it would be much more crowded during lunch time. As you can see from the photos below, even between lunch and dinner time, the place is buzzing with diners. But that's a good sign.

Mobile street hawker stall, Malaysia Boleh, Jurong Point shopping mall, Singapore
Mobile street hawker stall selling dessert swwet

Malaysia Boleh food court, Jurong Point Shopping Centre, Singapore Malaysia Boleh food street, Jurong Point Shopping Centre, Singapore
Malaysia Boleh food street, Jurong Point Shopping Centre, Singapore Malaysia Boleh food street, Jurong Point Shopping Centre, Singapore

The Food:  Since there were only 2 of us, we could manage to only pig ourselves on 3 dishes. I usually eat lunch like the queen (not that kinda queen). For the purpose of food tasting, I would take my eyeballs off my weighing scale for an afternoon.

We ordered some safe dishes to try it out: KL style Hokkien noodles, fried oyster and prawn mee.

Prawn Mee (8 / 10)
I had very good memories of prawn mee by Lee's Malaysian back in Sydney when I worked in Townhall, especially winter when it warmed the cockles of my hearts (no cockles in this soup though). Naturally I ordered this dish here. While its egg noodles were slightly softer than Lee's Malaysian, and the pork is a little tough. Overall, it's quite good. The soup has the perfect level of spiciness for me. Some make it so hot, its spiciness overpowers every other taste. You might as well eat a bowl of chili.

Prawn Mee
Prawn mee

KL Hokkien Noodles (7.5 / 10)
The use of generous sweet soy sauce gives KL version of the famous Singaporean version its inky colour. It's not too overly sweet, and it even has a hint of wok chi (锅气), which I've rarely - if ever - detected in Singaporean Hokkien noodles.

The idea of wok chi (French: flambé) isn't as big in Hokkien cooking as in typical Cantonese kitchens where you see regularly huge tongues of flames leap from the stoves into the woks as cooks flip their woks furiously so that the tongues of flames could lick the food evenly. And KL's Chinese cuisine are dominated by Cantonese cooking.

The wok flambé technique gives Cantonese fried noodles that unique texture and aroma of slightly burnt noodles, and imparts it that cest-ne-sais-quoi quality.

While this technique gives us that extra oomph, but it's really hard on the cooks' wrists and elbows. Some cook get cooks' wrists or elbows to bring us that extra something.

KL style Hokkien noodles
KL style Hokkien noodles

Fried oyster (7.5 / 10)
The cook managed to keep the right amount of softness and springiness in the eggs and flour. While the oyster were reasonably soft and moist, there were only a few.

Fried oyster
Fried oyster

The Prices:  Another noteworthy thing is the price, which is more similar to hawker centres in the city than in the air-conditioned environment of food court in a shopping mall. Maybe because it's located far out in the West (I took half a point for that). The cost saving can help to reduce your transportation cost of getting here (I put back half a point for that).

Overall Score:  8 / 10. This is probably the best-kept "secret" among Singaporean. Perhaps because of its remote location in the West. I'm much more satisfied with the overall standard here when comparing to Malaysian Food Street in Sentosa (I would give that place a score of 6.5 / 10).

I'll definitely return to try its other dishes, and would happily recommend it to my foodie's sis-in-law when she arrives. We might try them more than once before they arrive.

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