Instead of defaulting to the same old curry-flavoured instant noodles stashed in your pantry, why not try out these supper places the next time you’re feeling the midnight munchies?
Words by Chong Kok F'ng | Photos by Endi Haikal Sham
1. 126 WAN DOE SEK DIM SUM
Wan Doe Sek, or 126 as it is known affectionately by its loyal customers, is the true definition of a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Nested between a KTV lounge and a hardware store, Wan Doe Sek is touted as the alternative to Swee Choon if you want to avoid the crowd. Wan Doe Sek boasts all of your typical Dim Sum fare.
The true hallmark of a good Dim Sum establishment is how good their baos, or buns, are. Their Hong Kong Style BBQ Pork Bun ($3.50 for three medium-sized buns) and Baby Corn with Butter Bun ($4 for five mini buns) did not hit the spot, unfortunately.
The BBQ Pork Bun's filling was too dry and lacking the right amount of sauce, although there were some nice morsels of fat in it to balance out the dryness.
We tried their BBQ Pork Chee Cheong Fun ($4), Century Egg & Minced Pork Porridge ($3) and Siew Mai ($3.50) as well. All in all, they tasted like the typical Dim Sum you can find at any hawker centre or kopitiam, albeit a little less generous with their portions and tasting not as refined as you would expect from a restaurant-style establishment.
With all that said, Wan Doe Sek is still a decent place to go to for affordable Dim Sum if you’re around the area. With a well-lit and homely dining area, which is air-conditioned, you can be assured that you will be having supper in relative comfort.
Where: 126 Sims Avenue, Singapore 387449
Opening hours: 24 hours
2. DIANDIN LELUK
Nestled right in the heart of Golden Mile Complex, home of all things Thai, is Diandin Leluk. It will be hard to miss the bright light of its fluorescent sign which extends across the three different units it occupies.
The first thing which caught my eye was the Phat Thai ($6). For those unfamiliar with the dish, Phat Thai is like the Singaporean Char Kway Teow, but on steroids. The Phat Thai has an eclectic mix of sweet, sour and spicy flavours, which all blend together to give off an explosive sensation in your mouth.
With a generous serving of stir-fried prawns, tofu, bean sprouts and scrambled egg, the dish is unmistakably Thai. Sprinkle on a bit of chilli flakes and peanut powder provided on the table, and the dish is brought to a whole different level. The chilli gives it an additional kick of spice that the dish was lacking and the peanut adds another dimension of texture and earthy flavours.
Next, we ordered the quintessential Thai dessert, Mango with Sticky Rice ($6). Having tasted many plates of Mango with Sticky Rice before, Diandin Leluk’s rendition of it just misses the mark. The glutinous rice wasn’t overly mushy and the coconut milk adds creaminess to the dish. However, the mango lacked the cool, refreshing taste and was not sweet enough, hence my disappointment.
And to wash it all down, we had the Ice (sic) Tea ($1.80), which was ready-made and dispensed straight from a dispenser. It did not have the pungency of the Thai Iced Tea which we’re familiar with and there was just a bit too much ice in the drink. But other than that, the tea will do if you just want something thirst-quenching.
You can’t go wrong with Diandin Leluk if you’re craving authentic Thai cuisine. The restaurant is spacious and air-conditioned as well, so it’s a good supper hangout if you have a bigger group of friends.
Where: 5001 Beach Road, Golden Mile Complex #01-67/68/69, 199588
Opening hours: 24 hours
3. AL-AMEEN EATING HOUSE (WOODLANDS)
Ask any Woodlands resident where they would recommend you to go for supper, and they will more often than not mention Al-ameen. Just a stone’s throw away from Woodlands MRT Station, Al-ameen is the go-to supper spot for many looking for variety.
Home to numerous stalls serving up Halal-friendly cuisines, you’ll definitely find something to satisfy your cravings at Al-ameen.
The Malay stall’s Nasi Goreng Ikan Masin ($4), or Salted Fish Fried Rice, was not a bad start. The rice grains were all separated and possessed the desirable wok hei (charred aroma), characteristic to all good fried rices. Although the rice was plentiful, the other ingredients were sparse in comparison. There were only 2 visible pieces of cabbage, while the onion, salted fish, chilli padi and egg were far and few between. Also, the cook could have went more light-handed on the salt and MSG, considering how the salted fish added more than enough flavour to the dish. The rice also left a glistening layer of oil on the plate after we were done with the meal, a testament to the greasiness of the dish.
We tried the South Indian stall’s Cheese Naan ($3) and Butter Chicken ($6) next. The cheese naan tasted light, despite it being greasy. The cheese was savoury and did not feel heavy by any means. Baked to crispy perfection, it had a nice flaky texture to it. The Butter Chicken was savoury and full of flavour. The aromatic spices added complexities to the taste profile of the dish. The numerous bite-sized chunks of chicken were tender and absorbed the marinate’s flavours. The gravy coats your tongue in a mild and sweet heat with a creamy taste, thanks to the butter added. Pair the naan together with the butter chicken, and your tongue will thank you for the match made in heaven.
Although not the best supper place to be at if you’re health conscious, Al-ameen is still a good place to go for unapologetically guilty and filling Muslim fare. The close proximity to the MRT station is an added bonus. But avoid this place between 7pm and 11pm as it gets a little crowded during those times!
Where: 35 Marsiling Industrial Estate Road #01-11, 739257
Opening hours: 12am - 12am Daily
4. CHAR-GRILL BAR
Those craving affordable Western food can head over to Char-grill Bar at Kim San Leng Food Centre in Yishun. With multiple outlets all over the island, the one at Yishun opens up till 3am to cater to the night owls looking for a hearty meal.
Their Grilled Fish Italian Herb ($6.50), which comes with your choice of 2 side dishes, seemed like a safe bet, but what was served did not look very appetising.
Together with the selected side dishes of Baked Potato and Garden Salad, the whole dish doesn’t amount to much. The Garden Salad consisted of a few pieces of iceberg lettuce, carrot shreds and a dollop of mayonnaise. Similarly, the Baked Potato was a small potato with mayonnaise and a few picnic ham bits sprinkled on top. What was most apparent was the lack of butter on the potato. Both side dishes tasted rather bland and lacked seasoning.
Thankfully, the grilled fish was battered and pan-fried to a gorgeous golden brown. The otherwise plain dory fish was crispy on the outside and nice and flaky on the inside. I would have prefered it to have more seasoning to offset the flavorless dory. Despite its name, italian herbs couldn’t be tasted. The sauce that was drizzled over the fish tasted like mashed potato gravy. It didn’t contribute anything to the fish and just made it taste jelat.
If it’s past midnight and you’re just looking for Western food to curb your cravings, Char-grill bar will do it for you, but it isn’t Astons or TGI Fridays by any stretch.
Where: 417 Yishun Ave 11, 760417
Opening hours: 11am - 3am Daily