“Makan Kenyang, Hati Senang!” That means “full belly, happy heart”!
This is the experience you may have when you dine at Kota88 Restaurant, one of the Chinese-Indonesian concepts in Singapore. It is located at 907 East Coast Road, near the Siglap side.
The restaurant is for you to have comforting bowls of congee, and dishes from assorted satay, roasted duck and chicken, to fried seafood.
(Click PLAY for video highlights of Kota88 Restaurant.)
“Chinese-Indonesian” did pique my curiosity.
After looking through its menu, the concept seemed to centre around Chinese cuisine with local Indonesian influences. Think zhi-char dishes but incorporating some Indonesian sauces (such as kecap manis), spices and other elements.
The cuisine type is also known as “Masakan Tionghoa Indonesia”, and the restaurant hailed from Glodok which is Jakarta’s’ Chinatown which brings along their authentic flavours.
The kitchen is helmed by Executive Chef Ben, who has over 40 years of experience whipping up roast, BBQ pork delights, and Chinese-Indonesian style cooking.
Without looking at photos, some may think that this is a traditional-looking restaurant, but Kota88 is anything about that.
The space was actually quite chic and ”chio” (#OOTD spots alert), with retro oriental vibes with Chinese art deco.
I particularly liked the 4 words behind the bar counter which read “吃得满足”, meaning eat till you are satisfied.
Talking about names, Kota means “city” in Bahasa Indonesia and it is also a slang used by locals to describe Glodok, whilst the number 88 represents prosperity. Huat Huat ah!
Then I noticed ALL the prices on the menu ended with .88. Ah…
The good thing about this restaurant is, there is a wide selection of communal sharing food which you can always come for a family-meal (parents should like this as there is this familiar, yet not-so-familiar element), or individually and small groups as there are one-bowl dishes to choose from.
Here are 10 of the recommend food and desserts from Kota88 Restaurant:
Nasi Campur Babi ($12.88)
Nasi Campur Babi literally means “mixed pork rice”, and is the signature item in the Kota88 menu.
Simply put, it is a bowl of assorted pork with rice. In Indonesia, it is sometimes called Nasi Rames which means “mixed rice”. Nasi Campur Babi is the Chinese-Indonesian take on a combination pork rice platter.
Here’s what you’ll get when you order this: a serving of nasi putih (white rice) surrounded by small portions of Roast Pork, Char Siew, Braised Pig Ear, Sweet Pork Satay, Sio May (Siew Mai), and Ngo Hiang.
Along with the pork gang, there is half a soy egg for an extra flavour.
Diners can also select what type of rice they want, whether it’s white rice (nasi putih) or the more special, fragrant chicken rice. If you are not worrying about calories for the moment, I say, just go for the chicken rice.
My favourite parts of the bowl were the Pork Satay; and Char Siew which was grilled and glazed over with a sweet-savoury over charcoal stove, resulting in smoky yet succulent pieces.
Sate Babi ($15.88 for 10 sticks)
Sate Babi is a Chinese Indonesian style pork satay, which are basically skewered meats.
I thought there was ‘effort’ in this platter because you do not just get a single type of meat, but a variety that are marinated, skewered on sticks and would require slightly different grilling process.
The meat skewers come in various flavours, such as Sate Babi Manis (sweet marinated pork satay) and Sate Babi Asin (savoury marinated pork satay).
Other meats are offal meats such as Sate Ati (pork liver satay), Sate Usus (pork intestine satay), and Sate Kulit (pork skin satay).
They are cooked by grilling over open flames, creating that sweet and slightly charred taste.
It is not that common to find pork intestine satay in Singapore anymore, so I thoroughly enjoyed that tender, chewy texture on a skewer. The pig skin, while sounding like a ‘guilt-treat’, was rather chewy but still tasty to have.
The sticks are served with shredded galangal, green chili, shallot pickles, and sweet soy sauce. This sweet salty sauce wonderfully complements the umami grilled taste of the meats. Perfect for sharing.
Kepiting Saus Padang ($55.88)
Kepiting Saus Padang is a special Sri Lankan Crab dish served with Kota88’s well-known Padang Sauce.
Mud Crabs are the most popular species of crab used this recipe, although sometimes Blue Crabs can also be used.
Theese yummy crustaceans are cooked following a recipe derived from the West Sumatran Padang style of seasoning seafood, which involves a spice mixture called bumbu.
The hot and spicy bumbu is a ground spice mixture that includes shallot, garlic, red chili pepper, bird’s eye chili, ginger, turmeric, and candlenut.
If you like to “see your food” drenched in Padang sauce that’s sweet, salty and sour, you should like their Kepiting Saus Padand.
Mie Goreng Spesial Kota88 ($14.88)
Mie Goreng is a popular Indonesian fried noodle dish, often spicy, with different ingredients.
You can find it almost everywhere in Indonesia, sold by food vendors from street hawkers, warungs, to high end restaurants in the country. And every version has slight variants.
Kota88’s Mie Goreng Spesial includes a combination of beef, chicken, pork, Chinese sausage, fish cake, chye sim, and beans sprouts.
I found myself picking out the pieces of Chinese sausage and beef very often from pile, as the not many versions come with these more ‘expensive’ ingredients.
The thin, curly noodles used almost reminded me of Indomie, complete with wok-hei. It is also cooked with a sweet soy sauce that added mild sweetness, and a sprinkle of fried shallots.
Other than the Mie Goreng Spesial (this is how they spell it), you can also go for other noodle dishes offered such as the Mie Goreng Ayam (Chicken fried noodles with chye sim and bean sprouts), Mie Goreng Babi (Pork fried noodles with chinese sausage, chye sim and bean sprouts), Mie Goreng Sapi (Beef fried noodles with chye sim and bean sprouts), and Mie Goreng Seafood (Seafood fried noodles with prawn, sliced fish, chye sim and bean sprouts).
Fu Yung Hai ($12.88)
The menu here is so extensive it includes a range of zhi-char style dishes, from Babi Hong (Braised pork belly with preserved vegetables), Ayam Koloke (Sweet and sour chicken) Kodok Kungpao (Spicy stir fry frog legs) to Babi Kecap Cah Pete (Stir fried pork with petai beans and soy sauce).
Stink beans, anyone?
And of course, the egg-lover in me went straight for the Fu Yung Hai – an Indonesian crab omelette dish served with homemade sweet and sour sauce.
The gravy is tomato-based, cooked with peas and chopped onions. Just before serving, this gravy is poured onto the omelette.
But for some, you may prefer to eat it plain.
Bubur Ayam ($7.88)
For the Easties, you will be glad to know that Kota88 is opened from 11am to 11pm, the perfect place for the hungry night owls to get you supper fix.
When it is late at night, sometimes you would just crave for something comforting, like a hot-piping bowl of congee.
The restaurant serves up Bubur Ayam, which is Indonesian for “chicken congee”, a silky rice porridge dish with shredded chicken meat.
It is served with a several condiments, such as chopped scallion, crispy fried shallot, celery, tongcay (preserved salted vegetables), fried soybean, Chinese crullers (youtiao, known as cakwe in Indonesia), and two types of soy sauce (sweet and salty).
Smooth and substantial, this ended up to be one of my favourites. Plus point: it didn’t taste too salty.
Other types of congee available are Bubur Cha Sio (BBQ pork congee), Bubur Sio Bak (Roasted pork congee), Bubur Bebek Panggang (Roasted duck congee), Bubur Babi Cincang dan Telur Pitan (Minced meat with century egg congee), Bubur Seafood (Seafood congee served with tiger prawn and fish cake), and Bubur Kodok (Frog legs congee).
Sup Baikut ($17.88)
Sup Baikut (sometime spelled Sup Bakut) is fondly known as one of Indonesia’s favourite soup. It is a heart-warming dish made of chunks of meaty pork ribs and salted vegetables.
Bakut is a word in Hokkien language which mean “pork ribs”.
The soup starts off as a clear broth with salted cabbage and slices of pork ribs, cut between bones. The meat is made tender by boiling it in the stock until the flavour of pork ribs is unlocked and blended into the mixture.
What have is a combination of flavours that represents the wondrous mix of flavours from the Indonesian peninsula – all in one bowl.
If you need another a thicker soup, another option is the Sup Asparagus Kepiting, asparagus soup with crabmeat.
Ngo Hiang ($9.88)
A prawn and minced meat roll, served in thick oblique slices – quite crisp on the outside while soft inside.
Enjoy the Ngo Hiang with the accompanying sweet sauce.
Babat Jarit Cah Tauge ($17.88)
Babat Jarit Cah Tauge is a stir-fry dish with a generous serving of beef tripe that is naturally chewy in texture. This offal meat is pre-boiled before slicing into small bite-sized pieces.
Combined with the morsels of tripe are crunchy bean sprouts, to add contrast to the rather soft and chewy tripe.
Before serving, this dish if finished off with some garnishing of Chinese parsley and slices of red chilies.
Es Teler ($6.88)
Es Teler is a probably Indonesia’s most famous fruit cocktail type of dessert, incorporating sliced avocado, coconut strips, jackfruit strips, coconut milk and Indonesian palm sugar.
The addition of coconut milk into the shaved ice makes this dessert both creamy and refreshing. A good palate cleanser that is also thirst-quenching.
907 East Coast Road, #01-02 Springvale, Singapore 459107
Tel: +65 6242 2645
Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm, 6pm – 9pm (Mon – Fri), 11am – 9pm (Sat – Sun)
* This entry is brought to you in partnership with Kota88 Restaurant.