Satay, spelled as sate in Indonesia and Malaysia, is a Southeast Asian dish of seasoned, skewered and grilled meat, served with a sauce
Though originally from Indonesia, it is gained popularity in nearby countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Brunei, and the Philippines.
Meats can be chicken, pork, beef, mutton, fish, or even duck. They are skewered, then grilled or barbecued over charcoal fire.
Traditionally, “satay” refers to any grilled skewered meats with various sauces, not necessarily peanut sauce. But then, a popular variant of chicken satay in peanut sauce has became so popular that peanut sauce became inevitable.
Peanut sauce became known as satay sauce.
Basically, there are two styles in satay cooking. Muslim-style and Chinese/Hainanese-style.
Other than Fang Yuan Satay (Toa Payoh Lor 5), Lin Yuan Satay (Bedok 85 Fengshan), TKR Satay (Newton Food Centre), Charcoal Grilled (Bukit Merah View), and Satay by the Bay, here are 10 famous places where you can find Satay in Singapore:
Chai Ho Satay 财好沙爹
448 Clementi Avenue 3, #01-10 448 Clementi 448 Market & Food Centre, Singapore 120448
Opening Hours: 10:30am – 9pm or sold out (Wed – Sun), Closed Mon, Tues
What makes Chai Ho satay unique is its distinctively sweet bak kwa-esque taste. Long queues at this stall at Clementi 448 Market & Food Centre is testament to its popularity, at an affordable price at that.
The Chinese-style charcoal-barbecued satays available in pork and chicken, are well marinated and infused with balanced flavours.
The pork satay ($0.45 per stick, minimum order of 10 sticks) comes with a sweet seductive layer of fat that adds to the crunch and the essential charring.
Chai Ho’s peanut sauce is thick, chunky, not too oily nor spicy, and irresistibly fragrant. The aroma and flavour of roasted peanuts is unmistakable.
But unlike other peanut sauces, it does not come with pineapple puree. Still, dipping your satay in it could be addicting so refills are allowed for dine-in customers.
If you prefer to go DIY, buy their raw satay ($0.36 per stick) and grill them at home.
Ah Pui Tiong Bahru Satay 阿肥中峇魯沙爹
28 Smith Street, Singapore 058942
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10:30pm (Mon – Sun), or till sold out
The elusive “Ah Pui Satay” has gone from a wooden pushcart around the Tiong Bahru Estate, previously settled at 195 Pearl Hill Café, and now with a full-fledged eatery at Chinatown.
Here’s why the satay is so sought-after: all the pork meat is still hand-sliced, marinated with spices and secret ingredients, skewered alternating with fats on the wooden stick, then grilled skilfully over charcoal.
Even though each stick is more expensive than the usual at $1.10, the size of the meats are also 20-30% larger.
I can understand why Ah Pui’s Satay is so well-loved – you really don’t get many such beautifully charred satay with aromatic hints and sweetness in the meat anymore.
The magic to me was the ‘block’ of fats in between, with that thin layer of crisp and could burst with juices within your mouth.
Chomp Chomp Satay
20 Kensington Park Road, #01-34 Chomp Chomp Food Centre, Singapore 557269
Opening Hours: 5:30pm – Late about midnight (Mon – Sun)
Priced at $0.70 per stick, this satay at the popular Chomp Chomp Food Centre is available in pork, chicken, beef and mutton choices, served with peanut sauce added with pineapples.
I ordered a combination of pork and chicken, and their well-marinated skewered satay meats are not overcooked so they turn out still tender and succulent.
Their charred exterior added a nice smoky taste that complemented the accompanying traditional peanut sauce.
I particularly liked the chicken satay which had slight sweet-honeyed coating, and was relatively juicy. My friend said it reminded of satays when he had as a child.
The mildly spiced satay sauce was thick as it should be, and tasted sweet from the added pineapple puree.
Haron Satay 55 (East Coast Lagoon Food Village)
Stall 55, East Coast Lagoon Food Village, 1220 East Coast Parkway, Singapore 468960
Tel: +65 6441 0495
Opening Hours: 2pm – 11pm (Tue – Sun), Closed Mon
Probably East Coast Lagoon Food Village’s most popular Halal Satay stall, at Stall #55.
They also have the Haron Satay Café at Upper East Coast Road
Founded by Haron Abu Bakar in 1980, Haron Satay 55 (named one of Singapore’s Hawker Masters by The Straits Times) has remained popular for its consistent quality and generous amounts of meat per stick.
Haron’s signature juicy satays are available in chicken, mutton, and beef ($0.70 per stick; minimum of 20 sticks).
These well-marinated meats are grilled upon order, so you get them hot, tender and succulent.
That appealing aroma comes from the lemongrass in the marinade. If you get the chicken satay, you’ll taste a balance of sweetness and savoury with a hint of smokiness.
To further boost the flavour, dip them in the accompanying creamy homemade peanut sauce. Followed by sliced onions and cucumbers.
2 Adam Road, #01-07 Adam Road Food Centre, Singapore 289876
Opening Hours: 8am – 9pm (Mon – Sun)
Amongst all the stalls at Adam Road Food Centre, Halal-certified Zaiton Satay appears to be one of the most popular.
The satay pieces are $0.70 per stick, with a minimum order requirement of 10 satay sticks.
On the menu are choices of chicken, mutton and beef satay, though many would give a thumbs up more for their mutton.
There was a delicious aroma of the grilled meat, quite tender in texture and tasty in every bite.
Loved the subtle hints of cumin and it paired well with the savoury yet mildly sweet peanut sauce.
[Closed] Kee Satay
51 Old Airport Rd, Old Airport Road Food Centre #01-85 Singapore 390051
Opening Hours: 5pm – 10pm (Tues – Wed, Fri – Sat), 1pm – 10pm (Sun), Closed Mon, Thurs
Chuan Kee Satay began as a family business in the 1970s and specialises in Hainanese-style satay, served with peanut-with-pineapple sauce.
Regulars would tell you to NOT come at peak hours, or the wait can be closer to an hour or beyond.
Also, I observed that there is no queueing or buzzer system, and auntie recognises customers and order sequence by faces or what they wear.
Chuan Kee’s Hainanese-style satays are grilled for a longer duration over a low fire.
Though not the most generous when it comes to amount of meat per stick, Chuan Kee Satay is affordable at $0.60 per stick (minimum order of 10 sticks).
They are famous for pork satay, though I found mine surprisingly on the tough side.
The chicken satay was good though, tender and basted in a sticky, golden syrup exuding the aroma of lemongrass and coriander. The sugars in the syrup help create that caramelisation, and eventually, a beautiful charring.
168 CMY Satay
Block 335, Smith Street, #02-168, Chinatown Complex Market & Food Centre, Singapore 050335
Tel: +65 9475 2907
Opening Hours: 9am – 7pm (Tue – Sun), Closed Mon
If you are a satay lover, you may find “CMY” vaguely familiar. It is short for “Chun Man Yuan”, one of Singapore’s largest satay supplier.
Chun Man Yuan itself had humble beginnings as a hawker stall at Potong Pasir in 1985, and now has a central kitchen at Bedok North and is currently helmed by a second-generation business owner.
The manufacturer currently supplies satay to 168 CMY Satay – so named because it is located on the 168th stall at Level 2 of Chinatown Complex Food Centre.
At $0.60 per stick, the satays here are cooked-to-order, so they are still juicy upon serving. The skewered meats achieved the right amount of char from the grilling.
You can tell they have been seasoned and marinated well because they are tender and flavourful.
Compared to the average stall, these satay sticks have an appealing sweetness, though some may wish that they are meatier.
517 Geylang Road, Lorong 27A, 27A Eating House, Singapore 389473
Tel: +65 9755 2771
Opening Hours: 5pm – 11pm (Mon – Fri), 4pm – 11pm (Sat – Sun)
Kwong Satay originated in the 1960s when Wong Chee Kwong’s grandfather peddled satay from a trishaw around the Katong area.
The traditional Hainanese recipe includes marinating the meats with aromatic spices like jintan puteh (cumin), jintaan manis (fennel), cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, five-spice powder, and saffron.
Up to now, Kwong Satay remains faithful to the original recipe.
With a flavour-packed marinade, the meat is grilled over charcoals until cooked tender but still succulent. To make it piquant, shallot and garlic are added to both marinade and sauce.
The satay sauce recipe is said to consist of more than 18 different herbs and spices.
The chicken, mutton and fat-striated pork belly satay are each priced at $0.60, minimum order 10 sticks.
Dip them in the signature satay sauce, made chunkier with added mashed sugar-boiled pineapple for a burst of sweet-zesty notes.
Note that Kwong Satay has moved from Geylang Lor 29 to nearby Lor 27A, though I thought that it wasn’t as tasty and well-grilled as what I previously had.
Old Punggol Satay
120 Bukit Merah Lane 1, Alexandra Village Food Centre #01-52, Singapore 150120
Tel: +65 9733 4237
Opening Hours: 4pm – 8pm (Mon – Fri), 12pm – 8pm (Sat – Sun)
Originally located in Punggol, the stall was closed for some time until the son of the original owners decided to restart the family business.
The stall sells chicken, pork, mutton satays as well as ketupats at a decent price of $0.60. Online reviews are quite mixed though.
This is especially when the satay sticks come with a generous portion of meat per stick, with a light marinate of soya sauce, sugar, five spice power and wine.
The meat on the sticks was also tender and juicy and would slide off the sticks with some ease.
Served with a secret recipe peanut sauce added with pineapple puree.
Yong Seng Satay
51 Upper Bukit Timah Rd, #02-123, Singapore 588215
Tel: +65 9626 5173
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 8pm (Wed – Mon), Closed Tues
The Yong Seng Satay stall serves up Chinese-style Satay. They are most famous for their Pork Satay ($0.60 per stick), along with Chicken and Mutton Satay ($0.60 per stick). Ketupat is at an additional $0.60.
The reason being its preparation time which is tedious and time consuming, with the marination itself taking several hours.
It is hard to find tender Pork Satay of late, and this had a good layer of meat with fats, that added to its tenderness and succulence.
The slight hints of smoky, charred flavour intensify the taste, and is complimented well with the chunky peanut sauce added with sweet pineapple mash.
Satay Club (Stalls 7 & 8)
Lau Pa Sat Festival Market, 18 Raffles Quay Raffles Place MRT, Singapore 048582
Tel: +65 6220 2138
Opening Hours: 7pm – 3am (Mon – Fri), 3pm-3am (Sat – Sun)
From 7pm onwards, Lau Pa Sat at Boon Tat street is transformed into a dining area decked with folding tables, plastic chairs, and more than 10 satay stalls.
It can be quite intimidating when faced with so many choices, and unfortunately the place is sometimes called a “tourist trap”.
Among the stalls, Stalls 7 & 8 also called “Best Satay No 7 & 8) are the most popular. They offer satay in three variants: Chicken, Mutton/Beef, or Prawns.
There are 6 sets to choose from, priced from $26 to a whooping $185. The basic Set A ($26) includes 10 sticks of chicken, 10 sticks of mutton or beef, and 6 sticks of prawns.
Their version of peanut sauce has a hint of spiciness, complementing the smoky aroma of satay.
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