There are fans who followed Chef Shen Tan from her days at Maxwell Food Centre.
But then, she was better known as “Madam Tan”, when the former director of Forbes made that huge career switch.
The younger audience may know her as the guest-host on quite many episodes of Food King, dishing out culinary terms which added a different dimension to the popular Youtube programme.
The self-taught cook is back selling Nasi Lemak, right at Newton Food Centre. She mentioned that Newton is the “OG of hawker centres”, in which people would come after clubbing some… 25 years ago.
The stall is named after OG Dinks by the way – Chef’s cat.
There are currently four items on the menu – Chicken Rendang Set ($9.90), OG Lemak Set ($7.90), Vegan Set ($9.90), and Beef Rendang Set ($9.90).
The fragrant rice is painstakingly cooked by twice steaming over a four-hour period, ensuring a fluffy texture and a lemak taste which is not too heavy.
There are 11 ingredients used in the rice, including onion, ginger, pandan, fenugreek, lemongrass, and coconut milk. There is no pork or lard used in the cooking.
Compared to the hawker centre ones which are generally oily and richer in taste, I enjoyed how delicate and fluffy this was, complete with light aroma.
This is complimented with its unique brands of both home-made sambal belachan and sweeter vegan sambal tumis. That is two chillies for the price of one.
I had the OG Lemak Set ($7.90) which can be upgraded to a deep-fried crispy chicken thigh (+$2), coming along with fried egg, ikan bilis, and cumber slices.
The crispy chicken was my next favourite component (other than the rice) with the boneless chicken thighs marinated for a day.
Crispy-breaded and deep fried on the outside, the tender meat was slightly sweet, flavourful, thus highly addictive. This looked dry, but the inside was actually quite succulent.
I probably had various forms of Chef Shen Tan’s Nasi Lemak across the years since Wok & Barrel, Ujong and Revolution Coffee days – but this was probably the most impressionable rendition I had tasted so far.
Certainly an ‘upgrade’ from the past. Food King should come here soon. I think 3 stars.
Newton Food Centre #01-16, 500 Clemenceau Avenue North, Singapore 229495
Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm, 5pm – 8:30pm (Mon – Sun)