It was a random visit to the favourite Old Airport Road Food Centre that I spotted a relatively new Nasi Lemak stall (or should I say stalls) facing the main road.
97 Nasi Lemak looked impeccably neat, bright and modern in contrast for a hawker stall, with the team in matching bright yellow tees dishing out the orders.
Ah, then I recalled reading about them in 8 Days, as owner Ellis Phua was commented to look like MediaCorp host Vivian Lai.
Actually, I do not quite see the resemblance since I guest-appeared in Vivian’s food programmes a number of times, but could tell that Ellis was pretty in her own ways with a certain calming, polite air about her.
The stall is found right next to the famous Whitley Road Prawn Noodles, so named because it is Unit 97.
It has also taken over Unit 96 for expansion and to facilitate cooking of more dishes such as Chicken Rendang, Ayam Masak Merah, Curry Chicken, Sambal Brinjal, Sambal Lady Finger, and Achar.
Opening from 7am every day except Mondays, the Nasi Lemak stall also offers fried bee hoon (the white style) and noodle options.
There is no pork or lard used in their dishes as they plan to be Halal-certified.
A plate can be accompanied with Chicken Wing, Chicken Luncheon Meat, Chicken Katsudon, Fish Cake, Kuning Fish, Hashbrown, Nonya Oyah, Fishabll on Stick, Vegetables, Long Bean, Sotong Fillet, Breaded Fish Fillet, or Chicken Katsudon.
Each item is priced from $0.50 to $1.30.
I had a set with fried chicken wing, fried egg, fresh Japanese cucumber, piquant sambal, ikan bilis and peanuts, topped up with a couple of items.
When I took that first mouthful, I found there was light coconut and pandan fragrance in the fluffy rice grains, but won’t say it was as strong and rich as some of the famous brands out there.
That was what I liked about it – you could eat the rice on its own and appreciate the delicate flavours, without having an overly greasy feeling. But can imagine some customers would prefer the rice to be “tastier” and more robust.
The sambal was more towards the sweet side but was a delicious accompaniment, so I wished there was slightly more of it.
The deep-fried chicken wing was well-marinated and juicy, with a thin crisp on the outer layer. There was a bit of home-cooked feel to this which I didn’t quite mind.
97 Nasi Lemak
Old Airport Road Food Centre #01-96/97, 51 Old Airport Road, Singapore 390051
Opening Hours: 7am – 3pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon