The Great Satay Roundup Of Geylang Serai!

By HungryGoWhere July 11, 2021
The Great Satay Roundup Of Geylang Serai!

What better place to get good Malay satay — grilled marinated meats with sliced cucumbers, red onions, ketupat (compressed rice cakes) and spicy peanut sauce — than in Geylang Serai, the biggest Malay enclave in Singapore. Right?

Not necessarily and truth be told, it really depends where you go to.

It wasn’t a situation where every satay stall in the area had some form of minimum standard. Quite the contrary, the standard of Malay satay varied quite a bit — from excellent to very average.

At least they all retain the classic condiments of a Malay satay dish with big, chopped cucumbers with the skin on and big slices of red onions.

A welcome sight as many satay stalls in the rest of Singapore have largely done away with cucumber skin. Many places have even omitted red onions altogether.

The other downside is that all the satay stalls have switched over to factory-made ketupat (compressed rice cakes) which come in green plastic coverings, instead of the palm leaf shell which traditional ketupat comes in.

While it hasn’t changed the rice texture — smooth and slightly soft — it unfortunately lacks the green fragrance which palm leaves impart.

There are three big names which do satay in the area — all of them heritage stalls which have operated for many decades and some with more than one outlet.

Sadly, only one emerged as the clear favourite.


*critic’s pick* ALHAMBRA SATAY (Geylang Serai Market) |

Alhambra Satay can trace its history all the way back to the old Satay Club at Beach Road when they started in 1964 and they use an original Javanese recipe which was concocted by the stall’s Javanese owner who has since passed on.

We tried that version from the Alhambra outlet located at the Mr Teh Tarik coffeeshop below the Market.

While it was reasonably appetising, we actually prefer the version done by the lady (ex-wife of one of the owners ; she declined to be named) who runs the Alhambra outlet at the main Geylang Serai Market itself.

She has taken the original recipe and adapted it using her mother’s own satay recipe, resulting in what we feel is the best Malay satay in the Geylang Serai area.

Only three varieties are on offer — chicken, beef and mutton — but all of them have a lovely tender, moist texture with a slight smoky charring on the meat.

The mutton is especially worth your attention as each stick has a piece of mutton fat in-between the meat which boosts the richness immensely.

Also nice is the present spice flavour and slight herb textures that is a result of the spice mix being rough blended.

The quality of the stall-made satay sauce varies depending on the time and day you taste it. A fresh pot of satay sauce is made about every two days and when tasted fresh, the taste is a bit flat and bland.

Taste the sauce the next day when it has had time to simmer for many hours and the flavour is very well-balanced with the right sweet, savoury and oil-rich flavours.

While it doesn’t have the thick richness that the satay sauce has at Warong Sudi Mumpir, it has a pleasant medium-thick and chunky consistency which satay lovers will be happy with.

The making of the satay sticks at both stalls are all done by hand. None of the satay is factory supplied — all the meat is bought raw from suppliers, chopped up, marinated using a proprietary blend of spices and hand-skewered everyday.

However, whatever is made by the Geylang Serai outlet is sold at the Geylang Serai outlet. Though the wife admitted that they do occasionally take stocks from “downstairs” (the Mr Teh Tarik outlet) whenever their supply is low.

So ask where the sticks come from before you order as the quality between the two is very different.

Babat (beef tripe) is available at their outlet at the Mr Teh Tarik coffeeshop but we would give it a miss. The texture was tough on both occasionas that we tried it.

As compared to the Mr Teh Tarik outlet, the meats have a slightly sweeter finish but isn’t overly so but the herb and spice flavours are masked a little more as a result.

This archived article appeared in an earlier version of HungryGoWhere and may not be up-to-date. To alert us to outdated information, please contact us here.



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