Do you know of a place called Spice Alley, deep within the new hip lane that is Kensington St? It is an open air food court, reminiscence of a modern version of a hawker centre or a mamak you might see if you have visited Singapore or Malaysia. They offer very affordable but very yummy offerings, around 4 fixed stall and one popup stall. The last time I went it’s is occupied by Kyoto, Japanese ramen establishment, complete with the decor. It previously housed Poklol, which I raved about on various occassions, in real life and in the interwebs. Yes, it was THAT good. I am still waiting for the day they open a real store that isn’t a popup. So I can actually go there often and not chase them through popups and markets.
Clockwise from top: Chicken Wings, Teh tarik, Roti Canai, Poklol’s Chichi Fries with Beef Bulgogi, Satay.
The Hainan Chicken Rice was an instant favorite right after a coworker introduced the dish to me, which resulted in us going there for lunch at least once every 2 weeks, and along the way I discovered other dishes that is equally as delicious.
It’s funny, when talking about Hainan Chicken Rice (or any rice dish actually), you expected that the stand out feature to be the chicken, right? This one for me is more interesting because what elevates this dish to outstanding is actually the seasoning of the rice. The taste is very pronounced, the rice tastes creamy but it still has a nice rice texture. It also comes with a little bowl of broth, which is equally as delicious. There is much to love about this dish, and if you can only eat one thing from Spice Alley, definitely get this dish (Okay, maybe sneak in the $1.50 Chicken Wings too)
Yes, you see correct. They sell $1.50 Chicken wing!! It used to be $1 last year and I remember doing a double take because how could it be the real? You can’t even get that in KFC these days. And I am not talking about a measly tiny KFC wings-looking chicken wings, this is a full wing of chicken, for a price you can pay with a gold coin! Though you can’t physically pay with gold coin because Spice Alley is a no-cash, card-only establishment. But they let you pay for your $1.50 chicken wing with your card. No surcharge. Really.
The Malaysian place also sells all sorts of drinks, which I never missed whenever I am over there. For me it is a little on the sweet side, but maybe that’s just because my tolerance of sweetness isn’t very good (sometimes I take it back to the office and refils it with water 😉 ). Personal favorite includes ice teh tarik and ice lemon tea.
Next door it also houses KOI dessert bar, headed by the Masterchef favorite dessert chef, whom shares the same last name as me (albeit a spelling difference, but it pronounced the same way anyway). I’ve only went there once, and had the Mango Yuzu dessert, and it’s just right up my alley. The sweetness of mango is perfectly balanced with yuzu flavour, the offering has a fluffy sponge like texture that melts in your mouth and leaves the freshest aftertaste. I think Reynold really liked yuzu as an ingredient, and I am super estatic because I LOVE yuzu. My friend gotten the salted caramel dessert, and despite fearing that it might be too sweet for me, upon sampling it I find that it’s actually very well balanced. The biscuit in the bottom was a little hard and hard to break, but delicious nonetheless. So far I am sold, and I see myself constantly going there to satisfy my sweet tooth cravings when it comes around, heh.
Have you been to Spice Alley? How did you enjoy the food? and most importantly, is there anything you’d recommend from there? Tell me, I am always keen to try new food!
Make sure it isn’t raining when you plan to come here, half of the place is open-air. Also, this place doesn’t take cash, either take your debit/credit card with you or buy a Spice Alley refillable cash card.
Kensington St | KOI Dessert bar