6 September 2013

Ponggol Nasi Lemak @ Tanjong Katong

I actually thought that I was going to Punggol for this Nasi Lemak stall until I googled the address. Although it is named Ponggol, this Ponggol Nasi Lemak stall is located along Tanjong Katong Road instead. As if it is not confusing enough, it has two branches : the main branch in Kovan and this is the other branch in Tanjong Katong. Ponggol Nasi Lemak started in 1990 at Old Tampines Road, then moved to the now-defunct Brighton Crescent premises in 1994 and then its current two outlets.

At first sight, it might look like a coffee shop, but there is only one stall - Ponggol Nasi Lemak. There is another small drinks stall behind the Nasi Lemak stall. It is a norm that one has to stand around and wait for others to finish their food as this popular stall seems to be always fully packed.

There are no set meals. Only ala carte dishes are available as the owner wants the customers to have the freedom to choose what they like. Prices are steeper than other normal Nasi Lemak stalls, ranging from $5 to $8, depending on what you order. For instance, my personalized Nasi Lemak (below) comprising of one chicken wing, luncheon meat, fish cake, peanuts and ikan bilis cost me $5.30.

Given the wide variety of dishes available, allow me to assist you to narrow down on what I think you should order:
#1- The chicken wing is a must-order. Fried to golden crisp perfection, the chicken wing was crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside. I am not sure what ingredient was used but I thought I tasted some prawn paste taste.
#2 - The peanuts and ikan bilis. Crunchy and crispy.
#3 - The Otah. Spicy, soft and disintegrates in the mouth.

For me, the sambal chili is the most important ingredient in Nasi Lemak and it can spoil the whole dish if it is not good. Ponggol Nasi Lemak's sambal sauce was one of the best I've eaten. I can totally eat it on its own. It was sweet, spicy and delivered the kick to the overall Nasi Lemak experience. Smile to the auntie and ask politely more sambal chili sauce (which was what I did, although my friend koped some of my extra chili sauce while I wasn't looking).  The coconut and pandan taste of the rice was aromatic and subtle, just nice and normal.

My overall rating: 4/5

Besides the newspapers writeups and "certificates" awarded by the local TV shows that adorned the walls of Ponggol Nasi Lemak, the stall apparently also gained some publicity from its claim over the title of the original Ponggol Nasi Lemak and announced that they were not related to other Nasi Lemak stalls that bears the name "Punggol" with the word "New" or "Old" or "21" added.. Nowdays Nasi Lemak also can be counterfeit ah (Source). Besides that, they were also once in the limelight over gossip that the son of the owner had gambling debts owing to MBS (Source). And there was also another article on $8.30 spent on a Nasi Lemak stall in Upper Serangoon which ignited the set up of a "Boycott Ponggol Nasi Lemak" facebook page (Source).

Address: 238 Tanjong Katong Rd Singapore 437026
Telephone: 6348 3303
Opening hours: 17:30-02:30 daily except Thurs which it is closed

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