chilli padi nonya restaurant, paya lebar

just a quick reminder that I’m doing a london vegfest giveaway here!

alright peranakan in the deep of joo chiat – we came back here after i had a particularly good meal courtesy of the catering arm of this place, and I’m sorry to say that it was a mixed bag of hits and misses, and not quite interesting enough to return for.

but there were some particularly good dishes – so get those if you pop in!


joo chiat is known for its foodie status – this is my first foray into the area, and I’m sorry to say it doesn’t necessarily lend itself to recommendation. the area is kind-of dodgy – even more so at night, which rather puts me off. it’s alright if you drive, but otherwise a not-great walk in.

we started off with popiah (my favorite local dish) and kueh pie tee, both incorporating the same sweet braised turnip. the filling was certainly tasty (though not the best I’ve had*); between the two, the crispy shell of the pie tee proved the better choice.

the wrap of a popiah is meant to be strong enough to hold its wet filling, but also transluscent in its delicacy – this was too-thick and too-doughy (it’s arguable that they meant it to be this way – not quite to my taste).

onward from an uninspiring start, and we got lucky with the otak wrapped in cabbage, rich with coconut milk and a satisfying spiced fish paste filling, as well as the prawns in a tangy tamarind sauce. both went very well with rice.

the curry fish head was disappointing though: the gravy on the watery side, a small handful of vegetables, and a fish head with very little meat. It wasn’t an inexpensive dish neither – definitely not worth it.

the chap chye (braised mixed vegetables) was also pretty mediocre – cooked too soft, with the cabbage nearly melting into nothingness.

thankfully though, we finished on a relative high with the tender-and-stringy beef rendang in a rich gravy, and the not-rubbery squid rings in sambal.

I’m at a loss for further description – which more than anything hints at the ambivalence I feel for the meal. okay if you’ve got a craving, if you’re in the area, and if you don’t want to drive elsewhere – but that’s a lot of ifs.

Chilli Padi Nonya Catering (also known as Chilli Api Catering)
11 Joo Chiat Place
Singapore 427744
$$: seven dishes + two drinks = one-fifty

11 thoughts on “chilli padi nonya restaurant, paya lebar

  1. I actually really like their food. maybe it’s their food delivery that fares much better than their in-house dining stuff. and u missed out on their babi pongteh! it’s awesome. they use proper fatty pork belly here instead of that lean crap some other peranakan restaurants use. :)

    • it’s weird right – the food we had the other was so much better.. this visit was a bit of a letdown, and I’m not sure why.

      also, I’ll try the babi pongteh if we ever come here again – but I really miss the tamarind duck thing we had the other day! I keep thinking about it :/

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