Singaporean hawker food has become quite a thing over here lately, and I can only wonder why it took so long. As a fan of Peranakan fare, I’ve always been one of those people wishing there were more of these Singaporean restaurants a little closer to home. Suddenly quite a few of them have popped up, even positioned just a short distance from each other.
Shiok Shiok in Banawe has been quite popular among my Quezon City acquaintances that my excitement over eating there just kept building and building. And when time came for me to finally get to try it… I must say, I wasn’t disappointed in the least.
Shiok Shiok hit all the right notes for me flavor-wise, and it also satisfied my nostalgia for the Singaporean hawker culture. It’s not just the food that they paid attention to, but also the ambiance of the restaurant itself.
The interior is modeled after a hawker center you’d find in Chinatown, and I really like what they did here. It may be a little small, but it’s cozy instead of being cramped.
Shiok Shiok is owned by the same people running Eat Fresh, which is pretty amazing considering Eat Fresh was once this small, super affordable, non-airconditioned restaurant that served Hong Kong street food. It was mostly frequented by students of the Chinese schools in my area. (And their parents haha!) I remember hanging out with my friends after school eating curried fish balls and Hong Kong noodles there.
But look at them now! They have Shiok Shiok right beside a Quezon City branch of Eat Fresh, fully air-conditioned and nicely decorated. They’ve certainly come a long way from that old canteen-style eatery, but the best part is they’ve maintained that all-important quality of being a place you’d want to come back to over and over again.
Well I’m sure I’ve trekked down memory lane enough at this point. Let’s talk about the food now!
Chili Crabmeat with Fried Mantou (Php 280)
Mantou on its own is a pretty boring thing, but with the chili crabmeat it becomes a whole different ballgame. The chili crabmeat is this big bowl of thick, spicy, flavorful sauce with shredded pieces of crabmeat, and you eat it with the deep-fried, slightly-crunchy mantou.
The good news is the mantou isn’t nearly enough to finish this whole bowl, even though they do give you a good amount of mantou. I think this tastes a lot better on rice.
Special Bah Kuh Teh (Php 380)
Pork ribs simmered for hours in a broth that has a good amount of herbs and spices brings out this nice complex flavor in bah kuh teh. This dish is a contradiction in a bowl, just because it has this herby taste which makes you feel like you’re drinking one of those Chinese herbal soups for health, but at the same time it’s a soup that has a good amount fat in the form of pork ribs. At the end of the day, what matters most is that it’s delicious. Haha!
I guess it’s because we have this kind of soup really often at home so there’s not too much for me to say, but I love the addition of meat balls and cilantro in this dish. (Really reminds me of how we do it at home haha!) The pork ribs are nice and soft, and the tofu provides a chewy, juicy mouthfeel.
Katong Laksa (Php 230) 🌟
Laksa is life ya’ll. Every time I visited Singapore in the past, I could not leave without having laksa (whether assam or curry). Obviously, I couldn’t leave this restaurant without having laksa either. This was going to be my deal-breaker dish because hawker centers have pretty much become synonymous with good laksa to me, and you can’t model your restaurant after a hawker center if you don’t have good laksa. Thankfully this was really good.
It had that light milkiness with a hit of curry and touches of lemongrass flavor. There was that right amount of kick to keep my tastebuds hankering for more. I’m always up for laksa especially when it’s done like this!
Pineapple Fried Rice (Php 250)
Ah the ever classic pineapple fried rice in a pineapple! What I always love about this type of fried rice is the bright and sweet pineapple cutting through the savory rice. The fried rice is non-greasy as well, and not too loaded with flavor that it will overcome your viand.
Salted Egg Prawn (Php 360)
Plump juicy shrimp in that golden sauce made with the ingredient that’s all the rage these days! This dish was good as far as salted egg prawn dishes are concerned, but I feel like the sauce is half natural salted egg and half salted egg powder or flavoring. The taste isn’t artificial by any means, but it doesn’t taste 100% real salted egg either. Doesn’t matter that much because it tastes good though! 😀
A note on the price to serving ratio of this dish: Considering how expensive big prawns are here in the Philippines these days, I can’t complain about the fact that we get a small count of shrimp here. Every piece is nice and juicy though, and the size of the shrimp you see in the photo isn’t just due to breading.
Cereal Prawn (Php 330) 🌟
One of my favorite dishes during this meal! I like it even more than the salted egg prawns, because of how tasty it is. That milky and crunchy cereal is a winner, and it really has this way of livening up the appetite. Again, the shrimp is plump and juicy, just the way I like it!
This dish kind of brings you back to childhood at the same time reminds you that you’re eating deep-fried shrimp that probably isn’t tops on the health list, but you really just won’t care because of how yummy it is haha! This is going into my regular order rotation for when I come back to Shiok Shiok.
Beef Rendang (Php 250)
This beef dish of Indonesian origin has inevitably found its way to Singapore, even becoming one of the favorite beef dishes there. Rich in spices and with a creamy mouthfeel thanks to being cooked in coconut milk, rendang always feels like one of those comfort dishes you want to dig into with a steaming, overflowing bowl of rice.
Shiok Shiok’s rendang has all the right flavors for me, plus a heat that I really love. The meat is also nice and tender, slathered in that thick spice-laden sauce. The meat is slow cooked in the sauce until most of it has evaporated, but rest assured all the meat would have absorbed the flavor after those hours of slow cooking. I could sense the ginger and lemongrass in there for sure, plus garlic and chili. Most of the time, properly slow cooked meat yields a really delightful dish.
Sambal Kang Kong (Php 120) 🌟
There’s not much to say about this dish except that it’s flavorful thanks to that sambal! I love kang kong and this is definitely a great way to eat it! The veggie is stir fired in a hot sauce made with a slew of ingredients, primary of which is the chili pepper.
You also have shrimp paste in there, alongside garlic and ginger. There’s sweetness from palm sugar and tanginess from fish sauce. How a simple dish can pack so much flavor you can leave up to the Asian style of cooking!
Penang Chendol (Php 85)
For dessert, we had bowls of green jelly and sweetened kidney beans over shaved ice, with palm sugar underneath and coconut milk poured over the top. This was probably the only thing that I was a little meh about, just because it seemed like a pretty anti-climatic dessert after all the party-in-the-mouth mains we had. It was sweet and milky, with something to bite into thanks to the beans and the jelly, but it was just okay compared to many other shaved ice desserts I’ve had.
If you’re looking for something sweet to end the meal, I’d recommend their Avocado Shake. We did have some to drink, but I forgot to photograph. Oops.
You know how I like to put stars beside the dishes I recommend? As I was writing this post, I found myself putting stars beside pretty much everything I ate that I had to stop myself. For the record, I recommend all the dishes I ate at Shiok Shiok, but I decided to add the stars to my personal favorite dishes instead. It was a hard decision to make lol.
There’s really nothing more I can say about this place that I haven’t already implied. I really like the food, and I found the service to be pretty quick considering how many customers they get at a time. Ambiance is good too. But the value for money offered by Shiok Shiok is probably its biggest selling point and the main reason why the place is constantly jam-packed. Delicious food that doesn’t break the bank in an accessible place? Perfect recipe for success!
I don’t think I have ever seen this place not packed during dining hours. We had to come at 11AM on the dot to get seated quickly, but a few minutes later all the tables were filled. That’s not counting all the people who were waiting by the door for take out. If that isn’t proof enough for you that this place is legit, I don’t know what is.
Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Shiok Shiok Singaporean Restaurant
81 Nicanor Roxas Street,
Sto. Domingo, Banawe, Quezon City
Hours: 8AM to 10PM
Contact Nos: (02) 742 1718
Full disclosure: This post is not sponsored in any way and opinions are 100% mine alone.
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