Authentic tastes of Singapore in comfortable diner
The iconic Singapore merlion that welcomes diners to the Orchard CRC Restaurant may seem cliched but it clearly indicates the focus — everything Singaporean.
Since its inception 14 years ago, Orchard CRC has not changed. Its interior look is homey and genuine with no chic design. Only posters and pictures of Singapore landmarks and lifestyles decorate the walls.
The space is also quite brightly lit so if you want a more intimate, cozy atmosphere it is probably not the ideal venue.
However, Orchard CRC is still one of my favorite places when I need a down-to-earth, comfortable weekday dinner.
It also has quite a following of Singaporean natives who miss the tastes of their homeland.
The menu is quite extensive with almost every Singaporean specialty, including traditional Straits Chinese dishes and plates influenced by Malays and Indians.
Singaporean food is indicative of the ethnic diversity of the culture of the country. Tastes are usually strong, concentrated and complex. Singaporeans also love spicy notes.
I often come to Orchard CRC for its Hainanese chicken.
The iconic dish of Singapore was adapted from the Hainanese dish Wenchang chicken.
Now, with a few uniquely Singaporean twists, it can be found at every hawker center in Singapore.
Orchard CRC does it right — the tender and moist chicken meat served with garlic, chili and black soy sauce. It reminds me of the authentic dishes I have tried in Singapore.
The set of chicken with chicken rice costs 48 yuan.
I also tried out the fried carrot cake prepared two ways — the “white” variant with its slightly charred crusty exterior and the “black” version which is sweeter and more condensed. It was cooked to perfection.
But I found the Bak kut teh (pork rib tea) a bit disappointing. The broth was plain without enough herbs and spices and the pork rib was overly cooked.
Overall, it was a comforting no-pretense family-style dinner.
If you come for day-time snack, try the famous Kaya butter toast with coffee (copi as Singaporeans call it). Natives love to add condensed milk to their kopi.
Opening hours: 11am-midnight
Address: 1788 Xinzha Rd
Average price: 88 yuan