Surrounded by corporate buildings and nestled among a handful of other Asian eateries in the new Ulfrets Center, Singapore Old Town Cafe is a hidden gem. Drawing on flavors from neighboring India and Thailand, and adding unique twists and sauces, the multi-page menu is a practice in difficult choices, and a relief from all the pad thai and chicken tikka masala joints. Singapore-style Chinese doughnuts — deep-fried squid and shrimp cake appetizers — come with pungent shrimp paste for the brave, and sweet duck sauce for the mildly brave. Classic Beef Rendang, smothered in chunky, cardamom-infused sauce, is a must-try, as is the seafood yam basket. Crisp, wok-fried prawns, scallops, mushrooms, and peppers are served in a complementary fried taro-root bowl. Finish off the meal with burbur hitam, creamy black sticky rice with coconut milk. To top it all off, owner Megan Chia, whose husband stays in the kitchen, is a total sweetheart, remembering lapsed customers' faces with precision and warmth, and chatting about her native and new countries with philosophical rigor.
© 2015 East Bay Express