Last Updated: September 8, 2017
My relationship with Katong is somewhat sporadic, having grown up there as a young kid before moving away and rekindling my affair with this district as a young adult. What I do remember is the yellow and blue of Katong Shopping Centre.
Katong is home to quite a number of gastronomical delights and there probably isn’t a street in Singapore I like more than this one. And out of all those selections, I remember Miki Snacks and its long tenure in Singapore’s oldest air-conditioned Shopping Centre.
The restaurant started with just 10 snack items on the menu and catered to a maximum of 20 dine-in customers – a big difference from what’s on offer today. With a dining area that can seat 150, you won’t be fighting to get seats, especially if you head there in the afternoon for a light bite.
There are two seating areas that you can choose from if you manage to beat the crowd. You can either enjoy the luxury of a small air-conditioned space, or eat in the outdoor dining area, just like they used to back in the day.
Obviously we opted for air-conditioning because we’re delicate millennials, and also because we’ve been going through the dry months of the much harped about Singaporean weather. We settled in and got ready to dig into the now zi char-style menu.
It was hot outside but we couldn’t resist starting off with the Devilish Flaming Chicken Wings ($12). Like many chicken wing purveyors in Singapore today, Miki Snacks offers three levels of spiciness to choose from, but we opted for level 1 for reasons that’ll be revealed in a video some day.
At level 1, the wings weren’t very spicy at all and were just very fragrant and deliciously crisp. The chopped up bits of french beans and chilli on the other hand did offer a bit of a kick. If you’re looking for heat, then go straight for level three.
I really like carbohydrates and I especially like them when they’re not plain. The Miki Claypot Chicken Rice ($7) was a complete steal, with real depth to the flavours that made this dish. I like my claypot rice a little burnt, and I was not disappointed.
The dish comes in a pretty generous portion that could serve two, with enough chicken to go around as well. I highly recommending getting this, especially because of the affordable price point.
Another dish packing the carbohydrates was the Seafood Crispy Rice Vermicelli ($8). It arrived at the table all high and mighty, only to be completely smashed to bits and sitting in my belly.
Sitting atop a steaming, delicious seafood broth comprising of some really succulent prawns and thick delicious gravy, the crisp texture of the rice vermicelli melted away as soon as we started breaking it apart. And for a dish that usually serves two, we’d once again say that this was a really generous portion.
According to the staff, the Crispy Rice Vermicelli is always served differently, so you may not get the exact same thing you see here. It’s a surprise every time.
I’m a man of balance, and I know that I need my greens. So we went down the salted egg route with these Salted Egg French Beans ($10), one of your five-a-day. Unlike most salted egg dishes though, this wasn’t as I expected.
The batter was really light and it took a couple of bites before I actually got the hint of the salted eggs. It was so light that it kept me reaching for more, and I daresay it’s now one of my favourite salted egg dishes in Singapore.
Tom Yum soup has become such a staple at zi char places that it’s almost become part of the Singaporean diet. And because of its assimilation into local food fare, we’ve seen many variations of this well-loved Thai classic.
The Spicy Tom Yum Prawn Soup ($15) at Miki Snacks came pretty close to keeping it authentic. Despite the clear broth, it still packed quite a punch in terms of heat.
The soup was light albeit savoury, and the star of the dish (the prawns) shone through in terms of their size and texture. They were plump and juicy, and most importantly, extremely easy to peel without the use of one’s hands.
I saved the best for last, the whopping dish of Miki Curry Fish Head ($24).
The Keropok Belinjau, for those not in the know, is usually bitter and goes really well with spice. The addition of it was a rare treat for me. The fish though was something else – it tasted super fresh and was really easy to dig in to.
The medley of lady fingers and eggplants added texture to the fish head. The curry was robust and not too spicy or milky, making it perfect for the lactose intolerant me.
It was a really delicious afternoon in Katong and the one thing I took away from our meal at Miki Snacks was the extremely generous portions and affordable prices of the dishes. The restaurant definitely stayed true to its promise of delivering quality, and its long lasting tenure probably speaks for itself.
If you’re looking for a place to feed a family without burning a huge hole in your wallet, maybe it’s time you paid a trip back to the other end of Katong.
Expected damage: $7 – $20 per person