Alati Skewers (阿拉提串): Try Xinjiang-Style Lamb Skewers & Have It With Rice Or Wraps In Novena

If you’re a sucker for grilled or barbequed meats, then look out for Alati Skewers (阿拉提串) the next time you crave a good meat skewer.

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Located in Square 2 in Novena, this six-seater eatery is the first in Singapore to specialise in Xinjiang-style lamb, pork and chicken skewers.

Seasoned with some potent spices, including chilli and cumin, these one-of-a-kind skewers carry some strong flavours that truly pack a punch!

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Priced at three for $5.40, Alati Skewers’ signature Lamb Skewers are a must-try. To prepare these lamb skewers, there is a three-step process. First, lamb cubes are mixed with red onions and soaked in fried onion oil. This imparts a sweet aroma to the meat.

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Once the first step is complete, the skewers are put together. Lamb cubes and pieces of fat are alternately arranged on each skewer. The fat provides oil to keep the lamb moist, while infusing some flavour into the meat.

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With all that done, the skewer is finally ready to be put on the grill. As the lamb cooks in its own juices, it is seasoned with a copious amount of chilli and cumin.

The spice level is customisable with up to three levels for customers to choose from. Watching the grilling process was extremely hunger-inducing, and I was more than ready to sink my teeth into one of these.

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Many people dislike lamb because of its gamey flavour. Of course, you can’t expect lamb to be completely rid of that gamey flavour since that’s what makes lamb meat distinct.

However, I must say that Alati’s lamb skewers were seasoned in a way such that a sweet, aromatic flavour accompanied the gaminess, resulting in a pleasant overall taste.

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The cumin’s earthy flavour, combined with the chilli’s peppery tang, enhanced the flavour profile of the lamb, while also providing a good umami boost. Interestingly, the spices provided a tasty crust that also added a layer of texture to the meat.

The lamb meat itself was sufficiently tender, but what truly made this a stellar dish was the cubes of fat that provided both moisture and flavour to the meat. Getting a piece of both fat and lamb in one mouthful is crucial in order to experience a sinfully good burst of fatty flavour combined with the umami of the lamb.

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Seasoned in the same way, the Pork Skewers (three for $5, six for $9.50, twelve for $18) were equally delicious. The pork hit all the right notes, boasting a strong umami flavour, as well as a good amount of fattiness. My only gripe with the pork is that it could have been a little more tender.

My favourite of all, however, was the Chicken Skewers (three for $4.50, six for $8.80, twelve for $17). With notes of sweetness that the lamb and pork lacked, the chicken was a wondrous combination of spicy, savoury and sweet. The most tender of the three, biting into the juicy and succulent chicken meat was more than satisfying.

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There are also rice sets for a more substantial meal, containing a skewer of your choice, white rice, and a salad on the side. There are, similarly, three options: Lamb Ricebox ($6), Chicken Ricebox ($5), Pork Ricebox ($5.50).

On top of the usual spices, the rice and skewers are drizzled with a special sauce. This provided a mellow saltiness to the dish, which further enhanced the flavour of the skewers.

On the other hand, the salad was sadly undressed and rather disappointing. Portion-wise, this was quite decent – certainly enough to fill an average person up.

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Having tried all three rice options, my recommendation is to order the chicken as it comes in bigger chunks, which I think is ideal for a rice dish.

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Besides rice, Alati Skewers also offers wraps. Once again, customers can choose which protein they’d like. Here are the respective prices: Lamb Wrap ($5.50), Chicken Wrap ($5), Pork Wrap ($5.20).

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I will be brutally honest – the wraps were rather underwhelming. I’d say they were less of a wrap and more of a…half-filled sack. The portion of meat was simply miserable in comparison to the vegetables, so it tasted more like vegetables and tortilla than anything else. You’d be better off getting one of the rice boxes.

Certainly, visit Alati Skewers if you’re looking for a unique skewer experience. These spicy, peppery Xinjiang-style skewers are quite different from anything I’ve had before, so kudos to Alati Skewers for bringing something so unique to Singapore.

I think you’ll get your money’s worth, as well as the best experience if you just order the skewers as a snack – at least that’s what I’d do!

Expected damage: $5 – $17 per pax

Alati Skewers (阿拉提串): 10 Sinaran Drive #01-22 Novena Square 2, 307506 | Tel: +65 6358 3989 | Opening Hours: 11am – 9pm (Daily) | Facebook