I’ve always been a fan of fried chicken. I mean, you can’t ever go wrong with it.
The first time I was introduced to ayam penyet by my dad at one of our typical family lunches, I was blown away. This Indonesian delicacy is such a delight, and now it has become my must-order whenever I see it.
Ayam penyet is a fried chicken dish with a traditional twist. They usually serve a leg quarter, and they smash it to produce a more tender and juicy chicken. This helps to break up the batter into crispy, crumbly bits and separates the meat from the bone for easy consumption.
Finally, the sambal completes the entire dish. Spicy and sweet, it elevates the flavour profile of the chicken and cuts through the oiliness too. Here are 13 delicious ayam penyet stalls in Singapore worth smashing your diet for.
1. Uncle Penyet
Uncle Penyet has several outlets across Singapore, but I must say that I only frequent the one at the Science Canteen in NUS. Not only because I’m a student there but it is much more affordable as well.
My order when I’m there is the Ayam Penyet (S$9.50) and Tofu (S$1). For just below S$10, it is very value for money. The chicken is pretty huge, with a slightly thicker crisp coating than normal. However, this gives it a nice crunch so I ain’t complaining.
The chicken meat itself is slightly bland, but pair it with the curry rice and you are set. I really do like their tofu for its size. It’s exceptionally pillowy on the inside as well.
2. Ayam Penyet
Located in NTU‘s Canteen 2, students sure are lucky to have such food gems that are easily accessible to them. Although Ayam Penyet takes a corner stall, you will notice from afar the long queue of customers waiting in line to get their ayam penyet.
Priced affordably, this Ayam Penyet (S$5.50) is pretty decent in quantity. The flavourful chicken thigh was huge with a satisfying crispy skin, topped with loads of deep-fried crumbs. However, the meat itself was slightly on the dry side. Nonetheless, it is still pretty decent, and the sambal does pack a punch so beware!
35 Students Walk, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639548
Daily: 10am — 9.30pm
3. Ayam Penyet Ria
Lucky for us, not all the good ayam penyet stalls are located at the ends of Singapore. This was one of the more highly-raved about places in Lucky Plaza. An Indonesian restaurant that specialises in penyet, I had pretty high expectations for Ayam Penyet Ria. Boy, I was not disappointed.
Of course, I had to get the Ayam Penyet (S$8.90). The deep-fried chicken was tender on the inside, with a thin crisp coating on the outside. It was served on a fresh pandan leaf, which did not alter the taste but I thought it was a nice touch.
The dish was accompanied by a bowl of steamed rice with a side of fried tofu, tempeh and vegetables. The tangy sambal here is extremely addictive, and do not worry as it’s free-flow! Shout out to the fried tempeh that was so fragrant with a distinct nuttiness that I really enjoyed. If bones bother you, you will be delighted to know Ayam Penyet Ria offers a boneless version of this dish too!
4. Ayam Penyet
Located at The Arcade at Clifford Centre, I noticed a queue for Penyet King and had to join in to find out what the buzz was all about. Those working at the CBD area, you are in for a treat.
The classic Ayam Penyet (S$7.50) is pretty standard, with the chicken and a side of fried tofu. I appreciate that the chicken skin was freshly crisp yet maintained a juicy centre. One thing unique here is their sweet, dark sauce. Mixed with the spicy sambal, they make a pretty delicious match.
5. Ayam Penyet President
Ayam Penyet President is one of the more popular chains in Singapore, with their newest outlet located at Potong Pasir. Don’t worry if you don’t live in the West, they have more outlets at Bedok and Harbourfront too.
This was one of the first places that I had my ayam penyet, and it did leave quite an impression. They were very efficient, and I received my food within 5 minutes. That’s a good point to take note of if you are in a hurry or you are one who does not like waiting for your food.
The Smashed Fried Chicken (S$7.50) is pretty affordable, considering you get to enjoy your food in a comfortable air-conditioned environment. The chicken had a nice crisp skin with relatively tender meat on the inside. It is served with fried tofu, tempeh as well as a generous heap of crispy bits.
It’s not overly oily and the tempeh was handled well with a subtle nuttiness. Their signature chilli packed quite the punch, so be wary if you can’t handle your spice.
6. Super Penyet
Chong Pang Food Centre is well-known for its nasi lemak and perhaps kway chap. However, not many know of Super Penyet, which is a pity because they serve up a delicious plate of ayam penyet.
One of their unique selling points is how they offer fried rice. As a fried rice lover, I went ahead to get the Nasi Goreng Ayam Penyet (S$8.50). The fried rice itself was very savoury and tasty. I could foresee myself having it alone.
The chicken itself was flavourful, with a touch of spices woven in the meat. The skin was super crisp; dip it in the strong homemade sambal and you will find yourself a winning combination.
7. Rayyan’s Waroeng Penyet
Rayyan’s Waroeng Penyet has shifted quite a few times over the past few years, with their latest outlet at the famous Amoy Street Food Centre. Nonetheless, they have always managed to keep up with their following. When I arrived around lunchtime, a snaking queue had formed.
They do serve unique food items such as Balinese Donburi which intrigued me. But I was here for their Regular Ayam Penyet (S$5.50). The chicken was of a decent size with a crisp exterior and flavourful, tender meat. With the fragrant and fluffy rice, in addition to a dollop of the tangy sambal, it was a perfect combination.
Bebek Goreng Pak Ndut may have ‘duck’ in its name but they also serve the Indonesian mainstay, nasi ayam penyet. You know your Indonesian food is pretty good when even the president, Joko Widodo, had lunch there.
There was no news of what he ate. Still, we bet it was the Original Smash Fried Chicken + Rice (S$8.90) which is marinated with a savoury blend of secret spices, and accompanied by sambal imported straight from Indonesia. While not smashed, the Original Crispy Fried Duck (S$10.90) should warrant your attention too (it’s in the name after all) with the traditional deep-fried duck marinated for 24 hours.
9. Nurfir Nasi Ayam
Located at 2 Yishun Industrial Street, Nurfir Nasi Ayam is widely known amongst the Yishunites as one of the best and most affordable nasi ayam spots in the area. This family-run business was started by Ani and is currently helmed by her son and daughter, Ira and Fir, who started out as part-time helpers. As their mother got older, they took the decision to run the stall with her, which developed their interest in running the stall.
Nurfir Nasi Ayam offers both Nasi Ayam Penyet (S$4.50) and its fried rice sibling, Nasi Goreng Ayam Penyet (S$6.50). The Nasi Ayam Penyet uses chicken rice instead of ordinary white rice, giving it a hybrid feel with the equally famous Nasi Ayam (S$3.50). The Kulit Ayam (Chicken Skin) (S$1) is also a favourite there!
2 Yishun Industrial Street 1, Singapore 768159
+65 9474 1986
Mon to Sat: 11am – 8pm
Sun: 11am – 7pm
Project Penyek by Ansar once gave out its nasi ayam penyek for free, and it’s not because they aren’t good, but it was given as a treat to celebrate their 2nd year anniversary as well as to express their gratitude to those who supported their stall during the pandemic period.
As for their actual Nasi Ayam Penyek (S$7), it’s pretty good, with a batter that was well seasoned and had a satisfying crunch. The chicken remained moist and tender. The sambal had the saltiness of ikan bilis despite being slightly sweeter than the traditional nasi ayam penyet sambal. Surprisingly, they also have a Seafood Platter (S$88) that is a tray of flower crabs, prawns, squid and black pomfret, though it needs to be pre-ordered one day in advance.
Aunty Sham Ayam Penyet is manned by…well Aunty Sham, who has over 30 years of experience in the food and beverage industry as well as being a Javanese native herself. Though my nasi ayam penyet experience there wasn’t the best that I had, I am sure factors such as my inability to appreciate Javanese-style sambal and having dinner when they were almost closing probably affected the overall quality.
I mean, you can’t watch the process of how it’s made without salivating at the thought of having it.
A plate of Aunty Sham’s Ayam Penyet costs S$6.50 and came with a huge piece of fried chicken thigh, sprinkled with crispy bits and was accompanied by fried tofu, keropok and assorted vegetables. It also came with soup (which is the bomb) and a side of Javanese-style sambal. While you’re there, do also consider the Mee Rebus (S$3.50).
166 Jalan Besar, Berseh Food Centre, #01-09, Singapore 208877
Tue to Sun: 8am – 7pm
Closed on Mon
13. Zoul’s Corner
It’s not always you see a stall promote its nasi ayam penyet through a short film that involves zombies but that was what Zoul’s Corner did. Despite its extensive menu that includes a variation of fried noodles and western food, the real crowd stealer is still their Nasi Ayam Penyet (S$8.50) which was awarded the Class 95’s Foodie’s Choice Award back in 2019.
Its Nasi Ayam Penyet was crispy and battered well without being oily, unlike most nasi ayam penyet dishes. It also came with a bowl of mee soto soup to provide an extra element of moisture to the dish. The accompanying sambal had no belacan flavour and was a mixture of sweet and spicy.
Other articles you might like: