La Porpo, Jln Besar: Show-stopping sambal that deserves every compliment

You know when a stall is worth trying when the judge of MasterChef Singapore deems it the “most amazing ayam goreng in Singapore”. It’s a big, bold statement made by Chef Bjorn Shen about La Porpo; if that isn’t enough to have you making plans to try it out for yourself, I don’t know what will.

Spoiler alert: I agree wholeheartedly with him. 

What I tried

La Porpo 6

Due to lack of manpower, La Porpo’s menu has been trimmed down to feature four of their most popular dishes—Nasi Kerabu, Sambal Penyet, Sambal Geprek, and Sambal Loca. Each of their menu items come in three variations of chicken, fish, or prawn, though it goes without saying that the fried chicken here is a must-try.

La Porpo 9

I’m not saving the best for last this time; I’m giving them the top mention. The Ayam Penyet (S$6) was my ultimate favourite out of all four. The batter recipe was passed down from generation to generation, combined with the owner’s own experimentation and trial and error to birth the most vibrant, swoon-worthy flavours that left me speechless.

a photo of chicken

Served alongside green rice cooked in pandan-infused chicken stock, the Ayam Penyet at La Porpo envelops the senses—there’s that satisfying crrrunch, the vibrant red sambal, and a juicy, tender fried chicken cooked so perfectly you’d wish you could eat this seven days a week.

The Sambal Penyet is perfect if you prefer a gentler heat—made from fresh red chilli padi cooked with onion, garlic, ginger, and belacan. Writing this article is making my stomach rumble a little.

La Porpo 10

Unlike the popular Ayam Penyet, the Ayam Geprek (S$6) isn’t quite as well known. The version of fried chicken at La Porpo isn’t just smashed a la tradition, but pulverised by cleaver and slathered generously with potent, fiery sambal. Food always tastes good when the flavour packs a punch, but the flavour of this sambal is a flawlessly-executed flying kick.

a photo of chicken

I’m not usually a huge fan of fried chicken, but La Porpo has converted me. Every bite of the juicy, tender chicken deserved an approving eyebrow raise, but my socks were knocked off by the Sambal Geprek. The avalanche of spicy flavours came in unstoppable waves.

The chunky combination of crushed red and green chillies isn’t for the faint-hearted, but I was downing gulps of water without complaint.

La Porpo 12

I enjoyed the Sambal Loca (S$8) with prawns instead of chicken, and I’ve got no regrets. After the fiery barrage of chilli from the Sambal Geprek, the Sambal Loca’s milder flavour was very much welcome. Made from green chillies, onion, and garlic, this one will be ideal for those who prefer their chilli less spicy. Be assured that every bite is still a vibrant flavour-filled firework. 

a photo of prawns

Even though La Porpo’s must-try is their chicken, the succulent, juicy prawns were showstoppers in their own way—perfectly cooked and impeccably seasoned. I opted for the blue rice this time, though the green pandan-flavoured one won me over quicker.

La Porpo 8

Last but not least, La Porpo’s Nasi Kerabu (S$6) was up for scrutiny. This was by far, the most colourful dish at the table, with pastel blue rice topped with red chilli, served beside shredded purple cabbage, salted eggs, and the chicken I’ve been raving about this entire article.

Their Kelantan-style Nasi Kerabu starts off with the same fried chicken foundation—it’s dipped into the batter for a mere five minutes before it’s tossed into a wok of sizzling hot oil to achieve that perfect golden-brown sheen.

a photo of chicken

I chose to focus on the chicken without the sambal for this last one and was pleasantly surprised at how much fragrant flavour the folks at La Porpo managed to coax out of it through the batter alone. The combination of salt, pepper, turmeric powder, cornstarch, egg, and water sounds like a relatively simple execution, but it’s deceptively so. The batter boasts of an unusual richness that I think few can replicate.

Final thoughts

menu offerings from la porpo

Consider this my stamp of approval for La Porpo; maybe even consider this my standing ovation. The sambal is show-stopping and the ayam goreng crisp to perfection. The portions are generous, and one serving’s more than I can polish off—even on an empty stomach.

Trust me, I tried my best. The folks here have truly earned every single compliment paid to them, and they’ve got mine today.

Expected damage: S$6 – S$8 per pax

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Price: $

Our Rating: 5 / 5

La Porpo

29/31 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208798

Price
Our Rating 5/5

La Porpo

29/31 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208798

Operating Hours: 12pm - 9pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon

Operating Hours: 12pm - 9pm (Tue to Sun), Closed on Mon
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