Nusantara Singapore, Cecil St: “The Roti Boyan is packed like a grenade, ready to explode.”

It’s hard to imagine stumbling upon honest-to-goodness traditional food from the diverse archipelago of Indonesia, in Singapore, let alone in the CBD. Poke your nose around Cecil Street now, and you’ll be rewarded with Nusantara Singapore—the city centre’s latest food spot that offers nostalgic recipes in modern production. Packaged conveniently as accessible rice bowls, diners can opt for a main and a complimentary side, starting from S$7.90 per rice bowl.

What I tried

Roti Boyan

There are also two less common iterations of our favourites, Dry Mee Siam (S$6.90) and Dry Laksa (S$6.90) on the table, if you’re not keen on going carb-heavy for lunch. But, with a case of the munchies—no thanks to skipping breakfast—I had to give their Roti Boyan (S$2.50) a shot.

Assortment of sambal at Nusantara Singapore

Packed to the brim like a grenade ready to explode, the Roti Boyan here is not to be messed with. It’s filled with heavy-handed cuts of potato and even more generous with spices. Enjoy these—yes, plural—with a dollop of one of their homemade sambal. My top pick, even if you’re not into durians, is the sambal tempoyak, a sweet-savoury and mildly pungent elixir that’s made with fermented durian. The smell is worse than its bite; I detected wafts of pickling, but it gradually made way for a sweet profile.

Rice bowl at Nusantara Singapore

Now, since there are a plethora of mix-and-match (i.e. choice of one protein + one vegetable) options that one can go for at Nusantara Singapore, I’ll just highlight my favourites—and then you can try them for yourself, and judge my recommendations if you please. The Ayam Kicap Buah Keluak Bowl (S$8.90) is a undoubtedly savoury choice, a perfect match for those looking for unrivalled richness. Pour on a handsome ladle of sambal goreng, and you’re in for a fulfilling meal—one that might warrant a sneaky catnap in the afternoon.

Rice bowl at Nusantara Singapore

Not everywhere cooks up a tangy-enough asam pedas, but the Asam Pedas Fish Bowl (S$10.90) is a strong contender. A flaky slab of saltwater fish is drenched in a punchy and spicy broth that’ll marry exquisitely with extra oomph, in the form of sambal bajak (sambal from Java). There’s nothing stopping you from adding on a Bergedil (S$1.50); in fact, it comes highly recommended if you’re looking to mop your bowl clean—which I know you will.

Dry Mee Siam

Remember the Dry Laksa I mentioned earlier? It’s on par with its rice cousin on the menu and I especially commend the noodles for practising social distancing (i.e. not clumpy). I savoured every strand slicked in rempah, while the golden nuggets of fried tofu delivered in its crunch. A small mound of chilli accompanies every portion, to which I advise you mix in generously; this modest dish transforms into a heady, umami delivery of nostalgia.

Putri Salat at Nusantara Singapore

One of my all-time favourite kueh has to be the Kueh Salat and I was anticipating a bite that transported back to Hari Raya at grandma’s. Alas, this iteration was lacking, with a touch of salt and plenty more pandan and santan (coconut milk) needed to remedy its lacklustre profile.

Final thoughts

However, with only minor setbacks plaguing Nusantara Singapore, I’m glad that the CBD is now home to a food place that offers the comfort of family cooking. Kudos has to be said to Chef Firdauz, who formulated these sentimental recipes that are inspired by his own mother and grandmother. Even though’s office is hardly close by, the food is a good enough reason for me to swing by if I’m ever passing through—and while I’m there, I’ll be sure to pack a couple of curry puffs to go.

Expected damage: From S$7.90 per rice bowl

Price: $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Nusantara Singapore

182 Cecil Street, Frasers Tower, #02-16/17, Singapore 069547

Our Rating 4/5

Nusantara Singapore

182 Cecil Street, Frasers Tower, #02-16/17, Singapore 069547

Telephone: +65 9003 9510
Operating Hours: 7.30am - 7pm (Mon to Fri), Closed on Sat & Sun
Telephone: +65 9003 9510

Operating Hours: 7.30am - 7pm (Mon to Fri), Closed on Sat & Sun
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