There are two unwritten rules when it comes to good satay here in Singapore. Firstly, they seem to only exist at Lau Pa Sat, East Coast Lagoon Food Village and Satay by the Bay. Secondly, any satay outside of these three establishments is said to never be as good or as authentic. What if I told you that the days of the satay monopoly are over? Case in point: Satay Sumang.
Located at Block 115 Canberra Walk, Satay Sumang first opened on 12 March 2021. It most recently opened another outlet at, well you guessed it, Lau Pa Sat.
I have a confession, I am not a big satay fan. I generally don’t like my proteins tasting sweet and have had terrible experiences in the past, even from the top three satay locations!
My average satay experience generally consists of cold, overly sweet and way too chewy skewered meat with sometimes stale ketupat (rice cake).
It’s no wonder they have it on skewers, as they double as toothpicks. To top off the ordeal, I would always have that one uncle who’d make sure I ate the cucumbers and onion cubes on the side to ensure I had a balanced meal.
Getting to Satay Sumang wasn’t a hassle. Canberra MRT Station is the only MRT station nearby and after that, it was a pretty straightforward eight minute walk along the new neighbourhood.
They are open from Tuesdays to Sundays. On weekdays, it’s open from 3pm to 10pm and on weekends, 1pm to 10pm or earlier should they run out of satays.
What I tried at Satay Sumang
I had the Chicken and Mutton Satays for S$0.80 per stick and BBQ Wings (S$2). Other satay options include Beef and Tripe, which are also sold at S$0.80 per stick. There are also BBQ staples like BBQ Prawn (S$2 per sticks) and BBQ Squid (S$7.50 per five sticks).
I really appreciated the fact that the satays didn’t have a minimum order and the menu wasn’t fixed in sets, unlike some popular establishments.
My order took around 20 minutes to arrive, but knowing that it was grilled fresh on the spot made the wait palatable. I was slightly disappointed that the rice cakes weren’t part of the set and were an additional S$0.50.
My first bite of the Chicken Satay had me nearly chomping through the stick as I was so used to biting down on satays hard. This was different. They were hot and really tender. I didn’t even have to pull the skewers away from me as my teeth clamped on the meat.
It had a hint of sweetness, with the turmeric flavour coming through strongly. The dark spots on the satay, which were the charred bits, provided a nice crunch and complimented the slightly sweet flavour of the meat.
Initially, I thought the peanut sauce was slightly more watery than I remembered it to be, but I was impressed by the number of peanut bits in it. The sauce didn’t provide any heat, but it was perfect for me as the nuttiness somehow worked with the mildly sweet-tasting Chicken Satay.
It added a certain level of savouriness that I didn’t think satay needed any more of. That said, I still wouldn’t have grilled chicken on my peanut butter sandwich.
The Mutton Satay wasn’t as juicy as the chicken and definitely reminded me of other satay establishments. It had that familiar pull and chewiness, but I suspect that’s supposed to be expected since it’s mutton. Still, it made for a pleasant experience. I also noticed more charred spots which only intensified the flavours.
The flavours of the spices were more profound in the Mutton Satay. It was also sweeter than the Chicken Satay.
Unfortunately because of the intense flavours, it didn’t gel well with the peanut sauce, with the Mutton Satay being reduced to an aftertaste.
I have to say despite all of that, I was polishing the satay sticks clean at an above-average human speed.
I moved on to the BBQ Chicken. You know a chicken is cooked well when the skin turns into gelatinous protein goodness, and this was exactly what it was. I was surprised at how moist the chicken was, as grilling isn’t the most controllable means of cooking, but Satay Sumang managed it well!
My one gripe with it was that it didn’t taste BBQ-ey enough. Despite the charred marks, it tasted like the sweetness from char siew chicken and even looked like it. I was hoping for a strong smoky flavour and maybe even a dash of spice in it, but none was found.
The chilli dip that came tasted like your chicken rice chilli and didn’t really do much for me. However, it didn’t stop me from devouring the chicken wings.
Of course, for that one uncle that never stopped nagging at me, I ate some of the cucumbers and onions. They tasted fresh and my body felt revitalised. Thank you, uncle, for the advice.
This is a no-brainer, especially for those who live in the North. The price may be similar or even more expensive to that of other outlets, but the lack of fixed sets and minimum order means you can be flexible with your order. Also, have I not mentioned how good they taste? And this is coming from a satay non-believer.
Maybe the view isn’t as pretty as other establishments, but are you really going to care about the view when you’re going ham on satay sticks by the dozen? Yeah, I thought so. Satay Sumang definitely fits the bill to make the SETHLUI TOP 300.
Expected damage: S$0.80 – S$14 per pax
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Our Rating: 4.5 / 5
115 Canberra Walk, Singapore 750115
115 Canberra Walk, Singapore 750115