[email protected] Express 2000: Little-known zi char stall in coffeeshop corner

I am pretty sure I had never heard of Coffee Express 2000 before this because I would have remembered the visions of Y2K and Britney Spears the name would have triggered. Home to about 20 indoor and outdoor stalls, including Seafood, it was doing a roaring business on the afternoon I visited. Yes, the signboard above the stall just reads ‘Seafood’ although some people refer to it as ‘Seafood Zi Char’— [email protected] Express 2000 is really a mouthful.

seafood - storefront

Whatever the name, I was just glad it’s located inside where the air-conditioning is, away from the blistering heat. If you’re driving there, the multistorey carpark next door is a lifesaver, even on the busiest days.

seafood - coffeeshop

The uncle who runs the stall told me that he has been honing his cooking skills his entire adult life but only began the stall 15 years ago. It has been located at Coffee Express 2000 for the past 12 years.

seafood - kitchen area

One of the things that sets the fare here apart is the cooking oil. Everything is cooked in OKI, which is a blend of sunflower and canola oil. It is reportedly “naturally cholesterol free, high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acid and contains omega 3 & 6 fatty acids’. Wow, what an excuse to stuff myself silly.

What I tried at [email protected] Express 2000

It will be hard for you to go past the Butter Prawn (S$18 for small, S$30 for large), which ended up being my favourite for the day… except that it’s not on the menu! If you do go here, ask the hawker uncle for his recommendations because the signage just hasn’t been updated.

seafood - butter prawns

I have had Butter Prawn before but this version with the egg floss has got to be my favourite. There is an entire medley of flavours working together here— there are salty bits and others that have a hint of sweetness; the garlic plays its own part even as the undercurrent of coconut adds its own unique touch.

seafood - close up of prawn

It must be quite a challenge to make all these different influences coexist and complement each other but it’s a feat well accomplished at this otherwise innocuous stall.

The egg floss isn’t there just for the taste, either. It has a wonderful mouthfeel and its visual appeal cannot be understated.

seafood - prawn close up

Even though I had chosen the smallest serving size, the platter of Butter Prawn was too much to finish. When I ate the remaining portion at home hours later, the prawns were still tender and flaky. By contrast, the prawns at some hawker stalls are chewy even when they are freshly served to you.

seafood - pork ribs

The Salt & Pepper Pork Ribs (S$12) also were recommended to us by the hawker uncle but nowhere to be found on the signboard. I am wondering right now if I should ask the question about hidden menu items at every stall I visit now.

seafoodf - close up of pork ribs

I was quite happy with the 10 semi-large pieces of pork that came on the plate. Lightly seasoned and possessing a smoky, peppery flavour, each piece was juicy and tender as can be. Onion, green peppers and chilli gave it an infusion of crunch, light sweetness and heat to create a nice, rounded dish that I savoured.

seafood - yang zhou fried rice

For the main part of my meal, I chose Yang Chow Fried Rice (S$4.50 for small, S$7.50 for medium, S$12 for large) in the small size. That was fortunate because even that turned out to be not that small. It was loaded with shrimp, char siew and fried egg as well, making it more than enough for 2 people.

I have no idea what kind of giants the largest $12 version is meant for.

seafood - closed up of fried rice and shrimp

While the serving size was a positive, flavour-wise, this dish was the weakest of the three. I wish it had been fried to have a smokier character because that would have paired better with the other ingredients.

The Butter Prawn and Salt & Pepper Pork Ribs are fine for a light accompaniment to your rice. However, if you are looking for a more substantial meal, I would say that it’s better to choose a side with a sauce or gravy.

Final thoughts

seafood - zi char dishes

Out of the way and practically unheard of, [email protected] Express 2000 did a remarkable job of impressing me with its large portion sizes and diversity of flavours in individual dishes. Better still, I found a hawker stall that no one in my circle was familiar with. Heck, they hadn’t even heard of Coffee Express 2000 which, I suppose, makes this a ‘hidden’ hawker stall.

I don’t know if I would make my way here just for a taste but if I was in the Pasir Ris area, I would definitely give it another go. Oh yeah, the desserts stall near the entrance sells S$2.50 Ice Kacang that is a fricking mountain, so that’s a draw for the sweet-toothed out there.

Expected damage: S$4.50 – S$9 per pax

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Price: $

Our Rating: 3.5 / 5

Seafood

443 Pasir Ris Drive 6, Coffee Express 2000, Singapore 510443

Price
Our Rating 3.5/5

Seafood

443 Pasir Ris Drive 6, Coffee Express 2000, Singapore 510443

Operating Hours: 12pm - 9pm (Daily)

Operating Hours: 12pm - 9pm (Daily)

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