Last Updated: March 4, 2021
Instagram brought me here. Well, it brings me to many places. Granted, there’s the draw of ‘insta-worthy’ cafes and all that buzz, which is perfectly understandable for a platform so wholly empowered by pretty visuals. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll uncover a flurry of posts dedicated to the lesser-known, more modestly furnished—but no less delicious—hawker scene. I’m talking smartphone snapshots of two-dollar plates of carrot cake and slurpy bowls of ban mian. Or the occasional plate of roasted meat. In this case, newly-minted Sinful Roast rears its head during a spontaneous scrolling through #sgeats.
To say that roast meat vendors are commonplace would be an understatement, and I get it. There’s little to argue against pocket-friendly servings of beautifully charred meat. Yes, you can fork over thirty dollars for a glistening rack of ribs, but finding solace in a sloppy plate of roast pork and rice at a tenth of the price does please the soul (and wallet) much more.
Sinful Roast offers all that in a quiet corner of Geylang, where rows of shophouses don’t seem to stack up higher than a three-storey flat. It’s not all stuck in time, though. Air-conditioned seating and a flashy LED display of looping visuals lend a touch of contemporary pizzazz to this stall.
Nevertheless, a trophy-esque display of meat hooks alongside hanging slabs of golden-brown sio bak and strips of char siew reassures me that this is hawker barbeque through and through.
Crackling roast pork, char siew, and roasted chicken make up the bulk of the menu. The omission of duck here is a little peculiar, but I’m perfectly happy with the trio of meats that Sinful Roast has presented me with. Perhaps I’m biased with my choices because a bowl of Char Siew Roast Pork Noodle (S$5.50) is what I spring for. It’s my usual order at any roast meat stall, and one I’m sticking to religiously today.
My bowl arrives artfully arranged with heaps of meat over a bed of thin, yellow noodles. Blackened, glossy char siew and chunks of roast pork come in cascading fashion, all polished off with a sheen that tells me these cuts are gloriously fatty. Before you toss a pile of HPB flyers at me, let’s not forget that ‘sinful’ is half the name of this establishment.
The former boasts a sticky glaze that sits on its gorgeously charred crusts. There’s a malty sweetness to the entire affair that goes hand-in-hand with the smokiness of the meat, and what I’m left with is a fiercely addictive mix of flavour that coaxes repeated bites. Delicate streaks of melty fat run through each slice, till my mouth is washed with a wicked coating of oil, and I’m not complaining.
All that excellence does leave some expectation for the strips of roast pork alongside. Sinful Roast’s iteration manages a light, puffy crunch on the crackling, and well-seasoned meat throughout. Yet, I can’t help but wish for a fattier and more tender bite. Perhaps the cut of the day simply wasn’t as luxuriously fattened up, though if you’re of the lean meat faculty, this could be right up your alley.
Let’s not forget about the carb pairing I’ve picked out. These springy noodles come tossed in a heady mix of soy sauce and bits of pork lard. To make things more extreme, chunks of minced pork are laced throughout, and if my math adds up, I now have a quartet of porky goodness in one bowl. Peppa pig can’t even.
My only gripe? These noodles could be more aggressively seasoned. Though to be fair, there are pairings of flavourful roast meat to boot. In that respect, this would work in a pinch.
It’s only right to explore the Roasted Chicken Rice (S$4) to round off the triplet of meats at Sinful Roast. A healthy serving of chicken sits on my plate beside a mound of mildly-flavoured rice. There’s a pleasant smokiness to the aptly seasoned meat, though it leans toward the drier side of things.
This roast variant would benefit from a crispier skin as well, but one can’t ask for too much, can they? In a city where cheap plates of chicken rice reign king, I reckon you’d be able to find better ones out there. Though there is a silver lining—Sinful Roast’s chilli. It’s wonderfully spicy, piquant, and a great condiment to cut through the heaviness of all the meat.
Diets are for the disciplined, and I simply am not. That explains my unrestrained order of the Fried Wanton (S$5), which comes decked out in a dozen neatly fried wrappers of minced meat. I’m a fan of the thin and light wanton skin here. Dunk it into the accompaniment of mayo for an addictive snack that makes all those sore throats worth it.
It’s sweltering outside of Sinful Roast’s air-conditioned space. I’m in the middle of Geylang and trudging toward the nearest bus stop in sight. As torturous as the heat may be, one thing I can’t complain about is hunger. I leave with a tummy stuffed to the brim with roasts and my spirits lifted. This one’s a spot that I’ll keep in my mind for a quick roasted meat fix, or if I’m ever in the area and in need of some no-frills indulgence.
Expected damage: S$5 – S$10 per pax
Our Rating: 3 / 5
512 Geylang Lorong 28, City West, Singapore 389468
512 Geylang Lorong 28, City West, Singapore 389468