Walaku: Nasi Lemak With Seafood Bucket + Onde-Onde Martabak Along Joo Chiat Rd

If you thought you’ve tried all the different kinds of nasi lemak there is to try, think again.

Located along Joo Chiat RoadWalaku is the first in Singapore to serve Nasi Lemak Shell Out. For those familiar with the concept of shell out, that means it’s served piping hot from an actual bucket. Yes, that means you get nasi lemak right out of a bucket!

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Walaku is a halal bistro that serves Asian-Western cuisine, ranging from Nasi Goreng Kampung (S$7) to Salted Egg Pasta & Grilled Salmon (S$16.90).

It also specialises in nasi lemak and has a mouthwatering variety of dishes, such as Nasi Lemak Bakar w/ Garlic Cheesy Lobster (S$22) and Nasi Lemak Bakar w/ Ayam Goreng Rempah (S$7.80).

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Walaku’s interior is chic and simple, with plenty of marble tables and metal chairs lining the quaint space.

Each table is topped with a bottle of dry flowers and pasta strands, and if you look around the bistro, you’ll find adorable decorations and trinkets, such as colourful posters, knick-knacks and potted plants.

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The dish I was most excited to try was its Nasi Lemak Shell Out (S$26.50/set, min. order of two sets). True enough, servers came and poured out loads of seafood and vegetables from a large bucket, and served steamed coconut rice and a slice of egg separately from another plate.

While we ordered ours with Walaku’s special sambal sauce, you can choose from the rest of its sauces, such as salted egg, tiga rasa (sweet, sour and spicy), black pepper or kari kandar (Indian-style curry).

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If you’re expecting regular nasi lemak fare such as fried chicken wings or chicken or beef rendang, you might be a little disappointed.

Walaku’s Nasi Lemak Shell Out comes with a variety of seafood such as crab, crayfish, prawns, sotong, clams, scallops, New Zealand mussels, and corn, so be prepared to get your hands dirty.

The crayfish came in large, whole pieces, with a neat crack down the centre for you to personally crack open the crayfish yourself. The meat was tender and firm, and I loved being able to pry out its flesh with my own hands.

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For crab lovers, you’re in for a treat. Walaku serves the crab in whole pieces, so you have the luxury of twisting, cracking and pulling out the crab flesh by yourself.

While the bistro doesn’t have crab crackers (the handy little tool you use to crack open hard shells of lobsters and crabs), its staff are more than willing to help. Upon request, the kitchen staff will help by cracking the particularly hard pieces.

I especially loved pairing the sweet and juicy crab meat with the spicy and tangy sambal sauce. I found myself dipping the crab meat directly into the pool of addictive sambal sauce over and over again.

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Cooking seafood with a savoury sauce can be pretty tricky at times, as restaurants tend to simply coat the outside of the seafood with sauce, resulting in plain-tasting meat. However, I was quite impressed with how each piece of seafood had soaked up all that fiery sambal flavour, so every bite was just as delicious.

After my sixth or seventh bite, the heat of the sambal sauce finally got to me and I started to sweat a little. For spice lovers, this would be totally up your lane. But if you can’t handle spice, I suggest you go for a different sauce. Walaku’s special sambal sauce is certainly no joke!

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Walaku’s nasi lemak was fragrant, with a strong taste of coconut milk and pandan, and I especially loved how moist it was. While I’ve definitely had my fair share of oily coconut rice, Walaku’s version of this local staple was light and airy, and went really well with the heavy sambal sauce and sweet seafood.

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As someone with a sweet tooth, I was particularly excited to try Walaku’s Signature Martabak. For those who are unfamiliar with martabak manis, it’s an Indonesian dessert, comprising a thick pancake and traditionally sweet toppings, such as cheese and chocolate, crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, or condensed milk.

Walaku serves up four signature flavours — Onde-Onde, Black Royal, Red Velvet and Taro (S$6.50 each). If you’re not one for sweet fillings, you can go for its Martabak Super instead, which has less ingredients and sticks to traditionally popular flavours like Kacang Jagung (S$5), Chocolate Cheese (S$6), Cheese Jagung (S$6), or Sri Kaya Cheese (S$6).

We went with Walaku’s Signature Martabak Onde-Onde (S$6.50) for something exciting.

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This was an absolute delight. The martabak was a huge spongey and buttery mess of flour batter, and there was an intense fragrance from the pandan leaves and a yummy delicious grittiness from the toasted coconut flakes. Afterwards, there was a deep caramel sweetness from the gula mekala.

What I particularly loved was how the flavours changed depending on which part of the martabak landed on your tongue first.

It could be the tropical nuttiness of the coconut flakes, the sticky buttery flour batter, or the butterscotch-like honeyed sweetness of the gula melaka. Every bite was addictive and piquant, and my dining companion and I polished off the whole plate.

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For those looking for more traditional Western dishes, try Walaku’s Salted Egg Pasta & Grilled Salmon (S$16.90).

The linguine pasta came with a light salted egg sauce, curry leaves, garlic, cherry tomatoes, and was topped off with a large piece of grilled Norwegian salmon.

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Though the colour of the salted egg sauce was a little too pale for my liking, the flavours were absolutely spot on.

There was that signature grittiness from the salted egg yolk and a biting spiciness from the chilli. The pasta was cooked al dente and seasoned well, resulting in an entirely slurp-worthy plate of pasta.

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The salmon was silky-smooth and flaky and had a nice crispy crust to it. I had a nice balance of pepperiness from the crust and natural sweetness from the salmon with every bite.

It was a huge plus in my books that the salmon came in an incredibly huge piece!

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You should definitely try Walaku’s Salted Caramel Milk Shake (S$9.80), which came complete with butterscotch salted caramel, vanilla gelato, whipped cream and Milo nuggets.

While I expected it to be sickly sweet because of the butterscotch salted caramel, it was surprisingly pleasantly balanced in terms of flavours thanks to the vanilla gelato. Creamy, nutty and buttery, the Salted Caramel Milk Shake was indulgent and utterly satisfied my sweet tooth.


Given its wide variety of flavours and cuisines, I won’t be surprised if I find myself back here at Walaku again. Its dishes are innovative, delicious and comforting.

I particularly loved its Signature Martabak, and I’m already eagerly looking forward to all the other flavours I’ll try when I’m back there!

No doubt, the Nasi Lemak Shell Out was the star of the show, but be sure to bring a couple of friends to down the entire spread together. You’ll definitely need the help!

Expected Damage: S$5 – S$53 per pax

Price: $ $

Our Rating: 5 / 5

Walaku

102 Joo Chiat Road, #01-01, Singapore 427396

Price
Our Rating 5/5

Walaku

102 Joo Chiat Road, #01-01, Singapore 427396

Telephone: +65 6284 2420
Operating Hours: 11am - 10pm (Tue - Sun), Closed on Mon
Telephone: +65 6284 2420

Operating Hours: 11am - 10pm (Tue - Sun), Closed on Mon
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