Tampines has always been home to a multitude of good food. Having been around since 2002, Zoul’s Corner currently runs a stall in Ayer Rajah Hawker Centre so imagine my excitement when I found out they opened a bigger outlet in Tampines—complete with an extensive menu with all your favourites.
I’ll admit, I’m not exactly Indiana Jones when it comes to finding my way around. So, there I was, under the blistering heat, self-debating on whether or not I was on the right path to Zoul’s Corner when the voice on my Google Maps’ app blared, “You are reaching your destination”. I let out a huge sigh of relief and diligently followed the set route on my mobile screen.
What I tried
Upon reaching the restaurant, I already knew what I came here for; their best-selling Nasi Ayam Penyet (S$7.60).
Their Nasi Ayam Penyet, was crowned winner for Class 95’s Foodie’s Choice Award back in September 2019 so I had to taste it to believe it. The presentation of the dish wasn’t aesthetically pleasing and it came with the usual sides of, sambal, soup, fried tahu, tempeh, cherry tomatoes, and lettuce. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to have a mouthful of everything on the plate and upon doing so, you’ll realise that presentation doesn’t even matter.
The vibrant and red sambal called out to me first so before digging in, I decided to have a go at it and I was blown away. It was a mix of sweet and spicy; none of that belacan flavour but it definitely packed a punch—just the way I like it.
Take one look at the plate and you’ll know that the chicken will be a crispy treat. The fresh chicken was well-cooked and juicy but the batter stole the show. It was also topped with crispy chicken crumbs because what is nasi ayam penyet without it? One thing that stood out to me was that the chicken wasn’t oily at all unlike most of the nasi ayam penyet dishes I’ve tried before.
Another unique feature about the dish is that instead of using the normal plain white rice that can be found in the original or authentic nasi ayam penyet, they serve the dish with ‘chicken rice’ rice. But maybe I caught them on the wrong day because their rice was a little on the dry side and lacking flavour.
Don’t be fooled by the ordinary-looking soup on the side either because it’s actually a bowl of tasty mee soto soup. Submerging the rice with copious spoonfuls of the soup, elevated the dish even further—which is a bit rare because who would’ve thought of pairing mee soto soup with nasi ayam penyet?
I was a bit stuffed but decided to try one or two more dishes on their menu before taking my leave. As mentioned earlier, at Zoul’s Corner, it’s not just Nasi Ayam Penyet because they have a really extensive menu that includes Western food and over 20 different types of nasi and mee goreng alongside breakfast favourites and sides.
After stuffing my face with their well-raved Nasi Ayam Penyet, I was craving something lighter like noodles or soup and ordered myself a bowl of Bee Hoon Sup Ayam (S$6.20).
The ingredients were aplenty and the portion size was a tad bit much for my liking but it was a slurping good bowl of tasty and well-balanced chicken noodle soup. Each time I picked up the spoon, it filled up with an even ratio of mee to chicken or vegetables—promising a burst of flavours but ended up being too robust for my palate.
I also felt that it was lacking a bit of spice factor and reckon it would’ve tasted better with a side of cili jeruk (pickled chillies), but silly me decided to have it with the leftover sambal from my plate of Nasi Ayam Penyet and it wasn’t the best combination, to say the least.
Moving on from the big bowl of noodles I couldn’t finish, I decided to get something off the sides’ menu and went for their Tauhu Goreng (S$5). I took one glance at the plate I was served and knew it was going to be a good dish.
The fried beancurd was topped with overflowing peanut sauce, a slew of julienne-cut cucumbers and carrots as well as freshly chopped peanuts. I took one bite of it and was treated to a mix of fresh-tasting ingredients paired with the lightly crispy fried beancurd. That was it; it was the freshness of the peanut sauce that made the dish stand out. It isn’t the best Tauhu Goreng in Singapore, but it surely was very well-executed.
Overall, the dishes exceeded my expectations and I felt like I was enjoying my meal at a warung in Indonesia. What really stood out to me was the freshness of ingredients in each dish. One can see Zoul’s Corner really takes pride in whipping up their dishes and doesn’t depend on just one dish to bolster their name.
If you’re heading down for their Nasi Ayam Penyet, it usually runs out by dinner time so try to make it down at the right time to avoid disappointment. Otherwise, they’re open till midnight and I believe it’s a good place to get your supper too.
One more thing, remember to head down equipped with ample mosquito repellent because I didn’t enjoy the mozzie bites I received while indulging in my meal. Not their fault, of course, but the bloodsuckers truly are the epitome of major annoyance—although not enough to deter me from digging into that hearty plate of Nasi Ayam Penyet.
Expected damage: S$6 – S$8 per pax
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Our Rating: 4 / 5
801 Tampines Avenue 4, Singapore 520801
801 Tampines Avenue 4, Singapore 520801