Thursday, June 28, 2007

Saji's Indian Rojak at Waterloo Street

Finally, finally! Today I am trying the famous Indian rojak at Waterloo Street! It's almost an institution, a pioneer, must-try, so goes common lore. About fifteen items (fritters of various kinds, fried potatoes, tofu, eggs, cuttlefish) handmade the way it used to be in the 1960s at the very birthplace of Indian rojak, the sarabat stalls of Waterloo Street. I know, I know, I shouldn't set myself up for a fall with expectations like that.

Surprisingly, when I arrived, the long queues I spotted from afar were not for Saji's but the two stalls flanking it (nasi padang and chicken rice). I was quite puzzled. Surely this is not befitting of a legend. But who knows - Asians always seem to want to eat rice. Maybe that's it. Anyway, I was quite relieved I didn't have to queue on this very hot day.

According to their signboard, they seemed to offer a few other dishes besides Indian rojak - chicken and mutton briyani, mee goreng, mee siam and roti prata. Unfortunately the reality was - no briyani today and no mee goreng until after 1.30pm. They only had mee siam and rojak. So just rojak we had.

To be honest, hubby and I were both a little underwhelmed. The rojak wasn't bad but just wasn't that great. Sure, some of the things they had were interesting - certain fritters loaded with tiny shrimp, and another type topped by three large prawns each! Also a lentil/dhal patty that was more intensely flavoured than most (and I don't normally see it as an Indian rojak component). I also liked the fact that the fritters were properly re-fried and not just treated to a cursory dip in hot oil.

I had heard warnings that the chili dipping sauce was spicy. Then again, I am the type that likes to garnish every bite with chili padi, so maybe this warning wasn't meant for me. It wasn't spicy in the least. But at least it wasn't cloyingly sweet although it was a bit starchy for me, with bits of sweet potato floating in it (not fond of that). It was just a slightly better version than the one I had at Geylang Serai. Maybe this is the real deal but I prefer sauces with more crushed peanuts in them.

So basically, the fritters were fine but the sauce didn't do it for me.

The other tiny good surprise was how cheap it was - five pieces for only S$3.60, including the piece with three large prawns. I wasn't expecting change for my S$5.

Nan Tai Eating House
Blk 262 Waterloo St #01-29
Open 11am to 7pm daily
closed one Monday towards end of each month


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