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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Dapur Penyet

So Gwen hands me a leaflet in the office and it seems there's a joint claiming to offer the "Real Penyet Cuisine"... Hmmmm...
Definitely something worth checking out yes?

Dapur Penyet claims to be the "pioneer of Ayam Penyet for Singapore in 2004".
Kinda weird because it's not really a name that comes to mind when someone mentions "Ayam Penyet" to be honest. But such a claim must surely not come without some serious conviction am I right?

So the leaflet shows 6 locations (Tiong Bahru, Causeway Point, Toa Payoh, GIANT Tampines, Orchard Cineleisure and AMK Hub). It also makes reference to an outlet as East Coast but weirdly no address is listed. (But fret not, it seems that that particular outlet is along East Coast Road.)

It's also worth noting that all the outlets are actually situated within food courts.

So the wife and myself dropped by GIANT Tampines with the specific intention of checking out this "pioneer" of Ayam Penyet and see if it lives up to the title.

Nasi Ayam Penyet ($5.90)

So the wife had the Nasi Ayam Penyet.
Firstly, let me point out that the rice served is the normal white rice which is actually the authentic way to serve it with Ayam Penyet.

I personally prefer to have the type of rice they serve with normal chicken rice.
Not very authentic I'll admit and definitely a very Singaporean touch (which is why I always seem to head to Sri Bistari for my ayam penyet fix most of the time).

Many migt tell you that the best and most authentic Nasi Ayam Penyet you can get is from Ayam Penyet Ria (which I am yet to officially review) and they do serve plain white rice.
So I guess for you 'authentic' Penyet lovers, you can be happy they do the same here.

Next up would be the chicken itself. And I'm afraid the news is not good.

The chicken itself was tender and fried well I guess.
But the batter coating the chicken itself was nothing impressive.
In fact I'm willing to go as far as to say that it was bland and really sucked. It really reminded me of the same bad coating you might get when you buy lousy goreng pisang.

And because this is the same stuff that makes up the 'kremes' aka the crispy crumbs, I'm afraid the crumbs suffer the same sucky fate as well.

But surely the sambal rocked right?

The sambal was very very spicy. But unfortunately it was spicy without much taste.
Rather than try and mix up something tasty that will not just set your mouth on fire but at the same time enhance the overall flavour of the dish, they decided to throw as many chillies into the sambal as possible to make you reach for water and somehow forgot the part about enhancing the flavour.

Empal Penyet ($6.90)

I decided to have the Empal Penyet instead because you know I love me some red meat.
Well I saw red alright.

Please do not be fooled by my excellent photography skills.
Those 2 pieces of meat are not as big as they seem. They were each about as big as the palm of my hand.
And instead of penyet-ing them after frying, they obviously penyet-ed the meat before cooking so you get 2 nice, small, flat pieces of beef.

Again nothing to applaud in the taste department.
The meat was hardly seasoned and more of the lousy goreng pisang batter made it worse.
It just tasted like oil.

As an additional side dish I actually wanted to order the Bakso Penyet (which is actually just batter-fired beef balls) just to see if it tasted as good as it looked in the picture but unfortunately it was sold-out (a blessing in disguise??)

So instead, I ordered another Indonesian favourite - Siomay

Siomay Bandung ($4.90)

This is actually very similar to Gado-Gado.
It's got fried potato, cabbage and tofu and it's covered in peanut gravy.

The actual Siomay part is a fish cake (inspired by the Chinese Siew Mai).

I'd actually never tried Siomay before despite hearing about it a few times and even a foiled attempt at trying it in Bali once.

It's quite a simple thing made out of fish mean and flour blended together and then steamed to make the fish cake.
For this dish it's cut quite thickly and actually looks like lontong (rice cakes) until you actually bite into it.

In this particular case however it does have a bit too much flour in it so when you bit into it you might actually think you were biting into fish-flavoured lontong.

But I guess for a first try it wasn't so bad.
I am hoping I get to try this dish again if I ever go back to Indonesia and then I'll get the chance to see if the stuff they serv here is anywhere close to the real deal that originated over there.

Adam's Verdict:
Ayam Penyet 2/5 -- Empal Penyet 2/5 -- Siomay Bandung 3/5

Maryah's Verdict:
Ayam Penyet 1.5/5 -- Siomay Bandung 2/5

There are actually a few other things on the menu that I wouldn't mind going back to try.
The Bakso and Iga (Ribs) are definitely on the list and their roasted items (Ayam Bakar and Empal Bakar) might do better than their fried counterparts maybe?

Dapur Penyet

GIANT Tampines
21 Tampines North Drive 2
3rd Level, Stall No 03

Operating Hours:
10.30am - 9.00pm


  1. Hi Sir,

    On behalf of the Dapur Penyet management, I would like to sincerely apologized for the bad experienced you've had at our outlet in Giant Tampines. Unfortunately the real reason during that particular day is because the cook is on MC thus we called upon a part time cook which is new and not so familiar with the cooking process. We know that this is not a good reason but its beyond our control. We take great pride in serving great food and service to our beloved customers.

    Hence, the director of Dapur Penyet would like to keep in touch with you to send his deepest apology. Please leave down your contact number and we will get back to you soonest.

    Dapur Penyet

    1. Dear Management of Dapur Penyet,

      Thank you for your response.
      I did not think that my humble words on this blog would reach so far!

      I understand that sometimes the circumstances are beyond control but I am sure you agree with me that the quality of food and service is the utmost priority of any business or establishment. And for a place that claims to be the "Pioneer of Ayam Penyet for Singapore since 2004", I'm sure you will be eager to maintain a good reputation for serving delicious food with excellent service to go along.

      I do appreciate the kind gesture that your Director has offered to get in touch with me via phone. Instead of telephone, perhaps you may email me at adamshah.mz@gmail.com instead. However, I am already very honoured that you have left a comment on my blog and will understand if I do not receive any further follow-up. My post was never a complaint but merely a humble and truthful review of our experience.

      As I mentioned in my blog post, we do indeed intend to try the food at Dapur Penyet again (probably your main branch) and hopefully our next visit will be a better experience. I'm sure my loyal readers and friends will also be looking out for my 2nd review of Dapur Penyet.

      Thanks once again.

      Adam Shah & Maryah Qubt