A kiosk located at the corner of the cafeteria Eureka Taste at Blk MD6 at NUS, Mama’s Kent Penang Delights is operated by Mr Kent Cheong who won the “Let’s Cook” competition 2014 held in Malaysia and “Neighbourhood Chef (Tampines)” in 2015. The stall serves Malaysian hawker food, 7 dishes ranging from $6 to $8, such as signature braised pork rice 卤肉饭 ($6), mama’s chilli prawns ($8), and Penang bak kut teh ($8).
When you talk about Penang food, the most famous of all would probably be the Penang laksa ($6 small, $7 large). This one packs a punch. Rather spicy. The tamarind comes across very strongly, very sourly; and the hae ko (fermented shrimp paste) is pungent. Although rather expensive, there is a big heap of ikan kembung (mackerel). The rice noodles are also rather unique, something I haven’t tried before. It it thicker than usual and the texture is chewy, more like potato noodles than rice noodles. Although I had been to Penang and eaten their laksa, this bowl of Penang laksa is different; it is potent and seems authentic and reminds me of Malaysia’s predilection for heavily flavoured, no-holds-barred food.
The Malaysian-style curry chicken ($6.50) is also good. Like the Penang laksa, this curry chicken is loaded with flavours. It is closer to the Indian-style of curry where the spices transpire deeply and not as sweet as Singapore’s Chinese version. There seems to be less coconut milk so the spices take the limelight. Chicken is tender but retains a nice bite. My mom cooks very good curry chicken and Mama’s Kent’s version is as good as my mom’s.
Coincidentally, my mom cooked vinegar pork trotter ($8) too in the week we visited Mama’s Kent. My mom’s version is slightly sweeter but Mama’s Kent’s version is slightly more vinegary. The pork, like the curry chicken, has a good texture, tender and chewy. The fat trotter does not come across as greasy.
Also take note of the homemade belachan on the rice, for which the stall-owner is very proud of. It’s the Malaysian style of belachan, a heady mix of chilli and ikan bilis.
Indeed, Mama’s Kent Penang Delights is delightful. Although the food is quite pricy in a school setting and although it is not particularly mind-blowing and innovative, it is homely and hearty and reminds us of Malaysia: those strong, bold flavours that are absent in Singaporean food. I travelled for an hour to reach the stall — no regrets, worth it. We pay for our own food anonymously.
Take note: currently, due to COVID restrictions, only staff and students are allowed to purchase food in NUS. You may need a friend who works or studies there to buy the food.
Mama’s Kent Penang Delights @ Eureka Taste
NUS Block MD6, 14 Medical Dr, #01-03 Singapore 117599
t: +65 9164 4280
Weekdays 11am-3pm, closed Weekends
You may be interested in…
–Malaysian Hup Kee Fishball Noodle 合记鱼丸, AMK: I Hate Sick People’s Food But This Is Awesome
–Anson Town Bistro, Yishun / Sembawang: Authentic Malaysian Food. “Feels Like Home,” Vouched My Two Malaysian Friends.
–GO Noodle House, 313@Somerset: Famous Malaysia noodle chain that has already sold ONE MILLION bowls comes to Singapore
–The Coffeeshop by Yaowarat, Kovan: Bringing Malaysian and Thai Food to Singapore
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.