We don’t want fancy cafes, we want good food – and that motto led us to try Fangko at Hong Kong Street, a no-frills, tiny cafe which looks like it bought preloved yakun furniture, just opposite Clarke Quay MRT Station. It is so tiny that goods (like spare, empty bottles) are stored in the cafe, which makes the place look unsightly – and also fire hazard?
The prices of the mains range reasonably at about $10 (although they seem to have increased the price since our visit). Although there are some options on the menu, there are only a few main ingredients–like the smashed chimken (cute spelling) served on its own, with rice or noodles. It’s similar ingredients but mix-and-match to create a longer menu. Given the space restriction, I suspect much of the food are cooked in advanced, so they aren’t warm upon serving.
I have been to different parts of Indonesia 5 to 6 times (I was dating a rich Indonesian whose family owns 3 mountains of padi fields and a mansion with 17 rooms), but I don’t remember eating nasi lemak there. I don’t think it is a common Indonesian dish. However, one of Fangko’s specialities is the Nasi Lemak Ayam Berempah ($10 when I visited but their oodle puts $14), consisting of fresh chicken leg, coconut rice, peanut, ikan bilis, fried egg, sambal and kerupuk. We added sambal prawns.
It is nice. Butterfly pea flower-stained rice is always pleasant to look at. And the chicken leg’s skin is crispy while the inside isn’t dry.
Fangko’s other speciality, the Indomie Goreng with Smashed Chimken ($8) comes with a selection of spice level from 0 to 12. We cannot eat much chilli; when we order MLXG we usually order 小辣. Here, thinking that since there are 12 levels, it was no harm ordering level 4, right? It’s only 33% of the spiciest, that’s a failing grade in exams. But we were wrong. This is so spicy it burns the tongue all the way down the oesophagus to the stomach. Please, if you cannot take spice like us, maybe try level 2 first. It is so spicy that the sweet kacap manis in the indomie couldn’t fight the fire. I wish the staff had advised us on the spice level.
The Smashed Chimken is essentially what we Singaporeans know as ayam penyat – fried chicken then smashed. But here they tear it into shreds.
Two of their signature coffees are the avocado coffee and the gula melaka latte. I saw a burlap coffee sack “Queen’s Coffee” from the Breaktalk Group, and I guess that’s the beans they use. Both coffees are just okay, not offensive but not memorable. But I think they should try to improve on the standards since this is a cafe that specialises in coffee.
20 Hongkong St, #01-03, Singapore 059663
t: +65 9231 8849
Tue-Sat 8am – 8pm, Sun & M 8am – 5pm
Service: 6/10 (order at counter)
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We pay for our own food anonymously unless otherwise stated. Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.
Categories: $0-$20, Cafe, Clarke Quay, Indonesian
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