Living in Vancouver, how could you not learn to love going out for Asian cuisine as a default? Japanese? Malaysian? Thai? Indian? What about Singaporean? Shiok is one of the few restaurants in Vancouver that identifies as Singaporean cuisine. According to their website, the word ‘shiok’ pertains to food: delicious, highly enjoyable, ten out of ten would eat again. Located in East Vancouver, the restaurant is a family-run operation offering many classic Singaporean offerings such as roti, satay, laksa, hainanese chicken, and variations of Singaporean coffee!
Coming here in groups larger than four is highly not recommended, especially during the lunch rush as the space is quite small.
The ambiance here is more of a fast-casual feel as you order at the front of the counter then they give you an order number and bring you your food to your table. Water is also self-serve here and you put your trays away once you’re done.
Shiok has been opened for almost half a year now and they’ve revamped their menu quite a few times after hearing feedback from customers which I do appreciate! The menu has been condensed from their soft opening back in May to maintain quality control and efficiency. I decided to share a few appetizers and mains with my friend. I love how the prices here are very reasonable. The small menu makes ordering much less overwhelming since I can be quite indecisive 😛
Kopi-C ($2.00 hot/ $2.50 cold) Singaporean coffee served with condensed milk. From what I’ve gathered, Singaporean coffee consists of ground coffee mixed with hot water and strained in a flannel sock filter. This relatively wallet-friendly caffeine fix at Shiok offers unique concoctions such as condensed milk, carnation milk, and sugar. Unlike most Western-style brews, kopi is made from Robusta beans roasted in a wok with butter or lard and sugar. This process allows the sugar in the coffee to start caramelizing, releasing a unique aroma. The Kopi-C was extremely tasty ! I usually prefer my coffee black, but I couldn’t resist ordering it with condensed milk. This drink is highly recommended for first-timers.
Roti Prata ($3) Flaky Indian flatbread with chicken curry gravy. This came with two generous pieces of roti. The roti was fluffy and light which allowed me to soak up the deliciousness of the sweet chicken curry! For $3, I wouldn’t hesitate to order this again.
Satay ($5) Four sticks of beef or chicken skewers served with peanut sauce. Ah, a Singaporean classic. My friend and I opted for a chicken although I would have liked variety! I believe their peanut sauce is house-made as I found it much sweeter than usual. Personally, I wasn’t a fan of the skewers as they were quite bland, dry, and uninspiring even with the addition of the peanut sauce.
Boneless Chicken Rice ($10) Traditional Singaporean take on Hainanese chicken rice. Fun fact: I grew up eating a lot of Haianese chicken rice from MamaLee‘s back when my dad’s workplace used to be across from them at their old location near Macdonald St/ West Broadway! It was what I looked forward to most after grueling Mandarin classes on the weekend. Elements of good Hainanese chicken rice includes gently poaching the chicken and allowing it to cool in the stock or ice bath to ensure the chicken remains perfectly silky and most. The rice is then cooked in the chicken fat and chicken stock from poaching the whole chicken served with hot chili sauce and ginger sauce. Compared to Mamalee’s take on chicken rice, I was quite disappointed with this dish. The chicken was dry which made me speculate the rushed process of poaching their chicken. The rice lacked the chicken flavour and no ginger sauce was provided to accompany this staple Singaporean dish.
Their chicken dish comes with soup!
Mee Siam ($10) Sweet, sour, and mildly spicy rice vermicelli topped with shrimp, tofu puffs, and egg served in a tamarind-base gravy.
Laksa ($10) Available with white or yellow noodles or both. Their laksa had a generous portion of prawns and tofu with half a boiled egg. This was my favourite dish of the day. Although the broth lacked depth, I still found it quite flavourful in terms of sweet and spicy flavour. Perhaps I’m used to having my laksa with a coconut base for that added creaminess and thicker consistency, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. My friend and I couldn’t decided between white or yellow noodles so we went with both. The noodles were nice and chewy. My pro tip: Just go for the yellow noodles. You won’t regret it.
Some hit and misses, but Shiok is still a decent option in the area if you’re craving for some Singaporean food.