It’s not like Singapore has ever gone off eating fried stuff, but… on the way to the MRT and Serangoon, I find out that Four Fingers is setting up at Causeway Point. This means there must be more than 10 places in one mall where I can have fried chicken of some sort.
Which makes me wonder if we’re having too much of a good thing, especially when considering Fried Chicken Master (炸雞大獅). The Taiwanese concept has landed in NEX, clearly bent on representing one of the most popular dishes in the Taiwanese night market pantheon. But do we really need this? Does Fried Chicken Master (hereafter FCM) have something new to say about this street food staple?
It’s the week-long runup to National Day, with all that it entails – patriotic songs blaring in every mall, a spider’s web of bunting stretched across every residential neighbourhood, the occasional celebratory event in the heartlands. En route to visiting Lau Wang, I stumble into the thick of it. There’s a big grassroots party in the community square just outside the eatery, all red-shirted organisers and secondary school cadets in ill-fitting parade uniforms and the local Zumba club grooving to blink-182 (oh, if only this was a joke). If I had no compelling reason to stay, I’d be fleeing in a trice.
But there is a compelling reason to stay. Because even as the air throbs with music and oddly accented emcee talk, another sort of hecticness is taking place at Lau Wang, as it probably does every evening. Diners packed cheek-by-jowl on plastic stools in the damp heat. A complex ordering procedure, where you pay when you get the drinks, then call out your own orders, which are then written down on a whiteboard. The roaring heat of the kitchen, flashes of yellow as a pot is lifted and the flames lick out after it.