Although Hougang may be lacking in high end vegetarian restaurants, what it does have to offer is countless hidden gems lurking in the myriad of coffee shops. It is these humble coffee shop stalls that have built up their reputation for many decades, until like this stall, they receive nation wide notoriety. This famous rojak cooking uncle was brought to my attention by one of my readers named Louisa. Over the years, this uncle has received considerable attention, such as newspaper articles and television programmes featuring his stall. Even Adrian Pang (the Malaysian-born actor who seemingly appears in every Singaporean show ever created) popped by this stall to give his empty-headed view on the rojak quality.
Vegetarian Uncle Rojak
Location: Blk 805 Hougang Central, Foodpark Coffee Shop
Opening Hours: Daily 9am - 10pm
Needless to say, it would be a injustice to this review if I didn't discuss and divulge in the dish that this stall is most synonymous for. The Rojak from this eatery comes in three size choices - Small, medium and large. I opted for the small size, and was startled by how big the portion was. Rojak (meaning 'mixture' in Malay) has many different variations and ingredients depending on the country and culture. For this dish, the prominent ingredients were pineapple, turnip and cucumber - All lathered in the famous thick and sweet rojak sauce. The sauce was thicker than usual, and lacking a little acidity from lime, in my opinion.
Price: $3.00 (S) $4.00 (M) $5.00 (L). 7/10
Other than his rojak, the uncle who runs this stall has also gained notoriety for his high quality Popiah. In particular, the popiah skin. He even sells the skin individually for $12 per kg - More information about those services can be found on his website. The popiah skin is certainly worth the hype, and was without question the best thing I ate from his stall that evening. The skin texture was chewy, yet light and having a thinness that didn't make it too heavy to consume. I could have eaten the skin alone! Inside was shredded vegetables and more of the rojak sauce. For reference, the image on the left is two pieces of popiah (total of $3.00).
Price: $1.50. 9/10
Moving on to the next dish, here we have the Tahu Goreng. Yet again, this dish was drowned in the sweet rojak sauce (the friendly uncle that owns this stall must have this sauce pumping through his veins by now). For those who are curious, rojak sauce mainly consists of palm sugar, tamarind, peanuts and chili. The sauce at this stall may or may not be to your liking. I foresee the contentious point being if the sauce is too thick or not. For me, this sauce consistency is fine, but others may wish for it to be more watered down. The notable trait of this dish is the fried tofu. The uncle fries the tofu fresh for each order. As a result the tofu tastes deliciously fresh.
Price: $2.00. 7/10
Moving onto the final dish, which was the Tau Kau Pau. I must admit, by this stage, I was sick of the sight of the sweet rojak sauce. This sandwich like dish had a great abundance of beansprouts in the center, which added a good crunch. Additionally, the lettuce leaves offered a slight rest-bite from overwhelming sauce. The theme of fresh uncooked ingredients, coupled with the sweet/tartness of the rojak sauce is basically the fundamentals of every dish offered at this stall. It is a formula that works successfully in this tau kau pau dish also.
Price: $1.50. 6/10
Conclusion - The menu at Uncle Rojak is not very large. In fact, I ordered every dish that the stall sells. They do also have a rojak mee rebus, which was not available on that particular evening. The standout highlight was certainly the popiah skin, probably the best I have tried so far in Singapore. In retrospect, eating four dishes covered in the sweet rojak sauce was probably not a good idea, and I will be staying away from that sauce for a long time now. All the dishes were delicious though, and would provide a fitting side dish to your main meal.
Food - 8/10
Service - 8/10
Value - 7/10