If you thought zi char was only something you could find in hawker centres and kopitiams, Tiger Street Lab is out to prove you wrong by bringing zi char to one of the most unexpected places in Singapore: Jewel Changi Airport!
Tiger’s first global experiential concept store knows that the iconic Tiger Beer goes best with savoury local dishes, so in keeping with the evolving seasonal brews, Tiger Street Lab features different street food chefs and a refreshed menu every six months.
To accompany the debut of a new fresh-from-the-tap seasonal Tiger Beer – the Shiok Ale, Tiger Street Lab has collaborated with new street food partner, legacy zi char hawker Da Shi Jia, to create a new menu featuring 19 locally-inspired dishes.
If you are unfamiliar with Da Shi Jia, they are a zi char mainstay that traces its heritage back to 1984. Current owner of Da Shi Jia Big Prawn Mee (大食家大大大虾面), 30-year-old Seth Sim, started working at Da Shi Jia when he was just 13 years old, picking up skills of the hawker trade along the way.
Read on to see what Da Shi Jia will be serving up at Tiger Street Lab over the next six months!
Wok-fried King Prawn White Bee Hoon
It is hard to believe that chef Seth only started selling the signature Wok-fried King Prawn White Bee Hoon two years ago to almost no publicity or fanfare, considering the numerous outstanding reviews it has received from many Singaporeans over the past two years.
The first thing that catches your attention isn’t the fact that it’s served with large king prawns – it’s the wok hei that no self-respecting zi char can do without.
We were already impressed by the deliciously charred aroma, and even more so when we had a taste of the white bee hoon noodles, which are soaked in a rich prawn broth for a intense flavour really hooks you. The broth used to cook the bee hoon was simmered for hours using wild sea-caught prawns, making it absolutely satisfying to slurp up the vermicelli.
Of course, you can’t review a plate of prawn mee without talking about the prawns. These had slightly moist and chewy flesh with a slight tinge of sweetness to it, which is a good indicator that the king prawns used are as fresh as you can get.
We found that this dish is best paired with a pint of Tiger’s new Shiok Ale, a double India Pale Ale that is medium-full bodied with fruity notes of pineapple and passionfruit.
The good thing is that although it contains double the hops for double the aroma, it complements the flavourful bee hoon without completely washing the taste down, leaving the seafood taste lingering on your palate for a little longer.
Wok-fried King Prawn White Bee Hoon is priced at SGD18.80.
Indonesian Curry King Prawns
For a good, spicy kick in your zi char, check out another of chef’s recommendation – the Indonesian Curry King Prawns.
This Indonesian-style curry is said to be from a family-recipe, and served with four mantous (crispy fried buns) on the side for you to fully soak up the spicy flavours.
We like that the curry is just spicy enough to whet the appetite, but not so much that you end up gulping water with every bite. They also got the texture just right – thick enough to be flavourful without making you feel too full.
Indonesian Curry King Prawns are priced at SGD34.80.
Handmade Beancurd Skin Prawn Roll
Fried food and beer? Yes, please!
This is one of Chef’s favourites, and it’s not hard to see why.
The chewy chunks of minced prawn meat are well balanced by the beancurd skin that is fried to crispy perfection, and every bite only gets you more and more addicted as you sip on your refreshing drink.
Handmade Beancurd Skin Prawn Roll is priced at SGD15.80.
Tiger Beer-Battered Assortments
This is a special dish unique to Tiger Street Lab, so you won’t be able to find it at Da Shi Jia.
Arranged as eggs atop a nest of crispy rice noodles, this dish features an assortment of Tiger-beer battered ingredients, including chicken, banana, baby squids, mushrooms, and even scallops.
The ingredients with a chewy texture matched well with the crispy batter for a very satisfying crunch, but the banana was an unexpected personal favourite – like a goreng pisang infused with aromatic Tiger beer!
We were told that Chef has a mischievous streak, so for every one serving of these battered pieces, he would fill just one piece with wasabi to see his customers’ reactions to the spicy surprise.
Chef plays around with the amount of wasabi he adds to each piece – sometimes he may add a little more just for the fun of it, so be prepared to have your eyes tear a little!
Tiger Beer-Battered Assortments are priced at SGD18.80.
Don’t forget to catch Chef in action behind the glass panels as well! He makes sure to really get a huge fire going in order to achieve that unforgettable wok hei, and you can’t help but be impressed by his composure as he handles the heat calmly – a true testament to the amount of time he has spent honing his craft in the kitchen.
Besides championing local food vendors like Da Shi Jia, Tiger Beer is also huge on supporting local artists, so you’ll also find commissioned artworks and customised merchandise designed by Singaporeans at Tiger Street Lab.
You can even personalise your own Tiger Beer bottle label through its interactive digital customisation station, where you get to pick bottle designs based on your neighbourhood and have your named printed on the label!
Tiger Street Lab
Address: Jewel Changi Airport, 78 Airport Blvd, #05-205, Singapore 819666
Contact: +65 6243 2047
Opening Hours: 10am – 12am (Sun – Thurs), 9am – 1am (Fri – Sat)