Selfmade nasi lemak with 24-hour marinated fried rooster beneath HDB block






Wild Coco’s nasi lemak has been making its rounds on social media. Specifically, it was one dish that stole the highlight— their ayam berempah, which sports activities a superbly crusted, golden deep-fried exterior that actually made my abdomen growl in protest.

Regardless of having solely opened in February 2022, this home-grown nasi lemak eatery has already been in contrast with extra well-known institutions, comparable to Michelin-recognised The Coconut Membership and even Kuala Lumpur’s Village Park Nasi Lemak.

I headed right down to Wild Coco, which is situated beneath a HDB block at McNair Street, and genuinely hoped that its meals can be as scrumptious because it appeared.

Wild Coco 01 - storefront

Even earlier than I changed into the hall that led to Wild Coco, I may already scent the robust scent of deep-fried rooster, and I knew I used to be in the suitable place. 

For a model that has established itself shortly with its considerably atas nasi lemak, I used to be stunned to seek out that Wild Coco was housed inside a contemporary kopitiam-like setting that oozed informal vibes. 

Loads of tables have been strewn throughout the eatery, with some excessive tables positioned alongside the walkway, and I observed a handful of neon signages that added specks of vibrant color to the house.

Wild Coco 02 - storefront

Wild Coco is run by 42-year-old Wayne Tan and his enterprise associate and head chef, 33-year-old Kah King, the latter of which is from Malaysia.

“Frankly, all I wished to do was create a very good plate of nasi lemak,” shared Wayne. “Each Kah King and I actually love nasi lemak, and I all the time discovered that almost all locations don’t handle to get all the weather proper, for instance the rice may not be aromatic or the egg is tremendous onerous.”

Inquisitive about its comparability to KL’s well-known Village Park Nasi Lemak, I requested Wayne whether or not he had sought inspiration from there. He replied: “All I knew was that I wished to create a sort of nasi lemak that didn’t use flour or deep-fried batter, so I checked out berempah as a substitute. And the KL type simply occurs to be like that too!”

What I attempted at Wild Coco

Wild Coco 04 - ayam berempah

Whether or not or not you’re yearning for a plate of no-fuss nasi lemak or a extra zhng-ed plate with ayam berempah, Wild Coco’s obtained you lined.

It has seven nasi lemak dishes on its menu. You’ll be able to select between the Fundamental (S$5.80) which comes with coconut rice, egg, ikan bilis, peanuts, sambal and cucumber, or pay slightly extra to your selection of protein or seafood. These different choices embrace the favored Ayam Berempah (Breast/Leg) (S$9.80), Sambal Fried Fish (S$10.80) and Rooster Curry (Drumstick) (S$11.80).

When you’re eating in a big group, these choices can be found à la carte as properly, and you may pair your meat or fish with zi char-style greens like Stir-Fry Girl Finger (S$7.80) and Nyonya Assam Eggplant (S$7.80).

It may be value noting that Wild Coco doesn’t use pork or lard in its dishes. It additionally doesn’t use MSG in any respect!

Wild Coco 06 - ayam berempah

I went and obtained the one dish that introduced me right here: Ayam Berempah (Leg)

Because of the rising prices of Singapore’s recent rooster provide, Wild Coco has resorted to utilizing frozen rooster for his dishes. Regardless of that, Wayne shared that the whole lot else, together with its house-made berempah and sambal, continues to be lovingly made in-house, and that every piece of rooster is marinated for twenty-four hours.

The minute the Ayam Berempah was served, I couldn’t inform what to deal with first. My nostril had caught a whiff of the aromatic, pandan-like scent coming from the rice, and on the identical time, my eyes have been drawn to the attractive spice-rubbed rooster leg with its crispy brown pores and skin.

Wild Coco 29 - ayam berempah

The very first thing I did was peel off a chunk of fried pores and skin and pop it into my mouth, and immediately felt like I used to be 12-years-old once more, sinfully indulging in fried rooster pores and skin whereas ignoring all of the meat.

This was rooster pores and skin that had been superbly spiced and deep-fried. Savoury and aromatic, every morsel was gritty and crispy, and I may style fragrant notes from lemongrass and ginger.

Wild Coco 16 - ayam berempah

The rooster meat clung to the bones fairly a good bit, which I suppose was the results of utilizing frozen rooster. Other than that, the meat was tender and mushy, however I used to be left wishing that it had been extra salted or seasoned, as I discovered myself choosing on the items of meat that had the fried pores and skin hooked up and ignoring the meatier elements of the rooster.

Wild Coco 18 - rice

Wild Coco’s rice was an actual marvel. Texture clever, this was completely cooked rice that was fluffy and moist. It didn’t clump collectively like moist rice, nor was it overly greasy or dry within the slightest. 

I cherished how fragrant it was, and I may style notes of aromatic coconut and pandan. Wild Coco apparently makes use of freshly squeezed coconut milk for its rice— spectacular!

Wild Coco 19 - sambal

Wild Coco makes its sambal in-house, and this potent chilli contains greater than 10 components that undergo a laborious 5 hour-long course of.

Its style was advanced, full-bodied and wealthy, and it took my style buds on an actual journey. First got here a pleasing sweetness, and it was shortly overtaken by a savoury roastedness. The very last thing that hit me was a gentle spice that didn’t appear overly spicy at first, however the warmth lingered on my tongue painfully, even after I had moved on to the following element of the dish.

Wild Coco 12 - sambal fried fish

I wished to order Wild Coco’s Ayam Rendang (S$11.80), however sadly, it wasn’t accessible. Wayne shared that its rendang takes 4 complete days to organize, so that they solely promote it as and when it’s prepared.

As a substitute, I went for the Sambal Fried Fish (S$10.80). A lot of the dish’s elements have been the identical because the Ayam Berempah, simply that the rooster had been swapped for a whole ikan kembung. Every bit of fish is handpicked each day on the market.

Wild Coco 23 - ikan fried fish

Wild Coco’s Sambal Fried Fish received me over immediately with its meaty and mushy flesh, which tore aside simply with simply using a fork. This was an extremely scrumptious fish that I took my time to devour, and that is me talking as somebody who avoids fish just like the plague— not as a result of I’m allergic, however as a result of I’m afraid of the various bones current that may develop into a choking hazard.

It is a dish that I’d gladly come again for. And sure, I’ll order this over the Ayam Berempah!

Wild Coco 22 - sambal

Wild Coco 24 - sambal fried fish

Whereas the gobsmacking quantity of sambal apprehensive me to start with, I used to be delighted to seek out out that it wasn’t as spicy as I believed. Tangy and bitter, Wild Coco’s selfmade sambal was balanced out with a pleasant sweetness that made it tremendous pleasing when paired with the fish meat and fluffy rice.

Wild Coco 14 - curry chicken

Simply once I was carried out consuming, Wayne determined to deliver out their Rooster Curry (Drumstick) (S$11.80) for me to strive. This dish makes use of selfmade curry paste and contains child potatoes and girl fingers.

Wild Coco 27 - curry chicken

Although the curry was slightly oilier than I’d like, every spoonful was extremely aromatic. It was thick and luscious, with a barely gritty texture from the added berempah, and the savouriness was paired with a powerful style of coconut milk.

I’ve obtained to say, the inclusion of some type of gravy was an actual sport changer to the rooster leg, because it added a well-needed saucy kick that rounded off all the dish. Although the Ayam Berempah was a transparent winner because of its spice-rubbed pores and skin, I discovered myself having fun with this far more than the Ayam Berempah.

Last ideas

Wild Coco 05 - ayam berempah

Although it was Wild Coco’s Ayam Berempah that drew me right here, it was with a lot shock that I discovered myself having fun with the Sambal Fried Fish and Rooster Curry far more. 

Certainly, these plates of nasi lemak are a lot pricier than these discovered at your typical hawker or kopitiam, however I discovered myself received over by its giant parts and well-executed rooster and fish objects, which simply justified its S$10 or extra price ticket. Plus, I can see myself having fun with this as an occasional indulgence.

You’ll be able to guess I’ll be again for that scrumptious plate of Sambal Fried Fish at some point.

Anticipated harm: S$9.80 – S$12 per pax

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Value: $

Our Score: 4.5 / 5

Wild Coco

122 McNair Street, #01-45, Singapore 320122


Our Score 4.5/5

Wild Coco

122 McNair Street, #01-45, Singapore 320122

Phone: +65 9119 3822

Working Hours: 10.30am – 8pm (Mon to Sat), 8.30am – 3pm (Solar)

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