At the edge of Orchard Road in Singapore, and we were scratching our heads about what to eat in "shoppers' paradise". Yes, there are countless choices in Orchard Road - it's just that we wanted something local and homely. Always resourceful Uncle Martin suggested Yusof Arni's and my mind instantly switched to that little enclave in Far East Plaza where locals flock to in Orchard Road for comforting meals.
Tucked away on the 5th (highest level) of Far East Plaza is a collection of low profile eateries - there are a few lesser known gems here. Here is a good place to enjoy authentic local dishes in a comfortable environment and at reasonable prices too (in Singapore's prime tourist shopping belt - ok, right at the fringe of it).
One of them is Yusof Arnie's, a little stall serving Malay home cooked style dishes. Yusof Arnie's is pretty much under the social media and state media radar but it has a strong loyal following.
It's already past lunch time when we arrived at Yusof Arnie's and still the little shop is full house.
Cik Arnie and her husband Yusof run the shop now which was started by her mum 16 years ago in Year 2000. I asked Cik Arnie what type of cuisine is she serving. She replied that it's what we eat at home in Malay families.
Cik Arnie and Yusof cook every thing themselves in the little kitchen, so the range of dishes is good but not as extensive as those at restaurants with a platoon of cooks and large kitchens.
We enjoyed every dish we tried today.
We love this sotong masak hitam (or literally black squid).
We were wowed by Arnie's squid. There was roe in the thick meaty flesh (Arnie asked me if I wanted roe, and of course I replied Yes! 😋 ) The dish tastes savoury from the belacan (fermented shrimp) and natural sweetness from the fresh squid which was done just right, so that it was firm but tender.
The most impressive thing about this dish is the distinctive flavour of squid ink. Long after we finished eating the squid, I was still scooping up spoonfuls of the sauce with the squid ink while we stayed and chatted.
The palm size fresh black pomfret was simply wok fried exactly the way it is done at family homes. The skin was slightly crisped while the meat inside was tender and moist.
Yusof Arnie's serves a very good nasi briyani. We had it with chicken. (The rice and the curry chicken / mutton are cooked separately.)
The basmati rice was very light, loose as there was not much starch, and very slightly greased. The aroma and flavour of spices was gentle on the nose and palate.
The curry chicken was just mildly spicy and the chicken was tender, juicy and sweet. The gently spicy curry was heavy with spices but the flavour was well balanced and mild. There was also an underlying smokey flavour from frying the rempah (spice mix).
Yusof Arnie's nasi briyani is so popular, we saw the owners of neighbouring eateries ordering it for their own meals 😆 Buddy Martin also took away two packets when we were leaving. Available only on Fridays, it is one of the most enjoyable nasi briyani I've had.
We love Arnie's tauhu goreng too. The spongy fried tofu is the type with the grainy coarse insides. The sauce is nutty with robust savouriness well balanced with rather sharp spiciness.
We lingered a while to chat, made new friends with Yusof Arnie's other fans, and before we knew it pisang goreng and afternoon tea was ready 😀
The banana was fried till the fleshy pulp was slightly melted and tastes sweet with a bit of tanginess. The crispy batter was light and fluffy, falling all over the table and floor when I bite into it. The pisang goreng is perfect with Yusof's aromatic teh tarik (milk tea) which is also very good.
Our whole meal with snacks and two rounds of drinks came to less than SGD50. Thanks buddy Martin for the delicious treat.
4-Star (out of 5). A little gem of a Malay food stall in a rather unlikely place. If you are visiting Singapore and don't have time to venture far out of the tourist belt, yet yearn for authentic local food - check out Yusof Arnie's in Far East Plaza. Hard to find any better anywhere in Singapore except at family homes.
Restaurant name: Yusof Arnie's
Address: Unit 05-67, Far East Plaza, Scott Road, Singapore (5 minutes walk from Orchard MRT station)
GPS: 1°18'25.0"N 103°50'00.3"E 1.306950, 103.833424
Tel: 9026 5526 | 91071647
Hours: 12:00 noon till late afternoon (Sundays off)
Date visited: 18 Nov 2016
Return to Johor Kaki homepage.