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A'Famosa @ T-Space Tampines · Authentic 50 Year Old Bibi Satay Celup Recipe from Malacca with over 30 Spices in the Sauce


This was the first time I had satay celup in nearly 50 years thanks to A' Famosa stall at Happy Hawkers food court in Tampines T-Space (near IKEA, COURTS and GIANT).

Stall name: A' Famosa · Malacca Satay Celup

Address: 1 Tampines North Dr. 1, #01-34 Happy Hawkers, Singapore 528559

Tel: 9131 0136

Hours: 3:00pm - 10:00pm (Mon off)


I had to trawl the deep recesses of my memory for the last time that I had satay celup. It was during the 1970s when I would jump on cheap buses on wanderlust trips to Malaysia with no particular itinerary. I remember eating satay celup at street side push carts in Malacca and also Kuala Lumpur. (I've not changed that much except that now I hop on cheap Airbus flights.)

There were skewers of meat and vegetables which we cooked in pots of spicy satay sauce at the side of the pushcart. I've not had another satay celup since. So, I have not tried any of the tourist trap famous satay celup restaurants in Malacca. I've also not come across any satay celup in Singapore or Johor (until A'Famosa @ T-Space Tampines).


Chua AiPing runs A'Famosa @ T-Space Tampines at the stall space once occupied by Old World Fried Porridge. Ms Chua's mum started a push cart satay celup stall in Malacca in 1978 after she was widowed. Her satay celup stall was well received and it expanded into a restaurant in Malacca known as Bibi Satay Celup as the family is Peranakan. AiPing's mum in her 80s now has since retired and closed the restaurant.


AiPing's hubby Jemmy who also hails from Malacca always wanted to bring authentic Malaccan cuisine such as satay celup to Singapore. Jemmy is the serial entrepreneur behind the successful Old World chain of fried porridge, bak kut teh and cheese bee hoon stalls. 

They have decided to repurpose the Old World fried porridge stall at T-Space Tampines into A'Famosa focussing on Malacca cuisine starting with satay celup. A'Famosa will feature other Malacca food icons like chicken rice balls in the future.


The ladies were looking at the other camera 🙄 AiPing is assisted by Miaolin who just left her banking career to participate in this venture to bring authentic Malacca cuisine to Singapore.


At 3pm when 
A'Famosa opens, most of the other stalls are winding down for the day, so we satay celup lovers have plenty of space to enjoy our meal at the bright, windy, spacious food court.


At the heart of satay celup is the satay sauce. AiPing uses her mum's original 50 year old Bibi satay sauce recipe which uses over 30 different types of spices and herbs.

The pot of satay sauce costs $5.80. For obvious hygiene reasons, any unfinished satay sauce is discarded after use. There is absolutely no recycling of satay sauce at A'Famosa. But, some customers like it so much that they request to tabao (takeaway) their own leftover sauce.


There's a choice of over 50 different ingredients in skewers to choose from, from vegetables, fish, seafood, chicken, pork to beef and mutton. Prices range from 60 cents to $2.


Take a look at the list of ingredients and side dishes now. It will save you time ordering when you are here.


ingredients were clean and fresh. Some, like this tau pok stuffed with cucumber wedges, I have never seen before.


The ingredients are cooked directly by the customer (like in steamboat restaurants) in the bubbling hot satay sauce. When the food curled slightly at the edges and looked done, it is ready to be eaten 😄 

The thick, nutty sauce has quite robust, rich spice flavours though it is not stinging hot (actually not spicy hot to me). It is not as thick and not as sweet as most satay sauce that we eat with satay. The satay celup sauce dominated the flavours and aromas whether it was fish, meat or vegetables in the skewer.


I asked Jemmy and AiPing what is the difference between satay celup and another very similar dish, lok lok.

So, whereas in satay celup, the skewers of ingredients are cooked directly in the satay sauce, in lok lok, the skewers are cooked in boiling water. The lok lok sauces are separate and used as dips rather than for cooking the meat or vegetables.


If you miss the Malacca specialty satay celup, you can get the authentic taste at A'Famosa @ T-Space Tampines in Singapore.


In case you are interested, A'Famosa is the Portuguese fort built in 1512 (510 years ago). The Portuguese defeated the Malacca Sultanate in 1511 and ruled Malacca for 150 years until 1641 (when the Dutch took over).

The remains of A'Famosa is today a popular tourist hotspot and the fort remains a symbol of Malacca.

Written by Tony Boey on 27 July 2022

Image of A'Famosa courtesy of Wikipedia.

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