While crossing the border to Malaysia to stock up on household items and other goods is not uncommon among Singapore residents, there are also a handful of us who would occasionally travel to Johor Bahru and other Malaysian states in search of good food. But much as I love Malaysian delicacies, not knowing how to drive has put me at a disadvantage since I won’t be able to make a short trip out of the country as and when I wish. Furthermore, with the recent implementation of the RM20 levy for Singapore-registered vehicles entering Malaysia (and a possible fare increase for express buses), it is going to be slightly pricier to go there in the long run. Well, after Malaysia Ringgit starts picking up against the Singapore Dollar, that is 🙂
But wouldn’t it be less time-consuming (think perennial jams on the causeway) and out-of-the-way if we have the best offerings from Malaysia readily available in Singapore? If you’re nodding your head yes, you may be interested to know that there is indeed a one-stop central marketplace here for people who love everything Malaysian!
Located at Sultan Gate within Kampong Glam, Agrobazaar Malaysia @ Singapore is a Malaysian-funded initiative which operates as a café, specialty grocery store and restaurant. Spanning over 5000sqf across 2 storeys, the outlet in Singapore is Agrobazaar’s first branch overseas and was officially opened by our Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak on 27 August 2014 to reflect the bilateral ties between both countries.
Stepping into KopieSatu Café on the ground floor, I was greeted with tables and chairs that can perhaps accommodate up to 16 people lined up on both sides of the room. It is a small and cozy area where you can chill out and have a cup of gourmet coffee as you wait for your companions to complete their grocery shopping at the store just right next to it. Their fragrant and inviting aroma of the coffee is evident that it is home-grown and home-roasted to mirror the style of artisanal brews.
At the same time, you can also savour some mouth-watering desserts and pastries such as Chendol and Rainbow Durian Cake while you keep entertained with complimentary Wi-Fi on your phone or laptop. With such up-to-date amenities and a menu that caters to the masses, it’s no wonder the in-house café is deemed to be a favourite place to hold meetings, appointments or discussions by many.
Infused with layers of creamy durian puree in between, the rainbow-coloured sponge cake combines two of the most beloved offerings from the cake world. The portion was astonishing big! However I was quite disappointed with the taste of the durian puree because it tasted somewhat artificial, like those preserved durian wrapped into a tube sold in Thailand. I also felt it could do away with the abundance of tasteless yet sinful green whipped cream atop it. Gorgeous presentation but I wouldn’t say the same for the taste, sadly. Perhaps it would be a lot better if it was cold.
Enjoy 20% off when you order a slice of cake with any drinks from KopieSatu!
Offer is valid from 1 August 2015 to 31 December 2015.
Sharing the space with the café is the grocery store which boasts an array of Malaysian grown fruits such as duku, cempedak durian and Musang King durian (Mao Shan Wang), as well as a wide variety of other Malaysian produced goods that were previously only sold in their home country.
You can enjoy the durians in the room itself or at the comfort of your home. Don’t worry about getting your hands dirty as Agrobazaar Malaysia is equipped with toilets on both levels.
Moving up to the next level via the flight of stairs between the two points of entry (one leading to the grocery store while the other to the café), you will find The Verandah – the restaurant which includes both indoor and alfresco dining options. Spearheaded by an experience chef Razif, it serves authentic popular Malaysian food like Penang Asam Laksa, Mee Bandung Muar and Ayam Percik Terengganu. The menu is also revamped every now and then with new dishes being introduced to whet your appetite.
Besides priding itself as the preferred location among newlyweds to hold their weddings, the outdoor dining area at The Verandah is also an ideal venue for gatherings, functions and other events due to its spacious layout.
As always, exciting programmes were lined up for the bloggers in attendance at the media event jointly organised by The Influencer Network. Here’s what went down that evening 🙂
Guess who did the best Teh Tarik demonstration and walked away with dining vouchers? *raises hand* I probably won because I was the only female participant (though I honestly felt Zulfadli was so much better!) and also due to the additional sympathy points that were secretly awarded to me for having to work with my injured fingers.
Shortly after that, we were treated to some of the restaurant’s signature dishes.
The chicken chunks were tender, well-marinated with spices and grilled to perfection. I managed to grab a few sticks of it the moment they were dished out from the kitchen. Hot and delightful, the taste married well with the moderately thick coconut-infused peanut dipping sauce that kinda led to an explosion of flavours (sweet, salty, sour and a little bit spicy) in my mouth.
A popular Malaysian noodle dish, the Mee Bandung Muar reminded me greatly of the Singaporean Mee Rebus with its distinctive thick gravy of mashed potatoes, chicken stock, tamarind, blended chilli and curry powder. The only difference was that Mee Bandung tasted a teeny weeny bit more sour. But on the overall. it was more on the sweet side with very some spiciness to it. If you love Mee Rebus, you’ll definitely love this too!
Voted seventh out of 50 most delicious food in the world by CNN, this is a specially-concocted dish unique to Penang. The unmistakable acidic aroma of the asam laksa stung my nose a little as I took a whiff of it. I then took several sips of the gravy and before I knew it, my nose became runny. Spicy! However, as much as everyone else loved the dish, I didn’t because I haven’t really taken a liking to the sourness of asam. But I’m sure it will grow on me like how Tom Yum did after I was forced to drink bowls after bowls of Tom Yum soup during my Bangkok trip a few years back!
A traditional dessert made with shaved ice, coconut milk, green starched noodles with pandan flavouring and palm sugar (gula melaka), the chendol makes an indulgently sweet and decadent ending to your meal. As my food tasting session was buffet-style, the ingredients of the chendol were provided separately so I had the liberty to put whatever amount of coconut milk and gula melaka I wanted. Therefore it wouldn’t be fair to review on this. But c’mon, how often do you go wrong with chendol, right?
Still have space for more pastries? How about some Rainbow Kueh Lapis? These chocolaty layered cakes are soft and moist with a sticky texture, they melt in your mouth! They were not too sweet and surprisingly addictive as well – a good addition to your buffet table if you’re intending to hold an event at The Verandah!
Other food and beverages not featured in this post are the Crispy Cempasak Fritters (S$6.90 for 7 pieces), Ice Blended Caramel (S$7) and Teh Tarik (S$2 for hot / S$2.50 for cold)
Hmmm… are you already enticed by all the food choices above but have no money to spare for them? (I know, I know, some things in life are just slightly more important than food and you’d rather splurge your moolahs on them.. like, makeup HAHA!) Great news!
You could stand a chance to win S$100 worth of dining vouchers if you take part in the Agrobazaar’s Instagram contest! Here’s how:
And that’s about it! 🙂 Let me know your thoughts and recommendations if you’ve dined at Agrobazaar Malaysia (both Malaysia and Singapore outlets) before! I would really love to hear from you before I dine there with the vouchers I had won. *beams*
Thanks for reading!