[FAST FOOD] FIRST IN SINGAPORE: Mom’s Touch Chicken & Burger at Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ)

Hello everyone!

East-siders have one more reason to rejoice: along with the opening of Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ), popular South Korean fast food chain Mom’s Touch has also launched their first-ever Singapore outlet at the mall!

Courtesy of No Signboard Holdings

Courtesy of No Signboard Holdings

Here, Mom’s Touch – which presently has over 1,200 stores across South Korea and is established in major cities in the USA, Taiwan and Vietnam – offers the same famous chicken and burger dishes that they are particularly noted for in an al fresco dining setting (still sheltered in a way, so you are safe from the rain, the harsh afternoon sun and now, the annoying haze – just no air-conditioner, yeah?). Plus, since it is located at the open space right next to Paya Lebar MRT station (so exit from the fare gates on the first level), it would be impossible to miss!

Back in their home country, Mom’s Touch has always been touted as the restaurant that serves properly-made food. In fact, for the uninitiated, the brand name Mom’s Touch derives from the notion of the way mothers prepare meals for their families – heartwarming – so you can certainly expect your food to be prepared with a great deal of passion and flair. Their renowned chicken, for instance, is hand-battered and hand-breaded in the kitchen and marinated with their very own special blend of seasoning for a fuller, tender and juicier taste.

Mom's Touch (SG) on opening night

Mom’s Touch (SG) on opening night – queue immediately started forming the moment the restaurant announced that there were still limited amount of fried chickens left

Despite being a newcomer to our shores, Mom’s Touch seems to have already won the hearts of the locals as evident from the snaking queue formed outside their PLQ outlet when it first opened its doors to the public on 30 August (though, to be fair, many of the patrons were Koreans who probably missed home, and there was an irresistible 3-day opening offer as well). The demand got so overwhelming that everything (the mains) was sold out by 5pm on the first day (😱❗) that even food bloggers like myself who were invited down for media tasting in the evening had to be turned away. A few of us eventually stayed to try the desserts and a few sample portions of their fried and sauced chicken (apparently they brought in more chickens towards closing time but still ran out of buns to make burgers) so as not to waste the trip. Even though we were only expecting a few menu items, it wasn’t until 40 minutes later that we finally got them. So… hungry…

Left: Citrus Yuzu Orange Ade / Right: Raspberry Melon Ade

Left: Citrus Yuzu Orange Ade / Right: Raspberry Melon Ade (all at S$3.80 each)

Mom's Spicy Sauced Chicken

Mom’s Spicy Sauced Chicken (1 pc: S$3.80 / 2 pc combo meal: S$8.90 / 3 pc combo meal: $12.00)

Mom's Fried Chicken

Mom’s Fried Chicken (1 pc: S$3.60 / 2 pc combo meal: S$8.70 / 3 pc combo meal: $11.70)

But the food sat well on my palate – Mom’s Fried Chicken (available in spicy and non-spicy versions, though I must say the spiciness didn’t really hit me) was crispy and non-greasy while the sauced-drenched Mom’s Spicy Sauced Chicken was tantalising to say the least. It was also juicy and succulent – yum! Between both flavours, the latter stood out more because of its more flavourful aroma and sweetness. That said, opt for both on your first visit. After all, you can never go wrong with fried chicken.

Cajun fries

Cajun fries (S: S$2.60 / M: S$3.40)

The cajun fries we had were served fresh from the fryer so they were very crunchy on the outside and fluffy inside. Taste-wise, I thought they were comparable to Popeye’s which is one of my go-to places for cajun fries, so no complaints there.

Black Sesame Sundae

Black Sesame Sundae (S$3.80)

As for desserts, we were served Black Sesame Sundae which was essentially vanilla ice-cream topped with a pretty generous dose of black sesame powder, a few sticks of Oreo Pocky and some vanilla waffle biscuits which gave an added crunch to the whole texture – nothing really groundbreaking here but it was surely a great dessert to end a savoury meal.

Fortunately, a second tasting session was held and I was able to try most of their signature dishes. As it was on a weekday afternoon, the queue would have died down significantly. Still, we were not spared from the relatively long waiting time of about 20 minutes. Granted, it was an improvement from the previous visit but it was still a stretch for a fast food restaurant.

Post-promotional period.. there's still queue omagawd!

Post-promotional period.. there’s still queue omagawd!

Joining me at the panel was a companion who couldn’t quite take spicy so we ordered both Mom’s Thigh Burger and Mom’s Spicy Thigh Burger (what suggestive and cannibalistic names though… 🤔) to provide you with the most balanced views.

L-R: (Cajun) Cheese Fries, Peach Pear Ade, Elderflower Apple Ade

L-R: (Cajun) Cheese Fries (S$4.40), Peach Pear Ade, Elderflower Apple Ade (at S$3.80 each)

The packaging of the burger!

The packaging of the burger!

Dinner of the day! Burgers, L-R: Mom's Thigh Burger, Mom's Spicy Thigh Burger

Dinner of the day! Burgers, L-R: Mom’s Thigh Burger (a la carte: S$5.70 / combo meal: S$8.20), Mom’s Spicy Thigh Burger (a la carte: S$6.00 / combo meal: S$8.50)

Close-up of spicy patty

Close-up of spicy patty

Non-spicy patty

Non-spicy patty

Both burgers came with the same chicken patty, freshly cut lettuce, onions and pickles with the only difference being the type of sauce used – Mom’s Thigh Burger was infused with homemade burger sauce while the spicy version drizzled with authentic Korean spicy sauce. Even though the sauce was given in generous amounts that could potentially turn anything soggy, the crispiness of the patty crust could still be distinctively felt with every bite and the buns remained fluffy and light. On the downside, we thought the tenderness of the patty was largely overshadowed by the insanely crispy batter, so much so that the meat felt almost non-existent in contrast.

Fleshy, succulent meat..

Fleshy, succulent meat..

What disappointed us more, however, was how different the actual thing looked from the images depicted on all their promotional materials which show an exaggeratedly thick stack of ingredients slapped between the buns (I’m sure it was done from a marketing standpoint to showcase what go into the burger more clearly but still… clueless people like us would naturally assume that the height is attributed to the thick patty instead) and that kinda distorted our expectations. I think the same issue applies to the other burgers as well, so take note and don’t have high hopes 🤣

I haven’t been to any of their outlets in South Korea so I cannot tell if the quality and taste are consistent with the original. But based on what I have tried so far, the food is decent, something different from the usual Korean fare here, I guess. Of course, there are many more items on the menu which we didn’t get to eat because our little stomach could only handle this much food. So the only way for you to verify our reviews is to try them for yourselves! Just be prepared to wait, okay? 😬

What is/are on your must-try list? If you’ve eaten at Mom’s Touch in South Korea before, are you excited about their arrival here? Otherwise, would you be keen to give Mom’s Touch a try? Let me know your thoughts and reviews (if you’ve already tasted the food) in the comments below!

On a side note, travelling 2800 miles to South Korea to get our Korean food fix may soon be unnecessary as more of such foreign-based restaurant chains permeate our local F&B scene! Woohoo!

Thanks for reading!

Mom’s Touch Chicken & Burger · Paya Lebar Quarter, 10 Paya Lebar Quarter, #01-37, Singapore 409057 · Operating hours: 10 am – 10 pm (including public holidays) · Nearest MRT station: Paya Lebar (EW8/CC9) · For more information, please visit Mom’s Touch FACEBOOK PAGE, INSTAGRAM or WEBSITE.

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Three Buns @ Keong Saik Road

Hey everyone!

As much as I love to eat, being a non-driver has made me quite reluctant to travel to eateries that are inaccessible by train (which is my main mode of transport), and even more so if I have to walk under the scorching heat of the sun to get there. Therefore, even though I get tempted by enticing food pictures from cafes on Instagram all the time, I still hardly cafe-hop since most of the new startups are normally hidden in some secluded corners of Singapore.

However. lodging at Naumi Liora for our staycation had given me the opportunity to explore inconspicuous eateries in Chinatown area which I had previously found to be inconvenient by public transport. In fact, there was already one right on our doorstep!

Called Three Buns, it is a gourmet burger joint from South Jakarta and the brainchild of the PTT Family (I’d think PTT stands for Potato) which had already spawned 3 highly successful dining establishments in Indonesia namely Potato Head and Potato Head Garage in Jakarta, and Potato Head Beach Club in Bali. Three Buns arrived on Singapore’s shores some time in 2014 under the umbrella of the Potato Head Folk group and has been a pretty big hit among the nightlifers and office workers looking to unwind with some burgers and cocktails after a long day on the job.

View from our hotel lobby

View from our hotel lobby

Currently occupying the first two levels of the iconic Tong Ah building, it has its takeaway counter on the ground level and the dining area on the second. A lounge bar (Studio1939 Lounge) and a rooftop bar (The Rooftop Garden) – also part of the Potato Head Folk – sit on the third and fourth floor respectively.

Bulldog head logo

The signature logo of Three Buns is the head of a Bulldog, inspired by a staff member’s bulldog which frequented the PTT Family office grounds in Jakarta

Ground floor of Three Buns

Ground floor of Three Buns in the day

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Whimsical and nostalgic murals along the stairway that led us to the second floor

Dining area on the second floor at night

Dining area on the second floor at night

The mastermind behind the recipes of burgers is actually Chef Adam Penney from London who also helmed the kitchen of the widely acclaimed Patty & Bun burger restaurant, thus the expensive price tag for every burger on the Three Buns menu. Boyfriend and I only decided to dine there on the second night of our staycation (after much persuasion by him) because I was put off by the price. Be prepared to spend at least S$20 for a single burger and around $50 for a complete meal per pax.

The restaurant was a little dim at night so please pardon the poor lighting.

Beetroot & Horseradish Pickled Quail Eggs (S$10++) - "An intriguingly delicate flavour, these little gems are a stunning beetroot pink with a subtle freshly grated horseradish finish"

Beetroot & Horseradish Pickled Quail Eggs (S$10++) – “An intriguingly delicate flavour, these little gems are a stunning beetroot pink with a subtle freshly grated horseradish finish”

Served in the most unpretentious manner possible, these eggs were placed in a plain paper cup with no garnish whatsoever to liven up the dull presentation. Everything seemed to be true to its description except for the flavour. The eggs were nice and soft but they were so goddamn sour that it left my tongue feeling severely blistered for a day. I don’t know what that was but it tasted a lot like a truckload of vinegar. The sourness was so overwhelming that it kinda engulfed everything else, making it a struggle for us to finish the eggs. And S$10 for a few pieces of quail eggs soaked in beetroot juice? *scoffs* That money is better spent on something else on the menu so no, will not recommend this to anyone at all.

House Fries (S$5++) - "Double cooked, crushed herb salt"

House Fries (S$5++) – “Double cooked, crushed herb salt”

One of the cheapest sides available, the shoestring fries came in really small quantity that were gone in a flash. Oh well, at this point I’ve come to accept the fact that everything there was pretty much overpriced. But the fries were thick, crispy and salty enough for my liking.

Wings-Its (S$10++) - "Crispy, fall off the bone, twice cooked chicken wings, scallions & smokey BBQ sauce"

Wings-Its (S$10++) – “Crispy, fall off the bone, twice cooked chicken wings, scallions & smokey BBQ sauce”

I am bewildered by the pricing system at Three Buns. Isn’t it strange that these wings actually cost the same as the awful quail eggs? But unlike those eggs which totally didn’t justify the price, these wings were absolutely delicious! Topped with tiny chilli strips, green onion and bits of fried onion, they were sweet with a hint of spiciness. Love the distinctive crunchiness as well, which was the result of double frying. Brilliant!

Four Floors and Smokin' B-Boy

Cute stickers for Four Floors and Smokin’ B-Boy

Beef burgers are a specialty at Three Buns with the beef patties cooked medium unless otherwise requested. Chicken, lamb, crab, fish and vegetable (for vegans) burgers are also available on the menu.

Smokin' B-Boy (S$25++) - "Prime 120g beef patty, double applewood smoked cheddar, Dingley Dell beer & treacle cured bacon, BBQ ketchup, smoky mayo & crisp onions in a demi brioche bun."

Smokin’ B-Boy (S$25++) – “Prime 120g beef patty, double applewood smoked cheddar, Dingley Dell beer & treacle cured bacon, BBQ ketchup, smoky mayo & crisp onions in a demi brioche bun.”

The flavours were great because of the robust mixture of the beer and other sauces which trickled down my hand with every bite. Bacon and crisp onions were added to give the burger an added crunch but the patty was a little dry on the whole. Presentation-wise, it looked like any average and uninspiring beef burger, and messy, so to speak, because of that squashed bottom bun and excess piece of burnt cheese sticking out in the middle.

Prices for the burgers seemed to have been adjusted (or rather, inflated) to exclude the 7% GST and 10% service charge. From past reviews on other food blogs, the Smokin’ B-Boy used to be $28 nett but now, after factoring in all the additional charges, it amounts to almost $29.50. Nah, not worth it if you ask me. I would rather pay an extra dollar to get…

Four Floors (S$26++) - "Double prime 100g beef patties, double cheese, triple onions, lettuce, pickles, ‘Notorious T.O.M. sauce’ & den miso mayo in a demi brioche bun."

Four Floors (S$26++) – “Double prime 100g beef patties, double cheese, triple onions, lettuce, pickles, ‘Notorious T.O.M. sauce’ & den miso mayo in a demi brioche bun.”

THIS.

Two slabs of thick and succulent beef patties smothered in the most sinful combination of savoury sauces, layered with crunchy vegetables and an overflowing heavenly cheese, and sandwiched between two fluffy buns… I was in total awe. The burger was huge and packed with patties that were delicate and soft to the tooth. But unless you request for the burger to be sliced in four pieces, you would definitely need a big mouth to take a bite out of this burger without messing up the alignment.

A complimentary wet wipe is provided to clean your hands that were soiled with sauces while you luxuriate in the thick burger but it’s always good to prepare yourself with more in case one isn’t enough.

In general, everything – perhaps except for Four Floors – at Three Buns is pretty overpriced. The Smokin B-Boy was honestly just a better-than-average fare of its kind which I didn’t think warrant the hefty cost. The price of the nibbles (where the quail eggs are classified) are, needless to say, daylight robbery. But that’s just how I feel.

Would you pay $30 for a burger?

Thanks for reading!

Three Buns
36 Keong Saik Road
Singapore 089143
Tel: (+65) 6327 1939
Email: wordup@threebuns.com
Operating hours : Tue – Sun 11am – Midnight
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