Cheap & Good

Juicy, crispy fried chicken at Bruce Wings at Taman Jurong Market & Food Centre

PHOTO: EUNICE QUEK

Sometimes, a piece of lean, grilled chicken breast on salad is what I need to keep to my healthy eating plan. But is that what I want? Probably not. Plus, I'll be hungry an hour later and end up on a snacking binge.

So when a new stall selling fried chicken opens in my neighbourhood, I have to check it out.

Bruce Wings at Taman Jurong Market & Food Centre has a straightforward menu of fried chicken wings, fried chicken cutlet and other fried snacks such as sotong balls, chicken nuggets and seaweed chicken.

While it may sound simple enough to open a stall selling fried food, everything is cooked only on order by first-time hawker Bruce Peh, 40, who was previously in sales. You do not get pre-fried, re-heated, greasy and soggy snacks.

My Big Chicken Cutlet Bruce Rice Set ($6, right; $6.50 with fries) comes with a hefty chicken cutlet that is fried to golden perfection. The skin is crispy while the meat is tender and juicy. Flavour comes from the meat sitting in a secret marinade for 10 hours.

The cutlet is drizzled with cheese sauce and while it isn't an artisanal cheese dip, it takes me back to school days of sharing cheese fries with my friends.

I like the fragrant rice as well, which is lightly seasoned and has hints of butter and pandan.

To balance out the dish, there is a side salad with sesame dressing, sliced onion, crab stick, cherry tomatoes and lettuce. This is not the usual Western stall side dish of coleslaw or baked beans from a can.

Good as a snack are the Bruce Sotong Balls ($5 for six) and Bruce Seaweed Chicken ($4.50 for six). Both come with a side salad.

The Bruce Wings ($1.50 each, minimum order of two) are bigger than I expect and, like the chicken cutlet, are moist inside and crispy outside.

I think there is potential to expand the menu, maybe to include some pasta options as well.

Nevertheless, I leave the hawker centre feeling stuffed.

Definitely no hunger pangs until my next meal.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 20, 2016, with the headline 'Crispy cutlet'. Print Edition | Subscribe