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CHEAP & GOOD

Sinful char siew at Roast Paradise in Old Airport Road Food Centre

I think I may have found a new favourite char siew stall.

Think juicy, honeyed char siew coated in a well-caramelised glaze, with edges that have been charred to gorgeous, blackened crisp.

And for me, those sweet, crunchy charred bits are what I love most.

The char siew is from a sevenmonth-old stall called Roast Paradise in Old Airport Road Food Centre.

The meats are marinated and roasted on site daily.


Char siew and siew yoke from Roast Paradise. ST PHOTO: BASIL EDWARD TEO

  • ROAST PARADISE

  • Old Airport Road Food Centre, 51 Old Airport Road, 01-122, open: 11am to 6.30pm (Tuesday, Thursday and Friday), 10.30am to 3pm (Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday), closed on Monday

    Rating: ****

    Info: Go to www.facebook.com/roas.tparadise

It is run by two young men - Mr Kai Koh, 30, and Mr Randall Gan, 26 - who learnt the art of making char siew, or barbecued pork, from a family-run restaurant business in Kuala Lumpur. The duo used to work together in nightlife public relations.

They use pork belly and flank to make their char siew, giving diners an option of fatter or leaner cuts of meat.

I prefer the fatter bits - give me pork belly any day.

I like that the fats have melted into the meat, which help to keep it moist, lush and lightly springy.

The stall offers a premium version of its char siew on weekends, which I have yet to try.

Instead of pork belly and flank, the premium char siew is made with the supple upper part of the pork neck.

It also offers crispy-skinned roast pork, better known as siew yoke or sio bak, which is done very well too.

The skin has a good crackle and the meat is tender and just salty enough.

At lunchtime, the stall serves its char siew and siew yoke with fragrant garlic rice, while at dinner time, white rice is served instead.

There is also the option of ordering Hakka-style minced pork noodles (from $3.50 a bowl, served with char siew). Pour extra char siew sauce into the bowl of noodles for more flavour.

A serving of char siew rice here costs $3.50, while char siew and siew yoke rice costs $4.80.

Premium char siew with rice costs $4.20.

Unless you are watching your diet, be sure to add char siew to your order - it is worth your calories, especially the blackened fatty parts.

I will be back for the premium version soon.


• Follow Rebecca Lynne Tan on Twitter @STrebeccatan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 10, 2016, with the headline 'Sinful char siew'. Print Edition | Subscribe