Cheap & Good

Cheap & Good: Mr Lorbak's lovely braised pork

Lor bak with rice, black fungus and a stewed egg.
Lor bak with rice, black fungus and a stewed egg.ST PHOTO: REBECCA LYNNE TAN

Mr Lorbak has moved to a new location at Block 350 Ubi Avenue 1, open: noon to 7pm (Wednesdays to Mondays), closed on Tuesdays.

It is always encouraging to see new hawkerpreneurs entering the market, what with all the chatter these days about how to preserve Singapore's unique hawker heritage and the need to revamp the hawker industry to ensure its sustainability.

Mr Lorbak, a stall selling lor bak or braised soya sauce pork, opened three weeks ago, at a new coffee shop in Bedok North Street 3.

It is run by Mr William Liou, a former restaurant group general manager, who has a culinary arts background and a diploma from Shatec.

He has worked in the kitchens at Copthorne King's Penang buffet restaurant Princess Terrace, as well as at Swissotel The Stamford, to name a few.

Most recently, he was managing the now-defunct restaurant Kite in Craig Road.

He turned 30 last year and decided it was time to fulfil a childhood dream - that of setting up and running a hawker stall of his own.

  • MR LORBAK

    Where: Block 350 Ubi Avenue 1

    Open: noon to 7pm (Wednesdays to Mondays), closed on Tuesdays

    Rating: 3.5/5 stars

He was inspired by his now- retired hawker mother, who used to run a rojak stall in Tampines.

For now, he has just one dish on the menu - wobbly square chunks of lor bak, braised in a robust stock with about 20 herbs and spices ranging from star anise and cinnamon to aromatic galangal and dried ginger.

He cures the meat for three hours then braises it for another 14, until the soft bone in the chunks of pork belly has turned gelatinous and gluey. Oh, how heavenly.

The meat, which has absorbed the full flavour of its braising liquid, is supple but still has bite.

Each bowl, priced at $3, comprises one chunk of lor bak, a hard-boiled egg, fragrant pieces of black cloud ear fungus cooked with a hit of Dom Benedictine herbal liqueur, and rice with delicious lor bak gravy.

The home-style lor bak is an adaptation of his mother's recipe, but he claims his mother's version is still the best. After tasting the pork, I am more than willing to pay for another chunk because the first one was gone before I had a chance to savour it.

So if you are planning to go, I recommend you pay $1.50 extra for another piece.

In time, Mr Liou plans to introduce other items, perhaps bak kut teh and orh luak, he says.

Singaporeans lament the dearth of good food, but how many of us are truly willing to take the plunge and set up shop like him?

I take my hat off to Mr Liou doing just that. It takes guts and plenty of perseverance.

•Follow Rebecca Lynne Tan on Twitter @STrebeccatan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 05, 2017, with the headline 'Lovely lor bak'. Print Edition | Subscribe