The Canteen whips up tasty and inexpensive local fare in the heart of Orchard Road.
Looking for a quick recharge while shopping until you are dropping in Orchard Road? Stop by the quaintly-named The Canteen at Shaw Centre. While the name may bring to mind utilitarian school canteens and rowdy children, this “canteen” is actually a rather good place to enjoy an unpretentious yet satisfying pick-me-up.
I have passed by this place umpteen times, and every time I take a peek inside, the food looks tempting and very affordable, considering its location in Singapore’s prime shopping belt. When I finally had the opportunity to make a trip down, I was not disappointed. Perhaps to make up for all those times when I walked by and did not h
ave the chance to try its food, I ordered up a feast for two people!
The first dish we tried was the Nonya Laksa. Even though it was generously portioned, I could not get enough of the laksa as I slurped down the addictive gravy that was oh-so-indulgent! The meal was definitely off to a good start.
Next, we ordered the Sliced Fish Noodle Soup, which came with a choice of fried or poached fish. Feeling decadent, we ordered the fried fish version. The fried fish slices were golden and crispy on the outside, and yet still moist and flaky on the inside. The broth was milky in a good, subtle kind of way—kind of a counterbalance to the laksa.
I also couldn’t get enough of the X.O. Sauce Lo Shi Fun. I liken this dish to an Asian spaghetti bolognaise. Not commonly found in restaurants, this version had “mouse tail” rice noodles, or what we call mee tai bak, heartily tossed with spicy X.O. chilli sauce, minced pork, green beans and century eggs. An interesting mix of ingredients, I know, but strangely enough, the blend of flavors worked splendidly! To me, it was like the ultimate local comfort food, with every mouthful a pleasure—a must-order when you go to The Canteen.
For those with a sweet tooth, the chef recommends the Goreng Pisang Katsu, which was a nicely done fried banana with a scoop of ice cream on the side—traditional yet contemporary. There is also quite a selection of sweet treats on the menu such as coconut jelly, crème brulee, tiramisu and waffles.
All in all, The Canteen is a good bet for some good old local fare in an air-conditioned, bright and clean environment. So, the next time you are in town and don’t want to settle for a food court or burn a hole in your pocket at posh eateries; just stop by The Canteen.
1 Scotts Road,
Shaw Centre, #01-01B
Tel: +65 6738 2276