If Keng Eng Kee Seafood is a dining name familiar with you, Wok in burger is their take on bringing ze-char Chinese burgers in a western burger style. I was there to try out their burgers during their opening week.
The burger joint is tucked in their ze-char coffeshop in Block 124 Alexandra village. It near an light industrial car workshop district beside Alexandra village hawker center, which is a place known also for famous claypot laska and avocado milkshakes.
Also, this outlet just opened early this year in January and had been operating for under a month. Keng Eng Kee Seafood used to operate at a similar outlet in the Pandan area, before moving here.
East meets West fusion Burgers
Keng Eng Kee Seafood is a household name in the Chinese seafood restaurant business. Wok in Burger also operates under the same management and is their means of bringing their years of Chinese cooking know-how in a Chinese meet western fusion. You can see distinctive Asian elements fused in with western burger style cuisine.
Moreover, at the coffee shop, even the Burger stall front is decked in auspicious red with modern elements, signifying further the east meets west fusion.
Wok burger menu offerings are pretty basic. Their signature dishes includes soft shell crab burger and coffee-flavored pork fillet burger.
Soft shell crab burger goodness!
There are two prices of the burgers offered. Items on their menu range from $9.8 to $15 a burger meal. Their signature dish is their fried Soft Shell Crab as well as as Coffee Pork burger. Each burger are served in mini metal woks laid with paper, with your food accompanied by heaps of fries, a small cup of colesaw and a large cup of iced water chestnut drink.
Strangely, I found the woks serve no other purpose but to contain your food. They do not keep your food warm and I guess it goes with their signature theming of burgers in woks.
Furthermore, for $15 nett, you get a full (yes, a full) deep-fried soft shell crab sitting in between your burger buns. This premium offering is offered with Chili or Salted Egg yolk sauce variants. It is definitely worthy of a try and gets my recommendations.
Additionally, the soft shell crab is well deep-fried without being too drippy or oily. You can consume the whole crab including it’s shell whole. It is a delightful and unique offering.
Moreover, your sauces and coleslaw comes served by the side in small plastic bowls. Also, I like how you are free to apply your sauces (e.g. salted egg yolk sauce) at your discretion. The burger buns are lightly toasted crispy and buttered lightly with butter.
Coffee Pork or Pai Gu Burger anyone?
Another interesting dish would be their Coffee Pork burger. This coffee-infused pork dish is a trademark of Keng Eng Kee Seafood ze-char. The restaurant shared that they had decided to bring forward several of their old-time favorites right into the burgers. The others includes Pai Gu (pork chop) and Marmite Pork/Chicken just to name afew.
We can see it in several of their menu offerings. The coffee in the pork itself is really juicy, flavorful and crispy on the edges. The meats are well-marinated and full of flavor. However, sometimes, I find that the coffee taste overwhelms the taste of the buns and everything else. The burger itself is pretty rich and best accompanied with their refreshing iced water chestnut drink.
Moreover, if you love pre-marinated sweet and sour pork loins, their Pai Gu Burger is a nice choice to start from.
Marmite burger, Interesting
However, their trademarked Marmite burger was one of my few less favorite choosing. Not that I do not like Marmite, but it is tad bit too oily and drippy to my liking. The oil simply soaks through the paper on your Wok leaving a hole. I found it is not quite “up there” compared to their Coffee pork patty.
The sotong burger is an interesting, but most quirky of the bunch, if you qualify it for a burger. Come to think about it, it is just fried squid pieces stuffed into a bun. I found it does not have the oommph you get from a regular burger patty.
Give and take the dishes here are largely experimental, so I am generally fine with my expectations of what to encounter. Also, it is pleasing to know that many all their other dishes do make up for it. They are very good in their own right. I was not able to try out their other Rice and Pasta dishes, but I would make a point to try it out next time I am there.
Friendly atmosphere and always improving
Service at Wok in Burger is pleasant. Their staff is cheerful and quick to entertain our orders despite the 10-15 minute wait time for the burgers. Unlike fast food chains, all their Burgers are made to order, hence the wait. A remote buzzer will prompt you to collect your order back at the store when ready.
Furthermore, when I was there, a store assistant there shared a challenge they had when formulating the burgers is working on the “one good taste”. This is unlike ze-char Chinese dishes where the chef can concentrate on the taste of each dish, working on the delivering the flavor of each dish individually as it is served.
Here, the concern with burgers is to produce an single good taste with a variety of ingredients within the first bite of the burger. It is always a work in progress. They shared they had quite bit of experimentation using their Chinese ze-char know-how to deliver this fusion of taste from multiple ingredients.
Good value but not perfect
Their dishes are not perfect. With their main courses aside, I found the coleslaw accompanying the burgers are not up to scratch. The portions are disappointingly small. Also, it looks like they were seemingly pre-packed and simply just added to your dish. It was difficult eating it out of such small little cups while they could had just put them right into the wok.
It was also after chatting with the store owner where I learnt that all their ingredients, including their coleslaw are all made in-house and subsequently distributed. They welcomed my suggestion to include bigger coleslaw servings. I look forward to the improvements on my next visit.
Moreover pricing-wise, I found their pricing reasonably priced. $9.80 a pop for a burger and a large drink is good value. Their most expensive offering is $15. This puts Wok in Burger much cheaper than other burger joint offerings, such as Fat boys (average price of $19), Fat Burger and on-par with Burger Up Classix and Wolf burgers (with prices ranging about $15-20 a meal).
Additionally, I found their $15 full Soft Shell crab burger set quite unbeatable in terms of quality to price from other places. Say, Sakae sushi, where a small crab red plate will set you back at least $8 by itself.
All in all, I find the offerings by Wok in Burger a fresh introduction in the rather crowded burger scene in Singapore. It is a refreshing welcome to see the integration of old style Chinese ze-char in a western setting. Their dishes are not prefect, but their desire to improve on their meal and salad offerings, plus good and friendly service puts them in a good position for a winning recipe here.
If you are in town in Alexandra, definitely do not forget to give Wok in Burger a try.
Must Go! |
Worth Trying | Shortlist Optionally | Should Avoid
Wok in burger Bukit Merah Alexandra
124 Bukit Merah Lane 1, #01-136, 150124
Opens daily with split shift:
11:30am – 2:30pm, 5pm – 10pm