Food Review: Singkawang Cafe offers variety of cuisines

Craving a warm dish on a cold afternoon and something new to try, a place that piqued my interest was a cafe that seemed to offer a wide variety of unique dishes. This place was, in fact, Singkawang Cafe– a cafe that serves Indonesian and Thai food.

My first impression of the interior of the cafe was how modern it looked. The walls were painted white with different shades of gray, and dimmed lantern lights hung from the ceiling. The TVs and music made the overall atmosphere of the cafe feel comfortable. My friend and I were immediately greeted and seated upon entrance.

Glancing at the menu, I saw that the dishes were quite inexpensive, ranging from $6.95 to $12.95, while drinks ranged from $1.25 to $4.50. Because Singkawang Cafe offered dishes from two separate cuisines, the dishes were categorized under Singkawang entrees, which represents the Indonesian part of the cafe since Singkawang is a city in Indonesia, and Thai entrees. Some of the Singkawang entrees the cafe offered were Hakong Singkawang, curry laksa, nasi campur, and other dishes that were unfamiliar to me. For the Thai entrees, it offered fried shrimp cake, pad thai, pad see ew, and many more. Because I wanted to try an entree from both cuisines, my friend ordered pad see ew ($11.95) under the Thai entrees and fried tofu for an appetizer. The waiter recommended that I order the cafe’s most popular dish, Singkawang fried rice ($9.95), from the Singkawang entrees.

My favorite dish had to be the pad see ew because it was rich in flavor with flat, wide stir fried noodles coated in a sweet soy sauce, well-cooked shrimp, Chinese broccoli, eggs, and pork. This delicious Thai dish was certainly fulfilling. As for the appetizer, the fried tofu was very bland inside, but I liked the texture. The fried tofu was crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Despite the sweet and sour sauce provided, it did not make up for the underwhelming taste. The Singkawang fried rice was delicious; however, it failed to leave an impression on me like the pad see ew did. The Singkawang fried rice had rice coated in the cafe’s special dark sauce, Chinese broccoli, shrimp, pork, fish cake, chinese sausage, and eggs. The chewy pork and shrimp was cooked to perfection and flavorful, whereas the Chinese broccoli had a nice crunch, but lacked flavor. The fish cake, in my opinion, was phenomenal because not only did it have a nice texture, but it also had a unique, savory flavor. The special dark sauce brought all the elements of the fried rice to play in harmony.

In the end, I would recommend Singkawang Cafe to those who want to enjoy or experience quality, inexpensive Indonesian food or Thai food in a casual environment. Singkawang Cafe is located at 10404 Valley Blvd, El Monte, CA 91731.

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