Goreng pisang or pisang goreng? The answer is pisang goreng, which means fried banana. Grammatically, goreng pisang means to cook a banana.
But the question that most of us are more concerned with is: Where can we find truly outstanding goreng pisang in Singapore? There are numerous stalls that sell this beloved local snack, but not all have mastered the secret of the perfect banana fritter. We know that a good goreng pisang must start with ripe pisang raja (it’s a local banana variety which means banana king in Malay), but the perfect batter is incredibly tricky to master.
At the risk of trans fat overdose, we scoured the island and taste-tested five highly-acclaimed goreng pisang stalls. Here are our findings.
183 Upper Thomson Road, Longhouse Food Junction
Opening hours: Daily:12pm-9pm
Price: ranges from $0.70 to $1.10, depending on size of banana
Our quest for the perfect goreng pisang ends here! From the banana down to the cooking time and temperature, Boon Pisang Goreng has nailed it. Whatever size banana you choose, the fruit is of the same sweetness and ripeness. It’s cooked till slightly soft, but still remains firm.
But we were even more impressed with the batter. The fritter is of a light, golden hue, which suggests it was fried in relatively fresh oil. Taste-wise, it’s airy, thin and crisp, and has this melt-in-the-mouth quality. Best of all, it feels amazingly grease-free. You can easily polish off two pieces and not feel stuffed!
#01-07, Bedok Interchange Food Centre
Opening hours: Daily: 10.30am-10pm
Price: ranges from $0.60 to $1.20, depending on size of banana
Lee Kee’s goreng pisang came very close to getting full marks from us. We really enjoyed its thin and delicate batter, which stays crisp even when cold. It’s also not too oily, though not as grease-free as Boon’s.
The bananas are also cooked to the right consistency – slightly mushy but still retaining some bite. However, we noticed that the smaller bananas tend to be sweeter than the larger ones. Bigger isn’t always better!
#01-61 Maxwell Food Centre
Opening hours: Daily: 11am-8pm
Older folks would remember Lim Kee as the famous goreng pisang stall at Somerset Road. With such a long history, we had high expectations for the banana fritter. From its looks, we were certainly impressed. They use huge, jumbo-sized bananas. However, we wished the stall was more consistent with the quality of the fruit. This time round, the banana wasn’t ripe enough. Also, the fruit was too firm, which means it wasn’t sufficiently cooked to release its natural sugars.
Although the batter had a slight hint of alkaline, it was wonderfully crisp and paper-thin. If a sweeter banana had been used, this would have been a killer goreng pisang.
#01-14, Clementi Food Centre
Opening hours: Daily: 9am-6pm
Price: $1 for two pieces
Sold at $1.00 for two small pieces, Snow Mount’s goreng pisang is the most competitively priced. The stall only offers pisang raja of the small variety. The banana was intensely sweet and fragrant. The crispy batter reminded us of tempura, but its texture was more lattice-like. It would have been rather enjoyable, but unfortunately, the batter was too thick and too greasy.
*Clementi Food Centre is closed for upgrading, and will re-open in November 2010.
Blk 177 Toa Payoh Central
Opening hours: Daily: 1pm – 10pm
Although the banana was sweet, ripe, and sufficiently cooked, its batter was a letdown. It was quite heavy, and tasted very strongly of alkaline. Also, the batter had a mild rancid oil taste. In the end, we simply removed the batter and enjoyed the banana on its own.