03 May 2012 • 33 reviews • 1 follower
Must tries: Beef empanada, oyster popiah
At Tanglin Halt Food Centre, Guan Ruying, is serving Argentinian snacks instead of her local Singaporean snacks. Having taken lessons from local chefs while holidaying in Argentina, she returned to Singapore with the intention of introducing South American cuisine to the heartlands.
Like most of the stalls at the food market, Guan’s is simple – she has a fridge and a display in the front. It takes a second look to realise she’s peddling empanadas, and those of unconventional fillings.
The stuffed pastry is native to many Latin American countries. The name comes from the word ‘empanar’ which means ‘to wrap in bread’. Guan fills her fragrant empanadas with beef, chicken, ham and mozzarella, or mushroom and mozzarella ($1.30 each) and bakes them instead of frying.
Our pick, the piping hot beef empanada is filled with spice-marinated beef, hard-boiled eggs and diced onions – a combination similar to the curry puff, but meatier. The baked chewy dough is plainer in comparison, thus healthier.
However the mushroom and mozzarella is disappointing – it lacks the spicy punch that the beef version offered, and the filling was sparse.
Not content with just resting on pockets of dough, Guan also sells pizzas ($10 for 8-inch pizza), cream soup ($2.50), oyster popiah ($1.30 each) and panna cotta ($3).
She bakes her pizzas individually, each taking around 10 to 15 minutes to rise. While we weren’t able to try the pizza, we tried the oyster popiah, essentially a deep-fried spring roll filled with chives and oysters that resembles a Shanghainese pancake in taste and texture.
As for the panna cotta, it’s okay to give it a miss – we found it overly sweet.