This post is more about Indo-Chinese food than it is about the restaurant Singapura. I find the need to ramble about the cuisine in order to do justice to the review itself. Now, Wikipedia has done a very good job of covering the technicalities of this cuisine. Do spend some time reading that and then come back to read this.
To me, when you say Indo-Chinese food, I get transported to the Indian town where I was an undergrad. I start hearing things. Loud automobile honks, the bustle of a street and some Bollywood or regional movie songs being played on a cheap stereo to be precise. Any self-respecting “Fast Food” joint or “Noodle Point” that serves this food must be very humble. Usually a street cart or a small, Spartan store thereby explaining the noise and the Indian immunity that doesn’t make you rush for an Aleve in spring. And then comes the sound of a metal ladle furiously tossing around a mélange of ingredients in a large, extremely hot wok. I am told that it is this high temperature that is responsible for the taste and texture, among other things. Something you cannot achieve on your stovetop. The menu in such a place is pretty standard. You have Noodles with vegetables, egg or chicken and Manchurian, either wet or dry made out of vegetables, cauliflower or chicken. You almost always go to this place as a group. Get one of each kind and pass the dishes around. The taste is consistently the same no matter how many times you go. Now the taste, spicy, soy saucy, green chili saucy, and so Indo-Chinese-y that there is no other description. Yes, let us settle for Indo-Chinese-y.
Now, there’s sit-down restaurants that serve this fare and do a very good job. Not as good as the street cart but good enough for your now thirty something self whose belly doesn’t take as much abuse as it did when you were in your late teens and early twenties. The spice is toned down, the grease is reduced but the taste remains Indo-Chinese-y.
Let us now proceed to Singapura shall we? To do well on a street which offers stiff competition, you must be very good. Neighbor Chinese Mirch has established itself in the Indo-Chinese food space. While the food at Singapura is not bad at all, it is nowhere close to either the food cart or the restaurant. In addition to Indo-Chinese they also offer other Asian food like Malaysian and Thai but we did not try those.
For that authentic Indo-Chinese food experience, head to Bombay Talk in Edison, NJ. Don’t say you weren’t warned about the heat!
P.S. Just found that this restaurant is closed!