is a new eatery in town, and if you have an sudden inkling for affordable Hong Kong cuisine in a casual environment, look no further than SIFU at Bugis Junction.
Formerly occupied by Mos Burger, this café-restaurant casual dining offers a modern yet relaxing ambiance. The delicious aroma of their freshly-baked pillow buns from their in-house bunnery fills the surrounding atmosphere, enticing your senses for a bite or two.
You are instantly greeted by the bright and classy decor, reminiscence of the many eateries that I've come across during my travels to Kowloon or Hong Kong island itself. I felt as if I was transported to the former British colony but with familiar Singaporean faces. And that fresh bakery smell. I'm ravenous already!
There are ample seats for any sized groups to congregate, thanks to the clever use of built-in couches. The seats of the chairs are also wide, and that's really great for ladies to have their bags placed next to them without feeling uncomfortable.
Rows and rows of handmade soft pillow buns greet you as you walk into SIFU. Whether you are dining in or just want to pick up some delicious pillow buns, you can be sure there's no messy convergence between dine-in or take away customers.
SIFU makes these buns pillowy-soft, and it is in the technique of wrapping the filling to leave an air pocket cavity above the filling of the base, thereby giving the bun its soft bite. Each bun is handcrafted individually to perfection in a process that takes 98 minutes! So be prepared to wait if you happen to be there and the place is packed.
As you open the bun up, you'll see a hallowed shell with the ingredients at the base. You get just the right amount of dough and ingredients that is neither heavy nor overpowering in taste. A tip I received from their staff - for those who prefer to take away, you can still get the perfect taste by microwaving the buns at medium heat for 20 seconds.
Another signature dish at SIFU, the Caramalised Roasted Ribs are delicious and fall-off-the bone-tender. I could have a whole slab, but at $3.90 a rib, I'll think twice about ordering a full slab. But after a quick mental calculation, the price is comparable if you would to order at any American ribs franchise. By serving per rib, you can order the number of ribs to your fancy or group size. For that, you can fine-tune your order and still have appetite to try the other delectable dishes on the menu.
All of SIFU's ribs are imported either from Europe and even North America. You can be sure that these ribs are meaty, juicy and tender.
Similar to the fatty-pork Kong Bak Pau, SIFU's version here is filled with caramelised roasted pulled pork. The plain soft white bun, crispy green lettuce and roasted pulled pork is a great combination when eaten together. Some of the meat texture was a Beef Jerky tough. Be prepared to wrestle with the meat as your teeth sinks into this soft beauty.
A no-frills but delicious plate of blanched vegetables with fried garlic and mushrooms. You simply cannot go wrong with this. The vegetables used here are young; the stalks are tender and crunchy, and the black mushrooms are soft with a slight sweetness and flavour. This dish goes very well on its own or as a side dish.
A full meal in a bow! This can even feed 2 people! A rich, hearty comfort dish with generous servings of ingredients, such as marinated chicken breast, fat juicy prawn dumpling and bean skin. The broth is carefully prepared by the chefs each day. It is boiled for over 8 hours with pork and chicken bones in a precise 3-step process. This is where all that flavourful goodness come from, giving a surprisingly light flavor that does not feel salty or heavy. The marinated chicken was tasty on its own, without the flavours getting diluted in the soup. All this is served with their special bee hoon (a cross between vermicelli and local bee hoon). Each ingredient in this dish is prepared separately and only added at the time of serving. Such attention to detail!
I asked how they got their beef so soft and tender. Their answer? Cooking the meat for 6 hours to tenderize and absorb the flavors of the herbs and seasoning.
Ending the evening on a sweet note is the highly recommended Milk pudding with caramel and "sawdust" (finely crushed salted biscuit.) An ingenious creation from the Group General Manager herself, this milk pudding is silky smooth with a firm texture. As you scoop right through the crunchy salted biscuit, caramel layer and milk pudding, you get an explosion of sweet, milky and saltiness crunch. Although I'm not quite a fan of milk pudding, I surprised myself by finishing the entire container! This is a MUST TRY even if you are not a fan of sweet desserts.
SIFU is a highly recommended place to bring your family and friends, whether it's for lunch, dinner or just to a light bite. As for me, I'll be sure to return for another helping of Milk Pudding!
SIFU's attention to detail is a testament to the quality and love that goes into each and every dish. Here are a couple quick facts that you probably didn't know.
- It takes 98 minutes for each Pillow Bun to be handmade and baked from dough to bun
Oxtail and Pork Belly dishes are slow-ccoked in marinade for 6 hours
- SIFU's Signature soup-based dishes involves a 2-step process to prepare eg. the Roasted Chicken Thigh and Shrimp Dumpling Soup Noodles soup is boiled for 8 hours
- All dishes are handmade from scratch by the chefs and bakers eg. fish pockets and dumplings alike
- Up to 50kg of beef is used each week!
- To ensure that every bite packs a punch, the Toasted Ni Yau Ju is modified to ensure that each freshly baked bun has large "holes" to soak up the melted butter and condensed milk
#01-69, Bugis Junction
200 Victoria Street
Opening hours: 11:30am to 10:00pm (Daily)
Telephone: +65 6337 7613