Fusion food is a rather ingenious concept that gives us the best of both worlds, but it more often than not comes with a premium price tag as well.
The much-hyped Lobster Nasi Lemak, for example, costs a whopping $22 — a price point higher than some restaurants, mind you — while hawker chain Fish & Chicks charges $12.90 for their chilli crab and salted egg fish & chips.
The folks at Plum & Rice, however, have flipped that idea on its head, and the result is an incredibly satisfying meal at an even more satisfying price.
Small Menu, Big Flavours
Occupying a humble corner stall at Bedok North Street 1 Market and Food Centre, Plum & Rice serves Japanese-inspired rice with Singaporean-inspired dishes.
The concept is the brainchild of three friends who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America (Singapore) — they discovered the titular combination of Umeboshi and rice while searching for inspiration in Japan, and decided to adopt the fusion angle to better suit the Singaporean palate.
The menu, while small, is all about choices — right from the get go you can choose between rice or porridge, both of which are infused with an Umeboshi paste.
Unfortunately, the porridge was sold out by the time we got there (a testament to how popular it is, perhaps), but the rice is definitely something to write home about.
Thanks to the addition of house-made furikake, cereal, curry leaves, dried shrimp and seaweed, everything comes together to form an extremely flavourful bite, and I could have seriously ate a bowl of it on its own. The owners have also recently added red rice into the mix, making it as healthy as it is tasty.
On the meat side of things, you have three choices: braised pork belly, braised pork shoulder, and fish. Both pork dishes are prepared in the same dark soy sauce and are therefore rather similar in taste, but the belly is ultimately is the one to get thanks to its silky smooth texture.
Breaking apart at the slightest touch, every slice quite literally melts in your mouth. There’s also a rather…homely feel to the taste, which forms a nice juxtaposition with the Japanese rice.
The fish was also sold out (pro-tip: go early), but co-owner Raphael tells us that it’s cooked sous-vide style, which makes it very, very tender. Judging by how smooth the pork belly was, we wouldn’t doubt it.
Each meal also comes with a side and (refillable!) soup, both of which change every two weeks. We were served bean sprouts and peanut soup, and their lighter tastes balanced out with the savoury meat and rice perfectly.
One personal recommendation I have to make is the house-made chilli —it provides a decent kick of spice without going overboard, and adds a whole new dimension of to an already-flavourful meal.
Cheaper Than You Think
You might think that all this would be pretty expensive, but a meal at Plum & Rice will actually cost you less than $7.
Yup, that’s right — you’re getting rice, meat, a side and free-flow soup for the unbelievable price of $4.90 ($6.90 if you’re going for the fish, which is still very reasonable), which honestly might be the best deal we’ve seen in recent history.
One caveat, however, is that the stall closes at 2pm, which might be a problem for office workers and those not living in the east.
Those willing to put in the effort to try them out, however (there’s always the weekend), will not be disappointed.
Plum & Rice
Address: 216 Bedok North Street 1, #01-45, Singapore 460216
Opening Hours: 8am – 2pm (Closed on Mondays)
(Header Image Source: Discover SG)