In mid-May 2016, when I asked Chris, one of the proprietors of Popo & Nana’s Delights and the one who took my order, how long their stall had been open at Maxwell Road Food Centre, he said, “Eighteen months – we’re the new kids on the block.” I thought eighteen months wasn’t that short a period, but of course Chris was humbly acknowledging the years and even decades of experience the other hawkers in this centre have.
Popo & Nana’s Delights specialises in “Homemade Nonya and Eurasian Food” and the display shows dishes such as Devil’s Curry, Shepherd’s Pie, Ayam Masak Merah and Pineapple Prawn Curry (a photo of the display is below in the Useful Info section).
I had one of the $6 “Today’s Specials” on offer that day – the Nonya Pork Rib Buah Keluak and added one of the $1 Eurasian Fish Cutlets.
That was a lot of food! The Special included a generous serving of pork rib buah keluak in a medium-sized bowl, white rice, a good portion of nonya chap chye taking up almost half the rice place, and a bowl of soup, with corn and carrot in it. Good value for money, I thought. The quantity of food compared very favourably to the duck noodles my lunch companion had, which also $7 in total – his looked measly in comparison.
Being a lower-priced Special, the buak keluak didn’t have any nut shells in it (although the regular buah keluak seems to, from the photos at the stall). But with so much stuffing paste cooked into the sauce, there was more than enough to mix into the rice and enjoy. The sauce was spicier than some other versions of buah keluak so if you enjoy your spice, you’ll like this.
I thought the meat could have a little more tender, but it was a good dish overall, with that delicious gravy. The nonya chap chye was also good, and was not just a serving of cabbage, but really had the multiple ingredients that justified the name (“chap chye” literally means “ten vegetables”).
Being the new kids on the block, a stall had better have some solid offerings to compete against the veterans of Maxwell Road. If what I ate is an indication of the overall quality of Popo & Nana’s Delights, this stall is well on its way to deserving its place here.
Meal eaten on Wednesday 1 May at 2pm.
“Today’s Special” at $6 plus one Eurasian Fish Cutlet at $1 for a total price of $7.
Popo & Nana’s Delights
1 Kadayanallur Street
#01-70 Maxwell Road food Centre
Open Monday to Friday
Open first Saturday of the month
Closed other Saturdays and all Sundays