Ok sorry I got you all excited. I’m afraid snake cobra satay haven’t reached our shores yet
If you are slightly demented, practice satanic rituals and into all these sorts of cuisine, the place to go for cobra satay is not far away – the region of Mangga Besar, West Jakarta Indonesia.
If you are truly interested as to where to try this delicacy read on.
As for me, all I want to talk about is where to get good normal satay in Singapore – beef, mutton, chicken, pork.
Nothing that slithers.
Indonesia is the home of Satay (known as Sate in Indonesian) and it is widely considered a renowned national dish.
They are served from high end speciality restaurants right down to roadside stalls and street carts.
So Sate is sold Mons to Weds at high end restaurants, and if they don’t get sold and just before turning green, it’s sold Thurs onwards in the push carts, double BBQed to kill all the bacteria.
If you think about it, sate is essentially just skewered marinated meat or kebabs. So it’s not surprising that virtually anything can be turned into Sate.
Did you know that in Indonesia, alone, the following variants can be found ?
Sate Ambal – Ayam Kampung or native free range chicken
Sate Blora – chicken meat and skin
Sate Kulit – marinated chicken skin
Sate Madura – eaten with Indonesian sweet sauce kecap manis mixed with palm sugar and other condiments
Sate Taichan – spicy chicken satay in hot sambal sauce
Sate Buntel – made from minced beef or goat (especially meats around belly and ribs)
Sate Lembut – minced beef mixed with shredded coconut and spices
Kioskana- sate manis
Sate Manis – tenderloin with sweet spices
Sate Susu– grilled spicy cow’s udder
Sate Kerbau – water buffalo satay
Sate Tegal – a yearling or 5 month old lamb
Sate Ikan Tuhuk – blue marlin satay
Sate Belut – eel satay
Sate Kerang – shellfish satay
Sate Ampet – cow’s intestines and other internal organs
Sate Babat – tripe satay
Sate Burundi Ayam-ayaman – gizzard, intestines and liver of the watercock bird
Sate Kikil – boiled cow skin satay
Sate Makassar – beef offal marinated in sour carambola sauce
Sate Torpedo – goats testicles
Pinterest – Tempe satay
Sate Kere – poor man’s satay. Vegetarian satay made from soy bean Tempe
Sate Teluk Muda – young egg satay made from premature egg that has not developed the eggshell yet.
Sate Kelinci – rabbit meat satay
Sate Bulus – turtle satay
Horse meat satay Yogjakarta
Sate Kuda – horse meat satay
Sate Ular – snake satay. Cobra or python is commonly used.
Sate Vampiri – vampire bats satay (ok I made the last one up. But only the last one)
There is satay sold everywhere in Malaysia but the most well known satay outlets hail from Kajang Selangor, which is dubbed the Sate City in the country.
Motormouth from ipoh – Kajang satay
Sate Kajang is a generic name for a style of sate where the meat chunks are bigger than normal, and sweet peanut sauce is served along with a portion of fried chilli paste.
So let me get this straight – this guys at Kajang one day accidentally made normal satay fatter because one of their helpers Gemok had fat fingers, then called it Kajang satay like it’s some sort of delicacy, and charged a premium?
The same satay guys later went to Harvard and started Grab while studying.
Stalls and restaurants around Kajang offer not only the more traditional chicken or beef satay, but also more exotic meats such as venison, rabbit or fish, as well as gizzard, liver, and a number of other variations.
But in most other cities, especially in KL, it will be hard to find the more exotic meats.
Sate Lok-Lok and Sate Celup
What Singaporeans find delightful and speak fondly of are the sate lok-lok from Penang and sate celup (dip satay) from Malacca.
Both are Malaysian Chinese fusions of the hotpot and the Malay satay.
They are quite different from the traditional satay that is roasted over fire. Instead, they are cooked hot pot style.
Again, this happened out of accident.
One day Ah Meng accidentally dropped the skewers he was carrying into a pot of peanut sauce and cried out “Lok Lok”, which was a curse word he learned from his grandmother which meant, literally, ” damn scrotum balls”.
He and his friends decided to just eat the skewers from the pot and a dish was born.
Pieces of raw meat, tofu, century eggs, quail eggs, fish cake, offal or vegetables are skewered on bamboo sticks. These are displayed for customers to choose from.
One selects the skewers you want and then proceed to cook them by dipping them in boiling water, or in boiling peanut sauce.
The satay is then eaten with a sweet, dark sauce, sometimes with chilli sauce as an accompaniment.
If the satay is dipped and boiled in water, then eaten with satay sauce, it is called sate lok-lok.
If the satay is cooked with boiling satay peanut sauce, it is called sate celup.
Both dishes are available from street vendors or in certain restaurants, and the majority are not halal.
One point of caution for the fastidious or the queasy.
Customers use a common container containing boiling stock to personally cook their satay.
Sauces are then either served in common containers (so that everyone dips their cooked skewers in one common sauce pot) or individually.
I can imagine that in today’s context, not everyone will be comfortable with dipping into a common container.
What if the doofus next to you double dips ?
Once you share saliva, it is an intimate process and along with it comes responsibilities. That’s why Malaysians marry sometimes without dating after a Lok Lok meal, and their population has surged over the years.
Satay in Singapore
Satay is generally regarded in Singapore as a nice side dish rather than a staple.
The reason for that is, I suspect, is that there is no noodle or rice accompanying the dish, although the ketupat (a boiled rice cake), is often served as optional condiments, together with sliced cucumbers, and raw quartered onions.
I’m just surprised some enterprising singaporean hasn’t started some new store selling satay and other stuff with carbo ( eg Satay with crickets sambal fried rice or snails porridge with satay.)
Suggested places for satay
Satay stalls in Singapore seem to have fallen away over the years.
Here are some good ones left:
1. Kwong Satay
Sing Lian Eating House, 549 Geylang Road Lorong 29, Singapore 389504
2. Haron Satay
Stall 55, East Coast Lagoon Food Village
1220 East Coast Parkway Singapore 46896
3. Chuan Kee Satay
Old Airport Road Food Centre Stall #01-85
Block 51 Old Airport Road Singapore 390051
4. Satay Guan
Block 90, Whampoa Drive, #01-13, Whampoa Drive Makan Place
5. Lau Pa Sat Satay stall 7 & 8
Satay Street just behind the Lau Pa Sat Food Centre
18 Raffles Quay Singapore 048582
6. Fang Yuan Satay
Blk 75, #01-25 Lorong 5 Toa Payoh Food Centre, Singapore 310075 | Monday – Sunday: 6pm – 12 am
7. Chai Ho Satay
Blk 448 Clementi Ave 3,#01-10 Clementi 448 Market & Food Centre Singapore 120448 Singapore
8. Violet Oon Satay Bar & Grill
3B River Valley Road, #01-18, Clarke Quay, Singapore 179021