Features 1 minute 22 November 2016

Behind The Bib: Wedang

Quality, not quantity, at this Michelin-listed stall that features Indonesian food

Forget extensive menus and that dizzying array of options you get when dining out – when you visit a seemingly ordinary hawker stall like Wedang and notice it puts out no more than five dishes (sometimes less, depending on availability) and yet, has a Bib Gourmand award, you’ll see why owner Azman Kamis is a confident believer in quality, not quantity.

Stall 44, Block 117 Market & Food Centre, Aljunied Avenue 2, Singapore 380117
Who’s behind it:
After leaving his job at the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) in 2003, Mr Kamis, now in his late 50s, entered the F&B business by starting a small coffee shop stall and selling tahu goreng and epok-epok. In 2004, cousin Anuar Arshad, who sold satay in Golden Mile Food Centre, taught him all he needed to know about running a satay business and in 2005, Mr Kamis took over the reins. That's how Wedang was born: in 2005 and in Golden Mile Food Centre, #B1-28.

How it got its name:
"Wedang is an Indonesian term for 'drink', but in the local context of Singapore (particularly Singaporean Javanese), it's used to refer to tea breaks or coffee time. It's a word that's used to encourage people to take a breather and enjoy some food and drinks," explains Mr Kamis.
(Related: What is... rempah?)

"One reason I named my stall Wedang was because my wife's late grandmother would often ask me to wedang with her. She was such an incredible cook and she's someone I deeply respected and who greatly influenced me. She had very high standards when it came to food and was strict about quality control and SOPs, and because of her, I’m the same way today.”

What to order:
Dishes like the gado gado, tahu goreng, and satay caught the attention of Michelin inspectors.

"In my opinion, good satay is mostly about the cut of meat that's used. That's how and where the texture differentiates," says Mr Kamis.

The gado gado – which comes with fried tofu, tempeh, potatoes, and keropok – and satay creations both feature the same thick, savoury-sweet peanut gravy that serves as a dipping sauce.
Wedang's Tahu Goreng
Wedang's Tahu Goreng
"As for our tahu goreng, we only use fresh tofu. I think that's the key ingredient to making excellent tahu goreng," says Mr Kamis. He also adds that those who prefer their tahu goreng spicier may ask for more chilli padi to be added to the gravy.

Other dishes on the menu include mee soto and mee rebus. Prices average to about S$3 per dish.

Wedang recently moved from its Golden Mile home to a food centre in Aljunied, where they have problems selling satay for a number of reasons. However, Mr Kamis has revealed that Wedang will be moving back to Golden Mile Food Centre (#B1-19) on 1 December later this year.

Recommended reading: Read more Behind The Bib stories here


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