Among the numerous F&B establishments that have opened at Jewel Changi Airport, Sama Sama by Tok Tok counts as one of those which stood out more.
The restaurant offers a wide selection of Indonesian homely comfort food from across the Nusantara (Indonesian archipelago) to Singapore all under one roof in a cosy yet contemporary setting. It comes with a view of the majestic rain vortex even.
'Sama Sama' means "you're welcome" in the Indonesian language. It expresses appreciation, gratitude, and reflects a joyful spirit of "togetherness".
So on that note, we happily stepped into Sama Sama in anticipation of a scrumptious dinner.
It took us quite some time to look through Sama Sama's menu of appetizers, soups, rice, mains, sides, vegetables, desserts, and drinks.
The name of the dishes are presented in their native language, along with a description in English, and brief history of its origins.
While the dish's identity is preserved and the write-up gave us valuable insight, it can be quite a pain to go through the monotonous "wordy" menu when one just wants to place an order quickly. Some enticing photos of the dishes would be helpful.
Thankfully, the food itself are a lot more vibrant.
The staff would even prepare the dish by the tableside for you if you order the popular Gado Gado ($15), an Asian-style salad which is hailed as one of the five national dishes of Indonesia.
Though the preparation process is not theatrical, it was interesting to see how the creamily delicious peanut sauce is carefully freshly-pounded right in front of our eyes. A medley of vegetables are then tossed in, and served with crunchy crackers and whole boiled egg by the side.
Sama Sama is also serious about their Sambal ($4) or Indonesian chilli sauce, offering no less than four variants with different degree of spiciness.
Our table was divided over the Rawon Surabaya (($17), a signature Surabaya-style beef soup simmered with traditional Javanese herbs and spices.
Together with grounded buah kelauk, diced grain-fed beef, beansprouts, and salted egg yolk, the soup had an unique flavour profile which some might find it difficult to appreciate. Especially those who are trying it for the very first time.
On the other spectrum, one of our dining companion who is an Indonesian spoke fondly of how it reminded her of home. Ooh that warm fuzzy feeling.
I find the soup acceptable but wasn't spellbound by it.
What fascinated my tastebuds more were undeniably the meats oh glorious meats!
Though lamb is not my usual choice, the Sate Kambing Betawi ($24) of grilled Jakarta-style premium baby lamb skewers pleased with its well-marinated meat that's deep in flavours without being too overpowering on the gamey part.
The Sate Padang ($21) featured grilled beef skewers topped with creamy curry sauce and served with Indonesian rice cakes.
I would definitely recommend an order of the Ayam Bakar Taliwang ($29), a whole grilled chicken marinated in Lombok-style method and spiced with freshly-pounded black peppercorns with purified sea salt.
One can only imagine the expert hands behind that grill to produce such a delicious chicken! Its meat, even the breast part, was superbly tender, juicy, and flavourful! The accompanying house-made sambal made even more yummy.
If you prefer your chicken fried, you'd probably enjoy the pan-fried whole chicken of Ayam Goreng Lengkuas ($22) as much as we did too.
The highly aromatic and succulent Kakap Merah Jimbaran ($39), a whole red snapper perfectly grilled with housemade Balinese shrimp paste and Javanese sweet soy sauce impressed us greatly as well.
Sadly, my experience was slightly marred by Udang Bakar Jimbaran ($34) as the grilled Jumbo river prawns had a mushy texture which I absolutely did not fancy.
While most of the dishes are designed for communal dining, the Nasi Langgi ($17) comprising of coconut rice, Javanese-style curry chicken, beef stew, spicy stewed beef rind with petai beans, omelette and crispy tempeh would suit lone diners looking for for some substantial grub.
Rounding off the meal with Es Cendol ($9) or Es Teler ($9) which are shaved ice desserts topped with fresh fruits like coconut, avocado and jackfruit are definitely a good idea!
The hearty offerings at Sama Sama By Tok Tok are best enjoyed in a group so do grab more friends along if you're planning to make a visit.
Sama Sama By Tok Tok
Address: Jewel Changi Airport, #03-225/226, 78 Airport Boulevard, Singapore 819666
Contact: +65 6904 3971
Opening Hours: Daily 10am-10pm
Prices are stated in Singapore dollars and subject to 10% service charge & 7% GST. Information is correct at point of published date.
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