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Thai Crab Omelette & Din Tai Fung-Style Egg Fried Rice At Muslim-Friendly Hawker Stall

Fried Rice Story is helmed by a trio of Chinese, Malay and Thai hawkers.

Din Tai Fung-style fried rice hawker stalls are all too common these days, with many manned by pedigreed ex-chefs (some from the Taiwanese restaurant chain itself). New kid on the block Fried Rice Story, a hawker stall in a Bedok North kopitiam, stands out in other ways.

The two-month-old stall is run by a diverse crew. Haris Matin, 25, and his longtime friend Kelvin Tan, 29, man the woks while the latter also assembles the final plates. Kelvin’s Thai wife, Wantana Somransook, 28, also helps with cooking the side dishes and taking orders.

They sell four styles of fried rice: a classic version, and fusion flavours like teriyaki, mala and truffle with a choice of toppings including shrimp, braised beef, grilled scallops and crab meat. No DTF-style marinated pork chop here, as Malay-muslim Haris is working in the kitchen – all ingredients used here are also halal-certified (they plan to apply for halal certification once the business stabilises).

Adding some luxe to the menu is Thai-style crab omelette – the runny, open-faced kind, rather than the plump rolled-up version popularised by one-Michelin-starred Bangkok street food stall Jay Fai.

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  • The trio used to work together at another popular F&B chain

    1 of 13The trio used to work together at another popular F&B chain

    Before Fried Rice Story, Kelvin was one of the co-founders of a halal meat-centric F&B chain started in 2017 that had outlets in shopping malls and food courts (off the record, he tells us the name of the brand which he left due to business disagreements). And no, it wasn’t a chain that specialised in Din Tai Fung-style egg fried rice.

    There, he was in charge of operations and staff training, while his wife worked there as a stall manager. Haris also worked at the same company as both a cook, and later, operations manager.

    However, in October 2021, the trio decided to leave the brand together to seek their fortunes elsewhere. “[Even though I left,] I’m still grateful for the experience, as I learned a lot about how to manage my own F&B business,” says Kelvin.

  • Why DTF-style fried rice?

    2 of 13Why DTF-style fried rice?

    He began brainstorming ideas for a new concept, and landed on Din Tai Fung-style egg fried rice. While the hawker has experienced cooking local-style fried rice when he spent a year helping out at his uncle’s zi char hawker stall in Pasir Ris, he’s never run a business around egg fried rice. He’s also aware of the stiff competition that’s sprouted up in the egg fried rice market. So what gives?

    “You can find [the dish] everywhere, but it’s always different. It’s one of my favourite dishes, so I’ve tried a lot of the other popular brands – and the taste is always not quite right,” Kelvin explains. In fact, it was a blind taste test he conducted with friends that convinced him that his version of DTF-style fried rice was worth selling. “We blindfolded them and switched the plates around, and they still chose mine. So that was what gave me the confidence [that it was really good].”

    He also figures that serving side dishes apart from DTF-style egg fried rice, like crab omelette – a recipe from Wantana which has “received many praises from their friends” – with a spicy Thai chilli dip, would also help their brand to stand out.

    They plan to open a chain of Fried Rice Story stalls if things go well.

  • The grub here is Muslim-friendly too

    3 of 13The grub here is Muslim-friendly too

    While Malay-muslim hawkers cooking egg fried rice isn’t unheard of – halal-certified fried rice chain Wok Hey comes to mind – it is unusual in a hawker setting, especially since one of the dish’s best-known pairings is deep-fried pork chop.

    “We had a few aunties asking about Haris – from their tone, it sounded like they weren’t sure [that a Malay guy could cook Chinese-style food well],” Kelvin shares. “But really, I feel people shouldn’t judge food by the race of the cook. Haris has been with us every step of the way even before Fried Rice Story, from R&D to perfecting the recipes.”

    Haris certainly doesn’t lack in the wok skill department – he tosses Taiwanese pearl rice and eggy curds over an induction stove with the confidence of a seasoned zi char chef.

  • Affected by the high prices of eggs

    4 of 13Affected by the high prices of eggs

    Kelvin shares that they opted to open Fried Rice Story in a kopitiam as “it’d require a lot less capital than at a shopping mall [outlet]” – the trio invested some $40K amongst them to get the biz going. As it turns out, egg fried rice remains a popular dish – they currently sell around 200 plates a day, going up to 300 on weekends. Like other egg-centric hawkers, they too have been feeling the pinch from recent hikes in egg prices. “It went from about $4 to $6 per tray of 30 eggs,” Kelvin shares. “And cooking oil is really crazy – it went from around $30 to $40.”

    He has no plans to increase their prices for now as they’re “still a very young business”, adding that it’s more important for them to build up a customer base and make money by “increasing sales volume” instead.

  • The menu

    5 of 13The menu

    The four types of fried rice, sans topping, starts at $4 for the original egg option and $5 for the fancier mala, truffle and teriyaki versions. With toppings, the price ranges from $6.90 to $10.90.

    Sides for sharing include the Thai-style Jumbo Crab Omelette ($12 or $18; additional $1 for plain rice), Hot Wings (deep-fried chicken wings; $5.90) and Mantou with Condensed Milk ($4.90) for dessert.

  • Egg Fried Rice with Shrimp, $6.90

    6 of 13Egg Fried Rice with Shrimp, $6.90

    The plain egg fried rice hits almost all the marks – boasting nicely chewy grains with subtle wok hei and good eggy fragrance, as well as freshness from the spring onions. However, we find it a little lacking in salt and savouriness compared to other egg fried rice joints we’ve tried recently. The accompanying shrimp (frozen) were bouncy and toothsome, but similarly light in flavour. The chilli oil on the side packs plenty of smoky heat, but isn’t especially noteworthy otherwise.

  • Teriyaki Egg Fried Rice with Chicken Katsu, $7.90 (8 DAYS Pick!)

    7 of 13Teriyaki Egg Fried Rice with Chicken Katsu, $7.90 (8 DAYS Pick!)

    The teriyaki version – they fry the rice with a teriyaki ‘paste’ made from flour, soya sauce, sugar and garlic – has got a salty-savoury edge that makes the plate a lot more interesting. It doesn’t exactly taste like teriyaki though, since the sweetness is almost imperceptible – instead, it tastes more like soya sauce-laden fried rice you’d find at a typical zi char joint. Quite moreish, and our favourite among the four versions of fried rice.

    The supplier-bought deep-fried chicken katsu is one of their popular toppings too, and we can see why – it’s juicy and crunchy with a slightly spicy kick. Worth your attention, even if it isn’t technically Japanese katsu-style (which is usually coated in panko bread crumbs) and more like a KFC Zinger patty.

  • Mala Egg Fried Rice with Braised Beef, $8.90

    8 of 13Mala Egg Fried Rice with Braised Beef, $8.90

    Fair warning: Fried Rice Story’s mala fried rice is seriously spicy stuff, with lots of numbing heat from the green Sichuan peppercorns in their housemade mala mix. The dried chillies within add a second layer of fiery zing – great if you’re a fan of spicy food, though we had trouble finishing the entire plate.

    The slices of braised beef shin on this, on the other hand, is our favourite topping: toothsome, but not tough, after being braised in a mix of dark and light soya sauce and spices like star anise and cinnamon for five hours. The beef slices deliver a good bite and boasts a meaty richness – delish.

  • Truffle Egg Fried Rice with Jumbo Crab Meat, $10.90

    9 of 13Truffle Egg Fried Rice with Jumbo Crab Meat, $10.90

    A spritz of truffle oil lends a strong, earthy perfume onto this plate — but turns out rather light on the palate — we could only detect a hint of it in the grains, especially since we paired the fried rice with crab meat, which comes with a heap of tobiko (flying fish roe). The occasional salty pops of roe and briny frozen crab chunks – which are browned on a pan before serving – doesn’t quite work with the mild-tasting truffle oil.

  • Jumbo Crab Omelette with Rice, $13

    10 of 13Jumbo Crab Omelette with Rice, $13

    Wantana’s open-faced omelette sees more of those lump crabmeat chunks on a bed of creamy, barely set egg – think Korean-style tornado omelette, minus the artful swirl – punctuated with lots of pepper and fish sauce. Pretty enjoyable – we like the delicate folds and velvety, semi-cooked eggs paired with the sweet crustacean. The $12 a la carte version should be good to share among three or four diners as a complement to fried rice.

    The accompanying nam jim (spicy Thai dipping sauce) is tangy, savoury and spicy – delightful stuff that takes the relatively simple omelette up a notch. It comes with a mix of six secret ingredients – Wantana is only willing to reveal that fish sauce and lime play a big part in the sauce’s bold flavours, though she later adds that coriander roots are a “must-have for the aroma”.

  • Mantou with Condensed Milk, $4.90

    11 of 13Mantou with Condensed Milk, $4.90

    If you haven’t had enough carbs yet, these sinful deep-fried mantous with a saucer of condensed milk for dipping serve as dessert. The freshly deep-fried crispy-outside, fluffy-inside mantou pairs quite well with the sweet, gooey milk.

  • Bottom line

    12 of 13Bottom line

    A more than decent hawker option for Muslim-friendly Din Tai Fung-style fried rice. The chewy, lightly smoky grains stand up well against its rivals – even if it could use a bit more salt. Order the punchier teriyaki version, as well as the more interesting topping options like the scrumptious braised beef shin and yummy side dish of Thai crab omelette.

  • The details

    13 of 13The details

    Fried Rice Story is at #01-886, 631 Bedok Reservoir Rd, S470631. Tel: 8571-4819. Open daily 10am – 9pm. More info via Facebook and Instagram. Delivery via Foodpanda and Grabfood.

    Photos: Alvin Teo

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Related topics

fried rice story fried rice story bedok fried rice story menu egg fried rice dtf-style fried rice din tai fung fried rice halal fried rice bedok halal fried rice muslim-friendly fried rice muslim-owned hawker

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