Going on exchange may be one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. Saying goodbye to a place that has given you so much really does feel like you’re leaving home (home is where the heart is…or in my case where the oily food that made me gain 10 lbs is). My friend, DC, who also happened to go on exchange to Singapore the semester before mine was also “homesick” so we decided to visit the only Singaporean resto that I know in Montreal (If there are more please give me a shout out, definitely want to try your laksa). Thus, meet Satay Brothers.
Located in Atwater Market, for those of you who don’t know where it’s located it is in fact not located at Atwater metro station but a short walk down Lionel-Groulx (something that DC did not know…it’s okay brah if you’re reading this we all make mistakes! some more stupid than others but no worries, no judgement.). We waited in line, but it moved fast so all was good.
They carry a wide range of exotic Southeast Asian fruit juices, not the fresh ones you get at your local hawker centre but still good! The first food centre I went to in Singapore I remember having soursop ice kachang, which is basically soursop over shredded ice. Soursop is a fruit that resembles phlegm but do not fret it is one of the best tasting fruits out there and ever since that beautiful ice kachang I have ordered soursop juice whenever I could (minus when I discovered ABC juice, but that’s a story for another time…).
Laksa is a staple in Southeast Asia, especially in Singapore and Malaysia. It is basically what spaghetti is to Italy. You cannot come to Satay Brothers and not try this dish. Having spent 4 months abroad in an area that makes this as if it were nothing special, I can say that Satay Brothers has a great laksa that is very curry rich and I especially enjoyed the added pepper paste on the side. However, what I find lacking in this dish is dirtiness, which sounds odd but usually this dish is made at the corner of a street, in a crowded hawker centre, with no real care for hygiene and something about this dirtiness and just putting together a dish as if it were just fast food and not gourmet adds to the flavour of said dish. If you ever watched Anthony Bourdain’s trip to Penang, in the episode they talked about how a recipe of char kway teow, which is a stir-fried rice cake, is not just made by all the ingredients but also the age of the wok. The charred wok gives the char kway teow its unique flavour that is distinct from its competitors. I’m pretty sure there may be health regulations here that prevent my dirty fantasies of this laksa to be fulfilled, but I’m definitely looking into finding a laksa with a little more punch to it.
“Hainan” Style Chicken Sandwich
This sandwich was divine. Definitely a great fusion for Hainan chicken, which is usually served with rice and cucumbers on the side. The meat fell apart perfectly, not as if it were mash potato that just disintegrated, but the meat still had its chewiness to it. The spicy sauce really gave the dish its punch and the textures from the crunchiness of the cucumbers and bun went really well with the soft tomatoes and chicken. This is a dish I would definitely order again.
Somebody take my money right now and buy me this as a midnight snack, because this dish is definitely worth the trip down to Satay Brothers. Steamed buns is not something you will find at every corner of the street in Southeast Asia, but while I was in Taiwan I had an abundance of baos (which is basically a steamed bun with meat inside). This steamed bun had a good amount of meat to fat ratio, perfect for people who are kind of scared of eating fat, but for a gal like me it would’ve been perfect if the proportion was 50/50. The sauce tasted like hoisin sauce. which makes any dish better (thank you hoisin for making my university dinners bearable).
Would I come back here? It is a place that I would come visit again when I’m craving Singaporean food, but it can never compare to the experience of eating at a Hawker centre, sweating in a 40 degree celsius atmosphere, eating some dirty dirty street food. For Montreal though, this place is good nuff’. If you want your taste of Singapore, but can’t pay for a ticket to go there, this is the place to check out.