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  • Writer's pictureAudrey Chin

Mom’s cooking at Hafidah’s and Zulkifli’s

Updated: Jun 10, 2022

This Sunday Mom’s not cooking. All the restaurants in town are full. If you didn’t call a month ago and you really really really want to take Mom out, you’re dead meat. I swear!

Why not try to persuade Mom to go out tomorrow or next Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday instead? Tell her it’s because this is just absolutely the best place to eat home-grown Malay Style mom’s food; and Mom it’s not open on weekends.

Zul's food

I’m talking about Hafidah’s and Zulkifli’s Nasi Padang, Biryani and Malay Noodles restaurant Muslim Delights. The point-and-serve restaurant is tucked in a row of Upper Paya Lebar Road shop-houses fringing a light industrial estate. It’s not fancy, and it’s not expensive but the honest food cooked with heart will win your mother’s heart. I promise!

Husband and I went there last week, my little welcome home binge on spicy home-style food after my ten days of high-falutin’ rarified European cuisine.

This is what we ate: Assam sting-ray (sting ray slices cooked in a tamarind based tomato and vegetable stew); beef rending (beef shin slow cooked to perfection in a coconut milk, onion, lemongrass gravy); braised beef lungs (liitle beef cubes braised with sweet soy sauce, onions plus a secret);  fried cabbage (simple white winter cabbage sliced fine and sauteed with smashed turmeric, green chilli and a sprinkling of fennel seeds …. Slightly Indian in style); and fried eggplant topped with a wonderful sambal of fresh red chillies.

Everything was delicious.

I wish I had room for the ayam penyet, the crispy chicken pieces looked wonderful. I had to sacrifice the bergedals too. The potato and curry dumplings were just too much. But there’s going to be a next time. On Friday, there’s a mouthwatering mutton rendang, I’m told. There’s also home-made chendol for dessert and little Malay kuih-muih. Next time. Tomorrow maybe ….

Zulkifli told me he and his wife Hafidah learnt their cooking from their mothers.  It shows.  There’s an earthy old-fashioned hand cut, hand pounded flavor to the dishes.  There’s also good old fashioned Malay gentility at the restaurant. They don’t hurry you when you stand at the glass case and ponder over what you should choose from all the delectable dishes on display. The table-helpers ask, halus and polite, if you’re done before they clear. The good manners from the boss and lady boss spill over onto the lunch crowd, who wait patiently in line without jostling until it’s their turn to pick and point.

Even if there’s no sharks fins and birds nest delicacies, even if there are no round tables of ten serving the special Mother’s day menu, no air-conditioning, no velvet backed chairs, you won’t regret taking Mom there. The love that goes into the food will take care of that. After all, that’s why the restaurant’s closed weekends. Zulkifli and Hafidah spend them catering weddings. The love’s infectious.

A warning though, Zulkifli’s and Hafidah’s food is seriously high cholesterol.  If you’re taking Mom there this Friday or next week, remember to take her to the doctor’s for a check-up afterwards.

You can find Hafidah and Zulkifli at Muslim Delights, 117 Upper Paya Lebar Road, Singapore 534834. They have a simple web-prsence at Call ahead to make sure they’re open at 96330261//81212286,

Go on. Try it.  Write and tell me what it was like after. Enjoy ….


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