Singapore Zam Zam Restaurant

One of the oldest restaurants in Singapore

One thing Singapore is not lacking is its fine selection of gastronomical diversity. One of the most surprising Singapore facts is in the centre of the city even has 3 distinct regions where you can find a vast array of multicultural cuisine. There is Chinese food, in Chinatown, Indian Food in Little India, and Arabic food in Little Islam. They say you can “easily visit 3 very different countries in a day” in Singapore, by visiting these 3 districts. This is perfect for someone who has a healthy appetite!

WSE Travel - Singapore Restaurant Zam Zam - Sultan's Mosque
Sultan’s Mosque

I found my way to the Sultan’s Mosque, which is iconic in Little Islam, as it towers over most of the surrounding buildings. After wandering around for a little while, I became quite famished and noticed across the street that there was a little hole-in-the-wall Singapore restaurant named Zam Zam’s which seemed to be quite busy. I snuck over and decided to see what all the fuss was about.

WSE Travel - Singapore Restaurant Zam Zam - Singapore Zam Zam street
Singapore Zam Zam street

Customer service is not the main focus of this little joint. I suppose with over 100 years of street presence, their longevity alone is enough to draw people in. Greeted by a short and stout old man with “what you want to order? just take a seat!” I quickly realized this place wasn’t busy because of his warm smile. Looking at the menu I recognized the traditional indian dish “Byriani”, a saffron stir-fried rice dish. This seemed to fill about half of this little Singapore restaurant’s menu. There was also a small curry buffet.

WSE Travel - Singapore Restaurant - Zam Zam buffet
Zam Zam buffet

Then I noticed something I hadn’t tried before. Murtabak. This occupied the other half of the menu. It seemed most of the patrons of the restaurant had ordered the bread-based dish, and being completely unfamiliar with it, I figured this was the dish to try.

WSE Travel - Singapore Restaurant Zam Zam - Murtabak Menu
Murtabak Menu

“Best Singapore Restaurant I’ve found”
 Ian Ord (Travel Blogger)

I quickly ordered a chicken murtabak, and in less than 5 mins inside this Singapore restaurant, a steaming plate was placed quickly in front of my face. From what I could tell, it was a bread similar to naan, that was cooked with egg and spices, and smothered in shredded meat of choice (options include chicken, mutton, beef and deer), and then folded over on itself. It was sliced into smaller portions and served with a bowl of curry sauce for dipping. It was love at first sight. I began salivating almost immediately upon its arrival, as the aroma filled my nostrils.

WSE Travel - Singapore Restaurant Zam Zam - Murtabak Heaven
Chicken Murtabak aka Heaven

I wafted for a moment, enjoying the anticipation. As my senses slowly went into overdrive, I couldn’t wait any longer. I pressed my fork into the steaming masterpiece and prepared my pallet. I dipped the slice gently into the curry sauce, careful not to put too much on as to drown out the original flavours, and drew the fork to my mouth. The collage of flavours that followed can only be described as something that was orgasmic. From the buttery bread slowly easing my mouth into the motion to the myriad of spices which rhythmically changed flavour in my mouth with every grind of my teeth, to the splash of curry bursting with flavour at the climax.

WSE Travel - Singapore Restaurant - Zam Zam's Dinner done right
Zam Zam’s Dinner done right

Being an Indian cuisine affectionado, discovering this new dish was a gastronomical delight. I would rank it amongst the top new dishes I’ve discovered while travelling in South East Asia. I was hooked! I knew for the next few days in the city, this Singapore restaurant was going to be my new watering hole.. as in Make-my-mouth-water, hole-in-the-wall.

WSE Travel - Singapore - Zam Zam good times
Zam Zam good times

I have to admit, over the next few days I definitely feel I was spoiled a bit by the calibre of quality food the Singapore restaurant “Zam Zam” dishes out. I found another decent diner closer to Tree-in-Lodge, my hostel, which did not live up to par. In fact, upon arriving in Kuala Lumpur a week later, I found another restaurant that was recommended to me as being one of top quality by a colleague and decided to try my luck with the Murtabak there. No dice. They just couldn’t master this dish with the same fine balance of spices, and textures that Zam Zam has been able to perfect to a science.

WSE Travel - Zam Zam - sign
Singapore Zam Zam sign

If ever in Singapore for a few days (or even just enough time for a meal) I would definitely suggest you stimulate your sense with one of these delicious dishes. Having tried several, I would say the chicken had to be my favourite in the way it accompanies the flavour of spices. But who am I to judge? Try a few for yourself from this Singapore restaurant and tell me what your favourite is!

There are many other ethnic neighbourhoods in Singapore as well, all full of incredible restaurants! From Chinatown to Little India, and of course Little Arabia where Zam Zam is located. You can easily experience 3 different cultures all on the same day!

WSE Travel - Zam Zam Restaurant, Singapore - Map
Zam Zam Restaurant, Singapore – Map

Have you ever tried a new dish while travelling that you hadn’t even heard of before, but blew your mind? What was it, and where did you try it? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Like This Post? Pin it for later!

WSE Travel - Chicken Murtabak aka Heaven
Chicken Murtabak aka Heaven

10 Responses

    1. hahaha.. I don’t know where that expression even came from. It’s not in my regular vocabulary.. I must have read one of your posts that just knocked my socks off and it stuck 😉

    1. Sam – no kidding! Amongst the locals they’ve got pretty good street cred (after 100+ years, I guess you must), but it still doesn’t seem to appear much on the trodden trail of a lot of backpackers. Somehow I get the feeling it is a place you would find yourself in though 😛

  1. I’m soo gonna hit this when we go to Singapore. Just looked up my hotel and it’s a 10 minute walk away. A quick question though – been reading some trip advisor reviews and they say the murtabak is enough to feed 2 medium eaters?

    How does the size compare relative to a gandhi’s roti? Will it leave me in a curry induced coma?

    1. Hey TLo! You should definitely be hitting this up! It’s quite possibly the most delicious thing I ate in Singapore (and there’s LOTS of good food!!). I won’t lie.. it’s pretty big. If you were to compare it to Gandhi’s Rotis in Toronto, it’s about the same size/quantity as they USED to be (though if I’m not mistaken you can order different sizes). You may suffer a mild case of the itis upon completion of one of these 😉

  2. Hi Spotted your blog in singapore. anyway you can check out another shop 24 hours. it not bad too for supper.
    The Roti Prata House At Upper Thomson road.

  3. Hello Ian, the way you have explained your personal experience in Singapore zam-zam restaurant is really outstanding. Two times I had dinner at this place and the menus are perfect, I loved chicken murtabak dishes but waiting is another major problem. I had waited maximum 20 minutes to get table. This is the problem what I faced but if someone coming with friends then no problems.

  4. I ate in that place back in the 70’s, but there was a lot less of a selection of food then. However what was on offer was legendary, if you liked hot curries. We used to eat upstairs to take advantage of any cool winds that came in, as you know you would be sweating. I think if you asked you could get knives and forks, but mostly you ate using chipatties.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.