The beauty of street food is that it strips down the dining experience to its essentials – what you’re eating and who is serving it to you. Atmosphere happens but in unexpected ways. Painstakingly designed interiors are swapped out for the happenstance romance of roadside carts and pink plastic stools or the unexpected charm of fluorescent mall lighting.
A tiny nook of a shop tucked into the side of an under-construction food mall in Jingan, Boi Boi hits the Southeast Asian street food vibe on the head. The food is strong, prices are great and Malaysian chef and owner Jet Lo, previously consulting on the menu for Ginger, is the affable kind of character that makes a small business.
Lo turns out a short menu of his home country’s greatest hits at Boi Boi. Fragrant coconut rice in the well-balanced 32RMB nasi lemak gives a canvas for the sweet-savoury-spicy palette of crispy fried anchovies, toasted peanuts, cucumber and house- made sambal. Tender barbecue wings come glistening and glossy in a honey-spiced glaze.
A substantial meal for 48RMB, claypot curry rice is layered and complex with juicy, fall-apart beef brisket. Roti Kahwin, white bread toast spread thick with homemade kaya jam and generous pats of butter, paired with a frothy teh tarik (‘pulled tea’, black tea with condensed milk) from Lo’s family recipe make for an easy breakfast or afternoon snack.
Uncomplicated and thoroughly straightforward, Boi Boi serves up the kind of dependable grub that will turn out being a regular on your Eleme order history.
Meal for two: around 100RMB
By Cat Nelson