It’s absolutely ridiculous how underrated Restaurant Aisyah is. You might have heard of ‘Xin Zhong He’ or walked past a Chinese sign ‘西北香’ along Telok Ayer Street, but they all refer to the same thing: traditional Xinjiang cuisine.

Well, technically, it refers to Northwestern China cuisine which also includes Gansu, Ningxia and Qinghai. Founder Steven Cheong noticed the lack of Halal Chinese establishments in Singapore and decided to bring it over. Aside from the popular use of beef, chicken and mutton- not much pork as the region was densely populated by Muslims- you’ll find Middle Eastern influences in traditional dishes. Located along the ancient Silk Roads, Xinjiang served as a refuge and recharging point for traders. Thus, flavours such as cumin, chile, garlic and saffron, and dishes like braised mutton and nang, a type of flatbread, crept into Xinjiang’s culture. 

Hand-pulled Noodles

Hand-pulled noodles really isn’t just a gimmick. It’s springy, silky, and possesses a nice bouncy texture. And what I adore most about it is the slightly uneven texture of every strand. Restaurant Aisyah has five styles of hand-pulled noodles- Capillary, Fine, 2 Fine, Leek Leaves and Wide.

Next, you can choose between soup and dry, and spicy and clear for the broth. Signature dishes include Butterfly Brisket (S$15.8), Beef Shank (S$13.8), Chicken Dumpling (S$10.8) and the one that I got, Stewed Muttons Noodles (S$13.9).

I was expecting the noodles to be springier. But other than soft noodles, the dish was perfect. The mutton was heavily spiced with robust flavours. Texture-wise, it was fall off the bones but not mushy; just the right amount of bite. The lava-like soup had a mellower flavour which was a good contrast to the meat. It injected a numbing sensation, courtesy of the Szechuan peppercorns, that gets aggravated with every slurp.

Fried Rice

I thought it was such a pity that my friend ordered fried rice instead of hand-pulled noodles. But oh boy, was I wrong. The Cumin Chicken Rice (S$11.9) was bequeathed with wok hei. The spices were bold and the each grain of rice was evenly coated with oil. I only had a bite, but my friend commented that it got a little too heavy towards the end of the meal.

The Cumin Mutton Fried Rice (S$11.8), Spicy Beef Rice (S$11.8) and Braised Xibei Chicken Rice (S$10.8) are also popular choices.

Dumplings

The dumplings come with 3 different types of meat- beef, mutton and chicken- and 3 cooking styles: Spicy (S$13.8), Fried (S$12.8) and Soup ($11.8).

We got the Chicken Dumplings with Spicy Sauce (S$13.8). And visually, it was already impressive. The dumplings were generously wrapped with fillings, like an overweight man who’s about to rip through his linen shirt. The chili oil had a sharp and tangy spice to it that although burns your tongue off, tempted us to take another bite, and another…

Verdict

Legitimate Xinjiang cuisine at an affordable price.

If there’s one thing Restaurant Aisyah can work on, it’s her confusing branding. But as Shakespeare mentioned, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

For other recommendations in the area, check out our article on the best restaurants and cafes at Telok Ayer!

Location: 176 Telok Ayer St, Singapore 068624
Tel: +65 9372 4321
Opening hours:
11:30am- 2:30pm, 5:30pm- 9pm (Wed, Thur); 11:30am- 9pm (Fri – Sun)

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