If you are looking for the best murtabak in Singapore, you come to one place, Singapore Zam Zam. For over 100 years, this Indian-Muslim restaurant has been serving time-tested dishes. This includes nasi briyani, fish head curry, and murtabak.
So what is murtabak? To make murtabak, you stuff thin sheets of dough with minced meat, eggs, and vegetables. The dough is then wrapped up and fried in oil until crispy on the outside and steaming hot on the inside. You can think of murtabak as a pancake or quesadilla without the cheese.
Once an Arab dish, murtabak today is a popular street food in Southeast Asia, especially Singapore.
If you are looking for more information about Singapore, I highly recommend you pick up a guidebook such as Fodor's In Focus Singapore
Singapore Zam Zam is located across the street from Sultan Mosque (Masjid Sultan) in the colorful neighborhood of Kampong Glam. Also nearby is the Bugis MRT station.
If you have the time, I recommend wandering the streets surrounding the mosque. Here you will find restaurants, cafes, shop houses, art galleries, coffee shops, bakeries, textile shops, and more.
Interior of Singapore Zam Zam
Singapore Zam Zam was separated into two levels. On the bottom level was the kitchen and a small dining area. On the second level was a larger dining room. The upstairs dining room was air-conditioned, a lifesaver on those hot and humid days.
Scattered around both cluttered dining rooms were pink tables. The walls were just as cluttered, covered with paintings, photos, and menus.
If you’re looking for a quiet dining experience, then Singapore Zam Zam might not be the place for you. The restaurant was vibrant, hot, and noisy. What stuck out with me were the sounds of the kitchen and the ceiling fans blasting away. An endless stream of workers, in blue and orange shirts, were running around, taking orders, and delivering food.
Plan on visiting during lunch or dinner? Prepare to wait for a table. And, you may have to share a table with others, especially if you are dining alone.
Singapore Zam Zam Menu
The menu at Singapore Zam Zam featured a variety of Indian and Muslim dishes. This included murtabak, nasi briyani, fish head curry, and other traditional Singaporean dishes.
Singapore Zam Zam is famous for their murtabak. This is what you want to order if it is your first time. For meat, you could choose from beef, chicken, deer (rusa), mutton (lamb), or sardine. Each murtabak came in a variety of sizes.
The drinks menu was just as extensive as the food menu. The menu featured a variety of hot and cold drinks including tea, coffee, and juice.
I would be lying if I said I knew exactly what each drink was. If you have any questions, just ask your server for their recommendations.
I decided to order the Deer Murtabak ($10 SGD or about $7.34). It came recommended by my server. Also, how could I say no to deer, something I have never had before. Stuffed inside this murtabak was a generous amount of ground deer, diced onions, and egg.
The murtabak was fried to perfection. Both sides were golden brown and crispy with smoky charred bits baked into the dough. Inside, the murtabak was tender with a chewy, doughy goodness. They might call this a pancake but the texture and taste reminded me of an omelette mixed with a crepe.
The ground deer was flavorful and rich. While there were no gamey flavors, if I didn’t know there was deer inside, I might have thought I was eating beef or lamb. Each tender piece of meat was lean with the right bite. Not too chewy and definitely not dry.
Mixed in with the meat were diced onions. I enjoyed how the onions added another layer of flavor and texture to each bite.
Cooked into the dough, meat, and onions was egg, which added texture, color, and flavor to the dish. Every bite of the murtabak had bits of scrambled egg baked into it, bringing the entire dish together.
Dipping Sauce and Cucumbers
Served with the deer murtabak was a curry dipping sauce and sliced cucumbers.
The flavor of the curry dipping sauce was incredible. The sauce was bold and smoky with chili flavors, yet balanced with hints of sweetness. The sauce made the already delicious murtabak taste even better.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t as impressed by the cucumbers. The actual cucumbers were fine. They were crunchy and fresh. What I couldn’t figure out was the sauce. The bright red sauce had the viscosity and look of ketchup. It was neither sweet nor salty nor spicy. The sauce was bland and I would have preferred plain cucumbers.
Before my visit, I read reviews online of Singapore Zam Zam. I have to admit, I was a little nervous about what I read. On more than one occasion, there were complaints about servers being rude, arrogant, or not attentive.
This was not the case on my visit. I was pleasantly surprised by the service. While the servers seemed rush, they were friendly, even going out of their way to make recommendations and answer any questions that I had.
I can’t speak for all the items on the menu, but the deer murtabak, the specialty of the house, did not disappoint. I would love to come back to Singapore Zam Zam to sample some of their other dishes on the menu.
- The best murtabak in Singapore
- Large portions
- Friendly servers on my visit
- Cash only
- 10% service charge
- Expect a wait, especially during lunch hours
697-699 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198675
GPS Coordinates: 1.302181,103.858518