Singapore Zam Zam: Serving best murtabak in Singapore since 1908

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 such as nasi briyani, fish head curry, and murtabak.

So what is murtabak? Murtabak is made by stuffing 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.

Originally an Arab dish, murtabak has become a popular street food in Southeast Asia, especially Singapore.

Singapore Zam Zam is located directly across the street from Sultan Mosque (Masjid Sultan), not far from Bugis MRT station. This colorful neighborhood is known as Kampong Glam.

If you have time, I highly recommend wandering the streets surrounding the mosque where you will find restaurants, cafes, shop houses, art galleries, coffee shops, bakeries, textile shops, and more.

Singapore Zam Zam was separated into two levels. The kitchen, along with a smaller dining area, was located on the bottom level. On the second level was a larger dining room. The upstairs dining room was air-conditioned, a lifesaver on those hot and humid days.

Pink tables were scattered around both dining rooms wherever there was enough space. The walls were just as cluttered. Every square foot of the white walls were 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 with the sounds of the kitchen and 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? Be prepared to wait and 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 foods including murtabak, nasi briyani, fish head curry, and other traditional Singaporean dishes.

Singapore Zam Zam is famous for their murtabak. This is what you want. 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.

Deer Murtabak

I decided to order the Deer Murtabak ($10 SGD or about $7.34) because it came highly 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.

I was surprised just how flavorful and rich the ground deer was. 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 just 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.

I can’t forget about the egg which was cooked into the dough, meat, and onions. Every bite of the murtabak had bits of scrambled egg baked into it, bringing the entire dish together.

Served along with the deer murtabak was a curry dipping sauce and sliced cucumbers.

The flavor of the curry dipping sauce was truly incredible. The sauce was packed with bold smoky chili flavors balanced out with hints of heat and sweetness. The sauce made the already delicious murtabak taste even better.

On the other hand, 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.

Service

Before my visit, I read online reviews of 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.

Conclusion

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 sample some of their other dishes on the menu.

Pros

  • The best murtabak in Singapore
  • Large portions
  • Friendly servers on my visit

Cons

  • Cash only
  • 10% service charge
  • Expect a wait, especially during lunch hours

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