Jiao Cai Hotplate BBQ at Yishun Park Hawker Centre
Sambal stingray is one of the many great hawker classics, and I remember times when just I sat around at a kopitiam with my friends, enjoying the dish that’s served on fragrant banana leaves. While I sometimes crave for sambal stingray, it is something that must be shared with others, as the portion and price is just not meant for lone rangers. So when I heard about Jiao Cai Hotplate BBQ, which just introduced sambal stingray and sotong rice sets, I knew I had to check it out.
Food at Jiao Cai Hotplate BBQ
The obvious first choice to tuck into was the Sambal Stingray Hot Plate ($15). And boy, was this sambal good.
While it’s not the spiciest you can find in Singapore, my moderate spice tolerance was overwhelmed. Even my colleagues who love spicy food were slurping on their Milo peng to quell the heat. But hey, that’s the way sambal is supposed to be – hot and spicy.
The stingray itself was well barbecued, and we could taste the distinct smokey flavour. The tender flesh also came apart nicely with just a fork. You can also dip the fish in the stall’s housemade chilli sauce, if the sambal doesn’t deliver enough of a kick. And since it’s served on a sizzling metal plate, the dish remained nice and warm, even as we greedily inhaled the last morsels of the fish.
Next up was the Sambal Sotong Rice Bowl ($7), which was much prettier than your average hawker nasi lemak. But this dish was more than just a looker.
The egg yolk was runny, and instead of the usual flimsy slices found in hawker dishes, the cucumber slices were large and refreshing, especially when eaten between bites of sambal sotong.
The sotong rings themselves were coated in the same rich sambal, and the texture was just nice – neither too soft nor too chewy.
Lastly, we tried the Sambal Stingray Rice Set ($7.80), which came with a fried egg, a side of kang kong and a smaller portion of barbecued stingray. If you always wanted to have a BBQ zi char feast, but have no friends to jio, this is the dish to get. The sambal on the veggie and fish was consistent with the two dishes before, and at $7.80, it’s a pretty affordable way to tuck into some sambal stingray.
Ambience at Jiao Cai Hotplate BBQ
Yishun Park Hawker Centre is about a year old, so while there’s the usual fans, tables and chairs, the entire place feels pretty clean and airy. There are even arcade games and play areas here! The only thing is that the hawker centre is located a few bus stops away from Yishun MRT Station, so it can be a bit of a chore to get to if you’re not in the area.
Jiao Cai Hotplate BBQ is opened by a banker who gave up his career to carry on his mother’s sambal recipe. And with sambal stingrays like that, it’s no wonder he didn’t want to let the recipe go to waste. The place is a little off the grid, but definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area!
Address: 51 Yishun Avenue 11, #01-39, Yishun Park Hawker Centre, Singapore 768867
Opening hours: Daily 11:30am to 10pm
Tel: 8201 4400
Check out our new ratings guide!