Lepak at Tenderbest Makcik Tuckshop
Just like Arnold’s, Tenderfresh is one of Singapore’s most well-known fried chicken chain. Tracing its history to as far back as 1979, it has garnered a faithful group of supporters with its mouth-watering fried chicken.
Tenderfresh has experimented with various concepts through the years, with Tenderbest Makcik Tuckshop being their latest. Hidden in a quiet corner of Woodlands, it’s a homely halal-certified cafe which doles out concoctions including fried chicken ice-cream.
Food at Tenderbest Makcik Tuckshop
No trip to Tenderfresh is complete without fried chicken, and we were literally salivating out of sheer anticipation for the Fried Spring Chicken ($18.50).
Though cutlery was provided, I found them largely unnecessary. As the tantalising aroma of fried chicken perfumed the air and the golden fried skin beckoned enticingly, I couldn’t resist tearing apart the fried chicken with my bare hands.
We all have our own preferences in tackling a fried chicken. For me, I usually start with the drumstick. As I forcefully dismembered it, the juices locked in the meat gushed out in an energetic cascade – a tell-tale sign of succulent meat.
Every bite of the tender meat released tides of the fowl’s juices, which mingled with the dissolved fats of the chicken. Coating my taste buds with a decadent creaminess, I was left reeling for a second bite.
My personal test of how good a fried chicken is, is based on the success of the chicken breast, since it is usually the hardest part to get right. The fried chicken here passed with flying colours, as the breast impressed with its supple texture. Despite frying in high heat, it preserved most of its moisture.
The one thing that keeps me returning to Tenderfresh is the fried skin. I adored how the melted fats clung onto the skin and bolstered the savoury crust with a buttery injection. Aptly seasoned with salt, pepper, and other spices, the skin will stimulate your taste buds with alternating bursts of umami and oily richness.
Compared to the impressive fried chicken, both the coleslaw and salad tasted like typical run-of-the-mill versions. However, I appreciated the refreshing light flavours of the lettuce, which cleansed my tongue of the meat’s heavy flavours.
Tenderbest Makcik Tuckshop also features newer dishes such as the Fries With Meat Sauce And Egg ($6.90). Served in a mini ceramic pot, these fries were blanketed by tomato sauce and a raw egg.
The main selling point of this dish is the flavour, rather than the texture. As the fries had soaked up the moist sauce, I found them somewhat too soggy. If you relish fries for their crunch, I recommend their Fries With Cheese Sauce ($4.90) instead.
What I liked most about the dish, however, was its full-bodied flavour. The tangy sauce accentuated the flavour of the fries. Furthermore, as the gravy was steeped in the richness of the meat, it infused the fries with a touch of savouriness.
A dish that took us by surprise was the fried chicken skin with ice-cream. The Fried Chicken Caramel ($5.90) features large pieces of fried skin planted in vanilla ice-cream, which is then drizzled with copious amounts of salted caramel sauce.
The caramel sauce is not your typical store-bought one. Instead, it is crafted from a blend of caramel, assorted spices, vanilla, sugar, and chicken stock.
Unfortunately, despite their attempt to meld this cacophony of flavours together, the dessert remained plagued by an identity crisis. I could hardly detect a trace of chicken stock in the sauce. Moreover, the fried skin seemed to be an unnecessary feature, as the sugary combination of caramel and vanilla ice-cream dominated the dish. And while it supplied a nice crunch, I felt other toppings could have achieved the same textural contrast.
Ambience at Tenderbest Makcik Tuckshop
With my stomach filled by the hearty meal and my ears soothed by the jazz music playing in the background, I inevitably found myself drifting off to dreamland. Furthermore, with its canteen tables and tuckshop-like settings, the cafe will bring you on a trip down memory lane to your schooling days.
While the new additions found at Tenderbest Makcik Tuckshop are interesting, they aren’t exciting enough to warrant a visit to the ulu corners of Woodlands. That being said, should you stay in the North, this cafe is the perfect place to relax on a lazy afternoon.
If you can’t get enough of fried chicken, check out our review of Victor Famous Fried Chicken Wing Rice. Set up by the founder of the acclaimed Carona Fried Chicken, it is the perfect option for fried chicken wings!
Address: 39 Woodlands Close, #01-68, Mega@woodlands, Singapore 737854
Opening hours: Daily 11am to 10pm
Tel: 8738 6494
Tenderbest Makcik Tuckshop is a halal eatery.
– Relaxing ambience
– Old school vibes
– Scrumptious fried chicken
– Inconvenient location
– Standard Tenderfresh menu with little new additions
– Slightly pricier
Recommended Dishes: Fried Spring Chicken ($18.50), Fries With Meat Sauce And Egg ($6.90)
Opening hours: Daily 11am to 10pm
Address: No.39 Woodlands Close, #01-68, Mega@woodlands, Singapore 737854