O'nya Sayang Tasting Session

O'nya Sayang Tasting Session - Closed
60 Paya Lebar Road
#B1-30 Paya Lebar Square

4 Tampines Central 5
#B1-K3 Tampines Mall

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am - 10pm


This was an invited media review. I did not pay for the meal during the free hosted tasting session, but I did pay the standard price during subsequent visits.
Attended with representatives from Chubby Botak Koala, Little Miss Bento, Hannah Chia's Food Trail, SG Food On Foot, and The Silver Chef.

Authentic Peranakan Flavours With A Modern Twist

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 8
Ambience & Setting: 7
Food & Beverage: 9
Service: 7
Value for Money: 7
Budget about SGD $20 ++ per person.


Although their latest outlet has only been in operation since January 2015, O'nya Sayang has been drawing in the crowds, with dinner service seeing a full house nearly everyday. Little surprise, as O'nya Sayang, which means 'Love of a Peranakan Mother', boasts a true Peranakan heritage in both their food and service. Owner Zan Ho, a 3rd generation Peranakan, ensures that quality of food is consistent with the traditional Peranakan recipes he's learnt from both his mother and grandmother, while introducing his own modern take on a few dishes.

Ambience at O'nya Sayang is open and clean, with white walls framing an entirely open dining area. Furniture is modern and comfortable, with long, or wide, wooden tables resembling a canteen, and bright white lights overhead. There is a sense of space, and O'nya Sayang can be rather bustling during peak periods. Decor reflects both the traditional and modern, with classic Peranakan household objects such as vases or clothing along a wall, and colouful modern paintings and artwork along another wall. This makes the place both attractive and interesting!

O'nya Sayang Exterior

O'nya Sayang Interior

Service at O'nya Sayang is decent, but not outstanding. What I liked is that staff are friendly and welcoming, rather efficient at taking and fulfilling orders quickly, and prompt in clearing and setting dirty / empty tables. However, the relatively new set up also means staff aren't as knowledgable as owner Zan Ho about the intricacies of the menu or the food. I also notice that due to the near constant crowd here, staff are usually kept busy, and as a result, may not be as proactive or as observant as they could be. You'll usually have to request for something before you get it.

Food at O'nya Sayang is outstanding, everything we sampled was tasty, delicious dishes packed with flavour. Owner Zan Ho informed us that the majority of food is prepared fresh daily at their central kitchen, and closely monitored to ensure that it's true to his family's traditional recipes. This ensures a consistently high quality at both O'nya Sayang outlets, and also means food can be prepared and served quickly upon ordering. Portions tend to be rather large, individual ala-carte dishes can be shared between 2 - 4 people, while individual set meals are more than enough for 1 - 2 people. Prices are reasonable and comparable to other cafes, budget about SGD $20 per person for a meal.

Peranakan Vase

Peranakan Plate

The Ayam Keluak Fried Rice (SGD $14.90) is a fine example of the fusion of traditional and modern. The Ayam Buah Keluak represents the traditional, with the classic dish featuring soft, tender, fall off the bone chicken meat in a savoury, fragrant, robust gravy. The keluak nuts have that signature soft, piquant black paste which is so appetizing. The modern is represented by the Buah Keluak Fried Rice, which uses the remainder of the keluak nut paste along with spices, imparting a beautifully fragrant and savoury taste when fried together with rice. With some heat from the use of chili, the rice takes on the signature piquant taste of keluak nuts, albeit less sharp. Highly recommended!

Ayam Keluak Fried Rice (SGD $14.90)

Ayam Buah Keluak

Buah Keluak Fried Rice

The Bakwan Kepiting (SGD $12.90) is a clear, savoury soup / broth with soft cabbage and home made crab and pork meat balls. I loved the tightly packed, savoury meat balls which has a semi-firm bite. The soup / broth is very tasty, although it gets a bit too salty near the bottom of the bowl, which left me thirsty.

Bakwan Kepiting (SGD $12.90)

The Lor Bak Noodles (SGD $12.90) is like a sampler set meal of classic Peranakan dishes, great for the undecided. Love the fresh crunch and chili heat of the Sambal Kang Kong / Water Spinach Leaves, and the Muah style Otah Otah, which packs a generous amount of fish. The Achar / Nonya Spicy Pickled Salad has the right balance of tangy, sour, sweet, and crunchy, quite satisfiying. The Lor Bak features soft, fork tender pork braised in savoury dark soy sauce, utterly delicious, although I didn't like the hard boiled braised egg which was too firm and dry in texture (seemingly microwaved). The modern twist amongst this classic combination of dishes is the Soy Sauce Ramen Noodles, served in the same great tasting, savoury dark soy sauce base, lending a chewy texture. Highly recommended!

Lor Bak Noodles (SGD $12.90)

Sambal Kang Kong & Otah Otah
Otah Otah pictured shows 3 portions

Lor Bak & Achar

Soy Sauce Ramen Noodles

The Babi Pongteh (SGD $13.90) features soft, tender braised pork belly in the house signature fermented soy bean paste sauce. The layers of pork fat add a depth of flavour to the savoury, slightly sour, fully spiced sauce, and the meat just tears apart so easily. Unhealthy but lovely, definitely an indulgence!

Babi Pongteh (SGD $13.90)

This may well be the most flavourful Nonya Chap Chye (SGD $10.90) I've had. The mix of vegetable are stewed till they have that nice, soft texture, and while the cabbage and black fungus are commonplace, the thing that makes this dish so special is the shiitake mushrooms. The gravy is strong with the flavour of the shiitake mushrooms, and each mouthful is intense with the combination of sweet, earthy, and savoury. Highly recommended!

Chap Chye (SGD $10.90)

Didn't enjoy the Sambal Tumis Seafood (SGD $17.90) that much, because it was too oily for me. However, the fish, prawns, and squid are fresh, and served in large cuts, quite generous for the price. The surprise is actually the sambal itself, despite looking fiery hot, the taste is mild, with only a hint of spicy heat.

Sambal Tumis Seafood (SGD $17.90)

The Assam Fish (SGD $16.90) features fresh red snapper fillets in a spicy tamarind sauce / gravy / curry. The fish is fresh and clean tasting, with a few large bones that are easily removed. The sauce / gravy / curry tends to be more sour than spicy, and goes great over rice. Would have liked to see more vegetables in this dish though, including orka / lady's finger, or eggplant.

Assam Fish (SGD $16.90)

The Beef Rendang Bread Bowl (SGD $12.90) features melt in your mouth chunks of beef that have been slowed cooked in a richly spiced, thick, savoury sauce, then baked into a bread bowl. The bread itself could be better, the texture is rather average now. Eat this by tearing off a chunk of bread, topping it with a small piece of beef rendang, then drizzle some rendang gravy over the top before consuming. Rather novel and unique way to eat this classic dish!

Beef Rendang Bread Bowl (SGD $12.90)

Beef Rendang

We loved the Sago Gula Melaka (SGD $4.90), which features sago balls in a thick, rich, but not too sweet gula melaka / palm sugar syrup. They've used the Indonesian gula melaka / palm sugar syrup, which is less sweet than the Malaysian version. The Chendol (SGD $4.90) is a straight forward, no nonsense classic dessert that is true to the Peranakan recipe, great for those who prefer the traditional. The Chendol Ice Cream (SGD $5.90) is a modern take on chendol, with a smooth, creamy, Thai coconut ice cream replacing the coconut milk and shaved ice. Interesting that it tastes the same, while the texture is vastly different! I would highly recommend these 3 Peranakan Desserts!

Peranakan Desserts

Sago Gula Melaka (SGD $4.90)

Chendol (SGD $4.90)

Chendol Ice Cream (SGD $5.90)

Returned to O'nya Sayang on another occasion, and sampled the Kueh Pie Tee (SGD $4.90). Not that great I think, the shell was crisp, but a little too thick, although the filling was tasty. Also tried the Ngoh Hiang (SGD $9.90), this was very good, with the prawn and pork rolls being meaty and juicy, and piping hot, althought slightly oily. The sweet sauce that accompanies it is properly thick and sweet. Service was a little slower during my 2nd visit.

Kueh Pie Tee (SGD $4.90)

Ngoh Hiang (SGD $9.90)

Overall, I enjoyed the food and atmosphere at O'nya Sayang, and will definitely return again. If they're able to lift the standard of service, O'nya Sayang will likely go very far, and remain popular for a long time. Owner Zan Ho has proved that it's possible to have modern Peranakan dishes alongside traditional classic favourites, here's hoping he'll carry on pushing the boundaries of Peranakan cuisine!