Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Nando's Peri Peri Chicken

1/4 Hot Chicken Meal with Fresco Salad and Peri Corn

It is a bit uncharacteristic of me to be in another country and yet go eat at an international chain restaurant rather than something local off the street. Moreover, this was a chain restaurant that I'd been to in Penang ages ago, so it wasn't like it was anything I hadn't tried before. But after noticing so many Nando's stores in London a couple of months ago (yet not wanting to spend any precious time at a chain restaurant then either), I couldn't stop thinking about trying it again. There aren't any outlets of this spicy chicken chain in Singapore, so I was sure to come get some when I was up here in Malaysia.

This is a South African restaurant whose Portuguese founders created a chicken dish that centered around the "peri-peri" African birds-eye chili pepper. Specify the degree of spiciness that you want, and your bird comes out slathered in the appropriate sauce. I opted for the "Hot" version, which turned out to be respectably spicy enough for me to try stepping up to some of the spiciest "Extra Hot" sauce on the side. I couldn't quite detect the difference in heat between the two, but the sourness of the lemon juice did come across much more prominently to me when I dipped directly into the sauce. All of this time, the flame-grilled aroma of this surprisingly moist bird still came through.

Now, one could argue that the flavors here are a bit too in-your-face and could use a bit more refinement. But my belly was warm enough after the meal that I still enjoyed it - more than that "Portuguese" chicken sold at that Charco's stall at Singapore's Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5. I can see why this Nando's place is so addictive now. I sure hope that someone opens one in Singapore soon.

16 comments:

Buda said...

We used to eat Nando's a lot here but the pricing is more like restaurant prices rather than fast food prices. It generally costs about twice as much as a KFC equivalent though I must say that you feel better about yourself after a Nanado's meal. My fiance and I used to always order the family fiesta to share. I guess between the 2 of us, we eat as much as a family should!

CT said...

Similarly, I'm wanting Nando's to come into S'pore too.

Given S'porean inclination for spicy food or spicing things up for that matter, I'm sure they'll do well here.

It'll win over (bland) Kenny Roger's anytime. And no, don't even compare it to KFC.

Having to go to JB for my Nando's fix is a chore, really.

Kathy said...

Nando's used to be in Marina Square around 10 years ago at least. Funnily enough, it was pretty empty due to lack of business.

The Nando's in London is much better than the Malaysian or Thai branches imho. Perhaps the chicken is different.

Pemmi said...

Thought you were in London again at the first sight of those pictures. Missed Nando's as I used to eat it a lot when I was living in England.

Gwen said...

In 1997, Nandos the eraitsiesby was opened in the back of Marina Square facing the old food court. The location was Poe and traffic was minimal. The restaurant was shut before long. There are plenty in Sitealis and London like you say, I have no doubt it will land in SG again soon! You can buy the medium sauce in some gourmet supermarkets in the US .

Gwen said...

Sorry. Typing blindly on the blackberry in a meeting.

* restaurant
* poor
* Australia

mc said...

I used to eat Nando's at Penang airport on the way home too. But it is now gone, and replaced by Kenny Roger's. *sad*

Pete said...

I thought Nando's still operating at the Penang airport (main concourse). Kenny Roger's one floor down.

Emma said...

I love Nandos chicken too. You can buy bottles of the sauce at Mustafa shopping centre in Serangoon and use it as a dipping sauce or to marinate your chicken.

Aboobaker S. Omar said...

Singaporeans can come in to JB for Nandos, at a place called Menara Pelangi. I think it's better than their KL counterparts for some reason.

miss clio said...

heloo...

long time reader first time poster.

i love nandos!!
funny i used to work there while i was in uni and i never ever ever got sick of the food.
i still love it and frequently visit the store i use to work in - but the staff have changed many times over by now...

We're lucky here in Perth, theres heaps of Nandos around - definitely better then any fast food chain. (the owners/managers of nandos like to refer it to "gourmet fast food").

Skippy said...

You ought to try the original one in South Africa. Cos at MAXIMUM HEAT, one mouth and you'll be on FIRE! A jug of orange soda will do nothing to take away the fiery! The M'sia and Aussie version does it no justice at all.

Chilli padi definitely pales in comparison to that kinda heat! ;)

Anonymous said...

There was a Nando's in Singapore way back in 1997/98; I recall eating there as well and thinking that it was way too expensive for a fast food restaurant - it was in Marina Square next to the old hawker centre. The place was always virtually empty - the quality was rather mediocre. I think it lasted for less than a year before it shut down.

Trapped said...

Nando's was in Singapore. But unfortunately it was too early in Singapore and there were not enough Singaporeans to support it (ie returning overseas students). Lack of understanding and lack of advertisements.

If I remembered correctly it was during this time when the Nando's company were buying back all it's franchises. So it was a fully owned company. Not it's moving the way of Subway.

From what i heard a Singaporean, apparently was a friend of Mr Nando's asked for a master franchise for Singapore. It took him a year of asking before the deal came through. The outlet at the Marina then, facing the outdoor hawker center was rumored to be the most expensive outlet of Nando's ever setup. He did everything to keep it going. Sponsored bowling events, bus ads and all. And still die.

It will probably survive now as there is a sufficient critical mass to support it. Just take a look at Carls' Jr.

I remembered calling the South Africa and asking for franchise some 11 years ago in 97. ha haha memories.

I am sure it will come back to Singapore one day.

Mike said...

Tried getting the rights for Singapore 2 years ago but the franchise rights for Singapore are apparently owned by the same company that holds the Malaysian one...just wish they'd hurry up and open here! I just wanted to start the business here so I could eat it :)

Kym said...

I don't know, but in Australia, Nando's is pretty expensive.

Delicious, but the price does not justify.