Almost every first visit to Sin Tai Kar Lok yields the same incredulous expression: ‘Wah, so much food; so much variety.’ But to regulars, patronising the stall in the stuffy Sungei Wang food court is like therapy: The buffet-like spread, the tattooed staff scooping rice behind the counter, and the blurry TV blaring out old Stephen Chow comedies have all become part of their daily routine. The food is homey and packed with flavour – tasting almost like the time your mum was a tad too generous with the oyster sauce, ketchup and kicap in her cooking.
Sin Tai Kar Lok churns out at least 60 dishes every day, just to accommodate the demanding palates of KLites who are constantly clamouring for variety. And this explains the charm of zhap fan stalls – culinary treasures like roast pork, duck and fish are sold at a bargain price but they still taste of dai chow quality. But then again, Sin Tai Kar Lok isn’t like any zhap fan stall. With its retro decor, as if borrowing design cues from a Hong Kong gangster flick, the scene looks like a young, unruly Chow Yun Fatt would walk through the door anytime. It’s badass, just like how a shop in Sungei Wang should be.