SHiOK! has created such a hype in Vancouver during its soft opening in May 2019. This trendy Singaporian eatery serves authentic SouthEast Asian cuisine with great finesse and attention to many details we have not seen elsewhere in Vancouver. The unconventional cafeteria-style ordering rituals in SHiOK do not downgrade the atmosphere, but creates a more authentic Singaporean atmosphere. Shiok is located on Kingsway near Commercial Street in Vancouver
Strength: Authentic Singaporean food and atmosphere
Weakness: Parking may be hard to find
Other Cafeteria-style Eatery
SHiOK! Singapore Cuisine
“Shiok” is a Singaporean word that means delicious. I did not know the meaning of the word before entering and only saw the sandwich board explanation upon leaving. My only reaction was “fitting”.
This restaurant is located in one of kingsway’s newer buildings. The storefront has large window space for transparency and the exposure evokes pedestrian interest.
Beautiful double door as room divider
Shiok uses a double door at the foyer to divide the dining area. Upon entering, you see this door in front and the ordering counter to the right. The staff greeted me with a warm smile even when there were customers ahead of me contemplating their decision.
The special menu above tray return
The ordering ritual for Shiok is quite unique. Before you take your seat, read the 2 sided menu first then move on to this special menu. You order and pay at the front counter to trade for a number stand so staff can bring the food to your table.
At the end of your meal, you have to bring the plates back and categorize them. When I returned my plates, the owner came out to help me.
The number stand
The old gentleman taking my order seemed like the owner of this establishment. He was very friendly and guided me through the options like dark or white meat for the Boneless chicken rice, or types of noodle for my Laksa. The number sign was decent sized but takes up valuable real-estate on our dining table. It’s good the staff would take it away as soon as all the order has arrived.
Self-served convenience station
The convenience station included water, utensil, and napkins. I think this self-serve method is one of Shiok’s strategies to keep its price down.
Simple Design really worked
Shiok has a simplistic design. The furniture is pretty much just has dark-colored wood grain. Picture frames and the shadows from industrial-styled lighting fixtures decorated these simple walls. I think the patterned tiles look quite fancy.
Condiments at the table
These condiments are labeled so customers won’t have to do any guesswork.
This stamp card reminds me of bubble tea. Our meal cost $34.50 before tax and we got 3 stamps, which means it might be worth it to order at $10 increments. This is only possible because Shiok has designed their menu items to be either $2, $2.5, $3, $5, or $10. You don’t have to care about this, but it’s a game you can participate in.
Laksa with yellow noodle
I ordered Laksa with yellow noodle and they were chewy with a little bit crunchy texture. It’s quite a clean texture. The topping includes shrimps, tofu puff, fish cake, half an egg, and a thin layer of bean sprout at the very bottom. The shrimps were sliced from the middle. They are fresh and have crunchy texture.
The soup was a little spicy and taste a little under-seasoned at first but towards the end, the taste shines through. There were lots of seasoning bits at the bottom of the bowl. I did not detect any added MSG in the soup.
Boneless Chicken Rice
The Boneless Chicken Rice can be served with either white or dark meat. We ordered dark meat because they usually retain more moisture. The chicken meat was firm. I am not sure if they are free-run chicken, but they taste like one. The rice are the short-grain type, which are known to be more sticky. There are parts of the rice that seems to be broken long grain rice with a less sticky texture. The boneless chicken rice tastes very good. It’s essentially Hainanese chicken, but replace the Cantonese green onion sauce and spicy sour sauce with this sweet soy and chili paste. This is Singapore’s authentic way of eating Hainanese Chicken.
Chicken Wings, 6 for $5
The chicken wings are made to order. It took a while to get here. We have a lightly breaded exterior that is a little crispy. They arrived extremely hot and the staff warned us. These chicken wings were not very oily. We did not notice much oil residue on the plate after we were done with this dish.
Fully cooked juicy wings
The chicken wings have a very thin batter. They are juicy on the inside, and I appreciate how these chicken are fully cooked no matter the size.
Otak-Otak, 2 for $5
This Otka-Otka is something I saw on the special menu. They are fish paste wrapped in banana leaf. I was surprised to see only two pieces when they arrived.
After unwrapping the banana leaf, the interior was pretty smooth.
Interior of Otak-Otak
The Otak-Otak was made with lots of ingredients. I can taste the texture of ground lemongrass. There is a prominent ginger kick at the end of the bite. Overall, the Otak-Otak feels like a combination of flavours from herbs glued together by the fish paste. It was flavourful and has lots of taste, but $5 for 2 pieces of fishballs may not be for everyone.
Kopi – coffee with condensed milk
The Kopi was coffee with condensed milk. It’s kind of like Vietnamese coffee but this Kopi was sweeter and feels more watered down. However, the color is darker. The body was lighter, thus more refreshing than Vietnamese coffee. This $2.50 cold coffee comes with a very large glass. It’s definitely worth the money.
604 Food Critic Assessment
Most establishments using words relating to “Delicious” in their names have been grilled quite harshly by us. SHiOK! is definitely an exception. The entire eatery is congruent in providing a Singaporean atmosphere. This is a very popular style in Singapore. They also provide an authentic taste at an extremely affordable price. I haven’t seen any main course at $10/dish for a while. Our bill costs $20 per person after tax with everything we have ordered. If you want to try Singaporean food, Shiok is the place to start.
How to get in touch
- Phone: (604) 423-3838
- Address: 1716 Kingsway, Vancouver
- Hours: 11:30 am – 2:30 pm, Reopens 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm, Closed on Sunday and Monday