Explodingbelly is a huge, huge, huge meat lover and if you didn’t know about this, now you know. Which also means you haven’t read my content enough, please go reflect on your actions.
Of course, when I heard about meat centric place opening up right in the heartlands, I knew I HAD TO GO! Hougang some more leh, so near me! Ok later I found out that Hougang 1 is actually very far from my definition of Hougang, i.e. my house in Hougang.
Meat Market boasts of a 60 seater space and a back-to-basics way of grilling their meats over different types of wood to bring out the wide range of flavor profiles of their proteins.
They even change the type of wood they use monthly and THAT is dedication.
I’ve a confession though, even though people know Explodingbelly as a food blogger, I actually have very normal tastebuds which can’t decipher and identify the different notes or flavor profiles. This is why I’m food blogger not food critic mah. So I can’t really tell or explain to you guys how different the meats would taste if it were to be grilled over lychee wood or applewood, I can only tell you about whether it tastes good. Nonetheless, I’ll always appreciate the effort and craft of chefs whom are dedicated in bringing the most optimal dining experience for us, so a huge thumbs up to Meat Market!
Located right smack in the heartlands at Hougang One, Meat Market outshines its counterparts, quite literally, with their fairy lights and warm interior. Looking like an upscale and chill restaurant just outside the mall, it was no wonder why people were naturally drawn towards the shop front to kaypoh kaypoh a bit.
A panoramic view of the restaurant- quite classy.
They’ve got a semi open kitchen as well so we could watch the chefs at work, but at the same time, the entire place was horribly ventilated.
When we first stepped into the place, all i can think of is, omg my hair my hair confirm smelly. It was so chokingly smoky and uncomfortable – probably the biggest turn off of the entire experience.
Let’s pray that they’ve done something to the ventilation, otherwise it’s a place I’ll never return to or would only be willing to order deliveries from. Sorry I v harsh cause I really HATE POOR VENTILATION.
The biggest draw of their menu is how affordable everything is on the menu.
if you’d just look at it, a meat platter for 2 is barely $30. Ok la with the plus plus, maybe would set us back to a max $20 per person?
You can even build your own platter! Not bad leh.
With everything looking so promising, except for the smell… How did the food fare?
1) Salted Egg Fried Fish Foccacia ($12.90++)
Wa looks good right, it’s actually my photography skills la. Salted egg anything just piques my interest and that’s of course because Explodingbelly is the master of all salted egg dishes (self-proclaimed one la, but I believe) – you all see here! Sorry ah my blog died in 2016, thank you guys who have been sticking with me ever since I became a full fledged working adult.
Ok back to the point. This Sandwich was average at best, the salted egg sauce was not distinct, dory had more batter than.. meat?, too much bread – at the price point of 15 whooping dollars. It’s a NOPE.
2) Thai Beef Aglio ($12.90++)
If you had to spend $15 here, this would be your best bet. This dish blew my mind and even at this very moment, 2 months later, I can still remember how good this was. The meepok like Aglio was done perfectly – Al dente with a good bite and was bursting with flavors from the beef and spices with slight heat to tingle my palate. The beef was also well marinated and tender, this was a dish I kept going back for and WOULD go back for.
3) Black Nigiri (5 pcs $10.90, 10 pcs $18.90)
You should only order this for the ‘gram. Otherwise hmm. What this dish consists of is actually beef and pork collar laid on top of buttered black rice.
No taste one cause there was simply too much rice to protein, and probably because of the time taken for photography, the meats were all dry and ok, that’s my fault. Moral of the story is, don’t take pics. I know I’m super contradicting. Hahaha!
4) Carnivore ($29.90++) – 2 to share
Ok now now, this platter looks amazing. Their platter of 2 consists of tenderloin, roast chicken, pork, a jumbo sausage as well as your choice of 2 sides and a choice of sauce!
They’ve got an array of sauces, with the more unique ones being salted egg, mocha, and probably honey garlic! Not bad. But I personally do not dip my proteins into sauces because I like to savour the “raw” flavors!
Wa solid la!
This platter was super satisfying, we even shared it amongst 3 pax! The meats were tender and flavorful, while I thought the sides were just pretty mediocre lor! Worth it for the price point la!
5) Fisherman’s Pride ($45.90++) – 4 to share
This came with 4 sides and 2 sauces with a seafood feast which consisted of Prawns, grilled squid, scallops and soft shell crab! Even though it’s a platter for 4, it only has more variety but quantity like tak match. Youll generally likely to encounter paiseh pieces on this platter cause everyone eat one or two mouthfuls then no more liao.
Otherwise I thought the items were pretty fresh and tasty la, just too little and sad.
They only have a limited selection of desserts but can tell that got effort in curating them.
1) French Toast with Tau Suan Ice Cream ($8.90++)
This looks pretty plain looking and all but wa they stuffed the ice cream inside leh! I honestly am not an expert on Chinese desserts or very local desserts (ya disgrace sia) so that was my first time tasting Tau suan. Not bad la the yellow bean ice cream was not cloyingly sweet, and went pretty well with the crisp exterior of the toast!
Just in case if you’re wondering what’s on the toast, it’s a thin slab of butter hahaha!
2) Donut Fries ($6.90++)
This was what excited me the most! DONUT FRIES LEH! Ok la turns out it’s just flour kneaded into fries shape lor. Haha can quite addictive though, but the idea is there, I was impressed la. Taste wise, it’s just plain donut.
They’ve also got a few specialty drinks like these:
This is the coconut blueberry (left) and rosemary orange (right).
Presentation is quite swee but I didn’t like them. The coconut one tasted a bit weird, I can’t put a finger to it but I think it’s the taste of processed coconut water instead of the legit coconut water. But if you like that kind of coconut water then I guess you’ll like this? I’m not a fan of their specialty drinks!
Well.. some hits and misses here at the Meat Market, if there’s one thing that you definitely have to try would be their Meat Platter and Thai Beef Oglio! After all their specialty is grilled meats right, so ya lor, go for the meats!
But you definitely have to prepare yourself for smelling like your food when you walk out of there! Because my grab driver sure did and EVEN ASKED ME ABOUT IT, when I boarded the car! Sigh.
How to get there?
1 Hougang Street 91, #01-40, Singapore 538692 (Hougang MRT)
Daily, 11am to 10pm