O’nya Sayang apparently means “the Love of a Peranakan Mother”. O’nya Sayang Peranakan Restaurant is located in the basement of Paya Lebar Square. Helmed by chef Zan Ho, the restaurant serves good authentic Peranakan food in a pleasant setting.
The restaurant is simply decorated with a basic theme of white and light wood, accentuated by colourful tiles and elements of Peranakan culture. It is not big and the compact space can seat about 50. They have a full Peranakan menu offering nyonya staples such as Ayam Buah Keluak, Sambal Sotong, Bakwan Kepeting and Hee Peow Soup. On weekdays, they have set lunches priced from $9.90 to $12.90 (GST and service are added on top of the advertised prices). Each set consists of a main dish and 2 side dishes, archar and rice.
We tried the Babi Pongteh Set ($10.90). The side dishes were chye sim and ikan bilis with peanuts. The babi pongteh (pork stewed with fermented soya bean paste and spices) was well done. It was tasty and had a melt in the mouth texture. We enjoyed the crunchy peanuts and ikan bilis and the achar was good too.
We also ordered the Nyonya Chap Chye ($10.90), Ngoh Hiang ($9.90) and Otah ($5.90). A plate of plain steamed rice was $1.60.
The Chap Chye (mixed vegetables stew) was very well stewed and flavourful. The vegetables were soft but not soggy. The Ngoh Hiang (roll of meats and vegetables with five-spice powder) at O’nya Sayang was a little unusual in that each piece was quite flat unlike the thick rolls in other nyonya restaurants. It meant that there was less filling but that allowed you to savour the crunchy skins. When eaten with the sweet black sauce, the Ngoh Hiang was most enjoyable.
We also liked the Otah Otah (fish cake made of ground fish meat mixed with starch, herbs and spices). It was freshly prepared after the order was placed, which meant we had to wait for about 20 minutes for the Otah. It was worth the wait. The outer layer of the fish cake had a nice texture and was tasty. Inside there were succulent pieces of fish. The Otah was a delecatble dish. We ended the meal with a chendol ($4.90) which was nice and refreshing.
We felt that the service, though fairly efficient, could be a little better and friendlier. Plain water is charge at $0.30 per glass. GST and service charge are added to the bill which you pay by going up to the cashier’s counter at the end of your meal.
We have mixed feelings about O’nya Sayang at Paya Lebar Square. Perhaps it depends on where you place O’nya Sayang in the universe of eateries. If you think of it as a full service restaurant, you may think that its prices are reasonable but the service may not be of the expected standard. If you consider it a casual eatery for a quick meal, you may accept the less than top notch professional service but you may then think that the prices are slightly on the high side (especially when you compared them to the prices at places like Chilli Padi and Ivin’s). On the whole, we would say that we enjoyed our meal at O’nya Sayang because the authentic Peranakan food was good but we would not go there for a business lunch or a romantic dinner.
Service : 2
Value : 3
Overall Rating : 3 TOPs
#B1-30/31 Paya Lebar Square
60 Paya Lebar Road
Tel : +65 9101 5147
Opening Hours 11:00 am – 2:00 pm; 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Nearby Station : Paya Lebar
#Street Fact – Paya Lebar means wide swamp in Malay and Paya Lebar Road runs through what used to be a large, swampy area close to the Kallang River.