There are many quirky restaurants in Chinatown but ETL x Quantum Food Lab 外星食堂 is one which you could say is quite out of this world. It seems the “ET” part of the name stands for “Extra-Terrestrial” as in Steven Spielberg’s movie E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982). So is it an alien food lab?
ETL x Quantum Food Lab 外星食堂 occupies two shop units in Hong Lim Complex, near the popular Hong Lim Food Centre (the one with bib gourmand listed Tai Wah Pork Noodle and Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee). With signages mainly in Chinese and a name like “ETL x Quantum Food Lab”, it may be hard to tell if you are at a retail shop, a modern Chinese herbal clinic, a tea house or a laboratory of sort. It turns out that one of the shop units is a retail space selling ETL products for healthy and sustainable living, including vegetable & fruits cleaning formula and organic hair and body cleanser.
In the other shop unit is a cafe, which according to its promotional materials has “a mission to promote clean eating (MSG & pesticide-free food) through an array of local dishes curated by ETL’s very own nutritionist and Chinese herbalist, with an emphasis on using freshly made ingredients and natural produce washed with ETL No.9 organic formula“.
ETL x Quantum Food Lab has a fairly typical Taiwanese cafe decor – slightly quaint and slightly cute with a mix of retro elements and dash of colours. It features drawings of Japanese artist Akinori Oishi.
There is a small stage with an organ on it and there is a glassed up kitchen. That leaves a fairly small dining area.
外星食堂 ETL x Quantum Food Lab Menu
ETL x Quantum Food Lab Menu is fairly limited. Essentially, there is Yong Tau Hu and a few herbal soups with noodles or rice. There are a few specials of the day or of the week. Below are photos of the regular menu.
Lunch at ETL x Quantum Food Lab
We visited ETL x Quantum Food Lab for lunch and ordered a Herbal Sliced Fish Soup ($14.80) and the Handmade Niang Dou Foo with Mee Sua ($12.80). The waiting time was fairly short. While we waited, water was served. We were told it was healthy alkaline water.
The Herbal Sliced Fish Soup came nicely presented in a large bowl. There were lots of ingredients including green vegetables and Chinese herbs. The flavour of the soup was mild and there was no overpowering herbal taste.
The Niang Dou Foo with Mee Sua was a bowl of mee sua in herbal soup with deep fried Niang Dou Foo (or young tau hu) pieces served in a separate bowl. The mee sua was cooked to the right texture. The light soup had a mix of flavours, slightly sweet, slightly herbal and on the whole quite good. The fried Niang Dou Foo pieces were light and crisp and quite enjoyable when eaten with a bit of chilli or sweet sauce.
Overall we had a nice lunch at ETL x Quantum Food Lab. We could not say that the food was out of this world but it was a nutritional meal prepared without MSG that was still tasty and enjoyable.
If you are wondering what the “L” in ETL stands for, it seems that it stands for Light (光) for it is the mission of 外星之光 E.T.L. to bring light to the world about MSG and pesticide-free clean eating. We hope ETL x Quantum Food Lab’s experiment to promote clean, healthy and sustainable eating in Singapore will find success.
Atmosphere : 3
Overall Rating : 3 TOPs
外星食堂 ETL x Quantum Food Lab
Blk 531 Upper Cross Street
#02-55 Hong Lim Complex 050531
Tel: 6533 5018
Monday – Friday
11:00 – 20:00
Closed for lunch break
15:00 – 17:00
Closed on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.
The Ordinary Patrons | Real Dining Experience of Ordinary People
an independent Singapore food blog