I have written about Rasa Sayang a long long time ago and I think it’s due for an update now! Over the last few years, Rasa Sayang’s original Chinatown branch has been undergoing renovation work. But they’ve kept operating just a couple of blocks away on the bustling street of Soho on Frith Street, with the food just tasting even better. As of November 2021, Rasa Sayang has reopened its doors to its original site in Chinatown with a bigger menu and venue.
Rasa Sayang: the halal food spot in Chinatown
If you aren’t already familiar, Rasa Sayang specialises in Singaporean & Malaysian cuisine and is one of the first halal-friendly restaurants in Chinatown. The literal translation of the name is ‘loving feeling’ – without a doubt, that’s exactly the feeling they evoke for anyone enjoying their food. The menu’s hugely inspired by the bustling hawker scenes in both Singapore and Malaysia, and you can find all the classic dishes you fancy there. With their reopening, they’ve also added a few new items on the menu including Hainanese Chicken Noodle Soup or Lo Mien, Chinese Radish Cake, Singapore Chilli/Black Pepper Prawn, etc. All meats served are halal at Rasa Sayang.
The Food: What We Ordered
Chicken Satay (£8.95)
I’ve often found chicken satay a hit and miss in London. But you’d be pleased to find that Rasa Sayang does a really good one! In fact, it was so good that we order it as our starter every single time. The chicken was succulent to taste, well-marinated, and nicely laced with a chargrilled touch. As for the satay sauce, it carried a robust flavour that’s nutty and balanced with a subtle touch of sweetness. All in all, it’s consistently a great munch that hits the spot and it’s definitely one of the best ones we’ve had in London!
Hainanese Chicken Rice (£10.50)
Halal Hainanese Chicken Rice is definitely not the easiest to come by in London so I was naturally super excited to see it on the menu. The best part is that it certainly lives up to my every anticipation! The chicken is ridiculously tender and super smooth to taste, almost a silky touch I’d even say. It’s a perfect trip to Asia where every bite brings me fond memories of home. Perfectly poached chicken, dressed with a touch of soy sauce and served with chilli and ginger sauce – the flavours are simple yet so effective.
The accompanying rice tasted fantastic as well. What’s so special about the rice in a Hainanese Chicken Rice is the way it’s cooked in the remaining chicken fat from the poached chicken. That adds such a luscious flavour and umami sensation, and Rasa Sayang’s version has nailed it nicely. Last but not least, it also comes with a bowl of chicken broth which is exactly how it’s like at home. You can also order just the Hainanese Chicken itself on the menu with the options of half chicken (£15) or whole chicken (£25).
Hainanese Chicken Noodle Soup / Lo Mee (£11.95)
Continuing the above, as part of their new menu additions for the new site, they create a little twist on the classic Hainanese Chicken Rice and offer a Noodle Soup or Lo Mee (stir-fried noodles) option as well. We have tried both during one of our visits. The Lo Mee was okay but the noodle soup was unfortunately a bit bland. From our experience, we’ll recommend sticking with the classic rice dish!
Roti Canai with Curry Chicken (£11.50)
While I usually keep banging on about Normah’s serving the best Malaysian roti, I’ve got to say the roti canai here isn’t too bad either. The perfect flakey roti paired with their aromatic chicken curry, there’s no doubt the dish went down like a treat. The chicken curry got a little edge of spice, with the chicken cooked to a super tender texture and a coconutty aroma seeping through at every bite. It’s got a potato in there too! The portion size is great and this is definitely one of our favourite dishes to order at Rasa Sayang. You can also just order a portion of chicken curry on its own for £10.95.
Coconut Rice (£3.95)
When we’re feeling ravenous, we would also order a bowl of Coconut Rice to pair with the Roti Canai Chicken Curry! You can, of course, order regular Jasmine rice or Hainanese rice (i.e. the one served in the Hainanese Chicken Rice mentioned above). Personally, we enjoyed the fluffy coconut-laced Jasmine rice to pair with the curry – it just made sense and makes a delicious pairing!
Singapore Raffles Laksa (£12.50)
If you don’t already know, I love a good bowl of laksa. It’s a no brainer for me to order one and see how Rasa Sayang’s fares against other Malaysian restaurants in London. Generously loaded with toppings, the first impression of the laksa was great. It’s got prawns, a boiled egg, plenty of fish balls and fish cakes, tofu puffs, and bean sprouts. The laksa broth has a more coconut-y flavour and the spices are rather mild. Overall, it’s quite mellow and just lacks a robust touch for me. It’s still decent, nonetheless, but perhaps not a big winning dish.
Beef Rendang (£12.95) + Jasmine Rice (£2.75)
Beef rendang is another popular pick at Rasa Sayang and it’s one that’s highly rated in London. Chunks of beef are slow-cooked till super tender and would almost melt in your mouth. There are fair bits of chillies in there, offering quite a kick to it against the deep moreish flavours of the beef. It’s hot and sweet at the same time and a bit of a firecracker. You’d definitely want to order some rice on the side to go with it. If you’re visiting during weekday lunch hours, you can get a lunch deal for beef rendang and jasmine rice for just £10.95!
Singapore Chilli Crab (£23.90)
Singapore Chilli Crab is also not a dish so easy to come by in London in my opinion. That’s why my attention was immediately hooked when I spotted this on the menu. The dish was absolutely massive and it also came with a side of fried mantou buns – just like how it’s done in Singapore. It’s more of a sweet chilli sauce, laced with egg drops, drenched all over the crab. A bit more robust heat and spice would be welcomed but the dish is still absolutely delicious. It might get a bit messy and dirty but that’s all part of the fun! We wiped the plate clean with those fluffy fried mantou buns and couldn’t be more satisfied.
Teh Tarik (£3.20) / Teh Peng (£3.50)
Depending on the weather, I’d always go for either a hot Teh Tarik or the Teh Peng when visiting Rasa Sayang. Teh Tarik is Malaysian-style pulled milk tea while Teh Peng is iced milk tea. To me, both are the same drink but served differently. Anyhow, the point is that they make really good milk tea whether it’s hot or cold. The tea strength is there and is beautifully fragrant to taste. Both hot and iced milk teas offer a really smooth and silky mouthfeel and just the perfect sweetness. If you like milk teas, I’d highly recommend it!
Quiet Storm Mocktail (£5.95)
While the milk tea’s my go-to, my other half couldn’t stay away from a good glass of mocktail. His favourite here is the Quiet Storm Mocktail, which consisted of passionfruit, Coco Lopez, lime and lychee. As you can imagine, the drink was fruity, tropical, and super refreshing to taste.
Restaurant Review Summary
All in all, Rasa Sayang is a great restaurant pick when you’re around Chinatown and Soho. The portions are huge for their price, especially considering they’re located in central London. It’s always a hearty feast every time we visit and the food is usually quite consistent. Reservations are recommended as it gets very busy every day!
Summary & Halal Status
The go-to halal Malaysian & Singaporean restaurant in the heart of Chinatown London!
All meats served are halal at Rasa Sayang. Alcohol is served at the restaurant.
Nearest station: Leicester Square