Muchachos | Keong Saik Road

OHMYGAWD! Why is the picture blur?!!!

Fresh from the momentum and excitement over Guzman y Gomez’s burritos, you know, being a part of Free Burrito Day, a dashing charming young man named Justin, and just savoring in the moment that Singapore now has a decent and affordable place for burrito – I was in heat, eager to try the other new burrito place, Muchachos.

Muchachos, located in Keong Saik, and close to Naumi Lliora and Hotel 1929, is a taqueria which serves San Francisco’s Mission-style burritos. Now, if you’ve read my post on Guzman y Gomez, you’d know that burritos are not really from Mexico, but was created by the Mexican diaspora living in the Southern United States. A typical burrito, most associated with homemade attempts, as well as fast-food chain Taco Bell, is defined simply by beans, rice and meat rolled into a flour tortilla. The second type of burrito, called “bertos”, merely have cheese and fries in them (unhealthy!). Then, there’s the Mission-style burrito from San Francisco, which was created by Mexican-born Febronio Ontiveros who began making massive burritos with huge tortillas. This, is known to many (Americans) as the burrito. Besides its large size, it’s also characterized by its serving and eating style – in aluminium foil and by hand. You might recognize these attributes when you dine at Guzman y Gomez, too.

When I finally got to Muchachos, I was starving. I had mistakenly thought Keong Saik was Club Street, and thus, alighted two bus-stops early, climbed up Ann Siang Hill and walked up and down Club Street only to realize I wasn’t at “Keong Saik Road”. It’s styled as a burrito bar, with the ubiquitous industrial chic interior of concrete walls, precise cut holes and loose wiring… It’s economical, I suppose, but I’m increasingly getting exhausted from this style of interior. Besides, I do think restaurateurs do need to consider that the decor can elevate or depress the dining experience.

The ordering process is pretty straightforward really. Beginning on the right (side of the menu), you start by choosing your size: the Burrito (SGD 12) or the Burritino (SGD 9). You then pick out your carbs – you’ve a choice of rice, an almost Mediterreanean style concoction; beans, mashed pinto beans, or if you can go click happy and select all three. Then, it’s the ubiquitous meats. There’s the Pollo Asado (chicken) and Carnitas (pork), which according to Wikipedia, are classic Mission-style burrito meats, or you could go for the Carne Asada (beef), Pescado (fish) or Barbacoa (lamb)…or a bit of everything if you want to. If you’d like sour cream in your burrito, you could have those, but if you want cheese and guacamole, you’d be expected to top up SGD 1 and SGD 2 respectively. Finally, finish up your burrito with a drizzle of three choices of salsas, ranging from something that’s “pineapple-ish” (this looks like a pineapple cocktail) and “tomato and onions” (this looks like that salsa you get at Carl’s Jr.), to something that’s a little more “tomatoey” (this looks like tomato pasta sauce). However, the service staff who served me, wasn’t able to relay this to me clearly, and honestly, looked a little unsure how to prepare the burrito, which was not a very good first impression.

I had the burritino in mind, so I could add both cheese and guacamole to the mix. I picked the refried beans and rice; the pollo asado (chicken thigh grilled over an open flame); skipped the sour cream, and had the pineapple salsa (pineapple, red onion, habanero chile).

With Muchachos focused on delivering a true San Francisco burrito – subscribing to the California obsession about organic foods and being health conscious, and not liking anything too spicy – I thoroughly appreciated the burrito for what it was trying to portray. Bearing that in mind, I thought the burrito was awesome. Like Bibimbap, with every bite, you could taste the refreshing guacamole, the smoked flavor from the chicken, the light mash of the refried beans, the sweetness of the pineapple…all at the same time! However, as someone who likes a bit of spice, and someone who was expecting a lot of it from the “Habanero Chile”, famously known as the hottest chili on the planet, it was a tad disappointing when the spice never really came up. In that respect, I prefer GYG for daring to inject quite a bit of spice.

Nevertheless, I expect I’ll be coming back to Muchachos, probably with Darren.

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