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Xing Li Cooked Food’s orh luak has earned so many accolades from so many different people over the years despite the long wait times. That can only mean one thing. It means that it’s time to investigate those claims and see if Xing Li is the real deal, or if it’s just another case of “thank u, next”.

Long lines at the stall? Oh yeah, most definitely. That’s mainly due to the fact that the old proprietor has a tiny little flat wok that’s physically incapable of cooking up more than four portions at a time, and his practice of jumping on the gas valve to close it off and take his orh luak off the heat every few seconds.

With that much attention to detail given to frying up the fried oyster, I was expecting orh jian so indescribably indulgent that it could bend reality, but it fell flat on its face with a splat, just like the orh jian itself. If you like your fried oyster extra wet and gooey, boy you are in for a treat.

However, if you like it perfectly balanced as all things should be with the gooey goodness of the fried starch balanced out with an abundance of delightfully crispy chunks, you might feel somewhat cheated. I definitely felt that way despite the fried oyster being rather redolent and loaded with dazzling deliciousness.

But, there is salvation for this plate of orh luak. I‘m Mr Brightside as I always try to look on the bright side of food, and Xing Li’s orh luak definitely has quite a few redeeming factors. First of all, the $6 portion had a most agreeable abundance of plump, juicy oversized oysters hidden beneath the gooey globs of starch.

Secondly, their zingy, garlicky chili might easily be the best orh jian chili in Singapore. A good amount of heat, a delightful dose of garlic, a bit of acidity to break up the richness of the orh jian, and a solid smattering of spicy sapidity makes this chili the GOAT of chili sauces.

If Xing Li wishes to compete with the likes of Ah Chuan for the title of Singapore’s Orh Luak Overlord, then he must make his orh luak crispy again. A small price to pay for salvation.