Singapore may be small, but we are inundated with choice when it comes to eating out. Sometimes, this can lead to the first-world problem of CHOICE(!) ANXIETY(!!). If, like us, this leads you to becoming a sad creature of habit who keeps eating at the same old places, check out our bite-sized JUNK food reviews for what you should be eating next. (Or not!)
Let’s clear this up first. Comida does not aim to serve “Tex-Mex”. There are detail differences between that and traditional Mexican cooking: so no crispy taco shells, massive mission-style burritos and a less aggressive use of shredded yellow cheese (amongst other things).
Chef Vivian Wee has been at it for years and started with Margarita’s in 1996, the familiar Mexican restaurant brand which currently has a massive outlet in Dempsey. More recently, she decided to pursue a more traditional take on Mexican cooking and returned to running a Mexican joint under a different name, at the shophouse unit in the East Coast where Magarita’s first started.
The dishes on offer fit the popular imagination of a classic Mexican meal – so quesadillas, fajitas and tacos all feature. But alongside those sit more home-style Mexican dishes that we tried, like Sopes, which are fried masa (corn dough) shells piled with guacamole, and fun, deep-fried, cornflake-coated fish fillets that taste like quality, posh fish fingers.
We also tried the Pulled Pork Carnitas, which had a satisfyingly straightforward piggy-ness, dressed with a simple, light and somewhat sticky citrus marinade to round off the dish – a minimal approach that reinforces the homemade vibes of the food.
But if anything, it was the sauces that took centre stage of the meal. The Salsa Rojas, a red salsa made from four types of chilli, had a romantic, deep smokiness that kept us dipping everything in it, and the real education came in the form of the Chile Con Queso. Made from melted red cheddar and jack cheese with jalapenos, onions and tomatoes, this delicious chunky cheese concoction was the Real Deal Nacho cheese dip and was miles away from the tasty but bland commercial stuff you get in cinemas.
So, if your only experience of Mexican is Guzman Y Gomez, Lucha Loco or Mex-out, then it may be time to wind back the trendiness, and give this version of Mexican food a shot. Mexican menus may read the same to most of us here in Singapore, but the food at Comida Mexicana does demonstrate the difference when a bit more time and love is put into it.