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!).
It took quite a lot for us to finally head down at a lunch hour to jump into the the queue at Shake Shack in Jewel (again!). After all, we’ve had Shake Shack burgers before, and found them a bit… unremarkable. But we summoned up the willpower and found ourselves in a relatively chill queue, trapped next to some youths who felt like they were recent friends. The one dude, dressed a bit like a hype beast, was regaling his friends with tales of the longest queues he’d ever been in… His two enthusiastic female companions seemed impressed enough to maintain eye contact.
We put our headphones on.
35 minutes later, we were next to the order board and stroking our chin to figure out what to eat. At the counter, a pleasant chap took our order of a Shack Stack Burger, Shack-cago Dog, a Pandan Shake (a Singapore special), a Mango Concrete (another special Singapore flavour) and Cheesy Fries.
Screw drinks in liquid form – we could see the Rain Vortex in the distance, it was thirst-quenching enough.
We collected our food and were immediately struck by the prettiness of presentation. The burger and hot dog in particular looked so neat and carefully prepared, unlike the fast food we’re used to. And this, during the lunch hour rush! Granted, it took a bit of time for the food to get pushed out, but we are starting to suspect that the cooks in McDonald’s must give your burger box a firm shake to fuck everything inside before sending it to your tray.
We tucked into The Shack Stack, a cheeseburger stacked with a whole breaded portoblello mushroom. The portobello mushroom patty was perfectly sized, full of cheesy, garlicky, mushroom punch and didn’t trample over the beef patty, which praise be, tasted beefy (even if a bit cooked through). This caught us by surprise. Our experience at other Shake Shacks internationally have been a letdown when it comes to the beef – it was often just flavourless mush.
Looking at the pickup counter, we realised that no one orders hot dogs here, so we were glad we did! The Shack-cago Dog was another pleasant surprise. Hotdogs are just usually dressed with ketchup, mustard relish and/or chilli, but this clean-tasting dog also came topped with pickled jalapeño peppers, and an assortment of crunchy veg. If you come here, hot dogs probably will not be top of mind, but boy, did we find it bitingly fresh and moreish. And again, it was just so prettily made. Lip smacking. Give it a go.
At this point, the meal reverts to Shake Shack type and we remember why we have only been half fans. The Pandan Shake and It Takes Two to Mango Concrete commit the same sugary sins of every other Shake Shack in the world. These milky treats are just too BLOODY sweet.
In brief, the Pandan was synthetic turbocharged pandan-y madness (that some of you will like for sure). The Mango Concrete had shortbread chunks (sweet), mango bits (extra sweet) in a McFlurry-esque swirl of ice cream (insanely sweet) with large sago pearls (flavourless, thank God). This is sweet that threatens to shatter your teeth and pummel your tastebuds into submission. But if sugar is your thing… don’t let us hold you back! We could not finish ours.
Which brings us on to the technical achievement that are the Cheesy Fries. They serve crinkle-cut chips here, and given our school canteen experience of crinkle-cut fries… we’re not fond of them. They’re often damp, limp and cooked pale – a length of sad, serrated potato indifference. But the fries here were a revelation. They are cut slimmer than the supermarket variety and fried to a tasty deep golden brown, so they mostly feel like the best, crispy off-cuts of potato that we all sneakily eat when sharing fries with friends. Well done!
So there you have it. A solid 3 – 3.5 wings for Shake Shack. It’s not a 4-wing meal, but this surely is one of the best fast food experiences in Singapore. We say join the queue if it does not extend beyond Footlocker!