The Original Vadai is one of the unusual stalls that ‘moved’ from pasar malam (which are more temporary in nature) to fixed outlets within hawker centres.
Due to COVID-19 which resulted in the suspension of bazaars, the business managed to find new lease of life despite the challenges, and it has currently 3 outlets.
Vadai (sometimes spelt as “vada” or “bada”) is a type of savoury fried snack from India, which can be described as fried fritters.
It is commonly made with legumes, sago or potatoes.
However, the Prawn Vadai offered from The Original Vadai is quite different from those found in India, said to be a fusion or Singapore originated dish.
Accordingly, the Prawn Vadai has been around as early as 1970s, made with traditional lentil vadai topped with prawns – typically crispy with a coarse texture.
Mdm Jumana Rani from The Original Vadai tweaked the recipe to make it lighter, fluffier, and more suitable from the local tastebuds.
She first introduced it at the Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar about 30 plus years ago, and it became an instant hit.
So Prawn Vadai was technically born in Singapore, and you cannot find it anywhere else in the world (not even in Malaysia according to the owners).
Other than Prawn Vadai ($1), other varieties include Ikan Billis, Grago, Vegetable, Chilli, Dhal, Onion, to even Cheese and Chocolate.
If you are thinking of buying this back to eat much later… then no.
The best way to appreciate this Vadai is to have it freshly out to appreciate that crispy outer later with fluffy and light interior – can be described as almost like donut.
I liked that it was not too greasy as well.
They used to include smaller prawns but switched it to larger ones as they looked more presentable (aka instagrammable), and the prawns lent that additional savouriness and crunch in terms of texture.
If you prefer something saltier, then go for the Ikan Billis Vadai which is also priced at $1.
Oh say, the Vadai is best eaten when paired with a fresh green chilli, just to add that kick. If you prefer a version closer to what you get in India, then go for the Dhal.
Just in case you are craving for other food instead of Vadai, there are also skewers of Chicken Wing, Liver, Gizzard, Chicken Skin and more. Each skewer stick is priced $2 or $4, and is often missed.
The Original Vadai – Amoy
Amoy Street Food Centre #02-84, 7 Maxwell Road, Singapore 069111
Opening Hours: 8am – 4pm (Mon – Sun), Closed Sat, Sun
The Original Vadai – Golden Mile
Golden Mile Food Centre #B1-32, 505 Beach Road, Singapore 199583
Opening Hours: 12pm – 7pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
The Original Vadai – Joo Chiat
82 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427379
Opening Hours: 12pm – 7pm (Mon – Sun)