Singapore’s first Szechuan yakitori bar offers a menu of fiery chicken skewers in a neon-lit shophouse

Photo: Kelly Fan

COCONUTS HOT SPOT — Adding on to the hype at the Keong Saik Road enclave (not that the buzzy nightlife area needs it) is Chikin, the second venture by the people behind Cantonese tapas bar, Sum Yi Tai. Hailed as Singapore’s first Szechuan yakitori bar, the over-the-top bright and bold concept combines Japanese yakitori with the spicy flavors of Szechuan BBQ.

The ground floor. Photo: Kelly Fan

Settling into its three-storey shophouse splashed with Japanese pop art murals and neon-lit walls, Chikin features a long bar and an open kitchen on the ground floor, a lounge area on the second, and an open karaoke and dining attic on the third (it’s a reservation-only private party space).

The second floor. Photo: Kelly Fan

As you can tell from the name, the menu’s all about chicken here. Thirteen parts of the bird — including the thigh, wing, heart, gizzard, tail, windpipe, skin, and cartilage — are slathered with a Szechuan mala (peppercorn) sauce and grilled using binchotan — Japanese charcoal that doesn’t generate smoke.

Yakitori sticks over the flames. Photo: Kelly Fan

Skewers start from $3, and you can stick with original Szechuan or opt for less spicy versions if you can’t take the heat. Other meat and veggie options such as beef tongue, quail egg, foie gras, shiitake mushroom and baby corn are also available, with platters of 10 and 15 offered at $30 and $40 respectively.

An array of yakitori skewers. Photo: Kelly Fan

If meat sticks aren’t enough to fill your belly, order a bunch of Izakaya-style dishes to share, such as the chilled Japanese sea snails in Szechuan spice ($14), unagi garlic fried rice with fish roe ($12), and thinly-sliced salmon cartilage in spicy sauce ($9).

The cold dishes. Photo: Kelly Fan

While you’re there, sip on any of the 20 different cocktail concoctions ($19 each; $15 during happy hour) for a boozy high. Signatures include the Lychee Sake-tini with a touch of grapefruit and lemon; the Sumoki Raisin made of whisky, sherry and raisins; and the Sake Sangria with a mix of sake, gin, pineapple, honeydew, watermelon and grape.

Sake sangria. Photo: Kelly Fan

Chikin is at 6 Bukit Pasoh Rd, 6221-3670. Mon-Fri 5pm-1am, Sat 6pm-1am.

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