singaporean food columbus

Cuisine: Singaporean/Malaysian/Asian
5320 N High Street, 43214

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Merlion is a new Singaporean restaurant that has opened with considerable buzz in the Graceland area of North High street. Much of the excitement surrounding it is due to the fact that Merlion offers dishes from a couple of cuisines (Malaysian and Singaporean) that have hitherto been unrepresented in the Columbus dining scene. Rightly or wrongly, the Singaporean owners felt that they couldn’t rely on their national cuisine alone, so the menu includes a mix of more recognizable Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and Indonesian dishes as well as a few Singaporean and Malaysian specialties. We hope that they will add more Singaporean dishes in the future when they are more established.

Over the course of three visits we have been able to try quite a few of the menu items. There is one dish in particular that we would recommend (and it’s the dish that got a hearty thumbs up from our Malaysian friend) – Char kway teow mee. This is a dish of flat rice noodles stir fried with light and dark soy sauce, Chinese sausage (lap cheong), bean sprouts and some bok choi. We would recommend ordering without egg (which is apparently the more traditional version of the dish).

malaysian food columbus ohio

The Singapore laksa is a mild yellow curry flavor  noodle soup with chicken and tofu. It is enjoyably soothing but perhaps lacks the heat and spicing that is normally associated with the dish.

merlion columbus

Another mild curry dish is the Malaysian curry chicken with potatoes. We enjoyed the flavor but beware of the bones – this is chicken butchered Asian style.

malaysian restaurant columbus ohio

One of the weekend only dishes is bak kut teh (the name translates as meat bone tea), a meaty soup with pork ribs, intestines, meatballs, tofu skin and fried tofu. The broth is sweet, fatty and flavored with 5 spice. It is also served scaldingly hot. It’s pictured on the menu as being served with youtiao (fried dough) but none was evident.

merlion restaurant

The other weekend-only special is Hainan chicken rice. A Singaporean dish of boiled chicken that seemed popular during our Sunday visit.

The restaurant is very small, and on our last Sunday visit was packed. Be prepared to wait at busy times or plan to take out.


7 responses to “Merlion

  1. Did you try the “fresh squeezed lime juice”? Is that all it is… just lime juice, no sweetener or water? If so, that would be delicious.

    • Dennis – afraid not. We tried the barley drink and several of the different tea options. The other drinks were all quite sweet so my guess is that the lime juice is probably sweetened.

  2. My usual dining companion and I tried the Char kway teow mee, Bak kut teh & Singapore laksa. Each was very good, but I thought portions were going to be a little larger. Bak kut teh was the highlight of the meal, followed closely by the noodle dish with all its smoking wok goodness. None of the entrees contained much spicy heat, unfortunately. Also had a couple cups of the chrysanthemum tea…unique flavor (not too sweet) and very recommended.

  3. I went in for dinner and had the Char kway teow mee. The portions were small and I thought it was not as flavorful as other places I’ve had this at. The staff was very nice.

  4. now that Merlion is closed, where can I get Hainanese Chicken Rice 海南雞飯 in Columbus now?

  5. Richard Brooks

    The space is now occupied by Mi Li (though the Merlion sign is off the front of the restaurant, it remains on the master street sign) which had some of the same dishes on their menu – but today [Saturday] didn’t have the bak kut teh or even bread for their banh mi. The char kway teow mee was like greasy-spoon stir-fry: no sausage, nor bok choy, nor even wok smokiness; the flavoring was subtle, but the unacknowledged substituted meat (chicken? bland pork?) and bits of lettuce would’ve been helped with a bit of acid, whether vinegar or some sort of citrus juice.

  6. closed closed closed.Merlion closed.
    in its place is a new version of pho
    the owners are not yet comfortable inside this venue
    and although the twin daughters are beautiful hostesses
    who are vegetarian there are little vegetarian offerings and the spring rolls are a disaster but i am sure they are working on that by now.
    the food is definitely not Singaporean or Malaysian but definitely Vietnamese Chinese pho. Bethel Road Buckeye Pho may be the nosiest restaurant on earth ( their air conditioners make you feel as if you are in an airplane hanger and there is nothing to silence them since they are there for the sake of the kitchen) but their Pho is beautiful rich with fresh shitake mushrooms vegetables and really good quality vegetarian or non vegetarian………………………………

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