Any Any Is the Quick and Delicious Answer to Your Asian Food Cravings
Here's another reason to visit Hole in the Wall at Century City.
Hole in the Wall, 4/F Century City Mall, Kalayaan Avenue corner Salamanca, Makati City
Open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Monday to Thursday); 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Friday to Saturday); and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Sunday)
(SPOT.ph) There’s no question that Chef Nicco Santos feels at home with Singaporean food. “What got me glued to [Singaporean food] was the people, the culture, the home cooks,” he shares. “Their traditions that they pass down, that really stuck with me. I didn’t have that growing up so these were things that felt like family.”
And so it comes as no surprise that after the success of Hey Handsome, Chef Nicco is back with a new Malaysian-Singaporean concept, Any Any, the newest member of food hall Hole in the Wall. Here, Chef Nicco goes back to basics, focusing his attention on two classics: Roti Prata (P120) and Nasi Lemak (P170).
“I think this is more straightforward than Hey Handsome,” says Chef Nicco. “At Hey Handsome kasi, we were trying to create different flavors na. It was actually a bit of a challenge. I think [Any Any] will be easier to accept, less intimidating. But to be honest, it’s really just food I want to eat.”
Chef Nicco leans more towards the traditional with his Nasi Lemak though he shares that he uses all-local ingredients, including the rice. “I wanted to support our local farmers,” he shares. “It is slightly different—in Malaysia, it’s slightly sticky. In Singapore, it’s more mabuhaghag. Here, it’s in the middle. But I find that our rice really takes the creaminess of the coconut.”
Beef Nasi Lemak
Prawns Nasi Lemak
Take it, it does. The first spoonful of rice bursts with the rich, slightly sweet creaminess of the coconut milk, so much that you’ll be tempted to finish it by itself. But the magic of the nasi lemak lies in taking each element in one bite—crunchy peanuts, sweet-salty anchovies, and hardboiled egg—to fully appreciate its beautiful medley of flavors and texture. The Beef (P220) is beef rendang, tender and deliciously spicy, though balanced out by the zest of kafir lime leaves. If you enjoy sweet-spicy food, have the Prawns (P230), which are sambal prawns—Chef Nicco shares that the sambal paste he uses at Any Any is a mix of two blends he really likes: a traditional one used for nasi lemak, and assam sambal, which uses tamarind (fun fact: at Hey Handsome, they use eight different kinds of sambal). The result is an intensely sweet glaze, with spicy-sour notes which keeps it from becoming cloying.
It is with the Roti Prata that Chef Nicco starts becoming more playful. Their prata itself is already good enough to eat on its own, chewy and slightly flaky, but you can also get it with either an addicting curry sauce that leans on the sweet side (P50) or orange zest-infused condensed milk (P50) (or both). Chef Nicco turns them into murtabak or stuffed prata, which you can get with your choice from savory or sweet fillings.
Cheese Roti Prata
The Cheese (P110) easily draws you in with it with its mouthwatering scent from truffle oil—stuffed with a mix of Emmental, gruyère, and cheddar, the sharp blend goes well with the sweet-tangy condensed milk though its rich cheesiness makes it easy to forget any dipping sauce altogether.
Onion Roti Prata
But if you thought the Cheese already the best, then you might easily change your mind with one bite of the Onion (add P50 to Cheese)—it’s the Cheese leveled up with sweet caramelized onions, which give your palate a nice break (and crunch, too) from all the gooey cheesiness.
Beef Roti Prata
For something heftier, Beef (P200) is your best bet. This murtabak has beef rendang instead of ground beef to give it more body—plus the spicy coconut milk-infused beef is incredibly tasty.
End on a sweet note with Caramel (P60) or prata stuffed with salted caramel. With just the right amount of caramel filling, it never gets too saccharine, and the result, especially when eaten warm, is incredibly homey.
‘Any any,’ shares Chef Nicco, is actually Singaporean slang: “Whenever I ask my friends where they want to eat, 80% of the time they’d say ‘any any’.” It’s times like that, when you and your friends can’t quite decide where to eat, that makes food stops with a menu that’s just reliably excellent all throughout a godsend—you could shrug and say ‘any any’ or you can just head straight to Any Any, and we say the latter choice is much more satisfying.
Photos by Majoy Siason