Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Sheng Ji Soya Sauce Chicken Rice / Noodle

This is amongst those stalls that has a consistent queue in this food centre. It was so even after 2 pm on a Saturday. Most of these customers ordered the Soya Sauce Chicken Noodle and some have it with rice. Their Soya Sauce Chicken must be good since it is their signature item and they even stated it on their signboard. The stall is manned by an elderly couple. It was sold out at 2 pm when I re-visited on a Sunday. 

For just $3, I was given a chicken wing with some breast meat together with a good portion of noodles and some green. The chilli was added to the side. The noodles were cooked nicely to the perfect texture, slightly springy and not too soft. To start, tossed it lightly to mix the noodles with the braised sauce underneath as well as the chilli. The level of spiciness for the chilli was quite mild. 

The Soya Sauce Chicken was not the best that I have eaten but if to compare to that Michelin starred Soya Suace Chicken, I would think this is better. It was quite flavorful and rather tender. I did not like it as much but my dining companion thought it was quite good. 

69 Geylang Bahru #01-13 Geylang Bahru Food Centre SINGAPORE 330069
Operating Hours: 10.00 am to 5.00 pm

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Hock Choon Laksa . Lor Mee at Eunos Crescent Food Centre

There was a short queue when I reached there just before lunch. You do not usually get to see queue at this quiet food centre, there was also a queue at a Yong Tau Foo at another row. There are only 2 items on their menu, Laksa, and Lor Mee respectively at just $3. It seemed Lor Mee is slightly more popular as most of their customers ordered it.

When it was my turn to order, I said, "Can I order it with extra ingredients?" The lady in there nodded. It was served in the oval-shaped bowl rather than the usual round ones, it is priced at $4. When it was ready, the lady handed the bowl to the Uncle, he passed it to me and collected the payment. There were sambal chilli, minced garlic, red-cut chilli and a bottle of vinegar available for self-service. I added everything except the vinegar. 

Tables were slowly taken up when it passed 12 pm but it was still easy to find a table. I mixed it lightly before eating it. I was given more pieces of the nicely fried fish nuggets for that extra $1 together with half a piece of braised egg, handmade meatballs and some pieces of braised pork belly that were drenched in the savory gravy.

Block 4A Eunos Crescent #01-25 Eunos Crescent Food Centre SINGAPORE 
Operating Hours: 9.00 am to 3.00 pm (Closed on Mondays & Tuesdays)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Hui Wei Chilli Ban Mian at Geylang Bahru Food Centre

This was one of the stalls that with a queue when I visited on a Sunday for lunch. This is one of the stalls originally from this food centre before the renovation and they moved to Toa Payoh for a while before moving back to here again. The options on the menu include Fuzhou Fishball Noodle ($3.50/$5.00), Meatball Handmade Noodle ($3.50/$5.00), Abalone Clam La Mian ($5.00/$7.00), Seafood Tom Yum La Mian ($4.50/$6.00), Mee Hoon Kueh ($4.00/$6.00), Signature Chilli Ban Mian ($4.00/$6.00), Signature Soup ($12.00) and more. 

I remember eating Chilli Ban Mian when I was in Kuala Lumper, Malaysia and so I decided to go with the smaller portion of their Signature Ban Mian. A substantial portion of ban mian was served with meatballs, braised minced meat, poached egg accompanied with ikan belis, fried shallots, and lard. I tossed it lightly to mix the nicely cooked noodles with the dark sauce and chilli. And, the spiciness of the chilli is not to be underestimated and so, go easy with it.

Block 69 Geylang Bahru #01-58 Geylang Bahru Food Centre SINGAPORE 330069
Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 9.00 pm (Daily)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Fully Good Food : Prawn Noodle with Pork Ribs

Poh Chee Eng, 28, the owner, was a former civil servant and he is a first-time hawker. He used to help out at his parents' stall at Chong Boon Food Centre in Ang Mo Kio before starting this stall at the newly opened hawker centre. He wants to continue the legacy of his family's recipes through this stall. He is under the "hawker-preneurship" programme by NTUC Foodfare, which aimed to attract and nurture new-generation hawkers by lowering their start-up costs with guidance provided. He started preparation as early as 2 am and left the stall as late as 8.30 pm.

There was just another customer in front of me when I was there for an early lunch. Their menu includes Prawn Noodle ($2.80), Prawn Noodle with Pork Ribs ($4.50), Pork Ribs Noodle ($3.50) and Mee Rebus ($2.80). I decided to go with Prawn Noodle with Pork Ribs. While waiting for it to be ready, I helped myself with those red-cut chillies. 

It is served with a good portion of yellow noodles with kang kong, 2 pieces of pork ribs and 4 pieces of small prawns, garnished with a stalk of coriander. I tossed the noodles a little but it did not have much sauce underneath thus it was slightly dry. Though I asked for an extra amount of chilli to be added, it was not as spicy as I expected it to be. Those pork ribs were lovely though, its texture was desirable falling-apart. Overall, it might not be the one of the best Prawn Mee now as there are still opportunities for enhancement. 

110 Pasir Ris Central #01-14 Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre SINGAPORE 519641

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Stew House : not as good as I thought it would be

Caleb Tan, 28, the owner, is a first-time hawker, started this stall to serve stew in the recently opened "hipster" hawker centre. It was a weekday lunch, some stalls were closed but there were 2 stalls that have got quite a long queue. I decided not to go for that 2 stalls but this one that got only 3 people waiting to order. When it was my turn to order, I pointed to the menu board and said, "Beef Bourguignon, regular portion". The regular size is priced at $6 and the large one is at $8, it stated that it will be served with rice.  Then, I asked, "Can I have just a bit of rice?" The chap that was taking my order, said, "You might want to have it with the soft rolls?" I asked, "Can I have just 1, please?" He said, "It came in 2." I know I could not finish as I just had a bowl of Prawn Mee before this. 

Their signature Beef Bourguignon, also called Beef Burgundy, is a basic beef stew using a traditional French recipe that is quite difficult to go wrong. It is prepared by braising the beef in red wine and beef broth, flavored with garlic, onions, thyme, bay leaves and sage. It consists of beef chunks, mushroom with pieces of potato and carrot. I was quite excited but soon this excitement turned to disappointment. Those beef chunks were not sufficiently tender and even those pieces of potato were quite hard. The gravy was not as thick as I liked it. Overall, it fared quite badly in comparison with the similar dish served by Lad & Dad that moved from Serangoon Garden Food Centre to Maxwell Food Centre not too long ago.

The soft rolls tasted quite stale, it might be softer if they served it warm by toasting it first. I ate only half of the soft roll and also left those pieces of potato and some beef chunks unfinished. The only thing that was decent in this bowl of stew was actually those mushroom. 

There are other options like Nonya Curry Chicken ($5), Chicken Tikka Masala ($5/$7), Chicken & Mushroom Veloute ($5) and Cream of Mushroom with soft rolls ($5). The Smoked Duck Salad ($7) and Chicken Caesar Salad ($6.50) have been marked as "sold-out". 

110 Pasir Ris Central #02-07 Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre SINGAPORE 519641
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 9.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Nadim's Delights : that forgettable cheese loaded burger

I headed to Jurong West to look for the Penang Fried Kway Teow recommended by a friend at one of the coffee shops there. The popular cheese loaded burger is at the coffee shop nearby by a Muslim-owned Western food stall that opened in last November. I went looking for it after having the Penang Fried Kway Teow. There is only a coffee shop at Block 508 but I walked past and overlooked this stall, I walked back when I realized it got to be in that coffee shop since there is no other coffee shop in that block. 

It was the only customer at 1.10 pm. The hype must have already died down. There was no one at the stall. I waited for a bit before the lady seated at the table in front of the stall stood up. I showed her the picture of that infamous burger on my phone and said, "This one, please." She asked, "Do you want the chicken or beef burger?" And, I asked, "Which one do you recommend?" She said, "The one with the chicken came with 2 pieces of fried chicken patties and as for the beef burger, it is served with a slice of Ribeye steak and black pepper sauce." I decided to go with the Chicken Burger Banjir for $7.50, it is the same price for the Beef Burger Banjir as well. There are also Black Pepper Steak, Chicken Chop and Fish & Stick on the menu. I was given a buzzer for collection later and quite unexpectedly, it buzzed in just a couple of minutes. 

The Burger Banjir, which means "flooded burger", was placed in a paper box together with some fries and baked beans by the side then loaded with cheese sauce and served along with plastic cutlery. It consists of 2 fried chicken patties with a piece of cheese and sandwiched in between the buns with a dash of dried parsley lightly sprinkled on the top of the bun. The presentation was rather sloppy. 

My dining companion, said, "Why are they putting coleslaw in the burger? It didn't go too well." The next disappointment has to be their choice of chicken patties, it tasted like those frozen ones that are readily available in the supermarkets. And, it reminded me of Ramly Burger, in fact, an upgraded version but inferior in taste. The ultimate disappointment has to be the nacho cheese sauce, it was kind of diluted and watery and it did not actually taste like cheese.

This was none other than a forgettable and rather gimmicky burger.

Block 508 Jurong West Street 52 Ayza's Restaurant SINGAPORE 640508
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 3.00 pm / 5.00 pm to 9.50 pm (Daily)

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Tong Ji (同记 ) Penang Fried Kway Teow at Jurong West

It is getting difficult to find a good Penang Fried Kway Teow in Singapore, it is even more so if you have visited Penang and eaten the Fried Kway Teow there. I visited Penang a few years ago and I got to try the popular Siam Road Char Kway Teow and the Famous Ah Leng Char Koay Teow, both tasted equally good. I used to be patronizing Simei Penang Laksa Speciality regularly at the food centre over at Block 347 Jurong East Avenue 1 for their Penang Fried Kway Teow. This stall serves Penang Laksa too but I did not like it as much. Besides, there used to be a stall at one of the coffee shops at Holland Drive that served good Penang Fried Kway Teow and that was the closest that I have eaten in Singapore but that stall has closed down a long while ago. Since then, I have been looking for good Penang Fried Kway Teow in Singapore. 

A friend left a comment on my blog about this stall at Jurong West that used to be at Block 959 Jurong West Street 91 before moving to its current location. This friend mentioned that a Malaysian couple recommended the stall to him when they shared a table at Malaysia Boleh food court at Jurong Point. The wife came from Penang and she only eats from this particular stall. This friend visited him on his last day at the previous location and then again at his new location. The comment stated, "He is very meticulous in his cooking. I was able to observe his fry his CKT at the old stall as the stove was just at the front. Instead of just cracking the egg and mix it with the other ingredients. He would drizzle some soy sauce on its first. But his chili was nicer when I tried at the new location."

I was there for lunch at about 12 pm. I pointed to the signboard and said, "Penang Fried Kway Teow, please. The $5 portion." The smaller portion is at $4. And, I said, "A friend recommended your stall." I asked, "I heard that you are from Penang?" He nodded his head. He said, "Some people thought I am a Japanese." He pointed to the towel that he tied around his head. He said, "That is for absorbing sweat." While waiting, there were other customers came by to order the Fried Kway Teow. There is also the local style Fried Kway Teow ($4/$5), Mee Goreng with Cockles ($4.00) and Bean Sprouts with Cockles ($5.00) on the menu. 

There is actually a difference between the Penang Fried Kway Teow and a local one. The taste is different, the Penang style is more savory and spicier, the local version is sweeter as no dark sweet sauce is used in Penang Fried Kway Teow so it tends to be lighter in color. His version reminded me of those that are easily found in the streets of Penang. I shared it with a friend and he commented, "That portion is big for $5." The flat rice noodles were nicely stir-fried with ingredients like prawns, cockles, Chinese lap cheong, eggs, bean sprouts and chives in a mixture of soy sauce. The color was slightly darker but it was flavorful. 

Block 504 Jurong West Street 51 SINGAPORE 640504
Operating Hours: 12.00 pm to 10.00 pm (Daily)

Friday, February 2, 2018

Wen Wen Pork Rib Prawn Noodle at Geylang Bahru Food Centre

Uncle Richard started this stall with his wife at Geylang Bahru Food Centre about 5 years ago when he was 49 years after he left the printing industry. They moved to Old Airport Road Food Centre temporarily when this food centre was undergoing renovation. Their stall is famous for their prawn noodle but also the seafood hotpot, a popular choice amongst their customers, it is served with ingredients like pigtails, pork ribs, prawns, la la, crab and even canned abalone. Customers are also allowed to bring their own ingredients to add it in. 

There was no queue when I was there for lunch. I stood back a little, took a picture of the stall before proceeding to order. Uncle Richard seated at the table in front of the stall and he smiled at me when he saw me taking the pictures. I pointed at the picture of Big Prawn Noodle on their menu board and said, "This one". Auntie replied, "That will be $12. Is it okay for you?" It is indicated as $10 and $12 beside the picture of the Big Prawn Noodle on their menu board. This is probably charged accordingly to the size of their available prawns, these prawns were fresh and not frozen. The regular Prawn noodle is priced at $4 with ingredients like average-sized prawns and sliced pork. Cold crab is a unique dish that is on their menu at a seasonal price. 

The friendly Uncle cooked those prawns and pork ribs in a pot over an induction stove. He then poured it into the bowl of yellow noodles. When Uncle handed it to me, he said, "If the prawns are not good enough, come back and tell me." He said, "I gave you 2 big pieces of pork ribs."

I did not like the soup as much when I first tasted it but I began to like it more and more along the way. The soup though was lightly flavored but it had a pleasing notable natural sweetness. I could not help but compared it with the supposedly popular Sumo Big Prawn Noodle at Ang Mo Kio which I tried only once and did not like it as the sweetness of their soup was kind of artificially enhanced.

Those big prawns were relatively fresh and the pork ribs were cooked to desired tenderness and there were also a few pieces of la la with a good portion of nicely cooked yellow noodles. It was an enjoyable bowl of prawn noodle.

Block 69 Geylang Bahru #01-22 Geylang Bahru Food Centre SINGAPORE 330069
Operating Hours: 12.00 pm to 2.00 pm / 5.30 pm to 10.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Signs a Taste of Vietnam Pho: by a hearing-impaired couple

Anthony and Angela, the owners, the hearing-impaired couple behind this newly opened hole-in-the-wall eatery at the corner of the basement in Midpoint Orchard. Angela originated from Vietnam and she has been living in Singapore for 8 years. It is definitely a great challenge for Angela to open this shop. And, why did she decide to embark on it? Angela started to cook since she was 8 years old as her mother told her that she must learn how to cook. She kept on practicing till her cooking skills have improved. She often cooked dishes for friends visiting her house and these friends commented that those dishes are delicious. Their compliments encouraged her and planted a thought in her mind of starting a business. She discussed with Anthony but he asked her to wait first as he needed time to think. Eventually, he agreed and they opened this eatery.

Angela is at the shop as early as 9 am to start the preparation process. Their operating hours are long, they operate from 11 am to 9 pm on a daily basis and even so, it is still not as tiring to Angela as she grew up working on the farm, her life was much tougher then. 

Their friend was there when I went for lunch. I was given an order-chit to go through. The menu is simple, there is a selection of different types of Pho, Noodle Salad, and Fresh Spring Rolls and beverages like milkshakes, coffee, juices, and soda. I decided to go with Beef Feast Combo ($8.00), Fresh Spring Roll with Prawns, Chicken & Egg (2 pieces for $5) and a canned of coke ($1.50). I brought along the order-chit to the counter and handed it to that friendly lady. She suggested I should try the Vietnamese smoothie and she recommended Red Dragon Milkshake ($3) but I decided to go with Avocado Milkshake ($4.00). She said, "It is quite different from those out there as no water is added here so the texture is quite thick."

Anthony came out to say hello, he waved at me and gave a big smile.

There are a few choices for Pho and Beef Feast Combo is the most expensive amongst them. It consists of sliced beef Ribeye, sliced beef shin, and beef balls. The broth was lightly flavored and those slices of beef were cooked well to the right texture. It has a comforting taste. 

I was asked, "How did you get to know about us?" I said, "A friend told me about it and urged me to go quickly before they become famous."

Anthony asked me, through sign language, whether I like the food or not. I do not understand sign language but it was easy enough to guess. I gave him a big thumb up, he smiled and nodded his head. I said, "It tasted good, much better than those that I tasted at those popular Vietnamese eateries." Through their friend that helped to translate, Angela said, "The difference between a good pho and the bad one is the use of MSG and that spoilt the taste. We do not use MSG and oil here."

Anthony mentioned that one of their customers came by to try their pho and after tasting it, he liked it so much and he brought along his wife. His wife has never really enjoyed eating pho but fallen in love after she tasted their pho. 

The Vietnamese rolls are freshly made upon order. It has a very clean taste. The roll was packed quite tightly with fresh tasting ingredients like vegetables, vermicelli, chicken, prawn, and egg. Vietnamese dishes are mostly lightly flavored so it is not as fattening as they use mainly vegetables particularly lemon. 

Through their friend, Anthony asked, "Where are you from?" as he saw me taking pictures of the food earlier. I said, "I keep a food blog." Their friend translated and communicated to him through sign language." Through the friend, he said, "I hope you will tell more people about our shop, get them to come by and try it." I asked, "The rental here is expensive." Anthony nodded his head.

I could sense the love that he has for Angela, he is really proud of her and her cooking.

There are many post-it stickers on the wall written by their customers with encouraging messages to Anthony and Angela. These customers have all fallen in love with the unpretentious homely food and their heart-warming service. 

They are trying out for 3 months to determine whether they can make it or not. Please go and support them as they deserve a chance to live their dream.

I can see the joy on their faces. Happiness can be so simple. 

220 Orchard Road #B1-07 Midpoint Orchard SINGAPORE 238852
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 9.00 pm (Daily)

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Teo Kee Mushroom Minced Pork Noodle : Braised Pork Ribs, a must-try

It is difficult to miss this stall as you can see the long queue from afar. This stall has the longest queue amongst the other popular stalls in this food centre and they usually sold out by 1.30 pm or earlier. I was there at about 1 pm, the Mushroom Minced Pork Noodle ($3/$4) has already sold out at that time. I went with the smaller portion of Pork Ribs Noodle at $3.50, the larger portion is available at $4.50. I added a braised egg for $0.50 and braised chicken wings for $1.00. There are also Chicken Feet Noodle ($3/$4), Chicken Wing Noodle ($3/$4) and also Dumpling Soup ($3/$4) on the menu. You could choose between the dry and the soup version.

The Uncle, while cooking, looked up occasionally when he recognized some of his regular customers. He asked one of them, said, "You have not been here for a while."

The mee pok though nicely cooked, it did not have much sauce underneath the pile of noodles thus it was a bit dry. The chilli has a very slight spiciness and it did not enhance the flavor much, it was also garnished with fried shallots.

It was served separately, the noodles by itself and the rest on the plate. Their pork ribs are the must-try, it is the usual favorite of their regular customers that got them to queue up for. It was nicely braised to the desired softness with a slight sweetness. The braised chicken wings were pretty flavorful too, it reminded me of the braised chicken wings that I had at Bing Kee, an open-air food stall that is known as dai pang tong in Hong Kong. 

Block 137 Tampines Street 11 #01-05 Tampines Round Market & Food Centre SINGAPORE 521137
Operating Hours: 6.00 am to 2.00 pm (Closed on Mondays & Tuesdays)

Friday, January 26, 2018

Guan Hin Homemade Carrot Cake at Geylang Bahru Food Centre

This is one of the popular stalls in the newly opened Geylang Bahru Food Centre. The light of their signboard was off when I was there at about 1 pm. I thought that they have already sold out and closing. When I was back after having lunch at one of the coffee shops nearby, the light of their signboard was on and there was a long queue in front of the stall. They moved to the Chinatown Complex Food Centre for a short while when this food centre was undergoing renovation. I joined in the queue and waited for about 15 minutes before ordering. 

When I was asked whether to have it with chilli which I replied, "How spicy is the chilli?" The auntie replied, "Not very spicy, can put it on the side and not add it." I decided to go with the dark version at $4. I waited for another 5 minutes to collect it. There is a choice between the dark and the white version of carrot cake at $3.00 and $4.00. It is cooked by an elderly Uncle.

Those huge round aluminum trays nicely stacked on the shelves behind the stall are not a common sight as most of the other stalls are not making their carrot cake these days but using those from factory made. This elderly couple is still painstakingly making it at the stall. 

I did not like it as much as I thought I would. I felt it is better than the Song Zhou Fried Carrot Cake at Bedok Interchange Food Centre though. I could taste the distinct taste of dark sweet sauce with garlic and preserved radish, a generous amount of beaten egg was also added. The texture of the carrot cake was soft and moist. My dining companion said, "I actually prefer the black carrot cake by Hua Li Fried Carrot Cake at Marsiling Mall Food Centre to this." He also said, "Those pieces are too chunky and with a slightly charred flavor, also not crispy enough." 

Nonetheless, this is a better than average, rather old-school handmade fried carrot cake that you do not get to find it often in this fast-changing Singapore. 

69 Geylang Bahru #01-45 Geylang Bahru Food Centre SINGAPORE 330069

Thursday, January 25, 2018

San Lor Bak Png : cheap and good Braised Pork Rice set

I got to know about this stall through Martin Goh, a friend on Facebook. He went on their opening day and he enjoyed what he tasted, he then shared it on the Facebook. This newly opened stall is run by the same folks behind Chop Chop  Western Grill just right next to it, in the same coffee shop.

The lady at the stall came out when she saw me taking pictures. She asked, "You are taking pictures of the stall?" I smiled then said, "A friend recommended your stall on the Facebook." She asked, "Do you want to try?" She pointed to a poster and said, "We have this super value meal for just $6.80." This is the set that recommended by Martin and I decided to go with it. I was given a buzzer for collection later. The set consists of a bowl of braised pork rice, a plate of stir-fried long beans and fried tomato egg with a bowl of ABC soup. 

The braised pork rice came with a good portion of rice with tasty braised pork belly and a handful of chopped spring onions was sprinkled on it. It was accompanied by a piece of mushroom and half of a braised egg with slices of pickled cucumber. I was told by the same lady at the counter to try having it with the chilli as she said some of their customers think it brings forth the flavor.  I tried it without the chilli first then added a bit of it to the braised pork and rice, I actually prefer to have it without. The braised egg did not have much flavor. 

The long beans were deep-fried then stir-fried with minced garlic, the texture was slightly hard but was acceptable to my dining companion. The fried tomato egg was nicely done too, those pieces of tomato were soft and added flavor to the egg. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit.

The soup was specially mentioned by Martin, he said it was quite good which I agreed. The flavor was quite intense, I would think it was much better than those available at the stalls serving soup. It must have been simmered for a relatively long time to be that flavorful. You could find chunks of carrot, potato and sweet corn in it, there was also a piece of meat. 

This set is definitely value for money.

Block 63 Geylang Bahru Food Cheery Coffeeshop SINGAPORE 330063
Operating Hours: 11.30 am to 9.30 pm