Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Li Yuan Mee Pok : Japanese fusion mee pok

The stall started by Naoji Kuribaram, a permanent resident, after leaving his job as Finance Specialist at a Japanese company in Singapore. He initially started a Japanese food stall in the same coffee shop where he met Eric Chia, the boss of Ah Hoe Mee Pok. He worked as an apprentice for 6 months before closing his Japanese food stall and took over the noodle stall in January 2015. He then handed the stall to his children and returned to Japan to open a noodle shop with an identical menu but it was shut down later. 

There are 2 coffee shops on the same block and this stall is located at the coffee shop farther from the main road. There was already a short queue when we reached slightly after 12 pm. While queuing, there was a lady came by to take the orders. I ordered the Mushroom Minced Meat Noodle ($4/$5) for myself and the soup version of Japanese Fusion Mee Pok ($6/$7) for my dining companion, there is a choice of Miso and Shoyu and I decided to go with the latter. I went with the larger portion for my orders. I also went with the Teo Chew Dumpling Soup ($4). There are also Special Mee Pok ($4/$5), Crayfish Mee Pok ($10), Big Prawn Noodle ($10), Meatball Soup ($4), Braised Pig's Trotter ($4) and Japanese Fusion Mee Pok with Char Siew ($10) on their menu. I waited in the queue for about 8 minutes or so before collecting it. I was served the noodles first and asked to come back in a bit to collect the Dumpling Soup.

The traditional Mushroom Minced Meat Noodle is served with sliced pork, minced pork, meatballs, braised mushroom and slices of canned king top shell, in the well-balanced sauce. The noodles are cooked using a timer for the right texture and springiness. 

The Japanese Fusion Mee Pok is a special creation, there is the dry and also the soup version based on Miso or Shoyu, serving with meatballs, sliced pork, imitation abalone, and Japanese chashu. The soup is tasty though not exactly like those for the ramen but those that are of dashi based, the pork flavor is not too distinct. I was asked whether I wanted to have chilli and it was added to the soup. My dining companion said, "It should be nicer if without the chilli." 

He said, "The chashu was quite fat and not soft enough. It also did not have much flavor." He also said, "The dry one tasted quite normal but the soup one is nice. If we do come back, we should order a bowl of Miso and a bowl of Shoyu for comparison, to actually see what is the difference and which is better.

We did not like the dumpling, the skin was quite thick and the filling was not too flavorful. The soup also consists of shredded cabbage and crispy lard, quite thick and it tasted a bit like the base for the Mee Pok soup. 

The Japanese Fusion Mee Pok is definitely worth a try if you happen to be in the vicinity.

Block 710 Clementi West Street 2 Rong Fa Coffee House SINGAPORE 120710
Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 3.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Saturday, September 14, 2019

28 Noodles : enjoyable Bak Chor Mee

This is a popular stall in the same coffee shop with the other outlet of Ah Seng Duck Rice, within walking distance from Serangoon MRT. There was just another customer when I was there on a weekday for an early lunch.

I decided to go with the larger portion of the Minced Pork Noodle at $4.5, there is a smaller portion at $3.50. I opted to have kway teow with an extra amount of chilli. Thre are also choices of Fishball Minced Pork Noodle ($3.50/$4.50), Laska ($3.50/$4.50) and Liver Mee Sua ($4.50/$5.50). 

The portion of the nicely cooked kway teow was substantial serving along with ingredients like slices of fishcake, lean meat, and liver with fishballs, meatballs, fish dumpling, minced meat then topped with chopped spring onion. The level of spiciness was manageable even though I requested for an extra amount to be added. The bowl of soup that served along was lightly flavored. 

It is simple yet satisfying. It reminded me of the kway teow dry that I used to eat with my late Grandpa at a stall in Ang Mo Kio but that stall is no longer around. 

I will be back for their Laksa and Liver Mee Sua.

Block 204 Serangoon Central #01-104 SINGAPORE 550204
Operating Hours: 7.30 am to 4.00 pm (Closed on Wednesdays)

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Nanyang Chicken : the worth-trying Soya Sauce Chicken

This is a soya sauce themed cafe that serves Soya Sauce Chicken as its signature dish. The owner is behind the Nanyang Sauce, it is a rebranding of Swan brand, one of the oldest artisanal soya sauce markers in Singapore. They are still making their sauces the same way that they did 50 years ago. This cafe that opened on September 2018 is located along South Bridge Road and there used to be another outlet at East Coast Road but has closed, their brewery is at Chin Bee Avenue. 

When I was looking at the menu, the friendly staff quickly came out of the door and said, "I can help." I ordered the Princess Chicken ($12.80) for myself and Soya Sauce Chicken Rice ($12.80) for my dining companion with a cold coffee ($2.50). 

The cold coffee came first, enough ice cubes were added to keep it cold without diluting its taste.

The Princess Chicken and Soya Sauce Chicken Rice were served along with their in-house Chicken Rice Chilli Sauce and Sambal Prawn Chilli Sauce. The service staff said, "If you like the sauces, you can get a $3 off for them, the Ikan Belis and also other sauces too based on the amount spent today."

The welcome soup is a chicken soup served in a small glass and it is refillable. We were also served a sample portion of their Ikan Belis which they labeled as Nanyang Snacks. 

My dining companion, said, "I was wondering why there is a sourish taste in their soup then I realized it is probably from the plum that was used as part of its ingredients." He liked it enough to have a refill when the waiting staff came by our table with a kettle. 

My dining companion said, "This is hawker food at cafe prices. It is not cheap but at least it came with a whole piece of a chicken leg." He took a bit and said, "It is not bad but a bit too salty. " The chicken leg was well-braised with a good infusion of aromatic soya flavor. It tasted different from the other Soya Sauce Chicken, it is distinctly savory and no hint of sweetness. 

The braised chicken leg was served with slices of braised mushroom, cherry tomatoes, and lettuce with the selection of noodles or rice. 

The service came by and asked, "How was the food?" And, she said, "I hope you will leave us a good review." It stated on the number tag that "Review us on Facebook or Google." Though their prices are a little on the high side, their attentive service makes it worthwhile. 

70 South Bridge Road SINGAPORE 058700
Operating Hours: 9.00 am to 6.00 pm (Closed on Sundays)

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Koung's Wan Tan Mee : the popular Wanton Mee in Geylang

Mr Koung Boon Kong, 70s, the owner, started selling wanton mee since 1964. This is probably one of the famous choices for wanton mee in Singapore. He started working as an apprentice at a pushcart stall before taking over when the owner decided to quit. It was only $0.40 when he started selling it. Now, a basic plate is priced at $4, it will be $5 if you want extra noodles, $6.00 for extra ingredients and it is $7 for extra noodles with extra ingredients. There is also Dumpling Soup at $3, $4 and $5.

My dining companion said, "It is not quite worth it to pay an extra $2 for extra ingredients. You only get more pieces of wanton but not too many slices of char siew."

Their char siew is still marinated and roasted at their stall every morning over the charcoal oven. This traditional charcoal char siew is going at $5.00 for 100 grams on their menu. My dining companion said, "I do not find their char siew spectacularly nice." Those pieces of char siew were slightly lean but it still tasted tender and flavorful.

The egg noodles were nicely cooked to the desired softness with a slight springiness, served with their special chilli sauce, oil and soy sauce.

You could see an elderly auntie making those wantons at the side of the stall. The tasty filling was encased in a thin wrapper. 

The dumpling tasted the same but it has a piece of prawn in it and of a bigger size. My dining companion said, "I prefer the dumpling to wanton."  

This might not be the best wanton mee but I enjoyed eating it.

205 Sims Avenue SINGAPORE 387506
Operating Hours: 7.30 am to 7.30 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Monday, September 2, 2019

SweeT.Rex : Souffle pancakes

This stall is not to be missed if you are looking for an affordable option for souffle pancake, a Japanese-style pancake. Cassandra Lim, 43, is running the stall with her husband. It used to be at Mei Ling Food Centre before moving to Alexandra Village Food Centre. The choices include $4 for 2 pieces of the freshly made pancake with topping sauce and $5 for 2 pieces with topping sauce and ice-cream. They adjusted the prices after moved here. There is chocolate, strawberry and caramel sauce to choose. There are also Lemon Chocolate Cheese Cake, Homemade Milk Pudding and Homemade T-Rex Snack Bar on their menu.

I ordered a set of pancakes and was asked to choose the sauce. I was recommended to try the chocolate and caramel sauce. I was asked for the table number as it will be sent over later. The pancakes were served with icing sugar lightly scattered then drizzled with the sauces.

The pancakes are made from butter, eggs, milk, and flour. The egg whites were whipped into a meringue to achieve a lighter and fluffier texture despite the pancakes were of a certain thickness. It tasted quite close to what I had in Japan. 

120 Bukit Merah Lane 1 #01-79 Alexandra Village Food Centre SINGAPORE 150120
Operating Hours: 10.30 am to 3.00 pm (Closed on Thursdays & Fridays)

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Lam Bee Chicken Rice at Macpherson

The coffee shop has undergone a renovation then changed its name from Lam Bee Restaraunt to Grains and Hops. I used to patronize a pizza stall in this coffee shop quite regularly but have stopped doing so after the closure of that stall. I tried the chicken rice once quite a while ago but it did not leave much impression. A friend on Facebook recommended the chicken rice from this stall as he is a regular customer. I decided to give it a go when came for the Fish Minced Meat Noodle nearby. 

I ordered the mixture of their poached and roasted chicken with rice to go along with an old cucumber pork ribs soup. My dining companion tasted it and said, "It tasted just normal, in fact, I actually prefer the other chicken rice in Bishan." I tried both and actually prefer the poached chicken to the roasted one. I could actually taste the fragrance and juiciness of the chicken. I do not think much of the chilli, it just did not taste too special to be memorable. 

The rice though grainy and not greasy, it was lacking in flavor. 

Perhaps it was still early, the soup did not have enough time to simmer so the taste was not as flavorful as I liked it to be. 

This stall is a popular choice amongst the residents though not the best chicken rice but it is comforting enough.

78 Circuit Road #01-470 SINGAPORE 370078
Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 7.00 pm (Closed on Wednesdays)

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Kalsom Kuih Muih Curry Puff at Yishun Park Hawker Centre

Zaidi Zainal and Kalsom Kamis, his wife, have been running a stall at Yishun Park Hawker Centre for over a year. This stall was in the news when 6 youths stole $1,064 from the cash register. That sum is equivalent to selling 600 pieces of those handmade curry puffs. The couple was forced to raise the prices of each curry from $1.20 to $1.50 trying to recoup the losses. 

I ordered the Curry Puff and Sardine Puff, the size is bigger than the usual puffs out there. 

My dining companion tried both and said, "I would prefer the Curry Puff to Sardine Puff. The Sardine Puff is too tomato-ish and with too much onion." 

I would also prefer the Curry Puff a bit more. It consists of a generous amount of potato with a piece of a boiled egg at the right level of spiciness.

51 Yishun Avenue 11 #01-01 Yishun Park Hawker Centre SINGAPORE 768867
Operating Hours: 2.00 pm to 8.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Friday, August 23, 2019

An Dessert : a new dessert stall at Sembawang Hills Food Centre

This is one of the newest stalls in this food centre manned by a mother and daughter team. They have been around for slightly more than a month. I decided to order a Chendol after finished a plate of Beef Horfun from the other new stall in this food centre. While waiting, I chatted with the mother. She saw me taking a picture of their stall and asked, "Do you think you can tell others about our stall?" I replied, "I will tell my friends and ask them to support."

She said, "The business is slow, we are just getting by. The rental itself is already $3,000 and the cleaning fee is $450, there is also the utility bill that we have to pay." She continued to say, "If the business is so good then why would the previous stall decided to quit after been here for more than 20 years?" She was referring to the fish soup stall that has been around for a long while and there was usually a queue during lunch. She also said, "We woke up early and took long hours in doing preparation. Almost everything is handmade at the stall. "

The Chendol is priced at $2 each. It is served in a nice plastic bowl with a metal spoon. The coconut milk is thick and creamy, served with Gula Melaka together with red beans and those droplets of green rice flour jellies. The level of sweetness was well-balanced but I actually prefer to have it slightly sweeter. It would be perfect if the shaved ice is finer and smoother. 

This is not the best Chendol that I have tried so far but it is good enough to taste the amount of effort in making it. 

590 Upper Thomson Road #01-36 Sembawang Hills Food Centre SINGAPORE 574419
Operating Hours: 8.00 am to 6.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Xiang Jiang Soya Sauce Chicken : Shrimp Dumpling is nice

The owner used to work in the Raffles Hotel before starting a stall in Jit Poh Building at Keppel Road and relocating to Alexandra Village Food Centre. This has always been one of the popular stalls that have a queue even during the off-peak period, serving Hong Kong-style Soya Sauce Chicken. There are also Shrimp Wanton and Shrimp Dumpling to go with rice or noodles. 

The queue was long when I was there with my dining companion for lunch. He joined in the queue and waited for about 20 minutes before getting to order. He was supposed to order the Chicken Drumstick Noodle ($5.00) and Shrimp Dumpling Soup ($4.50) but decided to take away a half portion of the Soya Sauce Chicken after queued up for so long. The Shrimp Dumpling was sold out right after he ordered. 

To start, lightly tossed the noodles with the braised sauce underneath and mixed it with the chilli. It was not bad but not as memorable as some of the other Soya Sauce Chicken that I have tried. The braised sauce was slightly salty and not as fragrant as I liked it to be. 

I enjoyed the Shrimp Dumpling though. The massive dumpling consists of a whole piece of prawn each together with minced meat, black fungus, and bits of water chestnut. 

It is usually sold out before 2 pm.

120 Bukit Merah Lane 1 #01-77 Alexandra Village Food Centre SINGAPORE 150120
Operating Hours: 8.00 am to 2.00 pm (Closed on Tuesdays)

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Dover Road Kai Kee Wanton Noodle : the old-fashioned taste

This stall started at the now-defunct Dover Road Market, near to the Fairfield Methodist School before moving to Alexandra Village Food Centre in 2011. It has been around for more than 3 decades, serving old-school wanton mee. The menu includes the Wanton Mee, Dumpling Mee, Shredded Chicken Mee, Wanton Soup and Dumpling Soup at $3.00/$3.50. I decided to order the larger portion of Wanton Mee ($3.50) and added $1 for extra wanton and $1 for dumpling, serving along with slices of chae siew and some leafy greens. 

My dining companion said, "I do not like it. I prefer Cai Ji Wanton Mee at Bishan. And, I prefer the dumpling to wanton." The wantons were like the old-school type, the lightly seasoned filling was loosely encased in a wrapper. The dumplings tasted about the same but bigger in the size. I did not like the char siew much, it was too lean and slightly dry. The noodles were nicely cooked to the desired springiness and served in the concoction of oyster sauce, sesame oil, lard oil, and chilli. 

It somewhat reminded me of the wanton mee from Nam Seng Noodle House at Far East Square that used to be at the front of the old National Library. The lightly flavored soup was mainly just the taste of soy sauce and pepper, garnished with chopped spring onion. 

This is a simple, old-school tasting wanton mee that brought forth the nostalgic taste of the yesteryear. 

120 Bukit Merah Lane 1 #01-09 Alexandra Village Food Centre SINGAPORE 150120
Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 4.00 pm (Closed on Tuesdays)

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Kang Kar No 1 Noodles : Fish Bak Chor Mee

The shop is tucked away in a corner of Macpherson. This is a concept store by Niwa Sushi Pte Ltd, a member of Neo Group Limited launched in November 2015. Amongst the others on the menu, their signature items are the Spicy Minced Fish Noodles and Minced Fish Noodle Soup. The fresh minced fish is used to replace the usual minced pork in this most loved hawker dish. There are also other ingredients like mushroom cubes and fishballs then topped with chopped spring onions in the original shrimp paste or the spicy shrimp paste with black vinegar. They might be the only one that is serving the minced fish version of Bak Chor Mee in Singapore and it is supposed to be a healthier choice as compared to minced meat as mentioned on their Facebook. 

I wanted to order it with Kway Teow but was told that it is not available so it is a choice between Mee Pok or Mee Kia. I decided to go with Mee Pok for both the spicy flavor and also the original flavor that I ordered for my dining companion. There are choices of $2.50 and $3.50 and I decided to go with the larger portion for both orders. It is served with a bowl of soup that consists of 3 fishballs. I also ordered a piece of the Leek Fishcake ($1.50) to share.

I also ordered an Iced Coffee to go along.

My dining companion ate a piece of the Leek Fishcake and said, "It tasted quite normal, not too special."

I asked my dining companion, "Could you actually taste the familiarity in those fishballs?" He nodded. I told him that those are actually DoDo fishballs. He replied, "No wonder the taste is so familiar." The fishballs were rather light in taste but it has the desired bounciness. 

The texture of those minced fish was much softer as compared to the minced meat. My dining companion said, "I would give it a 3.5 out of 5. It is actually not too bad but I would still prefer my usual Bak Chor Mee."

I asked for an extra amount of chilli to be added to my bowl of noodles and I could actually taste the spiciness. I might like it a bit more if I did not adjust its level of spiciness. 

It is worth a try if you happen to be in the vicinity.

Block 77 Circuit Road #01-450 SINGAPORE 370077
Operating Hours: 8.00 am to 9.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)