Thursday, April 15, 2021

Eddy's : hawker style Duck Confit and Laksa Spaghetti

I remember Chef Eddy Wan. He used to run Rustic Bistro at China Street but closed down. I visited the cafe in June 2015 and was quite impressed with the food. 

I am glad that he is back to helm this hawker stall at Hong Lim Food Centre, nestled at a corner on the upper floor and serving affordable Fusion Western cuisine. He is running it with his wife. Duck Confit ($10) to serve with Aglio Olio Spaghetti or Mashed Potato is one of the popular choices on the menu. The next choice is Chicken Chop with Laksa Spaghetti or Aglio Olio Spaghetti ($10),  Mashed Potato or French Fries ($8). Other choices on the menu are Grilled Salmon ($10),  Beef Burger ($10), Chicken Pomodoro Pasta ($7.50), Mala Shrimp Spaghetti ($7.50), and Chicken Alfredo Pasta ($7.50). There is also a selection of rice bowls, Unagi Teriyaki ($10), Chicken Chop ($8), Duck Confit ($10), and Grilled Salmon ($10). 

I decided to go with Duck Confit with Mashed Potato and Chicken Chop with Laksa Spaghetti. I was told they will shout when it is ready for collection. There was an empty table right in front of the stall so waited there for close to 10 minutes when Eddy signaled it was ready. The queue got longer during lunch. 

Duck Confit is not commonly found in food centre. Mad Charcoal has Duck Confit on its menu. This dish also used to be served by Immanuel French Kitchen in a coffee shop.  I kind of expected the skin of Duck Confit to be crispier but it was not so, the meat was desirably tender though and it tasted flavorful. 

The Chicken Chop with Laksa Spaghetti is nicely done and flavorsome. The sauce though a little runny but creamy, coated the spaghetti well and the level of spiciness is manageable. I enjoyed it, this is better than the other Laksa Spaghetti that I have eaten and it is quite addictive. 

The Chicken Chop was nicely grilled and still retained its tenderness, served with a bit of dried shrimp.

My dining companion after tasted both dishes, said, "I would prefer the Chicken Chop with Laksa Spaghetti, will likely to order again when I am in this food centre." He continued to say, "The Duck Confit is not bad but is not particularly memorable as I have tasted better one."

Block 531A Upper Cross Street #02-52 Hong Lim Food Centre SINGAPORE 051531
Operating Hours: 10.30 am to 7.00 pm (Monday to Friday)

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Spice n Rice : worth the hype?

We went on a Sunday to have lunch and that was probably the last Sunday that they will stay open. They have recently announced on their Facebook (FB) that they will close on Sunday from then on. We were one of the few customers waiting to order at the stall, it was not as crowded as expected. 

The owners, Vincent Wong, 31, and Javin Goh, 35, started experimenting with dishes at home during the Circuit Breaker. Vincent used to be an Internal Bank Auditor and Javin was a Corporate Banking Relationship Manager before venturing into the hawker trade serving Nasi Lemak. The Nasi Lemak is created based on the recipe originated from the grandmother of Vincent using spices and herbals to flavor the marinades of the chicken as well as the sambal chilli with no MSG added. 

There are only 3 options on their menu, the Nasi Lemak set with Classic Fried Chicken ($7.90) or the Butter Chicken ($7.90) with basmati coconut rice. The other is Salmon with Barkey Pilaf ($9.90). I wanted to order a set with Classic Fried Chicken Nasi Lemak and a set with Butter Chicken Nasi Lemak but was told that only the Classic Fried Chicken was available on that Sunday. I ordered 2 sets for $7.90 each. I was asked to choose between the fully cooked egg and the half-cooked egg. The set was not presented on the plate but in a take-away box even for eating there. 

The star is the fried chicken, it was fried well to the desired crispiness and still tender, with a distinct flavor of turmeric and lemongrass. My dining companion said, "Why did they choose to use basmati rice? It tasted a little too dry and not much coconut flavor." I did not finish the rice. He also said, "The price is still on the high side for such a dish in hawker centre even with that whole chicken leg." The spiciness of sambal is rather mild with a slight sweetness and a little watery. It was served with pineapple mint salsa and a handful of ikan belis.

Overall, it is pretty forgettable. It might have to do with my expectations based on those rave reviews.

7 Maxwell Road #01-15 Amoy Street Food Centre SINGAPORE 069111
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 2.30 pm (Monday to Friday) / 10.00 am to 2.30 pm (Saturday)

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Lao Gu Ban : the old-fashioned noodles

My friend told me about this stall in an old coffee shop near Tanjong Pagar MRT. He mentioned that he ever spotted Eric, the owner of Ah Hoe Mee Pok was there manning the stall. This is his new venture. 

The coffee shop was unusually quiet when we came on the fourth day of Lunar New Year, but there was a short queue. We decided to go with Handmade Mushroom Fish Maw Noodle and Handmade Prawn Paste Noodle. There is the $6 and $8 portion and we decided to go with the $8 portion for both. We were asked whether we want to have extra noodles which we declined but later, my dining companion said, "We should have wanted the extra noodles as the portion is actually quite little and is not filling."

My dining companion asked, "How is the soup comparable to the fish maw soup by Ding Ji Mushroom Minced Meat Noodles in Bishan?" I said, "The soup here is rather tasty with a slight sweetness probably derived from the rich flavor of the broth. 

I do not find the handmade prawn paste to be particularly memorable though." I used to really like the prawn paste from Ban Niang Yong Tau Foo but I heard there is a drop in standard. 

The texture of the handmade noodle was nicely firm, thick, and slightly chewy tossed in savory sauce. You would not get to choose the type of noodles as this is the only type that they serve. 

My dining companion said, "I would just go for the $6 portion next time. I think it is more justifiable at that price and I do not find those slices of canned shellfish adding value to the noodle as I rather have it with just braised mushroom."

There was also a piece of fish dumpling in the soup, the handmade fish dumpling is nicely seasoned with dried sole fish added for more flavor. 

Having tried Ah Hoe Mee Pok, it actually tasted similar with not much surprise. It is good overall though but I do not think I will come purposely just for it. 

243 Cantonment Road #01-01 SINGAPORE 089770
Operating Hours: 10.30 am to 9.30 pm (Closed on Saturdays)

150 Kampong Ampat #02-01 KA Centre SINGAPORE 368324
Operating Hours: 8.00 am to 3.00 pm (Closed on weekends)

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Rayben King of Seafood Soup at Sin Ming

The owners, Ray and Benson started this stall in the midst of December 2020 serving seafood soup, There are only 3 choices on their menu, the smallest portion at $8.00 followed by $18.00, and then at $38. Ben was there taking the order. He recommended that we should try the $18.80 as it is good to be shared amongst 2 pax. 

I asked, "Why do you choose such a location? How is the business so far?" He said, "We wanted somewhere to start and the rental here is reasonable. And, we have been doing good so far. We even have customers coming from as far as Jurong." Ray mentioned competing against a popular stall and wanting to serve the best. I asked out of curiosity, "Who is this competitor? Do not tell me it is one of those that serve Pao Fan as I do not like." He replied, "I think Pao Fan is gimmicky. The texture of rice after soaked in the broth usually was too soggy." He later mentioned that this stall is the popular Yan Ji Fish Soup at Marsiling Mall Food Centre. 

We were given a buzzer after done with the payment. The medium portion consists of half a rock lobster, half a flower crab, 2 tiger prawns, Batang fish, squid, la la, and pacific clams. It came with choices of rice as well as thick bee hoon and we opted for rice. 

My dining companion tasted the soup and said, "The soup is quite tasty, naturally flavored." He said, "I could taste there is milk added." Benson happened to walk past and he asked, "How was it?" I said, "You added milk into it?" He replied, "I added just a bit of milk for a smoother texture."

My dining companion also said, "It is not the usual coffee shop pricing and is not quite worth the value. I would actually prefer a simple bowl of seafood soup without those premium ingredients added like the one by Yan Ji though they use Dory fish. I enjoyed their chunky handmade meatballs."

I did not try to ask for more soup though it was suggested in a review posted on their Facebook as someone tried but was declined. It is also not a practice to refill soup at Yan Ji Seafood Soup. The soup is supposed to serve concentrated and if they allowed refilling of soup then they would have to dilute the soup to make it more which does not quite make sense. 

I would just go for their basic bowl of seafood soup if I do come back.

39 Sin Ming Drive SINGAPORE 575713
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 8.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Famous K. L. Hokkien Mee at ABC Brickworks Food Centre

A friend sent me a picture of this Kuala Lumpur (KL) style just the other day. It intrigued me to go try it. There was no queue during lunch on a weekday. I decided to go with the $5 portion, there is also the $4 and $6 portion available. I waited at the stall while it was cooked upon order. I requested for an extra handful of lard to be added. It was served with a saucer of belachan chilli. 

I tossed it before partaking the first mouthful, it was satisfying though not particularly memorable. I know I could not compare it to what I had tasted in KL but this is good enough since we are not able to travel now.

There is also another stall by the same name serving the KL style Fried Hokkien Mee in this food centre. I decided to try it for comparison's sake. There was no other customer at this stall during lunch. I ordered the smallest portion at $4, there is also the $5 and $6 choices available. 

I was surprised that I got it almost immediately. It was scooped from the wok and added in the ingredients then served to me. My dining companion said, "The texture of noodles was too soft. I could also taste that the ingredients were cooked separately with not much flavor from the dark sauce." It did not taste warm perhaps as the result of leaving in the wok for too long. 

There were a few posts circulating on those foodie groups comparing these 2 stalls with different likes and dislikes as taste is subjective.

6 Jalan Bukit Merah SINGAPORE 150006

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Fatty Cheong : wanton mee with fried egg

There are 2 stalls by the same name in this food centre by the same owner, the original stall is to focus on roasted meat and the newer stall is to serve wanton mee.  I happened to seat right beside the latter stall and caught sight of 不见天云吞面 and decided to give it a try. The portion consists of a sunny-side-up fried egg and 2 wantons with noodles. There were a few customers before me so I stood there for about 5 minutes before receiving it.

I was pretty excited to try the char siew, it did not disappoint. It is comparable with another stall at Tiong Bahru Food Centre serving the same dish. The addition of a fried egg has no relevance as it did not enhance the taste, it is kind of 画蛇添足 in Chinese. The adding of fried egg is actually started by a noodle stall at a coffee shop in Bukit Merah. The owner of that stall added it to the wanton noodle for her nephew who follows a vegetarian diet.

My dining companion commented, "The char siew is very nice, it has a good balance of fat-lean ratio for the desired tenderness." It is made from from the unexposed armpit of the pig, supposedly the part that is highly sought after. Noodles were cooked to the right texture. They serve the chilli separately on a saucer. 

This is a worth trying Wanton Mee if happen to be in this food centre.

6 Jalan Bukit Merah #01-52 ABC Brickworks Food Centre SINGAPORE 150006

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Pung Pung kitchen at Holland Avenue

Met up with friends to have dinner at this cze cha place founded by Chef Pung Lu Tin, a well-known celebrity chef. We decided to go with some of their signature dishes. The coffee shop was crowded on a Sunday for dinner but not all of them ordering from Pung Pung Kitchen but from Kin Hoi, a stall serving Cockles Thai Style, Top Shell Salad, Mussels Thai Style, Thai Honey Grilled Pork, etc.

The Signature Charcoal Tofu ($10.00) came first. It is steamed tofu with charcoal powder added to give it the black color and topped with a handful of pork floss and chopped spring onion. It was quite a small piece and just enough to share amongst the 4 of us. 

The Marmite Pork Chop ($10.00) came next. It tasted just fine with no surprises. 

Fish Belly with Tofu Soup ($6.00) was quite a big portion of its price. We even wondered whether did they made a mistake. It was a hearty choice for a rainy evening. 

Slice Fish Sambal Hor Fun ($10.00). We were quite impressed with this dish. My friend even suggested that it would tasted nice when taking it away. This is a unique dish that tasted like Chilli Crab Horfun that I tried once. 

Sambal Sweet Potato Leaf ($10.00) tasted just fine. It costs as much as a meat dish which just did not seem to be justifiable. 

Fried Meat with Fermented Bean ($10.00) came when we have almost forgotten about it. It was surprisingly good, much better than the other that I had recently. 

The Signature Opeh Leaf Bee Hoon ($10.00) came last. We waited for about 30 minutes and no sight of it, they must have missed it out. We reminded one of the service staff and waited for another 10 minutes before it was served. We were told that the opeh leaf was run out and it is going to serve without it. My dining companion took a mouthful and said, "This is not better than the one by the White Restaurant. "

The total bill was $64.00. We were left feeling satisfied and will likely come back again. 

Block 6 Holland Close SINGAPORE 271006
Operating Hours: 11.30 am to 2.30 pm / 5.00 pm to 9.30 pm

Monday, December 28, 2020

Mad Charcoal : Texas-inspired smoked meats

A friend left me a message stating that I need to try this as it is really good and is better than El Carbo as can really taste the charcoal flavor. He further mentioned that there is no reason for me not to do so since it is in Ang Mo Kio. It is located where the Singapore Driving Centre used to be, within walking distance from Yio Chu Kang MRT station and just a stone's throw from my house. I went on Christmas day, the food court was unusually quiet, only them and the other stall were opened. 

Kelvin Low, the owner was there and he took the order. He has been in the F & B industry for the past 20 years. He is serving Texas-inspired smoked meats using 3 kinds of wood charcoal, namely the compressed charcoal and the traditional charcoal together with the lychee wood. Some of their popular choices are beef briskets, beef cheeks, and grilled chicken. 

I decided to go with Mushroom Soup ($5.90), Pork Belly ($8.90), and Mad Spiced Chicken ($7.90). When choosing the side dishes, I asked for a recommendation. Kelvin replied, "You can try our Mashed Potato or Ratatouille. He continued to say, "Of course, our salad is good too." I decided on Ratatouille to go with the Pork Belly. There are also options to choose pasta as a side dish and I opted for Marinara pasta. I asked, "Do I have to come back to collect it?" He replied, "We will serve it to you."

The Mushroom Soup came first, brought over by Kelvin. The soup is served along with a piece of garlic bread. The texture was thick and creamy, I liked it. I could not say the same about the garlic bread as it did not have much garlic flavor. The Pork Belly and Mad Spiced Chicken were served together. 

The Mad Spiced Chicken consists of a price of chicken breast, the Marinara pasta, coleslaw, and a soft-boiled egg. The pasta reminded me of chilli crab pasta and it is tasty. The chicken was surprisingly tender for the breast meat. The soft-boiled egg is a nice addition acting as a dip for the chicken. 

My dining companion took a piece of the Pork Belly and he said, "I was expecting the skin to be crispy but it actually tasted quite chewy. The texture of the meat is tender with a distinct charcoal flavor." He did not touch the Ratatouille. He also said, "I would go with Mashed Potato or with the pasta. And, I prefer the Mad Spiced Chicken to this."

This stall has been around for about a year or so and it is getting popular for its smoked dishes. This is definitely worth a try if you happen to be in the vicinity. 

3 Ang Mo Kio Street 62 #01-38 SINGAPORE 569139
Operating Hours: 12.00 pm to 9.00 pm (Closed on Sundays)

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Yang Ming Seafood at Bishan

We were there on a Sunday for lunch. The coffee shop was quite crowded at that time and almost every table there was occupied. We decided to go ahead to order Yang Ming Special Chicken ($12), Cai Pu Beancurd ($10), and Stir-fried Prawns ($18). The ordering was done at the counter and paid right after. 

The waiting time was about 15 minutes and Yang Ming Special Chicken served first. After tasting, we agreed that it actually like the Gong Bao Chicken. Though it is stir-fried with dried chilli, it did not have much spiciness. I was expecting more from this dish as it is listed as one of their special dishes.

The Cai Pu Beancurd came next. The beancurd was served in a pool of sauce accompanied by a few chunks of broccoli, topped with preserved radish, also known as cai pu or chye poh.  It would be tastier if the cai pu is slightly saltier for a better flavor. 

The Stir-fried Prawns are one of their signature dishes. The prawns were relatively fresh and coated well in the tasty sauce, nicely done though but no surprises. 

Overall, it was quite an enjoyable lunch. 

Block 150 Bishan Street 11 SINGAPORE 570150
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 2.00 pm / 5.00 pm to 11.00 pm

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Authentic Chai Chee Bak Chor Mee : based on a 97 years old recipe

We decided to drop by when happened to be in the vicinity. Mr Tan Poh Chye, 65, was there, he used to run Tian Nan Xing Minced Pork Noodle, a hawker stall at Block 511 Bedok North before he handed it to his son and retired. His grandfather started the trade in 1923 before handed it to his father, then to him and he passed it to his son. It has been around 97 years and they are still using the same recipe. As reported in this article, he met David Tan, the owner of this coffee shop and also a fan of his Bak Chor Mee. He was encouraged by him to set up this hawker stall to pass down his skills. 

The menu consists of the soup version ($3, $4, $5) and the dry version ($4, $5, $6). I ordered the $5 portion of Mee Pok Soup and $5 portion of Kway Teow Dry. I was recommended to try their Fried Dumplings (8 pieces at $4), they called it 满载而归 as it is served in a boat-shaped bowl. I paid and given a buzzer for collection later. 

My dining companion tasted the Mee Pok Soup and said, "It tasted like the typical Chai Chee Bak Chor Mee and of the same standard." He continued to say, "The meat dumplings are good though the meatballs are pretty average. The pork bone  broth is quite tasty." 

The Kway Teow did not leave an impression. It tasted just average and the sauce did not quite stand out. Those pieces of fried lard were over-fried and it has got a slightly burnt taste. I will just stick to the soup version if I do come back. 

My dining companion took a piece of the fried dumplings and said, "This fried wanton tasted different from the soup one. It did not have the taste of dried sole fish. I wonder why they did not use the same dumpling for deep-frying." Those fried wantons were served with a dipping sauce, I could tell it is a mixture of mayonnaise and something else. My dining companion said, "It could be Sriracha Chilli Sauce and Mayonnaise." I only found out later that it was a mixture of mayonnaise and mala sauce. The dumpling is the same as the 2 pieces of fried dumplings that were served with the Kway Teow though of a different shape. 

We were curious enough to try the Salt Baked Kampang Chicken ($22.90). They do not make them and it happened to be their first day selling it. There is an indication on the banner that it is "Singapore Best Salt Baked Kampang Chicken".

When eating it, my dining companion said, "The breast part is small which is a telltale sign of a Kampang chicken." It was wrapped in 2 layers of baking paper, the first layer was quite burnt.  

The meat was firm with a distinct herbal-ish taste and a slight saltishness. I did not eat enough of Salt Baked Chicken to know whether is this indeed the best in Singapore but I quite enjoyed the taste. 

Do drop by to give your support if you happen to be in this part of Singapore. 

Block 83 Macpherson Lane #01-263 SINGAPORE 360083
Operating Hours: 8.30 am to 8.00 pm (Daily)