Monday, January 20, 2020

Old World Bakuteh : Mixed Pig's Organ Fried Porridge, must try

Chef Jemmy Yeo, the co-owner, started this stall with his partner in November 2019 at a coffee shop near Yishun MRT. He is a Peranakan chef that has been based in Singapore for the past 2 decades. He started cooking after getting inspired by his grandmother. Other than Bak Kut Teh ($6.00), the Mixed Pig's Organ Fried Porridge ($5.00) is another popular item. Fried Porridge is not commonly found in Singapore, the other one is by Dynasty Fried Porridge at Foch Road. I ordered the Fried Porridge with Braised Small Intestines ($5.00). Jemmy was there to take my order.

The porridge was already cooked with the dark soya sauce. He would then fried the porridge to infusing the flavor of dried shrimps and fried shallots upon order, adding in the ingredients like minced pork, leaned pork, small intestines, big intestines, liver, tau kwa cubes to the porridge then topped with fried shallots, chopped spring onions and a dash of white pepper to serve. The porridge was served hot and remained hot even after I took those pictures. This is a better Fried Porridge, a cheaper and tastier alternative as compared to the other one that I mentioned. 

The Braised Small Intestines were nicely done too, the texture was soft and not too chewy. 

I went back for the second time in a week to eat their Fried Porridge and Braised Small Intestines.

Block 747 Yishun Street 72 Hiap Hoe Eating House SINGAPORE 760747
Operating Hours: 10.00 am to 10.00 pm

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Min Ji Laksa : homely food

This stall is one of those with a queue during lunch on a Sunday. The owner took over the stall from the original owner. There are only Laksa  ($3.50/$4.00/$5.00) and Mee Rebus ($2.50/$3.50) on the menu. Most of the customers ordered their Laksa and I decided to do that as well. I joined the queue and waited for about 5 minutes before ordering. 

I ordered the $3.50 portion, it was served with a good portion of thick bee hoon together with fresh-tasting ingredients a piece of half-boiled egg, cockles, slices of fish cake and tau pok with a handful of beansprouts. The gravy was light with a hint of dried shrimps and coconut milk. This homely taste is quite enjoyable. 

Block 29 Bendemeer Road #01-31 Bendemeer Food Centre SINGAPORE
Operating Hours: 7.30 am to 3.00 pm (Closed on Thursdays)

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Xing Ji Rou Cuo Mian : the soup Bak Chor Mee

This soup version of Bak Chor Mee is a popular choice, particularly in Bedok. There are only a handful of stalls serving this type of Bak Chor Mee and 3 of them are in Feng Shan Food Centre, this is one of the stalls. This stall has been around since 1968 and is amongst the most famous ones. Seng Hiang Bak Chor Mee, their direct competitor is just beside but it was closed on that day. There is also Ah Poh Minced Meat Noodles in the same food centre. At this stall, there is a selection of $3.00 and $4.00.

My dining companion asked, "Which is the best amongst them?" I tried the one from Seng Hiang Bak Chor Mee once and it tasted quite alike. I did not try the Ah Poh Minced Meat Noodles though. 

This is a simplified version of Bak Chor Mee with just a portion of thin egg noodles with minced pok and meatballs served in the lightly flavored pork broth. It is just no-frills comfort food.

Block 85 Bedok North Street 4 #01-07 Feng Shan Food Centre SINGAPORE 460085
Operating Hours: 12.30 pm to 12.30 am (Closed on Thursdays)

Friday, January 3, 2020

Ghim Guan Fried Oyster : one of the nicest Fried Oyster

I did not expect to see this stall opened for lunch on a Sunday. It is usually closed as they only start in the evening. I have to try their Fried Oyster for the first time. "I heard there is a famous Fried Oyster here. Are you the one?" Auntie just smiled but did not acknowledge. There are 4 sizes for selection, the $4 for the smallest followed by the $6, $8 and then $10. I decided to go with the $8 portion. There are also Oyster Omelette ($6, $8, $10 and $12) and Fried Carrot Cake ($3, $4 and $5). Auntie asked for my table number. I pointed to the table right at the corner. She delivered it in just a while, with 2 pairs of chopsticks and 3 saucers of chilli.

My dining companion took a bite and he nodded, "This Fried Oyster is definitely one of the nicer ones that I have eaten. Though not as crispy as the Simon Road Fried Oyster but the egg is fried well to crispiness with a nice eggy taste." There is a good balance of egg and batter. The oysters tasted fresh and quite plump. 

I went back to the stall to tell Auntie. I said, "The Fried Oyster is really good. The stall is usually closed when I was here. " Mr Ang, the owner, heard it. He said, "We only open in the evening but there are some orders today so we opened earlier. You can follow our Facebook and we will update there if there is a change in our off-day."

This is so good, definitely amongst one of the best in Singapore.

79 Circuit Road #01-60 Circuit Road Food Centre SINGAPORE 370079
Operating Hours: 5.30 pm to 10.30 pm (Closed on Wednesdays)

Monday, December 30, 2019

Foodie Story : Briyani by a young Chinese lady

Yishi Lam, a 20+ Chinese lady is the owner of this newly opened hawker stall serving Briyani. Now, you do not just get a handsome Indian man cooking Bak Chor Mee but also a young Chinese lady cooking Briyani. She seated at the table in front of her stall and was having lunch.

She stood up and asked, "What do you want to eat?" I asked, "What do you recommend?" She said, "Most of the customers would go for the Chicken Briyani ($4.50) or Mutton Briyani ($5.50)." I asked, "I would like to have both. How much would that be?" She replied, "It will be $3 to add on 1 meat." I paid $9.50 in total. I said, "I gotta know about your stall from Martin. Why did you decide to sell Briyani?" She said, "A Malay auntie taught me how to make Briyani."

My dining companion tried it and said, "This is good. I did not expect it to be cooked by a young Chinese lady. It is as good as some of those by Malay stalls. The chicken and mutton were cooked to the desired softness. If I have to choose, the mutton is slightly more flavorful." It was served with a piece of papadum and achar.

This stall is only slightly more than a month at a quiet corner of Circuit Road Food Centre. There are also Breaded Chicken Cutlet Briyani ($5.00), Crispy Fried Chicken Briyani ($5.00) and Beef Briyani ($5.50) on the menu. Go support her if you happen to be there for lunch.

79 Circuit Road #01-106 Circuit Road Food Centre SINGAPORE 371079
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 10.00 pm (Daily)

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Siang Siang Chwee Kueh : not Singapore's Best

When we walked past this past, my dining companion said, "See! There is a queue." It is indicated on their signboard that they are Singapore's Best. I joined the queue and ordered 4 pieces of chwee kueh for $1.60. I did not ask for chilli. And, the middle-aged man that was manning the stall asked, "You do not want chilli, right?" I thought the usual question should be, "Do you want chilli or not?" I replied, "No chilli." I wanted to share with my dining companion and he does not take chilli. 

He took a bite and said, "The chwee kueh is soft and tasted not bad. I do not like the chye poh though." I did not like it as well. Unlike some of the other, the coarsely chopped chye poh was not soaked in oil thus not greasy but it has the unappealing raw chye poh taste though. It tasted light and not particularly salty but lacking in fragrance. It might taste better if chilli is added. 

There was also a slight confusion. I remember clearly that I handed over a $10 note but I was only given $0.40 as change. When asked, he insisted that he did not receive the $10. I decided to leave it as it is. 

Block 85 Bedok North Street 4 #01-31 Feng Shan Food Centre SINGAPORE 460085
Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 9.00 pm

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Geylang Claypot Rice : a disappointing encounter

This popular claypot rice used to be at Geylang Lorong 33 and was there for more than 30 years before moving to Beach Road, opposite The Concourse. Their claypot rice is cooked upon order over the charcoal fire for about 25 minutes. There are 3 sizes, the smaller portion at $15 for 1 to 2 pax, the medium portion at $26 for 4 pax and the larger portion at $36 for 6 pax. Their menu includes dishes like Double-boiled Soups, Salted Egg Pork Ribs, Prawn Paste Chicken, Cereal Prawn, etc. 

We went for lunch on a Public Holiday. We were approached by the service staff and he asked, "Do you have a reservation?" I replied as no. He then asked, "If you want to eat claypot rice then you will have to wait for about 40 minutes. Can you wait?" We decided to wait. He brought us to the table and said, "I will order the small portion of claypot rice first while you decide what to order next." He came back to hand me a name card and said, "You can call to place an advance order and to reserve a table next time so that you do not have to wait too long." I ordered a canned drink and also the Salted Egg Pork Ribs ($12) to share. The canned drink is priced at $2.80. The same service staff came to pick up the order chit. He asked, "Do you want your Salted Egg Pork Ribs to serve together with the claypot rice?" I nodded. 

We waited for about 30 minutes before receiving it. The claypot rice came first and waited for a few minutes before the Salted Egg Pork Ribs was served. 

The service staff came by, he lifted the cover of the claypot rice. He asked, "Do you want to take a picture before I mix it?" I quickly took a picture using my phone. He then started to drizzle the dark sauce lightly and mixing it using a metal ladle repeatedly for a few minutes before presenting it to us. The claypot rice is served with ingredients like chicken chunks, Chinese sausages and there was supposed to have salted fish but we did not taste it nor see it. There was a layer of crispy rice bits right at the bottom of the claypot.

My dining companion said, "This is one of the worst that I have tasted. It did not have much taste. The chicken though not tender enough but still quite acceptable." He also said, "The only thing that is good is the service." Cooking it over the charcoal fire is supposed to give it a smokey flavor but it was missing here. 

The Salted Egg Pork Rib was another disappointment. Though tasted crispy, the texture was tough, the meat did not stick to the bone and it did not have much salted egg taste. 

The possible reason for such a drop in the standard probably has to do with the departure of their head chef. Chong Hoi Ching, also known as Ah Ching, left Geylang Claypot Rice. He was there for more than 10 years. He then started a hawker stall in Toa Payoh and moved to Bedok South before moving to East Village in Simpang Bedok. He franchised the Eng's Char Siew Wanton Mee and included the claypot rice in the menu. He recently opened another outlet in one of those shophouses along Thomson Road, directly opposite the Novena Church.

361, 363, 365 Beach Road SINGAPORE 199576
Operating Hours: 12.00 pm to 2.30 pm / 5.00 pm to 10.00 pm (Daily)

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Shi Xiang Satay : the decades old goodness

Young, the owner, 50, has taken over the stall and is running it with his mother, 75. The stall has been around for about 35 years since 1955, started by his parents and has been in this food centre for more than 2 decades, serving Hainanese style Satay. While waiting for the dishes from Claypot & Cooked Food Kitchen, we wanted to order some to share. The light of the signboard was still off then. Young was there and so I asked, "How much longer before it is ready?" He asked me to go back at about 1 pm. I went back at about 12.50 pm, the signboard was lighted up. I ordered 5 pieces of chicken satay and 5 pieces of pork satay at $0.60 each. He asked for my table number and offered to deliver later and he sent over about 8 minutes later.

It was served with wedges of red onions and chunks of cucumber accompanied by the peanut sauce in a disposable bowl. Each stick of pork satay consists of a piece of fat sandwiched between 2 chunks of meat. The meat was lightly marinated then grilled it over charcoal, charred it slightly without compromising its tenderness. It tasted different from those by Malay, mild-tasting, less sweet and the sauce is different too. The chicken satay is as good though using a leaner meat, still as flavorful with a nicely charred flavor.

There is usually a dollop of fresh pineapple puree added to the peanut dipping sauce for Hainanese satay, it added a hint of tanginess though the pineapple taste is not too distinct.

335 Smith Street #02-079 Chinatown Complex Food Centre SINGAPORE 050335
Operating Hours: 12.30 pm to 8.30 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Xiong Kee Roast Meat : cheap and not bad

We were supposed to go for the other stall in another coffee shop on the same block but was attracted by the long queue at this stall so we decided to try it. My dining companion joined the queue and waited for about 15 minutes to order. He ordered Char Siew & Roast Meat Rice for $4.00 and the Roast Duck & Roast Meat Rice for $4.50. He said, "It is less than $10 for all these. So cheap." I first came across Xiong Kee Roast Meat when they opened in a coffee shop at Sin Ming. It did not last for too long, closed down a little while later. A couple that sharing our table also said, "This is so cheap. The portion is a lot." They ordered a plate of Char Siew Rice and a plate of Roast Meat Rice at $3.00 each.

The Roast Meat just happened to be out of the roaster so it still retained its crispiness and it did not compromise its tenderness. My dining companion said, "It is crispy but a little bland and not salty enough." He also said, "The Roast Duck is just so so." I did not like the Char Siew, it was too lean and too tough and I actually left it unfinished. 

The texture of the rice was a little mushy. The radish soup was good though.

Tian Cheng Charcoal Roasted at the other coffee shop in the same block is supposed to be as good. It is highly recommended by a FB friend.

Block 81 Whampoa Drive SINGAPORE 320081

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Hao Hao Noodle House : old school Wanton Mee

This is supposedly a popular stall run by a husband and wife team in this food centre and it happened to be one of the few stalls that were opened on a Monday with a short queue. I decided to join in and ordered a large portion of Wanton Mee for $3.50 with braised chicken feet together with a bowl of Dumpling Soup for $4. I handed over $10 but was told, it is not enough as the total cost is $10.50. I was a little taken aback and did not quite expect the small portion of braised chicken feet to be $3.00. 

I took a mouthful and frowned. My dining companion said, "I will eat it. You can go order the Bak Chor Mee at 黄大福." He said, "I could taste the alkaline taste. The portion of noodles is quite a lot and that might be the likely reason why there is a queue. It did not have much sauce underneath that pile of noodles." He took another mouthful and said, "There is a fragrance of the lard oil."He also said, "The braised chicken feet did not have much flavor and not soft enough." The noodles were cooked well to the desired texture but those pieces of char siew were very lean and tasted a bit too dry. 

The wantons and dumplings were served together in a bowl of soup. Both tasted just fine though not particularly memorable. 

There is another stall serving Wanton Mee in the same food centre and it is supposedly better.

116 Commonwealth Crescent #02-83 Commonwealth Crescent Food Centre SINGAPORE 149644
Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 2.00 pm (Daily)

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Kim's Kueh : traditional Teochew Kueh

This stall is started by Kim, a generation X hawker and there used to be another stall serving traditional Teochew kueh at Jalan Berseh Food Centre by another generation X hawker but it has already closed down. Both stalls cited the same reason for wanting to preserve the recipes handed down by their mother and grandmother for that traditional handmade kueh. Many of such stalls that started by the earlier generation have not been surviving mainly due to there is no one to take over. I usually come here for the traditional Png Kueh ($1.20) and Soon Kueh ($1.20). There are also Gu Chai Kueh ($1.20), Mixed Kueh ($1.20), Cabbage Kueh ($1.20) and Glutinous Rice ($1.50), the pan-fried ones are $0.10 extra per piece. 

While waiting for the order of Fried Hokkien Mee, I ordered one of each to share with my dining companion and bought another 4 more Png Kueh to pan-fry at home. The lady was kind enough to separate the dark sauce and chilli in a saucer when I told her that my dining companion prefers to have it plain. He tried the Png Kueh and said, "The glutinous rice is not as fragrance as I liked it. There is no taste of dried shrimp." I guess the main reason for omitting the dried shrimp is the cost. The price has to be kept affordable to survive in an aging residential estate. 

Block 18 Toa Payoh Lorong 7 #01-232 SINGAPORE 310018
Operating Hours: 7.30 am to 4.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Hokkien Man Hokkien Mee : amongst the best

Xavier Neo, 43, the owner, is a Hokkien man and he started this humble stall serving Fried Hokkien Mee in a coffee shop at Toa Payoh on 10 August 2019. He is running the stall with his wife, Alice Lai, 46. The yellow signboard printed with "Hokkien Man Hokkien Mee" and a portrait of Xavier on it is quite a catchy one. A friend told me about this stall and he urged me to try. I heard about the long waiting time and was a bit reluctant to queue. He sent me a message just a couple of days ago, telling me that the standard dropped a bit and there is no more queue. The waiting time used to be about 1.5 hours during lunch when they just started. 

Xavier was formerly a sous chef of Les Amis, a two-Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant at Shaw Centre and he left in 2007. He also worked with Billy Bombers, White Rabbit, Novus as well as Resorts World Sentosa. Alice used to be an Administration Manager at the National University of Singapore. Xavier went around eating Fried Hokkien Mee from different stalls before coming up with his own recipe. He put in special efforts to source for the ingredients, from the yellow noodles to prawns and squid. Alice acquired the recipe for the chilli from her auntie that used to run a Nasi Lemak stall at Holland Drive and she tweaked it slightly. The prawn stock is made using prawn heads and pork bone then slow-cooked for at least 3 hours. His usual day starts as early as 5 am and ended around 7 pm. 

Alice was at the counter, taking and managing the orders When I was there during lunch on Friday. I asked, "How long is the waiting time?" She replied, "About 15 minutes or so." There are 3 sizes, priced at $5, $6 and the largest portion at $8. I decided to go with the $6 portion and a  handmade wooden number tag is given after paying. The number will be displayed on the electronic number board system when it is ready for collection. Please note that the queue numbers displayed are not in the running sequence. 

I waited for slightly more than 10 minutes before seeing the number flashed to indicate it is ready. It was served on a disposable styrofoam plate with calamansi and sambal chilli at the side. My dining companion tasted the chilli before mixing it into the noodles, he said, "The chilli is quite good, not too spicy and there is a slight hint of sweetness." The well-simmered noodles were cooked in a mixture of lard oil and vegetable oil and it was less oily. 

The texture was not as gooey as compared to the Geylang Lorong 29 Charcoal Fried Hokkien Mee and not much eggy taste. The Fried Hokkien Mee was nicely braised to be slightly wetter, consisting of the yellow noodles and thick bee hoon with ingredients like sliced pork belly, prawns, egg, beansprouts, and chives. My dining companion said, "The flavor of lard oil is there but no wok fragrance though." I think the frying technique is still somehow lacking thus it did not manage to infuse the noodles with the desired smokiness. He also said, "This is definitely better than that Xiao Di Fried Prawn Noodle at Serangoon North." 

I heard that you can call in to order it in advance for taking away as well as dining in. The queue is much shorter now so there is actually no need to place an advance order. Though this is a simple plate of Fried Hokkien Mee, it is a familiar dish that most of us grew up eating. It was overall quite tasty as the prawn broth was noticeably good but it will take a little longer to actually perfect it and it is getting there. It definitely has the potential to be the best. 

Block 18 Toa Payoh Lorong 7 1913 Coffee Shop SINGAPORE 310018
Operating Hours: 10.00 am to 2.30 pm (Closed on Mondays)

UPDATE: They have moved to Block 19 Toa Payoh Lorong 7 #01-264 SINGAPORE 310019 from 19 January 2019.