Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Song Kee Kway Teow Noodle Soup at Toa Payoh

This is one of the other Song Kee on our shore and this particular one is related to the other Song Kee along Upper Serangoon Road and also that one at Thomson Plaza. They are not directly related to the other Song Kee in Joo Chiat and Bishan. There is also another Song Kee in Ang Mo Kio operates by the daughter of Mr Chua Keok Sip, the father of the 3 brothers who run the Song Kee in Joo Chiat and Bishan. 

This particular stall has been around for about 16 years in this food centre. The option on menu is straightforward, the dry one at $3.50 or $4.50 and the soup at $3.50. They used to serve fish dumplings but no longer do so now. I ordered the $4.50 portion, opted to go with kway teow and requested for an extra amount of chilli to be added. It consists of a piece of tau pok stuffed with fish paste, meatball, fishballs, and slices of fishcake.  

Having tried the other Song Kee, I would not consider this is the best amongst of them. The sambal chilli tasted quite familiar and it added flavor when mixed with the nicely cooked kway teow. It is not particularly spicy though, a little oily but still acceptable. I did not find those handmade fishballs to be any special, same with the meatball and stuffed tau pok, it was still quite enjoyable nonetheless.

75 Toa Payoh Lorong 5 #01-20 SINGAPORE 310075
Operating Hours: 10.30 am to 12.00 am (Closed on alternate Wednesdays)

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Ming Nam Pork Ribs Prawn Noodle at Tiong Bahru Food Centre

This stall has been in this food centre for a long while and when Ah Leng, the owner, took over from his father, the business was declining. He participated in the "Buzzing Hawker" (抢摊大行动) series that was aired on Channel 8 years ago. A mentor chef was assigned to help the stall that eventually revived their business and it has been doing well since then. Apparently, most of those stalls that participated in that TV show were already closed and this stall is likely to be the only surviving one. There is usually a queue during lunch. They serve Prawn Noodle ($3.00/$4.00), Pork Ribs Prawn Noodle ($4.50/$5.50) and Pig Tail Soup ($4.00/$5.00). I have been patronizing on quite a regular basis and their standard has been consistent so far. 

There was still a few people in the queue after 2 pm on a weekday. I waited for a few minutes before ordering and I decided to go with the bigger portion of Pork Ribs Prawn Noodle. 

It consists of a good portion of noodles with 3 pieces of prawns as well as pork ribs together with a handful of Kang Kong and bean sprouts then garnished with crispy fried lard. I will usually request for an extra amount to be added and the friendly owner usually obliged. It was served along with a bowl of tasty soup that has a concentrated flavor of prawn. I was amazed that the prawns were de-shelled, left with just the head and the tail parts. Most stalls would not be bothered to do it as it can be quite laborious and definitely time-consuming. The pork ribs were also nicely cooked to the desired tenderness. 

While eating, one of the elderly aunties sharing the table asked, "This looks really good. Which stall did you order it from?" I pointed to the corner and said, "That one, right at the corner". It is not the taste of the noodles but the politeness of the owner that has actually left an impression. He actually made an effort to say "Thank You". That might be one of the likely reasons to keep his customers return. 

30 Seng Poh Road #02-31 Tiong Bahru Food Centre SINGAPORE 168898
Operating Hours: 10.00 am to 3.00 pm / 5.00 pm to 9.30 pm (Closed on Thursdays)

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Lao Li Pig's Viscera Pork Ribs Prawn Noodle

This is one of the popular stalls in this food centre that often has a queue, particularly during lunch. Most of the customers go for their signature Viscera Pork Ribs Prawn Noodle and that is my usual order too. I will go for the large portion at $4.50 and added $1.00 for pork liver. There are also choices to add the small intestines and kidneys as well as meatballs to the noodle. There are fried lard and red-cut chilli available for self-service. 

The noodles were nicely cooked with a handful of bean sprouts and garnished with fried shallots. It did not have much sauce underneath that pile of noodles. The fried lards were a bit too soggy and oily to bring forth the flavor when added to the noodles. 

The lightly flavored soup was served with ingredients like prawns, pork ribs, prawns and a generous amount of pork liver. The ingredients tasted quite fresh.

The pork ribs were cooked to the right texture, soft and not too chewy. 

Those thinly sliced pork liver were slightly undercooked so as not becoming tough when soaked in the hot soup for too long. 

Other than this stall, Teo Kee Mushroom Minced Pork Noodle is another must-try in this food centre that often has a long queue. 

137 Tampines Street 11 #01-43 Tampines Round Market & Food Centre SINGAPORE 
Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 2.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Bang Bang Mushroom Bak Chor Mee at Geylang Bahru Food Centre

There were a few people waited in the queue in front of this stall when I was walking around the food centre on a Sunday looking for a lunch option. I joined in the queue and waited for about 5 minutes before ordering. I decided to go with the Pig's Trotter Minced Meat Noodle listed at item 4 on their menu. I went with the smaller portion at $5 and the larger portion is at $6. 

My order was served in just a while and its presentation looked rather promising. I tossed it well and was eager to have the first mouthful. The noodles were cooked well but it was mild tasting with a slight hint of vinegar. Other than the braised pig's trotter, it was also served with ingredients like sliced fish cake, lean meat, minced meat, meatball, braised mushroom. When I looked closely at those pieces of pig's trotter, there were pesky little hairs on most of part of it. That was quite a turnoff and I left it untouched.  

If I do go back, I would just go for the Mushroom Bak Chor Mee which is supposedly their signature. 

69 Geylang Bahru #01-25 Geylang Bahru Food Centre SINGAPORE 330069
Operating Hours: 6.00 am to 8.00 pm

Friday, March 30, 2018

Chye Kee Cooked Food : Mushroom Shredded Chicken Noodle

This is another popular stall by an elderly couple in this food centre beside the popular Song Kee Fish Ball Noodle. Their signature dish has to be the Mushroom Shredded Chicken Noodle at $3.00 and $3.50. The waiting time could be long as some customers took away a few packets at one go, it is usually longer than the queue at Song Kee Fish Ball Noodle. I decided to go with the bigger portion after queued for so long.

It consists of a good portion of nicely cooked noodles with shredded chicken and braised mushroom. It served along with a bowl of soup that has 6 pieces of handmade dumplings in it. My dining companion was impressed by the dumplings, he said, "This is one of the better ones that I have eaten." He did not find the Mushroom Shredded Chicken Noodle to be spectacularly memorable though. He said, "It was homely but nothing too special."

Block 527 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 #01-122 Cheng San Food Centre SINGAPORE 560527
Operating Hours: 6.30 am to 11.30 am (Closed on Fridays)

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Song Kee Fish Ball Noodle in Ang Mo Kio

This is the other Song Kee Fish Ball Noodle nestled in the food centre just a stone's throw from the Ang Mo Kio MRT station. I was told that it is manned by a relative, the stall started quite early and usually sold out before 10.00 am as it happened a few times when I was there late. There is always a queue right at the stall but it moves pretty quickly and so the waiting time is usually a short one. 

There are the $4.00 and the $5.00 portion available. When it was my turn to order, I asked, "Only the $5.00 came with the fish dumpling?" The friendly auntie replied, "No. The $4 is already served with fish dumpling and the $5 portion has extra fishballs." I decided to go with kway teow dry at $4 and requested for extra chilli to go with it. 

The star has to be that only piece of fish dumpling. My dining companion felt that it is not as good as the one from the other Song Kee in Bishan. The skin of this fish dumpling is slightly thicker and chewier. The tau pok with fish paste, fish balls, and meatballs were pretty average though. The chilli was nice and not too spicy, it complemented the kway teow nicely. 

It served along with a bowl of lightly flavored soup and fresh-cut red chilli.

527 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 #01-123 Cheng San Food Centre SINGAPORE 560527
Operating Hours: 6.30 am to 12.00 pm (Closed on Thursdays)

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Fat Monkeys : deep-fried Burger, worth a try

This Western food stall that started in November 2017 is located in the same coffee shop with the famous Punggol Nasi Lemak along Upper Serangoon Road. The stall was closed when I reached at 5 pm though it is stated on their Facebook page that they start at that time. Then, I checked with the Uncle at the drink stall and I asked, "Do you know whether that Western food stall is opening today?" Uncle replied, "Fat Monkeys ah? they usually start at 5.30 pm." If it is so then why they did not update it on their Facebook?

I came back at 5.30 pm and they were still not ready. I asked, "Are you opening anytime soon?". The tall chap nodded. I stood in front of the stall and waited for another 5 minutes or so and they were still not ready. I waited for another couple of minutes before the same chap asked me, "What would be your order?" which I replied, "The Da Bomb and Fried Mac & Cheese." He asked, "For the Da Bomb, chicken or beef?" I decided to go with the beef. He said, "You need to wait for at least 20 minutes." I was given a buzzer after paying up and it buzzed in about 15 minutes. The Da Bomb was ready first and I waited for another 5 minutes or so for the Fried Mac & Cheese. 

The Da Bomb ($13.90) is a deep-fried burger served with shoe-string fries and salad. When I read about this deep-fried burger, I was expecting a typical burger, battered then deep-fried but it is not so. In fact, it is more like a pastry that consists of a thick patty with bacon strips and cheddar cheese with BBQ sauce. Though gimmicky, it was nicer than expected. 

The Fried Mac & Cheese ($4.00) came in 2 pieces, nicely breaded then deep-fried in the shape of a ball that closely resembled the usual fried mashed potato ball. When collected and walked past the drink stall, the friendly uncle asked, "How much is it?" I said, "$4.00 for 2" and he replied, "That's quite cheap as they are quite big." My dining companion commented that it was a bit too saltish and it did not have much cheese flavor though it seemed there was quite a generous bit of cheese in it. 

While eating, my dining companion asked, "It stated on their signboard that the stall is established by two pui puis (fat people) but the 2 guys at the stall are not fat enough to be called pui pui." And, I could not help but laugh out loud. 

Overall, the food was not too bad but the service could be friendlier though.

965 Upper Serangoon Road SINGAPORE 534721
Operating Hours: 5.00 pm to 12.00 am (Sun, Tue to Thu) / 5.00 pm to 2.00 am (Fri & Sat) 
(Closed on Mondays)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Simon Road Fried Oyster : Lost & Found

This stall has been around for more than 30 years, they started in this coffee shop at the corner of Simon Road before moving to the coffee shop next to it when this coffee shop was undergoing renovation. Mr Lim Seng Hong that started this famous hawker stall has passed away during the Chinese New Year in 2017. Mr Lim Poh Pin, 46, his son, has taken over the stall and he restarted it at the same coffee shop where they first started. He did not get to cook much when his father was still around though he has been helping out since he was 18 years old. His father insisted on doing the cooking himself and leaving him to serve the customers.

Mr Lim looked up while cooking when I was there to order. He said, "Order here and paid first, it will be served to your table." I decided to go with the $8 portion, there are also the $6 and $10 available. He has also included Fried Kway Teow for $4 and $5 as well as Fried Carrot Cake for $3, $4 and $5 on the menu.

It tasted quite familiar, the eggs and starch were evenly crisp and the oysters were quite fresh but missing the smoky flavor. It was not bad, though not quite on par with the standard of his father yet, it is definitely getting there. Nonetheless, it is still amongst one of the better ones around. 

When walking past him when leaving the coffee shop, I said, "好吃 ." He smiled.

941 Upper Serangoon Road SINGAPORE 534709
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 9.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

王老五 Chicken King at Jalan Batu Food Centre

While waiting to order at Belirub, we walked around and looking for something else to eat first at this quiet food centre in Mountbatten. And, we took notice of this stall as it has a catching stall name. The meaning of 王老五 in English is "Bachelor", which means "a man who is not and has never married" and that followed by "Chicken King" right after. They must be of a certain standard to have that kind of confidence to declare themselves as "Chicken King". The stall is located at the corner of the first row and this seemed to be a popular stall as most tables around there have ordered from them. They are supposed to be famous for their chicken rice though there are also duck, char siew and sio bak on their menu. There was another customer in front of me at that time. I decided to go with a quarter of the roasted chicken with rice and old cucumber pork ribs soup. And, I paid $13.50 in total. 

The old cucumber pork ribs soup was intensely flavored and rather comforting. It is of pretty good value for just $3.50 with generous pieces of old cucumber and pork ribs in it. This is something that is worth going back for.

The quarter chicken was in quite a big portion but the taste somehow just did not manage to leave an impression. Though the stall name is Chicken King, its taste is still far to be stood out amongst the other chicken rice stalls to be called the king.

The rice was nicely cooked to a grainy texture, not too greasy and rather flavorful. The chilli did not taste too memorable so much so that I have forgotten how it actually tastes. This stall is worth the try if you happen to be here and is looking for a filling lunch.

4A Jalan Batu #01-28 Jalan Batu Food Centre SINGAPORE 432004
Operating Hours: 8.00 am to 10.00 pm (Daily)

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Hock Lam Street Popular Beef Kway Teow

This beef kway teow originated from Hock Lam Street and it has a long history. It has indicated on their signboard that they have been around since 1921. They are still using the century-old recipe to serve the Teochew style beef kway teow. It is still a well-known name after all these years though they were at a few different places before resurfacing at this food centre.

I asked, "So, this is the original beef kway teow from the Hock Lam Street?" The auntie replied, "This is the one." I added, "How about the other stall at Far East Square?" She said, "My niece used to run that outlet but it has closed down last year." She continued to say, "She learned from us too." I asked, "Who is that elderly Uncle that was pictured at this stall?" She replied, "He is my husband."

After considering those choices, I said, "I only want sliced beef and meatballs." She asked, "What type of noodles? $5 or the $6?" and she continued, "The $6 will come with more ingredients." There are chilli and chincalok available for self-service at the counter. I asked, "Should I add the chincalok to the chilli sauce?" She answered, "Most people do that but some prefer to have it separately."

It consists of a good portion of thick bee hoon with slices of beef and meatballs, garnished with chopped coriander and grounded peanuts. It did not have salted vegetables though. Those sliced beef were too thinly sliced and those meatballs were just average tasting. The gravy was not as thick and starchy. Somehow, I did not like it as much. 

51 Old Airport Road #01-22 Old Airport Road Food Centre SINGAPORE 390051
Operating Hours: 10.30 am to 8.30 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Monday, March 12, 2018

Belirub : the Cordon Bleu hawker

Vincent Terence Tan, 58, the owner, his stall was featured in the latest series of "Buzzing Hawker" just recently under the mentorship of chef Petrina Loh from Morsels. He was a Software Engineer stationed in Houston, Texas before deciding to spend USD $100,000 to pursue a degree at the Le Cordon Bleu at the age of 40. He started working as a chef in some hotels when he came back from the States in 2008. And he started this hawker stall thereafter but this journey has been a hard dream so far. 

I was there at about 2.15 pm on a Sunday and there was a short queue at the stall. Vincent was there all alone. He has to handle everything, from taking orders, answering queries, cooking and serving it. He used to sell in between 15 to 20 plates for an average day before participating in the "Buzzing Hawker" programme. And, he did not earn enough to pay for the operating costs and he eventually run out of funds.

He greeted me with a smile when he finally noticed me. I said, "Hi, Vincent."  I pointed to the picture of Chincalok Wooster Grilled Chicken on the signboard and said, "I like to order this and also the Maryland Chicken." He said, "I am quite busy now. Would you mind to come back a little later?" I asked, "What time should I come back then?" He replied, "Maybe 20 minutes or maybe 30 minutes would be better." He was quite soft spoken and I did not quite get what he said. I went back close to 3.00 pm and there were still some customers waiting for their orders. When he saw me seated at the table in front of his stall, he said, "Next will be your orders, the last ones." He off the light of his signboard right after that.

I asked, "Closing for the day?" He said, "I am very tired now." I asked, "The business is getting better?" Vincent replied, "Just slightly." He sighed a little. He said, "Now, I have to prepare 2 different types of coleslaw. I already have my type of coleslaw but I have to prepare a different one for the new recipe." I asked, "Would you be able to substitute it with your type of coleslaw?" He replied, "No. I don't think so." And, I asked, "Would they actually check on you?" He said, "Quite likely".

I pointed to the vacant stall directly opposite his stall and said, "Your direct competitor, The Spaghetti Shop, has already closed now?" He nodded and said, "I have been doing it for 5 years." I replied, "I have not heard about your stall so far. This is a quiet food centre in an equally quiet estate." He said, "Most of the customers are regulars and they are the ones that keep this stall going." While waiting for the orders to be ready, I counted the used plates that were placed in a plastic container beside his stall, there were about 20 plates in there. When I collected my orders, I said, "All the best." He smiled and said, "Thank you."

My dining companion ordered the Maryland Chicken, it consists 2 pieces of deep-fried breaded chicken cutlets, served with fries and a vegetable side that was supposed to be served hot but it was at room temperature. He said, "It tasted just like the usual chicken cutlets that are available at most Western food stalls." He enjoyed those chunks of carrots and bits of sweet corn with pieces of cauliflower drenched in a sauce. He said, "It tasted just like those cream soups and it is nice."

Chincalok Wooster Grilled Chicken is done using the new recipe created by chef Petrina Loh. The chicken is marinated in chincalok and Kea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce together with onion, garlic, and olive oil. The marinade is also used as the sauce to serve along with the chicken chop. In this instance, I could hardly taste the chincalok in it. The chicken chop did not have much flavor and the skin was torn a little, with a slightly burnt taste. I urged my dining companion to try and he shared the same opinion. We also thought that the chicken was quite a small piece thus not too fulling.

Turmeric is used as part of the seasoning for the coleslaw which I did not like it as much. Those turmeric infused shredded cabbages were not as crunchy and a little overpowering in taste. I just took a bite and left the rest unfinished. My dining companion felt that those baked potatoes were quite nice.

He is a Cordon Bleu-trained chef and he has the abilities to execute these dishes well but somehow it just did happen this time. He is a really nice chap nonetheless and he deserved a chance to do well at this stall. I might just go back after the hype dies down.

4A Jalan Batu #01-12 Jalan Batu Food Centre SINGAPORE 432004
Operating Hours: 11.45 am to 8.30 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Friday, March 9, 2018

Roast Paradise in Ang Mo Kio

This is the other outlet of Roast Paradise that started at Old Airport Road Food Centre. This stall is located in a coffee shop just a stone's throw away from the Ang Mo Kio MRT Station and directly opposite Cheng San Market & Food Centre. It is at the same coffee shop with the Soon Kee Boneless Braised Duck that moved from the already demolished Long House along Thomson Road. 

Unlike their stall at Old Airport Road, the queue is usually much shorter here. I was there on a Sunday, the light of their signboard was turned off and I thought they have already closed but it came on about 15 minutes later. I asked, "Are you serving now?" The young chap manning the register replied, "We are opened." I decided to go with the Char Siew & Sio Bak Rice for $4.00. He asked, "Do you want gravy over your rice?" I nodded. 

I shared it with my dining companion, he said, "The sio bak is still not too impressive." We felt the same when we tasted it for the first time at their other outlet. The pork though well-marinated but the skin was a bit soggy, not as crispy as I liked it to be. The char siew was still good though, it was chopped into thick slices, slightly charred and nicely caramelized to give it a slight sweetness. It is still one of the better ones around. 

It was served along with a bowl of tasty soup that has bits of meat and pieces of cabbage in it.

531 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 SINGAPORE 560531
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 4.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)