Sunday, July 14, 2019

Carrot Cake : the $2 fried carrot cake

This carrot cake stall was once the talk of the town for its $2 carrot cake. It has been in this quiet coffee shop for the longest time, manned by a middle-aged auntie, not the elderly auntie that was earlier spotted. Apparently, one of her reasons for keeping its price at $2 is there are many elderly folks living in this estate so it has to be affordable. Though the portion is smaller but good enough for its price. How many of such honest hawkers are still around? 

I added the black and the white to share with my dining companion. My auntie asked for my table number and she sent it over in just 5 minutes. My dining companion took a mouthful of the white carrot cake and said, "It tasted alright, tasty enough and good for $2." Those pieces of carrot cake were pan-fried for a slightly crisp texture before adding in the egg to fry together and added chopped spring onion when it was ready. 

The black one was pan-fried before adding in the egg then the sweet dark sauce and also topped with chopped spring onion. I tried both and actually prefer the white a little more. I came to take away a packet just other day and requested for extra chilli to be added, it was nice. 

Though it might not be one of the best, it is cheap and simple. Where else to get a plate of carrot cake for just $2? The popiah stall next to it is also owned by the same owner. 

Block 133 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 SINGAPORE 560133

Friday, July 12, 2019

Tony Cafe : fried chicken wings are just so so

My dining companion sent me a picture of the fried chicken wings rice from Tony Cafe just other day accompanied by texts stating, "I still prefer those from Victor's Chicken and the rice was mushy" and "You are not missing out".  Tony Cafe has been around since 2002, hidden at the quiet corner of The Adelphi at level 2. Shirley, the owner, took over the cafe about 19 years ago. She used to be working in the same building and got the news that the owner was letting go of the cafe and she decided to take over. 

The chicken wings are only available on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, it is based on the same recipe as the now-defunct Corona Chicken. They serve meatball on Tuesdays and Hainanese pork chop on Thursdays. I did not see the chicken wings when I was there at 10.40 am so I asked, "Do you have chicken wings today?" The lady replied, "Yes." I added, "I am here especially for your chicken wings." There was no reply nor a smile so I did not take the conversation further. 

I decided to go with chicken rice though plain rice is available too and I added a fried egg with a portion of stir-fried brinjal for $4.80. The chicken wings were coated in a layer of light batter and beautifully fried to a golden brown. When tasted, though crispy but it was quite oily and also, it did not have much flavor. In my humble opinion, it is not as good as Victor Famous Chicken Wing and Hainanese Chicken Rice in a coffee shop at Veerasamy Road. I was expecting the standard of those chicken wings to be better thus feeling disappointed. Martin, a friend on Facebook went to Tony Cafe for their chicken wings just last week. He commented that it was very good, crispy and flavorful. He felt that it was slightly better than Victor's. The rice was not mushy as mentioned by my dining companion, the flavor was light and not greasy.

The queue started to form after 11.00 am and getting longer when I was leaving. 

1 Coleman Street #02-23 The Adelphi SINGAPORE 1798903
Operating Hours: 8.00 am to 8.00 pm (Mon to Fri) / 8.00 am to 5.00 pm (Sat) (Closed on Sundays)

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Ah Lim : Mee Poh . Noodle Soup . Dumpling Soup

This stall is in the coffee shop at the junction of Jalan Tua Kong, along the East Coast Road is by the disciple from the original stall. The original Ah Lim is at Marine Parade, the stall is taken over by the son as the elderly Uncle has retired. There is a stall in the coffee shop at the corner of Simpang Bedok by the former helper and there is also a shop directly opposite, near the coffee shop, there are also other stalls in other parts of Singapore that has "Ah Lim" as part of their signboard. It is difficult to really tell whether are they actually related and the authenticity of the recipe used. 

I was there after 2 pm but the coffee shop was still crowded with most of the tables occupied. When ordering, I was told that the waiting time is quite long. I ordered the smallest portion of mee pok for $4. The auntie asked me for the table number and collected the payment. I waited for about 20 minutes before receiving it. 

It consists of a good portion of nicely cooked mee pok with fishballs, minced meat, slices of fish cake and lean meat. My dining companion said, "This is not bad but not the best that I have eaten." 

My dining companion said, "Do you know why I know this is a popular stall?" He pointed to those wooden clippers at the stall and said, "When you see those, that is a good sight." Though not too common, you still get to see those clippers at most of the Ah Lim's stalls. You do not see it often these days but it used to be a common practice at some of those older hawker stalls. My great grandfather used to run a noodle stall at Chia Keng as told by my Grandpa.

15 Upper East Coast Road SINGAPORE 455207
Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 5.00 pm (Daily)

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Yue Lai Xiang Delights at Sin Ming

Joy Yeo, 40, the owner, used to be working as a marketing specialist in printing house before started a hawker stall to serve Hakka style handmade noodle dishes. She first started in a food centre at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 then moved to Jurong West Hawker Centre for a short while before moving to Sin Ming AutoCity then to Block 22 Sin Ming Road recently. Jessie Lee, 62, her mother is helping out at the stall, too.

Their handmade noodles are different, other than the original noodles, there is also the flavored noddles in 4 different colors for different flavors, starting from blue pea, beetroot, spinach, and pumpkin for the ban mian, you mian and mee hoon kueh. Those doughs are made fresh daily. Everything is made from scratch there based on her recipes, from the noodles to the soup base after experimented with various ingredients. I ordered the blue pea mee hoon kueh and beetroot mee hoon kueh, $4.50 for soup and $5.50 for dry with the standard broth. There is also the Premium bowl, it is $7 for original noodles and $8 for flavored noodles.

I tried the blue pea mee hoon kueh first, it did not seem to have much flavor though the texture is slightly softer and smoother. It was served with crispy ikan bilis, sliced pork, minced pork, poached egg, and sayur mani greens, topped with the dried shallots. My dining companion agreed that those pieces of mee hoon kueh did not have a distinctive flavor. The house-made chilli sauce that made of chilli padi, lime juice, vinegar, and minced garlic is a good dipping sauce.  

The broth is made up of dried sole fish, pork bones, sweet corn, ikan bilis and garlic without artificial flavoring and MSG. Those pieces of mee hoon kueh were hand-torn upon receiving orders. 

Then, I tried the beetroot mee hoon kueh, mixed it well with the sauce underneath. I could not taste any distinctive taste as well but it was cooked to al-dente for a slightly firmer texture as compared to the blue pea mee hoon kueh. The sambal chilli enhanced it with a richer and spicier flavor though not overly so. I prefer the dry version, the colored mee hoon kueh lends a lovely pinkish hue to the soup. 

It tasted simple with a homecooked feel. I would not mind eating again if I happen to be in the vicinity. 

Block 22 Sin Ming Road #01-224 Food Trail SINGAPORE 570022
Operating Hours: 7.30 am to 4.30 pm (Daily)

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Geylang Lorong 29 Charcoal Fried Hokkien Mee at East Coast

This stall is located in a coffee shop along East Coast Road, their Fried Hokkien Mee is amongst one of the most recommended choices.  The menu also includes Fried Carrot Cake, Fried Oyster, and Fried Oyster Omelette. I was there for the first time on a Sunday for lunch. Despite the name, this stall is not originally from Geylang Lorong 29 even though the father of Alex See, the owner, started Swee Guan Hokkien Mee at Geylang Lorong 29 and is currently manned by his brothers.

There are 4 sizes for the Fried Hokkien Mee, the smallest portion at $6, followed by $10, $15 and $20. I ordered the smallest portion to share with my dining companion, it was delivered to our table within 5 minutes.

I squeezed the lime then mixed it well with the sambal chilli before partaking the first mouthful and I actually enjoyed it. The texture was gooey, moist and quite flavorful with ingredients like prawns, squid, and egg, fried well with a mixture of yellow noodles and thick bee hoon, accompanied by their homemade chilli. I did not exactly taste the wok flavor amidst it though. This was my first time eating it and it was good but I was told that their standard can be quite inconsistent. 

If I am to base on this particular experience to do a comparison, I would prefer this to the Fried Hokkien Mee by Swee Guan Hokkien Mee as the last experience there was not quite a memorable one. I remembered that the waiting time was quite long, the texture of their noodles was slightly drier with an unpleasant charcoal taste and I did not manage to finish it.

396E East Coast Road SINGAPORE 428994
Operating Hours: 11.45 am to 9.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Cheng Ji : Pork Trotter Bee Hoon

I have heard of the Pork Trotter Bee Hoon from this humble stall manned by a middle-aged lady all by herself and how good it is. I came with my dining companion for lunch on a rainy day. There was just another customer at this stall. I decided to have the Pork Trotter Bee Hoon, it is known as Pork Leg Bee Hoon there, there are choices of $5, $8 and $12 and I went with the smallest portion. I also ordered the smallest portion of Fried Kway Teow for $3, there are $4 and $6. I was asked to come back later to collect. Both were ready when I came back about minutes later. 

My dining companion took a mouthful and said, "It tasted exactly like what you cooked at home." He added, "It is not common to find this dish at hawker stall though and for those that do not cook, this is a rare find." 

This is a homely dish, it has been a childhood favorite and always is a simple pleasure. The familiar taste is quite comforting. The main ingredients are simply the canned pork trotter, bee hoon, and bean sprouts with a handful of greens. It is definitely more economical to cook this dish at home. I usually get the Narcissus brand of canned pig trotter for about $3.50 and a packet of mee hoon is about $1.50, serve it with belachan chilli. 

The Fried Kway Teow was quite disappointing, it was slightly dry with no hint of wok flavor. It tasted like the economical Kway Teow Mee available at those stalls serving breakfast. 

2 Adam Road #01-24 Adam Road Food Centre SINGAPORE 289877
Operating Hours: 9.30 am to 10.00 pm (Daily)

Friday, June 28, 2019

M Chicken Rice : not since 1971

The stall is started by Patrick Lee together with Freddie, his brother, and William Xavier, a local radio DJ in December 2018. I was told that Raymond Kiang, the son of Sergeant Kiang, is one of the partners too but he is currently working in Indonesia. Sergeant Kiang is not in charge of the stall though they are using his recipe. Sergeant Kiang was amongst the pioneer batch of chefs behind the Chatterbox Chicken Rice at Mandarin Hotel in Orchard Road in 1971. It is located in the coffee shop near the junction of East Coast Road and Telok Kurau Road. There is an indication on their logo that M Chicken Rice has been around since 1971 which is not quite convincing though the recipe that they have been using existed since then.

There was a guy donned a white chef jacket sitting beside the stall. He stood up when there was a customer wanted to order. He took the order but there was an older guy doing the chopping and serving it. I decided to follow the customer before me to order the combination of roasted and white chicken with rice for $6.50, an additional $2.

My dining companion was the one that introduced me to Sergeant Chicken Rice when it was still at Chevron in Jurong before Food Republic acquired it. Sergeant Kiang is currently managing Chicky Fun, there are outlets in most of the food courts by Kopitiam. He said, "The chicken rice did not remind me of the then chicken rice from Sergeant Chicken Rice."

I believe the recipe has tweaked as it tasted different, they might have toned down the level of spiciness of their chilli a little. My dining companion commented that their ginger sauce was a little runny on that day. Somehow, the roasted chicken just did not taste as good, not even comparable to the Chicky Fun in Bagus at Northpoint City which I have been eating quite regularly. It was slightly dry and not as flavorful. The white chicken was much better though, tender and more favor.

The pricing is relatively reasonable for a decent tasting chicken rice but more efforts have to be put in to improve it. There is also a branch in the staff canteen at Panasonic building.

396 Upper East Coast Road SINGAPORE 466481
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 10.00 pm

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Chendol Melaka : probably the best Chendol in the east

When I posted a picture of the popular Old Amoy Chendol on Facebook, a friend commented that his preferred choice for Chendol is in a popular coffee shop at the junction of Jalan Tua Kong, along East Coast Road. This humble looking stall is serving Nasi Ulam and Chendol only. There are choices of Chendol ($2.30) and XO Durian Chendol ($3.30), Nasi Ulam is priced at $5.30. I decided to go with Chendol and while waiting, I said, "My friend told me about your Chendol and he said, it is the best Chendol in Singapore. The Chinese owner replied, "OK only. There are better ones than mines." He asked, "This is your first time having it?" I nodded. He said, "Welcome to Siglap." 

I shared it with my dining companion. He enjoyed it, he does not usually eat Chendol as he is not a fan of Gula Melaka. He said, "The taste of Gula Melaka is not overwhelming and it also has the right level of sweetness."

This Chendol is probably the best in the east, it is excellent and not too sweet, those chendol stripes are handmade with a distinct pandan taste and those red beans are at just the right softness, the fresh coconut milk has the desired creaminess. 

We decided to order another one to share. My dining companion went to order but he came back telling me that the owner will deliver it as there were 2 other customers waiting for their orders. The friendly owner delivered the Chendol to our table in about 5 minutes. I said, "We liked it so much to order another one." He asked, "Would there be the 3rd bowl?" 

I will come by next time to try the Nasi Ulam together with the Chendol. Nasi Ulam is a traditional dish of steamed rice dish mixed with various herbs that usually serve during the special occasions in most Peranakan households. It is usually sold out quite early.

15 Upper East Coast Road Soy Eu Tua Coffee Shop SINGAPORE 455207
Operating Hours: 10.00 am to 5.00 pm (Tue to Fri) / 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (Sat & Sun)

Monday, June 24, 2019

Nan Xiang Chicken Rice : personal touch makes memorable

This is another popular chicken rice stall apart from Loy Kee Chicken Rice in this food centre. There was just another customer in front of me and she ordered half a chicken to be taken away. Nancy Lim, the lady boss was giving her specific instructions on keeping the chicken for dinner. I ordered the chicken drumstick with a braised egg and rice for $4.50 if I remember correctly. The lady boss behind the chopping board was extremely friendly, she greeted me with a smile followed by thank you when I was picking up the tray. While queuing, I noticed that 陈澍城, the veteran actor was there, eating their chicken rice. He walked towards the stall when he finished eating and bidding goodbye to the lady boss.

The chicken was nicely deboned and served in a pool of sauce together with the braised egg on a plate, serving along with a good portion of rice was given. The chicken was moist and flavorful but the rice was slightly too dry to my liking. The chilli and ginger sauce complemented the chicken well.

I do not think this is amongst the best chicken rice that I had eaten but sometimes, it is not so much about food but the personal touch, which often left a deep impression. 

Block 90 Whampoa Drive #01-21 Whampoa Food Centre SINGAPORE 320090
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 10.00 pm (Daily)

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Big Boys Western Sizzling Hotplate : so so Western food

This Western food stall is started by an ex-chef from The Ritz Carlton in the food centre at Beauty World Plaza that opened on 8 December 2018. I have been waiting for the hype to die down before trying it. We decided to go for lunch on a Friday. We were there at about 1pm. There were some customers waiting to collect their orders at their stall. I asked, "Do I need to join the queue to order?" The friendly chap replied, "We are not taking orders now as the waiting time is about 1 hour 30 minutes." We went to eat Soya Sauce Chicken Noodle and Wanton Soup from Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Noodle Rice while waiting. My dining companion went back about 30 minutes later and he managed to order the CornFlake Chicken ($7.50) and Grilled Chicken Steak ($6.90). Each main is accompanied with a choice of side, the selection includes fries, rice or pasta. There is also black pepper and mushroom sauce to choose. A buzzer was given for collection and it buzzed in 10 minutes. It looked exactly like those not quite appetizing pictures that were circulating on social media. 

The CornFlake Chicken is one of their signature dishes and probably one of the most popular choices. The size was much smaller, not as massive as shown in those pictures on social media. My dining companion took a bite and said, "It actually tasted better than its look, even so, it is just average tasting." He added, "The texture of the fried chicken was nice but not much flavor." The fried chicken was coated with a layer of batter added with cornflakes and deep-fried to the desired crispiness, though special but not quite memorable. The turmeric rice was served with black pepper sauce, I neither love or hate it.

This is amongst one of the worst chicken chop that I had eaten. It was served sizzling hot on the hotplate but it had not been char-grilled long enough to char it and to allow the smoky flavor to be infused, it tasted quite bland with soggy skin. That might be the likely reason why it was served so fast? It tasted quite mediocre, just like those from the usual Western food stalls. The mushroom sauce was a little runny with not much flavor. My dining companion said, "I like the fries though, it is quite crispy." Those fries were coated with a layer of batter before deep-frying for a crispier texture.

My dining companion said, "The only thing that reminded me of The Ritz Carlton is the level of service. The chef is quite friendly though and he even made an effort to apologize for keeping me waiting for the food. I had recently dined at Colony, a cafe in The Ritz Carlton and its attentive service is part of the memorable experiences."

I did not like both dishes, in fact, it is as disappointing as Chef Choo's Signature at Golden Mile Food Centre that I have tried recently. 

144 Upper Bukit Timah Road #04-25 Beauty World Centre SINGAPORE 588177
Operating Hours: 11.30 am to 8.30 pm (Daily)

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

No Signboard Braised Duck . Rice . Noodle . Porridge

It was sold out when I was there about a week ago so when I returned to this food centre on a Sunday, this was the first stall that we went to queue. This is amongst the popular stalls in this quiet food centre. It was one of those stalls that were from the now-defunct Margaret Drive Food Centre, serving traditional braised duck. The elderly uncle is behind the chopping board and the auntie is taking the orders, collecting payments and serving it.

I decided to have dry kway teow with a portion of duck meat and added braised intestine to go along.  Many of their customers added the braised intestine too so I am expecting it to be of a certain standard. I waited for about 10 minutes to order and a few more minutes before receiving it. Everything was sold out right after.

My dining companion tried the duck meat, he said, "It is good though not really the best that I have eaten. I still very much prefer the braised duck from Hup Kee Duck Rice at Sin Ming." And, I agreed. It was not as flavorful as I expected it to be and it will be nicer if the texture is slightly softer. Those braised intestines were done just right but still not as good as those from Lau San Kway Chap in Ang Mo Kio. 

I enjoyed the dry kway teow though, it is something that I used to eat with my late Grandpa. It was served with braising sauce and a handful of bean sprouts. I started by giving it a good mix. The braising sauce was a little saltier but acceptable. The bowl of soup that came along has got a rather light herbal flavor. 

I might just eat it again only if there is no queue.

159 Mei Chin Road #02-04 Mei Ling Food Centre SINGAPORE 140159
Operating Hours: 10.00 am to 2.00 pm

Monday, June 10, 2019

Hong Kee Porridge : the homely taste

This is a popular porridge stall in this food centre and they used to serve raw fish but have since stopped. There are choices of Pork Porridge, Century Egg Porridge, Cuttlefish Porridge, Fish Porridge, and Fish Head Porridge at just $3. There were another 2 customers waiting for their takeaway orders and I stood there, waiting to order. The uncle looked up in the midst of cooking at my direction. I told him that I would want to order Pork Porridge, he nodded and asked for my table number, they still deliver it right to the table. 

I waited for about 10 minutes before receiving it, it was served along a saucer of cut chilli. The texture of porridge was smooth with minced pork, sliced pork and liver, garnished with chopped spring onion and a dash of white pepper for a light flavor. It was good though still not comparable to what I had eaten in Hong Kong.

My dining companion took a mouthful and he said it tasted better than the chicken rice and carrot cake that we also ordered. I enjoyed that homely taste, it is a good choice for breakfast or a light lunch. 

31 Commonwealth Crescent #02-83 Commonwealth Crescent Food Centre SINGAPORE 149644
Operating Hours: 6.30 am to 5.00 pm (Daily)