Saturday, May 19, 2018

Wild Olives : Lost & Found

They used to be at Staff Canteen at Changi Airport Terminal 2, they were around for quite a while then it closed down before resurfacing at the newly opened Pasir Ris Hawker Centre. This was the only stall that got a queue when I was there for lunch and there were at least 15 people in the queue. 

Grilled Chicken ($5.90) is their popular choice as most of the customers ordered it. It is served with a choice of 2 side dishes. The recommended side dishes to go with it are their Signature Mushroom Rice and Grilled Herb Potatoes, the other choices are Seasonal Vegetable, Homemade Coleslaw, Garden Green Salad, Whipped Potatoes and Thick Cut Fries. I decided to go with the Chilled Chicken and opted to have the Signature Mushroom Rice and Grilled Herb Potatoes. I was given the option to choose between the mushroom and teriyaki sauce, I decided on mushroom sauce. I also ordered their Homemade Meatballs with Marinara Sauce ($5.80). There is also an option to add the soup of the day for just $1.

The nicely presented Grilled Chicken came in a massive portion, the chicken chop was quite a big piece with the generous serving of side dishes, really good value. The price itself is cheaper than most of the Western hawker food stalls. The chicken was nicely charred to bring forth a smoky flavor, it was moist and tender within though the meat was slightly underseasoned. 

The Mushroom Rice has somewhat reminded me of the traditional glutinous rice, there was a certain similarity in taste. It was served using the normal rice mixed with caramelized onions and slices of mushroom. This was my first time came across such a side dish and was quite impressed. The Grilled Herb Potatoes were in chunky pieces serving with caramelized onions and sprinkled with chopped parsley. It tasted a little like honey-soy sauce, a mixture of sweet and savory flavor. 

The Homemade Meatballs with Marinara Sauce was a good side dish to be shared. My dining companion commented that the texture of the mild-flavored meatballs was quite good though the sauce was just average.

110 Pasir Ris Central #02-19 Pasir Ris Hawker Centre SINGAPORE 519641
Operating Hours: 12.00 pm to 3.30 pm / 5.00 pm to 8.00 pm (Closed on Tuesdays)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Wang Thai Kitchen at Toa Payoh Lorong 4

Chef Ivan Then is the Singaporean chef cum owner behind this no-frills Thai eatery nestled amongst the HBD Blocks at Toa Payoh Lorong 4, near to the famous Lee Fun Nam Kee. He started it from a stall in a coffee shop before moving to the current location in 2010. Some of the signature items are Thai Kway Chap Soup with Roasted Pork, Pad Thai, Pandan Chicken, Tom Yum Soup, Deep Fried Chicken with Garlic, Pineapple Fried Rice and more. 

I was there at about 1.00 pm and there were just 2 other tables occupied by some office workers. I went to the counter to order. I decided to go with the Tom Yum Set Meal at $15.00 for 1 pax. It consists of Seafood Tom Yum, Onion Omelette with rice and Lime Juice. The lady at the counter was attentive and polite which has left quite an impression.

The Lime Juice was served first then followed by the Seafood Tom Yum and the Onion Omelette with rice. The Seafood Tom Yum was served clear, tasted lightly sourish but not spicy. It was served with fresh ingredients like prawns, sliced fish and different types of mushroom. 

The Onion Omelette was nicely done, it consists of the red and white onions together with chopped spring onions. It was light and fluffy in texture. 

This set is priced at $15 and it is slightly pricey, it would be reasonable if it is about $10 or less for this comforting fare. 

Block 92 Toa Payoh Lorong 4 #01-274 SINGAPORE 310092
Operating Hours: 11.30 am to 2.30 pm / 5.00 pm to 9.30 pm (Closed on Thursdays)

Monday, May 14, 2018

Fried Carrot Cake : the old-school taste

The stall has no name, it only has "Fried Carrot Cake" on the signboard and the stall owner is a friendly Uncle. He started helping his father since young before eventually took over the stall from him. He is still making the carrot cake though no longer using the wood fire but gas to steam them. Though there is a difference in taste and texture, however, the standard is still well up kept and not changed since yesteryear. The secret to a good carrot cake is none other than the control of the proportion of water and temperature. When it is cut, the texture is firm and not mushy with a fragrance of radish, soft and bouncy, not sticky. The fried garlic is also painstakingly handmade.

There is the selection of white and black carrot cake for $3.00, $3.50 and $4.00. I decided to go with the black version at $3.50 and requested to have it with extra chilli. While waiting for my order, I said, "This is my first time that came across your stall in operation and I have been here on a regular basis." He said, "I usually closed early during the weekdays. It is always quiet after the morning in this food centre but I will open for longer hours during the weekends." While cooking, the Uncle asked, "with extra chilli?" I nodded then asked, "Is it going to be very spicy?" He answered, "I would think so." And, I said, "In this case, just go easy with the chilli." Uncle replied, "I have been here for 35 years and you have not eaten before?" I smiled and nodded my head again. I asked, "Most of your customers are regular?" Uncle smiled and said, "Mostly". 

The handmade carrot cake was poured into the big frying pan from the metal tin. The Uncle quickly smashed it up using the spatula and spread it out evenly to lightly charred those small pieces of carrot cake before added in the beaten egg. It was then served on a disposable plate with a plastic fork. The first mouthful was delightful, it was soft and not greasy, with a well-balanced of sweetness and saltiness as well as a slight eggy flavor. It did not even serve with the chopped spring onions like the others out there. It is served the traditional way, the same way that it has been served since decades ago.

590 Upper Thomson Road #01-14 Sembawang Hills Food Centre SINGAPORE 574419
Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 11.30 am (Mon to Fri) / 7.00 am to 6.00 pm (Sat & Sun)

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Yummy Sarawak Kolo Mee : a popular choice

This is one of the stalls that with a queue and they serve the not commonly available Sarawak Kolo Mee. This is probably one of the most famous Kolo Mee around as they have been around for quite a while. And, though there is an indication of Wanton Mee on their signboard, Kolo Mee is actually different. How different? The noodles are made using egg whites with no alkali added. The color is lighter tone and rather curly, like the instant noodles. It actually tastes different, too. 

I went with the Signature Sarawak Kuching Kolo Mee Set Meal, the number 1 item on their menu board. The smallest portion at $4 then followed by $5, $6 and the largest portion is priced at $7. I decided to have the $5 portion with additional wantons. No chilli is added as part of the mixture for the sauce apart from the shallot oil and soy sauce, it is served on the side. Its level of spiciness is not to be underestimated though so go easy with it. The egg noodles were good enough to be eaten by itself, its texture was firmer and springier as compared to the usual mee kia. The fresh noodles are available for pre-ordering. It accompanied with ingredients like vegetable, braised pork ribs, char siew, fried wanton, soup wanton and dumpling, quite similar to the wanton mee. 

I did not eat enough to attest its authenticity but it actually tasted not too bad. 

137 Tampines Street 11 #01-45 Tampines Round Market & Food Centre SINGAPORE 521137
Operating Hours: 5.00 am to 3.00 pm (Daily)

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Jia Jia Xing Pig's Organ Soup at Sembawang Hills Food Centre

I joined the queue when I was there on a Saturday for lunch. The stall is manned by an auntie all by herself. There are only 4 items featured on their signboard, Pig's Organ Soup ($4.50), Pig's Stomach Soup ($4.50), Pig's Trotter ($5.50/$7.00) and Vegetable. Rice is available at 0.50 cents per serving. I waited for about 10 minutes before ordering. I decided to go with Pig's Organ Soup as this seemed to be the popular choice amongst the other customers. I added $1 for extra slices of liver. There are 2 types of rice for selection, the usual white rice, and the soy sauce rice. I opted for the soy sauce rice. Auntie was scoping from a pot and it was finishing. I asked, "Closing soon?". And, she replied, "No, not yet. I usually closed around 7 pm." I asked, "Open every day?" She said, "Yeah. Every day."

While waiting, I said, "I heard that your braised pig's trotter is good." And, she answered, "Eat la", to which I replied, "I will come back soon to try it." 

It was served in those traditional porcelain bowls that you do not get to see it often these days. The food just seemed to be tastier serving in such a bowl as compared to those plastic and disposable bowls. It consists of meatballs, sliced meat, tofu, pig's stomach and liver with salted vegetable and coriander. The soup was not as peppery but rather light and flavorful. This is one of the better Pig's Organ Soup that I have tasted. 

The rice did not have a distinct flavor actually.

I went back for their braised Pig's Trotter on the following Monday. Most of the stalls in this food centre closed on Monday. I ordered the smaller portion at $5.50, a larger portion is available at $7.00. While waiting for it to be served, I asked, "You run this stall daily and not feeling tired?" She answered cheerfully, "No la. I do it for money so I don't feel tired at all."

The pig's trotter was braised to a perfect softness, the braising sauce was slightly sweet with a right balance of saltiness and not too thick in texture. This tasted homey and comforting though not as flavorful as the one that I tasted at Joo Siah Bak Koot Teh near Lakeview MRT in Jurong.

This is going to be one of my favorite stalls in this food centre that I will be patronizing regularly and this is one of the stalls that remain open during the evening.

590 Upper Thomson Road #01-10 Sembawang Hills Food Centre SINGAPORE 574419
Operating Hours: 10.00 am to 7.00 pm (Daily)

Friday, May 4, 2018

Boon Kee Wanton Noodle at Clementi

This is one of the popular stalls in this food centre. Their wanton noodle though not the best but it is a comforting choice. I used to be eating regularly when I was staying in Clementi. Their smaller portion at $3.00 is substantial and if you are really hungry then go for their larger portion at $3.50. I usually go with mee kia and it served with ingredients like some greens, sliced char siew, fried and soup wantons in a mixture of chilli and black sauce. It somewhat reminded me of the type of wanton noodle that I had at Kuala Lumper in Malaysia. 

Those slices of char siew were thinly sliced and not as tender as I liked it to be. And, I actually prefer the soup wanton to the fried wanton a little more. 

Go early as it usually sold out around 3 pm or earlier.

Block 448 Clementi Avenue 3 #01-40 Clementi 448 Food Centre SINGAPORE 120448
Operating Hours: 6.30 am to 4.15 pm (Closed on Sundays)

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Cantonese Double-boiled Soup . Steamed Fish : good value for money

We were there on a Sunday for a late lunch. I wanted to order the Preserved Vegetable Braised Pork Steamed Rice ($3.30) but it was sold out. I decided to go with Salted Fish Steamed Minced Meat ($6), Sliced Fish Steamed Egg ($6) and Si Chuan Vegetable Stewed Pork Ribs Soup ($3.50) to go along with 2 bowls of rice at 0.50 cents each. I pointed to the table right in front of the stall when I was asked where do I sit. I waited for about 10 minutes before it was served. 

Salted Fish Steamed Minced Meat ($6). My dining companion commented that the texture was a bit too soft and not too much taste of salted fish in it. There was a piece of salted fish right at the corner though. The minced meat was of a generous portion for the price, garnished with chopped spring onions, coriander, and fried shallots. 

Sliced Fish Steamed Egg ($6). We prefer this to Salted Fish Steamed Minced Meat. The texture of the steamed egg was smooth and soft. I did not expect the sliced fish to go so well with it. It was served with light soy sauce and garnished with chopped spring onions as well as dried shallots. 

Si Chuan Vegetable Stewed Pork Ribs Soup ($3.50) was a good choice too. It consists of a few pieces of preserved vegetable with few chunks of pork ribs, slices of tomato and red dates. It was unexpectedly flavorful with nicely cooked pork ribs. 

This stall is definitely worth a try if you are here for lunch, not fanciful but homely and satisfying.

69 Geylang Bahru #01-27 Geylang Bahru Food Centre SINGAPORE 330069

Friday, April 27, 2018

Tsuta Japanese Soba Noodles : the best instant ramen

I was in Japan for 2 weeks and have eaten bowls of ramen from different parts of Japan, that including bowls of instant ramen that are readily available at the convenience stores and supermarkets. I did not think much of this instant ramen from Tsuta, the world's first Michelin-starred ramen restaurant when I came across at 7-Eleven. I have eaten at their original outlet at Sugamo in Tokyo and also their outlet in Singapore which I felt the standard here is not on par with that in Japan. 

It consists of a piece of dehydrated chashu, preserved bamboo shoots, chopped scallions and fragrance oil.  The highlight was the lightly flavored soup, the truffle taste was mellower as compared to what they served in the restaurants. The noodles were still firm with a slight chewiness. The dehydrated chashu and the bamboo shoots were surprisingly good. 

I would not say this is as good as compared to what they served in their original shop in Sugama at Tokyo but it is kind of close. This is, in my humble opinion, the best instant ramen, in fact, much better than the instant version of Ippudo and Nakiryu that I have tried too. It was so good that I have decided to blog about it. It will be good if this can be found in Singapore too.

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