Sunday, June 30, 2013

Lovely Duck Confit Pie.

It was a groomy Saturday when i was there. It is nicely tucked away at a quiet corner of Rochester Drive. The location is within walking distance from Buonas Vista MRT. 

The order was made at the Counter. The selection was rather limited. The Duck Confit Pie was the last piece left on the display. I wanted the Seafood Laksa Shepherd Pie but it was already sold out. We settled for the Duck Confit Pie ($9.95) and the Wagyu Beef Cheek Pie ($9.95). As for drinks, we went for Iced Lemon Tea ($5.50) and Iced Coffee ($5.50).

Each pie served with a scoop of mashed potato and a good portion of green salad. The mashed potato has got a delightful buttery taste. The texture has got a desired softness. Our guess is it is most likely made of the real potato and we could taste bits of potato in it. It was served with their special brown sauce. The fresh tasting salad mainly consists of wild rockets leaves drizzled with balsamic vinegar. 

The Duck Confit Pie was a good surprise. The crust has got a slight buttery taste and in the right thickness. The filling was rather generous. It was nicely filled up the pie with no space in between. The duck confit was cooked well to give it the desirable flavor and tenderness with bits of potatoes. It was a definite good choice and convincing that why it was the last piece on the display at 1 pm. 

The Wagyu Beef Cheek Pie tasted good but not much surprises in taste. The wagyu beef cheek was well-braised to the desired tenderness with herbs and chunky potatoes. It has got more meat than the potatoes though. The crust was done equally well.

As for the drinks, the Iced Tea was a better selection than the Iced Coffee. The Iced Tea has got a light floral flavor. The syrup is available for self-service at the station together with the cutlery. The Iced Coffee has got an overwhelming bitterness. I guess the hot coffee would definitely be a better choice. 

The portion might seemed little but it ended up to be quite filling. 

We had a single scoop of gelato each for $4.00 per scoop. There are only 2 flavors for selection : Vanilla and Chocolate. We tried both. The chocolate flavor has got a distinctive chocolate taste but rather light in texture and not too creamy. The vanilla flavor was a refreshing choice. It did not taste particularly milk as well with just the right level of sweetness. 

It was an enjoyable experience and we really enjoyed the pies.

35 Rochester Drive
#01-03 Rochester Mall

Saturday, June 29, 2013

My comfort food

After eaten countless popiah and i can easily say this particular one made by that friendly auntie is still the best popiah in Singapore. 

Coincidentally, i met this Auntie at the market near my house before she closed her stall and disappeared for a few months. I came back a few times thereafter but the stall has been closed then. I waited and the stall finally reopened a couple of weeks ago. I took notice when i spotted a queue from far. There is always a long queue whenever the stall is opened.

The auntie is basically on her own and so long waiting time is expected. When you order, you are expected to place the exact amount in the basket placed on top of the shelve.

Each piece of popiah is reasonably priced at $1.50. The price might be a little higher as compared to other popiah out there but the size and the ingredients in it somewhat justified for the $1.50. It is quite a big fat piece generously stuffed with ingredients like turnips, beansprouts, hard boiled egg etc. And what made it distinctively stood out is the intense spiciness of their special chilli paste. It is unbearably hot even for someone like me who got a crazily high tolerance for spicy foods. The key is never to request for extra chilli unless you have already tried it and have gotten a strong enough stomach to survive it. The extra chilli is charged at 0.20 cents per serving.

The auntie remembers me rather well.

She said, 'Most people wouldn't make such a request to not to cut the popiah. You're the rare one out'.

She said, 'I remember you. You stay in Ang Mo Kio too, right?' This auntie is blessed with very good memory. She could remember all the orders well.

We chatted and I asked her why did she close her stall for so many months. She said she went for an operation and that operation did not go too well so she ended up rested a bit longer.

I did ask her why did not her consider to have her stall in Ang Mo Kio since she is staying there. She said, 'I tried but i could not get a location with a reasonable rental in that area.'

It is really nice to have Auntie back to make more popiah.

If you are a big fan of popiah then you gotta give this a try!

Yue Yi Tai Shan Popiah 日益太山薄饼
Block 449 Clementi Avenue 3 #01-211 See Lam Hern Coffee Shop SINGAPORE 120449

Friday, June 28, 2013

Prawn Paste Chicken & Steamed Fish Head.

The must try dish in this food centre has to be the Steamed Fish Head with fermented bean sauce. There are at least 26 stalls in this food centre serving this dish but according to source, Seng Kee is the founder of this dish.

I went on a Saturday for lunch. The order has to be made at the counter then paid and given the table number. The steamed fish head is reasonably priced at $13. Song Fish Head is used in this dish. Song Fish Head is known for its mud taste. The taste was seemingly obvious in certain part.

Though it stated as hot sauce but it did not taste as hot as expected. The best way to enjoy this dish is to have every bit of meat with their fermented bean sauce and bits of fried pork lards. The fried pork lards were nicely done with a delightful crispiness and taste. It added flavor to the sauce and to the meat itself. The fish head tasted amazingly fresh and rather meaty too. 

Another must try dish is Fried Prawn Paste for $8.

The drumsticks and mid-wings were nicely fried to perfection to give its a noticeably crispiness. It has got a distinctive taste of prawn paste. It tasted better when eating it with the chlli sauce provided. 

I went back with friends and wanted another round of steamed fish head at about 7 pm on the same day. I was told all the fish heads have already been sold out. We checked with the neighbouring stall and was told the same. I took notice that almost every tables there were having the steamed fish head from either stall. 

It was an amazing first time experience nonetheless.

335 Smith Street 
#02-190/191 Chinatown Complex Food Centre and Market

Not quite the same.

This famous indian rojak is located right beside my favourite chicken rice in a coffee shop along Waterloo Street within walking distance from Bras Basah MRT Station. 

They have been in this coffee shop for more than a decade long. I used to come by regularly when i worked in bugis area a long time ago. Their relative has got another stall at Albert Street Food Centre selling indian rojak too. This other stall is famous for their prawn fritter too.

That day, i was in the area looking for lunch and decided to come by for the indian rojak. There was a few people waiting to order right in front of the stall. I waited for 10 minutes to order. I selected the usual favourite items like prawn fritters, the potato and other fried items. 

Perhaps my expectation was set a little higher as the taste this time seemed a little disappointing. It did not taste as nice as i used to remember. The items selected were re-fried before served. The items still got its sight crispiness but most items were pretty oily including my used to be favourite prawn fritters. It was served with slices of cucumber, green chilli and onion. I paid a total of $5.60 for it.

The sauce was served warm. It got a slight sweetness with a little sourness and zero level of spiciness. It complemented and enhanced the flavor of the fried items rather well.

It was a pleasant lunch but i am not likely to be back soon. 

The standard is not quite the same any longer. 

261 Waterloo Street
#01-28 Waterloo Centre

Thursday, June 27, 2013

My all-time favourite chicken rice.

When everyone is talking about Tian Tian Chicken Rice, there is a really good chicken rice tucked away in a coffee shop along Waterloo Street. I started eating their chicken rice more than a decade ago and they are still my favourite chicken rice through the years. I have eaten from different stalls including those famous ones but this is still the best to me.

How is a good hainanese chicken rice to be judged?

The chicken is expected to be succulent and juicy. The rice is expected to be aromatic with fragrance, it has to be grainy and not overly greasy. The chilli is expected to have a certain level of spiciness with a well-balanced garlic and lime taste.

This is one of the stalls that met the above mentioned factors with a consistent standard.

My usual preference is the roasted chicken. Half of the roasted chicken is $13. I have only tasted the roasted chicken so i could not say much about their white chicken. Their roasted chicken is probably the best that i have eaten so far.

The chicken used is a plump and meaty one. The well seasoned chicken is always fried well to give its skin a slight crisp and awesome flavor. The texture of meat is desirably succulent, juicy and flavorsome.

Their rice is one of the best if it is not the best. The texture is grainy with nice chicken broth flavor and not overly oily. It still tasted really good even if is left for hours. Their chilli is the better one that i ever tasted too.  It has got a good level of spiciness that derived from the chilli padi and further enhanced by the right amount of garlic and lime added.

To me, the chilli is definitely the most important factor to determine the worthiness of a particular hainanese chicken rice.

This stall is manned by the elderly auntie and her sons. The auntie is mostly the one chopping up the chickens. The chicken is drizzled with their special soya sauce before served. The soya sauce enhanced the taste of chicken further with just the right level of saltiness. The taste is not overpowering even when the chicken is left to have it later.

Their service is always prompt and systematic even during the peak period.

The chicken rice has been reported and recommended by the Media, too.

There is always a queue even during the off-peak hours.

It has always been a joy to enjoy their chicken rice, again and again. 

261 Waterloo Street 
#01-29 Waterloo Centre

That average taste.

There are 3 other wanton noodle stalls in this food centre but this is the only one with a short queue when i ordered.

There are the $3.50 and the $3.00 for selection. I wanted the larger portion. A substantial portion of noodle was given with quite a few slices of char siew together with 2 soup wantons and 2 fried wantons.

The thinly sliced char siew tasted a bit dry. The soup wantons and fried wantons tasted pretty average though. The noodle has got a likable springiness and tasted just fine when tossed well with the sauce. That bowl of soup that served along with the noodle has got a light peppery taste. 

It was a pleasant breakfast nonetheless.

120 Bukit Merah Lane 1
#01-27 Alexandra Village Food Centre

Friday, June 21, 2013

Mango Cheesecake.

Done a Mango Cheesecake on a boring stay-at-home afternoon hiding away from the haze.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Good or average? You decide.

This is supposedly the famous bak chor mee stall that moved from their stall in Eunos to their shop at Upper Changi Road and finally to this stall in this location. I ever eaten once in their shop then but it did not leave an impression then. 

My favourite bak chor mee stall has recently closed as the owner is in ill health and so i decided to give this stall another go. This stall is manned by the owner and his wife now.

I was their only customer at 11.00 am. I decided to go with the dry version of bak chor mee at $5. I asked for mee kia with extra chilli added.

The portion given was quite substantial with fresh tasting ingredients like slices of lean meat and liver with minced meat and a piece of fish dumpling then topped with braised mushroom to serve. Their specially made chilli has got minimum level of spiciness and a tad oily too especially with an extra amount of it added. 

The mee kia has got a noticeably springiness and tasted good when tossed well with the chilli. The handful of beansprouts added was a good enhancement to its texture.

They are supposed to be famous for their soup noodle but that particular bowl of soup served along with the noodle tasted quite flat. It has got a distinctive taste of dried sole fish but lacking in level of sweetness and saltiness thus it tasted bland. It got me to wonder whether the same soup stock is used for their signature fish maw soup noodle that priced at $9 and a larger bowl at $12? I am still willing to give it a try when i come back next time.

I am still not impressed with this particular bak chor mee and i could not help but missing the already closed down regular stall a lot more. And, that was still the best bak chor mee that i ever tasted. This is concluded after eaten most of the famous ones out there. The taste is definitely subjective and whether this is a good or just average bak chor mee is for you to try it then decide. 

49A Serangoon Garden Way
Serangoon Garden Market

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sunday Champagne Brunch at Mezza9, Grand Hyatt Hotel

It was a heartening experience starting from the moment when i made a reservation on the hotel's website.

When i was done with the reservation. A confirmation sent through email. The price per pax is $138++ with free flowing of Perrier-Jouet Champagne, wines, beer, Bloody Marys, Mojitos and freshly squeezed juices. The Sunday Brunch is on from 11.30 am to 2.30 pm. 

Moments later, another confirmation sent to my mobile phone. It just got me so looking forward to this Sunday Champagne Brunch. The reservation is made at 12 pm on that day. We were there at about 11.45 pm. We were quickly ushered to our table. 

Our glassed were topped up with water then later the wine glasses with Champagne. The varieties of foods were good. We started with appetizers liked Salmon, Boston Lobsters and Crabs. The pan seared duck liver tasted surprisingly good. It served with a portion of salad to complement the richness of this dish. 

Next, i decided to go with the Egg Benedict, Mini-Burger together with Mushroom Risotto. The Egg Benedict stood out. The egg was done just right with a runny egg yolk that soaked up the piece of toast it rested on. The toast might have left it for a bit too long so it was too soggy to my liking.

We followed up with Tempura Prawns and Mushroom, Grilled Unagi and a few sticks of Yakitori. There are quite a few selections like the Bacon Wrapped Cherry Tomatoes, Bacon Wrapped Asparagus with Bacon and Chicken Meatballs. All tasted really good.

All the Tempura and Yakitori were done on the spot at the station. The Dim Sum from the Chinese Station tasted quite normal. I'd skip it for other better foods. 

The smoked Salmon tasted rather fresh and i enjoyed it. 

The roasted beef was just average. It has got an extreme chewiness which does not appeal to me. 

And, though the Champagne is refillable but i'd prefer the freshly squeezed orange juice much more. 

I enjoyed the Parma Ham on Rock Melon as well as the fat and juicy freshly tasting Oysters. The Oysters were freshly removed from their shells to serve. The freshness was further enhanced by just a bit of lemon juice. Last to go before the dessert would be the Sashimi and Sushi.

The Sashimi tasted really fresh. A small portion was on display. The chef replenished it repeatedly to ensure its freshness. I did not like the lobster salad though as the overwhelming wasabi in it was a turn off. 

There were a good range of deserts too. The Cream Puff tasted just normal. The Passion Fruit Tart was a good choice. It has got a refreshing sourness with just the right sweetness to complement it. The Raspberry Panna Cotta tasted just as good. It was a tad too sweet though. 

To complete, some fruits like Rock Melon, Pineapple and Strawberries are good choice to help digestion. I gotta skip the ice cream as i was just too full to have it. I wish coffee and tea are served too. 

A SMS was received much later. It indicated in the SMS, 'Thank you for your visit. We hope you had enjoyed your time with us and we look forward to welcoming you back again. Warm Regards, Val.'

This was the best Champagne Brunch experience no doubt.

10 Scotts Road Grand Hyatt Hotel SINGAPORE 228211.

Friday, June 7, 2013

An Enjoyable Dinner.

I have fallen in love with this new found tze cha place just a stone's throw away from home. They have been featured in a food programme on TV once and reported by a food writer on the newspaper not too long ago.

I went for a late dinner at about 9 pm. There was still quite a few tables occupied at that hour. I went to the counter to take a copy of their menu then proceed to find a table. The friendly Auntie came over in a bit to take the order. I decided to go with the Sweet & Sour Pork at $9 and the Blackcurrant Pork Ribs at $10. The plain rice is served at 0.50 cents per plate.

The Sweet & Sour Pork came first. The pieces of pork were presented in bite-sized then stir-fried with Sweet & Sour sauce together with ingredients like the green pepper, red pepper, onion and pineapple. The Sweet & Sour taste was just lovely. It has got a pretty well-balanced taste of sweetness and sourness. The pork tasted rather crispy on the outside but still retained its tenderness within. This was definitely one of the better Sweet& Sour Pork that i ever tasted. I enjoyed it so much. 

The blackcurrant pork ribs is another dish worth recommending. This is the first time i came across this dish and it got me to wonder how is the taste would be like and so i ordered it out of curiosity. The taste is not disappointing though the blackcurrant taste is not too distinctive. The well-seasoned pork ribs were fried to near perfection to give it the noticeably crispiness without compromising much on its texture. The pork ribs were not too meaty though. 

I will certainly come back to try their other signature dishes soon.

Block 202 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3
#01-1690 SINGAPORE 560202.

Best Fried Chicken?

A little bird told me the long queue has been long gone so it is time to check out this most talked about fastfood joint in town. I was there during the long hour but the queue was rather short. I courted. There were not more than 20 people in the queue. I waited for only 10 minutes to order. There were many service counters at that time so the service was pretty quick.

I decided to go with the Chickenjoy value meal at $6.60. It consists of a portion of rice, drink and 2 pieces of fried chicken. A particular blogger claimed that he has had the best fried chicken right at this place. So, i came with a certain expectations. The presentation scored a high mark though. The texture of these fried chicken was rather crispy and not too oily. This is a plus point. First mouthful. I felt disappointed. I was honestly expecting it to be much better but it tasted rather mediocre. Its taste was acceptable but definitely not exceptionally outstanding. It tasted a little towards Popeyes' Fried Chicken. Best fried chicken or not? I guess it is quite subjective. You should try it to decide for yourself. 

I could not quite figure out the purpose of the small container of gravy given. I do not know whether the gravy is for the chicken or for the rice? I tried it with the fried chicken. It did not go quite well with the fried chicken so i guess it must be for the rice. I tried it with the rice this time. The taste did not go too well too but definitely better as compared to the fried chicken. The gravy tasted a bit like those for mashed potato. 

The texture of the rice was a little too soggy to my liking. It was wrapped in the paper and presented like a burger. That might be the reason why the texture was compromised?

So, would i  be back? May or may not. 

304 Orchard Road
Level 6 Lucky Plaza

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Dinner at Lavender Food Square

It was a rainy evening. I was right at this food centre for a quick dinner before proceed to a meeting. I wanted something hot so this claypot prawn noodle is definitely a good choice. Serving it in the Claypot is a good way to retain its heat and to keep the noodle soup hot. 

There was a short queue of a few people when i was there. I decided to go with the $5 portion of big prawn noodle listed as the number 1 item on their menu. A substantial portion of the yellow noodle served with 4 pieces of medium sized halved prawns in rather tasty prawn broth.

The prawn was of a reasonable size and tasted rather fresh with natural sweetness detected. 

The noodle was cooked to the right texture to give it the desired chewiness. A handful of bean sprouts were added to give it the delightful texture. 

Some big prawns displayed in the water tanks. 

The Uncle passionately cooked every bowl of noodle before served. 

A queue was still there even after i done eating. This may not be the best tasting prawn noodle that i ever tasted but it is definitely amongst one of the above average stalls. 

Block 380 Jalan Besar Lavender Food Square #01-42 SINGAPORE 209000.

This stall replaced the original beef noodle stall right at this location in the food centre. I heard the owner of that particular stall has already retired. No queue spotted when i was there for dinner. I still decided to go ahead to try it. I ordered the $5 portion with just pieces of sliced beef and nothing else. 

The substantial portion of thick bee hoon served in the thick gooey sauce then topped with salted vegetable and sesame seeds to serve. 

The first mouthful did not manage to amaze me. The taste did not even come close to the previous stall. It tasted rather average as compared to some of the betters one that i ever eaten. There were quite a few slices of nicely cooked beef in it. The thickness of these sliced beef was just right to give it the desirable chewiness. 

The salted vegetable with little saltish taste. It did not help to enhance the overall taste any further. 

This is definitely not my top choice when i am craving for beef noodle. 

Block 380 Jalan Besar Lavender Food Square #01-28 SINGAPORE 209000.