Friday, November 29, 2013

8 Degrees Taiwanese Bistro

Taiwanese foods are always my love. I have heard and wanting to try this Taiwanese Bistro for quite a while.

I went on a weekday for late lunch.

This Bistro seems to offer an extensive menu of classic and contemporary Asian and Western Cuisine. 

Their main feature has to be the Taiwan Street Favourite like the Oyster Mee Sua, Braised Pork Rice and different types of Bubble Milk Tea. 

Their main theme is around Jay Chou though never a fan of him but still find it to be quite acceptable. 

The cafe was rather quiet when we were there slightly after 2 pm. We were first greeted upon enter and ushered to a table for 3 right after then presented with the menu rather quickly. An order chit was given to indicate the orders. A friendly waitress approached our table and offered her assistance.

After some thoughts, we decided to have Stewed Pork Belly Rice 卤肉饭 ($3.80), Braised Beef Noodle 牛肉面 ($9.80), Salted Crispy Chicken 盐酥鸡 ($6.80) and Bubble Milk Tea 珍珠奶茶 ($4.80). 

Some of their recommended dishes are XO Sauce Spicy Beef Fried Rice ($13.80), Golden Salted Yolk Prawn Balls ($14.80), Fried Shitake Mushroom ($8.80) and Taiwanese Meat Ball Soup ($5.80).

The Bubble Milk Tea came first. Though not the best one that i ever tasted but it was generally alright. It has an acceptable level of sweetness with a good handful of tapioca balls in it. These tapioca balls were slightly smaller in size but with a delightful chewiness at just the right level of softness. The fragrant of tea and milk was rather well-balanced to give it just the desired taste. 

The Braised Beef Noodle was delightful. This was the best dish amongst all that we tried. It might not be as good as what i had in Taiwan but i would think its taste was rather close and pretty authentic. It was braised well with few Chinese herbs to give it the aromatic fragrance together with the right seasoning to acquire the flavor. It tasted slightly spicy as the spiciness was enhanced by the dried chilli added. 

It was served with a few chunky pieces of beef. It would definitely be nicer if the texture of these beef was slightly softer. It was slightly more chewier than expected too. Though the texture was not as desired but it was flavorful. The noodle was cooked well to give it the likeable softness and springiness. It was one of the better bowls of Braised Beef Noodle that i tasted in Singapore. 

The Braised Pork Belly Rice served last. A small portion of rice was served in a bowl covered with the braised pork belly then garnished with pickles and coriander. Perhaps it was the high anticipation that left me feeling disappointed. It did not taste as authentic as the one i had in Taipei and not even close to the one served by Shin Yeh in Singapore. The taste was rather mediocre with no distinctive fragrance of the braised sauce though the level of softness was a spot on.

The Salted Crispy Chicken did not fare as well as expected. It was slightly over deep-fried thus the color was a little darker with its taste slightly compromised. The taste of salt and pepper seemed missing. It tasted like normal fried chicken pieces. The good thing was its texture was rather dry and not overly greasy. It served with 2 sticks of Japanese cucumber. 

Though foods are not too impressive but the friendly service has left a good impression. 

359 Beach Road SINGAPORE 199575.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Mushroom Minced Meat Noodle

I was quite skeptical when i came across this stall. This stall offers Lor Mee, Fried Dumpling Mee, Prawn Mee, Mushroom Minced Pork Mee, Fishball Mee, Herbal Pork Rib Mee and Pig's Trotter Mee / Mee Sua. And, that is not all. They also serve Mushroom Rice with Soup, Fishball Soup with Rice, Meatball Soup with Rice, Pork Rib Soup with Rice, Pig's Trotter with Rice as well as Pig's Organ Soup.

I stood there for a moment and still went ahead to order after the initial hesitation. There was 2 customers right in front of me and one of them ordered 3 bowls of Mushroom Minced Pork Mee. I decided to try it as well. I was greeted by the Uncle. He looked up while cooking and asked for my order. I placed an order of Mushroom Minced Pork Mee with extra chilli added. The Uncle asked for my choice of mee kia or mee pok. I picked mee pok over mee kia.

It was served in minutes. Auntie placed it on my tray. The menu board indicated its price as $2.50. I was a little doubtful as that bowl of mee pok served with various ingredients including a fried dumpling. I asked the friendly Auntie for a confirmation before paid the $2.50 to her. I went through the ingredients again when i gotten back to my table.

Such a $2.50 bowl of Mushroom Minced Pork Mee got a fried dumpling, 2 pieces of fishball with a meatball, braised mushroom, slices of lean meat and fishcake with bit of minced meat and some vegetable. The portion of mee pok was rather substantial too. I would think this bowl of noodle is indeed value for money as it is getting difficult to find a worthy meal at $2.50 these days.

I tossed the mee pok well with the amount of chilli and sauce underneath. I took a mouthful quickly. My first thought was the taste seems to be quite different from most of the Mushroom Minced Pork Noodle that i have eaten. The chilli paste has got an intense flavor of Spicy Dried Shrimp Sambal. A common name for it is Har Bee Hiam. With an extra amount of it added, it made the level of spiciness to be quite distinctive but not overwhelming.

The mee pok was perfectly cooked too. It has got the delightful springiness coupled with the desired softness. A bowl of soup served along with it. The soup has a slight taste of sweetness derived from Pork.

I would think this stall is a good option for a worthy meal.

Block 29 Bendemeer Road #01-78 Bendemeer Food Centre SINGAPORE 330029.

Fried Black Carrot Cake

I travel quite often for work and i have often been asked what local food do i miss the most when i am away from Singapore. During those days, fried carrot cake is often in my mind.

I have always been craving for a simple plate of fried carrot cake using a good amount of sweet dark sauce together with extra preserved radish, extra chilli to give a well-balanced taste of sweetness and saltiness that often left a lingering fragrance on the taste buds. It has always been the perfect choice for breakfast and even lunch.

I have recently chanced upon a new fried carrot cake stall a stone's throw away from house. I happened to be there for an early lunch then walked past a table and spotted a plate of beautifully fried black carrot cake there. I looked around and spotted this stall.  I was given the selection of $2.50, $3 and $4 for the black and the white version. I went for the $2.50 black fried carrot cake. As i was the other customer then so i got my plate of fried carrot cake within minutes.

I would think the portion was a bit too little for $2.50 but the generous amount of egg added somewhat made up for it. It was nicely pan-fried to give it a slight crispiness without compromising the texture of those pieces of unevenly cut carrot cake. I could distinctly taste bits of preserved radish added to enhance its overall flavor. The carrot cake used is probably factory made as i saw rolls of them stacking up right at the stall.

This might not be the best tasting fried carrot cake that i ever eaten but its standard is good enough to satisfy a crave temporarily.

Block 527 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 #01-117 Cheng San Food Centre SINGAPORE 560527.

Hainanese Curry Rice

The turnover of stalls in this food centre seemed to be rather high in just 2 months since my last visit. And, this particular stall is one of the newest stalls in this food centre. This stall reminded me of another stall in Ang Mo Kio and might be a possible relationship between them.

There are 4 sets available for selection, namely Curry Chicken Set ($2.80), Pork Chop Set ($3.00), Braised Meat Set ($3.00) and Fried Prawn Set ($3.50).

I decided to go with Pork Chop Set. It came with a generous portion of braised cabbage, a fried egg and slices of pork chop. It was served with a good amount of curry sauce over the rice.

The pork chop is the undeniable star of this plate of rice.

The pork chop was of the right thickness and nicely seasoned before coated with a thin layer of flour and deep-fried to give it the desired crispiness. It tasted nice when eaten with the aromatic curry sauce.  Though the cabbage was nicely braised to give it the delightful softness but the taste was rather light. It tasted better when go with the curry sauce too. The fried egg was overdone so not to my liking.

A pretty economical choice for lunch in this food centre and that explained the queue when i was there.

Block 29 Bendemeer Road #01-59 Bendemeer Food Centre SINGAPORE 330029.

Chee Cheong Fun

This is one of the newest stalls in this food centre.

I was greeted by the Auntie when she spotted me taking picture of the stall. We chatted and she recommended the Katong Laksa to me.

The Auntie insisted i took a picture of the poster featured the Katong Laksa. She even offered to give me a small bowl to try it. Interestingly, their Chee Cheong Fun came with various selection of fillings such as Roasted Chicken, Veggie & Egg, Seaweed Mushroom, Abalone, Otah, You Tiao and even Durian! The prices range from $2.80 to $5.00. Fried Rice is available right at this stall too.

I decided to go with the Hong Kong style Char Siew Chee Cheong Fun for $2.80. The Chee Cheong Fun is freshly handmade upon order.  The Auntie scooped a ladle of the rice flour batter and poured them onto the steamer. The rice sheet was formed almost instantly. She then laid the chopped char siew together with shredded lettuce  down then quickly folded it.

She divided it into 3 rolls then further cut it into smaller pieces. It was then placed on the plate before poured the soya sauce over it and sprinkled with bit of sesame seeds. I wanted her to place the chilli by the side but she suggested that it tasted nicer when applied on the Chee Cheong Fun directly. She then applied on just one of the three rolls of Chee Cheong Fun so i would get to taste the difference between chilli and non-chilli.

The presentation was pretty neat. I tried both the chilli and non-chilli pieces but prefer the chilli one much more. The sauce tasted quite different from other stalls.

Auntie mentioned that it tasted more like sweet & sour sauce with rather minimum level of spiciness.

It generally tasted nice to me though i could not distinctly taste the spiciness nor sourness or sweetness out of the sauce.

The filling of char siew was of quite a generous amount. The thin rice sheet was of a desirable softness with a delightful smoothness.

I could not quite appreciate the combination of char siew and shredded lettuce. If i ever come back, i would definitely request to leave the shredded lettuce out.

An interesting stall to look out for especially if you are game enough to try out the Durian Chee Cheong Fun there.

Block 29 Bendemeer Road #01-33 Bendemeer Food Centre SINGAPORE 330029.

Red Bean Salted Bun & Butterfly Bun

This is another new stall in this food centre. I was greeted with a warm smile by the friendly Auntie of this stall. We chatted for a bit.

She told me proudly that her stall is the only stall in this food centre that still insisting to handmade every piece of the traditional snacks to give the best possible taste to her customers. She pointed to the dough set on the table. Then she pointed at a mixer next to it, said, 'You need this machine to do it.' She then told me that she has got a regular customer that come by nearly every morning to buy her snacks. I could tell that she is passionate in what she is doing.

I wanted a piece of red bean salted bun and a piece of butterfly bun to go. Both are for 0.70 cents each. If you wanted more then 3 pieces are for only $2.00.

I started with the red bean salted bun first. I actually enjoyed the taste of it. The skin layer was quite thin but it has been fried well without getting overly greasy. The generous bit of sesame seeds enhanced its taste quite a bit.

The good amount of red bean paste was of the right level of sweetness and complemented it well.

The butterfly bun did not fare as well though. It might have been left for a bit too long as it tasted slightly harder but it did not compromise its taste though.

It is still enjoyable if go with a cup of good coffee for breakfast or just for snack. I am interested to try their You Tiao if i come by this food centre again. I guess it must be good since their signboard emphasized on it.

Block 29 Bendemeer Road #01-28 Bendemeer Food Centre SINGAPORE 330029.

Bibimap at Food Centre

There was a queue of few people right in front of this stall when i was there for lunch. I stood there looking at their menu board and seemingly indecisive. Then, it happened when was one of their customers right in front walked past with the nicely presented bibimbap placed on her tray. At that moment, i wanted to try it too for just $5.

Bibimbap is a signature Korean mixed rice. It is served as a bowl of warm rice topped with namul consisting seasoned vegetables and gochujang (chili pepper paste).

A raw or fried egg and sliced meat are common additions. The ingredients are stirred together thoroughly just before eating.

The one is a simplified version of bibimbap. The rice was served in a sizzling stone pot topped with handfuls of bean sprouts, carrot, shredded lettuce, seaweed, raw egg and thin slices of beef. I was asked whether i want it with chilli when it was placed on my tray.

It was served with a saucer consisting few pieces of ikan belis and kimchi.

A bowl of seaweed soup came along too.  Pictures were taken quickly then i started mixing it well excitedly. This was my first time having a bibimbap and i did not know what to expect of its taste. Seemingly, the first mouthful was a pleasant one.

Though a large amount of chilli pepper paste added but i could not taste much of its spiciness. I would think the overall taste was not quite distinguished. The crunchiness derived from the vegetables added was delighted though.

It was generally a pleasant experience as there is no prior experience in comparison. I would think it is worth trying for fan of Korean Cuisine given the reasonable prices of most items on their menu board.

Block 6 Jalan Bukit Merah #01-108 ABC Brickwoods Food Centre SINGAPORE 150006.