Monday, September 29, 2014

Hiang Soon (Otar) : Possibly the best value otar around

If you are a fan of Otar then you have probably heard of Hiang Soon (Otar) located along the narrow road of Jalan Kayu. Right here, they are only using the fresh mackeral fish to produce all these otar sticks daily. Though there was a slight hint of spiciness, it did not taste too overwhelming but rather comforting. And, priced at 0.50 cents might be a little expensive as compared to most ottar sticks are available at 6 sticks for $2 but the size and thickness of this particular ottar firmly wrapped and grilled in the coconut leaves is worthy of that price. 

This made a good choice for snacks whether you prefer to eat it with bread or just on its own. Whether best or not, i could not quite comment but these otar sticks are probably the best value around. They are also the supplier to some of those stalls in Hawker centres selling Otar.

261 Jalan Kayu SINGAPORE 799490
Operating Hours: 8 am to 6 pm (daily)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Keng Heng (Whampoa) Teow Chew Lor Mee

I have been wanting to try this supposedly famous Lor Mee. They started at Whampoa Food Centre then moved to the Food Centre at Lucky Plaza then to the current location. And, they managed to clinch the King of King award from the 5th Season Hawker Centre Delicacies Award in 2012. 

They are serving the Teow Chew style Lor Mee. Their main ingredients are braised pork, fried fish skin, fried dumpling, fried ngor hiang together with fish cake. The condiments available are sambal belachan chilli, red cut chillies, freshly diced garlic, chopped spring onion and vinegar. 

The spiciness of the sembal chilli is not to be underestimated, you might want to request to have it separated if you have little tolerance of spiciness. It is a good addition though as it has given the dish a different layer of flavor.

I enjoyed the fried fish skin and fried wantons amongst other ingredients added. I took notice that the braised sauce is not as thick and sticky as i liked it, it was a bit too watery when done eating.

Generally, the taste did not manage to amaze me and it is not quite likely i will travel all the way there just to eat it or bother to queue for it.

505 Beach Road #01-67 Golden Mile Food Centre SINGAPORE 199583
Operating Hours: 8:00 to 7:00 pm (Monday to Sunday)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Heap Seng Leong : Butter Coffee, a New Found Love!

I never did expect to find such a old coffee shop amongst the modern buildings in not just this area but Singapore as a whole. Everything about this coffee shop has not changed. I spotted the elderly Uncle in his usual white t-shirt and his pocketless pull-string pants. The main reason for not having a pocket is to prevent the coffee boys during those olden days to steal the money collected. This elderly Uncle is running this coffee shop with his son from 4 am to 8 pm, daily. Time has come to a stand still. I could imagine sitting at one of those tables, enjoying a cup of coffee and toasts with my late Grandpa. I would love to bring him there if he is still around and i believe, this place brings back some memories of olden days for him. 

Heap Seng Leong is definitely a part of the history and i could not help but wonder how much longer would this place be around? i am glad that i made the effort to drop by before it is gone for good.

I went to the counter to place my order with the younger Uncle. My attention was caught by the rows of plastic containers that stored different types of sweets and biscuits. I remember it used to be a common sight when i was a kid but it has not been seen for a while as most of the older coffee shops and provision shops have closed down or renovated to give it a modern look. 

I am here for their Butter Kopi and i ordered some toasts to go along. Butter Kopi can only be found at those traditional Hainanese Coffee Shops but not many are still serving it these days as the younger generation is not able to appreciate the goodness of such traditional taste. 

The younger Uncle served the Butter Kopi first then came back with the toasts a couple of minutes later. The first look of the Butter Kopi was not an appetising one. The butter melted rather quickly in the hot coffee then left floating on the surface of the coffee. 

I stirred it slightly, to mix the melted butter with the condensed milk then took my first sip. Honestly, i never did expect myself to enjoy it. It did not taste too buttery, in fact, i could hardly taste any butter taste in it. But that piece of butter has added the extra bit of creaminess to the coffee to enhance its flavor quite a bit. It did not taste too acidity but rather smooth in general. This was my first time tasting the Butter Kopi and i have fallen in love with such an unique taste. 

It just got me to wonder if i am to try getting a block of butter and sliced it then have it with the coffee from my usual coffee stalls at the food centre near where i stay and whether would i get the similar taste?

The toasts with a piece of butter sandwiched in between and a thin layer of kaya did not taste any different from others that i have tried. Those pieces of bread were nicely toasted to give its texture a slight crisp. Though not too special but it complemented with the Butter Kopi perfectly and to make this as a perfect choice for afternoon tea. 

There is a stall serving Fried Hokkien Mee in this coffee shop by an elderly Auntie. I would just come here for lunch when i am back for the Butter Kopi again.

I do hope this old coffee shop is going be around for another few decades to able the younger generation to experience the Kopitiam culture during their grandparents or their parents' generation. 

10 North Bridge Road #01-5109 SINGAPORE 190010
Operating Hours: 4:00 am to 8:00 pm (Daily)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Kraze Burgers : Overpriced Burger Experience

Kraze Burgers was established in 1998 at Apguieong-Dong of South Korea which was the first to introduce a restaurant specialized in providing premium burgers. There used to be 3 outlets but their outlets at Liang Court and Plaza Singapura have already ceased operation, this outlet at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) is the only surviving outlet currently. 

We were ushered to a corner table then presented with menu almost immediately and the order was taken right after. The attentive service definitely left quite an impression. 

Mega Bite Burger ($18++). It consists of 2 pieces of beef patties with 2 slices of cheese to go with their Special Steak Sauce on a whole wheat bun served along with onion, pickle and lettuce. It was accompanied with a bit of pasta salad. My first impression was overpriced, after added in the GST and Service Charge, the price is about $21.00. An additional $8 is chargeable if is to upgrade it to set to include a soup and soft drink. Apparently, the taste did not quite justify the value. The beef patties were not as juicy as expected and their special sauce did not quite stand out as well. 

K. Onion Burger ($16++). It is a traditional American Style burger consists of a piece of beef patty with crispy onion rings, cheese, bacon, lettuce and tomato together with honey BBQ sauce and cream cheese sauce on Wheat Bun. This burger fared a little better than the other burger. The main reason for such a difference is the sauces complemented much better. 

This is the Cream of Chicken Soup that is included in the set. It was decent. 

Chili Cheese Fries ($10++). It supposed to be one of their top sellers and it consists of Texas Chili with shredded cheese and cheese sauce together with chopped onions over crinkle cut fries. The thick cut fries might not be the ideal choice as it was quite soggy. The chili was pretty good though. It would be a good choice for side dish if the price is slightly lower. 

The total bill was $61.20 with GST and Service Charge added. I am not quite likely to go back again as there are other choices of equally good burgers at a much lower price and without GST and Service Charge. An overpriced burger experience no doubt and that might be the likely reason why their other 2 outlets were closed down.

2 Bayfront Avenue #B2-4/55 Marina Bay Sands SINGAPORE 018972
Opening Hrs:10:00 am - 11:00 pm (Sun to Thur)/10:00 am - 1:00 am (Fri)/10:00 am - 12:00 am (Sat)

Hock Prawn Mee : The Old School Delight

The coffee shop was kind of quiet when i was there for the Hainanese Chicken Rice Ball. This prawn noodle stall is the default option if you are looking for an alternative. This stall was manned by 2 elderly ladies at that time, one of them seated at the table in front of the stall and other was doing some preparation work right behind the stall. 

A basic bowl of prawn noodle is priced at $4.50 and if you want to include pork ribs then is at $5.00. I would think it is slightly on the steep side. This coffee shop is located just across Sim Lim Tower and the high rental might be the reason for such a pricing. I was asked to take a seat by the one of the 2 elderly ladies. 

It was then served to the table in about 5 minutes. 

The portion and ingredients given were enough to justify the $5 charged. A handful of nicely cooked yellow noodle was served with 2 pieces of average sized prawns, slices of lean meat and a few pieces of pork ribs.

The taste was much better than expected. After tossed it well, it tasted quite nice actually. The chilli has a nice hint of spiciness but it is not overpowering.

The pork ribs were delightfully tender, it was so soft then it pulled away from the bone effortlessly when bite upon. And not forgetting the bowl of soup that served along with the noodle, it has got an intense prawn flavor which i liked.

It tasted quite different from some of the other prawn noodle. It has an old school taste that you do not quite likely to get it these days. Though simple but i somewhat enjoyed it.

This is quite a good choice for supper since they operate on 24 hours from Monday to Saturday. I am likely to come back if i happen to be in the vicinity.

43 Jalan Besar Shing Boon Hwa Food Centre SINGAPORE 208804
Operating Hours: Monday to Saturday (24 Hrs)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hainan Chicken Rice Ball : The Traditional Hainanese Taste

Chicken Rice Ball is not as commonly available as in Melacca, Malaysia. So far, this is the other stall other than that one near Balestier MRT. 

I ordered the Chicken Rice Ball set that came with 2 rice balls for $3.50. White Chicken is the only option available. It was served separately on a plate drizzled with dark soya sauce. The chicken was nicely done with an intense chicken flavor with a desired tenderness. Though i felt the dark soya sauce did not particularly enhanced its flavor, i would rather they have it aside but i was told this is the traditional way of serving. 

The rice was moulded into ball shaped but it was slightly dry as compared to what i had in Malacca though still flavorful. It was a bit crumbly when bite upon.

This is truly a taste of Hainanese that we do not get to find often these days. Though it might not be the best tasting but i would still go back if i happen to be in the vicinity.

43 Jalan Besar (Dickson Road) Shin Boon Hwa Food Centre SINGAPORE 208804
Operating Hours: 8.30 am to 9.30 pm (Daily)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Uncle Chicken : Is their Recipe worth $42,800?

This chicken rice stall has made news just recently when Niven, the owner offered to sell his family recipe for $42,800. He is the son of the famous Sin Kee Chicken Rice that originated from the already demolished Margaret Drive Food Centre. 

The chicken tasted tender with a noticeable taste of chicken fragrance. It was perfectly cooked to retain its tenderness then served with their specially blended sauce consists of light soya sauce and sesame oil. Though the taste was slightly towards saltiness but not overly powering and nicely complemented the chicken. 

The ginger dip is different from others. It is made with roughly blended ginger with a good mix of chopped spring onion. It is the concentrated version as compared to the watery version out there. Apparently, their chilli did not manage to leave an impression. 

The rice served warm with a delightful fluffiness and rather grainy in texture. It has a rather light chicken broth flavor.

I would think Uncle Chicken is amongst one of the better chicken rice that i have tasted but it might not quite justify the $42,800 for only the recipe. According to Niven, that figure is his dad's favourite figure. He said, he is to teach by allowing the person to work at his stall and participated in the running of the stall then to master the recipe. He would continue to be their Consultant even after the person mastered the skills and left to set up the stall. He mentioned the sum invested is likely to be recovered in a period of about 12 months. 

He has imparted the same recipe to Big Bowl Chicken Stall that has been doing well in their business. 

Block 120 Bukit Merah Lane 1 #01-74 Alexandra Village Food Centre SINGAPORE 150120
Operating Hours: 11:30 am to 8:00 pm (Closed on Monday)

Ke Shuan Xing Fried Carrot Cake

It was a quiet Saturday with about 80% of the stalls in this food centre closed at about 2pm. I was left  with such limited choices so i decided to give this stall a go. The options available are $1.50 and $2.00 or $2.50 with extra egg added. I ordered the $2.50 portion then paid up, a number was given and asked to collect it later.

As i was facing the stall so i could see the elderly auntie raised up the number tag to indicate my order is ready to be picked up. The portion given was standard with a hint of spiciness though i did not ask for extra chilli to be added. It has got a comforting old school taste with a nice sweet soya sauce fragance and the pieces of carrot cake were in quite a chunky pieces served with a good amount of egg. I would prefer the egg to be in a smaller pieces to go better with the fried carrot cake. 

Though it was not amongst the best tasting fried carrot cake but it is still worth a try if you happen to be in this food centre. 

861 North Bridge Road #01-104 North Bridge Road Food Centre SINGAPORE 198783
Operating Hours: 6.15 pm to 6 pm (Tuesday to Sunday)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Victory Restaurant : A Disappointing Experience

Though went with little expectation but i still ended up feeling disappointed. I ordered exactly the same items that i had tried at their competitor next door. I tried the Chicken Briyani and Beef Murtabak, both failed to impress. 

The Chicken Briyani served with very little sauce to go with the rice though it was accompanied by 2 different types of curry sauce. The Beef Murtabak though with quite a generous minced beef filling but it was rather soggy and not crispy at all. Given such a standard, Zam Zam is definitely the obvious choice for the same items.

701 North Bridge Road SINGAPORE 198677
Opening Hours: 7:00 am to 11:00 pm

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Mitzi 美食之家 : It is still the Best!

Mitzi 美食之家 used to be along Tras Street in Tanjong Pagar that closed down about 2 years ago due to shortage of manpower and rental hike. Uncle Hai Zai (虾叔), 76, the main chef and owner, is now back with a humble hawker stall at Chinatown Complex Food Centre serving comforting Zi Char dishes at a much lower price. 

We were there when they were just about to close for their afternoon break. Uncle Hai Zai was busy cooking all the dishes all by himself. Given his age, that is really amazing. I decided to go with Stir-fry Beef with Ginger and Spring Onion ($10) and Steamed Fish Head with Bean Sauce ($13) to go with rice.

The Stir-fry Beef with Ginger and Spring Onion came first. It was served in a generous portion with quite a handful of beef slices. The texture of those sliced beef was tender and flavorful though slightly saltish but the saltiness was just right to go with rice. It might be a rather simple dish but it still required a certain level of skills to done it well. I am very much impressed in this instance. 

The Steamed Fish Head with Bean Sauce came right after. The fish head was quite a big one, much bigger than the other stalls serving the same dish in this food centre. Though the Song Fish is used to prepare this dish but the usual mud taste was not detected as it tasted really fresh. The sauce was well-balanced and tasted slightly different than the other stalls.

I have gotten news that Uncle Hai Zai has been pondering over the thoughts of taking a break as it has been rather tiring for him. Uncle Hai Zai is very particular of the consistence of his standard as he would rather keep the customers waiting during the peak period and still insisted to serve the best. 

I have to go back soon to try some of his other signature dishes when he is still around. 

UPDATED [25 October 2014]: Uncle is taking a break indefinitely, though he has the intention to come back but not likely to be back to his current location. 

MITZI 美食之家
Block 335 Smith Street Chinatown Complex Food Centre #01-153 Singapore 050335
Operating Hours: 11:00 am to 2.30 pm / 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm