Thursday, December 31, 2015

Some of the Best Foods that I Ate in 2015

These were the best things that i ate in Hong Kong and Singapore this year. Those foods were so good that it left an impression.

Shop 1 A & 1B, G/F, Lei Shun Court, 106 - 126 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay, HONG KONG
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 10.30 pm (Sun to Thu) / 11.00 am to 11.00 pm (Fri & Sat)

Gyokuro Genmaicha Blend is one of their newest flavor. It is made with a fragrant blended tea combining the robust flavor of roasted rice with the amami of Gyokuro tea. It is rather unique and rich in taste, the matcha flavor really come out without being too sweet nor too bitter, it was really good with very fine and smooth texture. They are reputable of serving the best matcha soft serve in Hong Kong. And, actually not a day goes by that i do not think of it after that first encounter.

1/F Queen Street Cooked Food Market No 38 Des Voeux Road West Sheung Wan HONG KONG
Operating Hours: 12.00 pm to 2.30 pm (Mon to Sat) / 7.00 pm to 10.30 pm (Mon to Sun)

This is just something that you do not quite expect to find in a cooked food centre as there is definitely a certain standard from their food to their service that i got back to come back for the second time on my birthday. The perfectly grilled Beef Tenderloin left quite an impression this time, it might not be the finest nor the most surprising thing that i have eaten this year that that well-done simplicity is just so comforting.

G/F, 21 Gough Street, Central, HONG KONG
Operating Hours: 12.00 pm to 10.30 pm (Closed on Sundays)

After eaten many bowl of Braised Beef Brisket Noodle in Hong Kong and only their Curry Beef Brisket left an impression. It was full of flavors with rather excellent beef brisket that cooked just right for a desired texture with delightful chewiness even though i would prefer the curry to be a little spicier but the curry sauce went really well with their E-Mien. Their place is rather cramped and always crowded but they served the best Beef Brisket Noodle, the queuing to enjoy it is so worth the while. I really wish i would eat it more often.

51 Old Airport Road #01-122 Old Airport Road Food Centre SINGAPORE 390051
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 4.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Their classic KL style Char Siew is excellent. It was intensely flavored with a distinct sweetness as well as a sticky texture with charred edges and presented in chunky pieces. I intended to east jus a bit but i could not quite stop it when i started with the first pieces and now, not a day goes by that i do not think about that chunky piece of Char Siew. Now, that is something so good that kept me thinking about it.

3 Yung Sheng Road #03-130 Taman Jurong Food Centre SINGAPORE 618499
Operating Hours: 12.00 pm to 9.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

For just $5 for a set of chicken chop, you will get to enjoy a piece of perfectly grilled chicken chop with a portion of fries and coleslaw served along with their tasty brown sauce. That chicken chop was so gorgeously tender and succulent with a delightful smoky charred flavor, the skin was nicely seared to give a desired crispiness. It is easily amongst the top 3 in my list for the best chicken chop and i could not quite forget how amazing it was.

335 Smith Street #02-12 Chinatown Complex Food Centre SINGAPORE 050335
Operating Hours: 10.30 am to 1.30 pm

This stall offers Fried Rice as its main with side dishes to go along and their fried rice tasted indeed special. Its texture was rather grainy and fried well with ingredients like char siew, prawns and egg to give it a nice wok taste. It was good enough to eat it on its own even without those braised meat and fried egg. Their braised meat tasted like what my late Grandpa used to cook, it was really soft, so soft that you need not even need to chew it. I can still taste whenever i think about it, probably because it was really so good. 

348 Simpang Bedok Bedok Market Place SINGAPORE 469560
Operating Hours: 12.00 pm to 8.00 pm

Their Lo Mien (Tossed Noodles), commonly known as 'Lo Ding' (捞丁) is a dish that usually found in those tea houses in Hong Kong is a must-try. This is likely to be the first hawker stall that is serving this dish apart of those Hong Kong style eateries in Singapore. It consists of a few chunky pieces of perfectly braised soya sauce chicken serving along with luncheon meat, a lava egg and greens doused in their special soya based sauce with their homemade ginger paste. It tasted really good, even better than some of those that i have eaten in Hong Kong. This is definitely something that i am craving and want to eat it often.

Block 4A Woodlands Centre Road #02-11 Woodlands Centre Road Food Centre 
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 8.30 pm (Closed on Mondays)

It might not be the cheaper or the most sophisticated but their Seafood Soup particularly with crayfish added is quite comforting. It is served with sliced fish and hand-shaped meatballs. You could taste an intense flavor of dried sole fish and mushroom in it. The strongly flavored stock has a hint of natural sweetness, no refilling is allowed and they even controlled it by serving only half a bowl for each portion. The waiting time could be up to 1 hour if you come during lunch or weekends but it is just so worth it 

Block 2 Changi Village Road #01-34 Changi Village Food Centre SINGAPORE 500002
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 10.00 pm (Closed on Tuesdays)

This stall has been around for the longest time. Their Chicken Chop Horfun has been a part of my growing up memories and though it has been a while but it still tasted quite the same, i could taste the familiarity in it that brought a sense of nostalgic. The chicken chop was intensely marinated and fried well to a nice crispiness then served it with the smooth and soft kway teow in tasty sauce. This was so good particularly after trying so many over-complicated dishes. Everything about it is just perfect.

Block 252 Jurong East Street 24 #01-107 SINGAPORE 600252
Operating Hours: 5.00 pm to 10.30 pm

If you want a taste of everything then their Mix Grill is the choice, you will get to try their chicken chop, beef steak and even sausage. They serve one of the better chicken chop that i have tasted and their beef steak was nicely done too, served along with their special Rosemary Brown Sauce. The choice of sauteed potatoes was a good side dish. Do go order as the queue can be crazily long during dinner. I enjoyed it so much that i wish i was eating it right now.

Those foods were quite memorable as the year comes to a close. Those were the best things that i ate in Hong Kong and Singapore in 2015. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

夏門十全大補 :Herbal Duck Soup

You could easily missed out this stall, it has a faded signboard that only have their stall name in Chinese but if you observe, there is always a constant flow of customers though it did not form into queue. Most of these customers order their Pork's Trotter to go with rice and if you walk around the food centre, you will get to see many tables actually ordered Pork's Trotter from this stall. When i wanted to order at 1.45 pm, i was told it has already sold out. I was then offered the Herbal Chicken or Duck as most of their other items were sold out too. I decided to go with their Herbal Duck ($5.00) with rice ($0.50 cents). It is self-service here, so i was just stood there waiting for them to heat up then pour it into the bowl and served. 

The Chinese name of this Herbal Duck is 十全大补鸭, it consists of a duck drumstick served in a big bowl of intensely herbal-ish soup. I could not quite tell what went into the herbal soup but i could taste the distinct taste of Chinese Angelica Root which commonly known as Dang Gui (当归) in it.

It must have been boiled for consecutive hours for that intensive flavor and to give the duck that desired softness, the meat was really tender. Though the skin was slightly thicker but it was not oily. I felt this is a healthier alternative to the usual hawker fare.

Other than the Pork Trotter's ($4.50) and Herbal Duck ($5.00), there are also Herbal Chicken ($4.50), Bak Kut Teh ($4/$5), Pig's Orgran Soup ($4.00), Meat Ball Soup ($3.50) and Pig's Organ Bitter Gourd with Bee Hoon / Mee ($3.50) available for selection.

Block 4A Woodlands Centre Road #02-26 Woodlands Centre Road Food Centre

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Broadway Claypot Rice : The Famous Claypot Rice in Ang Mo Kio

This is the most talked about Claypot Rice in Ang Mo Kio, tucked away at the coffee shop along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6 and right behind the Ang Mo Kio Central Food Centre. Most of the customers in that coffee shop came for their Claypot Rice. The stall is named after the then Broadway Theatre and the current Broadway Plaza located just beside the coffee shop and it has been around for about 3 decades. 

You could choose in between the standard Claypot Rice which serves with the normal chicken for 1 pax ($7/$9), 2 pax ($13), 3 pax ($18) and 4 pax ($22) or the premium version which serves with Kampong Chicken for 1 pax ($8/$10), 2 pax ($15), 3 pax ($20) and 4 pax ($24). The difference between the standard and the premium Claypot Rice is only $2. They cook upon order thus a waiting time of about 15 minutes or longer during their peak hours is expected. 

It was served sizzling hot and steaming along with its aroma. Their Claypot Rice consists of a substantial portion of rice with chicken and sausage and it came all drizzled with dark soya sauce. You just need to give it a good mix without worrying how much dark sauce to add for the right flavor. The rice was cooked well to a desired texture, which is not too dry nor lumpy. There were a few chunky pieces of chicken though a bit boney but it was quite tasty together with a few thinly sliced Chinese sausage in it and topped with chopped spring onions to serve. 

The taste was alright though a slightly salty and i guess it might have to do with my personal preference. You could also taste bits of dried salted fish amongst the rice and it added flavor. It has the nice burnt taste with a thin layer of burnt and charred rice crisps at the bottom and along the side of the claypot, though crispy but a bit too hard but it gave the rice a delightful flavor. You could actually taste the layers of flavor with each ingredient.

Though my last visit was quite a while ago but it still tasted as good as before. However, the portion is getting smaller and that somehow explained why there are 2 prices for a portion to serve 1 pax. 

Their menu includes Bak Kut Teh, Pig's Stomach Soup ($5.00), Pig's Liver & Kidney Soup ($5.00), Pig's Tail Soup ($5.00), Pig's Organ Soup ($4),  Pig's Trotter ($6/$7/$8) and Oyster Vegetable Soup ($6/$8). There is also a famous Chinese Herbals Soup stall and an equally famous Western Food stall in the same coffee shop. 

The overall experience might not be absolutely mind blowing but it was hearty and comforting, in fact, this is all it really needs to get their customers to keep coming back. This is no doubt their open secret to be around for a good period of 30 years to continuing serving their Claypot Rice to mostly the residents of Ang Mo Kio. 

Block 728 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6 #01-4200 Coffee City SINGAPORE 560728
Operating Hours: 12.00 to 11.00 pm (Daily)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Buffet at IKEA : A Pleasant Dinner

Where were you and what did you eat on the eve of Christmas? As for me, i went for the buffet dinner at IKEA. This was the second time, i was at the IKEA Tampines last year but decided to go to IKEA Alexandra this year. There was already a queue outside of the restaurant even before 5.30 pm. I overheard a conversation between their staff whether to allow 2 different groups coming in at the same time or having it a group at a time. The queue was rather systematic when we were allowed to enter at 5.25 pm. We were ushered to our table quickly. 

Rather quickly, queue started to form at the buffet table but it was moving rather quick even for those that just joined the queue did not have to wait for too long. 

There is a wide variety of dishes like Turkey, Honey Baked Ham, Baked Smoked Salmon, Gratin with Marinated Hering, Baked Meatballs, Sausages, Salads, Log Cakes and more.

Most of the food items tasted quite average but their Honey Baked Ham tasted rather stale, i left it uneaten. For just $30 per pax with a $10 IKEA voucher given, i have nothing to complain. 

317 Alexandra Road SINGAPORE 159965
Operating Hours: 10.00 am to 11.00 pm

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Roast Paradise : Reasonably good char siew

The owners, Randall Gan and Kai Koh, both in their 20s, decided to give up their jobs at the integrated resorts and took a significant pay cuts to pursue their dream. This led them Famous Seremban Favourites, the shop of Kai's Uncle, one of the top roast shops at Petaling Jaya in Kuala Lumpur (KL) where they were trained to roast KL style roasted meat for about 4 months prior to starting this stall for a few months now.

They start their day as early as 5.00 am in order to have their first batch to be out by 11.00 am. Their char siew is a classic KL style, which has been intensely marinated and well caramelised to give it a distinct sweetness with a sticky texture and charred edges using the part in between the pig's shoulder and belly, near the armpit, which is supposedly more tender. It was then served in chunky pieces, the outer layer was nicely caramelised for a slightly crisper texture with a distinct smoky flavor and not comprising its tenderness. The texture was slightly fatter but it was perfectly roasted so you could not quite taste the fat-ishness of the meat but an excellent mouthfeel instead.

I was there close to 1 pm and they left with just a bit of char siew to go. I decided to have an upsized Hakka Noodle with char siew for $4.50. Hakka Noodle is not as common here as compared to KL, in fact, this is the first time that i came across it. 

I was given the choice to choose between the leaner or the fatter part for the char siew and i decided to have a half fat and half lean. It is served with pork oil, though similar but not the lard oil with a dash of sesame and onion oils with a handful of savoury minced meat. 

The mee pok was cooked to a rather soft texture, not quite al dente but much softer though not mushy. 

You could refer to their price list to decide what to order. Even though their operating time is till 4.00 pm but they usually sold out by lunch. 

As 2015 is coming to an end, i am in the midst to list the best food that i ate this year and this is definitely amongst those memorable food that i had.

UPDATE: i revisited the stall and they left the last batch of char siew which happened to be from the part at the both ends of the meat, it was a bit too charred and slightly too hard and i did not enjoy as much as compared to the first visit. They was only left roasted meat at 12 pm on a Sunday.

51 Old Airport Road #01-122 Old Airport Road Food Centre SINGAPORE 390051
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 4.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Taste of Ipoh : Ipoh Curry Mee

This is a new stall in Old Airport Road Food Centre, there were still some flower baskets on display when i visited on last Sunday. The owner is a middle-aged man and he was quite friendly when i asked for a recommendation. In fact, there are only 2 items on the menu: the Ipoh Laksa ($4.00) and Ipoh Curry Mee ($3.50). He said, 'It really depends on what you like, if you like it a little sourish then you should try the Laksa if not, the Curry Mee is the better choice.' I went with the Ipoh Curry Mee. As i was the only customer then, i got my order in just a short while. 

I wanted to add another 0.50 cents for the fish cake but the owner said, there is no need as there are already included in the Curry Mee. Then i realised in the whole bowl of Curry Mee, there was only 2 different types of fish cake and a small handful of bean sprouts. 

It tasted a bit like the Maggie curry mee with an intense flavor of those curry powder. I could not quite tell how authentic is the taste of this Ipoh Curry Mee as i have never visit Ipoh but it tasted quite comforting though not exactly what i would have enjoy.

51 Old Airport Road #01-147 Old Airport Road Food Centre SINGAPORE 390051