Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Goody 'N' Jolly : The Lost and Found

They started at the food court in Parkway Parade decades ago before moved to Katong Shopping Centre and then moving to the current location at Haig Road Food Centre. It is a part of growing up memories of many and some have even perceived their ever big portion Mee Rebus and Mee Siam as one of the best eaten. I used to patronise them quite often when i was attending a church just a stone's throw from Parkway Parade. It was good to see the Uncle and Auntie again and they have a younger man as their assistant now when i visited on a Sunday. The Uncle is operating a drink stall just next to it and left the Auntie with her assistant to man this stall.

I wanted to order Mee Rebus but was told that Mee Rebus is not available on that day and i left to choose between Laksa and Mee Siam. The Laksa is in 2 sizes, the smaller portion is $3.00 and the larger portion is $3.50. The Mee Siam and Mee Rebus are at $3.00 per portion. Though many of their customers ordered their Laksa but i still went with their Mee Siam nonetheless. They have reduced their prices from $4.00 to lower after moving to this food centre.

Their Mee Siam is still served in a generous portion with bee hoon, fried tau kwa cubes, beansprouts and a whole egg then garnished with chopped chives and calamansis to serve. Their gravy is not as sweet as the Malay style Mee Siam but rather savory, which is nearer to the Nonya style. It is still as tasty as i remembered it to be.

I will definitely be back for their Mee Rebus and their Laksa, which seems to be quite a popular choice amongst their customers. 

Block 13 & 14 Haig Road #01-71 Haig Road Food Centre SINGAPORE 430013/14
Operating Hours: 9.30 am to 5.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Monday, June 27, 2016

Serangoon Garden Bakery & Confectionery : Old-school Buns and Cakes

Serangoon Garden Bakery & Confectionery has been around in Serangoon Garden for at least 30 years. I was told by a long time resident that they used to own a shop but closed down before moving to the current location. They serve those traditional and unpretentious buns like the classic luncheon meat buns, curry buns, ham & cheese buns, ikan belis buns, otah buns and many others. You could also find butter cake, banana cake and walnut cake right here. All of those are freshly baked at the spot and there used to be an interesting Uncle and he always said, '再来!' (which literally means come again or simply repeat) when taking the orders. This is a favourite breakfast spot where you could get some of those old school buns to have it with a cup of coffee. 

Their prices have been increasing, i remember it used to be as cheap as 0.60 cents for a piece but it is at $1.00 per piece now. Though it is still cheaper if compared to BreadTalk or other atas bakeries out there but if compared to Baker Talent where most of their buns are below $1.00, it is slightly steep. Perhaps that somewhat explained why the queue is so much shorter these days and there is even no queue at times. 

My favourite has always been the curry bun, ham & cheese bun and luncheon bun. The bread has a slightly sweet taste and rather airy, it still tasted good even it is kept for later or to have it for breakfast the next day.

49A Serangoon Garden Way #01-45/46 Serangoon Garden Food Centre SINGAPORE
Operating Hours: 7.30 am till 5 pm or earlier if sold out (Closed on Mondays)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Coffee Break : Atas Coffee in Hawker Centre

This coffee stall is at the 2nd level of Amoy Street Food Centre and has been around since 1935, it is helmed by the 3rd generation now. Faye used to be a Barista in some coffee joint has took over this family coffee stall founded by her Grandfather. She is doing it with Jack, her brother. They serve not just the traditional Hainanese style coffee but also the modern blends with different flavors like Green Tea Latte, Irish Cream Coffee, Sea Salt Caramel and many others. The beans are freshly grounded to give their coffee its distinct flavor. I was told that they are still using a sock to do it the traditional way.

I ordered their Iced Green Tea Latte at $4.80 to go. The hot version is at $4.30. It was smooth, creamy as well as lightly sweetened with a distinct green tea flavor and is served with just enough ice cubes to keep it chilled. The prices are quite steep in a hawker centre though it is still cheaper than those coffee joints. And, i do not quite mind to pay the extra for that something different when having it with the usual hawker fare.

Latte with Caramel at $3.80 is another recommended choice. The flavor is smooth but rich with just the right amount of milk for a creamier taste a hint of caramel.

They are famous for serving thin-wholemeal toast spread with Hainanese kaya and frozen butter though no longer toasted over a charcoal fire but in an electric toaster. They do not just serve it with kaya but also with Black Sesame Paste, Yam Paste, Earl Grey Creme and Cinnamon Sugar.

7 Maxwell Road #02-78 Amoy Street Food Centre SINGAPORE 069111
Operating Hours: 7.30 am to 2.30 pm (Monday to Friday)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Fish & Chicks : A Return Visit

I went back with a friend this time to try what i have missed out during my first visit. There was already a few customers waiting around when we were there at about 5 pm, just before they open. I went for their Signature Fish & Chick ($12.90) listed under their Signature Combo that is for 2 pax and Hawaiian Chicken ($7.90). The Signature Fish & Chick is served with their signature Fried Garlic Rice and with another side of the choice or with 3 sides of the choice. I decided to have their Fried Garlic Rice since it is supposed to be special and Mashed Potato. As for the Hawaiian Chicken, i opted for Coleslaw and Cheese Pasta. 

Their menu consists of fish and chicken dishes as well as burgers for selection.

The Hawaiian Chicken was ready first. I brought along the pager and collected it at the Counter. I was told that the Signature Fish & Chick is not ready and i have to come back later. I waited for another 15 minutes before the pager buzzed again.

Hawaiian Chicken is none other than a piece of chargrilled chicken topped with mozzarella cheese and pineapple cubes, baked it then garnished with parsley flakes to serve. It tasted just like a Hawaiian Pizza but instead on a dough, it is on a piece of chargrilled chicken. It was kind of unique but it did not manage to impress me too much.

The side dishes, Cheese Pasta and Coleslaw were alright. The Cheese Pasta did not have much of the cheese taste but the texture was cooked just right. The Coleslaw fared better than the first time when had it. 

Their Signature Fish & Chick for 2 pax is of good value, the portion is substantial and filling to be shared amongst 2 pax. It consists of a piece of Fish Fillet and a piece of Fried Chicken with a big bowl of Garlic Fried Rice and Mashed Potato. 

The Fried Chicken was a big disappointment, though it was crispy but lacking in flavor, it tasted quite bland with not much seasoning. Those dried parsley flakes did not help much in enhancing the flavor. The Fish Fillet was better in comparison but it is tastier to have it with their chilli crab sauce or the salted egg sauce. Their Best of Both Worlds that has Fish & Chips with that 2 special sauces is a better choice.

The Garlic Fried Rice was quite disappointing as it did not have a distinctive taste. The Mashed Potato was just fine if had it with the brown sauce.

I guess their business must be too good to justify opening a new outlet in town, it is at Cineleisure Orchard and will be opening on 27 June 2016.

Block 531 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 Happy Hawkers SINGAPORE 560531
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 2.00 pm / 5.00 pm to 10.00 pm (Daily)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Chin Mee Chin Confectionery : The Forgotten

I was there near lunch but there was just another table at that time. This was the first time that i did not have to wait for a table as it has always been crowded whenever i visited. The Auntie that was serving a couple at the other table did not seem to be too friendly. I went to her when she was done taking their orders to give mines. I ordered an Iced Coffee, 2 Soft-boiled Eggs and a Kaya-Butter Bun then i went to the display shelf right in front of the shop to help myself to an Egg Tart.

When the Auntie served the Iced Coffee to my table, i asked, "I did not see any Sausage Roll. Do you still serve them?' She replied, "We have stopped serving it." I did not get to ask her the reason as she walked away right after. I overheard when one of their regular customers asking her a similar question. That Auntie was telling her, "We are shortage of manpower so we are not able to bake most of the items now." She did not mention whether it is permanently or just for a while. 

I travelled from the northern part of Singapore to here for their Sausage Rolls as it used to be a part of my growing up memories. I was feeling disappointed that i did not get to eat it. It is getting difficult to find Sausage Rolls these days in those modern bakeries. Another bakery that is known to be still serving them is Balmoral Bakery at Sunset Way and i went to get some last month but i did not like it at all.

The Egg Tart, though not the best but it is still better than most out there. The shell is slightly thicker but fragrant and crumbly, the custard is smooth and soft.

Their Kaya-Butter Bun has always been the must-order whenever i am here. It is usually served slightly toasted with kaya evenly spread at both side of the buns and a small piece of butter. A butter knife is served along with it so you could use it to spread the butter over the kaya on the warm buns. It just did not taste as nice as i remember this time, there seemed to be something missing which i could not quite say what is that. 

The Soft-boiled eggs are always comforting, it is best eaten with a dash of white pepper and drizzled with a bit of dark soya sauce then mixed it a bit before partaking it.

I could not help but wonder how much longer would this place still be around?

204 East Coast Road SINGAPORE 428903
Operating Hours: 8.30 am to 4.00 pm

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Food Hunting in Hong Kong on the 'Ding Ding' Trams

This article has first appeared on MANKANSUTRA in June 2015. The information is still updated and might be useful for those that are heading to Hong Kong during this school holiday.

Hong Kong Island is the heartbeat of Hong Kong, where you can find shiny skyscrapers as well as being home to the many culinary delights found in restaurants and hole-in-the-wall shops. The historic 'Ding Ding' Trams which make it easy and affordable for off the beaten track food hunting in this part of Hong Kong. Listed here are some of the recommendations along the tramway.

Shop B1, G/F, Kwong Sang Hong Building, 6 Heard Street, Wan Chai
Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 11.00 pm (Daily)
[Tram Station: Tonnochy Road]

Their Scrambled Egg on Toast for HKD$20 is a must-try, it was amongst one of the best that i ever eaten. You could also choose to have it with black truffle for only HKD$38. The texture of the egg was delicate and moist served on a piece of lightly toasted and buttered thick toast.

Their Pork Chop Bun at HKD$20 is served with a piece of pork chop sandwiched in between the toasted buns. Also, try their chilled milk tea is HKD$21 that is served in a tall metal cup.

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

The ABC is simply stands for 'A Better Kitchen' and it operates from a food stall in a cooked food market, just like our hawker centre. They have a few signatures not to be missed, their Roasted Suckling Pig (HKD$178) is very good, it beats most of the those Spanish restaurants in term of value and quality. It was nicely done to leave an aromatic smokiness on its skin apart of the delightful crispiness and its succulent meat fall-off-the-bone effortlessly. It served along with mashed potato and salad.

Beef Tenderloin (HKD$208) is also worth checking out if you come across it on their menu. It consists of a chunky piece of perfectly grilled beef done to a right texture with sauteed spinach and kipfler potato as well as half a slice of mushroom.

G/F, 23 Hillier Street, Sheung Wan
Operating Hours: 8.00 am to 6.00 pm
Tram Station: Hillier Street

Their sunny-side up eggs with rice is probably one of the best in town. A must-try is Triple Sunny Side Up Eggs with Char Siew and Rice for HKD$26 or you could also have it with luncheon meat for the same price. This is their signature and also a popular choice for those office workers in the area. The egg yolks were done just right for a slightly runny texture and it does go well with the dark soy sauce added

G/F, 17, Connaught Road, Sheung Wan
Operating Hours: 7.30 am to 4.30 pm (Mon to Thu & Sat) / 7.30 am to 3.00 pm (Fri)
Tram Station: Macau Ferry Terminal

The Scrambled Egg with Corned Beef on Toast for HKD$20 in this old-school cafe is a must-order. The toast is served with a perfect amount of chopped spring onions, corned beef and egg. You could paired it with their ice blended red bean drink.

Their other signature dish is the Noodles in Ceramic Pot for HKD$38 and is served with ingredients like five-spice pork, fried egg, luncheon meat and smoked duck breast. 

KWAN KEE  坤记煲仔小菜
Shop 1 Wo Yick Mansion, 263 Queen's Road West, Western District
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 12.0 am (Mon to Sat) / 6.00 pm to 12.30 am (Sun)
Tram Station: Eastern Street

This unassuming shop is still cooking their claypot rice over charcoal stoves that give the rice a hint of smoky flavor and a perfectly crisp layer at the bottom of the claypot. Their Claypot Rice with Spare Ribs for HKD$60 is popular amongst their regular customers.

Their side dishes like Sweet & Sour Pork for HKD$50, Deep Fried Squid with Spicy Salt for HKD$60 and Pork Bone Soup for HKD$128 that is good for 4 pax are amongst the strongly recommended items on their menu.

89 Hennessy Road Wan Chai
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 1.00 am (Daily)
Tram Station: Luard Street

Their signature Braised Beef Brisket Noodle for HKD$42 is exceptionally good in this old-school noodle house. The soft and tender brisket was done just right and goes well with their handmade bamboo noodles that are thin and rather chewy in texture. They offer pickled turnips on the table to go along with noodles a no extra charge.

G/F, 7 Tin Lok Lane, Wai Chai
Operating Hours: 10.00 am to 12.00 am (Daily)
Tram Station: Tin Lok Lane

Their extensive menu consists of classic items and their house specialties. The Crispy Shrimp Rice Flour Rolls for HKD$27 is highly recommended. It has a unique contrasting texture consists of a soft outer layer and a crispy inner layer coupled with succulent prawns filling.

Shop B3, G/F, 76A Shau Kei Wan Main Street, Shau Kei Wan
Operating Hours: 12.00 pm to 10.00 pm (Mon to Fri) / 11.00 am to 10.00 pm (Sat & Sun)
Tram Station: Shau Kei Wan Terminus

The waffles sold here is commonly known as 'grid biscuits', made from eggs, sugar and evaporated milk and served warm with butter and peanut butter spread on one side and folded over. The texture has a perfect balance of crispiness and chewiness.

Their egglets are equally popular for the same price of HKD$15 for a piece.

Friday, June 17, 2016

KT Grab & Grill in Toa Payoh

The very first impression of Chef Kiang Siang Heng is that he is in fact a rather humble person. You could not quite believe that he used to be quite a high profile executive chef that has won numerous awards in the past 26 years before starting this hawker stall in Epic Haus,  a atas Kopitiam located at Toa Payoh Lorong 8. You could see those awards and medals being displayed at the stall. I wonder how much courage did he take to move out of his comfort zone and venturing into the unknown?

He was all alone when i visited, he was taking orders, collecting payment, cooking and even serving it though there is a sign that indicated 'self-service'. He caught me standing there and looking at the menu and he asked in mandarin, "What do you want to eat?". I noticed that he was wearing a t-shirt with 'Resort World Sentosa' printed on it together with its logo. I ordered the Set 1 and Set 2 on the menu, paid and was given a pager. 

It was followed with a long waiting time though there did not seem to have too many customers at that time. Chef Kiang was serving another table of 8 pax that ordered quite a few items, he was serving bowls of soup to them and followed by the main dishes. I waited for about 25 minutes before spotting him approaching our table with the orders. He was smiling and apologetic though. He placed those dishes on our table and he said, 'Enjoy!' before walking away.

Grilled Seafood with Paella Rice for just $8.90. It came with a portion of paella rice, half a piece of clayfish, mussel, scalop, fish and crabstick together with a handful of shredded lettuce and coleslaw. The ingredients tasted relatively fresh and nicely cooked to the right texture then drizzled with some tasty sauce. The paella rice was a bit too light in flavor otherwise it is of pretty good value. 

Surf & Turf (Grilled Fish & Quarter Chicken) with Paella Rice at $7.90. It was served with half a chicken rather than the quarter chicken indicated on their menu. The likely reason might be the size of the chicken maybe smaller and that is why it is served in half rather than in quarter. It definitely of a really good value for that half of the herb roasted chicken which was flavorful and tasty with a rather tender and moist texture. 

When Chef Kiang happened to walk past our table, he asked, "Did you enjoy it?". I nodded my head while still chewing a piece of chicken in my mouth. He smiled and walked away.

Block 211 Toa Payoh Lorong 8 Epic Haus #01-01 SINGAPORE 310211

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Smoothie House Singapore : Desserts from Taiwan

This is a popular dessert place from Yong Kang Street in Taipei, they opened their first outlet at One Raffles Place and followed by the other one at Paya Lebar Square then this one at Westgate. They are famous for their fruit smoothies and snowflake ice desserts. There are a total of 3 sizes to choose from: Healthy ($7.90), Sharing ($9.90 to $12.90) and Family ($15.90). 

Mango Snowflake Ice with Panna Cotta ($9.90) is one of their signature items. The texture of shaved ice was rather fine, smooth and rather creamy with an intense mango flavor and a milky taste at just the right level of sweetness. It was served with a generous amount of chunky mango cubes and topped with a Panna Cotta then drizzled with mango syrup. I enjoyed it. 

Yogurt-Berry Snowflake Ice ($12.90). It was not as sweet as the Mango Snowflake Ice but with a slightly sourish taste and is served with slices of banana, strawberries and blueberries. It was a refreshing choice and equally enjoyable. 

3 Gateway Drive #01-08 Westgate Mall SINGAPORE 608532
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 10.00 pm (Daily)

Other branches:
. 60 Paya Lebar Road #02-15/16/17 Paya Lebar Square SINGAPORE 509051
. 1 Raffles Place #03-25 One Raffles Place SINGAPORE 048616