Sunday, July 31, 2016

Johor Road Boon Kee Pork Porridge : a 60 years old Porridge stall

What is more comforting particularly on those rainy days or when you are just feeling sick is none other than a bowl of porridge. At this coffee coffee shop in Veerasamy Road, together with the famous Victor's Fried Chicken Wing Rice and Hainanese Chicken Rice, is Johor Road Boon Kee Pork Porridge, a Hainanese porridge stall that has been around for at least 6 decades. They started from a pushcart along Johor Road before moving to the Veerasamy Road, the stall has already handed over to the 2nd generation owners.

Their porridge is prepared using pork bone and simmered for hours till the grains are softened then set aside, it will then cook together with the desired ingredients upon order. On their menu, there are Pork Porridge ($2.50/$3.00), Pork with Cuttlefish Porridge ($3.00), Pork with Sliced Fish Porridge ($3), Pork with Chicken Porridge ($3), Sliced Fish with Cuttlefish Porridge ($2.50/$3.00), Chicken with Cuttlefish Porridge ($2.50/$3.00) and Chicken with Sliced Fish Porridge ($3). And, to add 0.50 cents for an egg or with century egg. 

Upon placing the order, a number will be allocated and it will be flashed on their LED panel when it is ready for pick up. I usually order their Pork Porridge whenever i am there. It is served with ingredients like pig stomach, liver, sliced pork, minced meat and you tiao then topped with chopped spring onions, preserved salted vegetable (tang chye) and shallot oil to serve.

It is perfectly cooked to have a slightly grainy and thick texture. The minced pork and sliced meat were lightly flavored and together with those slices of liver were cooked just right. It is simple, filling yet so satisfying.

Block 638 Veerasamy Road Yi He Eating House Stall 6 SINGAPORE
Operating Hours: 6.45 am to 3.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Friday, July 29, 2016

Patissez Singapore : the Creator of FreakShakes

Patissez, the creator of the original Over The Top Milkshake or better known as Freakshake from Australia is in Singapore now. Prior to their opening here, they are already others like Cake Spade and Benjamin Browns that have been serving such milkshake for a while. Singapore is the second outlet outside Australia as the first outlet has opened in Kuala Lumper, Malaysia.

You might be wondering what exactly is a freakshake? it is none other than piling the overflowing milkshake with their house-made ingredients like the whipped cream, peanut caramel semifreddo pop and torched marshmallow together with cakes, cookies and Nutella. 

The freakshakes are created using less ice-cream as well as replaced the regular milk by using frozen milk for a smoother and creamier consistency and to reduce its level of sweetness. There are currently have only 4 freakshakes on their menu, namely Pretzella, Mint Condition, Muddy Pat and Sneaky Freak at $16 each.  

It seems to be a must-try for a milkshake lover like myself. I decided to go with Pretzella and Sneaky Freak together with Tropical Hot Cakes.

Sneaky Freak is Snickers inspired shake with gooey salted peanut caramel, chocolate mousse, sneaky pop-slide (peanut caramel semifredo pop dipped in chocolate rolled in liquid marshmallow and torched for service). I did not like it as much, it was a bit too sweet and no distinct flavor.

Pretzella is a nutellary nutella shake that is made of lashings of Nutella, salty pretzels, vanilla mousse, Nutella dunked salty pretzels and pretzel dust. It is my preference choice amongst the 2 freakshakes that i ordered, it has a distinct hazelnut flavor along with the mild saltiness of those crunchy pretzels that balanced the level of sweetness. 

The other 2 choices that i did not order are Mint Condition and Muddy Pat. Mint Condition is a mint & chunky chocolate shake that is made of gooey chocolate sauce, mint milk crumb, mint chocolate semifredo and chocolate cookie sandwich and more chocolate fudge sauce. This would be a refreshing choice. Muddy Pat is made of gooey chocolate fudge sauce with chocolate ganache, vanilla mousse, chocolate brownie and torched house made marshmallow. This is recommended for chocolate lovers.

After tasted Sneaky Freak and Pretzella freakshakes, I did not like it as much as i thought i would and i actually would be happier with just a simple Strawberry milkshake. 

Tropical Hot Cake is a light and fluffy buttermilk hot cakes served with house made honeycomb, caramelised mango, orange segments, saffron mango reduction, vanilla ice-cream and fresh mint. The fluffy hot cakes still tasted warm even after i done with photo taking. 

On their menu, there are selection for all-day brunch and mains for alternative choices. Bacon Jam Toasty ($13) is amongst the recommended items, it consists of a piece of sourdough toast served with bacon jam and topped with eggs, smashed avocado and cherry tomatoes. Another interesting item that might worth a try is their Freak Burger ($25) which serves with 2 pieces of beef patties, bacon slices, bacon jam, American cheese and house-made BBQ sauce. It is served along with a portion of fries with their special sauce. 

I do not foresee myself coming back here too soon, and definitely not paying another $16.00 for one of their freakshakes but i might be back for their Tropical Hot Cakes though or try their Freak Burger. 

118 Holland Avenue #01-06 SINGAPORE 278997
Operating Hours: 10.00 am to 10.00 pm (Mon to Fri) / 9.00 am to 10.00 pm (Sat & Sun)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Master Tang : Possibly the Best Beef Brisket Noodle in Singapore

The elderly Mr Tang Siu Nam, 84, is back in action. He used to run a hawker stall in Chinatown Complex Food Centre but closed it down, he then rested for 10 months before resurfaced in this coffee shop at Sixth Avenue in Bukit Timah for a few months now. Mr Tang is running this stall assisted by his wife. He is likely to be the oldest hawker in Singapore. He used to be the Head Chef of Crystal Jade Kitchens, he created their signature Cantonese style wanton mee that is served with a unique sambal chilli paste then. 

I was there during lunch on a rainy afternoon and there was only a short queue right in front of the stall. The menu is quite simple which includes Beef Brisket Noodle / Rice ($6), Cantonese Style Noodle with Shredded Meat ($4), Pork Knuckle Noodle / Rice ($5), Wanton Mee Dry / Soup ($3.50), Wanton Soup ($3.50) and Dumpling Soup ($4). I decided to go with Cantonese Style Noodle with Shredded Meat, Beef Brisket Noodle and Wanton Soup.

The Cantonese Style Noodle with Shredded Meat was good. The texture of the noodles is indeed different, it has its desired chewiness and springiness though with a slight alkaline taste but it was cooked just right. The braised shredded meat was nicely done and its sauce added flavor to the noodles and is also served along with some greens. The secret ingredient to the deliciousness is none other than the special sambal chilli that he created which added the comfort factor to the dish and it blended perfectly. 

Beef Brisket Noodle was amazingly good, the perfectly braised beef brisket has its delightful tenderness and it was served along with 2 pieces of radish. Its flavorful braised sauce went well with the noodles. This has to be one of the best beef brisket that i have tasted in Singapore, it is almost as good as those that i had in Hong Kong. 

Wanton Soup came along with 6 pieces of plump wantons in it. Those wantons have a tasty filling that consists of a mixture of pork and shrimp, served with some greens in light flavored soup.

10E Sixth Avenue Kopitown Coffee Shop SINGAPORE 276474
Operating Hours: 8.00 am to 4.00 pm (Closed on Thursday)

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Cafe Menu : Chicken Mac & Cheese in Claypot

I was there on a rainy evening for an early dinner, the crowd started to form even at that time. This stall has been featured in a recent article on Straits Times. This about a month-old stall is actually co-owned by Mr Julian Peh, 33, the owner of now-defunct Legitimeat, a western food stall in a coffee shop at Bukit Merah that has closed down in April 2016. He is working along with David Teo, 49, the other co-owner and chef.

Most of the dishes are priced in between $5 to $6.50 and the most expensive is the Wagyu Steak at $15.50, it will be accompanied by shoestring fries together with coleslaw. Amongst the usual western fare like Bacon Aglio Olio, Grilled Pork Chop, Grilled Chicken Chop, Seafood Baked Rice, their Chicken Mac & Cheese at $5 is rather unusual. I decided to go with it and also their Grilled Pork Chop at $6.00.

A number tag was issued after paying, i was told that the number will be called when it is ready for collection. 

The Grilled Pork Chop was ready first. The 2 pieces of thinly sliced pork chop were lightly seasoned and pan grilled. The texture was unexpectedly tough. Again, it is not easy to cook pork chop well particularly to done it at the right texture without compromising its tenderness. Those shoestring fries were served lightly dusted with herbs and powder and as tasty as the Coleslaw.

The Chicken Mac & Cheese is served in a claypot and is prepared upon order thus a 15 minutes waiting time is required. It is topped with bechamel sauce and nacho cheese sauce that is made with cheddar and mozzarella then baked to melt it and slightly crisp the cheese mixture to serve. It is served piping hot with ingredients like macaroni, peas and chicken chunks in it. The first mouthful was a mixed feeling, i could not say i like it nor dislike it, it tasted not too bad but it just did not manage to impress me much. I might like it better if they leave out those peas which i think it did not go too well with the dish as a whole.

This stall has the most basic way in getting their customers to collect the orders. When it is ready, they will shout out your number loud, you might not get to hear it if you sit a little too far from the stall and that is probably the reason why they have to repeatedly shouting the same number at times. It is better to sit near the stall so you do have to come back to check or to hang around the stall waiting for it to be ready like most of their customers do.

433A Seng Kang West Way #01-01 Happy Hawkers Coffee Shop SINGAPORE 
Operating Hours: 12.30 pm to 9.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Seow Choon Hua Restaurant : the Best Foo Chow Fishballs in town

This is a family-run business that has been around since 1983, located along Sultan's Gate in Kampong Glam. They are well known for its handmade Foo Chow (Fu Zhou) Fishballs. I was told that they only only closed on the first and second day of the Chinese New Year and kept it opened for rest of the year. There is usually a long queue when it is near Chinese New Year and these regular customers are here to get their Foo Chow fishballs in dozens to have it with steamboat at home. They are one of the existing ones that is still handmade these fishballs traditionally rather as most of it are machine-made these days. 

I  usually go with the Foo Chow Combination at $5.00, it is a bowl of soup with all types of ingredients like the famous Foo Chow fishballs, Yan Pi and Wanton. The handmade fishballs are made using different types of fishes. These fishballs are unevenly shaped and delicately made with seasoned minced meat embedded in it, the texture was quite dense though not as bouncy. 

The Yan Pi is a traditional pork dumpling, the texture is in between a wanton and a siew mai. The skin is rather thin but resilient and rather chewy with tasty filling that consists of minced meat and water chestnuts. The wanton has the similar tasty filling but it did not quite stand out. 

You could choose to have it with their noodles, it is flat just like those handmade noodles but less springy and it is served doused in braised dark sauce.

Red Wine Mee Sua at $5.00 is one of the rare find on their menu. It is the lesser sweet version as compared to the Hakka style, it is not too oily and most importantly, it is not overwhelmed with the 'ang zao' which is also known as red glutinous rice wine lees. The flavor was nicely absorbed by the radish and chicken but it will even be nicer if the texture of the mee sua is less soggy. 

33 Sultan Gate SINGAPORE 198481
Operating Hours: 10.00 am to 10.00 pm (Daily)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Collin's in Ang Mo kio

It was founded by Chef Collin Ho that has about 15 years of culinary experience through working in restaurants and hotel. It has rapidly expanded to 18 outlets island-wide which include 3 restaurants and 15 stalls in the coffee shop. It stated on their website that their aim is "to bring restaurant-quality food to the masses at affordable prices" and they have a belief of "putting customers at the very heart of their business strategy", they "hope to share the joy of extraordinary food with ordinary people".

They have recently opened a new outlet in Ang Mo Kio at Jubilee Square just opposite Ang Mo Kio MRT station. There is an ongoing lunch time promotion that offers Fish & Chips, Pan-seared Smoked Duck Breast and half Roasted Chicken at $9.90++ with an option to top up $2.90 to include a soup and a choice of Vanilla Ice Cream, Long Black Coffee or Earl Grey Tea.

I went early for lunch on a weekday and decided to go with their Pan Seared Smoked Duck Breast and added $2.90 to include Cream of Mushroom Soup and Long Black Coffee. I was asked whether to have the coffee now or later which i decided to have it served first and it came right after with a piece of cookie and a packet of sugar. 

The Cream of Mushroom Soup came next. It was served with a few pieces of croutons in it which added a bit of texture to the soup. 

The Pan Seared Smoked Duck Breast came while i was still having my soup. It consists of 2 chunks of smoked duck breast together with blanched broccoli and carrot, Corn on the cob and mashed potato. The Duck Beast was not nicely pan seared as the skin did not have the crisp that it supposed to have, i actually removed those skin and discarded it. The mashed potato did not have a distinct flavor, those blanched broccoli and carrots were quite boring as sides, broccoli was a little too hard which i left it unfinished. 

I could not help but compared it to the Chope Grill & Sides at a coffee shop just nearby, they serve better tasting dishes with interesting sides at a cheaper price, more importantly without GST and service charge, which makes it a better alternative and definitely more affordable.

It was quite a disappointing lunch as i felt the quality of food served is not worth the value.

61 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8 #01-07/08/09/10 Jubilee Sqaure SINGAPORE 569814
Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 1.00 am (Sun to Thurs) / 24 Hrs (Fri, Sat & Public Holiday)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tiong Bahru Fried Kway Teow : The $2 Fried Kway Teow

This stall has been around for the last 25 years and they are likely to be the only stall that is still selling their fried kway teow at just $2.00. If you visit during lunch, you could see a short queue forming right in front of their stall. 

The owner, Mr Tay Soo Nam, 87 years old was there when i visited. He started frying the kway teow when he was 24 years old on a push cart along Kim Poh Road before moving into old Tiong Bahru Food Centre in 1968. He has not been doing much of the cooking these days but i was lucky to have my plate of kway teow done by him. 

He has already handed over the stall to Madam Tay Li Hwa, his daughter, this stall is now manned by Madam Tay and her husband since 16 years ago. This is good at least such taste is still going to be around for a while longer unlike some of those pioneer hawker stalls that have been forced to cease operation as they do not have anyone to takeover.

When i asked Mr Tay why are they still selling it at $2, he said, "We want to take care of our elderly customers in this area so it is okay to earn a bit lesser." This is also the main reason why he is insisting to keep it at $2 for all these years, bigger portion is available at $3 and $4. The $2 portion is not served with cockles. 

Their fried kway teow has a rather old school taste and is served with ingredients like chinese sausage, fishcake, cockles and beansprouts. Its texture is moist with a sweet-savory flavor and is satisfying. How do they make such simple food taste so memorable? 

This is another hawker stall that is truly deserving our respect and support.

30 Seng Poh Road #02-11 Tiong Bahru Food Centre Singapore 168898
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 10.30 pm (Closed on Wednesdays)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Yan Ji Seafood Soup: As Good as It Gets

Yan Ji Seafood Soup has been around for more than 30 years and it is in the good hands of the 2nd generation now. Their main outlet is at Woodlands Centre Road Food Centre and they have just started a branch at Marsiling Lane in September 2014.

The prices for the seafood soup range from the normal one at $6 and $8 to those with crayfish or fish maw at $10 and $12, they also serve Braised Pork's Trotter at $7.00.  Rice is available at 0.50 cents per bowl.

The main outlet at Woodlands Centre Road Food Centre is usually crowded during lunch and weekends, the waiting time could be as long as 45 minutes or even longer. My usual order whenever i am there is their medium portion of seafood soup which consists of 3 medium sized prawns that are served together with those minced pork chunks and several pieces of dory fish in the broth.

The prawns were notably fresh, its meat was rather firm and it peeled off the shells quite easily. Those chunky pieces of minced meat were nicely seasoned with quite a distinct dried flat fish flavor and bits of mushroom embedded in it, its texture was quite tender. I did not like those pieces of dory fish too much and its taste did not quite stand out. The crayfish tasted equally fresh and sweet, it is an interesting option to have it with the seafood soup. The broth was full-bodied and rich with a distinct sweetness, derived from simmering quality ingredients like dried Hokkaido scallops in it.

Block 4A Woodlands Centre Road #02-11 Woodlands Centre Road Food Centre 
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 4.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

It is located at the same HDB block with Sin Kee Seafood Soup but in a much quieter coffee shop at the other corner. Their menu is the same with their main outlet in Woodlands Centre Road Food Centre. I was there during lunch but unlike their other outlet, there was no queue at all. I ordered exactly the same thing, which is the medium portion of seafood soup at $8.00. 

It has also 3 pieces of medium sized prawns, few pieces of chunky minced meat and dory fish. It is more expansive as compared to the other 2 stalls in Marsiling Lane that is served with about the same portion at only $6.50 and that might the reason why there are most customers at the other 2 stalls. Though the ingredients were relatively fresh but the soup here was slightly clearer but less robust and not as flavorful as compared to their main outlet. 

Block 19 Marsiling Lane #01-283 Broadway Coffee Shop SINGAPORE 739152
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 4.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)