Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Damian D'Silva @ Timbre+ : Nasi Lemak with Fiery Chilli

I have met Chef Daiman D'Silva once and that was quite a while ago, he has left quite an impression since then. He has since closed Immigrants Gastrobar in Joo Chiat prior to opening at Timbre+. It is a simple brick-and-mortar set up serving comfort local cuisines and western dishes like fish & chips, burgers and pastas. Their all time best seller has to be the Nasi Lemak. It consists of a good portion of fragrant coconut infused rice, a big piece of ikan kuning, fried chicken wing, omelette, ikan bilis and sambal for $8.00. I decided to go with it. The friendly malay lady at the counter spotted me looking at it on their menu and so when i approached the counter, she asked, 'Nasi Lemak for you?'. I nodded. I asked, 'How did you know?'. She said, 'I saw you looking at it and it is also a popular dish that many came here for.'

I was also asked whether i want to have a drink to go with it. There is an extensive options from hot and cold beverages to different choices of beer. I ordered a cold Latte to go along and i was given the option to collect it first or later, together with the Nasi Lemak. I was given with a pager after done with the payment. I waited for more than 15 minutes before it puzzled though it was already after 2 pm and i seemed to be the only customer at that time. 

The texture of fried chicken wing was a bit too dry and its taste was just so so. The ikan kuning was nicely fried though, its size was quite big so it has enough meat in it. 

The omelette and ikan belis were just quite normal. 

The star of this dish has to be the extremely spicy chilli. I would think this is one of the better chilli that i have came across when eating Nasi Lemak. There was 2 piles of it but i could only finished just 1 as i could not quite handle its level of spiciness but it goes go really well with the fragrant coconut rice. 

When collecting the Iced Latte, i was asked by that friendly counter staff whether i would prefer to have more coffee or more milk and whether i like it to be more bitter or more sweet. 

The menu also includes a old-school dish that is known as Kai Fun or Street Rice, which you do not get it anywhere else. It consists rice that is served with chicken broth, char siew, lup cheong with shredded chicken that was popular amongst the coolies during the olden days. 

NOTE: It has already closed.

73A Ayer Rajah Crescent Timbre+ SINGAPORE 139957
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 11.00 pm (Closed on Sundays)

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Makan Food Stall : Mee Siam

The Mee Siam from this stall has been voted as one of the top 10 in Singapore. They do not just serve Mee Siam but also Mee Rebus, Nasi Lemak, and Nasi Padang. There was just another person in front of me when I was there for an early lunch on a weekday. That person ordered a few packets of Nasi Padang to take away and the other customer behind me ordered Mee Rebus.

I decided to just try Mee Siam for $2.50. To start, I squeezed that piece of calamansi lime then mixed in the sambal chilli. The first mouthful did not excite me though it tasted actually not bad. It even got me to wonder why did they get voted for one of the best Mee Siam in Singapore? It did not quite taste like the usual Malay style Mee Siam, which is usually sweeter and less sourish in taste. Its taste is slightly towards the Chinese style Mee Siam, it somewhat reminded me of the Nonya style Mee Siam which I liked.

I would be interested to try their Mee Rebus or even Nasi Padang when i am in this food centre again.

590 Upper Thomson Road #01-17 Sembawang Hills Food Centre SINGAPORE 574419
Operating Hours: 6.30 am to 7.00 pm

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Sembawang Teochew Minced Meat Noodle

This stall was started in March 2015 and they used to be known as Tai Hwa Pork Noodle at that time. The elderly Uncle used to be an assistant working for Mr Tang Chay Seng, the owner of Tai Hwa Pork Noodle at Crawford Lane that has been newly awarded the 1-Michelin Star. When chatted with the Auntie then, I was told that Mr Tang was here on their opening day as this stall is opened with his blessing. But the name has been changed to Sembawang Teochew Minced Meat Noodle much later. 

When I was there for a late lunch recently, Uncle and Auntie were just sitting at the table in front of their stall as there was no customer at that time. I ordered the smallest portion of mee kia at $4.00, there is also the $5.00 and $6.00 portion available. While Uncle was doing the cooking, I asked the Auntie, 'I remember your stall used to know as Tai Hwa Pork Noodle. Why did you change the stall name ah?'. I guess Auntie did not quite expect that I asked this question. I then asked, 'Did you ask to change the name?'. She said, 'Don't want to be the same la.' She paused a bit then said, 'If not, will get sue.' I decided to stop asking further as Auntie seemed a bit reluctant to elaborate it. 

I got my bowl of noodle in just a bit. The portion for $4.00 is enough if you are not too hungry. It consists of a substantial portion of mee kia with ingredients like minced meat, sliced lean meat, pork liver, meatball, dumpling and dried sole fish. The mee kia was cooked just right to the desired springiness. 

The taste, in fact, is quite similar to the Tai Hwa Pork Noodles at Crawford Lane but the amount of vinegar added is not as excessive. The bowl of soup that served along was quite flavorful too. They might not be as good but there is no queue here so it is not a bad choice after all.

590 Upper Thomson Road #01-29 Sembawang Hills Food Centre SINGAPORE 574419

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Xi Le Ting 喜乐亭 : Old School Desserts

My first visit was decade ago when they were still at the old food centre in Commonwealth Crescent. I was just staying in the vicinity then so i usually walked there after dinner to have desserts. It was only 0.50 cents per bowl at that time for old school desserts like red bean soup, green bean soup, cheng teng and white oats. I stopped coming here for quite a long while after i moved away. I am so glad that this stall is still around after all these years.

The elderly auntie has been cooking all these desserts for more than 40 years. She has somewhat reminded me of my late Grandma as this auntie is always in her old-fashioned sleeveless top and pants that you do not often see elderly ladies wear these days.

I was there after a late lunch and i wanted to order a bowl of green bean soup and a bowl of white oats. I was told that green bean soup has already sold out so i asked her, 'What do you still have left?' She just said, 'White oats la'. And, i asked her, 'Do you also have cheng teng?' She nodded her head. The prices have increased to 0.90 cents per bowl and it is still served in those traditional porcelain bowls. It is self-service and you could place your bowls on those old-school plastic red round trays for easy carrying.

The bowls are actually quite small for just a right portion and it is good, this means i could have 2 to 3 bowls of different desserts each time.

The cheng teng is amongst the popular choices and it is only served hot, it consists of white fungus, big sago, dried longan, barley and dried persimmon. The soup has just the right level of sweetness with a nice taste of longan. 

The white oats is also popular amongst the regular customers. The oats were nicely cooked to have it broken down into fine pieces and its has a smooth texture with a well-balanced sweetness. My late Grandpa would have enjoy this if he is still around.

I do hope to see this stall to be around for another couple of years as such comfort taste is getting difficult to find these days.

Xi Le Ting 喜乐亭
118 Commonwealth Crescent #02-70 Commonwealth Crescent Food Centre SINGAPORE
Operating Hours: 12.00 pm to 10.00 pm (Closed on alternate Mon & Tues)

Friday, August 19, 2016

Seng Kee Chicken Rice 新奇鸡饭 : Roasted Duck Rice

I was there for a late lunch and most of the stalls have already sold out or closed including the popular Henry's Chicken Rice that i am looking forward to try. When i was looking an alternative, this stall caught my attention as i spotted a white-haired elderly Uncle manning the stall. There was another customer right in front of me and when the Uncle saw me, he said, 'Only left duck rice'. I decided to have that and added an egg to go along. I was given a piece of roasted duck drumstick out of the remaining half a duck that was hanging there. It was nicely chopped and served with a good portion of rice together with the braised egg by the side, it also served along with a small bowl of boiled peanut soup for $4.50.

I guess they must have run out of the plain rice as it was served with the chicken broth flavored rice instead, it did go well though. Their roasted duck might not be amongst the best that i have tasted but it was nicely done. The skin was thin though no longer crispy but the meat was rather flavorful and tender, not as greasy as well. It is good enough to eat it by itself and to omit the accompanied chilli totally.

The boiled peanut soup was lightly flavored, there were a few peanuts and a part of chicken feet in it.

Overall, it was a simple yet satisfying lunch. I would be interested to try their Chicken Rice or even the Curry Chicken Noodle if i happen to be in this food centre again.

119 Commonwealth Crescent #02-78 Commonwealth Crescent Food Centre SINGAPORE 140119

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Chow Chow Chicken in Ang Mo Kio

I got to know about this stall from their sponsored post that has been on Facebook. I decided to try it out since it is in my neighborhood so i went on a Sunday. Most of the shops at that particular HDB block were closed and the coffee shop is located right at the end. It was unexpectedly quiet in that coffee shop as some stalls were closed on that day. This new stall stood out amongst the other stalls there. I was served by a friendly chap. I wanted to order their Salted Egg Burger. He asked, 'So, you want to have it take away?'. I was a bit puzzled. He said further, 'We can only served to have it take away.' And, i asked, "You mean you are not allowed to serve it here?'. He then said, 'That's right. It is part of the agreement stated in the lease.' I continued to ask, 'Then, why did you choose this location since there is such a condition stated?' He said, 'Our main focus is to do it online.' 

They have since tied up with Deliveroo and Food Panda to do delivery but it did not seem to deliver to every part of Ang Mo Kio, at least not to where i stay. When i typed in the postal code, it stated that they do not deliver to that area. Apparently, there is another western food stall in the same coffee shop and that should be the reason why they are not allowed to serve their burger there even the other stall is not offering Salted Chicken Burger on their menu. And, i also asked, 'This place seems to be quite quiet on a Sunday.' He replied, 'We did not know it until we started'. 

I decided to order the Double 100% Salted Egg Fried Chicken set that consists of 3 pieces of chicken, rice and vegetables for $6.50. It clearly stated on their menu sheet that it is made using 100% salted egg without egg powder and egg flavouring. I paid and went to wait at the table. It took longer than expected for it to be served, likely due to it is prepared upon order thus the waiting time is slightly longer. It was delivered by the same friendly chap, he even made an effort to ask whether i need another set of culinary when he took notice that i was with a friend. 

When i was in the midst of taking some pictures, i was approached by Lynn, the owner of Chow Chow Chicken. She asked, 'Are you a Food Blogger?' I nodded and said, 'I do keep a food blog out of interest.' She mentioned that she has the background of food and nutrition and that is extremely helpful when come to preparing the menu as well as the recipes. She said that they are using Sunflower oil as a healthier alternative to fry their chicken.

Lynn has suggested that their signature Salted Egg Sotong is a must try. This one is different from those that are served at the cze char stalls. They actually stuffed the Sotong with salted egg yolk then coated with flour and deep-fried it. 

Salted Egg Chicken is not a difficult dish to prepare so it takes a really outstanding one to leave an impression. This one actually tasted not too bad but i have eaten better ones elsewhere so it just did not manage to impress too much. The set includes a portion of white rice, sliced cucumber and a piece of lettuce. I would suggest to skip the Salted Egg Chicken for now and try the other interesting dishes on their menu like Korean Sweet Spicy Chicken Winglets, Rendang Chicken, Si Chuan Ma La Chicken and Strawberry Jam Peanut Butter Chicken. 

This is an interesting stall set up by passionate people and is worth supporting. It is just a stone's throw away from Ang Mo Kio MRT and it is within walking distance from there. You could also take a bus from the Bus Interchange, alight at the 2nd bus stop.

Block 421 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 SINGAPORE 560421
Operating Hours: 12.00 pm to 8.00 pm (Daily)

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

An Ji 安记 : Crispy Sliced Beef Noodle (Sang Mee)

This stall has been around for about 60 years, started by the Grandmother of the current owner. Their signature dishes are Beef Horfun, Sang Mee, Steamed Fish Head and also Fish Head Bee Hoon, they are amongst one of the oldest stalls that have been serving this dish for decades.

Sang Mee, which is also known as Crispy Noodles, is one of my favorite dishes that i will always order at Cze Cha stalls. It is actually a plate of deep-fried crispy noodles that is usually served with sliced beef, sliced fish or purely seafood.

This stall serves one of the best and crispiest Sang Mee that i have ever came across. It still has its crispiness intact even though it is served in a pool of sauce. To start eating, you have to first press down those crispy noodles to let it soak up the sauce to soften it. Even so, it still have a slight crispiness even after left it there for a while. Those sliced beef are lightly marinated and cooked to a perfect tenderness with a desired chewiness. I would like to place it on top of the noodles and eat it together in a mouthful. Such a traditional taste is just so delightful.

AN JI 安记
Block 335 Smith Street #02-193/194 Chinatown Complex Food Centre SINGAPORE 050335
Operating Hours: 10.30 am to 2.30 pm / 4.30 pm to 10.30 pm (Closed on Wednesdays)

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Lin Da Qiang Steamed Fish Head 林大强酱蒸鱼头 :Good KL Hokkien Mee!

Have you ever get really excited over eating a particular dish just like i did over this KL Hokkien Mee? It is not a common dish to be found in Singapore particularly a really good one, this one has actually left an impression after i tasted it the first time. I went to take away and it still tasted good when i had it at home. I decided to go back for the second time and i will eat it right there this time, it should be much nicer when eat it hot. It was after 2 pm after the lunch crowd, i ordered the KL Hokkien Mee  at $5 without much hesitation. I was looking around for a table when i was asked for the table number, the aunty said in Cantonese, 'Just find a table around here'. It was served by an elderly Uncle in just a while. He said, 'Slowly, slowly, no hurry.' in Cantonese. He said that when he saw me digging in my purse to pay.

The portion was good for just $5 with ingredients like prawns, sliced meat with greens and topped with a handful of crispy fried pork lards to serve. 

It is the dark sauce that provide the aromatic fragrance and succulent flavor to the thick noodles, it has a well-balanced taste of a mild sweetness with a hint of savouriness. It serves with just a saucer of red cut chilli and not the sambal chilli like the famous KL Hokkien Mee at Jalan Petaling in Kuala Lumper, Malaysia. Those tasty crispy pork lards have added a depth of flavor to bring forth the delightful flavor.

It has all the elements that a good KL Hokkien Mee should has, this is definitely one of the best that i have eaten in Singapore so far. It is not just the good food but also the old-fashioned heartwarming service that has left an impression here.

Lin Da Qiang Steamed Fish Head 林大强酱蒸鱼头
335 Smith Street #02-072 Chinatown Complex Food Centre SINGAPORE 050335
Operating Hours: 12.00 pm to 8.30 pm

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Crab Meat Wanton Mee : based on a Recipe from Internet

This unassuming stall is in an old coffee shop at the junction of Macpherson Road and Macpherson Lane, it has a eye-catching signboard that read 'Crab Meat Wanton Mee'. It is operated by Raymond Tan, 28, who used to own a car workshop and retail business but lost it all through gambling. He started this stall in January 2016 with no prior experience in food business but based on a recipe that he obtained from the internet and gradually adjusted its taste. 

It is serves in $4 and $5 and i ordered the $5 portion, it came with 3 pieces of soup wantons and 3 pieces of deep-fried wantons. The style is closer to the Malaysian wanton mee which is served with dark soya sauce, light soya sauce and dash of sesame oil. The noodle has a desired springiness and cooked just right but still, something is just missing. The taste is not quite memorable. Those slices of thinly sliced char siew did not taste too impressive as it was slightly too dry thus not as appetising.

The crab meat wanton, their specialty, consists of a substantial amount of lightly seasoned filling includes minced pork, water chestnuts and crab meat. It has the soup and the deep-fried ones that are served freshly fried upon order. I could not quite taste the sweetness of the crab in those plumb wantons for both the soup and the fried ones as it has more meat flavor. The overall taste did not match up to those favorable reviews that i came across.

The amount of passion demonstrated by Raymond is indeed impressive but there is still much room for improvement. 

560 Macpherson Road Sin Fong Restaurant SINGAPORE 368233
Operating Hours: 7.30 am to 11.00 pm

Monday, August 8, 2016

Xiang Kee Yu Yuan Mian Tang : a Good Alternative Choice

I actually made an effort to be there at about 11.00 am for a particular noodle stall but it has already sold out. I went looking for an alternative choice and spotted a queue right in front of this stall. The Aunty saw me and she asked, 'What do you want to eat?' I said, 'Bak Chor Mee, yellow noodles with extra chill added, less vinegar." I pointed to a table nearby but was told that it is self-service. There is actually a big 'Self-Service' sign there that i overlooked. I waited for just 5 minutes before that Aunty waved at me to indicate it is ready for pick-up. 

While i was taking pictures, i took notice that light of the signboard of that stall was turned off and they started to clean up right after. I looked at my watch and it was only 11.30 am. I must be really lucky to have one of the last few bowls of that day.

The smaller portion is good enough for me, it came along with a bowl of lightly flavored soup and ingredients like minced pork, pork liver, fish dumpling, fishcake, fishball, meatball and braised mushroom then topped with a handful of chopped spring onion to serve. The taste was much better than expected, the spiciness of chilli has packed a nice punch and it actually enhanced its flavor pretty much.

The Bak Chor Mee is served in 2 sizes, the smaller one at $4.00 and the larger one at $5.00, extra ingredients are added at $1.00. There is also Fishball Noodle at $3.00.

Block 527 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 #01-117 Cheng San Food Centre SINGAPORE 560527
Operating Hours: 5.00 am to 11.30 am 

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Zhi Xiang Special Lor Mee : with Fried Shredded Yam

This is probably the only stall that is serving their Lor Mee with fried shredded yam and that is why they called it the Special Lor Mee. That is also the only item on their menu, the smaller portion at $3 and the larger portion at $4.  This is amongst one of those popular stalls in this food centre and is operated by a middle-aged couple.

I ordered from the Aunty and i told her that, 'My friend recommended your Lor Mee and he said, it is very nice.' I ordered the $4 portion and requested for extra chilli and garlic paste to be added. The Aunty pointed to those condiments that are placed at the front, saying, 'You can help yourself to those.' I continued to say, 'Your Lor Mee has those fried shredded yam which is different from other stall.' She smiled and asked, 'You want it with leaner or fatter braised meat?' Then, she asked, 'So, you want extra chill and garlic paste, how about vinegar?' I replied cheekily, 'Just a bit, 我不吃醋 '. I was trying to tell her that i am not a jealous person but she did not seem to get it or maybe i just did not sound too funny when saying that. She placed everything on the tray and handed it to me. And, she said, 'Thank you.' 

They actually made an effort to separate the fried shredded yam by placing it in a small bowl for the $4 portion that i ordered. It came with a substantial portion of yellow flat noodles with ngor hiang, fishcake and braised meat. Unlike the usual fried fish nuggets, fried shredded yam is rather special and its crispiness has actually added a crunchy texture.

It was quite a fun thing to do when you tried to break the fried shredded yam into smaller pieces and have it mixed well with chilli and garlic paste as well as the noodles and other ingredients before eating it. 

Perhaps my expectation was a bit too high as the actual taste did not quite match up to it. The addition of those fried shredded yam has differentiate it from other Lor Mee out there and added a special factor but if without it, this would be just a bowl of rather mediocre Lor Mee. The spiciness of chilli has added a certain punch to bring forth its flavor. The gravy was not too starchy nor too thick but flavorful and went well with the noodles and ingredients.

It is not too bad but not worth the effort to travel all the way here just to eat it but it is a worth a try, if you happen to be in this food centre and wanting something different.

Block 93 Toa Payoh Lorong 4 #01-49 SINGAPORE 310093
Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 4.00 pm (Daily)