Monday, October 30, 2017

Ajisai Japanese Ramen at Yishun Park Hawker Centre

Chef Saito Hiroli, 74, is in charge of this Japanese Ramen stall in this slightly more than a month old Hawker Centre. He was born Tokyo in Japan and he entered the kitchen at 26 years old working at a Japanese gastropub in Osaka for a decade. After this, he went to Los Angeles in the United States of America and worked in a Japanese restaurant before leaving for Hong Kong then went to Sydney as well as other Asian cities before coming to Singapore in 1993. He worked as an executive chef in the hotel and also ran his gastropub together with a Japanese stall in a food court. He met Vincent Ng, 52, that ran a Chinese mixed-rice stall in the food court and both of them became friends. And, Vincent managed to convince Chef Saito to come out of his retirement and set up this stall together. 

This stall is supposed to serve Japanese food at affordable prices and with no authenticity sacrificed. Chef Saito was there when I ordered the Ajisai Miso Ramen at $5.50, the most expensive item on their menu. There are also Pork Chashu Ramen ($3.50), Chicken Ramen ($3.50), Tempura Ramen ($3.50), Jia Jia Ramen (Dry) ($3.50), Miso Ramen ($4.50), Ajisai Ramen ($5.00) and Plain Ramen ($2.50) on the menu. Some items like different types of Donburi and Japanese Curry as well as Garlic Fried Rice are marked as "Sold Out" on their menu. 

I waited for about quite a while for the order to be taken and waited for another 8 minutes or so before receiving the order as there was an order of 3 bowls of ramen before me. The Ajisai Miso Ramen came with half of the ajitama with a small piece of charsu that had more fat than meat, together with some sweet corns, wakame seaweed, fried chicken, and pork. The texture of ramen was pretty firm though with a kind of rubbery resistance which I did not quite like and the miso taste was just too strong. 

I decided to give it another try as I was not too convinced that this should be their usual standard since they have an experienced Japanese chef to oversee the cooking process. I ordered the Pork Chashu Ramen ($3.50) this time. While waiting for the order to be ready, I took notice of those blocks of braised pork belly on a plate that was placed in the glass display shelf, instead of being rolled and tied up the pork belly, it was just blocks of pork belly with a few pieces of string in between to hold its shape. And, that explained why I initially thought it was just half a piece of charshu as it was much smaller in size. 

I was expecting it to be served in tonkotsu broth but it was shoyu instead, it is clearly indicated beside the Pork Chashu Ramen, which has listed as A1 on their menu but I did not notice it when ordering. It fared slightly better than the Ajisai Miso Ramen that I had yesterday. It is served in clear dark broth, flavored with soy sauce with half of the ajitama, a piece of small charsu and kombu. 

The ramen was cooked to the al-dente texture and the ajitama egg was done just right, the chashu has a better lean-to-fat ratio this time. It was not too bad for just $3.50 and I should not be comparing nor complaining at all.

This is not the best of the hawker-style Japanese Ramen that I had tasted,  though this is likely to be the cheapest in Singapore for shoyu ramen.

51 Yishun Avenue 11 #01-42 Yishun Park Hawker Centre SINGAPORE 768867
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 9.00 pm (Tuesday to Friday) / 
9.00 am to 9.00 pm (Saturday, Sunday & Public Holiday)

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Nasi Lemak Ayam Taliwang at Yishun Park Hawker Centre

Mohammed Noorman Mubarak, 38 together with Puti Andam Dewi Henry, 31, his Indonesian-born wife, are the owners of this stall. Noorman used to help up at his father's stalls that served nasi lemak, nasi ayam in hawker centres in Ang Mo Kio, Bedok and Newton. He started doing so since he was just 5 years old. He did not take over the stall when his father retired in 2003. He joined Singapore Airlines as cabin crew and he met his wife while working together. He then worked as a project manager in oil rig industry for another 7 years before he decided to set up this stall with his wife and Muhammad Ikhram, 38, his long-time friend.

Their signature dish is Nasi Lemak Ayam Taliwang, a local spicy grilled chicken dish from Lombok in Indonesia. It resembles the regular grilled chicken but the taste is different, it is sweet, tangy and spicy rather than just plain spiciness. Noorman was first introduced to Ayam Taliwang when he visited Lombok in Indonesia with his wife about 3 years on their honeymoon. They felt that this humble dish complements the Malay nasi lemak and decided to bring this well-loved taste to Singapore. The Ayam Taliwang is based on a recipe by Puti's mother and the recipe for sambal and the coconut-infused rice is from Noorman's father. They started to experiment the recipes, recreating it using different spices and ingredients in different proportions for sambal and marinade. After about 6 months and underwent many experiments, they perfected the recipe and concluded the right level of spiciness that is more suited to the local taste buds. The marinade is made by hand with a good amount of fresh chilli, shallots, belachan and tamarind juice and it is used to coat the chicken before steaming it and then grilling it. Though it is typically served with white rice, they choose to serve with coconut infused rice that is for nasi lamak.

Ayam Taliwang ($5.50) was sold out during my first visit when they just opened. This time, I was lucky enough to have the last set. It is served together with the spicy grilled chicken, tempeh, ikan bilis and kang kong with sambal chili by the side. The level of spiciness has toned down quite a bit as my dining companion that has a little tolerance for spicy food think its spiciness is quite manageable. The flavor is addictively strong but I do prefer it to be a little spicier. 

I also got to try their basic Nasi Lemak ($3.50) with Chicken Wing during my first visit when they just opened. The queue was long at that time as they run out of rice and we were asked to wait for the new batch. Though it did not taste as memorable as their Nasi Lemak Ayam Taliwang, it was not too bad particularly the fried chicken wing. 

There are also Ayam Cabe Ijo (grilled chicken with green chilli) and Ayam Balado (grilled chicken with sambal chilli) on their menu for $5.50 each.

51 Yishun Avenue 11 #01-33 Yishun Park Hawker Centre SINGAPORE 768867
Operating Hours: 7.30 am to 8.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Duck Master : $15 per duck is just so cheap!

They first started on the ground floor of People's Park Complex in June 2017 before expanding to include this outlet at Textile Centre, along Jalan Sultan. Their mascot is a Donald Duck in a kung-fu gear and it is hard to miss. And, their tempered glass electric roasting ovens with rows of ducks spinning as they roast are definitely eye-catching. These roasted ducks are going at an unbeatable price tag of just $15 each and this caused quite a lot of stir on Social Media that led to really long queue and waiting time. Customers have to place their orders first, a token is issued to come back later for collection. They started roasting at about 10 am when they open and a few hundreds of ducks are prepared in several batches of 24 ducks in each rotisserie. It takes about 45 minutes for the ducks to be cooked in the 100-degree Celsius oven and turns up the heat for an additional 15 minutes to achieve the desired crispiness for the skin.

Paul Boh, 30, the owner, who is a former food photographer, picked up the skill from his mother about 8 months ago. He experimented with the roasting temperature and speed of the rotation of oven to ensure the even distribution of the heart prior to the opening of his stall. He also learned how to use those pre-set function to roast those ducks. The ducks might not be as flavorful as compared to those cooked in the charcoal-fired oven but the marination process that involved the using of 11 spices like cinnamon and star anise in their central kitchen has definitely made up for it. 

Fresh ducks are sourced from Malaysia and roasted within 24 hours after they are slaughtered and delivered to their stores. Each cooked duck is weighed between 1.8 to 2 kg and at $15, it is affordable and much cheaper than most of those sold in the hawker centres. Using the electric-powdered rotisseries is more cost-effective as compared to the usual charcoal-fired or gas-powdered metal ovens that are most commonly used, new technology is definitely a good way to cut down on operational costs. The duck is sold in whole as they do not provide chopping service, this is also to keep its moistness and preventing its juiciness from escaping. Another reason is to save on its manpower costs to keep the costs of ducks low. 

I went on a weekday to take away 1 duck at their outlet in Textile Centre and there was no queue. I was told that it is usually quieter here as compared to their main outlet at People's Park Centre as the parking is an issue over here. The duck was still warm when I got home, though it was smaller in size, its meat was unbelievably tender and quite tasty though a little too saltier, the marinade was rather light with a tinge of spices. The paper-thin skin was crispy and surprisingly not greasy, unlike the other roasted ducks that I had tasted, it is good to eat on its own and even without the accompanying chili sauce. Currently, there is also an online ordering system to place orders in advance and collecting at a specific timing of your choice at their outlets. 

200 Jalan Sultan #01-05 Textile Centre SINGAPORE 199081
Operating Hours: 10.30 am to 6.30 pm

1 Park Road #01-K99 People Park Complex SINGAPORE 059108
Operating Hours: 10.30 am to 9.00 pm 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Smokin' Joe at Yishun Park Hawker Centre : Western BBQ

Joseph Yeo, 29, the owner, aims to bring restaurant-quality and high-value food to the masses at a cheaper price.  He graduated from SHATEC with a Diploma in Culinary Skills and he further perfected the skills by working for a few restaurants. He started cooking when he was in primary school and he used to help out at his grandparents' hawker stall, serving fried carrot cake.

He was enthusiastic and very eager to serve when I walked past his stall that day. He said, "Our food is charcoal grilled." I decided to go with the Boneless Chicken Leg, the number 1 item on his menu. He asked, "Where do you sit? I will serve it to you when it is ready." I pointed to a table just beside his stall and said, "Right there." The most popular item has to be the BBQ Boneless Chicken Leg ($7).  There are also the Sashimi Grade Baked Salmon ($14.00) and BBQ Wagyu Ribeye Grade 5 ($32) on his menu.

When he mentioned charcoal grill, I did not expect him to use a Josper Charcoal Oven, a combination of a grill and an oven in a single machine. And, by combining the functions of an oven and grill, it can work at high temperatures, sealing the product, smoking and grilling at the same time to obtain the right flavors, perfect texture and juiciness. This second-hand Josper Charcoal Oven was acquired by chance through a friend. This is likely to be the first hawker stall to use such a professional oven and that is quite impressive.

The charcoal-grilled chicken was served on a pile of mashed potato together with a piece of garlic bread and salad. I could taste the distinct charred flavor with a subtle smokiness. It was an enjoyable meal and I am interested to try the other dishes like their burger soon.

51 Yishun Avenue 11 #01-37 Yishun Park Hawker Centre SINGAPORE 768867
Operating Hours: 1.00 pm to 10.00 pm (Daily)

Friday, October 20, 2017

Yaps Noodles at Yishun Park Hawker Centre : Ipoh Curry Mee

Henry Yap, 33, from Papan, a small town near the South of Ipoh, Malaysia, started this stall in Yishun Park Hawker Centre, serving Ipoh traditional favorites like the Ipoh Curry Mee, emphasizing on the hometown flavors and connecting him with home.

It took me a while to try their Ipoh-style Curry Mee though I had been to this newly opened food centre for quite a few times. When I decided to try, it was sold out on 2 occasions. The first time was during dinner on a Sunday and the other time was on a Monday when they run out of prawns.

The Curry Mee is based on a recipe from his mother and he further fine-tuned it. It is different from the usual curry as it uses less curry powder together with ingredients like lemongrass, dried shrimps, garlic, chilies, and shallots as part of the spice paste. The spice paste is then fried over low heat for about 2 hours. The Curry Mee is served in soup and also served dry with ingredients like prawns, sotong, sio bak, taupok, long bean and fried pig's skin. 

They also serve breakfast and what is on their menu are the Cantonese-style congee, Ipoh Chee Cheong Fun with curry or minced meat mushroom sauce and also Ipoh Steamed Glutinous Rice that is served with peanuts, dried shrimps, and shredded egg, there is also a sweet version that is served with kaya. 

51 Yishun Avenue 11 #01-36 Yishun Park Hawker Centre SINGAPORE 768867
Operating Hours: 10.00 am to 9.00 pm

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Ah Lock 豆腐店 at Yishun Park Hawker Centre : Hakka Tofu Bowl

Lee Lock Teng, 24, an undergraduate of Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering in National of University (NTU), he decided to take a semester break of 6 months to operate this hawker stall, an "incubator stall" in the recently opened Yishun Park Hawker Centre under the Timbre Group. Under this scheme, the hawkers just need to pay for the rental and utility fees, excluding the costs of pest control, dishwashing, and other costs. This is to allow the first-time hawkers to take up a stall for a year with kitchen equipment sponsored and some operational charges waived. They will also receive mentorship from Tommy Teo, the head chef of Timbre Group.

He started this stall to fund his university education as he has run out of savings to pay for his school fees after the first year.  He came from a family of five and their total income is just enough to support the daily expenses. His mother, 47, is a housewife and his father, 51, is a technician. He has eaten his mother's Thunder Tea Rice and his grandmother's Hakka Yong Tau Foo since young. He started helping his mother to prepare meals since his primary school days. He picked up the kitchen skills and eventually learned to cook these dishes by himself. He cooked these dishes for friends that he met and also for those that offered accommodation to him when he went traveling for 5 months. 

His stall is serving Hakka Yong Tau Foo using the family decades' old recipes that passed down from his mother and grandmother. He twisted the recipe a little, he is serving Hakka Yong Tau Foo and Thunder Tea Rice in the concept of Japanese donburi (rice bowl). He wants to present the "old-fashioned" Hakka food in a modern way to create awareness amongst the young people. It takes about 5 to 7 hours each day in cutting and scooping out the tofu then stuffing it, it has to be done carefully to prevent the tofu from falling apart. 

Hakka Tofu Rice Bowl ($5.50) is one of their signature dishes, it is a combination of the traditional Hakka Yong Tau Foo and Thunder Tea Rice, presenting in the form of Japanese donburi. It consists of Japanese rice and topped with ingredients like deep-fried tofu and tau pok that stuffed with minced pork belly with meatballs, chopped long beans, and shredded seaweed. And, right at the centre, it is a pile of tofu cubes with sambal mayonnaise and garnished with Alfalfa sprouts. Their other signature dish is Hakka Meatball bowl ($4.50), it consists of 3 pieces of meatballs and tofu puffs on a bed of rice. 

The chili that came along was quite different from those that usually along with the Hakka Yong Tau Foo, the level of spiciness was rather mild with a slightly sweet undertone but went well with those pieces of Yong Tau Foo. 

His elder brother, Lock Phon, 25, will helm the stall after 6 months when he starts to attend classes. He is determined to strike a balance between school work and cooking.They will continue running this stall if the response is good. He will also convert to taking part-time night classes at NTU and he intends to give himself about 4 to 5 years to complete the course.

If i do go back, I will go for their Tofu Rice Bowl again and will add $1 for extra meatballs. 

51 Yishun Avenue 11 #01-08 Yishun Park Hawker Centre SINGAPORE 768867
Operating Hours: 12.00 pm to 2.00 pm / 6.00 pm to 9.00 pm (Closed on Wednesdays)

Monday, October 16, 2017

Yoon's Traditional Teochew Kueh : deliciously handmade with love

I could not quite remember how did I come across their Facebook page and how did I end up liking their page. I was tempted by their delicious looking handmade kuehs for a while and have been wanting to order it. It is a home-based business founded on 12 November 2016. 

I managed to send a message across on their Facebook page stating my orders, which consists of a box of 10 normal-sized Png Kueh ($18) and a box of Pumpkin Kueh ($12). There are also Gu Cai Kueh, Cikak Kueh, Muah Chee and  Nian Gao available for ordering, they are available in different sizes. I received a reply from Qara soon after. I was informed that their delivery is only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays for the order that is $30 and above. Self-collection is also available at Eunos area after 2 pm on those days. These kuehs are freshly made in the morning. 

I was asked whether I would be interested to try Gu Cai Kueh or Cikak Kueh since it is going to be delivered right to my door-steps. I decided to go with a box of 10 pieces of Cikak Kueh for $15.00, adding on to the earlier orders for a total of $45. I was asked to choose the flavor and I could not decide between the peanut and green beans filling. I asked whether I could have both flavors but was told only a single flavor is allowed. Qara was kind enough to make an exception by accommodating my request as She wanted me to try both flavors. 

I have to settle the payment first before she could confirm my orders. I made a transfer using an ATM and I took a picture of the transaction slip and sent it to Qara. She got back pretty fast, acknowledging receipt of the payment and confirmed the orders. I received a private message on the delivery day when she was on her way to my house. I was still out at that time and I asked her to just left it outside my house. She sent me a picture after doing so. 

I could not wait to try all of them when I collected where it was left and brought it inside the house. I tried the traditionally handmade Png Kueh first, the skin was delicately thin and soft and its filling consists of glutinous rice with peanuts and bits of dried shrimps in it. I pan-fried it later and it tasted just as good, it was still good when I left it in the fridge and had it the next day. Those were amongst the nicest Png Kuehs that I have ever eaten.

Cikak Kueh is a very traditional Teochew kueh that are not commonly found in Singapore, it is quite similar to Ang Ku Kueh but different. The skin is made of Cikak that give it its name as well as the distinctive flavor, a little difficult to describe it. The green beans paste was not too sweet. It reminded me of something that I had eaten in Taiwan, this was my first time eating it in Singapore though.

I sent a feedback to Qara to tell her that I enjoyed all the kuehs. She replied, "Thanks for the support once again, Cecilia! And, so glad to know that you enjoyed our kuehs. Chef Mum got put love into each one of them." I can actually taste that little bit of love in it. To order, go to their Facebook and send them a message. 


Saturday, October 14, 2017

JJ Prawn Noodles at Yishun Park Hawker Centre

Pang Che Chyi and Maggie Bhet, his wife, started this stall serving prawn noodles, in dry and soup version, together with braised pork tails and soft bones. They first started it at Beo Crescent Food Centre and is still having a stall there. Che Chyi used to work in the kitchen of Crystal Jade, a Cantonese restaurant for more than a decade. Their current recipes are the result of experimenting with different recipes and cooking techniques as well as ate their way through countless bowls of prawn noodles across Singapore. The broth is made with fresh sea prawns, pork bones, dried prawns, and herbs for a rich and complex flavor. They are trying to recapture the flavor of the yesteryear that Singapore adored. 

I ordered the smaller portion of Pork Ribs Big Prawns Noodle for $5.00, the larger portion is at $6.00. It consists of a good portion of yellow noodles with 2 medium-sized prawns and a few small pieces of pork ribs, garnished with fried shallots before serving. 

The prawns tasted relatively fresh, they actually made an effort to devein the prawns and removed the shell of the center part, leaving the tail and head on. The level of spiciness of the chili is not to be underestimated but it added flavor to the noodles.

51 Yishun Avenue 11 #01-21 Yishun Park Hawker Centre SINGAPORE 768867
Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 7.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Yong Fa Hainanese Curry Rice & Curry Fish Head : homely taste

This stall is amongst those that have the longest queue in this food centre. I was there at about 1.30 pm on a weekday and there was still a short queue, I joined in and waited for about 15 minutes before ordering. The waiting time is expected to be longer during the peak period. They serve Hainanese-style curry rice, Curry Fish Head, Sambal Squid, Pork Chop and Braised Meat are their popular dishes. You would not need to queue if you are ordering their Fish Head.

I decided to go with Sambal Sotong. The young chap that was taking the order said, "Not cheap." I smiled and replied, "I still remember the article in the newspaper that someone complained about the price of the sotong at this stall." He nodded. It is actually good that they made an effort to inform you that certain items are more expensive at its seasonal prices.

I wanted to order Curry Vegetable but was told that they only have it on certain days and he suggested to go with the Braised Cabbage instead. I also added the Long Bean Omelette for $8.90 in total. I was asked whether I want to have gravy to be drizzled over the rice. I nodded. He asked, "You want the spicy or non-spicy gravy?" which I replied, "Spicy, please."

I was deciding in between Curry Fish and Sambal Sotong when ordering but decided to go with Sambal Sotong as the customer in front of me ordered it. I regretted it the moment when I took my first bite as its texture was too chewy for my liking, even my dining companion agreed so. The sambal sauce was nice though, slightly spicy but thick and fragrant. 

The Long Bean Omelette was another simple but done well. The Braised Cabbage was nicely stir-fried with black fungus and glass noodles. Both dishes have a homely taste that reminded me of my late Grandpa, he used to cook them at home. 

I could not find their operating hours on the net so if you do know, please leave me a comment. Sometimes I was there at about 3.30 pm, though the light of the signboard was still on, they did not want to serve.

This is the place to go for homely cooking, it has a motherly taste in it though simple but is so satisfying. 

Block 448 Clementi Avenue 3 #01-25 Clementi Central Food Centre SINGAPORE 120448

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

KEK Seafood at Pandan Gardens : best Salted Egg Chicken Burger ever

Keng Eng Kee, is also known as KEK, they first started out as a hawker stall along Old Havelock Road in the 1970s. Their forefathers,  Low Peck Yah and Kok Yok Jong came to Singapore from Hainan Island, China in the 1950s. With the skills in authentic Hainanese cooking, they started out by selling Hainanese Chicken Rice in a small coffee shop located at Old Havelock Road. They then expanded their business after it prospered to include a Zi Char hawker stall. Koh Liang Hong, their elder daughter was tasked to manage that stall. She eventually fell in love with Liew Choy, their Head Chef and they got married. Liew Choy acquired the culinary skills of the old couple and mastered his own unique culinary style much later. And, they moved to Alexandra Village. 

Paul Liew, their elder son, is in-charge of the operations. Chef Wayne Liew, their younger son, started cooking in the kitchen at the tender age of 19 and took over as Head Chef at 26 years old. Geraldine Liew, their daughter, is managing the day-to-day running of the restaurant.  Their mother is in-charge of the financial management and their father, the former Head Chef is still taking charge of the overall operations.

The KEK in Pandan Gardens is started and managed by the third generation after working on the menu for almost 2 years. The kitchen is helmed by Chef Wayne and supported by Paul and Geraldine, manning the front-of-house services.

The menu still includes those popular dishes like Chili Crabs, Black Pepper Crabs and Moonlight Horfun with the newly created Wok Hei Burgers, the first of its kind, it includes choices like Coffee Pork Burger, Salted Egg Chicken Burger, Salted Egg Pork Burger, Salted Egg Sotong Burger, Marmite Chicken Burger, "Pai Gu Wang" Pork Burger and Sambal Beef Burger. They also serve Wok-fried Spaghetti that has the unique wok hei, the choices are Chilli Softshell Crab Spaghetti, Salted Egg Yolk Spaghetti, Prawn Paste Chicken Spaghetti, Lala Spaghetti, Sambal Squid Spaghetti and Black Pepper Beef Spaghetti. There are also other newly created dishes on their menu.

When my dining companion asked, "What are we having there?" which I replied, "Spaghetti and Burger." He looked at me with disbelief followed with a loud "Huh?".

Chilli Soft Shell Crab Spaghetti ($12.00). The spaghetti was wok-fried to infuse it with a rather slight wok flavor together with chili crab sauce, served together with fried soft shell crab. This is one of the best East-meets-West dishes that I ever came across as it was well-executed. 

Salted Egg Chicken Burger set ($9.50) including a choice of drink. The fried chicken was tossed in salted egg yolk sauce with curry leaves and bits of chili. This has to be the best Salted Egg Chicken Burger that I ever had, it is much better than those served by Western food joints.

They have been listed in the guidebook by Michelin consecutively for 2 years.

200 Pandan Gardens #01-12 SINGAPORE 609336
Operating Hours: 11.30 am to 2.30 pm / 5.00 pm to 10.00 pm (Daily)

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Ramen Taisho : the Hawker-style Japanese ramen

Tan Hock Soon and Kalene, his wife, started this ramen stall on 15 February 2016 in the food court at Clementi Mall before moving to Maxwell Food Centre on 15 July 2017. Hock Soon spent about 3 years traveling between Singapore and Japan, attending classes and undergoing different types of training to know about cooking and making the ramen. He even imported a noodle maker from Japan and making his own noodles when his stall was in Clementi. I am not sure whether is he still doing right now as his current stall space is smaller. He also attended the Street Food 360 course conducted by Makansutra.

There are the choices of Standard Ramen ($6.80), Ajitama Ramen ($7.80), Chashu Ramen ($8.80), Sambal Ikan Bilis Ramen ($7.80), Black Garlic Ramen ($7.80) and Mazemen Dry Ramen ($7.80). The Shoyu Tonkotsu Ramen ($7.80) is their newest addition and the Deluxe version that came with 3 pieces of chasu is reasonably priced at $9.80, which is cheaper than those from the Japanese restaurants. The ingredients like chashu and tamago eggs are made in-house.

I decided to go with the Black Garlic Ramen, it came with a good portion of noodles with a piece of chashu, bamboo shoots and a tamago egg, garnished with chopped scallions and topped with black garlic oil to serve. 

The chashu was a bit too tough and slightly too thin as well but they got the tamago egg right, the white was quite firm with a soft runny egg yolk. The broth is made from pork bones and chicken and boiled over a relatively long period of time for a rich and deep full-bodied flavor. The noodles were cooked just right to a smooth and elastic texture.

This has to be the better Hawker-style Japanese ramen as compared to the others that I had eaten so far. This is nearly as good as those that offer by the proper restaurant if they are able to keep up the standard. 

1 Kadayanallur Street #01-32 Maxwell Food Centre SINGAPORE
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 9.30 pm (Closed on Saturdays and Sundays)

Friday, October 6, 2017

Soon Lee Porridge : my comfort food

This stall has been one of the oldest stalls in this food centre for the longest time. I used to stay in Clementi for a while and this used to be one of those stalls that I patronized regularly at that time. If you ask for a recommendation when visiting this food centre, this Hainanese porridge stall is always amongst one of those stalls recommended. This stall is in the good hands of the next generation now and they are still serving the porridge in the traditional Hainanese-style. 

There are a total of 3 choices, the pork porridge, the chicken porridge and the fish porridge. You could choose between the $3.00 and $4.00, if you want it with an egg then it will be 0.30 cents extra. You just need to give your table number and they will serve it to you when it is ready. You are required to pay first though. 

I ordered through the Uncle that wore an old-fashioned singlet standing outside the stall. I wanted a small pork porridge with egg for $3.30. Uncle asked, "Do you eat pork liver?" which I replied, "I do." I pointed at the table where my dining companion at and said, "I sit right there." I waited for about 15 minutes for it to be delivered. 

There is a difference between the Hainanese-style and Cantonese-style porridge. As for the Hainanese-style, the texture of porridge is more grainy and not completely broken down whereas the Cantonese-style, the rice is usually boiled for a longer time to a smooth paste. The Hainanese-style porridge is only flavored upon order, a portion is then scooped from the bigger pot and cooked in an individual pot and then added the ingredients. A raw egg is cracked into an empty bowl, the cooked porridge is poured into the same bowl then garnished with chopped coriander, preserved vegetable (dong cai) and shallot oil. To start, give it a good mix and stir in the raw egg. The flavor could be adjusted by adding in the white pepper and light soya sauce that they usually bring along with the porridge. 

The porridge is thick and warm serving with fresh ingredients. What more could I ask? This is just the something that I would want to have on a cold day.

Block 448 Clementi Avenue 3 #01-50 Clementi Food Centre SINGAPORE 120448
Operating Hours: 6.00 am to 7.00 pm (Closed on Sundays)