Thursday, December 28, 2017

Kim Heng (HK) Roasted Delights : not as good as before

This stall is nicely tucked away in a cluster of HDB blocks, along Serangoon Avenue 4 and is directly opposite Serangoon Stadium. They have been around for more than 2 decades serving roast duck, roast pork, and char siew. It was quite memorable when I tasted it in 2012 and I have been wanting to come back all this while. I did when I went to collect the Christmas cookies at Plain Jane Cafe there. It was during lunch and a short queue was formed but it moved rather quickly though. I decided to go with the Char Siew and Sio Bak rice at $4.80, which is more expensive than most of the others. I also ordered Salted Vegetable Duck Soup for $2.50.  

During my last visit, the char siew had a good amount of fat with nicely charred edges and was flavorful. It was disappointing this time, it was very lean and slightly dry, not as flavorful, too. The crispy skin on the sio bak was quite good and the well-seasoned meat was tender. 

The Salted Vegetable Duck Soup came with chunks of tomato, salted vegetable and chopped pieces of duck wing. There was a slight sourish taste and quite flavorful but I remember it used to be better. 

Block 214 Serangoon Avenue 4 #01-188 SINGAPORE 550214
Operating Hours: 8.30 am to 7.00 pm (Daily)

Friday, December 22, 2017

Yuan Ji Traditional Handmade Noodle at Yishun Park Hawker Centre

This was one of those stalls that were opened on a Monday and I decided to try it due to limited choices. The hawker centre was rather empty during lunch. 

I did not go for their signature beetroot and pumpkin noodles but their Soup Ban Mian at $3.80, the dry version is available at $4.50. I was their only customer at that time so I did not have to wait too long for it to be ready. It was served with a good portion of handmade ban mian with meatballs, sliced mushroom, vegetable and ikan belis. This was a comforting choice though not the best that I ever tasted. 

51 Yishun Avenue 11 #01-18 Yishun Park Hawker Centre SINGAPORE 768867
Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 9.30 pm (Daily)

Monday, December 18, 2017

China La Mian : Cheap and nice Xiao Long Bao

I took notice of this stall when I was at this coffee shop to have duck rice. I decided to go with just the soup dumplings, more commonly known as Xiao Long Bao at 6 pieces for $4.00 as I was already half-full after having the duck rice and satay earlier. I placed my order in Chinese and was given a pager to come back later for collection. I waited for about for 5 minutes or so before collecting it. The 6 pieces of soup dumplings were served in the steamer basket. 

There are condiments provided at the counter for self-service. Go for the soy sauce and vinegar as well as the shredded ginger, place them in a saucer. There are steps on how to eat a soup dumpling correctly. First, take the soup dumpling and dip it into the sauce then place it on the spoon. Next step is to bite the tip of the soup dumpling off to release the soup, you could just suck it off but it is usually quite hot and finally eating it. It is best to eat the entire dumpling in a single bite. 

The soup dumplings were rather plumpish, its wrapper was thin and with well-seasoned minced pork as filling, the soup was light but flavorful. The flavor was nicely balanced by the shredded ginger and sour vinegar. It was quite good, almost as good as some of those restaurants but at a much affordable price.

I went back a week later on a Wednesday but it was closed then. I am interested to try the Pork Chop La Mian ($4), Shan Dong Fried Dumplings ($5.00 for 12 pieces) and the Red Oil Dumplings ($4.00 for 10 pieces). 

Block 56 New Upper Changi Road #01-1314 Kopi Kia SINGAPORE 461056

Friday, December 15, 2017

Alhambra Padang Satay : Duck Satay

This is their new outlet at this coffee shop along New Upper Changi Road, apart from their original outlet at Makansutra Glutton Bay. They serve different types of satay and has taken part in food events like the Singapore Day as well as the World Street Food Congress. They first started a stall along the roadside near the Alhambra Theatre in Beach Road before relocating to the now-defunct Satay Club at Elizabeth Walk. They are still freshly made the satay using a recipe that has been passed down the first generation.

I ordered a set of Duck Satay for $10. I was asked to take a seat by Sam Hussin, the friendly owner, as it will be served to my table.

The Duck Satay is the most expensive on the menu, it consists of 10 sticks and a Katupat for $10.00. It was served in 10 minutes with 2 bowls of satay sauce with chunks of cucumber and onion. 

The texture was just right but we could not quite tell it was made of duck meat as the marination was slightly overwhelmed. My dining companion was saying, "If you did not tell me this is duck meat, I would think it is mutton."

The satay sauce was amongst the best that I have tasted. It was thick with bits of peanuts in it and a slight spiciness. 

Block 56 New Upper Changi Road #01-1314 Kopi Kia SINGAPORE 461056 
Operating Hours: 3.00 pm to 10.00 pm (Daily)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

B Burger : Forgettable burgers

B Burger is a newly opened burger joint by Benjamin Barker Group, a homegrown menswear label, known for its tailored suits. It is located on the ground floor of Orchard Cineleisure, serving burgers of the combination of classic American with Japanese flavors to set themselves apart from the others.The burgers are made upon order with freshly handmade patties.

I was there on a Saturday for lunch, it was not as crowded as I expected it to be. I decided to go with their single B Burger ($6.90), Bomchika Wow Wow Burger ($10.90) and added $3.50 to include a side and drink. I paid $23.10 in total and I was given a pager for collection later. I waited for about 10 minutes to collect it.

I was asked for the choices for drink and side which I opted for coke and fries, the other choices for sides are Nacho Soup and Wafu Ramen Slaw. 

Bomchika Wow Wow Burger ($10.90), it consists of 2 pieces of nicely fried chicken patties, with a fried egg, cheese, wafu slaw, sriracha honey, truffle mayo and the secret B sauce, served in between charcoal buns, it is quite similar to the Karate Burger ($8.90). Apparently, I could only taste the truffle mayo, not so much of the sriracha honey and the B sauce. The yolk of the fried egg was already broken and flowing, it was a bit messy. 

B Burger ($6.90), it consists of a beef patty, daikon pickles, caramelized onions, cheese, lettuce and B sauce. It tasted just fine and we did not like it as much.

They aim to be the Shake Shack of Singapore but they are still far from achieving it. My dining companion compared their burgers with "Burger Up", another local burger joint and he prefers the latter. 

8 Grange Road #01-01/02 Cathay Cineleisure Orchard SINGAPORE 239695
Operating Hours: 12.00 pm to 10.00 pm (Daily)

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Hawkerman at SingPost Centre

Hawkerman, a newly opened 75-seater eatery by Ben Yeo, the actor and TV host, together with Tenderfresh Group, Warong Kim's and Ah Boy Popiah. You will order and pay at the counter, a page is given for you to collect your food when it is ready.

Tenderfresh Group is a popular fried chicken chain. There is a Lucky Set ($7.90) that consists of 2 pieces of fried chicken with fries and coleslaw. Another interesting dish is O-Leek Chicken ($12.90), the fried chicken is served with their special soy-onion sauce together with fried and fresh leeks, it is served with fried yam strips instead of the usual fries, with XO sauce and homemade kimchi coleslaw, which is named Kimslaw. Warong Kim's is originally the Kim's Fried Hokkien Mee. Their popular choice is La La Hokkien Mee ($9.90) with white clams, prawns, and sotong created by master Tan Kue Kim, he is well-known for his wearing long-sleeved shirt and Rolex watch when frying his Hokkien mee. His son is behind the setup and also their signature "Lolex Hokkien Mee" ($44.90), consisting a lobster together with prawns, clams, and sotong. Ah Boy's Popiah is using the recipe that has been handed down by decades ago, the same that started Good Chance Popiah, a brand name that has been around for decades. The Hokkien Popiah ($3.90) and Skinny Popiah ($4.90), serving with crispy chicken skin and salted egg sauce are their popular choices. 

I decided to go with the Bao Ka Liao platter ($32.90) to share with my dining companion, it literally means "including everything" in Hokkien and is highly recommended by some food bloggers. It has 7 types of dishes, consisting half of the Tenderfresh's Signature Fried Spring Chicken, Hokkien Mee from Warong Kim's and the Hokkien Popiah from Ah Boy's Popiah. The platter also includes Citrus Plum Watermelon, homemade carrot cake with the XO sauce, fried muah chee with kimchi coleslaw, double yolks chicken. The set is supposed to feed 2, which we find it to be just enough though not filling and I do not think this platter is worth $32.90. I posted it on my Facebook and some of my friends there suggested it should be priced in between $18 to $25. 

The best of all has to be the Fried Spring Chicken, it was fried well to the desired crispiness and rather flavorful and we enjoyed it. This would likely to be the only dish that we will come back for.

The Hokkien Popiah was just fine, though not particularly outstanding as the flavor was rather mild. My dining companion was not impressed. 

Homemade carrot cake with bits of fried egg and preserved radish. The XO sauce is served in a saucer by itself and it was placed just beside the fried chicken, it could be easily overlooked and missed it out, which happened to us. My dining companion was initially commenting that the carrot cake did not have much taste before realizing it is supposed to eat along with that saucer of sauce. 

The Double Yolks Chicken, the egg salad did not have much effect in enhancing its flavor.

Fried Muah Chee with Kimchi Coleslaw was the only dish that surprised us, it actually tasted better than its look with a slight spiciness and it tasted quite special. 

The Hokkien Mee has no distinctive wok flavor and a bit too wet to my liking, it was quite disappointing when I compared it to the version done by master Tan but my dining companion deemed it to be quite acceptable. Perhaps I am expecting too much. 

Citrus Plum Watermelon was quite refreshing, it would be even so if it is served chilled and not at room temperature. 

There are some interesting desserts on their menu like the Durian 'N Jack Popiah ($5.90), it consists of durian and jackfruit with coconut ice-cream in popiah skin. Singapura Ice Cream ($5.90) is equally interesting, the coconut ice-cream is served with durian and some traditional snacks like gong tang, peanut sweet, ice gem biscuit with gula melaka.

The overall experience was not quite spectacular and I am not likely to come back soon. 

10 Eunos Road 8 SingPost Centre #B1-128/129 SINGAPORE 408600
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 10.30 pm (Daily)

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck & Kway Chap at New Upper Changi Road

Melvin Chew, the owner, took over the stall and is running it with his mother after the passing of his father which happened quite suddenly. His parents started from a pushcart selling cut fruits before moving to Chinatown Complex Food Centre in 1983 to start serving Teochew style Braised Duck and Kway Chap. He has been helping out at the stall since young. And, he has recently opened another outlet in a coffee shop along New Upper Changi Road.

And, Kway Chap was the first dish that I tried and I did not like it as much then as the rice noodles were too thick to my liking. I went back to try the Braised Duck Rice Bento later, it was not too memorable as well. I was not even impressed by its creativity but deemed it to be gimmicky instead but even so, it is a good move in getting the younger customers.

I decided to go with The Quack Donburi Set at $5.00 this time. It consists of a portion of yam rice with braised duck, preserved vegetable, cucumber slices, half of a braised egg and a piece of daikon topped with hae bee hiam and fried garlic. The bowl of soup that served along with it has a light herbal flavor. 

My dining companion commented that the yam rice has a distinctive ham bee (dried shrimp) taste and he liked it. He said, "I do not remember it was this nice when I tasted the yam rice balls of the bento set. It was quite dry then with not much flavor." We both agreed that the braised duck was not as flavorful as we expected it to be and its texture was slightly tough as well. The ajitsuke tamago-inspired braised egg was done just right to have a soft and runny yolk. The chilli was quite good with just the right level of spiciness and a slight garlicky taste, which is quite nice.

Though their braised duck is not the best, the yam rice is amongst the nicest that I tried. 

335 Smith Street #02-156 Chinatown Complex Food Centre SINGAPORE 050335
Operating Hours: 10.30 am to 6.30 pm (Closed on Friday)

Block 56 New Upper Changi Road #01-1314 Kopi Kia SINGAPORE 460156
Operating Hours: 10.30 am  to 6.30 pm (Closed on Friday)