Tuesday, May 14, 2019

51 Minced Meat Noodles : fusion Bak Chor Mee

This stall has recently opened on 1 May and they took over the stall where Fishball Story used to be. They serve fusion Minced Meat Noodles, there are choices of basic Minced Meat Noodles for $3, Signature Minced Meat Noodles for $5/$6, Braised Pork Noodles for $6.50 and Meatball Soup for $3.50. There was no queue when I went for lunch on Sunday. There was an auntie taking the order and a younger man cooking it. I decided to have the larger portion of Signature Minced Meat Noodle at $6. 

It was cooked using a timer for noodles but the ingredients were cooked together with the earlier order and it was then separated into the different bowls when done. This process might have been a little slow and the customers have to wait slightly longer. My dining companion said, "They should consider to cook them separately."

The highlight is the Japanese Chasu. My dining companion said, "It is soft but not quite flavorful." It did not manage to stay in shape after a quick toss as it had broken into smaller pieces. Those pieces of liver were cooked a little too long thus a bit tough. Those meatballs were quite forgettable. 

The soup had a distinct shoyu taste, tasted a bit like the broth for ramen.

I would rather have a bowl of traditional Bak Chor Mee like the one by Jimmy Teo of 黄大福 at Commonwealth Crescent Food Centre. It is still one of the cheap and good options around. 

51 Yishun Avenue 11 #01-27 Yishun Park Hawker Centre SINGAPORE 768867
Operating Hours: 7.30 am to 7.30 pm (Closed on Tuesdays)

Friday, May 10, 2019

Shanghai La Mian Xiao Long Bao at Alexandra Village Food Centre

Zhang You Zhu, the owner and Zhao Guilan, his wife, came from Nanjing and have been in Singapore for more than 10 years. Her husband was a chef in Nan Jing before moving to Singapore and worked in a restaurant for about 10 years before starting their stall in 2011.

The queue started to form even before the stall was ready as their operating hours start from 11.30 am. I joined the queue and waited for a while ordering. I decided to go with Xiao Long Bao ($4.50) and Szechuan Spicy Wanton ($10 pieces for $4.50). 

Xiao Long Bao, typically means Little Dragon Bun, is supposed to be originated from Nan Jing. It is a steamed pork dumpling with minced pork as filling and encased in the handmade skin. We were served lukewarm dumplings that might have already steamed ahead to get them ready for the order. We did not like it as we were expecting it to be better after spotted the article from KF Seetoh of Makansutra dated 7 October 2013.

Szechuan Spicy Wanton is none other than poached dumplings served in chilli oil, it tasted more sourish than spicy but quite light and not too oily. It is quite good value for such a dish from a hawker stall. 

Block 120 Bukit Merah Lane #01-56 Alexandra Village Food Centre SINGAPORE 150123
Operating Hours: 11.30 am to 8.30 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Monday, May 6, 2019

Goldhill Hakka Restaurant (1997) : decades old Hakka Yong Tau Foo

This is a humble Hakka restaurant located along Changi Road for 22 years. Steven Lee, the owner, started helping his father at about 8 years old on a trishaw in Katong. He eventually moved into the shop and named it Goldhill, which means Jin Shan (金山), this is none other than his Chinese name. He has been making Yong Tau Foo for more than 40 years and Wen Long, his son, has started helping out but not too sure whether is he in the process of taking over the business.

Their signature is Hakka style Yong Tau Foo that consists of a limited selection of just 7 items. These 7 items are Tau Hu, Square Tau Pok, Triangular Tau Pok, Fishball, Tau Gi, Better Gourd and Chilli that are stuffed with fish paste. There is the selection small portion at $6 (10 pieces), the medium portion is available at $8 (15 pieces) and the large portion at $12 (20 pieces). There are also Yam Abacus Seeds ($4, $6 and $8), Steamed Lala Venus Clams ($12/$24), Vegetables with Oyster Sauce ($6/$12) and Steamed Fish at market value. There are only a total of 6 items on their menu.

I was there on a Public Holiday, the restaurant was almost full and there were still customers kept coming in, most of these customers are regulars and they came as a family. Wen Long was at the counter and he signaled to me when I was wondering how should I order so I walked towards the counter. I said, "This is my first visit." He pointed to the menu and said, "This is what we have. We do not serve rice and noodle." I replied, "There are two of us." He said, "You can order the individual set of Yong Tau Foo or a medium set to share." I ordered the medium portion of Yong Tau Foo and a small serving of Yam Abacus Seeds. He recommended to try the Steamed Lala but I did not order. 

The Yam Abacus Seeds is also one of the must order items, it is the Hakka version of Yam Cake. It is still made using the traditional laborious method and more yam than rice flour is added for a firmer yet softer texture. It is served with a concoction of dried shrimp, shredded cuttlefish, and minced salted fish then garnished with chopped spring onion, which is different from the others.

Those pieces of handmade Yong Tau Foo were stuffed with fish paste, the fish paste is freshly made using fish, a little flour and other ingredients based on the recipe passed down by his father. My dining companion said, "Every piece is so fresh but it is a bit plain if you do not eat it with the sweet sauce and chilli." 

It was steamed then served with just a drizzle of sesame oil and garnished with coriander, served together with the sweet sauce and chilli for dipping. The texture of the fish paste was quite firm. The soup that served along was lightly flavored with a slight hint of ikan belis. 

Payment is made at the counter after done eating. Wen Long saw me taking pictures of the menu. He said, "Like our FB page, the menu is there."

299A Changi Road SINGAPORE 419777
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 9.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Nanyang Curry : Curry Mutton is good

This is one of the new stalls at Yishun Park Hawker Centre and I decided to give it a try. The Curry Mutton ($6.00) stood out amongst the other pictures on their menu board so I ordered it. Plain rice is available at $0.50 and baguette at $0.80.

There was a generous amount of mutton, nicely cooked to the desired tenderness with no gamey flavor. I could also taste a certain similarity between this curry and that of Nana Homemade Curry, it is almost as spicy, thick and rich, too. I do not usually eat mutton but I actually enjoyed it. 

I went back to talk with the Auntie. I asked, "Do you happen to be related to Nana Homemade Curry?" The auntie laughed and said, "Actually, many have asked that question." She added, "No. We are not related to Nana Homemade Curry."

I took away their Curry Chicken ($4.50), Curry Pork Rib ($5.00), and Vegetable Curry ($3.00) to have it for dinner at home. Those were nice but I think Curry Mutton tasted better. 

51 Yishun Avenue 11 #01-26 Yishun Park Hawker Centre SINGAPORE 768867
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 9.30 pm (Daily)

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Lao Jie Fang Braised beef Noodles . Pork Rib / Pork Leg Noodles

This stall is just located beside the popular Hai Tang Lor Mee (海棠卤面) which was closed on Good Friday. I spotted an article by Makansutra that recommended their Braised Beef Noodle to be amongst the top 5 favorite choices along with Empress Place Beef Kway Teow, J & J Special Beef Noodle, Toa Payoh Hwa Heng Beef Noodle, and The Beef House.

Mr Chan, the owner, serves Cantonese style Braised Beef Noodle ($5), Beef Brisket + Tendon Noodle ($5/$8), Pork Ribs Noodle ($4/$5) and Pig Trotter Noodle ($4/$5). I decided to go with the large portion of Beef Brisket + Tendon Noodle and I requested to have the chilli served separately. 

The thin noodles were cooked well to retain a certain springiness and it did not turn soggy even after left it for a while. It was tossed in a pool of specially concocted sauce before adding in the rich and sticky sauce from the braised beef brisket and tendon. Those tendons were so good, it was nicely braised to create the perfect melting texture and the beef brisket was equally good, soft and flavorful. 
The preserved soya bean paste is used to stew the beef brisket and tendon for many hours to achieve the desired tenderness. Mr Chan suggested to have it with the chilli for an added flavor. 

This is one of the better Cantonese style braised beef brisket and tendon noodles that I have eaten in Singapore. The other really good one was from Master Tang Wanton Noodle, the stall has already closed and Master Tang has already passed on early this year. Another good beef brisket noodle is from 名厨车老板, a shop along Casuarina Road. 

Block 159 Mei Chin Road #02-15 Mei Ling Food Centre SINGAPORE 140159
Operating Hours: 9.00 am to 3.00 pm

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

新路潮洲鱼圆粿條麵汤 : formerly from Margaret Drive Food Centre

This is one of the stalls from the now-defunct Margaret Drive Food Centre before moving to this food centre. I used to eat at their stall at Margaret Drive Food Centre, it was already popular then. There was a short queue and it took me about 15 minutes to order and receive it. I ordered the dry mee pok with extra 5 fishballs for $4.50, there is also an option to add 2 fishballs for $3.60. The normal portion is $3.00 and $3.50 with extra noodles. It was cooked by a young chap with a man bun.

The mee pok was cooked al dented then served with chilli and ketchup with bits of crispy lard, garnished with chopped spring onions. The concoction of the sauce has an old-school taste and I liked it, it is not exactly spicy and with a tinge of sweetness. 

The fishballs were served in a bowl of lightly flavored soup and there was a total of 15 in it. The texture of those fishballs was firm and bouncy, it tasted quite fresh. 

It was sold out at about 1 pm on that day. It was sold out before 12 pm when I returned for lunch on a Sunday.

159 Mei Chin Road #0205 Mei Ling Food Centre SINGAPORE 140159
Operating Hours: 8.00 am to 2.00 pm (Closed on Thursdays)

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Shi Hui Yuan Hor Fun Specialty : not worthy of Bib Gourmand rating

This stall was listed in the Bib Gourmand in 2016, 2017 and 2018. I was surprised to see that there were just another 3 customers when I was there for lunch on a weekday. The customer in front of me took away a portion of their Beef Hor Fun ($5.50) and I decided to try it. Coincidentally, the customer right behind ordered the same dish, it is their special recommendation. They only serve Ipoh-style hor fun and there are a total of 9 choices, served with toppings like chicken, chicken feet, duck and spare ribs. It used to be run by an elderly couple, the daughter took over when the elderly auntie suffered from a stroke but it was manned by 2 middle-aged men when I was there.

I waited for just a while before receiving it. The presentation did not look as appealing as their picture, it consists of a piece of beef nicely chopped into pieces served on top of thin rice noodles accompanied by 2 pieces of mushroom with fatt choy in a pool of sauce. The texture of hor fun was quite smooth and slippery. The beef tasted just normal but the texture was right though.

Apparently, I am not quite convinced that they should be listed in the Bib Gourmand. I was talking to one of their regular customers when ordering Fried Hokkien Mee much later. I was telling her that I was not too impressed with their Beef Hor Fun and she said, "You should just go with the Chicken Hor Fun."  My dining companion said, "I think it is the sauce that made it different, it has a rather mild herbal-ish taste and quite flavorful." The main sauce is from the chicken feet and nicely blended with the sauce from pork rib and mushroom. 

159 Mei Chin Road #02-33 Mei Ling Food Centre SINGAPORE 140159
Operating Hours: 8.00 am to 2.00 pm (Thursday to Sunday)

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Kampung Kia Blue Pea Nasi Lemak

Jack Beh and Kok Kian Ann, the owners, they are originated from Penang and Ipoh in Malaysia. They have an extensive background in Chinese cooking and are passionate about serving the authentic Malaysian style Nasi Lemak. They started a shop in Marine Parade in January 2018 followed by a hawker stall in Clementi before shutting them down and eventually resurfacing in this coffee shop at Kelantan Lane in February. 

Their signature Fried Chicken Wing set ($4) is the most popular. There are also choices of Rempah Chicken set ($5.00), Curry Chicken set ($5.50), Rendang Chicken set ($5.50), Nonya Ayam Fish set ($6.00) and Nonya Asam Seafood set ($6.80). 

I was attended by one of the young bosses. I asked, "Which Chicken set would you recommend?" He said, "Why don't you try the Rendang Chicken set?" I replied, "Alright. I will like to add a piece of the chicken wing to the set." He asked me to take a seat first and will give a signal when it is ready. I waited for about 10 minutes before he waved at me.

The set came with a portion of achar, prawn crackers together with a fried egg and served with homemade sambal. The rice that is cooked using pandan leave and lemongrass has a lovely blue color infused by the blue pea flowers that are known to have certain health benefits, it was fluffy and moist with a hint of coconut flavor. The chicken wing was lightly coated with a layer of batter and deep-fried to the desired crispiness. The rendang chicken leg is like the dry version of chicken curry, the chicken leg was moist and quite flavorful with a tinge of spiciness. My dining companion said, "I did not exactly like it, it was a bit too saltish."

31 Kelantan Lane Time Cuisine Kopitiam SINGAPORE 200031
Operating Hours: 10.30 am to 8.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Newton Tan Song Heng : good Fried Hokkien Mee

I was there on a Friday for the popular Hai Tang Lor Mee (海棠卤面) but it was closed. Amongst the food choices there, this Fried Hokkien Mee stall was one of those that have got a queue. They used to be at Newton Food Centre before moving to this food centre. I joined the queue and waited for a while before get to order. The auntie was telling me that I have to wait for the next batch of Fried Hokkien Mee. There are the $4, $5 and $6 options to choose and there is also Fried Kway Teow for $3, $4 and $5. I decided to go with the Fried Hokkien Mee as most of their customers were ordering this but opted for the smallest portion. While waiting, I chatted with a customer right behind me. She said, "Their Fried Hokkien Mee is very good. I always come to eat this, the Ipoh Hor Fun and also the Lor Mee."

I waited for about 15 minutes to get my plate of Fried Hokkien Mee. Though it is the smallest size, its portion was quite substantial to share with my dining companion. He got to taste it first and he said, "It is moist but not overly wet, the noodles were nicely braised in the broth to absorb the flavor well."

When I had my first mouthful, I was equally impressed and totally understand why there is always a constant queue at this stall. The same customer said, "If you come at 12 pm, the queue is really very long but not so now as lunch hour is almost over." The prawns tasted relatively fresh and the chilli though not too spicy but it actually enhanced the flavor. 

This is definitely better than the Yang Zhou Hokkien Sotong Mee at Jalan Bukit Merah. I would think this is easily one of the better Fried Hokkien Mee that I have eaten so far and definitely worth traveling to this secluded hawker centre just for this. I am likely to come back for their Fried Kway Teow.

159 Mei Ling Street #02-40 Mei Ling Food Centre SINGAPORE 140159
Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 7.00 pm (Closed on Tuesdays & Public Holidays)

Thursday, April 11, 2019

One Mouthful Noodle : handmade Wanton noodle

Jim Yeow, 37, the owner, a former interior designer that started in a coffee shop at Geylang Lorong 27 but closed down in December 2017 and reopened at Yishun Park Hawker Centre on 1 April 2019. His father, Mr Yeow Lok Meng, 68, used to run a stall in Chinatown for decades but has already retired for almost 20 years, he learned the art of making noodles from a master from Guang Zhou in 1965. Their noodles are handmade at the stall using the same technique for making Cantonese noodles with just eggs and flour based on a recipe that has been handed down. It is very challenging in making the noodles, it requires the right technique and adequate amount of strength to do it right. Not many are making their noodles these days.

I was there on a Sunday slightly after 12 pm. There were another 2 customers in front of the stall. I wanted to have their Hong Kong style Beef Brisket Noodle ($5.50) but was told that it has finished. I decided to go for their Char Siew Wanton Noodle ($4.50) and Shrimp Dumpling Soup ($4.50) then. I was told that they only left the last 2 pieces of Shrimp Dumplings and I can choose to just add on. I wanted to add extra wanton but Jim said, "Don't want la. I do not have enough."

Another customer was also waiting for his order to be ready. He also requested to add extra wanton to his noodles but was also told not to do so. He said, "Their wanton noodle is very nice, particularly like their Char Siew." He sounded like a regular customer. I replied, "You are staying nearby?" He pointed at the block behind. He also said, "Their dumplings are also very good." I overheard when he asked for dumplings earlier. I laughed then said, "I am the one that took the last 2 dumplings." We were waiting for the char siew to be ready. 

Their thinly-pulled noodles are kneaded by hand and its texture is quite similar to those served in Hong Kong, it is lighter and springier, almost no lye is tasted. My dining companion said, "The noodles are very nice. The char siew though tasty but not tender enough, the cut is a bit too lean. "

The wantons and shrimp dumplings were quite nice though particularly the shrimp dumpling. The shrimp dumpling consists of a piece of shrimp with minced meat nicely wrapped in a piece of thin wrapper. 

As I was just seated near the stall, I overheard that the noodles were ran out and they have to halt the operation while making a new batch for dinner. 

Jim is striving hard to preserve the originality of the authentic wanton mee founded by his father. 

51 Yishun Avenue 11 #01-12 Yishun Park Hawker Centre SINGAPORE 768867
Operating Hours: 9.00 am to 9.00 pm

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Tie Fun Wan by Rice & Fries : fusion rice bowls

Chef Ken Chia, 43, the owner, previously manned Rice & Fries, a cafe along Changi Road for about 5 years before moving to the current location. It is a hole-in-the-wall just a stone's throw away from Farrer Park MRT and is only selling rice bowls thus he named the shop as "Tie Fun Wan", it is 铁饭碗 in Chinese, literally means iron rice bowls.

The menu consists of 4 different types of rice bowls including their signature 72-Hr Slow Cooked Beef ($14), Sweet & Spicy Pork Pork Belly ($10), Braised Pork (Lor Bak) ($8) and Teriyaki Chicken ($8), it served with the pearl rice of Shanghai noodle. There are choices to add a 63-degree egg for $1.50, corn at $1.00 and extra rice at $1.50. 

There were just another 3 customers when we were there for lunch on a weekday. Chef Ken was there all by himself. We ordered at the counter and decided to go with the 72-Hr Slow Cooked Beef bowl and Braised Pork bowl, added egg to both rice bowls. We were asked to take a seat. 

There are pickled radish and carrots in the containers available for self-service on the table. Chef Ken said, "These condiments go well with the rice bowls." He also said, "Everything is made fresh in house and no MSG is added."

We also ordered the home-brewed drinks, Lemon Grass ($3.00) and Honey Lemon ($3.00). The Honey Lemon drink is particularly good for such hot weather.

The 72-Hr Slow Cooked Beef bowl consists of lightly torched beef slices served with the housemade teriyaki plum sauce together with the 63-degree egg and greens, garnished with bonito flakes and chopped spring onions. The tenderness of the sous-vide Australian Angus beef has left an impression. My dining companion said, "It is really soft and quite flavorful." He added, "The soup that came with the rice bowl is actually quite tasteless though there are ikan belis and soya beans at the bottom of the soup bowl." 

The Braised Pork bowl came with a few chunks of braised pork and a piece of braised beancurd, garnished with bonito flakes and chopped spring onions. My dining companion said, "It would be nicer if the meat is softer."

Chef Ken came over to ask, "How was the food?" I replied, "The 72-Hr Slow Cooked Beef bowl is very nice. My sister is quite a fan of your Western food particularly the Lamb Shank and Oxtail Stew." He said, "We are not able to do that here as cannot do heavy cooking right here." He added, "Another reason that we decided to move here is it was kind of quiet at our previous location. Sometimes, there were only a few tables." He is happy with the current location as his customer base is slowly building up.

89 Rangoon Road #01-03 Urban Lofts SINGAPORE 218375
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 2.00 pm / 5.00 pm to 11.30 pm (Mon to Fri) /
11.00 am to 11.30 pm (Sat & Sun)

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Yang Zhou Hokkien Sotong Mee : formerly from Beo Crescent

Uncle Lim, the owner, started his stall at Block 40 Beo Crescent and was there for 3 decades before moving to the current location in September 2016 leaving the previous stall to someone else. I did not get to eat it when they were there. While queuing, I quietly observed how the elderly Uncle frying the noodles and he would look up occasionally and to ask for the order then continuously frying the mixture of yellow noodles and thick bee hoon. I decided to go with the smallest portion at $4. There are also the $5 and $6 portions available. 

The Hokkien Mee is different, the texture is much drier as compared to most of those out there as the noodles were nicely fried to give it a charred flavor rather than just braising in stock. He used to be doing so using charcoal fire over at Beo Crescent but no longer doing so as they are not able to use charcoal in this coffee shop. Sua Lor prawns were used together with squid, bean sprouts and egg as the ingredients.

This is a simple yet satisfying Fried Hokkien Mee though not the best that I have tasted but it is good enough. 

Block 127 Bukit Merah Lane 1 SINGAPORE 150127
Operating Hours: 8.00 am to 3.00 pm (Closed on Sundays)