Monday, May 27, 2019

Chuan Kee Fried Kway Teow : that nostalgic feel

This is one of those stalls with a queue during lunch in this food centre. I was curious and decided to join in the queue. The stall is manned by an elderly Uncle all by himself and it serves only Fried Kway Teow at $3. It is not difficult to tell that most of these customers are their regulars. They ordered in Hokkien and giving specific instructions on how they will like Fried Kway Teow to be done. 

The elderly Uncle stir-fried the mixture of kway teow and yellow noodles in batches before frying them plate by plate. When it was my turn, I tried ordering it in Hokkien too and he replied, "Chilli?". I nodded. I waited for a while before receiving it. I was told that this Uncle learned from his father before taking over the stall. The operation hours are usually short and it closes before 3 pm. Sometimes, he only operates at night. 

If you look at the pair of decades-old chopsticks, it brings out a sense of nostalgic feel.  I wonder how many plates of fried kway teow have these chopsticks served? I used to find them at Grandpa's house when I was little.

Those noodles were nicely fried to infuse a slight smokiness with ingredients like Chinese sausage, fishcake, cockles, bean sprouts and green. It tasted a bit like Penang Fried Kway Teow, it is more savory and less sweet. It might not be the best Fried Kway Teow but it definitely has got a certain standard. 

Block 90 Whampoa Drive #01-41 Whampoa Food Centre SINGAPORE 320091

Friday, May 24, 2019

Famous Amoy Street Lor Mee : comfort food

It is stated on their signboard that this is the "Best Lu Mian In Town". I am curious and have been wanting to try. Lor Mee is the only item on their menu, it is available at $3 and $4. There were a few other customers in the queue when I was there on a weekday for an early lunch. They used to be at Amoy Street Food Centre from 1982 to 1997 before resurfacing at its current location about 12 years ago. The owner is using a recipe that has been handed down from his father. 

While queuing, the boss asked, "$3 or $4?" I decided to have a larger portion. It consists of a good portion of flat yellow noodles with ingredients like prawn roll, fried batang, battered fish and lor bak. The chilli, garlic, and vinegar are available for self-service. My first mouthful did not exactly wow me but I liked it enough to keep eating. The braising sauce was nicely complemented by the amount of chilli and garlic added, it was quite thick and not too starchy. It is nice though not quite the best Lor Mee in town but is definitely amongst the best.  

My dining companion asked, "I thought you just had Lor Mee yesterday and why are you eating it so soon?" I can actually eat it every day as I am quite a fan of Lor Mee and have been going around eating this dish from different stalls. It is simply my kind of comfort food. I will come back soon for another bowl of their Lor Mee and this time, I will go for extra ingredients. 

Block 91 Whampoa Drive #01-19 Whampoa Food Centre SINGAPORE 320091
Operating Hours: 8.00 am to 2.00 pm (Daily)

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Chef Choo Signature : affordable Western hawker food

Chef Choo Siew Leong, 32, the owner, used to be working in Regent Hotel and Grand Hyatt before starting this stall. He is experienced in Western and Italian cuisine. His dishes are supposed to be of the same standard and quality that are comparable to those by 5-star hotels and restaurants but at affordable prices.

I happened to go during lunch and there was already a crowd gathered in front of this newly opened Western hawker stall. There are a total of 11 items on their menu. There are 4 different types of pasta dishes, the Sizzling Seafood Spaghetti ($6.90 for 1 pax and $12.90 for 2 pax), Spaghetti Carbonara ($5.50), Spaghetti Bolognese ($5.50) and Spaghetti Agli-olio ($4.00) followed by Chicken Chop ($4.90), Norwegian Salmon ($5.90), Pork Chop ($5.90) and Hot Plate Seared Beef ($5.90). I decided to try Chicken Chop with garlic rice and Hot Plate Seared Beef with Onion & Garlic Rice. I was told to come back in between 20 to 30 minutes to collect. I went back 30 minutes later but it was not ready yet. Chef Choo looked up while cooking and said, "好吃的东西是值得等的" (good food is worth waiting). I said, "I will come back later." I happened to be seated at a table near the stall and a few minutes later, the white-haired lady signaled me to come over. Both dishes were ready.

My dining companion had the Chicken Chop with garlic rice, it was served with a sunny-side-up egg. He said, "It actually tasted quite average, the rice was just plain rice served with the garlic sauce. The underneath of the egg was rather charred though it did not affect the taste. The chicken did not have much flavor." The presentation did not look quite appetizing. 

I was not impressed with the Hot Plate Seared Beef with onion and garlic rice too. Those slices of beef were tender with a rather slight smoky flavor. The sauce tasted just like the garlic sauce that was served with Chicken Chop.

I tasted a similar but better dish by chef Sebastian Ho when he was still running Sebastian Fusion, a hawker stall in a coffee shop. He is currently the owner of At The Myo, a cafe nestled in Everton Park. 

505 Beach Road #B1-45 Golden Mile Food Centre SINGAPORE 199583
Operating Hours: 12.00 pm to 8.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

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)