Sunday, June 30, 2019

Cheng Ji : Pork Trotter Bee Hoon

I have heard of the Pork Trotter Bee Hoon from this humble stall manned by a middle-aged lady all by herself and how good it is. I came with my dining companion for lunch on a rainy day. There was just another customer at this stall. I decided to have the Pork Trotter Bee Hoon, it is known as Pork Leg Bee Hoon there, there are choices of $5, $8 and $12 and I went with the smallest portion. I also ordered the smallest portion of Fried Kway Teow for $3, there are $4 and $6. I was asked to come back later to collect. Both were ready when I came back about minutes later. 

My dining companion took a mouthful and said, "It tasted exactly like what you cooked at home." He added, "It is not common to find this dish at hawker stall though and for those that do not cook, this is a rare find." 

This is a homely dish, it has been a childhood favorite and always is a simple pleasure. The familiar taste is quite comforting. The main ingredients are simply the canned pork trotter, bee hoon, and bean sprouts with a handful of greens. It is definitely more economical to cook this dish at home. I usually get the Narcissus brand of canned pig trotter for about $3.50 and a packet of mee hoon is about $1.50, serve it with belachan chilli. 

The Fried Kway Teow was quite disappointing, it was slightly dry with no hint of wok flavor. It tasted like the economical Kway Teow Mee available at those stalls serving breakfast. 

2 Adam Road #01-24 Adam Road Food Centre SINGAPORE 289877
Operating Hours: 9.30 am to 10.00 pm (Daily)

Friday, June 28, 2019

M Chicken Rice : not since 1971

The stall is started by Patrick Lee together with Freddie, his brother, and William Xavier, a local radio DJ in December 2018. I was told that Raymond Kiang, the son of Sergeant Kiang, is one of the partners too but he is currently working in Indonesia. Sergeant Kiang is not in charge of the stall though they are using his recipe. Sergeant Kiang was amongst the pioneer batch of chefs behind the Chatterbox Chicken Rice at Mandarin Hotel in Orchard Road in 1971. It is located in the coffee shop near the junction of East Coast Road and Telok Kurau Road. There is an indication on their logo that M Chicken Rice has been around since 1971 which is not quite convincing though the recipe that they have been using existed since then.

There was a guy donned a white chef jacket sitting beside the stall. He stood up when there was a customer wanted to order. He took the order but there was an older guy doing the chopping and serving it. I decided to follow the customer before me to order the combination of roasted and white chicken with rice for $6.50, an additional $2.

My dining companion was the one that introduced me to Sergeant Chicken Rice when it was still at Chevron in Jurong before Food Republic acquired it. Sergeant Kiang is currently managing Chicky Fun, there are outlets in most of the food courts by Kopitiam. He said, "The chicken rice did not remind me of the then chicken rice from Sergeant Chicken Rice."

I believe the recipe has tweaked as it tasted different, they might have toned down the level of spiciness of their chilli a little. My dining companion commented that their ginger sauce was a little runny on that day. Somehow, the roasted chicken just did not taste as good, not even comparable to the Chicky Fun in Bagus at Northpoint City which I have been eating quite regularly. It was slightly dry and not as flavorful. The white chicken was much better though, tender and more favor.

The pricing is relatively reasonable for a decent tasting chicken rice but more efforts have to be put in to improve it. There is also a branch in the staff canteen at Panasonic building.

396 Upper East Coast Road SINGAPORE 466481
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 10.00 pm

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Chendol Melaka : probably the best Chendol in the east

When I posted a picture of the popular Old Amoy Chendol on Facebook, a friend commented that his preferred choice for Chendol is in a popular coffee shop at the junction of Jalan Tua Kong, along East Coast Road. This humble looking stall is serving Nasi Ulam and Chendol only. There are choices of Chendol ($2.30) and XO Durian Chendol ($3.30), Nasi Ulam is priced at $5.30. I decided to go with Chendol and while waiting, I said, "My friend told me about your Chendol and he said, it is the best Chendol in Singapore. The Chinese owner replied, "OK only. There are better ones than mines." He asked, "This is your first time having it?" I nodded. He said, "Welcome to Siglap." 

I shared it with my dining companion. He enjoyed it, he does not usually eat Chendol as he is not a fan of Gula Melaka. He said, "The taste of Gula Melaka is not overwhelming and it also has the right level of sweetness."

This Chendol is probably the best in the east, it is excellent and not too sweet, those chendol stripes are handmade with a distinct pandan taste and those red beans are at just the right softness, the fresh coconut milk has the desired creaminess. 

We decided to order another one to share. My dining companion went to order but he came back telling me that the owner will deliver it as there were 2 other customers waiting for their orders. The friendly owner delivered the Chendol to our table in about 5 minutes. I said, "We liked it so much to order another one." He asked, "Would there be the 3rd bowl?" 

I will come by next time to try the Nasi Ulam together with the Chendol. Nasi Ulam is a traditional dish of steamed rice dish mixed with various herbs that usually serve during the special occasions in most Peranakan households. It is usually sold out quite early.

15 Upper East Coast Road Soy Eu Tua Coffee Shop SINGAPORE 455207
Operating Hours: 10.00 am to 5.00 pm (Tue to Fri) / 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (Sat & Sun)

Monday, June 24, 2019

Nan Xiang Chicken Rice : personal touch makes memorable

This is another popular chicken rice stall apart from Loy Kee Chicken Rice in this food centre. There was just another customer in front of me and she ordered half a chicken to be taken away. Nancy Lim, the lady boss was giving her specific instructions on keeping the chicken for dinner. I ordered the chicken drumstick with a braised egg and rice for $4.50 if I remember correctly. The lady boss behind the chopping board was extremely friendly, she greeted me with a smile followed by thank you when I was picking up the tray. While queuing, I noticed that 陈澍城, the veteran actor was there, eating their chicken rice. He walked towards the stall when he finished eating and bidding goodbye to the lady boss.

The chicken was nicely deboned and served in a pool of sauce together with the braised egg on a plate, serving along with a good portion of rice was given. The chicken was moist and flavorful but the rice was slightly too dry to my liking. The chilli and ginger sauce complemented the chicken well.

I do not think this is amongst the best chicken rice that I had eaten but sometimes, it is not so much about food but the personal touch, which often left a deep impression. 

Block 90 Whampoa Drive #01-21 Whampoa Food Centre SINGAPORE 320090
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 10.00 pm (Daily)

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Big Boys Western Sizzling Hotplate : so so Western food

This Western food stall is started by an ex-chef from The Ritz Carlton in the food centre at Beauty World Plaza that opened on 8 December 2018. I have been waiting for the hype to die down before trying it. We decided to go for lunch on a Friday. We were there at about 1pm. There were some customers waiting to collect their orders at their stall. I asked, "Do I need to join the queue to order?" The friendly chap replied, "We are not taking orders now as the waiting time is about 1 hour 30 minutes." We went to eat Soya Sauce Chicken Noodle and Wanton Soup from Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Noodle Rice while waiting. My dining companion went back about 30 minutes later and he managed to order the CornFlake Chicken ($7.50) and Grilled Chicken Steak ($6.90). Each main is accompanied with a choice of side, the selection includes fries, rice or pasta. There is also black pepper and mushroom sauce to choose. A buzzer was given for collection and it buzzed in 10 minutes. It looked exactly like those not quite appetizing pictures that were circulating on social media. 

The CornFlake Chicken is one of their signature dishes and probably one of the most popular choices. The size was much smaller, not as massive as shown in those pictures on social media. My dining companion took a bite and said, "It actually tasted better than its look, even so, it is just average tasting." He added, "The texture of the fried chicken was nice but not much flavor." The fried chicken was coated with a layer of batter added with cornflakes and deep-fried to the desired crispiness, though special but not quite memorable. The turmeric rice was served with black pepper sauce, I neither love or hate it.

This is amongst one of the worst chicken chop that I had eaten. It was served sizzling hot on the hotplate but it had not been char-grilled long enough to char it and to allow the smoky flavor to be infused, it tasted quite bland with soggy skin. That might be the likely reason why it was served so fast? It tasted quite mediocre, just like those from the usual Western food stalls. The mushroom sauce was a little runny with not much flavor. My dining companion said, "I like the fries though, it is quite crispy." Those fries were coated with a layer of batter before deep-frying for a crispier texture.

My dining companion said, "The only thing that reminded me of The Ritz Carlton is the level of service. The chef is quite friendly though and he even made an effort to apologize for keeping me waiting for the food. I had recently dined at Colony, a cafe in The Ritz Carlton and its attentive service is part of the memorable experiences."

I did not like both dishes, in fact, it is as disappointing as Chef Choo's Signature at Golden Mile Food Centre that I have tried recently. 

144 Upper Bukit Timah Road #04-25 Beauty World Centre SINGAPORE 588177
Operating Hours: 11.30 am to 8.30 pm (Daily)

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

No Signboard Braised Duck . Rice . Noodle . Porridge

It was sold out when I was there about a week ago so when I returned to this food centre on a Sunday, this was the first stall that we went to queue. This is amongst the popular stalls in this quiet food centre. It was one of those stalls that were from the now-defunct Margaret Drive Food Centre, serving traditional braised duck. The elderly uncle is behind the chopping board and the auntie is taking the orders, collecting payments and serving it.

I decided to have dry kway teow with a portion of duck meat and added braised intestine to go along.  Many of their customers added the braised intestine too so I am expecting it to be of a certain standard. I waited for about 10 minutes to order and a few more minutes before receiving it. Everything was sold out right after.

My dining companion tried the duck meat, he said, "It is good though not really the best that I have eaten. I still very much prefer the braised duck from Hup Kee Duck Rice at Sin Ming." And, I agreed. It was not as flavorful as I expected it to be and it will be nicer if the texture is slightly softer. Those braised intestines were done just right but still not as good as those from Lau San Kway Chap in Ang Mo Kio. 

I enjoyed the dry kway teow though, it is something that I used to eat with my late Grandpa. It was served with braising sauce and a handful of bean sprouts. I started by giving it a good mix. The braising sauce was a little saltier but acceptable. The bowl of soup that came along has got a rather light herbal flavor. 

I might just eat it again only if there is no queue.

159 Mei Chin Road #02-04 Mei Ling Food Centre SINGAPORE 140159
Operating Hours: 10.00 am to 2.00 pm

Monday, June 10, 2019

Hong Kee Porridge : the homely taste

This is a popular porridge stall in this food centre and they used to serve raw fish but have since stopped. There are choices of Pork Porridge, Century Egg Porridge, Cuttlefish Porridge, Fish Porridge, and Fish Head Porridge at just $3. There were another 2 customers waiting for their takeaway orders and I stood there, waiting to order. The uncle looked up in the midst of cooking at my direction. I told him that I would want to order Pork Porridge, he nodded and asked for my table number, they still deliver it right to the table. 

I waited for about 10 minutes before receiving it, it was served along a saucer of cut chilli. The texture of porridge was smooth with minced pork, sliced pork and liver, garnished with chopped spring onion and a dash of white pepper for a light flavor. It was good though still not comparable to what I had eaten in Hong Kong.

My dining companion took a mouthful and he said it tasted better than the chicken rice and carrot cake that we also ordered. I enjoyed that homely taste, it is a good choice for breakfast or a light lunch. 

31 Commonwealth Crescent #02-83 Commonwealth Crescent Food Centre SINGAPORE 149644
Operating Hours: 6.30 am to 5.00 pm (Daily)

Thursday, June 6, 2019

名厨车老板 : Beef Brisket Noodle, must-try

This Hong Kong eatery is located at Casuarina, along Sembawang Road. The boss is originated from Hong Kong and he is always ready to greet his customers, chatting with them in his strong Cantonese accent Chinese. It is like the usual Cha Chaan Teng in Hong Kong as they serve mostly the Cantonese fare. A lady came over to take our orders upon seated. Their Beef Brisket Noodle ($5) is a must-try which I ordered together with their Wanton Noodle ($4.50), Carrot Cake ($4) and Chee Cheong Fun ($4). 

The Beef Brisket Noodle consists of a good portion of nicely cooked thin noodles with a few chunks of braised beef brisket with just a piece of tendon. The beef was quite lean but rather soft and flavorful. This is still one of the best Beef Brisket Noodle that I have tasted in Singapore. The soup that came along has got a distinct dried shrimp flavor like those that I tasted in Hong Kong. 

I have recently tasted a really good Beef Brisket Noodle from Lao Jie Fang Braised Beef Noodles at Mei Chin Food Centre. I also got to try the same dish from One Mouth Noodle at Yishun Park Hawker Centre which I did not quite like it. 

The Wanton Noodle was good though not amongst the best that I had tried. It was served with a few slices of char siew and 3 pieces of wanton. The char siew was slightly tough but the wanton was good, the tasty filling was in a thin layer of wrapper. My dining companion said, "I would come back for just the wanton."

My dining companion did not like the carrot cake though. He said, "I could taste a bit of OX sauce in it but the texture was too mushy,  it will be nicer if it is firmer."

The Chee Cheong Fun was unexpectedly good. It was steamed then pan-fried before serving it in a pool of sauce, garnished with sesame seeds and chopped spring onion. There are 3 types of fillings for selection, the char siew, the prawn and also the filling. We ordered the char siew and we enjoyed it. 

134 Casuarina Road SINGAPORE 579522
Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 12.00 am

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Henry's Chicken Rice : the chilli is good

This chicken rice stall is amongst those popular ones in this food centre. The stall has been around since 1985 and it is manned by an elderly couple, they serve the poached chicken and the roasted chicken, which is their signature. They were taught by Sergeant Kiang of Chicky Fun, he was one of the pioneer chefs that created the famous chicken rice for Chatterbox, a cafe in Mandarin Orchard Hotel.

There was always a queue during my last few visits. I decided to try it for the first time on a Sunday for lunch. There was already a few people in the queue and I joined in, waited for about 5 minutes before ordering. I wanted the roasted chicken drumstick with rice for $3.50. 

I was not particularly amazed by the chicken, the rice and the soup as it just did not quite stand out the chilli is really good. It tasted fresh with a hint of ginger at just the right level of spiciness. You should try if chilli is the most component of chicken rice but please come early though as it usually sold out right after lunch. 

I read about their bad service but I did not encounter it even though the Uncle is not particularly friendly.

117 Commonwealth Crescent #02-84 Commonwealth Crescent Food Centre SINGAPORE 140117
Operating Hours: 9.00 am to 1.00 pm (Closed on Thursdays)