Monday, December 30, 2019

Foodie Story : Briyani by a young Chinese lady

Yishi Lam, a 20+ Chinese lady is the owner of this newly opened hawker stall serving Briyani. Now, you do not just get a handsome Indian man cooking Bak Chor Mee but also a young Chinese lady cooking Briyani. She seated at the table in front of her stall and was having lunch.

She stood up and asked, "What do you want to eat?" I asked, "What do you recommend?" She said, "Most of the customers would go for the Chicken Briyani ($4.50) or Mutton Briyani ($5.50)." I asked, "I would like to have both. How much would that be?" She replied, "It will be $3 to add on 1 meat." I paid $9.50 in total. I said, "I gotta know about your stall from Martin. Why did you decide to sell Briyani?" She said, "A Malay auntie taught me how to make Briyani."

My dining companion tried it and said, "This is good. I did not expect it to be cooked by a young Chinese lady. It is as good as some of those by Malay stalls. The chicken and mutton were cooked to the desired softness. If I have to choose, the mutton is slightly more flavorful." It was served with a piece of papadum and achar.

This stall is only slightly more than a month at a quiet corner of Circuit Road Food Centre. There are also Breaded Chicken Cutlet Briyani ($5.00), Crispy Fried Chicken Briyani ($5.00) and Beef Briyani ($5.50) on the menu. Go support her if you happen to be there for lunch.

79 Circuit Road #01-106 Circuit Road Food Centre SINGAPORE 371079
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 10.00 pm (Daily)

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Siang Siang Chwee Kueh : not Singapore's Best

When we walked past this past, my dining companion said, "See! There is a queue." It is indicated on their signboard that they are Singapore's Best. I joined the queue and ordered 4 pieces of chwee kueh for $1.60. I did not ask for chilli. And, the middle-aged man that was manning the stall asked, "You do not want chilli, right?" I thought the usual question should be, "Do you want chilli or not?" I replied, "No chilli." I wanted to share with my dining companion and he does not take chilli. 

He took a bite and said, "The chwee kueh is soft and tasted not bad. I do not like the chye poh though." I did not like it as well. Unlike some of the other, the coarsely chopped chye poh was not soaked in oil thus not greasy but it has the unappealing raw chye poh taste though. It tasted light and not particularly salty but lacking in fragrance. It might taste better if chilli is added. 

There was also a slight confusion. I remember clearly that I handed over a $10 note but I was only given $0.40 as change. When asked, he insisted that he did not receive the $10. I decided to leave it as it is. 

Block 85 Bedok North Street 4 #01-31 Feng Shan Food Centre SINGAPORE 460085
Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 9.00 pm

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Geylang Claypot Rice : a disappointing encounter

This popular claypot rice used to be at Geylang Lorong 33 and was there for more than 30 years before moving to Beach Road, opposite The Concourse. Their claypot rice is cooked upon order over the charcoal fire for about 25 minutes. There are 3 sizes, the smaller portion at $15 for 1 to 2 pax, the medium portion at $26 for 4 pax and the larger portion at $36 for 6 pax. Their menu includes dishes like Double-boiled Soups, Salted Egg Pork Ribs, Prawn Paste Chicken, Cereal Prawn, etc. 

We went for lunch on a Public Holiday. We were approached by the service staff and he asked, "Do you have a reservation?" I replied as no. He then asked, "If you want to eat claypot rice then you will have to wait for about 40 minutes. Can you wait?" We decided to wait. He brought us to the table and said, "I will order the small portion of claypot rice first while you decide what to order next." He came back to hand me a name card and said, "You can call to place an advance order and to reserve a table next time so that you do not have to wait too long." I ordered a canned drink and also the Salted Egg Pork Ribs ($12) to share. The canned drink is priced at $2.80. The same service staff came to pick up the order chit. He asked, "Do you want your Salted Egg Pork Ribs to serve together with the claypot rice?" I nodded. 

We waited for about 30 minutes before receiving it. The claypot rice came first and waited for a few minutes before the Salted Egg Pork Ribs was served. 

The service staff came by, he lifted the cover of the claypot rice. He asked, "Do you want to take a picture before I mix it?" I quickly took a picture using my phone. He then started to drizzle the dark sauce lightly and mixing it using a metal ladle repeatedly for a few minutes before presenting it to us. The claypot rice is served with ingredients like chicken chunks, Chinese sausages and there was supposed to have salted fish but we did not taste it nor see it. There was a layer of crispy rice bits right at the bottom of the claypot.

My dining companion said, "This is one of the worst that I have tasted. It did not have much taste. The chicken though not tender enough but still quite acceptable." He also said, "The only thing that is good is the service." Cooking it over the charcoal fire is supposed to give it a smokey flavor but it was missing here. 

The Salted Egg Pork Rib was another disappointment. Though tasted crispy, the texture was tough, the meat did not stick to the bone and it did not have much salted egg taste. 

The possible reason for such a drop in the standard probably has to do with the departure of their head chef. Chong Hoi Ching, also known as Ah Ching, left Geylang Claypot Rice. He was there for more than 10 years. He then started a hawker stall in Toa Payoh and moved to Bedok South before moving to East Village in Simpang Bedok. He franchised the Eng's Char Siew Wanton Mee and included the claypot rice in the menu. He recently opened another outlet in one of those shophouses along Thomson Road, directly opposite the Novena Church.

361, 363, 365 Beach Road SINGAPORE 199576
Operating Hours: 12.00 pm to 2.30 pm / 5.00 pm to 10.00 pm (Daily)