Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Jiang Ji Traditional Hainanese Chicken Rice : next generation of Sergeant Kiang

I heard about the opening of this stall from a friend on Facebook. They opened on 20 June 2020 by Susan, Raymond, and Alvin using a recipe handed down by their 81 years old father, Sergeant Kiang. Sergeant Kiang founded Sergeant Chicken Rice before it was acquired by the Food Republic. He was also one of the pioneer chefs that created the famous Chicken Rice in Chatterbox, a cafe in the former Mandarin Hotel.

I went on a weekday for lunch. I took a picture of the stall before joining the queue. Susan spotted me and when it was my turn to order, she asked, "You are?" I replied, "I am just one of the fans of Sergeant Kiang's chicken rice. I met him before and I met you too at the stall in Havelock." She chuckled and said, "That was very long ago." I decided to order half of the poached chicken with 2 plates of rice to share it with my dining companion. I was asked to take a seat as it will be sent over. Alvin brought over. He asked, "Remember me? I was at the Jiang Ji in Havelock." He also asked, "How is the taste? still the same."

I could actually taste the similarity. I said, "The same. The chicken is still tender. The rice is so fragrance. The chilli and ginger paste are still good." It is still that familiar taste. Their specialty is always the poached chicken. The texture was tender and still retained its juiciness. I still think their rice was amongst the better that I have tasted. The fragrance was quite distinctive and the texture was grainy and not overly greasy. 

Susan came over when we were about done eating. She said, "We set up this stall to force our dad to retire. He is staying at the next block and he always asked our helper to come over and bring back for him to sample. He is still making sure that everything is still up to his standard." She further said, "And, he wanted to hand on but we do not allow him to do so." I said, "I remember Sergeant Kiang ever shared that he decided to throw away the whole tub of chilli after tasting it as it is just not up to his standard." I continued to say, "I asked him then whether he is passing the recipe to his children and he replied that their cooking is not up to his standard yet." I said, "I have been going around eating Chicken Rice but this is still amongst the best, much better than most of those out there." What actually defines good chicken rice? It is everything, from the chicken to the rice and the chilli to the ginger paste. Everything has to be good. And, I think I have found the perfect combination here. 

It is heartwarming to see a family comes together for a common goal. Unity is indeed strength. I will definitely be back for more of their chicken rice. 

780 Yishun Ring Road SINGAPORE 760780
Operating Hours: 10.00 am to 8.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Five Guys in Singapore

Five Guys,  a popular American burger joint has landed in Singapore on 16 December 2019, after Shake Shack, the other popular burger joint. They have more than 1600 outlets worldwide and is famous for serving burgers, hot dogs, fries and milkshakes. They serve only the hand-formed burgers cooked on a grill along with fresh-cut fries cooked in pure peanut oil. The patties have a good ratio of lean to fat meat. The buns are baked fresh by a local bakery.

The burgers, fries, and drinks are to be ordered separately as there are no set meals. Customization can be done for burgers and hot dogs with no hidden cost. The choices for burgers are Hamburger ($13),  Cheeseburger ($15), Bacon Burger ($15), and Bacon Cheese Burger ($17). The choices of fries are the original or with Cajun spices, starting from $7 then $9, and $11 from the hand-cut potatoes. When selecting toppings for the burgers and hot dogs, you go with your choices or simply go with the "all the way" option to have everything included. Some of the most popular toppings are lettuce, pickles, grilled mushrooms, and grilled onions. The famous shakes at $10 can be further customized too, like selecting between with or without whipped cream and mixing in the bacon bits, salted caramel, strawberry, banana, and chocolate with no extra cost. They are to cook everything fresh and not using frozen ingredients.

We decided to go with their Bacon Cheese Burger, regular fries, and coke. There is the free flow of peanuts to keep you occupied while waiting for your number to be called. Your order will be packed in the brown paper bag. 

The "all the way" option came with lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, grilled onions, mushroom with mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard. 

The burger came with double patties and 2 slices of cheese in between the juicy patties. It was good though not mind-blowing but it is definitely one of the better burgers but it is the expensive ones. 

I would not mind eating it once in a while but not too willing to queue for it. 

68 Orchard Road #01-23 Plaza Singapura SINGAPORE 238839
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 10.00 pm (Daily)

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Quan Xing Mei Shi : old school Laksa

This stall has been in this food centre for decades, it used to run by an elderly couple but it left only the elderly Uncle with his son. There is only Laska on their menu for $3.00 per bowl. Most of their customers are the residents staying nearby and have been patronizing the stall for the longest time.

It usually sold out quite early and that is why I was quite surprised to see the light of the signboard was still on at 11 am and quickly, I joined in the queue. There are choices of thick bee hoon, thin bee hoon, and yellow noodles. I opted for the yellow noodles, it was topped with chopped laksa leaves and sambal chilli to serve. The portion of yellow noodles was quite substantial, serving with ingredients like slices of fishcake and pieces of tau pok with a handful of cockles and beansprouts. 

It tasted old school, no-frills and purely comforting. This simple Laksa is good enough, it does not need premium ingredients to make it tastier. 

162 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 #01-26  Mayflower Food Centre SINGAPORE 560162
Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 1.00 pm

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Song Kee Fish Ball Noodle at Circuit Road Food Centre

This stall at Circuit Road Food Centre is one of the many outlets of Song Kee Fishball Noodle in Singapore. All of them are mostly operated by relatives, they are related but different entities and so, they will usually claim that they are, in fact, not related. The Finest Songkee's Cuisine at Upper Serangoon seemed to be the only exception, the nephew is a minor shareholder there so an identical name is used. As for this stall, it is operated by one of their uncles, and this uncle has been making fishballs for more than 40 years. He is still insisting on doing so right now. It is located just beside Soon Lee Lor Mee that I patronize regularly.

There was just another customer in front of me so it was my turn, he asked, "You want a mixture of everything?" I nodded. He took out the oval-shaped and started cooking. When it was done, he placed the bowl on the tray and collected $5. There is a smaller portion for $3.50.

The texture of fishballs was soft and bouncy, those 2 pieces of tau pok with fish paste were not too bad but there is no fish dumpling and no crispy lard too. The other Song Kee at Cheng San Food Centre in Ang Mo Kio used to have fish dumplings too but it seemed to stop serving. 

The other Song Kee at Tembeling Road in Joo Chiat will be moving to Yio Chu Kang Road in this coming April. The new shop is at 100 Yio Chu Kang Road and it is much nearer to where I am staying.

Block 79 Circuit Road #01-06 Circuit Road Food Centre SINGAPORE 370079
Operating Hours: 5.00 pm to 1.00 am (Closed on alternate Wednesdays)

Monday, March 9, 2020

Changi Lorong 108 Fei Lao Seafood at Bedok North

I have heard so much of this Horfun and so, made an effort to travel all the way to the east for lunch. The coffee shop was quite quiet when I was there. I heard they were really famous at one time when Fei Lao was still around at Changi Lorong 108. They were famous for their charcoal fried horfun at that time. They stopped using charcoal after moving to the current location as restricted by the National Environmental Agency (NEA). Fei Lao has since passed away bringing along his 40 years of wok skills. The stall is taken over by his nephew.

It was good though wok hei was not as distinctive as I expected it to be. This might be the only horfun that is serving with pork liver. It used to be a common ingredient for horfun but most have stopped doing so. Overall, it was tasty and memorable, this is definitely one of the special ones but though I still prefer the eggy horfun by Hoy Yong Seafood Restaurant at Clementi a little more. Nonetheless, the search for a good horfun is still on.

I also ordered the Fried Rice to share which I actually enjoyed but my dining companion did not think much of it. I think they have done it well, nicely seasoned with a slight smokiness, this is a much better Fried Rice as compared to most. 

I wanted to order Prawn Paste Chicken but I was told that they only serve the normal fried chicken mid-wings. My dining companion said, "I won't actually pay for normal chicken wings at cze cha stall." It does make sense.

I am likely to drop by again if I happen to be in the vicinity.

Block 86 Bedok North Street 4 #01-165 SINGAPORE 460086
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 2.00 pm / 5.00 pm to 9.00 pm (Closed on Tuesdays)

Monday, March 2, 2020

Seng Kee 119 Steamed Fish Head at Chinatown

The steamed fish head is a common dish that is easily available at Chinatown Complex Food Centre as there are a few stalls serving it. And, this is amongst the most popular choices. When we were there for lunch, almost all the customers seated near the stall ordered their steamed fish head. We ordered it too since it is a must-try dish together with Pork Ribs King and 2 bowls of rice.

This Cantonese style steamed fish head is priced at $15 for a portion, consisting half a Song Fish head in their special sauce then topped with crispy lard. The fish though had a little mud taste but was tasted quite fresh. The special sauce was good to go with the rice, it tasted slightly spicy coupled with a slight tanginess and overall, quite savory. The fermented beans and crispy lard added flavor. The fish head was meaty but it came with a lot of fine bones so got to be careful when eating it.

The Pork Ribs King was a disappointment. My dining companion took a bite and said, "The meat is hard and not too flavorful."

335 Smith Street #02-190/191 Chinatown Complex Food Centre SINGAPORE 050335
Operating Hours: 11.30 am to 2.30 pm / 4.30 pm to 9.40 pm (Closed on Tuesdays)

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Yong Xiang Carrot Cake : pan-fried Png Kueh and Soon Kueh

This was one of the stalls with a queue on a Sunday, serving the white and black version Fried Carrot Cake as well as pan-fried Png Kueh and Soon Kueh. My late Grandpa used to pan-fry the leftover Png Kueh and Soon Kueh for breakfast the next day. The pan-fried ones are equally enjoyable, it is also my personal favorite. 

I joined the queue and waited for a while before ordering. Most of the customers ordered the white Carrot Cake with their pan-fried Png Kueh and Soon Kueh and I did that too though I wanted the black Carrot Cake initially. I ordered the white Carrot Cake, a Soon Kueh and 2 pieces of Png Kueh. The Uncle that took my order asked, "Do you want to add an egg?" I nodded my head. The auntie that was doing the cooking will use the metal spatula to cut the Png Kueh and Soon Kueh into big pieces and pan-frying them on the hot pan before adding an egg then the chilli then cooked it a little longer before serving. 

My dining companion tried it and said, "The pan-fried Png Kueh and Soon Kueh are something special, it is an interesting choice for breakfast though not commonly found." The presentation was a little messy and not quite appealing but it was comforting, certain parts of those pieces were nicely crisped but still soft. 

My dining companion then took a mouthful of the white Carrot Cake and said, "It tasted quite ordinary, those pieces of carrot cake were quite soft with enough egg added for the eggy taste but could hardly taste the cai po."

29 Bendemeer Road #01-35 Bendemeer Food Centre SINGAPORE
Operating Hours: 6.00 am to 2.00 pm (Closed on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays)

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Li Na Fishball Noodle : Bak Chor Mee cooked by an Indian

Jeevan Ananthan, 28, started the stall with May Leena Krishnan, 29, his fiancee, in August 2019. The stall is named after the Chinese name of Leena. He is likely to be the first Indian cooking Bak Chor Mee and Fishball Noodle in a coffee shop. There is an Indian-Chinese man serving the traditional Teochew-style Fishball Noodle in a coffee shop at Commonwealth Crescent. There is also a Chinese lady serving Malay-style Biryani at Circuit Road Food Centre. 

Jeevan used to be an Investment Banker for a few years and Leena was a Digital Marketer before deciding to start the hawker stall doing their part to preserve the hawker culture. Jeevan is the main chef and he was trained by an experienced hawker imparting the basic techniques to him. He developed the recipes for the braised mushroom, chilli paste, and the sauces. 

The menu consists of Mushroom Minced Meat Noodle ($3.50/$4.50), Signature Noodle ($4.50), Fishball Noodle ($3/$4) and Fishball/Fish Dumpling Soup ($3/$4). They also have handmade Her Giao (Fish Dumpling) Noodle for $3/$4 and $5, the Fish Dumpling is also available at $0.70 per piece or $2.00 for 3 pieces. 

I ordered the large portion of Mushroom Minced Mear Noodle and added 3 pieces of Fish Dumplings. It was served with a good portion of mee pok with braised mushroom, minced meat, sliced meat, and meatballs, topped with crispy lard and chopped spring onion.

My dining companion took a mouthful and said, "This is pretty good. The chilli and vinegar have a good balance. The texture of mee pok was cooked just right." He then took a piece of the Fish Dumpling and said, "Did they handmade it? It is surprisingly good." 

The queue was still long during lunch.

Block 116 Toa Payoh Lorong 2 SINGAPORE 310116
Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 7.00 pm (Closed on Wednesdays)

Monday, January 20, 2020

Old World Bakuteh : Mixed Pig's Organ Fried Porridge, must try

Chef Jemmy Yeo, the co-owner, started this stall with his partner in November 2019 at a coffee shop near Yishun MRT. He is a Peranakan chef that has been based in Singapore for the past 2 decades. He started cooking after getting inspired by his grandmother. Other than Bak Kut Teh ($6.00), the Mixed Pig's Organ Fried Porridge ($5.00) is another popular item. Fried Porridge is not commonly found in Singapore, the other one is by Dynasty Fried Porridge at Foch Road. I ordered the Fried Porridge with Braised Small Intestines ($5.00). Jemmy was there to take my order.

The porridge was already cooked with the dark soya sauce. He would then fried the porridge to infusing the flavor of dried shrimps and fried shallots upon order, adding in the ingredients like minced pork, leaned pork, small intestines, big intestines, liver, tau kwa cubes to the porridge then topped with fried shallots, chopped spring onions and a dash of white pepper to serve. The porridge was served hot and remained hot even after I took those pictures. This is a better Fried Porridge, a cheaper and tastier alternative as compared to the other one that I mentioned. 

The Braised Small Intestines were nicely done too, the texture was soft and not too chewy. 

I went back for the second time in a week to eat their Fried Porridge and Braised Small Intestines.

Block 747 Yishun Street 72 Hiap Hoe Eating House SINGAPORE 760747
Operating Hours: 10.00 am to 10.00 pm

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Min Ji Laksa : homely food

This stall is one of those with a queue during lunch on a Sunday. The owner took over the stall from the original owner. There are only Laksa  ($3.50/$4.00/$5.00) and Mee Rebus ($2.50/$3.50) on the menu. Most of the customers ordered their Laksa and I decided to do that as well. I joined the queue and waited for about 5 minutes before ordering. 

I ordered the $3.50 portion, it was served with a good portion of thick bee hoon together with fresh-tasting ingredients a piece of half-boiled egg, cockles, slices of fish cake and tau pok with a handful of beansprouts. The gravy was light with a hint of dried shrimps and coconut milk. This homely taste is quite enjoyable. 

Block 29 Bendemeer Road #01-31 Bendemeer Food Centre SINGAPORE
Operating Hours: 7.30 am to 3.00 pm (Closed on Thursdays)

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Xing Ji Rou Cuo Mian : the soup Bak Chor Mee

This soup version of Bak Chor Mee is a popular choice, particularly in Bedok. There are only a handful of stalls serving this type of Bak Chor Mee and 3 of them are in Feng Shan Food Centre, this is one of the stalls. This stall has been around since 1968 and is amongst the most famous ones. Seng Hiang Bak Chor Mee, their direct competitor is just beside but it was closed on that day. There is also Ah Poh Minced Meat Noodles in the same food centre. At this stall, there is a selection of $3.00 and $4.00.

My dining companion asked, "Which is the best amongst them?" I tried the one from Seng Hiang Bak Chor Mee once and it tasted quite alike. I did not try the Ah Poh Minced Meat Noodles though. 

This is a simplified version of Bak Chor Mee with just a portion of thin egg noodles with minced pok and meatballs served in the lightly flavored pork broth. It is just no-frills comfort food.

Block 85 Bedok North Street 4 #01-07 Feng Shan Food Centre SINGAPORE 460085
Operating Hours: 12.30 pm to 12.30 am (Closed on Thursdays)

Friday, January 3, 2020

Ghim Guan Fried Oyster : one of the nicest Fried Oyster

I did not expect to see this stall opened for lunch on a Sunday. It is usually closed as they only start in the evening. I have to try their Fried Oyster for the first time. "I heard there is a famous Fried Oyster here. Are you the one?" Auntie just smiled but did not acknowledge. There are 4 sizes for selection, the $4 for the smallest followed by the $6, $8 and then $10. I decided to go with the $8 portion. There are also Oyster Omelette ($6, $8, $10 and $12) and Fried Carrot Cake ($3, $4 and $5). Auntie asked for my table number. I pointed to the table right at the corner. She delivered it in just a while, with 2 pairs of chopsticks and 3 saucers of chilli.

My dining companion took a bite and he nodded, "This Fried Oyster is definitely one of the nicer ones that I have eaten. Though not as crispy as the Simon Road Fried Oyster but the egg is fried well to crispiness with a nice eggy taste." There is a good balance of egg and batter. The oysters tasted fresh and quite plump. 

I went back to the stall to tell Auntie. I said, "The Fried Oyster is really good. The stall is usually closed when I was here. " Mr Ang, the owner, heard it. He said, "We only open in the evening but there are some orders today so we opened earlier. You can follow our Facebook and we will update there if there is a change in our off-day."

This is so good, definitely amongst one of the best in Singapore.

79 Circuit Road #01-60 Circuit Road Food Centre SINGAPORE 370079
Operating Hours: 5.30 pm to 10.30 pm (Closed on Wednesdays)