Friday, May 14, 2021

Rasa Sayang Western Food : the same old-school taste

This Western food stall used to be in S11 Food Centre at Block 711 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8 but the stall was taken over by a new owner about 3 years ago and its standard has been dropping since then. The original team has resurfaced in the coffee shop at Block 347 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 recently. I was there for lunch on a Friday, though there was a queue but not as crowded as expected. I decided to go with Chicken Cutlet ($7.00) and Chicken Chop ($6.50). It was ready in less than 10 minutes. Both were accompanied by garlic bread, baked beans, coleslaw, and crinkle-cut fries. 

My dining companion after eating the Chicken Cutlet, said, "It tasted pretty much the same though I do not like the coleslaw, something is amiss. The chicken tasted quite bland, not much seasoning" He continued to say, "If I have to choose, I prefer the Chicken Cutlet from Clementi 308 Fried Chicken & Burger."

My chicken chop tasted just fine, it was not charred enough, and not crispy, too. The mushroom sauce was pretty diluted and not much flavor. I somewhat expected it to be good but it just did not seem to be so. My dining companion, said, "Maybe We have eaten the better ones thus not fascinated by its taste any longer." 

Their customers are probably coming back to reminisce the familiar taste that used to be a part of their growing up memories. 

Block 347 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 #01-2412 SINGAPORE 560347
Operating Hours: 11.30 am to 2.00 pm / 5.00 pm to 10.00 pm (Closed on Wednesdays)

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Ipoh Tuck Kee 怡保德记炒粉 : the Malaysian stir-fried noodles

The chef is the youngest son of the owner from the original Restoran Tuck Kee in Ipoh, Malaysia known for its Cantonese-style stir-fry noodles. He has been cooking since 13 years old as mentioned on their Facebook page. This is the only outlet though they are others with similar stall names around. 

I ordered the smaller portion of their signature items, the Hokkien Fried Dai Loke Mee ($5/$8) and Yu Kong Hor ($5.50/$8.50). I was recommended to try their Baby Octopus in Soy Sauce ($8.00) but I did not order. 

Their Hokkien Fried Dai Loke Mee is pretty decent. It is drier with almost no sauce and it is also lighter in color. It is different from what I had eaten in Kuala Lumpur. It tasted nice on its own without eating with the accompanied sambal chilli. The usual place that I go for this dish is Lin Da Qiang (林大强) Fish Head at Chinatown Complex Food Centre. 

Yu Kong Hor is also known as "Moonlight Hor Fun" for the piece of raw egg yolk added to look like a full moon amidst the nicely stir-fried rice noodles. I have tried this dish at Keng Eng Kee Seafood and also Ban Leong Wah Hoe Seafood. The rice noodles have a slight wok fragrance and are not too wet, it did not turn soggy after stirring in the raw egg yolk. It is prepared upon order thus the waiting time can be a little longer.

My dining companion said, "I prefer the Hokkien Fried Dai Loke Mee to Yu Kong Hor."

27 Foch Road #01-02 Hoa Nam Building SINGAPORE 209264
Operating Hours: 11.30 am to 2.30 pm / 5.30 pm to 9.30 pm (Daily)

Monday, May 10, 2021

Maruhachi : by a true-blue Japanese owner & her husband

A friend told me about this stall. This friend mentioned that a Japanese friend went by to try and said, this stall is run by Japanese. The friend said it is just as good as the restaurant as the cook is Japanese. The stall started on 26 November 2020. 

I was there for lunch and expecting a queue on Sunday but there was just another customer in front. The cashier was a Japanese lady. I decided to go with Black Pig Katsu Set ($14.80) and Tonkotsu Cha Siew Ramen ($12.80). I wanted to order 2 pieces of Ebi Fry but was told not available so I went with Kaki Fry instead, ordered 3 pieces for $5.00 listed as ala carte item on the Ramen menu. All orders are made upon order.

The Black Pig Katsu set reminded me of the Premium Pork Loin that I always order at Hajime Tonkotsu & Ramen. It is served along with authentic short grain and a generous portion of shredded cabbage together with a bowl of tasty miso soup. I was amazed at how it is presented. The taste is similar to what I have eaten in Japan and as good as those served in the restaurants here. 

Kaki Fry, also known as Furai, is actually Japanese Fried Oyster, one of the popular dishes in Japan. It is not so commonly available in Singapore, not even in some of the Japanese restaurants here. I was excited when I saw it on their menu. The oysters were evenly coated with a layer of panko and deep-fried to golden brown and served along with tartar sauce.

I took a piece and totally enjoyed it, it tasted as good as those in Japan. I left the other 2 pieces to eat later and the crispiness still intact and not a bit of greasiness. My dining companion said, "The chef has very good skills in deep-frying. The katsu is equally well done, too."

The Tonkotsu Cha Siew Ramen came with 4 pieces of cha-shu, half-boiled of Ni-Tamago, and seasoned black fungus and seaweed, topped with chopped spring onions. The noodles were cooked to the desired firmness served in the flavorsome pork bones-based soup broth. The texture of the egg was perfect but the chashu was a tad too dry that caused it to break up easily.

Though the prices are slightly steep in a coffee shop, it is cheaper as compared to dining in a restaurant and it is without the usual service charge and GST. Importantly, it did not disappoint and worth it in terms of its quality. This is, in fact, the best hawker-style Japanese stall that I have come across. A stamp card is given, 1 stamp is rewarded for purchase of a main dish, 10 stamps for 5 dollars off, and 5 stamps for 2 dollars off. 

When could not go to Japan, this is definitely good enough. 

671 Edgefield Plains #01-01 SINGAPORE 820671
Operating Hours: 10.30 am to 8.30 pm (Closed on Tuesdays)

Saturday, May 8, 2021

[CLOSED] Moustache Lee : the Taiwanese fare

 Xander Lee, 28, and Lipsen Chow, 27, the owners, are friends since childhood and they started this stall in January 2021 at a coffee shop in Ang Mo Kio.

Their signature dishes are based on the recipes of the Taiwanese mother of Xander's girlfriend. I ordered the Braised Pork Rice ($3.80 / $4.30), Mee Sua ($4.00), and Salt & Pepper Chicken ($4.00).

My dining companion after tasted the Salt & Pepper Chicken and said, "It tasted like those packets of frozen popcorn chicken that are readily available in the supermarkets. It did not taste like those that I had eaten in Taiwan and it has not much of the salt and pepper taste."

I did not particularly like the Braised Pork Rice but my dining companion finds it to be alright. He said, "It did not taste too bad, that braised pork though was a little too small pieces but its texture was just right." The taste was a little off, it might be due to them adjusting it to better suit the local taste. It did not have much taste of the deep-fried shallots. I actually prefer the Braised Pork Rice from Really Something, a stall at Chinatown Complex Food Centre to this. 

I was asked whether I want vinegar for the Mee Sua when collecting it but it did not enhance the taste much. It is served with shredded chicken and not traditionally with oysters or braised intestine like those in Taiwan. It tasted quite forgettable as compared to the one by Eat 3 Bowls at Crawford Lane. I would rather eat it without the chilli as it is too spicy to taste Taiwanese.

This is just a new stall and we should give them time to improve.

Block 505 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8 Aik Leong Eating House SINGAPORE 560505
Operating Hours: 11.30 am to 8.30 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Friday, May 7, 2021

Happy Congee 满粥了 : satisfying Congee and Chee Cheong Fun

Seng Kor, the former consultant of Mui Kee Congee in Singapore is behind this stall. This stall specializes in Hong Kong-style Congee and Chee Cheong Fun. Their prices are more affordable as compared to the same items by Mui Kee.

Their chee cheong fun is made upon order using the traditional method. Their choices for Chee Cheong Fun include the Rice Noodle Roll with Dough Stick ($4) which is not commonly available in Singapore. The others are Triple Sauce Rice Noodle Roll ($3.50), Char Siew Rice Noodle Roll ($4), Minced Meat Pickle Vege Rice Noodle Roll ($5.50), Mala Chicken Shredded Rice Noodle Roll ($5.00), and Prawn Rice Noodle Roll ($5.00). 

There are 6 types of Congee, the Hong Kong Boat Congee ($6.00), Black Iberico Pork Congee ($5.00), Lettuce & Chicken Shredded Congee ($4.00), Fresh Toman Fish Congee ($5.00), Seafood Abalone Congee ($8.00), and Century Egg and Minced Meat Congee ($4.00).

There was quite a long queue when I was there on Sunday for lunch but the queue moved pretty fast. I waited for about 10 minutes to order and decided to try the Century Egg & Minced Meat Congee added an egg for $0.80, Rice Noodle Roll with Dough Stick, and Char Siew Rice Noodle Roll. And, waiting for about 8 minutes or so to collect it. 

To start, gently break the raw egg and mix it into the porridge. My dining companion said, "The porridge is really nice, got standard. It is thick and smooth." 

The Rice Noodle Roll with Dough Stick is known as 炸两 in Chinese, it is a Cantonese dim sum made of rice flour into the rice noodle roll and tightly wrapping the dough stick doused in soy sauce with sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

My dining companion took a piece and said, "The 炸两 is surprisingly good, the youtiao inside is still crispy. The saltiness of soy sauce is not overwhelming."

Char Siew Rice Noodle Roll tasted just fine, nicely made with minced char siew in it. 

There are other 2 outlets at Block 681 Hougang Avenue 8 and 56 Upper Changi Road run by Francis Mak that used to own Cafe de Hong Kong. 

380 Jalan Besar ARC 380 SIGAPORE 2090000
Operating Hours: 8.30 am to 2.30 pm / 5.30 pm to 8.30 pm 

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Kelaté : traditional Kelantanese fare

This is a halal hawker stall started by Sasqia Dahuri, a Malaysian actress, producer, and TV host on 8 February 2021. She is running the stall with her Singaporean husband. This stall is specialized in noodle dishes from Kelantan, Malaysia. There are only 3 items on the menu, namely Laksam ($4.90/$6.90/$7.90), Mee Celup ($4.90/$6.90/$7.90), and Colek Malah (3 pieces for $4 and 6 pieces for $7). 

I was there at about 3.05 pm and there was already a short queue, though the stall will only open at 3.30 pm during Ramadan. Their usual operating hours are from around 8.15 am to 2.00 pm. I was the fourth customer in the queue. I waited till about 3.40 pm before they were ready to start taking orders. I order the smaller portion of Laksam and Mee Celup together with 3 pieces of Colek Malah. After ordered, I was told that I would have to wait about 30 to 40 minutes for it to be ready. My name would be called upon when it is ready and I waited till 4.30 pm before my name was shouted. 

I was quite surprised to see that it has been packed for taking away though I did indicate that I would like to have it there. 

This was my first time eating Laksam. It tasted a bit like our local Laksa, it came with thick bee hoon as a default choice as I was not asked for the selection. I came across that most of the other orders shared online was served with rice noodle rolls. It came in a thick coconut milk gravy with ulam and sambal. 

I enjoyed the Mee Celup, it has a familiar taste that reminded me of beef noodle. The dish is made with a broth of chicken and beef, served with beef chunks, crushed peanuts, fried garlic, and dried chilli flakes. When ordering, I was asked, "yellow noodle?". I nodded.

My dining companion was a bit surprised when he realised that Laksam and Mee Celup are of the same price. He said, "How can it be? The Laksam has just egg and no other meat like the Mee Celup."

Colek Malah is actually fried fritter consisting anchoives and vegetable served with their special chilli. 

This is something from our usual hawker fare and it is definitely worth trying.

93 Toa Payoh Lorong 4 #01-47 SINGAPORE 310093
Operating Hours: 3.30 pm to 9.30 pm (Closed on Thursdays)

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Shu Heng Bi Tak Mak : the Malaysia-style noodles

We were there slightly after 11 am and there was just another customer in front, but the queue was slowly forming after we joined it. This stall opened on 23 December 2020 but gaining popularity. This stall specializes in serving mee tai mak. There are a few choices on their menu, namely, Pork Leg Noodle ($5.50), Mushroom Pork Mince Noodle ($3/$4), Johor Bi Tai Mak ($3/$4) and Fishnall Pork Mince Soup ($3/$4). 

I was told about this stall but I have not been making an effort to come by as I am not really a fan of bee tai mak. When it was my turn to order, I said, "I want a dry one and a soup one." I ended up ordering Mushroom Pork Mince Noodle for both. I took at the menu again and realised the soup version is likely to be the Johor Bi Tai Mak so I asked, "Can I change the soup one to Johor Bi Tai Mak." The friendly stall owner said, "I have already added in the lard, the original version is without it."

The soup version is quite common in Malaysia. The thickened soup one was a bit starchy with ingredients like bits of mushroom, dried shrimps and minced meat then topped with chopped onion as well fried shallots.  It did not sound or look much but it is comforting. 

The dry version is clearly a popular choice there. The dry one is served with braised minced meat, mushroom bits, slices of fish cake, and fishball together with crispy lard and chilli. 

My dining companion took a mouthful of the dry one and said, "It has a tanginess that I do not like. I prefer the soup one much more."

We were surprised that the light of their signboard went off before 12 pm to indicate that they have sold out. 

226H Ang Mo Kio Street 22 Keban Bahru Food Centre #01-25 SINGAPORE 568226
Operating Hours: 7.00 am to 1.00 pm (Closed on Tuesdays)

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Wing Liao Lor : good Nasi Lemak

Jacelyn Lim, 30, started the stall with Kenny Lim, 60+, her father. Jacelyn was a former flight attendant from Singapore before joining the insurance industry and his father was a veteran chef with 20 years of experience. This stall is about 2-month-old with an eye-catching stall name. When I told the stall name to my dining companion, his first reaction was, "Huh?" before realizing it is their stall name. 

He went to queue for about 20 minutes and came back with their basic Nasi Lemak set for $3.50. He said, "The queue is not that long but they ran out of rice so they took the orders first and kept us waiting there." 

It came with a piece of chicken wing, an egg, and ikan belis with a slice of cucumber.  The wolk of the suuny-side-up egg was slightly overcooked. The fluffiness of the rice was just right with a distinct coconut flavor. The fried chicken wing was perfectly fried to achieve the desired crispiness. It was flavorful with a hint of turmeric. The sambal chilli was a little on the sweet side. Overall, this is one of the better Nasi Lemak.

I asked, "How is this comparable to the Spice n Rice at Amoy Street Food Centre?" My dining companion said, "This is definitely better in value. I can order 2 plates of this at $3.50 each rather than paying $7.90 for just 1 portion." He continued to say, "This chicken wing is nicely marinaded and crispy."

531A Upper Cross Street #02-28 Hong Lim Food Centre SINGAPORE
Operating Hours: 8.30 am to 6.00 pm (Monday to Saturday)

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Eddy's : hawker style Duck Confit and Laksa Spaghetti

I remember Chef Eddy Wan. He used to run Rustic Bistro at China Street but closed down. I visited the cafe in June 2015 and was quite impressed with the food. 

I am glad that he is back to helm this hawker stall at Hong Lim Food Centre, nestled at a corner on the upper floor and serving affordable Fusion Western cuisine. He is running it with his wife. Duck Confit ($10) to serve with Aglio Olio Spaghetti or Mashed Potato is one of the popular choices on the menu. The next choice is Chicken Chop with Laksa Spaghetti or Aglio Olio Spaghetti ($8.50),  Mashed Potato or French Fries ($8). Other choices on the menu are Grilled Salmon ($10),  Beef Burger ($10), Chicken Pomodoro Pasta ($7.50), Mala Shrimp Spaghetti ($7.50), and Chicken Alfredo Pasta ($7.50). There is also a selection of rice bowls, Unagi Teriyaki ($10), Chicken Chop ($8), Duck Confit ($10), and Grilled Salmon ($10). 

I decided to go with Duck Confit with Mashed Potato and Chicken Chop with Laksa Spaghetti. I was told they will shout when it is ready for collection. There was an empty table right in front of the stall so waited there for close to 10 minutes when Eddy signaled it was ready. The queue got longer during lunch. 

Duck Confit is not commonly found in food centre. Mad Charcoal has Duck Confit on its menu. This dish also used to be served by Immanuel French Kitchen in a coffee shop.  I kind of expected the skin of Duck Confit to be crispier but it was not so, the meat was desirably tender though and it tasted flavorful. 

The Chicken Chop with Laksa Spaghetti is nicely done and flavorsome. The sauce though a little runny but creamy, coated the spaghetti well and the level of spiciness is manageable. I enjoyed it, this is better than the other Laksa Spaghetti that I have eaten and it is quite addictive. 

The Chicken Chop was nicely grilled and still retained its tenderness, served with a bit of dried shrimp.

My dining companion after tasted both dishes, said, "I would prefer the Chicken Chop with Laksa Spaghetti, will likely to order again when I am in this food centre." He continued to say, "The Duck Confit is not bad but is not particularly memorable as I have tasted better one."

Block 531A Upper Cross Street #02-52 Hong Lim Food Centre SINGAPORE 051531
Operating Hours: 10.30 am to 7.00 pm (Monday to Friday)

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Spice n Rice : worth the hype?

We went on a Sunday to have lunch and that was probably the last Sunday that they will stay open. They have recently announced on their Facebook (FB) that they will close on Sunday from then on. We were one of the few customers waiting to order at the stall, it was not as crowded as expected. 

The owners, Vincent Wong, 31, and Javin Goh, 35, started experimenting with dishes at home during the Circuit Breaker. Vincent used to be an Internal Bank Auditor and Javin was a Corporate Banking Relationship Manager before venturing into the hawker trade serving Nasi Lemak. The Nasi Lemak is created based on the recipe originated from the grandmother of Vincent using spices and herbals to flavor the marinades of the chicken as well as the sambal chilli with no MSG added. 

There are only 3 options on their menu, the Nasi Lemak set with Classic Fried Chicken ($7.90) or the Butter Chicken ($7.90) with basmati coconut rice. The other is Salmon with Barkey Pilaf ($9.90). I wanted to order a set with Classic Fried Chicken Nasi Lemak and a set with Butter Chicken Nasi Lemak but was told that only the Classic Fried Chicken was available on that Sunday. I ordered 2 sets for $7.90 each. I was asked to choose between the fully cooked egg and the half-cooked egg. The set was not presented on the plate but in a take-away box even for eating there. 

The star is the fried chicken, it was fried well to the desired crispiness and still tender, with a distinct flavor of turmeric and lemongrass. My dining companion said, "Why did they choose to use basmati rice? It tasted a little too dry and not much coconut flavor." I did not finish the rice. He also said, "The price is still on the high side for such a dish in hawker centre even with that whole chicken leg." The spiciness of sambal is rather mild with a slight sweetness and a little watery. It was served with pineapple mint salsa and a handful of ikan belis.

Overall, it is pretty forgettable. It might have to do with my expectations based on those rave reviews.

7 Maxwell Road #01-15 Amoy Street Food Centre SINGAPORE 069111
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 2.30 pm (Monday to Friday) / 10.00 am to 2.30 pm (Saturday)