Saturday, March 19, 2022

Xing Ji Rou Cuo Mian : soup-style Bak Chor Mee

This is one of the few stalls serving the soup-style Bak Chor Mee at 85 Feng Shan Food Centre. There are other popular stalls in the same food centre, like Seng Hiang Bak Chor Mee and Ah Poh Minced Meat Noodles as well as Chai Chee Minced Meat Noodle in Bedok, Authentic Chai Chee Bak Chor Mee at Macpherson Lane and Famous Eunos Bak Chor Mee in Eunos.

This stall has been around since 1968, probably the first to start serving the soup-style Bak Chor Mee. There is an option of $3.00 and $4.00 for a comforting bowl of egg noodles in tasty pork broth serving with minced meat and meatballs with chopped red-cut chilli. And, they only serve the soup version. The texture of noodles was cooked just right, still retained its springiness and slight chewiness with no alkaline taste. 

The soup is clear with bits of minced meat floating in it, it is flavorful with a tinge of sweetness garnished with bits of fried garlic and crispy lard.

85 Bedok North Road #01-07 85 Feng Shan Food Centre SINGAPORE 460085
Operating Hours: 11.30 am to 11.30 pm (Closed on Thursdays)

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle vs Tai Wah Pork Noodle : Who does it better?

This Teochew-style pork noodle was started from a pushcart in 1932 before moving into a coffee shop in 1939 at Hill Street then moved to Marina Square in 1986 followed by Crawford Lane in 2005. It was started by Mr Tang Joon Teo in 1932 before being taken over by Mr Tang Chay Seng and Mr Tang Chai Chye, the sons. This was supposedly the first Teochew-style pork noodle in Singapore then. 

Block 466 Crawford Lane #01-12 SINGAPORE 190466
Operating Hours: 9.30 am to 9.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

This is the only Bak Chor Mee that awarded 1-Michelin star and this is their one and the only stall by Mr Tang Chay Seng, the current owner. He is emphasizing quite strongly on this and even to the extent to issue a statement in the newspaper. They are located in a coffee shop near Lavender MRT. This is one of the most popular choices for Bak Chor Mee and the queue is forever long even before awarding the 1-star by Michelin in 2016 till now. I started eating when they were at Marina Square.

They have recently started to take pre-orders in advance for taking away. My usual orders have to be the Mee Pok or Mee Kia in dry version. The nicely cooked noodles serve with sliced lean meat, minced meat, liver, meatballs, wantons, dong cai (冬菜), deep-fried sole fish, and seaweed with chilli and black vinegar added. Their prices range from $6, $8 to $10. 

The Mee Pok in soup is a comforting choice though the taste is not as exciting as the dry one. The soup was nicely flavored, the minced meat with the other ingredients added depth to its flavor. The meatballs did not leave an impression as the taste was quite generic. The soup though flavorful but slightly salty.

531A Upper Cross Street #02-16 Hong Lim Food Centre SINGAPORE 051531
Operating Hours: 7.30 am to 3.00 pm

Their main stall is at Hong Lim Food Center with outlets at Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Hougang, Owen, Holland, Marsiling, and Toa Payoh. This is operated by Gerald Tang and Jason Tang, the nephew of the owner who took over from Mr Tang Chai Chye, their father. This stall is the recipient of Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2018, 2019, and 2021. Tai Wah and Tai Hwa are not directly related.

Mr Tang Chai Chye used to have a stall in the Bestway Building along Price Edward Road before Gerald started the other stall at Hong Lim Food Centre in 2004. The prices range from $6, $8 to $10 for the options of Mee Pok or Mee Kia, dry or soup. Both came with ingredients like sliced pork, minced meat, liver, meatballs, wanton, seaweed, deep-fried sole fish, and crispy lard. The noodles are tossed with chilli and black vinegar in lard oil for the dry style. 

I ordered this from their outlet in Ang Mo Kio. The dry tasted quite similar to what I had at their stall in Hong Lim Food Centre but the soup came with a big bunch of seaweed and that was the only taste. 


Both are famous for their dry version and not so much for the soup one. I would go with the Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle as the standard of Tai Wah Pork Noodle is quite inconsistent. Some actually recommended only eat at the main stall at Hong Lim Food Centre for a more authentic taste. No matter, it is good to just have one outlet so it is easier to maintain its standard. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Ah Xiao Teochew Braised Duck : by the 2nd generation owner

Rui Hai, the 2nd generation owner, has taken over the stall from his parents more than 10 years ago. There is almost always a queue at the stall and they are usually sold out after lunch. I ordered for taking away, the braised sauce and chilli were packed separately. This was the most neatly chopped braised duck that I ever came across, rather Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) satisfying. 

I enjoyed the nicely sliced duck breast, it got a rather vague braised flavor, and was nicely tender with a slight chewiness. I did not like the braised meat as much as the texture was not as soft as I liked it. A basic plate of braised duck rice is reasonably priced at $3.  Some of the side dishes to order are braised tau kwa, fishcake, pig skin, and braised egg. It came with their special vinegar chilli with bits of garlic in it and it is of certain spiciness. It went well with their braised duck and also other braised items. It is served with plain rice. 

There is also another stall at Bendemeer Food Centre by Rui Hai's brother. 

505 Beach Road #B1-53 Golden Mile Food Centre SINGAPORE 199583
Operating Hours: 9.00 am to 3.30 pm (Daily)

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Gu Zao Rojak : my favourite Uncle and his rojak

This has been my favorite rojak. The owner is an elderly Uncle, he is friendly and always chatty, and is passionate about making the rojak. His stall is right at the corner of the first coffee shop at Block 347 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3, just a stone's throw from AMK Hub and within walking distance from Ang Mo Kio MRT. 

I have been eating his rojak regularly for quite a while. I used to stay with my Grandpa at Block 343 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 and this coffee shop is near there. When ordering, I always tell Uncle that I want it to be spicy and he has the special chill for that extra kick. He said, "This chilli is for those that like it extra spicy, and not all are able to take this level of spiciness."

I went on a Sunday for his rojak. There were few customers in front of his stall. I told Uncle, "I want the $5 version to share with a friend and no chilli for this." He remembered my special order and asked, "So, no chilli ah? not even a bit?". And, I replied, "No. My friend cannot take chilli so not even a bit." I waited there, he served a few of the other orders before signaling me to move forward. He passed the plate to me and said, "I made half with chilli and the other half without chilli so both of you can share." 

Uncle is taking pride in serving his rojak. He made an effort to grill the youtiao and tau pok before cutting them up and adding to the rojak. He then mixed well with his special prawn paste and sprinkled a generous amount of crushed peanuts before serving it. 

The coffee shop that the stall is in will be undergoing renovation from 14 March 2022 to 31 March 2022. 

Block 347 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 #01-2150 SINGAPORE 560347
Operating Hours: 11.30 am to 9.00 pm (Closed on Wednesdays)

Friday, March 11, 2022

Teochew Kway Teow Soup : This is Goodbye

The Uncle and Auntie will be retiring on 13 March 2022. This humble stall has been in the same coffee shop for more than 30 years but is closing down. This coffee shop is near to my late Grandpa's house and I used to stay with him. I literally grew up eating from this stall. And, Auntie is like 看着我长大的. This might not be the best Teochew style Fishball Noodle but the taste is alluring as it is a part of my growing up memories. I really enjoyed the taste for sentimental reasons. I am 重感情.

I went back one last time to say goodbye by tasting it for the last time. The stall has always been there so it is quite shockingly sad to know that I will have to part with this decades-old familiar taste. I am definitely going to miss it.

Block 347 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 301-2150 SINGAPORE 560347

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Lim Bo Fresh Fruits Rojak : the Malaysia-style Rojak

This stall serves Malaysian-style fruit rojak, like those from Penang. Leong Gwo Wei, the owner, he stumbled upon Lim Bo (林伯), aka Uncle Lim, his rojak stall in Kuala Lumper, and decided to ask him to teach after tasting the rojak about 3 years ago. Uncle Lim agreed to do so for a price. He mastered the skills and returned to Singapore, starting the stall in April 2021. 

The main difference between the Malaysia-style and the local version as based on the acquired recipe is the sauce has to be cooked to get a consistent thickness. Though prawn paste is added, the taste is rather subtle. The prawn paste is imported from Penang. Assam paste and sugar are also added for a well-balanced flavor with a mild sweetness. 

There is an option to add the crispy prawn fritter to the rojak, like those that are usually served with the ngoh hiang. The local rojak does not have the prawn fritter. It also omits the torch ginger flower, beansprouts, and tau pok replaced by seasonal fruits like mango, jambu air, and guava together with pineapple. The turnip and Japanese cucumber are fresh tastings with the desired crunchiness. For taking away, the prawn paste sauce and chilli sauce were packed separately from the youtiao and prawn fritter. The fruits, Japanese cucumber, and turnip were packed in the box. The chilli sauce is of a certain spiciness. Those pieces of youtiao were still crispy and soft within. 

I just need to assemble everything by placing it on a big plate before drizzling the sauce on it. Crushed peanuts were added to the prawn paste sauce for the textural contrast. Their prices are slightly on the high side, it starts from $5, $8 to $10, depending on the ingredients added and the $5 portion is without the prawn fritter. Though there are similarities, it did not quite taste like the rojak that I had in Penang, the sauce is not as thick and the taste of prawn paste is milder. Nonetheless, I rather enjoyed this unique fruit rojak.

64 Joo Chiat Place SINGAPORE 427786
Operating Hours: 10.00 am to 8.00 pm (Closed on Mondays)

Block 22 Sin Ming Road #01-224 Wan Hao KopiTiam SINGAPORE 570022
Operating Hours: 11.00 am to 9.00 pm (Daily)

Monday, March 7, 2022

Xin Mei Xiang Zheng Zong Lor Mee : aka Old Airport Road Lor Mee

This popular Hokkien style Lor Mee at Old Airport Road Food Centre has been around since 1973 before opening an outlet at Balestier followed by the third outlet at Holland Drive just recently. 

The Balestier outlet is an air-conditioned restaurant with 80 seats serving the same menu but most of the choices are priced slightly higher. This outlet is in collaboration with a few others. The queue was as long as the one at Old Airport Road Food Centre when it opened on 5 August 2021. 

There are choices of flat yellow noodles, egg noodles, bee hoon, and also, kway teow serving with their signature gravy that is based on their traditional recipe with ingredients like shredded fish meat, braised meat, braised egg, coriander, and beansprouts. The gravy is thick, groovy, and not as starchy with the vinegar, chilli, and minced garlic that enhanced its flavor further. 

This is still one of the better choices for Lor Mee, my kind of comfort food. 

586 Balestier Road #01-01 Eastpac Building SINGAPORE 329898
Operating Hours: 9.30 am to 9.00 pm (Daily)

Original Outlet: 51 Old Airport Road #01-116 Old Airport Road Food Centre SINGAPORE 390051
Operating Hours: 6.00 am to 1.00 pm (Closed on Thursdays)

Block 43 Holland Drive #01-75 SINGAPORE 270043
Operating Hours: 7.30 am to 5.30 pm (Daily)

Saturday, March 5, 2022

Hakodate, Japan

Hakodate, took this picture during my first trip there in April 2018. I went back in November 2019 and hope to see it snowing in winter but no snow then. I am supposed to go back in December 2020 but am not able to travel due to covid. 

I am still waiting to go back to Japan. 

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Hup Kee Wu Xiang Guan Chang : the heritage dish

This stall has been around for over 90 years in Singapore and this family business is currently managed by the third generation. Their items are quite standard and have lesser varieties. Most items are still handmade like Ngoh Hiang, Pork Liver Roll, Egg Cake, and Guan Chang. Other add-on items are the Prawn Fritters, Tau Kwa, Fishabll, and Century Egg.

Guan Chang, is known as 灌肠 in Chinese, it is the Chinese style sausage, handmade traditionally. The lean pork is marinated with red coloring then filled in the sausage casings that are made of animal intestines which explained why it is called Guan Chang, the meaning is "filled intestine". It does not have a distinctive taste and it is usually eaten with the provided dipping sauces. Ngor Hiang, also known as Wu Xiang, is the meat roll. Its size is shorter, thinner, and smaller with lean pork and fat, well-seasoned with five spices, wrapped in beancurd skin. 

The Pork Liver Roll is a Hokkien creation. The chunks of liver together with Koo Chai are wrapped together in the beancurd skin then deep-fried. The Egg Cake is another interesting item. My dining companion kept telling me it reminded him of a certain butter cake. The Prawn Fritters are made from a batter with bean sprouts and it is usually made upon order to give it its crunchiness. The usually pink gooey sauce is in deeper color here, almost like a dark red. Its taste is slightly sweeter and not spicy as compared to the chilli sauce. 

This is definitely one of those heritage dishes that has been decades old. Hopefully, they will still be around for decades to come. China Street Fritter is another famous stall selling almost the same items in this food centre. 

1 Kadayanallur Street #01-97 Maxwell Food Centre SINGAPORE 069184
Operating Hours: 11.30 am to 6.00 pm (Closed on Wednesdays)