Monday, June 28, 2010

Soup kuey teow from Hong Heng...

I can never seem to get enough of this stuff. Now that the novelty of the laksa beef noodle has worn off me here, I'll be sticking to regular smooth and ricey soup kuey teow to get my fixes. I'm even willing to make exceptions for hot days when I don't normally like anything that has hot soup.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Morrocan lamb burger from Burger Shack

This lamb burger from Burger Shack was pretty good. The meat patty was robustly flavorful of lamb pairing up really nicely with what passed off for their Moroccan spice flavors in a really good way with minimal frills to detract from the flavors of the meat. My only complain is probably the fact that one needs the fries to serve as a filler since these things weren't really that huge. But it was good enough for me to come back for.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Modern Peking Duck, ION Orchard

I've always been wondering about this Peking duck kiosk (2 Orchard Turn, #B4-75 ION Orchard, tel : +65 6509 8539) whenever I happened by and deep inside, I was already thinking that they couldn't be that great despite the queue. So I gave them a go and it was indeed quite disappointing as Peking ducks go. The skin wasn't the least crispy and in fact, were a little chewy. My heart died a little when I saw them scraping away the bits of fat underneath the skin as they were preparing them. So the flavors as we know of them, were pretty much out the window.

I guess these things would be okay if you just thought of them as little duck in crepe snacks rather than Peking duck. But I don't think I'm likely to patronize them again.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kko Kko Nara, Tras Street

I got curious about Korean fried chicken lately so we decided to look up Kko Kko Nara (57 Tras Street, #01-01, tel : +65 6224 8186) which is located a few minutes stroll away from Tanjong Pagar MRT.

Being uncharacteristically cautious, we grabbed a sort of sample platter for the fried chicken since we didn't really want to be stuck with something in the event that we didn't like any of the flavors. This turned out to be a good decision as the garlic sauced variety was predictable in taste and a little boring. The spicy sweet sauce for the...well, spicy sweet option was a little too sweet. I guess they didn't really work out for us in terms of flavors and the best option from the platter was actually the original, which featured nicely deep fried crispy battered chicken parts which weren't excessively greasy. That, I liked.

On top of the chicken we got interested in a spicy pollack roe soup.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tai Dong Teochew Braised Duck Rice, Lorong Telok

I'm not normally one for braised ducks because of the flat pieces of meat and the boring starchy gravy, but Tai Dong's (No 9 Lorong Telok, City Front Kopitiam, tel : +65 6532 3226) Teochew styled braised duck was a different beast altogether. For starters, the sauce accompanying the duck was a flavorful herbal concoction that tasteed much better than the gooey ones commonly available everywhere else.

Boiled peanuts which I normally don't pay much attention to. I still don't.

Their take on simmered cabbages was excellent, redolent in the flavors in both the aroma and taste of dried shrimps. We enjoyed this so much that we ordered another after another. Three plates of them (amongst 4 of us) if you had lost count.

When one opts for sides along with the duck, the livers, tau kwa and boiled eggs should never be forgotten. These items contribute to the heartiness of the meal. I have little doubt that the eggs and liver helped to the "hearty" effect. The soft and piping hot bean curd paired up excellently with the herbal sauces that came with them.

The main stay of the braised duck here as I've mentioned was the flavorful herbal sauce that comes with the bird. Notice that the skin of the duck is much darker than the common braised ducks.

Rice with that meal that made me eat more of my usual intake of carbs. It's the gravy's fault.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Zan Ji Mixed Veg Rice, Whampoa Food Centre

After several visits of which I gave this stall passes, I've finally decided to give this neighbour (Block 90 Whampoa Drive, #01-67) of Uncle Sim a go and it turned out to be a pretty good recommendation. The food tasted better than I had initially thought, especially with the simmered cabbage that was like a fresher nonya chap chye. We were also fortunate to arrive at a timing when they had just brought out a fresh batch of crunchy stir fried french beans and warm fried chicken. They had a rich curry (which I had to request separately for) to go with the rice too which really sealed the deal for me. I don't normally take to mentions of mixed vegetable rice, but this one was just something I had to bring up.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Seventh Heaven, Raeburn Park

the itsy

I thought that this place (10 Raeburn Park, #01-24, Marketing Institute of Singapore, tel : +65 6227 7787) was an unusual setup. They had a fancy looking website, a compound that looked like a deli (even equipped with a ham slicing machine) and are pretty much self touted as a shop that does artisanal ice creams that also seems to be doing also trying to do what they call manwiches that are essentially sandwiches with a conglomerated mess of processed meat fillings. Something that I probably would have tried doing at home.

The differences between the manwiches which we ordered were basically the meats. The Doobies Debris which they described as Dagwood's ultimate sandwich was filled with smoked turkey, pork roulade, ham and farmer's meatloaf and the Itsy was corned beef, roast beef, pastrami and salami. Even though there was about an inch thick of processed meat after compression, I didn't think that it fit the depiction of what I used to see Dagwood Bumstead make for himself. Lol.

Jokes aside, the meat and cheese sandwiches were all cold cut fillings and apart from being hearty and generous, they probably weren't the best behemoth I've had. I'm positive that they would have benefited from warm fillings, but there didn't seem to be much of cooking facilities in the kitchen. The breads which were used weren't toasted or even warmed; tasted a little sweet and milky and had a dry crumbly texture which couldn't really hold the contents very well. Couldn't really understand why the home made coleslaw, which was quite good by the way, had to be stuffed in as a filling as well since it made eating a little messy. Definitely not one of the better built sandwiches out there in terms of taste if not the quantity of meat fillings. Some PLT or mustard would have been great.

doobies debris

Ice cream tasted a little dodgy for me here. I'm not exactly the biggest dessert person out there, but I thought the textures were a little undulating and the peanut butter flavors of the said ice cream didn't quite hit me in the face even though it was nicely creamy. Artisanal desserts, hmm...... it seemed like they ran out of a number of the other alcoholic flavors which were under the recommended list.

I don't think I'll make the effort to come out of the way unless there's warm sandwich fillings. Service without a crowd was excruciatingly slow for food that required little preparation.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fresh Fish Seafood Soup, Sembawang Hill Food Centre

This place (590 Upper Thomson Road, #01-36 Sembawang Hill Food Centre, S574419) is a little hideaway for fish soup introduced to me by a friend which we could go to, off the lunch hour since that time of the day does away with the horrendous queue under the usual relentless and sweltering humidity of the afternoon.

We normally grab the fish soup with instant noodle option and I like mine with an additional topping of fish eggs. I couldn't really say what is truly compelling for me in this particular stall. Perhaps, it was the clear tasting soup lightly flavored with pepper, garlic and fried shallots that could be spiced up with accompanying chilli padi. Perhaps, it was the rustic looking and fresh tasting fish slices and curly instant noodle. Not that those noodles were undercooked as I normally would enjoy them. But I've always found this stall to be a nice sanctuary for a late lunch.

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Victory Restaurant, North Bridge Road

I've been wanting, for quite a long time to come down to this place (701 & 703 North Bridge Road, tel : +65 6298 6955) after Zam Zam to see what are the differences between the two since they had similar looking murtabaks. The oddity here was that, according to them, this place was a hundred years old this year too. I've by happenstance visited two neighboring stalls that are famed for the same food in their hundredth year.

To be honest, it had been more than a year since Zam Zam and there were so much similarities in their murtabak that I was hard pressed to detect much differences between the two of them. Both had the signature look of folded layers encrusted in moderate crisp with egg and bits of ground mutton, were loaded with sweet chopped onions and came served in rather generous portions. I could have mentioned that this one at New Victory lacked a little punch in the flavors of the ground mutton, but it could have been a one off thing. I think I'll need to head back to Zam Zam again soon if I had to differentiate them, but for now, this area at North Bridge Road offers for me quite an unparalleled option for murtabak which cannot be found elsewhere.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Canton-i, Orchard ION

The wanton noodle down at Canton-i (2 Orchard Turn, #03-14 ION Orchard, tel : +65 6509 8368) was actually not too bad if not for their slightly small portions. What I didn't expect from it was the firm and chewy texture of the noodles that felt almost like Tsim Chai Kee in Hong Kong. Almost. To go into comparison between the two, I would have to hands down pick the latter as the better bowl for both the taste and the depth of satisfaction. Portions were definitely more generous and it was less expensive. The wantons here in Canton-i might have been larger than the usual, filled with fresh crunchy prawns, but they were certainly not match for the flavors and size for the king prawn wanton noodles.

I ordered their Japanese sweet potato with cheese out of curiosity and it turned out to be two little dry bars of sweet potato with a textured crust at the top that had so little cheese that I couldn't taste them.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Lunching at Your Woul

Headed back to Your Woul to try their lunch sets priced at $9.90 and landed ourselves a heo dup bab and a jab che bab. These items turned out to be pretty good. The former was almost a riot of flavors (in a good way) from the fish roe, seaweed, sesame seeds and what tasted to me like some sort of powdery fish floss and the same could be said for the textures as well, forming a sort of tuna salad that came with a bowl of rice. I definitely would have loved for this to come in larger portions.

The latter jab che rice set as I've learn from previous experience were glass noodles and some assorted vegetables that came with the rice. The rendition of the jab che here was however, the savory and peppery counterpart to the ones done at Arirang. I couldn't say which one was better since I enjoyed them both.

I'm getting to seriously like the chilled cinnamon and ginger date tea stuff that they serve at the end of meals.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Burger Shack, King's Arcade

This place (559 Bukit Timah Road, #01-01 King's Arcade, tel : +65 6466 3477) which was opened by Island Creamery wasn't too bad at all. The double burger from the menu had did come with nicely char grilled medium well patty which contained enough flavors to be both beefy with the grill aroma at the same time. Albeit, neither of which were as intense as I would have preferred. I guess having just some onions and a leaf of lettuce helps things not to be detracted from the original flavors they were trying to build here and it was probably a good thing that I forgot to ask for additional toppings of cheese. I did like the lightly toasted and airy buns which they used. Fries were pretty ordinary and I thought that having more variety of beers apart from just Tiger would probably spruce the place up in the arena of options.

Nothing over the top or mind blowing, but good enough for me to come back again to.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Arirang Korean Restaurant, Liang Seah Street

It was actually unusual how we were led to this restaurant (1 Liang Seah Street, #01-07/08 Liang Seah Place, tel : +65 6333 0025). We were on the top of our minds, looking for a place to eat where we could pay by card because we had run out of cash. Coming from Beach Road and hungry, this happened to be one of the first places that we came across that looked decently good and with the recent Korean food craze we were in, it looked like it might have been a good idea.

We were quite glad that we gave it a shot despite some initial apprehension I had after seeing the crazy crowd seated indoors for their all you can eat "Korean" BBQ buffet.

We started off with a plate of japchae (sounding suspiciously like a Nonya chap chye) which arrived in a large portion for something that came from the appetizer menu. I was initially worried from the first mouthful that the sweet flavors of the vermicelli would become overwhelming like the jajangmyeon experience previously, but the taste actually grew on me. For one, the sweet flavors were relatively mild and the play of textures between the chewy glass noodles and good mix of vegetables was really enjoyable. Will definitely put this under a re-order consideration.

The spicy seafood soup here put the one at Crystal Jade Ginseng Chicken to shame. For one, it was a slight notch spicier and in the unassuming pot of orange broth beneath the greens and tofu, were 4 large prawns, mussels, fish and squid. In spite of being slightly overcooked, the natural sweetness of the prawns surprisingly came through. This soup also turned out to be the daily special of the week and the setback for it was an affordable $10. Considering that it came with rice and refills of banchan, I thought it was a pretty good deal.

What took us by a pleasant surprise as well for the spicy beef soup was the beefiness in the broth which we had assumed, would be subdued by the spiciness. Again, this was another interesting mix of textures coming from the shreds of meat, sprouts, spring onion greens, egg and vermicelli. The fact that there wasn't really that much beef in them didn't even matter at all with the other distractions.

I think I'm probably willing to overlook the mediocre banchan and come back again.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Your Woul, Goldhill Centre

We liked the food at this place (165 Thomson Road, Goldhill Centre, tel : +65 6251 0123) enough that we came back on the second night on the very next day to do dinner again. The very healthy crowd on the weeknights did help too in convincing us that we were eating at some place right, but service at this place sure did become very spotty once the dining room fills up. It was rather difficult to get any request through during such peak hours, especially with the refills of the banchan. There was definitely some preferential treatment going on around here. I'm serious.

Service aside, the food was unpretentiously hearty. Starting with a couple of noteables from the banchan that included the smoky sweet radish and a fragrant fried anchovies. I haven't yet mastered the subtleties of kimchi which to me was pretty much just a variation of different levels of sour and spiciness, so I couldn't really comment if it was good.

1st night

We opted for a kimchi jigae and a aal-bab set, the latter being one of those stone rice bowl that came topped with what looked like tobiko. I guess what I liked about the spicy kimchi soup was the bodied aroma apart from just the obvious sour and spicy flavors. It was almost like there was miso in them. The aal-bab was a reminiscence of chinese claypot rice with a play of aromas from the pickled vegetables, seaweed and burnt bits of rice off the sides. I must admit that apart from the occasional pop between the teeth, I couldn't get much out of the fish roe.

2nd night

On the returning night, we grabbed a dong tae tang which was basically a pollack based soup and a spicy stew of baby octopuses and pork belly. Apart from the trouble of having to remove endless amounts of fine fish bones off the pollack, I've to say that the food was all tasty with athe sweet and savory and again, almost miso like quality of the soup filled with the big headed bean sprouts which I liked...... to the nuttish and spicy gravy which the thin sliced pork belly and octopus came in. The gravy from the latter making me order extra portions of rice.

I guess I could say that I would love to drop by for more of the food here and it'll be easy to simply make my way back to a cosy spot like this. But I suppose it is time for me to give the other places a chance.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Crystal Jade Ginseng Chicken & BBQ, Ngee Ann City

Here was an opportunity to get reacquainted with some Korean food and even though this place (391 Orchard Road, #04-20 Ngee Ann City, tel : +65 6733 3229) might not have been the best place to start, it was convenient. The setup was pretty much like one of numerous Korean outfits that had tables fitted with a grill for their selection of meats that could be ordered.

Things got moving after orders with a serving of banchan. Got to say that I love those big headed bean sprouts there.

The stewed beef ribs was pretty good at the start with generous portions and some caramelized bits. However after a few pieces, the sweetness of the flavors became cloying and it started becoming a chore to finish the rest. The meats were definitely not as tender as I was hoping for and they certainly weren't the type that slid of the bone smoothly. I couldn't say that this was something that I disliked, but it was definitely one of those things that one could just eat a little before the taste became monotonous. Definitely for sharing between more than 2-3 persons.

Faring better in my opinion was the spicy seafood and tofu soup. The combination of savory and spiciness definitely helped offset the sweetness from the ribs. I was actually expecting a larger variety of seafood from the namesake of the soup but I guess it was just shrimps and squid.