Monday, October 27, 2008

Natural cut fries from Carls Jr

Wow, Carls Jr now has these natural cut fries with skin on and they're actually not too bad. If you are wondering, it does taste different from the regular fries that other fast food places offer and that's in a good way. There seems to be more flavor in the mealy strips of potatoes compared to the flatter tasting regular shoestrings. It seems like I've found my favourite fast food french fries for now.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Some dinner stuff from Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐)

Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐), xiao caiassorted vegetables and tau kwa strips

It's been quite a while. Possibly two years or more since I've last visited Din Tai Fung (290 Orchard Road, #B1-03 The Paragon, tel : 6836 8336) and the previous times were not at this particular outlet.

Most of the food were pretty much as I remembered them. I liked their vegetable and meat buns. More delicious when they're hot. I've discovered that the portions of meat to vegetables in those are 1 to 9. One of the things that I hadn't seen on menu before are the assorted vegetables with strips of those hard tau kwa which I liked. Their xiao long baos are still one of the better around.

Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐), vegetable pork bunsthe 90/10 vegetable and pork buns

Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐), xiao long baoxiao long bao

Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐), drunken chickenchilled drunken chicken

Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐), pork chop fried ricefried rice with pork chops

Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐), la miannoodles....neat....kind of

Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐), braised beef noodlebraised beef noodles

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Japanese sweet potato soup from Ah Chew

While down at Ah Chew for their papaya double boiled in milk we came across this dessert. It tasted just like most sweet potato soups with ginger. Except that it's Japanese sweet potatoes and they were less fibrous than the local variety. Unless I get a very specific craving for these, I don't think I'll be having them again.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pho from Madam Saigon

That brimming bowl of pho at Madam Saigon was pretty good. I got the special pho which featured thin slices of beef, brisket and beef balls with additional tendons I spied on their menu. My bowl was loaded with ingredients. The lightly spiced beef balls tasted home made with grits. The broth also didn't match the beefiness from Pho24 and like Pho Lan was served lukewarm. Does anyone know if cooked bean sprouts are a preference or are they meant not to be thoroughly cooked?

We supplemented our pho with the Vietnamese pancake which we had previously. Couldn't resist it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Song Fa Bak Kut Teh, New Bridge Road

Despite the appearance of Song Fa (11 New Bridge Road, #01-01, tel : 6533 6128) with all that crowd, I didn't feel like it was one of the better ba kut teh around town. The soup was less peppery and robust in comparison with Imperial and definitely wasn't on par with the Sin Min outlet down at Kelantan Lane. The lack of kick was a bit of a let down. Refills of the soup fared even worse. Must have been a separate batch of that broth there. I'm going to put this at the bottom of the list of options if I ever get a craving. What was good was the cloves of garlic that were so soft and you could just suck them out of their skins. Their bowls of clear soup mee sua with pig kidneys was always welcomed on a cool evening.

Despite the seeming popularity of the pork rib soup, I thought that their braised fallopian tubes in dark sauce was actually the better dish. They seem to taste better than the usual ones I've had in kuey chup stores.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Finalmente Gastronomia, Goldhill Plaza

All thing considered, I didn't find Finalmente Gastronomia (1 Goldhill Plaza, #01-47, tel : 6256 2149) impressive beyond the friendly service. While I couldn't fault the preparation of the food, they left me with little incentive to return. I wouldn't say that I'll be avoiding this place for good but for the prices that these guys were charging, I found the quality lacking.

The starter of their pork lion turned out to be just four slices of pork ham with spinach. Must have been a typo there. Also somewhat pricey for four slices of pork with dressing. We requested for additional toppings of ham and mushrooms for the 5 cheese pizza which only contained a slightest hint of the Gorgonzola cheese that was suppose to be in it. For a pizza with 5 cheeses, it really didn't taste that cheesy and was a letdown. The topping looked thin considering that it's suppose to be filled with cheeses and there was suppose to be more ham and mushrooms.

Adding on to the disappointment was the tricolore pizza which featureed porcini mushroom, rockets, truffle oil and an egg. Wasn't worth the $25 for something that didn't even had the slightest flavour of the truffle oil.

All the pizzas were made to order and took very little time to prepare. I'm wondering if that's a good thing. The speed of their service was commendable. Be prepared to pay restaurant prices for the food that's prepared - not by Italians chefs. Dessert was lacklustre as well for a ubiquitous flambé-d molten chocolate cake that costed more than what Borgo charged and didn't taste anywhere as good. I would not have minded paying a little more at Al Forno Trattoria just a short walk away. Those guys serve a very good quattro formaggi gnocchi that I discovered last month. The food there was definitely better.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chicken House, Upper Thomson Road

This was an ad hoc decision to come down to Chicken House (255 Upper Thomson Road, tel : 6456 0698) which serves kampong chicken for lunch based on a recommendation by a friend who had eaten it before and felt that it was pretty good. I've been curious about the sallow-ish yellow hue on the skins of these birds. 

Well, the kampong chicken meat was pretty tender and that I couldn't see any fat beneath the skin. Beside that leanness, there wasn't that much of a difference from any other regular chickens. The health issues over the birds raised in supposedly traditional methods wasn't really an issue for me since I think it's probably just a marketing gimmick.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

More circular sumptuousness...

I suppose it was inevitable that I returned to Circular Sumptuous Square for more of their mouthwatering greasy duck. To put things into some perspective, the duck here was delicious in the greasy fatty way which wasn't matched by places like Sin Sian Yuen down at Chong Pang or Jin Xing. Those were dry and more thickly sliced. That's not to say at all that the mentioned places weren't good. They were just different and tasty in their own ways especially if you liked your duck free of sauces and in chunky portions.

This time round, I passed on the rice and decided to give their noodles a shot. That had turned out to be a good call as those noodles here were springy with bite and delicious. No more rice for me here. The accompanying noodle sauce was just okay. It was the chilli on the side that really elevated things. Personally, the texture of those noodles did it more than anything else.

We had some preserved mustard greens (mui choi or mei chai) which was pretty tasty. Served as a nice dish on the side to compliment to the main orders. Note to myself : This is something I could consider again the next time.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ya Kwang revisited

Man, this sure was a good one down at Ya Kwang Dai Pai Dong (Ya Kwang Eating House, 709 Geylang Road, Lorong 37, tel : 6747 663). I was surprised that on a Saturday night, there wasn't anything resembling insane queues or crowds outside this stall. This trip was a specific one to eat their seafood based noodles which the stall known for. And rightly so. That being said, there's also a bunch of other items made the consideration list as they looked inviting over the neighbouring tables.

Moving on to the lobster tang hoon. Price aside, this was seriously great stuff. The stock that infused those glass noodles was both sweet and savoury. The lobster was also fresh with their natural sweetness and had firm meat. There were some similarities with the crab tang hoon that I tried previously. The only difference between that this was probably just the shellfish.

The clam noodles, or also known as the la la mian from Ya Kwang was what most vongole pasta should've been. Locally. Where many have failed pathetically living up to. This one was loaded with meaty clams and garlic flavour. This plate was nicely accented by the bits of sliced chilli padi with noodles that soaked up the seriously drool inducing stock. So good that I was sure that I could easily take on a large portion by myself.

On the side we had an order of the Penang char kuey teow which looked like a phad thai and even tasted like one. Minus the crushed peanuts. Pretty decent and they were generous with the eggs. We had ordered this as a filler since the previous dishes didn't have the volume. There were a also some deep fried pig intestines call Da Chang Jing which were served like Peking ducks where one would wrap the fried intestines in some egg crepe along with a strip of cucumber and/or sprig of spring onion and then coat with a sweet brown sauce before eating. This wasn't bad at all. 

Friday, October 10, 2008

Biryani from a coffeeshop at Ang Mo Kio

This Indian food stall was located at Ik Wah coffee shop (Blk 252, Ang Mo Kio St 21). Not 10 minutes away from Hong Heng. Was quite good. Their biryani had sufficient fragrance from the spices in the rice that one could eat them on their own while the curried bone-in mutton was surprisingly tender. Would have been great if the meat portions were larger. I wouldn't mind having them again.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Kashmir, Race Course Road

The web page of Kashmir (52 Race Course Road, tel : 6293 6003) made a very confident claim that once one has visited the restaurant, said person will add them to their personal list of best restaurants in this country and will subsequently come back for more. I thought that was a rather bold statement. In retrospect I wouldn't dispute it. This was one of those restaurants where I left happy and telling myself that I would love to come back. Definitely not the first time that I've gotten such a feel about a restaurant. But I suppose that doesn't happen in many occasions.

We started off promisingly with some really good kabargah. This were lamb ribs that were boiled in milk and spices before getting the deep fried treatment. There wasn't a lot of meat for a $12 portion, but what was available was very nicely done. The dish retained the natural aroma the lamb and was quite tender to boot. I could have finished two portions of these easily by myself.

I was very impressed with this Afghani murg. Basically chicken that was marinated in almond paste, cream, ginger and garlic before being charcoal grilled on skewers. It was marked with very nice char on the surface and was surprisingly juicy inside. That robust char could almost be described as....beautiful. The portions felt a little too small though, but I would give two thumbs up to the chef.

We ordered their chilly cheese naan for novelty's sake. Turned out to be pretty good. The crumbly cheese that they used was unexpectedly light and each mouthful of the naan was accompanied by a burst of flavours of the bits of sliced green chillis.

The malai kofta was a mixed bag. Nice sweet creamy sauce of saffron and cashew that had something described as cheese dumplings. It was a mixed bag feeling because the gravy didn't taste very nutty or had much of the saffron flavour. But it was still good in its own ways especially as a dip for their naan. Those cheese dumplings didn't taste much like cheese. This one took the cake of being the weirdest tasting one with a texture that reminded me of sweet potatoes.

Known as 'Honeymoon' on the menu, this dessert was basically a gulab jamun served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Gulab jamuns were my first introductions to Indian desserts. I have thus become little wary of them since they were mostly too sweet. Adding vanilla ice cream seems to have oddly detracted from much of the sweetness. While it was still so, this was pretty good.

This would be the phirni, which was a steamed semolina dessert. The sliced almonds didn't so much enhance the flavour than the texture. Delicious as well. Pretty happy with the desserts.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

More roasted meat from Jin Xing...

Jin Xing Hong Kong Roasted Meat, Serangoon
Kept my word from the last visit. I am back in Serangoon Ave 4 for more of their delicious roasted meats. This time I got myself a favourite sweet and savoury combination of char siew, roasted pork and roasted duck breast. If it wasn't already apparent from the pictures, they're all greasy and succulent cuts of meats with tender fatty sections that are ready to fall apart in your mouth. Not to mention the nicely charred char siew and crispy pork crackling from the roast pork. My mouth waters just at their mention....

Pity about the rice though and the sauces as well. I could do without them. Not a deal breaker.

Jin Xing Hong Kong Roasted Meat, Serangoon
Jin Xing Hong Kong Roasted Meat, Serangoon
Jin Xing Hong Kong Roasted Meat, Serangoon
Jin Xing Hong Kong Roasted Meat, Serangoon

Monday, October 06, 2008

Mixed beef laksa from Hong Heng

Quite an interesting find by happenstance at Hong Heng Beef Noodle & Katong Laksa (Blk 233 Ang Mo Kio Ave 3, #01-1194 Bing Garden Eating House). They're at the coffee shop where Uncle Leong Seafood is located in Ang Mo Kio. I was initially drawn to this stall because of their regular soup beef noodles with kuey teow. The laksa option caught my attention and I wasted no time giving it a go.

I'm not sure about the Katong Laksa referenced in the name up there but the gravy which didn't even have the right viscosity didn't taste like any of the Katong laksas I've had before. The flavour was not bad, albeit a little watery and served just lukewarm instead of hot. That's pretty much the only gripe I have. The toppings of the beef and other cow offal were delicious and not over cooked. The tendons in the bowl looked rather raw and gave me pause initially. As I put them in my mouth I realised that they fell apart easily in the mouth with little chewing. On the side, they had some pretty nice chinchalok chilli.

Notable mention goes to their beef balls which despite their regular looking appearances, didn't taste so regular. These meaty tasting ones certainly were nothing like those regular mass produced variety. I quite liked them.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Mughals Hyderabadi Biryani Restaurant, Race Course Road

Mughals Hyderabadi Biryani Restaurant, Race Course Road
Mughals Hyderabadi Biryani Restaurant (72 Race Course Road) in spite of its name does not serve just biryani. There were other things as well. We came here for their biryani because I had heard mention that they were pretty good.

We started off with some freshly fried onion pakoras. These should replace onion rings at all fast food. Crispy dram batter on the outside and still slightly crunchy onions on the inside. I wonder how come these things never got popular outside of Indian restaurants.

egg biryani

mutton biryani

We ordered a couple of biryanis which were served with a thin raita and some nutty tasting curry which was just a little spicy. I wanted to try the egg briyani because I had always been curious about the flavours came about when dum briyani is cooked with eggs. And because I like eggs. There wasn't any eggy flavors involved, but mashing the hard boiled yolk into the rice made it delicious.

The mutton biryani wasn't what I had in mind. The flavour from the mutton didn't seem to seep onto the rice. The lean meat wasn't moist but was quite flavorful. I thought that Mustard and the goat variant at Swaadhisht did a better job of infusing the biryani with the meat juices.

For both the egg and mutton biryani, the basmati rice was a little dry (that's what the gravies are for). Also quite strongly scented with spices, especially heavy with cloves.

We had a Kadai paneer on the side which didn't look like how the menu described it. We were given the impression that it would be stir fried, dry and contained dried fruits. This tasted like a cashew nut curry which wasn't bad at all. Came with those soft chunks of paneer. It was the shreds of ginger that got to me.

Tried both their Irani and masala tea just to see what were the differences between them. The menu described the former to contain bits of biscuits and the server claimed that the latter was just more spicy than the first. Having tried it ourselves, we concluded that they tasted exactly the same.

Prices were pretty affordable here. I realized after getting the bill that there was no GST or service charge incurred.

Mughals Hyderabadi Biryani Restaurant, Race Course Road