Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Red Pig Korean Restaurant, Amoy Street

Red Pig Korean Restaurant

Red Pig Korean Restaurant, kimchi

Red Pig Korean Restaurant, seafood pancake

It was almost a full house slightly before 7pm on a Tuesday night. Food here's (93 Amoy St, tel : +65 6220 7176) not too bad. The service staff seemed to be overwhelmed and there weren't any refills of the banchan. I was wondering if it's because of the limited wait staff are constantly having to run from table to table.

To note - one should wait for the charcoal grill to be heated up before attempting to cook that galbisal as I doubted that the servers took enough notice when they assisted in the cooking. Having a grill that was still heating up only meant that there wasn't enough heat for you to get respectable grill marks onto the meat without them getting overcooked. Meat doesn't come salted, but that's easily rectifiable. Their signature Red Pig cuts of marinated pork were pretty tasty in a spicy, nutty and sweet sort of way. What was outstanding was their crispy seafood pancake which was a medley of textures from the exterior, the chewy insides, bite from generous portions of squid and crunchy spring onions.

Red Pig Korean Restaurant

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Burger Bar by Fat Boy's Concepts, Far East Plaza

The Burger Bar (14 Scotts Road, #01-16A/B Far East Plaza, tel : +65 6737 3315) is run by the people that came up with Fatboys. The idea here is for people to build their own burgers and the options are pretty much similar to what one gets at Fatboys. With some bits of upgrades (more options for toppings, sauces, orders taken through iPads and blah blah....). Back at Fatboys, I remember being put off by the beef patties that they were using. What I didn't like about them were the poor meat to fat ratio, blandness and that they were generally overdone and not delicious. I hoping for an upgrade to the patties that they had been using now that this place had happened but these guys here used exactly the same beef as they did then.

That was really the weakest link for my order of cheeseburger with cheddar, pickles and peanut butter. They even had the soft brioche freshly toasted and the only thing that hadn't worked for me was the very forgettable meat. Which made it such a pity. I'll happily top up the difference and head across the road for something real the next time I want proper beef in my burger when I'm in the vicinity.

Friday, April 26, 2013

KL Hokkien mee at Malaysia Boleh

This is from Ping Ge KL Hokkien Mee stall down at Malaysia Boleh (1 Jurong Point 2, #03-28), a little food court that specializes in Malaysian Chinese street food which opened October last year. I haven't had these dark soy sauced noodles in some years, the last time being in Kuala Lumpur where I really enjoyed them.

How does this one stack?  Not as smokey as I was hoping for and a little lacking of the fragrance from the dark soy sauce element. But it was still enjoyable, piping hot with crispy bits of fried lard from the fired wok of what looked to be a pretty competent stir frying cook. The chilli that they provided on self service was pretty good stuff going with those savory sweetish and greased up thick noodles. I certainly wouldn't mind having these again, but the other options there like prawn noodles and even chicken rice look pretty darned appealing too.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Another literal look at the lamb skewers from Jia Yan

Jia Yan Restaurant, Balestier Road

For reasons I will not venture into, things have gotten a little slow lately and nothing new or interesting have come by in the way of eats. So this was just an updated (clearer) picture of the lamb skewers from Jia Yan. And more of them as well. This second visit made me realize that there were actually some sesame seeds sprinkled over the lamb which I could taste and I had somehow missed totally during the previous visit.

Yes, this made a relatively fuss free (no need to think) dinner. I promise that I will start looking elsewhere so that I can at least make some comparisons between shops.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A couple of favorites from Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐)

Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐), xiao cai

These above are known as xiao cai on the menu of Din Tai Fung. It's a bunch of julienned stuff and a bunch of other stuff that's not actually julienned, but looks that way too. There's seaweed and beansprouts, strips of bean curd with rice vermicelli that results in a medley of textures in the mouth. The flavours were savoury, a little spicy and a bunch of sour. And it's been so addictive that we've had them almost every single visit since.

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

And then there's their truffle xiao long bao. I may not be an expert in them, but I daresay that the ones here are consistently the best in this country. A two hit combo of a noticeably robust aroma of the truffle in the soup followed by the flavour of pork. Keep in mind that I'm rating these as the best because of the truffle flavour over something else like the ones from Paradise Dynasty which had a porkier punch, but suffered very poorly from the inexcusable lack of aroma from the truffle.

These two alone could keep me coming back. Or at least until I get a shot at their truffle chicken soup which I always seem to miss.

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

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Chinese lamb skewers in Balestier

Jia Yan Restaurant, Balestier Road

I've been having a bout of craving for some lamb skewers lately since the last time in Hong Kong. Coincidentally, a buddy of mine happened to have stumbled upon one in Balestier Road a while back and we ended up there one evening.

There're no addresses on this post because I forgot to ask for a business card but the place was a Chinese restaurant that strangely has Korean characters on their signboard and also serves a selection of Korean food. Hmmm, it's a few units away from the Loy Kee Chicken Rice place.

This was pretty good. In fact, much better tasting than the one I had previously. The flavours from the spices were bold and fortunately didn't mask too much of the natural flavour of the lamb. For a dollar per skewer, it wasn't tough on the pockets too. We managed a small wok of spicy beef tendon and potatoes along with spicy bean curd strips in chilli/sesame oil and we thought that it was honestly pretty good. I'm going to head back here again another time.

Edit 19/04/2013 :
The name of the place is Jia Yan Restaurant. Address is 336 Balestier Road.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Yu sheng noodles at Wei Ji Noodle House

The idea behind having sliced raw fish and noodles is ingenious. I'm not sure if there are other people who're doing this, but this one from Wei Ji (335 Smith Street, #02-35 Chinatown Complex Market) was pretty damned good. Egg noodles and shredded lettuce for texture tossed in a light soy sauce, sesame oil and a squeeze of lime with sliced wolf herring. This was refreshing and light as a salad.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Tamoya Udon, Liang Court

Tamoya Udon, beef bukkake udon

This is apparently another one of those first of overseas outlet (177 River Valley Road, #01-32 Liang Court, tel : +65 6337 0301) of a Japanese chain; specializing in udon and coming from the Kagawa Prefecture. I used to avoid these thick chewy noodles for some reason, but have gotten to appreciate them in the recent years after some good experiences. Tamoya is yet another positive turn and I certainly liked what I had.

Which was a beef bukkake udon. One could snigger at the thought process of initiated men who has to vocalize the order. I was surprised, in a positive manner that is, by how sweet and savory the flavor of the broth. The trinity of dashi, mirin and shoyu perhaps? The udon was chewy and the slices of beef were definitively beefy. To soak up all that broth was also addons of tempura and kushiage options that one could choose along the order line. Of these, were just a focused selection that were pretty decent.

Will return for more.

Update 13/04/2013 :

Tamoya Udon, kama tama udon

This wasn't planned, but I had come back much faster than I expected. Here's a quick dinner of the kama-tama udon - basically a bowl that came with a raw egg and a shoyu broth on the side. It wasn't as rich as I had hoped, but I guess it did the job. If anyone is wondering about their tempura, I recommend the sweet potato.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ythu Wendy Authentic Vietnamese Cuisine, Food Opera @ ION Orchard

Believe it or not, this was the third or fourth time this year I've been ordering the chicken chop rice from this stall (Stall #5 Food Opera, Basement 4). It all started off with running out of ideas on what to eat in a place filled with food. So I gave them a try and subsequently, their lemongrass and orange marinated chicken that was oven grilled got me hooked. I'm not sure why even though it was a mediocre grill. Maybe it's the whole thing with the marinade, the fish sauce and chilli on the side and the appetizing mango salad with a breath of basil and mint with the crunch of toasted peanuts.

The simplicity of it all resonated with what street food really was. Albeit it was all at premium food court prices. This will not be my last visit.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Le Bistrot Du Sommelier, Armenian Street

Le Bistrot Du Sommelier, Armenian Street

I've been wanting to visit this place (53 Armenian Street, tel : +65 6333 1982) for quite a while. To be a little more accurate, it was since the time they've opened up at Prinsep Street. Never happened until now. The current location is at the space where Fi53fty Three used to be.

Le Bistrot Du Sommelier, charcuterie

We were aware that Le Bistrot du Sommelier was known for their house made charcuterie, so we ordered up a bunch to taste what they had to offer. Namely their duck rillette, pig tongue terrine, chicken liver pâté with port wine and a current off the menu special of pig sausage with pistachio baked in a brioche.

Believe me when I say that every bit of the greens helped there. The food was rich from the fat meaty flavours and salt that the sour from the gherkins help cut all the richness that was building up from every bite. Every delicious bite that is. Their brioche was altogether buttery, dry and crumbly, but I thought that had worked pretty well with their fatty pistachio and pork sausage for textures.

Le Bistrot Du Sommelier, mangalica pork chop

All that meat was further bolstered by a serving of oven roasted Mangalica pork chop served with a gratin of pig trotter and macaroni. The exterior of the pork chop was caramelised lightly which added smokiness to the moist interior along with a light hit of rosemary. The gratin had unfortunately (or maybe fortunately at this point) contained little of the meat from the pig trotters.

Le Bistrot Du Sommelier, pig trotter macaroni

This was definitely one heavy meal. Thankfully there was wine as well.

Le Bistrot Du Sommelier, profiteroles

As stuffed as we were, we managed a dessert of profiteroles. I like this. The choux pastry was crisp and light. Will come back again for other stuff.

Le Bistrot Du Sommelier, Armenian Street

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Stick 'em up intestines and other miscellaneous eats

These are deep fried pig intestines on sticks that are sold off snack shops in the streets. There's virtually nothing else but salt to flavor them chewy bites. Got them somewhere around Mongkok.

Near where we got the intestines along Mong Kok Road, there's a little corner where more food on sticks were being sold. This time, from the grill and not a deep fryer. These were labelled as Xinjiang lamb skewers. The meat did taste like lamb, albeit rather spiced up, so no questions on any dubious origins there. I've never had the real thing before, not even in Geylang so I don't know how exactly are they suppose to taste like.

Walking down Central, we spied a cart selling pak tong ko.

They looked pretty good and we bought some back to the hotel. I remember eating them pretty often as a kid, but these seems to have been elevated into an endangered treat these days back home.

In the crowded streets of Sham Shui Po not too far from the MTR exit, a cart sold quail eggs and sweet potato. The sweet potato weren't as sweet as I had expected, but they were pretty soft and very hot off the coals. Wished I had some butter to go with that.

Paid a visit to Kung Woo Bean Products again for their delicious bean snacks.

The last time round, I hadn't realised that there were additions of dried orange peel in the fried bean curd items. This was really a pleasant surprise.

Hot and comforting bowls of ethereal steamed milk with lotus seeds from Yee Shun Milk Company.

And luncheon meat sandwiches to endure the marches of the night.

So that pretty much rounds up the random eats along the way for this trip.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Yardbird, Bridges Street, Hong Kong

Yardbird, Bridges Street, Hong Kong

I categorized Yardbird (33-35 Bridges St, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, tel : +852 2547 9273) as Japanese for the food that they serve, namely yakitori and good ones at that, rather than what its background truly represents. For one, it's New York-esque chic-styled double storied compound is located in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong. The owners of the restaurant, one Chinese from Canada and the other a Morrocan Israeli have done stints in Masa and Nobu in New York. One would be at a loss to count the ticks of subliminal multicultural influences that has created the beast bird that rears its head today.

It's Japanese food. At heart. Using chickens that are delivered fresh daily from the New Territories.

If anyone has noticed, there's a beer from Catalunya with Ferran Adria's name on it. I'm not sure how much he was involved, if at all, in the crafting of the brew. It was malty, pretty light and made good easy drinking.

Yardbird, Hitachino Nest ginger ale

Tried the Hitachino Nest Ginger Ale. This stuff is real ale. Hoppy and mild in gingery taste. Not the Schweppes kind.

Yardbird, corn tempura

We ordered some corn tempura for starters. This was basically a ball of corn kernels bound by batter, fried to a crisp on the exterior. The corn kernels on the inside were still hot, sweet and juicy. Pretty tasty stuff.

Yardbird, chicken liver mousse toast

Next up was their chicken liver mousse that was served with buttered and toasted milk bread and crispy bits of fried shallots. This was excellent liver mousse. The textures were undulating for mousse, more like a crushed up terrine and had a robust livery flavour that paired well the shallots. I liked this!

Yardbird, chicken liver mousse

Yardbird, torikatsu sando

There was a torikatsu sandwich that was off the menu. Minced chicken, deep fried and not over doused with tonkatsu sauce.

Yardbird, chicken oysters
chicken oysters

Yardbird, chicken skin

Yardbird, lamb ribs
lamb ribs

Yardbird, chicken wings

Yardbird, chicken hearts

Yardbird, chicken livers

Yardbird's yakitori items were well done. The ingredients tasted fresh and they had pretty much stuck to the original style of grilled meat on sticks with only the occasional traditional dressings and little to confuse the flavours. The chicken oysters felt especially premium with the juicy ball of meat wrapped in a bit of chicken skin

Yardbird, korean fried cauliflowers
Korean Fried Cauliflowers

These were labelled KFC on the menu. I thought it was rather well done. The cauliflowers were coated in a tangy spicy yuzu sauce on the outside and must have been fried briefly for a light crunch above the moist vegetable. The sesame seeds added some dimension to the sauce that had actually packed some heat.

Yardbird, chicken tsukune
tare meat ball of egg yolk in shoyu

Yardbird, chicken and egg rice
chicken and egg rice

The chicken and egg rice seemed like something that quite a number of people were ordering. Beside the deliciously crispy deep fried chicken skins, this actually tasted quite healthy (even after the egg was mixed in) considering all other previous stuff we had ordered. I guess it must have been the lack of heavy hand on the salt and that those little green peas really shone.

Yardbird, Bridges Street, Hong Kong