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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Wanton Mee: Local Fastfood No.1!

imageI had a lot of things to do for my trip today so I needed a quick dinner fix urgently. I was running some errands over at United Square in Novena and on my way out I passed one of the ‘Pontian Wanton Noodles House’ branches. Traditionally I have these noodles late at night and quite frequently in their 24h branch at Cuppage Plaza but it seemed like a good choice and a break from all the burgers recently.

As I was in a hurry and did takeaway I only realized at home that it didn’t come with the usual ‘Dumpling Soup‘ and worse, I forgot to ask them to use the really spicy chili, my bad. A big plus tough was that my takout box was loaded with extra pickled chilis which I found brilliant as they gave the rest of the ingredients a nice sour and spicy sidekick. The char siew was lean and good but not to intensely sweet and bbq-y. The wantons weren’t too thrilling either but their crunchiness nicely added another layer of texture to the whole thing. I wished I wouldn’t have forgotten to ask for the extra hot chili sauce but it was still good and spicy enough to start up a light sweat and the one thing I liked the most was the hardness of the noodles, nice bite.

The ‘Wanton Mee‘ was nothing too exciting or deluxe but still filled me up just nice and with it’s unremarkable looks, diverse textures and flavors it left me more satisfied than most other fastfoods would have.

Pontian Wanton Noodles House                                                                                                                      101 Thomson Road                                                                                                                                          #B1-20 United Square                                                                                                                            Singapore 307591

Choco Loco!

imageFinally some errands brought me back to Queensway and as it was so conveniently located I decided to return to ‘De Burg’ to finally try that mystical ‘Choco Lamb Burger‘ which I couldn’t get out of my head since I first saw it on the menu.

To be honest until I had my first bite I was not really sure if this was going to be totally disgusting or weirdly good. For a while I looked at the mayonaise and Nutella with slight disbelief but finally my curiosity won and I anxiously took a big mouthful. Now this was absolutely amazing. It worked so much better together than I ever would have thought. At first it felt like biting into a toasted Nutella roll from my childhood until I tasted that delicious lamb patty and it transformed into a burger. The meat was nicely charred on the outside but juicy and full of flavour on the inside, not too lamby as well. The juices and the chocolate mixing was a real eye opener. I couldn’t believe how fantastic that actually came together and that no one (at least that I know) has ever tried this before. The only ingredient that I reckoned was a bit odd was the tomato. The whole burger disappeared in no time and left me nicely filled and super content.

I was really happy I gave this burger a shot and can’t wait to introduce it to friends but thanks to the guys from ‘De Burg’ I already have another newly introduced burger lined up that wants to be “grubbed on”- ‘The Singhjector‘. Well done guys, you made my day.

De Burg Food and Drink Private Limited
119 Bukit Mera Lane
Singapore 151119
Tel: +65 6732 3235

The La-Mian-Quest continues!

imageAfter not making it down to ‘Silk Road’ at the Amara Hotel during my friend’s visit I needed to come here and try their ‘Dan Dan Mian‘ myself. A workmate joined me so we could order a little bit more dishes to taste.

As it was the focus of my mission today I started up with the ‘Sichuan Dan Dan Mian‘ which oddly arrived in a flat pasta dish but nevertheless looked very promising. There was heapz of minced pork sprinkled all over and the gravy looked thick and dark red. Taste wise I must say it was all in all good but not too special, slightly spicy and with sesame of course. The noodles tough were too soft for me and I reckon not the home made kind which became more certain as other noodles on the menu were particularly declared as “handmade”.

imageAside we ordered the ‘Cucumber in Garlic Sauce‘ which I loved. The portion was huge and the cucumbers were the tasty small kind with a lovely crunch to them. All that covered in a nice garlicy chili sauce that was refreshing in between all the warm and meaty dishes. We also ordered the ‘Minced Meat Dumplings‘ and also the spicy version. Both tasted okay but I preferred the normal ones as the Sichuan version wasn’t spicy at all and a bit coldish.

image At last we had their special ‘Shenyang Snowflake Dumplings‘ that were eight tasty meat and chive dumplings united through a thin layer of crispy dough similar to a very flat pancake. Even that the taste wasn’t really knocking me off my feet, eating dumplings like that was something new that I haven’t seen before, which I appreciated.

The food here was good but since recently I have been to places like ‘Si Chuan‘ which offer really yummy ‘Dan Dan Mian’ and I wasn’t a too big fan of the atmosphere here I might return to the Amara rather to check out one of the many other restaurants here.

http://www.silkroadrestaurants.com/

Silk Road Restaurant                                                                                                                                          165 Tanjong Pagar Road                                                                                                                                 Level 2 Amara Singapore                                                                                                                        Singapore 088539

Good Star K!

imageIt was my highschool friend’s last night in Singapore and originally we planned to go to another dan dan mian place in Tanjong Pagar but on the way there we spontaneously opted for ‘Korean BBQ‘ at ‘Super Star K’ instead. I had never been here before but it looked cozy from the outside and was   packed with guests which always is a rather good sign. We ordered the ‘King Sized Beef Ribs‘, the ‘Seasoned Beef Ribs‘, the ‘Pork Belly BBQ‘ and my beloved ‘Kimchi Pancake‘.

The ribs and especially the marinated ones had a strong beefy taste to them which you don’t get from the leaner cuts. They were a bit chunky at parts but there were plenty of buttery pieces that were pretty yummy. I was a bit concerned about the pork belly as it was cut into thicker slices like they do at ‘Red Pig‘ but at ‘Super Star’ the outcome was mouth watering. Most of the fatty stripes melted on the coals and the ones that were left melted in my mouth, it tasted great and just how I like my pork belly.

imageI also was a fan of the ‘Kimchi Pancake‘. It had many onions in there but also big leaves of kimchied cabbage which gave the pancake it’s spicy signature kick. On the menu it said that from the third refill of side dishes on they do charge you for it but we didn’t even get that far to proof it.

I overall liked the place for the ambience and the food but will still continue searching for a barbie to match my Seoul experience. Til then this goes into the “Been There, Done That” box for the optional return visit.

Super Star K Korean BBQ Restaurant                                                                                                                75 Tanjong Pagar Road                                                                                                                          Singapore 088496

Dan Dan Sunday!

imageOne of my visitors fell in love with the ‘Dan Dan Mian‘ from ‘Hong Guo‘ in Chinatown but since she had to leave on Monday night, when they are closed, and today was Sunday, when they only do dumplings, I was looking for some new alternative. On a fellow blogger’s site I found two restaurants that he or she called the best for ‘Dan Dan‘ noodles in Singapore – ‘Si Chuan Dou Hua’ in the Old Parkroyal Hotel on Beach Road and ‘Silk Road‘ at the Amara Hotel in Tanjong Pagar. Due to convenience and laziness we chose ‘Si Chuan’ simply because it was closer to home and we did right with it. The place has a tea house ambience without the fridge like coldness of many Chinese restaurants here. Our waiter was a bit reserved at first but every time she came back to our table she became visibly happier and smilier.

We ordered the ‘Dan Dan Mian‘ (6$), the ‘Xiao Long Bao‘ (XLB) here called ‘Steamed Minced Meat Dumpling in Superior Stock‘ (4.5$) and the not steamed ‘Minced Meat Dumplings in Superior Stock‘ (6$). The noodles looked delicious and were nicely presented in a pottery bowl but unfortunately were cooked a tad over my preferred al dente. Nevertheless they tasted great, not too spicy but full of sichuan pepper flavor covered with a light chili oil and just a hint of sesame. The minced meat and mushrooms enriched the dish and made it quite filling even that the portions weren’t too overwhelmingly generous and for a texture change the baby kaylan did a great job.

imageAnother great surprise were the ‘Xiao Long Bao‘ with superior stock. They come only in threes but delicious threes. For XLB they were quite big but mainly because of the huge amount of soup inside and the meat was very finely minced and tasty. Visually they were almost perfect; enough folds, transparently thin dough so the soup could shine through and on the bottom a razor blade thin slice of carrot preventing the baos to stick to the paper. Odd but something different and since it didn’t taste like anything I didn’t mind it. The stock truly tasted superior and there was plenty of it too. I later regretted not to have ordered more of those but the place, even that nearly empty, wasn’t the fasted so we refrained from any second rounds.

imageAfter all those tasty dishes the soup dumplings came across boring and bland. Presentation, quality and texture were fine but that doesn’t help if the food itself has no taste at all. On my next visit I rather have more of the XLB or try something new.

Finding new places with really great food always makes me really happy and ‘Si Chuan’ surely made my list for top ‘Dan Dan Mian’ places to go. Thanks ‘Foodie-ah’, good one.

http://www.sichuandouhua.com

Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant                                                                                                                Parkroyal Hotel                                                                                                                                                  7500 Beach Road                                                                                                                                    Singapore 199591

Homecook Style Omakase!

imageAfter returning from our short trip I had planned a treat for my visitors by booking a table at one of my favorite special occasions Japanese restaurant, ‘Nagomi’ at Cuppage Plaza. It’s difficult to tell if you’re at the right place until you stick your head through the noren at the entrance and realize you just found a little piece of Japan in the middle of Singapore. ‘Nagomi’ is very small with only four tables and a bar and had a traditional yet modern Japanese interior. Light is dimmed and urn like pottery filled with aging ‘Shochu‘ of regular customers is covering the shelves. They import their ingredients directly from Japan and change their a la carte menu very regularly depending on what’s in season and currently available. Since this is only available in Japanese we decided for the eight course ‘Omakase‘ (chef’s menu).

My friends started up with some massive oysters which they said to be fresh and tasty. I can’t eat them cause first I don’t really like them and second the consistency grosses me out. Chef Nada Satoru always asks what you don’t eat before he starts preparing the first course and so my oyster substitute today was a Japanese tomato. I know, just a tomato, but always having these red tasteless water balls you get in the supermarket, this one was pure and intense tomato taste. And yet again “Simplicity.”

The second course was a fabulous sashimi platter with ‘Uni‘ (sea urchin), ‘Hotate‘ (scallop), ‘Maguro‘ or ‘Toro‘ (tuna/tuna belly) – I didn’t ask but it was definitely a fattier piece – as well as three other fishes I forgot the names but each one of them was super fresh and had a soft texture which I prefer so much to tough bites.

imageI asked at the beginning if they had their amazing ‘Slow Braised Pork Belly‘ and was rather disappointed when I heard it was not on the menu but only until I found out what took it’s place: ‘King Crab‘. This portion was humongous and the flesh was so sweet and needed nothing more to it to make it truly amazing.

imageNext up were two whole ‘Kinki‘ fish in a light and superior broth. The fillets fell off the bones and were nice and soft. There weren’t too many bones in it but the few were tiny dangerous and difficult to separate from the fish once in your mouth. We continued with big fried ‘Deepwater Fish‘ (similar to sardines) which, except the heads, were still completely intact and covered in a nice Japanese batter   with dipping salt aside. Once I got over the thought that the first bite included the tiny innards of the fish, it tasted delicious and was  nicely juicy.

imageFollowing the fish we did get ‘Grilled Wagyu Beef‘ together with a sweet dipping sauce and wrapping lettuce drizzled with a wafu vinaigrette. It tasted great but the meat had some thin tough parts which made it difficult to bite pieces off. The seventh course was ‘Japanese Porridge‘ which tasted nicely simple but delicate and was nearly a bit too much after all the other dishes. We took a bit of a break before closing our menu with some lovely sweet ‘Japanese Strawberries’. 

Of course this is not a place for everyday dining, mainly because of the over one hundred dollars per head (not including drinks), but for special occasions or if you just want to take your time (around 2 hours++) and celebrate great quality food, this is the place. Domo Arigato Gozaimas.

Nagomi Restaurant
5 Koek Road
#02-22 Cuppage Plaza
Singapore 228796
Tel: +65 6732 4300
http://www.nagomirestaurant.com.sg/

Crispy Bebek in Seminyak!

1339224652586We discovered this place during our last visit to Bali out of pure time pressure. We used to go to ‘Bebek Bengil’ in Ubud but for our duck fix but since we were staying in the Seminyak area we didn’t want to make the long drive out there and so ended up here on our last evening on the island.

I ordered their signature special package no.3, the ‘Bebek Goreng‘. Part of the set were also ‘Nasi Putih‘ (white rice), ‘Urap Urap‘ (mixed veggies) and sambal, a real stinger. Additionally I ordered their special ‘Sambal Bledek‘. The duck here was absolutely fabulous, fried so crispy that I didn’t have any problems chewing the thin bones like crackling skin but still moist on the inside with a good and solid duck flavor to it. Veggies and rice were ok but nothing extraordinary but the sambals, oh the sambals. My body always hates me for it but I just can’t go around any sort of chili, sambal and other spicy stuff. The special sambal was supposed to be the burner but I didn’t find it spicy at all. It tasted mainly like anchovies which was interesting but didn’t work for me together with the duck so I attended to their standard sambal instead. This one consisted of red and green bird chilis, thinly chopped onions, all mashed up in oil and drizzled with lemon juice. It was great and hit the spot just right. It didn’t take long for me to breath with an open mouth and feeling sweat drops running down my head. All entirely positive signs of course.

I enjoyed my duck and the place very much. It’s a down to earth and relaxed little restaurant without  that fancy setup many Seminyak places have, yet not quite a warung.

Warung Eropa                                                                                                                                                    Jalan Petitinget No.9D                                                                                                                           Kerobokan                                                                                                                                                            Bali 80361                                                                                                                                                  Indonesia

 

That’s why they call it Butterfish!

imageAfter pre-dinner drinks at the W Hotel in Seminyak tonight we walked via the beach over to ‘Potato Head’ to get our grub on. The setting was stunning facing the sea in a half circle separated into beach club and restaurant, covered with window shutters from the in- and outside.

I ordered the ‘Pistacchio Crusted Butterfish‘ with arugula, pomelo and a truffle infused vinaigrette. I was surprised that for a place like this the prices for food were very reasonable and for the level of quality even more.

The butterfish, according to it’s name, was super moist and crazy sweet similar to crab meat. The texture was very firm and it fell into big chunks when getting at it with the fish knife. The crust added a nice crispness to the fish but I couldn’t make out that it was pistacchio no matter how hard I tried. The popping pomelo pearls and the bitterness of the arugula worked great with the dish but my favorite combination was just the fish together with the truffle vinaigrette. Simply delicious.

The friendliness of our waiter could have been more welcoming as we arrived 20 minutes before last order and felt like a bit of a bother but put that aside and considering the taste and quality of the food and the fantastic location I’ll be returning to this place when being back on the Islands of the Gods.

http://www.ptthead.com/

Potato Head Beach Club                                                                                                                                 Jalan Petitenget                                                                                                                                        Seminyak                                                                                                                                                              Bali 80361                                                                                                                                                  Indonesia

Oink Oink!

imageI followed my friends to Bali this week and yesterday we were driving around the island and ended up in Ubud for a late lunch. One of my Indonesian friends really wanted to try out a popular restaurant for ‘Suckling Pig‘, ‘Warung Babi Guling’. Their main branch next to Ubud Palace was already packed so we continued walking a bit further to the ‘Ibu Oka 3’ branch. It was kinda hidden but there was enough signage and people directing us to find it easily and I must say the atmosphere here was even nicer as it was more quiet and overlooking a bit of jungle.

We ordered the ‘Spesial‘ which is a collection of pork meat, crackling (skin), blood sausage, fried pork, potatos and rice. The pork meat was lovely tender and juicy and marinated nicely with Indonesian spices. All greasy fat was removed from the skin and it made awesome cracking sounds and tasted great. Even that I am not a huge fan of blood sausage and black pudding I really liked this one all over, consistency and the well flavored taste. I just left the casing as it didn’t look very appealing and seemed quite tough. The fried meat didn’t taste like much besides the spicy batter and was rather dry. The vegetables were simple potatoes that were slightly spicy but too soft for me but the rice again fitted nicely with its coconut flavor and and tasted delicious in combination with the meats. It all got even better when we asked for their sambal which was chopped and marinated bird chilis and brought fire into the game.

I really liked the food here and for only 30,000 IDR for the ‘Spesial‘ set I now have a new attractive and tasty option when passing through Ubud in the future.

Warung Babi Guling (Ibu Oka 3)                                                                                                                     Jalan Tegal Sari No.2                                                                                                                                       Ubud                                                                                                                                                                      Bali 80571                                                                                                                                                  Indonesia

Who Needs 18 Folds?

imageFinally Chinatown Complex Food Center reopened after a long break for renovation and since the last group of friends visiting Singapore were starving I brought them here hoping my favorite stall for ‘Xiao Long Bao‘ – ‘Hong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao’ or ‘China La Mian Steamed Buns’ was still there. And “Thank God” it was. The Chinese couple who ran it for the last couple of years seemed to have teamed up with another couple recently and today the two husband were on shift.

We ordered the ‘Xiao Long Bao‘ (XLB), the ‘Jiao Zi‘ and the ‘Spicy Sichuan Wonton‘. The XLB here maybe don’t have eighteen folds but to my opinion they are still the best hawker version available in Singapore. The dough was very thin so we could make out the soup level inside and the soup itself had a delicious and rich pork taste. Note to myself, “don’t be so greedy otherwise you will burn yourself every time again”, which I do, every time. I especially liked the meat filling as it tasted great, was smaller portioned and minced very fine which also pleased my preference for non-chunky texture. That all together with the smiling faces of the owners and a low price of five dollars for ten XLB makes me come back here again and again. The ‘Jiao Zi‘ were based on the same meat mixture but enhanced with chopped up chives which worked fantastically together. The dough was fried crisp on one side and nicely chewy on the other. The wonton had tiny pork meat pockets with a lot of noodle-like flattened chewy dough around that was soaked in a tangy chili oil. Delicious.

Even that I loved the dumplings as always I was left with a bit of emptiness as it was a Sunday on which they don’t offer their ‘Spicy Sichuan Noodle La Mian‘ but since I come by here quiet frequently I knew I won’t have to wait too long to taste them again.

Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao                                                                                                                   335 Smith Street                                                                                                                                               #02-135 Chinatown Complex Food Center                                                                                       Singapore 050335

Angry Chicken For Lunch!

imageAnother day, another lunch. Somehow this week we felt like something new and so again today we tried a place we haven’t been to before  – ‘Nando’s’, a Mozambican-Portuguese franchise restaurant at JCube mall next to Jurong East MRT.

We all decided for a variation of the ‘Angry Mango Chicken‘; Wrap, Pita and my choice, the burger with their signature ‘Extra Hot Peri Peri Sauce‘. As my two sides I had the ‘Coleslaw‘ and the ‘3 Bean Salad‘ which both were more boring than anything. The coleslaw was slouchy and missing crunch and both salads lacked a good pinch of salt which might have saved them from falling under the ‘lame’ category. The chicken was not so much a burger as a sandwich. The bread was more baguette like but very soft and as they meant good with the sauce also completely soaked. The chicken itself was quiet nicely grilled, not particularly moist but tasty nevertheless. Together with the greens and the peri peri sauce it made quiet a good combination, just the mango wasn’t really that present. The sauce tricked me at first as it appeared tangy yet not biting which changed like three quarters through the sandwich when I started sweating and had to breath with open mouth. Tasty though.

Even that this is not the place I would go the extra mile for it sure is a decent place for a lunch change once in a while. And next time I might try the pita version as that actually looked really toasty.

http://www.nandos.com.sg/

Nando’s                                                                                                                                                                     2 Jurong East Central 1                                                                                                                                    #03-07/19 JCube                                                                                                                                    Singapore 609731

It’s Udon Week Folks!

imageI seem to be having a run on udon noodles recently and so again today. One of my colleagues mentioned this place many times before and since he had the car we united the lunch crew and head for Sunset Way to eat at ‘Megumi Japanese Restaurant’. In the spirit of whole complex it’s in the place doesn’t look too exciting at first, just a small tidy restaurant with a small sushi bar.

Following my colleague’s recommendation I ordered the ‘Gyu Udon‘ (beef). This was a huge portion but well trained as I am I still finished it up in no time. The soup was your typical udon broth but infused entirely with beefy flavor. It wasn’t cleared so there were clouds of protein and meat fibre floating on the surface but that added extra aroma and so was no show stopper. The noodles were plenty but just cooked a minute too long so I missed the usual udon chewiness. The beef was super lean and tasted great and beefy just the texture was quiet soft which made me wonder if they tenderized it before. The last component was a spinach like green which fitted the bowl nicely and added another texture to the pond.

I’m pretty glad we finally made it out here, another satisfying lunch option found, and so I am looking forward to when my colleague gets the car again next time.

http://megumijapanese.com.sg/

Megumi Japanese Restaurant                                                                                                                        Block 106 Clementi Street 12                                                                                                                         #01-64                                                                                                                                                       Singapore 120106         

More Parma Please!

imageThis place is just around the corner from my work and today my colleague had her birthday and wished to have her birthday lunch over there.

The few times I came here I always ordered the ‘BLT‘ so for a change I went with their ‘Parma Ham Sandwich‘ today. The first great thing about this sandwich was the toasted Turkish bread which was crispy on the outside and soft but tasty on the inside. Second great thing was the actual parma ham with it’s intense and typical nutty flavor. I only wished they would have been a bit more generous with the parma as more than two thin slices would have been nice. I’m not too sure what cheese they used  but it’s light smokey aroma together with the bitter rocket rounded the whole sandwich up just nicely.

I thought that was a really decent sandwich and might pop by here for lunch now more often hoping they’ll stack it up with more of that tasty ham eventually but I don’t hold my breath.

http://www.vivavox.com.sg/

VivaVox Cafe                                                                                                                                                          3A International Business Park                                                                                                                       #01-10 Icon@IBP                                                                                                                                    Singapore 609935

Dig In…With Your Hands!

imageA good old friend is back in town and he wanted to go back to his favorite Indian place in Singapore ‘The Banana Leaf Apolo’ on Racecourse Road in Little India.

As an appetizer we ordered the ‘Fish Cutlets‘ which had a nice soft, completely unfishy texture with only a hint of fish taste to them that was accompanied by a nice herb & spice mix as well as whole bay leaves. All served cold with a green tangy mint gravy. My favorite, the  ‘Fish Tikka‘, is marinated in a delicious red gravy and was grilled perfectly sealing all the juices within each tikka cube. It tasted very light and fell apart easily so I didn’t really need to chew. Another meat dish we ordered was the ‘Chicken Korma‘ which was heavily rich and creamy. Not being an expert in Indian cooking, I believe that korma is usually cooked with yoghurt and cream but here the gravy also had a light coconut taste to it. It was good but I felt heavier with every bite. Lastly a vegetarian ‘Gobi‘ (cauliflower) dish with onions which was the only really spicy food we had but unfortunately there were rather few gobis and much more onions in it.

Some people might say that the Apolo is a place for tourists but it is still my go to place for Northern Indian food. The choice is huge and the dishes taste great and the only reason I don’t come here more often is that I’m scared I would soon roll my way around.

Use your hands peeps!

http://www.thebananaleafapolo.com/

The Banana Leaf Apolo                                                                                                                                        54 Race Course Road                                                                                                                             Singapore 218564