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Monthly Archives: December 2013

Breaking News: Zhong Guo opens 2nd outlet!

imagePeople living around Bukit Merah can consider themselves lucky as ‘Zhong Guo‘ just opened a new outlet at Bukit Merah Food Center. The menu is the same as the one at the Chinatown Complex Food Center outlet so it’s still all about noodles and dumplings. Enjoy, enjoy!

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Cabbage and fried pork is all I need.

imageA friend and I were catching a movie tonight and wanted to check out ‘Tonkichi’ for dinner beforehand. I ordered the ‘Minced Katsu‘ as appetiser and the ‘Loin Katsu‘ as main. The little fried minced katsu pieces were pretty greasy but quite tasteful at the same time.  The batter on the loin was also more oily than I would have preferred but the pork was juicy and soft. Great stuff, just wished it wasn’t dripping of oil so much. I loved the accompanying cabbage, delicious and crunchy with a light soy based dressing.

I pretty much liked the food down here, service had some smaller hiccups but besides that was fast and kind. The place itself was less impressive, simple setup and felt busy and loud when packed but I  probably will still come back here if I allow myself to some fried stuff again.

Tonkichi とん吉
350 Orchard Road
4F Shaw House
Singapore 238868
Vietnam
Tel: +65 6835 4648
http://www.sapporolionsg.com.sg/tonkichi/

Stroll down Bak Kut Teh Lane.

imageI only had been to the shop on Balestier before but tonight looking for a quick meal I went to Rangoon Road for my pork rib dinner.

I was positively surprised to find my preferred leaner version of ribs on the menu which I knew from ‘Ng Ah Sio‘ but had never recognised at ‘Founder’s’ before, so this was what I was going to have. The meat was nice and tender with quite big chunks of pork that were easily nibbled off the bones. The soup was rich and had a good flavour, just wasn’t as peppery I would have wished for.

So this branch is actually quite nice place with some outdoor seating, a big menu of tasty dishes to chose from and is less crowded than their original shop. However I like my ‘Bak Kut Teh‘ as pepper loaded as possible so I might be walking a couple of houses down the road for my next round of pork tea.

Founder’s Bak Kut Teh Cafeteria 发起人肉骨茶餐馆
154 Rangoon Road
Singapore 218431
Tel: +84 6292 0938

“Know One, Teach One.”

imageBack in Ha Noi my brother had found another restaurant he wanted to try out, ‘KOTO’ (Know One, Teach One), a non-profit restaurant that offers vocational training and employment primarily to former street kids in Vietnam and was founded by Jimmy Pham.

Even though trying another pho was tempting but after all the disappointments over the last couple of days the ‘Duck in Five Spices‘ sounded much more appetising. The duck breast was fabulous, juicy, perfectly medium broiled and blow-torch-charred. The panfried crisp potato patty was well seasoned and a great side working together nicely with the meat, sweet and fruity chutney, glazed relish and the savoury rich gravy.

This is a great place with simple interior, super nice staff and all above delicious food. All this combined with a good cause and you have a place I would surely go back to again to also try the Vietnamese signatures from their menu.

KOTO Restaurant Hanoi
59 Van Mieu Street
Dong Da District
Ha Noi
Vietnam
Tel: +84 4 3747 0337
http://www.koto.com.au/

Never give up on your pho.

imageWe arrived at Cat Ba Island early morning after a long trip involving three buses and one boat and before heading out looking for some appropriate accommodation we wanted get something nice and filling into our bellies. Since we had just booked a couple of days climbing at Asia Outdoors at the Noble House we just stayed for breakfast at the ‘Good Bar’ downstairs.

Not giving up hope to be able to find a great one, I ordered another ‘Pho Bo‘, which again was rather tasteless. The soup had bland flavours with only a slight hint of cinnamon; noodles were plenty though and the meat was super lean, juicy and with great texture. Overall it wasn’t too bad and for breakfast the light flavours were actually quite fitting.

imageFor seconds I had the ‘Banana Chocolate Pancake‘ which was outstandingly awesome. The pancake itself was thin and buttery, topped with the perfect combination of banana and chocolate, which was of the darker kind, so it all wasn’t too sweet either. So good it made me order this nearly everyday during our stay in Cat Ba and will as well if I should ever come back here.

The Good Bar
Đường 1 Tháng 4
Cát Bà
Cát Hải, Hải Phòng,
Vietnam
Tel: +84 31 388 8363
http://thenoblehousecatba.wordpress.com/

Simplicity is key.

imageMy brother had done his research and suggested to go to ‘Bún Chả Đắc Kim’ in the Old Quarter for lunch. Like most street style food stalls it didn’t look very appealing at first but whilst we were debating if we should give it a try or venture for something else we recognised that this place had quite a turnover in customers and so we sat down on their miniature plastic stools and tables.

Wondering what should happen next and before really ordering anything the lady of the house just started dishing up. There were delicious little and perfectly spiced grilled pork paddies and fatty thin grilled pork slices in one bowl, some crunchy root vegetables in a light sweetish sauce in another. Into the latter we added a mix of red chili and freshly chopped garlic to jazz things up a bit and gulped it all down accompanied by mountains of cold rice vermicelli and fresh herbs. Also part of this set meal were some pork spring rolls which were seriously the best I have ever had, the skin was super thin and crisp without being oily at all and they were stuffed with a fantastic mix of pork mince, spices and crunchy cabbage. Simple and outrageously good.

I would come back here anytime when up in Ha Noi again, just ignoring the general hygienic threats of sampling street food and eating fast to avoid major back pains from the tiny dining furniture should do the trick. This was my favourite meal of the entire trip, I miss it already.

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Bún Chả Đắc Kim
1 Hang Manh Street
Old Quarter
Ha Noi
Vietnam
Tel: +84 (04) 3828 5022

Breakfast Pho.

imageAfter the soupy disappointment from the night before I spotted a pho station at the breakfast buffet of the ‘Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi’ we stayed at. This soup was different, even though nothing compared to ‘Pho Hoa’ in HCMC it was still miles ahead of yesterday’s bowl. The chicken soup, still light, had hints of cinnamon, giving it this distinct fragrance I love so much about pho and as it was breakfast I simply overlooked the fact that the noodles here were actually pretty soft as well. The added bunch of crunchy sprouts however ,made up for their lack in bite and even though the condiments were also limited to chili and lime here, the spice nicely kicked my butt and woke me up good.

This is a great hotel conveniently located in the business district of Ha Noi and the breakfast selection at the ‘Mangosteen’ nicely mixes Vietnamese and international cuisines. The pho was obviously not the most unique bowl I have ever had but this breakfast version made me curious to taste their à la carte bowl as well.

Mangosteen Restaurant (at Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi)
83A Ly Thuong Kiet Street
Hoan Kiem District
Ha Noi
Vietnam
Tel: +84 (04) 3822 2800
http://www.moevenpick-hotels.com/en/asia/vietnam/hanoi