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#Dumplings

Food heaven on the upper floor.

Crawfish tail.

Crawfish tail.

After that currywurst kick-off at Bahnhof Zoo we ventured further for some window shopping, following the crowded streets all the way down to KaDeWe, which stands short for ‘Kauhaus des Westens’ (Department Store of the West). It’s quite a big store indeed with enough goods for a daylong shopping spree. We didn’t know yet what we were looking for here but it was neither perfumes nor fashion.

We took the escalators all the way up to the top with the intention of working our way through every section back down to street level. Once we arrived on the upper floor though we found an endless ‘food court’ (the fancy way) and a deli section, which should grasp our entire attention for the next two hours or so.

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Guo tie.

Being overwhelmed at first – I mean there was a whole section jam packed just with those awesome colorful fleur-du-sel-eggs – we spotted a Chinese food bar kind of place (‘Silverpagoda’) and deemed it an appropriate place to reset our intentions and just continue with our foodie adventure weekend right here, right now.

We had a serving of the xiao long bao and the guo tie, accompanied by a refreshingly chilled beer. The xiao long bao weren’t as crafty, thinly skinned and pretty but from a taste perspective, I was very happy with them, juicy and yum. The same goes for the thinner skinned guo tie that had a lovely crust at their bottom side. I have been away from Asia quite a while now so those, while not being perfect by any means, instantly hit my sweet spot (yes, that’s my tummy) and if they have had some julienne ginger soaking in their Chinese vinegar, this would’ve been even multiplied. Funny how the small things still matter.

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Xiao long bao.

We spend the following hour taking just one single round on this level full of goodness almost buying everything, ending up buying nothing, but one of the best window shopping sessions I have ever had nevertheless.

Eventually passing through a section of seafood restaurants in the higher price ranges made a craving for crustaceans crawl up on me and thankfully in the next section, just outside, were a couple of fish butcher type food stalls selling similar fair at slightly lower prices. I grabbed me a straight langoustine tail, with cocktail sauce and bubbles to close this fine experience. It was good and I felt classy.

I wouldn’t say that this was the best food I’ve ever had or that you’ve got to go out of your way to see this but if I’m in the area again in the future and feel a light hunger for nothing in particular, I might just come back all the way up here to get inspired and fed.

Get Your Grub On!

KaDeWe – Kaufhaus des Westens
Tauentzienstraße 21-24
10789 Berlin
Germany
p: +49 30 21210
https://www.kadewe.de/

 

A drunken boar.

Drunken wild boar (in whiskey marinade)

Drunken wild boar (in whiskey marinade)

I’ve been to Ketterer’s Rebstock once before for a truly amazing schnitzel feast, so when we decided to take M.’s uncle and aunt here during their visit I resisted that natural temptation of ordering the known and delicious and ventured for something new from their seasonal menu. As the interior suggests, this family consists of passionate hunters, so naturally, there was a lot of game, from deer burgers to wild boar roast. The lady of the house explained to us how the dishes are prepared and when I heard that the wild boar was marinated in scotch whiskey I was sold big time.

After the time it took us to finish our beers, my food showed up on a massive plate filled with goodies and spreading an aura of appetizing smokey fumes. Now, this was something different; the sauce was completely infused with the smokiness from the whiskey, awesome and unfamiliar, and even though it was strong, it didn’t get old during my entire conquest through my plate. The meat was cooked until smooth and tender and those buttery spätzle were just the perfect vehicle for that heavenly ‘Scottish’ cream.

I also had a little taste of the venison burger patties, which was obviously a less refined dish than my boar but somehow surprised by its simplicity and mindblowing deliciousness. I’m not kidding, I was so happy with my whiskey sauce, but I definitely would have ordered those patties if I’d knew them before.

Rebstock is just one of those places that I consider little village gems, which are not as obvious to find but there seems to be plenty of them around. I’m glad we came here for a schnitzel safe sometime back and that therefore Ketterer’s had the chance to make it on my list.

Get Your Grub On!

Ketterers Rebstock Heuweiler (closed Mondays)
Dorststraße 20
79194 Heuweiler
Germany
p: +49 7666 9379 344
http://www.rebstock-heuweiler.de/

A not so classic Classic.

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Linsen mit Spätzle und Saitenwürschtle

If there’s a new place opening only remotely close to our office it doesn’t take too long and people at work start talking about it. So it was just a matter of a few days until I heard that the former ‘Auerhahn’ at Egonstraße has become ‘Das Quartier’ and that apparently they do their food the good way. Actually, they have daily changing lunch specials with a meaty and a vegetarian alternative as well as a standing weekly option and a few smaller dishes to choose from.

My good colleague accompanied me to try the place out and on the first impression, everything seemed promising. The large bright room was inviting, classy but not pretentious and if anything it seemed a bit empty maybe. However, we were greeted warmly by the waiter (possibly the owner), sat down and ordered a Swabian classic, ‘Linsen mit Spätzle und Saitenwürschtle’ or English: lentils, with German noodle dumplings (?) and Frankfurter sausages. Traditional for me and a vegetarian version for my friend.

They put some real effort into the presentation of this otherwise down to earth and bowl-filling, rustic dish. As you can see this version was nothing ordinary, creatively assembled and simply gorgeous. When it comes to food though, good looks are great but I have an ugly and tasty dish over a pretty but boring one anytime. Thankfully this was the best of both worlds. The lentils had bite and the sausages were snappy, buttery spätzle and a (good) weird touch of alien presto did the rest to complete this culinary creation. Btw, this wasn’t the official vegetarian option of the day but the guys specially replaced the sausages with grilled spring onions for my mate.

Very nice stuff and I’m glad we have these guys in the neighbourhood to endorse our local food community and widen our lunch horizons. Definitely, see you soon.

Get Your Grub On!

Das Quartier (former Auerhahn)
Egonstraße 48
79106 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p: +49 761 2908 2797
http://www.quartier-freiburg.de/

Let’s make this a tradition, shall we?

dsc02268-01.jpegOur time in South Tyrol was coming to an end and we had packed all our things, finished some last minute shopping for local delicacies, jumped into our car and were on our way back home just as the weather took a turn for the worse.

After a few hours driving, we took yet another break at St. Anton for another quick and early lunch exactly like during our drive down South. We even went to a place right on the other side of the road from the restaurant we ate a couple of days ago and their bacon dumplings with chanterelle were nice and did a pretty good job in the fluffiness department as well. Nothing thrilling and a bit too creamy but comforting nevertheless.

dsc02272-01.jpegObviously, we had Kaiserschmarrn as well and it was good too but a lot sweeter than the last one and it reminded me more of ripped apart pancakes than those savoury sticky bricks of fluffy and caramelized goodness. Friendly service as always.

Get Your Grub On!

Restaurant Fuhrmannstube
Dorfstraße 74
6580 St. Anston am Arlberg
Austria
p: + 43 5446 2921

A gourmet short trip to Italy

Salad & antipasti buffet

We stayed at this beautiful newish hotel at Lake Resia that promised a couple relaxing and tasty days because of the attached mini spa and a daily dinner service with a 4 course meal curated by the junior boss of the house and head chef Markus Strobl.

During the few days we stayed here, we had so many dishes that I will keep this brief and short and let the pictures do most of the talking. Just that, there was a salad and antipasti buffet each day to start off the menu and even though it was mostly the same, every day they had some changing highlight items like perfectly grilled and chilled veal. My favorite picks were the marinated artichoke hearts and that slightly blanched and lightly dressed coleslaw with cumin.

 

  1. Fluffy dark Rye Bread dumplings in fond with oven vegetables and fried parsley
  2. Barley soup with ham roll and chive-gel
  3. Insane Meditteranean swordfish with pea flan, snow peas, and minestrone broth
  4. Perfect Topfenknödel with nougat center, figs, and cinnamon ice cream

 

  1. Amazing ravioli with carbonara filling, truffle aroma, and oven melanzane
  2. Essence of peppers, chorizo-egg-dumplings and carrot pearls
  3. On spot Ocean beef flank, tomato, dauphine-potatoes and oven carrots
  4. Genius peach sherbet, water melon and arunda bubbles from east of Meran

 

  1. Fresh and bio beef tartar, parmesan splinters and crostini, celery walnut salad and red onions
  2. Parsley cream soup, bacon trameszzino and gel of smoke
  3. Lardo stuffed breast of guineafowl, young leek, white bread pudding and chervil mousse
  4. Lukewarm chocolate lava tart with wild berry sherbet and strawberries

 

  1. Celery filled tortelloni, truffle foam, and broccoli
  2. Consommé double, fantastic mushroom crêpe and zucchini julienne
  3. Beef cheek, smoked mash, black carrots and parsley
  4. Farmer yoghurt mousse, ice cream, meringue and acidy passion fruit
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Regional cheeses, chutneys, and nuts

As the salad buffet at the start, the dinner closing was also the same every day, an interesting selection of regional cheeses, chutneys, and nuts.

The time we spend in this dining room was such a treat and I didn’t have a single dish I didn’t like and many that I loved. Atmosphere-wise it took us some getting used to as everybody was whispering quietly at their tables which made it all a bit library-like but after the first night we had some good wine, turned up the volume a notch and enjoyed ourselves. Thanks for a wonderful foodie stay at your hotel and keep being inventive.

Get Your Grub On!

Alpine Diner Restaurant & Bar (Hotel Eden Reschensee) – reservations mandatory
Hauptstrasse 4
39027 Reschen BZ / Resia (Südtirol / South Tyrol)
Italy
p: + 39 473 633137
http://www.eden-reschensee.com/

Quick fix Cantonese.

imageI had organized a training in Bangkok and had to stay behind at the office a little longer one night after the session had finished. When I was back at the hotel I just wanted to grab something quick before catching up with everyone for a few drinks next door. I ventured for the Kowloon restaurant in the basement, that I had recognized before, thinking some noodles and dumplings would just do fine.

As foreseen I ordered some Xiao Long Bao, the Beef Noodle Soup and the Fried Tofu not knowing that it would be quite a challenge finishing all of it by myself. The soup was first and the broth tasted pretty good and interesting due to some pinches of cinnamon, which I only knew from Vietnamese pho. The noodles though were nothing too mentionable and mushy but the beef, if I found a piece between the masses of fat and tendon, was actually nicely braised and soft.

imageTo my surprise the Xiao Long Bao were quite great. Looking unpretentiously ugly and with very little, yet tasty soup within, the best part about them was the deliciously fine and juicy mince. Some proper feel good food.

imageI was already pretty stuffed from the noodles and the big buns when finally the fried tofu arrived, not a too shabby portion by itself. The blocks of silky tofu had a light crisp coating without any apparent flavor but thankfully that gooey sauce managed to add some lightly intriguing sweetness to it all. I would have preferred this in between my slurps of soup or after a dumpling here and there but all six beancurd bricks in a row was a rather boring occasion.

Nothing I would be craving for but I was glad I finally tried it. I might even be coming back another night when wandering off too far seems troublesome. Beer time now.

Kowloon 九龍 (เกาลูน)
981 Silom Rd. (at Holiday Inn Silom)
Bang Rak, Bangkok 10500
Thailand
Tel: +66 2 238 0370
http://www.kowloon-chinese-restaurant.com/

It’s grey at the bottom of the rainbow.

imageLunchtime again and we still didn’t feel like a salad or anything else remotely light and so went back to Paradise Dynasty which I like so much nowadays. We continued sampling new Xiao Long Bao flavors from their rainbow palette and today’s choice fell on the garlic type. It didn’t look very pretty to be honest, all grey, somehow nearly metallic and also the taste wasn’t my favourite of all times. I’m generally a garlic lover and at first it even tasted interesting enough to catch my curiosity but at the second bao I was already over it. It was just too overwhelming with too many raw-ish garlic chunks in the meat mix.

imageAs I had their awesome Spicy Dumpling Noodles already a couple of times I finally brought myself to ordering the Dan Dan Mian, that caught my attention during an earlier visit. At first it seemed a little thin and soupy but when I gave it a proper mix it got nicely thick. Noodles were, as often, too soft for my preference but the other flavors worked fairly nice together, all sesame and creamy. Overall the aroma of this thing was rather light and lacked a bit of depth but probably some fresh leafs of coriander and a couple of drops of fiery chili oil could change that for the better. Well, not an eye opener this time but still on my list of very solid lunch options.

Paradise Dynasty 乐天皇朝
3 Gateway Drive
#02-13/14 Westgate
Singapore 608532
Tel: +65 6465 9271
http://www.paradisegroup.com.sg/

A pancake milestone.

imageMy cwazy friend from Hong Kong was in town and because I never believed her that she could actually show me some decent Okonomiyaki in Singapore and since during all of her prior visits we never managed to come here, she finally dragged me down to ‘Nanjya Monjya‘ by the river. The place was packed and even with our (rather short notice) reservation we only managed to get a seat outside which wasn’t too bad on a beautiful evening like today. The only unfortunate thing was, that outside, the Okonomiyaki were served on plates while inside they cook it just in front of you.

The pork one became my numero uno with its’ tasty belly slices, a nice and fluffy mix of dough and cabbage and I totally loved the extra pickles too. The kimchi version was less impressive, also nice but a bit bland and didn’t really get that kimchi punch going that I was hoping for, it was actually more like a vegetarian version of the first one. Both could have used another centimeter in thickness and diameter, but that said, they’re still the giants under the Singaporean okonomiyaki.

imageBefore the pancakes, pizzas, omelettes or whatever you want to call them, we also had a round of small dishes for starters. There was some weird dried and then grilled stingray carvings which sounded as interesting as they tasted oddly, way too fishy for me though.  Those were followed by a bunch of decent crispy chive gyoza and probably one of the best Miso Nasu (eggplant) I have ever had around here. It was spoon squeezing soft, nearly like caramelised and still wonderful savoury. Pretty wicked.

I had to hand it to her, this was a pretty awesome but next time I’ll try to get a seat inside, as even though it’s a scenic atmosphere out by the river, okonomiyaki still belong on a hot sizzling plate.

Nanjya Monjya Japanese Restaurant
390A Havelock Road
#01-03/04/05 Waterfront Plaza
Great Corpthorne Waterfront
Singapore 169664
Tel: +65 6738 7177
http://www.nanjya-monjya.com/

Reassuring good.

imageI seem to come back to ‘Ippudo’ more often these days and today I ordered my old go to choice, spicy ‘Karaka-Men‘ with extra cashu and tamago. As they use the same base the strong and rich tonkotsu broth reminded me a lot of their original ‘Shiromaru Motoaji just with a spicy peppery note coming from the miso and ground pork. The meat was not as fine as at many other places but more coarsely chopped so it left an enjoyable chunkiness in the texture pond. Still loved the crunchy cabbage and the comparably hard noodles here and even though this fantastic bowl was my long time favourite for a reason, I was reassured that the ‘Spicy Black‘ has taken the lead for me at ‘Ippudo’. For starters we had the new ‘Spicy Boiled Gyoza‘ which had a great back-of-your-throat kinda punch (I really do fancy boiled gyoza these days) as well as the also new ‘Spicy Pork Bun‘ which pretty much tasted like the original with only some very mild extra heat. It’s great to rediscover things and to realize that you love them anew.

Ippudo SG 風堂
333A Orchard Road
#04-02/03/04 Mandarin Gallery
Singapore 238897
Tel: +65 6235 2797
http://www.ippudo.com.sg/

It’s been a very lao time.

imageIt felt like a hundred years that I had been to ‘Lao Beijing’ but tonight I wanted to refresh my memory big time and went berserk on their menu. I spotted ‘Xiao Long Bao‘ (小笼汤包) so it came naturally to start with those favourite little steamers. Not being the prettiest of its’ kind, they were quite nice, had thin skin and a generous slurp of soup in ’em but neither the meat nor the broth had a too distinguished flavour.

imageDumpling time wasn’t over just yet so we had a round of awesome ‘Pork & Cabbage Jiao Zi‘ (boiled). The cool thing here was the cabbage, not very common and tasted great together with the fine meat mass. Aside another regular on my orders, some crunchy and slightly spicy, delicious garlic cucumbers.

imageOver to the noodles some ‘Beijing Style Zhang Jian Mian‘ (老北京炸酱面) came our way. The noodles were soft and and thin and the whole thing tasted nice refreshing with all those chopped scallions but wasn’t really like a bean sauce but more like a lightish bolognese, nonetheless good.

imageAlso the ‘Dan Dan Mian‘ was more an interpretation of the bowl I like so much. Nearly a clear broth with some minced meat and chives taking a swim in it. No sesame, no peanuts, no gooey creaminess made this not really extra special but still tasty enough to give it a like.

Even though the food was not sweeping me off my feet, it was still tasteful and delicious maybe with a slight setback caused by their  modifications on my old time favourites. It’s quite a busy and bustling place at peak hours in a bit of a warmer setting than the usual dim sum restaurants and surely has some decent dishes to offer. I might come back to try their high tea buffet as even though I’m not a big fan of such, ‘Xiao Long Bao‘ free flow doesn’t sound too bad to me.

Lao Beijing 老北京食堂
238 Thomson Road
#02-11/12 Velocity@Novena Square
Singapore 307683
Tel: +65 6358 4466
http://www.laobeijing.com.sg/

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!

Ballsy Xiao Long Bao in Da’an.

imageMy food fanatic friend A. recommended this place to me that he found during his last Taiwan trip and tonight a colleague helped me hunt it down just across the street from the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall in Da’an. ‘Hang Zhou’s’ is quite a rustic place with low tables and tiny chairs and still had many customers enjoying their dinner here, despite the late hour we arrived.

We started up with the signature dish, the ‘Xiao Long Bao‘ (小籠湯包). These  were gigantic huge dumplings but tasted quite nice; the dough was a bit thick though and I had better soups as well but overall pretty good and dirt cheap too and I especially liked the big help-yourself-bucket of finely chopped ginger which I loaded up on heavily. The second basket were the ‘Shrimp Shiaomai‘ (蝦仁燒賣) and these were even bigger, maybe even too big and again this fusion of soupy xiao long bao topped with a shrimp which suits me much better than the  shao mai dim sum versions I had before.

imageAs little contrast to all those enormous dumplings we ordered the ‘Marinated Beef Rolls‘ (大餅卷牛肉) which reminded me of a creative adaption of peking duck. They were delicious, slightly dry tenderloin rolled in crispy pancakes, together with some crunchy cucumbers and onions and glazed with a sweetish plum sauce. Actually it was exactly like peking duck, just with beef, ‘Peking Beef‘ so to speak?

Even though I found it quite ballsy of these guys to call the website of their shop “thebestxiaolongbao.com“, I still kinda liked the place – unpretentious, a bit dirty and service along the bare minimum but none in an overly bothering way and most importantly the food was tasty and cheap as well. Thanks for the recommendation dude.

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Hang Zhou Xiao Long Bao 杭州小籠湯包
No.17, Section 2, Hángzhōu South Road
Da’an District
Taipei 106
Taiwan
Tel: +886 2 2393 1757
http://www.thebestxiaolongbao.com

Nothing beats the original.

imageI wasn’t too excited when my colleagues planned on taking me out to ‘Din Tai Fung’ as I did have it quite often before and rather wanted to try things I couldn’t get in Singapore instead. But the table was booked and of course I didn’t want to complain being treated for dinner and so lovely colleagues brought me to SOGO to enjoy some dumplings and noodles.

I was stunned and surprised as the food here was just so much better than in the outlets in Singapore. The ‘Spicy Wonton‘ were amazing, the ‘Xiao Long Bao‘ simply perfect in taste and appearance and the ‘Shiao Mai‘ were much more like xiao long bao themselves, soupy goodness topped with a shrimp and actually the first version that I truly enjoyed. As dessert we ordered the steamed ‘Tapioca Dumplings‘ which I wasn’t really looking forward to but another surprise, they were pretty darn delicious, heavy and stuffing but delicious and not too sweet either. Thanks for a great evening and maybe I’ll suggest a refresher training for the Singapore branches once I’m back.

Din  Tai Fung 鼎泰豐
B2 Fuxing SOGO Department Store
No. 300, Sec. 3 Zhongxiao East Road
Da’an District
Taipei 10654
Taiwan
Tel: +886 2 8772 0528
http://www.dintaifung.com.tw/

Everyone deserves a second chance.

imageI was at a ‘Paradise Dynasty’ restaurant before and remembered that I wasn’t too impressed with it but my hungry colleagues simply overruled all my suggestions and was I glad they did.

The ‘Xiao Long Bao‘ had super thin skin, pumped up with soupy porkness, not too strong, very delicate actually. We also had a red colored sichuan version that kicked in nicely and was in fact quite blazing and tongue numbing.

imageMy very own personal dish was an awesome bowl of ‘Spicy Dumpling Noodles‘ which was stuffed with springy mian and delicious soft jiao zi, sprinkled with fresh cilantro and spring onions, all drenched in a super nice soya-chili-oil-mix together with some more of that bad ass sichuan pepper. Not overdone and still highly enjoyable, really a great dish.

I was glad we ended up here and in the future I will not give up on a place so fast just because of one disappointing meal. I’ll have this again.

Paradise Dynasty 乐天皇朝
3 Gateway Drive
#02-13/14 Westgate
Singapore 608532
Tel: +65 6465 9271
http://www.paradisegroup.com.sg/

High Tea at City Hall.

imageFinally it was dim sum say and our host took us to City Hall to go to ‘Maxim’s’ as I turned out a great place for high tea. The queue was massive and we had to wait for a good hour before we could get a table. The place is elegant, a huge bright room with hundreds of people sitting and eating and running around in between.

We tried heaps and heaps of baskets of which the first was the above with the steamed ‘Prawn Dumplings‘ which were stuffed ’til bursting with big prawns. I always find their texture really odd but tastewise they were fantastic.

imageThe pork filled pockets were my and everybody’s favourite, the dough was super chewy and stuck to your teeth and the meat gravy filling was delicious too.

imageAnother bbq pork filled option were the pastry buns which were good but together with the glazed pork inside the sweetish pastry was just a little bit too much. I didn’t really like the ‘Shao Mai‘ but then I never actually do cause their awkward pork-prawn-mix that weirds me out.

imageThe vegetarian option for the day were the steamed mushroom dumplings that had some lovely crunchy texture and the above waterspinach version that was fresh, juicy and simply delicious.

This was a great place to get dim sum, the nice ladies with the trolley’s full of goodies hovering around and just really really good food. Recommended.

Maxim’s Palace Chinese Restaurant 美心皇宮
3/F City Hall, 5-7 Edinburgh Place 中環愛丁堡廣場5-7號大會堂低座3樓
Central
Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
Tel: +852 2521 1303
http://www.maxims.com.hk

New menu, new presentation.

imageBack at ‘Crystal Jade’ I realised they had given their menu a mayor makeover. Sadly the delicious ‘Double Boiled Beef Soup‘ seemed to have disappeared in the process but on the positive side they are now offering their noodles as half portions and have added some interesting new items to their selection. One of which were the  ‘Multi-flavoured Xiao Long Bao‘ which besides the traditional one included a nearly overpowering strong black truffle version, a very tasty yet doubtable vegetarian dumpling and a fantastic spicy chicken bao. Especially because it was chicken I was particularly surprised that I liked its’ salty, sichuan-pepper-spicy flavours so much. However the original is still my first choice.

Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao
391 Orchard Road
#04-27 Takashimaya S.C.
Singapore 238872
Tel: +65 6238 1661 27
http://www.crystaljade.com/

Restaurant Week 2013: Buyan буян

imageThe second reservation during Restaurant Week was at Buyan, the Russian place up at Duxton Hill.

The set menu started up with the ‘Borscht‘ which was great, the root taste wasn’t too strong or sour and it was loaded with brisket beef fibre. It was my first time to try this and I actually really really liked it. Because we don’t come here very often we added another two à la carte starters for sharing. First the ‘Khachapuri‘ that I found out about on another blog recently and which was my favourite dish of the evening, thin and  seemingly light dough with amazing salty cheesiness inside. I could’ve eaten that for the rest of the evening, no problem.

imageSecond add on were the ‘Pelmeni‘, smallish cooked Russian dumplings, that even though filled with a close to hardish meat mince, tasted great and the chilled sour cream and the beetroot dipping sauce made for some awesome condiments. Perfect skin too. For main I chose the ‘Lamb Shashlyk‘ which was a bit of a let down. The meat was quite tough and far too well done and the barley, onions and peppers were oily and soft.

imageThankfully they ended the set dinner greatly with their ‘Blinis‘ which reminded me strongly of an old fashioned apple strudel which, because of the paper thin crepes came across a tad lighter, with lovely baked apple and cinnamon flavours. Nice finish.

I’ll never get this iPads for menus thing as I usually prefer not to touch surfaces which others visibly handled with their butter fingers before but I generally liked the place. All food except the disappointing main was great but for just S$30++ for a three course dinner (excluding our extra starters) I don’t want to complain too much as this was anyway a great deal. Nice dark wood interior and great service on top might bring me back here for more cheese cake.

Buyan буян
9/10 Duxton Hill
Singapore 089593
Tel: +65 6223 7008
http://buyan.sg/

Hey Dude, where’s my Dumpling Nazi?

imageI read and heard so much about ‘Jing Hua’ a.k.a. ‘The Dumpling Nazi’ and so a friend and I paid the place with the apparently so grumpy guy a visit. To my surprise the shop seemed to be freshly renovated and really didn’t have anything from an old traditional eating house anymore.  My biggest disappointment though was the missing impolite uncle scolding us or something, which I was so looking forward to.

The disappointment continued with the food. I’m a huge fool for ‘Xiao Long Bao‘ (小笼汤包) but I simply couldn’t eat those, thick doughy skin with overly greasy and lardy soup inside. We actually left most of it back in the basket and rather ate the crispy ‘Guo Tie‘ (锅贴) and boiled ‘Jiao Zi‘ (饺子) which were actually quite tasty, pimped with a generous portion of scallions.

imageWe knew we over-ordered heavily but since it was something unusual we also got what they called ‘Chinese Pizza‘ (三鲜盒子), which was pretty much a crispy curry puff-like pastry filled with your usual dumpling mix – pork meat and scallions. This tasted quite great and was really something else.

imageMy favourite however was the ‘Zha Jiang Mian’ (ひき肉みそのせ麺 ) which besides the fact that it could’ve used another scoop of the thick soy bean sauce came pretty close to awesome. Meaty, sweetish, great textures and brilliant unusually thick noodles, that even that I was already stuffed, I wished my bowl would’ve been was bigger.

If it wasn’t for the noodles, I wouldn’t bother coming back here to this formerly traditional place that obviously got transformed into a faceless eatery with oversized pictures of their signature dishes hanging on the walls like otherwise only a big fast food franchise would put up. But I’m hooked now and just have to learn how to ignore that people here are so polite.

Jing Hua Restaurant at Qun Zhong Eating House 京华小吃
21 Neil Road
Singapore 088814
Tel: +65 6221 3060
http://www.jinghua.sg/

Taiwanese lunch at Jem.

imageWe didn’t feel like our usual lunch options today and then one colleague suggested ‘Din Tai Fung’, another colleague really liked the idea and I haven’t been there for over a year plus so it became our choice for the day. They were a bit understaffed so it took us some time to get seated even that half the restaurant was empty.

Finally in we started of with the ‘Xiao Long Bao‘ which they are obviously famous for. Their skin was nicely thin but strong enough not to break when picking them out of the basket but the broth and meat seemed a bit watery and bland in taste. I’d still prefer the steamed buns from ‘Crystal Jade‘, ‘Hong Guo‘ or ‘Si Chuan Dou Hua‘.

imageI had upset my stomach with something so I skipped the new ‘Spicy Noodles‘ on the menu and went with the ‘Braised Brisket Beef Noodles‘ instead. It was actually quite nice, the broth was rich and beefy and deep dark in color and tasted a bit like goulash with a hint of tomato. When I slurped the last sips from the bowl I particularly enjoyed the roasted garlic and ginger bits that were like refreshing but more hearty pop rocks. The beef was alright and tender but unfortunately pretty fatty too but the letdown were actually the noodles that tasted okay but were downright overcooked.

It’s a chain restaurant so it doesn’t really impress with its’ excess of flair and atmosphere and unfortunately this time I was also rather disappointed with the food. In Germany I would be endlessly happy to have a place like this but here the standards are just on another level.

Din Tai Fung 鼎泰豐
50 Jurong Gateway Road
#02-07 Jem
Singapore 608549
Tel: +65 6694 1161
http://www.dintaifung.com.sg/

Beef Noodles? Yes. The Real Deal? Uhm…

imageWe were actually planning on a sandwich lunch but one of my colleagues wasn’t feeling to brilliant and thought a hot noodle soup would do the trick and so we ended up going to ‘Liu San’, a Taiwanese restaurant at Bukit Timah Plaza I wanted to check out for some time now.

We ordered some ‘Boiled and Panfried Dumplings‘ for starters which were both okay but not too special also with a much higher cabbage ratio compared to the meat. The panfried version reminded me of gyoza and nicely had a very thin skin. The main reason we came here though were the ‘Taiwanese Beef Noodles‘, a dish I’m nearly as particular about as ramen. This was actually quite surprising, the broth was deep dark and had the typical beefy sweet & sourness with a hint of heat as advertised as the spicy version. My colleague mentioned there was too much soya sauce in it but I thought that it wasn’t too bad for a non-Taiwanese version, but then it has been some time since I had the real deal. I particularly liked the carrots that were not overcooked and fitted nicely in with the other ingredients. The noodles seemed to be the supermarket kind, a bit too floury in taste and texture that left the usual chewiness missing. Last but not least the meat was thinly sliced with a lot of fat which at least was tender enough. I knew I probably wouldn’t get the nice big beef chunks like in Taipei but would have loved them to be just a little bit thicker.

Overall this was an ok choice for lunch, the broth was pretty good actually but beef and noodles could use some pimping. I would say not a bad bowl of noodles even though far from the stuff you get in Taiwan but I guess that’s a useless comment as that is pretty much always the case. Probably coming back but mainly to try their ‘Rice With Simmered Pork‘ or the ‘Minced Pork Noodle‘.

Liu San 劉三閣
1 Jalan Anak Bukit
#01-09 Bukit Timah
Singapore 588996
Tel: +65 6463 1833