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#Noodles

Sabei, sabei.

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Pad Thai

On our never-ending quest to find good value Asian food we followed the pointer of one of my food-loving colleague-friends to Chang’s on Grünwälderstraße. They had exactly two tiny round tables out front and we were lucky enough to catch one of them.

For starters, I had their satay gha, two chicken tender skewers with a dry rub spice mix and a nutty jelat peanut dip. Slightly dry but very tasty and good starting.

Next up were pad thai and fried duck in a savoury spicy sauce with chili, thai basil and vegetables. The duck was lovely crispy but still had a thin and jiggly fat layer sitting underneath that scrumptious skin. Sauce and vegetables were delicious with a good, yet not too unique taste to them. That pad thai though, it was, I’m not sure how to say it any other way but AWESOME! This was probably the best version of pad thai I had around here and since this is one of M.’s favorite noodle dishes we had quite a few. It had the right balance of tamarind, prawns were great and there was that certain tang. Loved it.

Get Your Grub On!

Chang Thaiküche
Grünwälderstraße 21
79098 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p: +49 761 1379 684
http://chang-thaikueche.de/

Sawadee-khrup.

[1] Beef bowl with lean beef, meatball, veal tongue and liver.

[1] Beef bowl with lean beef, meatball, veal tongue and liver.

This week’s most anticipated event for me was the opening of Chada Thai’s new noodle shop at Rempartstraße. Even after a few years in Asia, I couldn’t really make out what Thai noodle soups would be like but yesterday was the day I should find out.

We were planning to go with a bigger group but one colleague and I were held up by a spontaneous hall meeting and so the two of us followed the rest with a few minutes delay. Arriving at the shop we spotted our group with no free seats anywhere close to them or anywhere period. No choice but parking our behinds on the comfy waiting benches and hope for some fast noodle slurpers.

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Seafood and beef bowl.

Not long though and we were sitting at our table, ordering food and making ourselves familiar with the multitude of condiments on the table – chilli in vinegar, chilli flakes, sugar (??) and nuts.

My colleague ordered the seafood bowl, which was a heaty tom yam broth, filled with all sorts of water goodies like mussels, prawns, squid, salmon and fishballs. One to remember for my next visit but I just had to go for the beef bowl with all available add-ons, which meant that it was stacked generously with soft pieces of lean meat, veal liver and tongue as well as a bouncy meatball, whose texture took me back to those yong tau foo stalls in Singapore. My favourite meaty ingredient was the liver but the tongue definitely won the contest for most intriguing consistency and bite. The soup itself was tasty strong with hints of that sweet and sourness, typical for beef broth, and the noodles were just right. All in all a delicious bowl, that I’m happy to have so close by.

 

 

So the food was great, that I didn’t even mind the ten bucks I had to leave at the counter here, and I hope that Freiburg will appreciate having such an authentic (oh gosh, I hate using that word) shop around with the friendliest of people serving up some truly great stuff.

Get Your Grub On!

Chada Thai Nudelsuppe
Rempartstraße 5
79098 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p:
http://www.chadathai.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/

Day trip to bellisimo Merano.

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Homemade tagliatelle w/ chanterelle

The weather forecast didn’t promise a day too exciting, so we decided to take an extra trip down south to Merano through something, that seemed like one single and endless apple plantation. I have never seen apples in such amounts ever in my life. Traffic was comparably tame and so it took us just a little over one hour to reach our destination.

Merano is an appealing little town with hidden alleyways, blemished shop fronts, beautiful old buildings and some pretty street art. Strolling through the road-web of the central old town scouting for food we stopped at one of the rather touristy spots for a sitdown lunch and people watching. While M. went for the lasagna, I had the handmade tagliatelle with chanterelle. The pasta was actually kind of a hybrid between Italian tagliatelle and western flat noodles, thick and the ideal vessel to carry as much of that glazy and buttery sauce as possible. The chanterelle were great too, even though I’d prefer the smaller ones compared to the massive mushrooms on my plate. It’s a texture thing.

Even that my dish of choice turned out to be rather nice, I just felt like I had missed my chance on some truly Italian pasta as this was more noodlelike. Makes sense? Anywho, that is me always looking at the greener grass on the other side but honestly, it was a good place. Touristy? Sure, but with great and personal service, some people watching potential and tasty food to go with it.

Get Your Grub On!

Ristorante Hasen Jos
Via Portici 204
39012 Merano BZ
Italy
p: +39 0473 232599
http://hasenjos.com

 

 

How bad can it be?

dsc02100-02-01.jpegSpending most of our first day here orbiting Lake Resia at an elevated level and visiting the local sights like the famous sunken church tower of the old town of Curon (Campanile di Curon Venosta Vecchia). About halfway, we passed the small village of San Valentino just as our bellies started growling for food. Everything seemed to be closed for the break between lunch and dinner service except one little unassuming café at the side of the main road. It didn’t look too appealing at first with its simple interior and the standup menus with semi-great photographs of their dishes.

But since we slowly were getting hangry and with limited options, we didn’t mess around any longer and just went for some pasta. I mean how bad could it be, we were in Italy after all, and actually, this was amazing. In just a little over 5 minutes, we were presented with a delicious portion of tagliatelle con ragù. It seemed such a simple dish, but in one of its best possible version, an honest plate of homemade pasta as if mama was standing in the back kitchen cooking it up herself. Thanks to Franco and his crew for a surprising and more than tasty lunch. Fantastico.

Get Your Grub On!

Café Franco
Vittorio Veneto 58
39027 Curon Venosta BZ (Südtirol / South Tyrol)
Italy

 

 

36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 23, Shoyu

 

Shoyu Ramen

Shoyu ramen

I was now almost one day in classy Düsseldorf and felt it was already time for seconds at Naniwa, where I had started my foodie safari through this town. It was a few hours past my udon lunch and there was still a bit to go before our big sushi dinner tonight so coming back here just seemed the logical thing to do. Because of the weird mid day timing, the queue, short to begin with, went super fast and before I could think about it too much I was already sitting at the bar counter browsing through that beautiful menu of theirs. I could’ve ordered without even looking at it again as I already knew what I wanted since I had left yesterday. They’ve proven themselves worthy, so now I sat here excited again, waiting for my shoyu ramen.

 

 

 

Oh gosh, it was beautiful. The broth was amazing, clear on the surface though porky and muddy on the ground with a salty, tongue-coating umami. I already had that content smile crawling up on me again. Feeling pretty proud of myself and my brilliant idea to fit in another meal today, I started lifting springy noodles and slurping them down in a machine-like manner, being twice as fast and louder than the guy in the neighbouring seat as if it was some sort of challenge. The chashu came in a few thin slices, soft and melt-in-my-mouth and even the tamago, not perfect, however, had strongly improved on the wax level compared to yesterday. Enough said, I liked this even better than their delicious Tantanmen and because of the less thicker broth I also emptied that bowl down to the last drop. This was awesome, domo arigato gozaimasu.

Get Your Grub On!

Naniwa Noodles & Soups
Oststraße 55
40211 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 161799
http://www.naniwa.de/

36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 18, Izakaya

UdonAbout halftime in food paradise and I was far from being finished yet. Today the plan was to meet my host and his colleague for some Tekka Don at Big Tuna just around the corner. We had missed the sign at the door last night though stating that the shop was gonna be closed for the holidays and so we found ourselves before closed doors and sadly also without any tuna rice bowls. His colleague, a passionate foodie himself, quickly came up with an alternative not far away from Big Tuna and this is how I ended up at Kushi-Tei of Tokyo unintentionally.

Entering the shop, a cloud of fragrant steam hit me right in the face with scents that instantly triggered memories of past trips to Japan mainly spent at random izakayas and ramen shops. The kitchen and service crew greeted us in a loud and familiar chorus and the many Japanese customers made me feel confident that this was gonna be a good choice.

Out of curiosity and for research reasons I grabbed one of their regular menus off the bar. I hadn’t even opened it yet when our waitress swiftly took it away signaling that they don’t serve food from this menu before dinner time. Being surprised but hungry I started scanning their small lunch menu with mostly little set meals and a few noodle dishes.

My choice fell on the udon with wakame, scallions and tempura crumbs. I don’t know what it is with the dashi broth that’s so particular to udon but I could soak it up by the gallon, light and defined. By the time I was finished taking my pictures the tempura had already softened but the udon still had their signature bounciness and chew, and even though I’m not huge on wakame I really liked theirs here. This dish always seems so simple and easy but it’s so much more than just a soup and hardly ever disappoints.

I truly liked it here and would have loved to experience its full smokey izakaya potential and spirit in the evening but I guess this just has to wait until next time.

Get Your Grub On!

Kushi-Tei of Tokyo
Immermannstraße 38
40210 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 360 935
http://brickny.com/kushitei-de/

 

36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 1, Tantan

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Tantanmen

I haven’t been out to Düsseldorf enough and always only heard what insane food paradise in regards to Japanese cuisine it’s supposed to be. Since being so close this week I decided to make a stopover and visit a very fun friend of mine, who just happens to live right in the midst of Little Tokyo, the area neighbouring the Düsseldorf main train station, which is home to many Asian (predominantly Japanese) shops, restaurants and people.

After dropping my stuff at the apartment and throwing in a quick cold one with my friend and his brother we headed around the corner to get some dinner at one of the ramen shops in the area. To my delight, there was a queue out front, which is always a good sign, and luckily it kept on moving quite fast too. Not long and we were sitting down and I started smiling just browsing through the menu.

We had a little selection of appetizers to go around before the mains and we were off to a good start. We had crispy and succulent tori karaage, some juicy gyoza and nutty gomaae with a thick sesame gravy. All washed down with a cool asahi from the tap and I, still smiling, was ready for my first ramen bowl since way too long.

My sin of choice was a spicy Tantanmen with extra f.o.c. tamago and veggies. Oh goodness, this mince infused broth was thick and rich like a gooey katong laksa with a mud-like sediment of the best kind. Strong sesame flavours my taste buds, instantly but gently numbed by the chilli oil and fibres. Loved the noodles, implied curly and the chewy bouncy kind I use to admire. Just the egg didn’t quite make the mark and was lacking that particular waxiness of your usual flavoured ramen tamago. Nevermind that, I’m head over heels crazy about this place and am already planning my next visit.

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Get Your Grub On!

Naniwa Noodles & Soups
Oststraße 55
40211 Düsseldorf
Germany
p: +49 211 161799
http://www.naniwa.de/

Stühlinger Lunch Specials

IMG_20170717_121440-01Hermann is a place I really came to appreciate since starting my job here in Stühlinger already a while back now. It’s located at “Radstation” a roundish construction that includes a few offices, a parking lot and rental for bicycles as well as Café Hermann with its stunning roof top terrace for the sunny days of life. Pretty much all staff here is friendly and kind and even though sometimes service may drag at a bit mostly ordering, getting the food and paying the check is swift and fast. The best thing though is their lunch menu which changes every week usually offering a mix of healthy and hearty, meaty as well as vegetarian and even vegan dishes. In this post, I cover two more recent visits but since I’m coming here regularly, over time you may get a broader view of what Hermann’s kitchen has to offer.

The top pic shows the latest dish I tried at Hermann’s, Asian inspired wok noodles with root vegetables and a tomatoey touch glazed all over. Tastewise this was really nice with a hard to define mix of flavors, herbs, and spices. If I had to pick out something less exciting about it, it may be the puddle of oil I found at the bottom of the bowl which was quite substantial and made me feel a bit guilty from a pure calory point of view.

img_20170522_123351-01.jpegAnother truly fabulous lunch meal was the ‘Mixteller, Wurstsalat mit Brägele und Bibiliskäs’, that regularly makes an appearance on their specials menu. It’s a mix plate put together from cold cuts with vinaigrette (Wurstsalat = sausage salad), some pan-fried potatoes (Brägele) and a type of local creamy cottage cheese (Bibiliskäs), that I usually don’t fancy but theirs is actually quite good. Besides the taste, the great thing about this dish is the interplay of warm and cold elements, sour vs. heartiness vs. the creaminess of the cheese. The perfect summer dish and should you be a visitor to Freiburg, a true local favorite.

Summarizing, I am very happy to have Hermann so close to my workplace and helping me keep my lunches exciting and diversified. Prices normally range between EUR7.50-8.90 which is quite reasonable for the big portions you get but there may be the odd plain salad out at a price that sometimes makes you wonder. Anywho, I’ll be back soon for more of this lunch goodness, thanks a lot guys.

Get Your Grub On!

Hermann Café
Wentzingerstraße 15
79106 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p: +49 761 6125 7024
http://www.hermannfreiburg.de/

 

 

Phontastic!

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Pho Ga (Update March ’16)

We came here tonight prior to catching a movie at the Cinemaxx on the others side of the road. My brother in law originally intended to bring us to the running sushi place next door but that joint was bursting with people and no free seats were to be seen. Not having much time before the movie started we improvised and swiftly opted for their sister restaurant that cooks up a variety of Asian inspired wok stir fries, that were my definition of Asian cuisine about 8 years ago.

In the tradition of good germanized Asian food, I set my mind on ‘Ente Kross’ (crispy duck), a friend’s fitting name for a common fried-to-the-death-duck dish (not literally of course). Other than in Asia, where people love their fatty and chewy bits, Germans, in general, are not too fond of excessive fats and wobbly textures so those duck dishes are crisper than crisp, probably a bit dry yet still kinda delicious. Almost decided, I browsed my the pho bo on the menu and got indecisive again. When I am confused at a restaurant nowadays I tend to ask the staff for their recommendation given my shortlist of dishes. The lovely waitress was pretty quick in swaying me into the direction of the big bowl of piping hot Vietnamese soup, filled with lots of goodies; there were lime wedges, loads of those flat rice noodles, greens like herbs and scallions and deliciously tender beef slices. I was only missing some chili padi but they were also just one request to the waitress away.

As far as the broth goes I was pretty impressed. As always I would have wished for some more cinnamon flavor but since I mention that every single time that I am eating pho, I’m not even sure anymore if it’s actually supposed to have such a strong flavor or if it’s just in my head. The sriracha added a ubiquitous and intensifying heat to it all but the fresh chili just gave out free right hooks for my taste buds. It almost gave me the hiccups, which in my case stands for a proper chili experience and at the same time signals that I’m very close to crossing my line of tolerance. I was slurping and sweating away and felt quite happy to see such a decent bowl of pho in a place that I wouldn’t have expected it.

Dish Update March: I recently came here again during a shopping spree in town, and this time, I ordered the pho ga with chicken. I’m not 100% sure if it was the same broth, I would maybe say it was a little less intense but the chicken was just delicious; white meat that was somewhat tenderized, lightly panfried and kicking out some proper chicken aromas. A nice changeup and still healthy enough.

The place is no thrills, functional and clean but because of the open kitchen you might take a nice little food scent home with you depending where you were seated. There are tables for couples and groups with benches, meant for quick meals and not for lounging around for hours. Service is mostly nice, especially our waitress was super attentive and later even checked if I was actaually happy with my final choice. As a result of the streamlined menu, the kitchen runs very efficiently and fast and the food we had was great and cheap. You can never go wrong with an affordable delicious pho now can you? Nice one.

Get Your Grub On!

Mai Wok (open everyday)
Bertoldstr. 53
79098 Freiburg
Germany
http://www.maiwok-freiburg.de/

From Tokyo to New York City.

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Tokyo Shoyu Ramen

It was almost the end of our New York City trip when our lovely hosts brought us out to Ivan Ramen on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. I was excited like a little child before Christmas as I missed my chance to check out his original shop in Tokyo during my last trip with the boys in 2014. The place is fairly small but pretty nicely set up with some colorful twisted wall art and nicely dimmed, yet still sufficient lighting to take halfway acceptable pictures without using a flash. Let’s do this.

I had a bit of a hard time deciding, which bowl I should get as there was everything I love on the menu – shoyu, tsukemen etc., even a couple of seasonal dishes. My gut told me to go with something traditional after that brilliant chilled contemporary beef ramen at Momofuku Noodle Bar the other day. I have a copy of Ivan’s book, so I did tend towards his signature shio ramen, which is explained in a step by step guide on the last pages and I thought that if I ever get around to try making it, this could be a reference moment. However, a friend had already ordered one so I switched midst order process to a bowl of shoyu ramen instead. Excitement grew stronger and just the looks of it gave me confidence, that this was going to be good. The chicken-based broth was dark of soy, had depth and was full of salty flavor and light dashi aroma. So good. The rye noodles, they use for this one, are very thin with a lovely bouncy texture, the eggs were still a bit runny but just seconds away from that perfect waxy state and the chashu just melted away in my mouth. That’s also why I felt a bit offended by the guy on the next table, who, without even trying, just neglected all of his beautiful pork belly away on the side. What a waste. Moving on and after trying mine and every other bowl on our table, I realized, that here’s so much more goodness to have had here and that I really need to come back to this shop some day. So wait for me tsukemen.

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L.E.S. Buns

For starters we tried their L.E.S. (Lower East Side, I assume) buns, which combine the two cultures and cuisines this shop stands for, Japanese and Jewish, Tokyo and NYC. The Japanese influence was represented by the fluffy steamed buns and the crunchy daikon slaw, while the Jewish and NYC touch came from the wonderfully juicy pastrami and the ass kicking spicy mustard. Great combination of flavors, globalization right there on my plate.

Service here was super friendly, attentive and fast and the place is like a trendy but low-key New York version of a ramen shop you want to spend some more time in, than just your 10-15 minutes slurping on your bowl of noodles. Nice concept, amazing food, more complementing than contrasting, I’m sold.

Get Your Grub On!

Ivan Ramen NYC (open ever day)
25 Clinton Street
New York
NY 10002
United States of America
p: +1 646 678 3859
http://www.ivanramen.com/

Momofuku Tour – Part 2.

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Cold Beef Ramen (Seasonal Special)

After our delicious fried-chicken-sandwich-stopover at Fuku we went just a few doors down to Momofuku Noodle Bar to have some of those tasty sounding chashu buns, our friends had been raving about while eating their crispy chicken; I love these foodies. Unfortunately, they were just about to close for their afternoon break before dinner service so we checked, when they’ll be open again and went for a little bar in the area to bridge the waiting time with some happy hour drinks. We were back at the door like 20-30minutes after they had re-opened and the place was already full and bustling with people. I must say, I came here with high hopes but very low expectations. You never really know how these hyped places turn out to be. So let’s see.

We started with a couple of beers, a few glasses of sake and some dishes to share. The spicy cucumbers were nicely done and slightly different from how I know them. Someone smashed the hell out of them and they seemed a little bit fermented, covered in that red Japanese chili pepper mix (togarashi) and some crushed almonds. Pretty nice actually. The chashu buns, the actual reason we came here for, were great. Finally, someone got that meat to bun ratio right. Two thick slices of beautifully and soft pork belly with some crunchy lightly cured cucumbers and a sticky hoisin sauce. That’s the stuff and I still regret not having tried the brisket buns too. Then came the first real surprise of the evening. I was wondering why my friend had ordered the rice cakes here and reckoned it would just take up unnecessary space in my stomach, that was reserved for that big bowl of ramen we had coming but oh my gawd, I’ll be eternally thankful to him for doing that. I don’t know how they created this texture, fry or maybe pan fry them until literally rice-crispy-crisp on the outside and teeth-sticking chewy on the inside. Then they all lay around in an absolutely insane and hard-to-define cream sauce, that was wonderfully savoury with a sweetish touch, that reminded me a bit of okonimyaki sauce. I really have to work on my palette again to become better in identifying single flavours, but for now, it was good enough for me just eating and enjoying that amazing dish. The kitchen had added even more layers of texture and flavor by sprinkling scallions, bonito flakes and tobiko over it all. The only ingredient I was indifferent about was the chicken. Anyhow, best rice cakes ever.

After this, my low expectations rose into the sky and thankfully I had the best yet coming. For the bowl, I ordered one of their seasonal summer items, a cold beef ramen dish that sounded just right for a hot day like today. The looks instantly brought back memories of Matador, with its’ perfectly rose slices of roasted beef. The meat was delicious just a bit hard to bite off from, so I ended up eating it by slice and mouthfuls. Not that I cared. The chilled or rather cold broth was light with some citrusy flavors like yuzu or ponzu. This was so refreshing that I would have actually preferred to take it outside to the street and eat it in the warm summer sun. The noodles had proper bite and bounce that reminded me of Korean Naengmyeon not only because that’s a cold dish too. Just the egg, however perfectly made, somehow felt a bit out of place to me. I loved everything about this, the unique aromas and the innovative approach of taking something traditional and transforming it into something entirely new without losing the slightest bit of awesomeness. A dish definitely in my top 3 for the year and one that makes me want to live here and see what else they come up with next.

To the Noodle Bar itself, it’s a rather simplistic and minimalist setup, with light colored wood and mainly long sharing tables, like a bar exactly. On our table getting in and out of my seat was a bit of a hassle though, climbing over other people’s bags and stuff and I also found it a bit too cold inside (having a coolish dish as well). This places is crowded and the air is bustling of chatter from a cool mixed crowd hanging around before heading out to town. Thankfully there are many more Momofuku shops and concepts for me to try out during my next trip to New York but this one’s a definite keeper. Thanks, your food made me smile today.

Get Your Grub On!

Momofuku Noodles Bar (open ever day)
171 First Avenue
New York
NY 10003
United States of America
http://momofuku.com/new-york/noodle-bar/

Klein aber fein.

imageMany people had recommended this place and tonight one of my pals organized a table for a whole bunch of our friends just to cancel on us like 20 minutes before. We took it lightly and concentrated on the menu choosing a couple of starters like the cold cut platter above with some awesome Prosciutto San Daniele with Pickled Pears that worked beautifully together. We also had some Parma Ham and my favorite Black Pork Capocollo, perfectly seasoned and salty cured meat. Contrasting this a little we also ordered some fruity and creamy Cherry Tomato & Avocado Buschetta that were pleasantly spicy.

imageMoving on to something meaty we had the Iberico Pork Belly which was quick seared to crisp perfection. Unfortunately the fatty parts were rather hard ish chunky and came across a bit too greasy so I was pretty much over it after one piece.

imageSince their pasta dishes are rather primi piatti sized we ordered one each and shared. I chose the Paccheri, Iberico Pork & Truffle. I loved how the ultimately fat flat noodles were arranged in some sort of basket shape keeping the fluffy mix of cream sauce and pulled pork inside. Great taste with the truffles not being too strong but the sauce was just so rich and stuffing that I couldn’t eat too much of it.

imageMy absolute winner was the crazy good Sea Urchin Spaghetti Carbonara. Even though very rich as well somehow it was just right and the uni, undeniably the main character, was not too overwhelming and therefore extremely enjoyable to eat. Maybe just the pasta could have hopped out the boiling water half a minute earlier but that aside, this was some truly great stuff.

To close we had a variety of cheeses and dried fruits. I’m pretty new to non-melted cheese, that isn’t on a pizza or a sandwich but I’m slowly getting used to the consistency and starting to appreciate the stronger flavors. I didn’t dare to touch the blue cheese yet but all others, which name’s I have forgotten were actually pretty good.

&Sons is a nice and hip place in a bustling neighborhood surrounded by a lot of busy restaurants and bars filled by the afterwork crowds from the business district. The waiters were actually pretty funny and the food delicious so what else do you need? I for one will come back for seconds of that fantastic Uni Carbonara soon.

@Sons (Bacaro)
20 Cross Street
#01-19 China Square Central
Singapore 048422
Tel: +65 6221 3937
http://sons.com.sg/

Get my spice on – Chapter 1

imageUsually when I’m on the People’s Park side of Chinatown I tend to get me some of that delicious intestine burning Mala Dry Pot, but this time I finally chose to try the little unconspicious Chinese stall outside the food center, which offers an interesting variety of spicy noodles.

I have no clue what this bowl was actually called but they used the thick round glass noodles and some minced pork in it. The fat noodles were super long and awesome slippery with a good chew and the the chili oil, meat and spices clinged perfectly onto them, which made every slurp crazy flavorful. The mince, coriander, peanuts and Sichuan peppers made this a brilliant and enjoyable dish that was at the same time pretty fun as well as fairly unpleasant to eat from the moment the first chili hit a sensitive spot.

I’m glad I finally tried it out and am happy they have a good handful of other similar dishes, deviating mainly by the type of noodles used and I’m sure that all of them are capable of giving me a similar kind of stomach growl as this one. Can’t wait for lip numbing round two.

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Chong Qing Xiao Chi 重庆小吃 (Chong Qing Snacks)
Concourse Area (People’s Park)
100 Upper Cross Street

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/

New branch is open for business!

imageToday I went for lunch at Orchard Central at the new branch of Nantsuttei and had my old favourite Hot Miso Ramen Extra Hot Tanmen again. It has been a very long time since I had this lovely spicy bowl of awesome but i must say they still got it and it tasted exactly the same as at their Parco Mall location. Additionally the new shop is more bright and modern, a tad bigger and by far much more convenient for me to get to. Great to have you around.

Nantsuttei
181 Orchard Road
#07-12/13 Orchard Central
Singapore 238896
Tel: +65 6337 7166
http://www.nantsu.com/sg/

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/

Unexpected calorie overload.

imageIt was already pretty late when J and I admitted defeat in baby present shopping at forum mall just about when I started to feeling a little woozy and low sugary. On the way out I passed Uma Uma and it seemed like the right place to get me some of my energy back. I had read about them before but never felt the urge to get out of my way to actually try it but since I was already here, I thought “what the heck”.

I didn’t feel like plain tonkotsu tonight so I ordered the Garlic Ramen, which was advertised as being their newest bowl on the menu. It was still tonkotsu based and the broth was pretty thick and had an overly sweetish flavour pumped with loads and loads of garlic which reminding me a little of jiro ramen. The noodles were alright, thin and with a slight bite but the toppings didn’t quite make the mark. The Chashu had a strong pork flavor and the egg, even though cooked right, was broken into pieces as if someone did just casually chuck it into the bowl from across the kitchen, unacceptable if you ask me.

The people working here were talking very little but smiling and nodding constantly and the super fast service got me in and out this place within 15 minutes. The ramen however quite tasty, wasn’t too impressive and I will never forget how disappointing a shattered egg can be.

Uma Uma Original Hakata Ramen
583 Orchard Road
#01-42/42/43
Forum The Shopping Mall
Singapore 238884
Tel: +65 6235 0855
http://umaumaramen.com/

 

Yogi sushi, second round.

imageI think it wasn’t even a week since I’d bean here but after another late yoga session i was magically drawn back into this place.

The initial idea was to just have some simple cold somen but glimpsing through the menu and chatting with the guys I  quickly came up with a much more complex plan. Ordering a round of sushi was the start – a wonderful soft Hotate Abury (seared scallop) topped with some tangy mayonnaise, delicious top grade Sake Sushi (salmon) and my first take on some ugly as looking but truly life-changing Anago (sea eel), all so big, covering the rice completely underneath.

wpid-imag6487_1.jpgMentioning that I wanted to have the Somen, one of the gentlemen recommended me a special version of the Sakane Soba instead. These were magnificently unfamiliar and being made from fish meat gave the noodles a unique flavour and crazy fish-like texture too. The chef topped it all with a thin, melt-in-my-mouth slice of Ohmi Wagyu working just fine with the soba and the strong dashi broth.

wpid-imag6493_1.jpgThey were also so nice to let me take part in the last course of their Omakase customers’ dinner and gave me a refreshing and lightly sour Ume Jelly ON THA HOUSE. Great day end that one was, thanks.

Shinzo Japanese Cuisine
17 Carpenter Street
#01-01
Singapore 059906
Tel: +65 6438 2921
http://www.shinzo.com.sg/

Pho-tastic.

imageAnother yoga session at Tanjong Pagar ended late and bored of choices I was wandering around the area expecting a dinner surprise around every corner. Starving and after too many corners without anything amazing behind, I took a shortcut through Icon Village to get back to the main road and ran past ‘Saigon Café‘ which looked like it was about to close but the host said that they would still feed me if I decided fast. Done and done.

This was probably the fastest Pho Bo I have ever had as it took literally less than five minutes from ordering to have it on my table. Steaming hot and aside the typical herbs, chili and lime which made me very optimistic about things. Once the temperature was down to a bearable level I started sipping and slurping like there was no tomorrow. The broth had my beloved cinnamon flavor and a lightly sweet and sour after taste from the beef and the lemon. The noodles were crazy fat which gave them an awesome chewy texture and made ’em perfect to fill up a hungry guy like me tonight. Towards the end they became a bit mushy though so I would recommend ignoring the advice from our mothers and just gobbling it down as fast as you can. Oh and the beef was outstanding; lean, heaps and delicious. Great stuff.

Not an eye catcher for sure but the pho here now ranks within my top two in Singapore so I’m a bit envious of all you people living at Icon, in general and for having such a place in your basement.

Saigon Café
12 Gopeng Street
#01-82/83 Icon Village
Singapore 078877
Tel: +65 6225 2340