Fish balls are still weird.
Friends came back to town for a visit after moving to the U.S. last year and to give them a proper welcome we all met at ‘San Laksa Steamboat’ down on Telok Blangah Road. I hadn’t been here before and therefore came with my old steamboat and laksa prejudices in tow.
As usual the order placing went a bit crazy and our table quickly filled up with heaps of little plates with some more and some less exciting dishes. Actually the whole thing was surprisingly delicious, the laksa broth gave it a kicker which was much more appealing then an ordinary and rather boring soup would have been and it wasn’t too heavy or creamy either and also hardly thickened up during the cooking and dipping. In terms of little dishes some of my favourites were the thin lean ‘Beef Striploin‘ (牛肉) slices, that were a big surprise and the ‘Beancurd Skin‘ (豆腐皮) which was perfectly soaking up that coconutty broth. I was also a big fan of all the greens and mushrooms we threw in and even the ‘Fish Balls‘ (鱼丸) weren’t totally horrible, the ‘Fuzhou Fish Balls‘ (福州鱼丸) in fact, the ones filled with pork mince, were actually quite tasty and nearly converted me tolerating them from now on. What honestly was super good though was the ‘Fried Fish Skin‘ which we must have re-ordered around three to four times cause everybody loved it and it disappeared as soon as the waiter let go of the plate. Crispy goodness.
San’s is a simple place in a pretty inconvenient location and with hardly any parking in front but if you want to get a nice twist on your usual steamboat experience you should make your way down here anyway. Enjoy.
San Katong Laksa 叻沙火锅海鲜馆
404 Telok Blangah Road
Tel: +65 6275 7069
Best supporting act.
After my ‘Ramen Burger‘ and just four meters across the room I ordered my second course the ‘Dipping-style La Mien with Laksa Cream‘ or much shorter ‘Laksa Tsukemen’ from the other pop-up concept shop here, ‘Rakusabā’.
We were a bit back in line and particular attention was paid to the creation of each plate so we had to wait quite sometime until we finally got ours. For me the hold off wasn’t too bad as I had the burger just before but my friend nearly starved watching us eating as it was already quite late for lunch. When the time had come it all looked pretty neat and interesting and I shot my pictures as fast as I could to finally start eating. The noodles weren’t too special, no typical and slippery laksa bee hoon anyway and so that they wouldn’t stick together they were drizzled with some oil. Unfortunately they were still a little stuck so ended up just being oily sticky noodles. Dipping them into the thick concentrated laksa cream was quite funny and unfamiliar. Flavours as one remembers laksa, coconutty and spicy with an unusual viscous consistency. It was good we were so hungry though as every slurp was extremely filling, tasty and interesting definitely but just a tad too rich for my liking. What I enjoyed most about this dish were all the condiments on the plate. There was a stick of crispy oven roasted you tiao that was quite hard to bite, some wonderfully crunchy lotus roots, two decadent pieces of soft and juicy pork belly confit, not so soft soft egg with spicy shrimp sambal and my absolute favourite, the salmon otak otak gratin (fishcake) with it’s hint of spicyness, light taste and some crunchy pickled cucumbers on top. When finished with all, we received a top up of a shrimp and pork infused broth to water down the laksa cream for the last slurps. Not bad at all and how it’s properly done tsukemen-style, but I was just too full by then to completely empty my bowl.
I really kinda liked it because of it’s originality and the many very different things I got to try. Just the waiting time a couple of minutes shorter and the sauce a couple drops more watery would have made it even more enjoyable.
The U Factory
Boiler Room, Blk 39
Stroll down Bak Kut Teh Lane.
I 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
Tel: +84 6292 0938
Under the bridge.
Finally it was ‘Bak Kut Teh‘ night since I had heard so much about the fantastic K.L. herbal pork ribs that I always neglected to try because I was a very patriotic supporter of the peppery version that’s so popular in Singapore. Anywho, my old colleague friend, who lives down here now, picked me up and we took a little ride to ‘Ah Wang Bak Kut Teh’ in a picturesque location at a roadside, under a bridge. A bit f@#&ed up but in a “don’t judge the book by its’ cover” kind of way, still comfortable, not yet repellent.
That dish they served was brilliant, even that I could’ve lived without the thin layer of beancurd skin, the broth was amazing with a dense and strong herbal pork taste. The ribs were lean, soft and satisfyingly meaty and we also ordered some enoki mushrooms aside which made a fantastic add-on to the soup that I haven’t had before. I loved this stuff and all in all it was a lovely evening at a lovely dodgy place. Off to dessert.
Ah Wang Bak Kut Teh 亞旺肉骨茶
No. 32, Batu 4 1/2
Jalan Klang Lama
53320 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +60 13 2282 288
Double crabs per flavour is only half the fun.
My lovely friend from Vietnam was paying her old home a visit and craved for some good old Singaporean seafood. As the usual choices were getting boring some of our friends suggested to go to ‘Master Crab’ down Ghim Moh Road. I came here before and remembered there was something I didn’t like about this place but couldn’t make out what it was.
We were quite a few people so we wanted to order four different crabs and we already had made our choice of flavours when the waitress reminded me what it was that I had forgotten, ‘Master Crab’ only allows you a minimum of two crabs per flavour. So instead of the four flavours we ended up with only two – ‘Black Pepper‘ and ‘Vermicelli Crab‘ – Boo! Besides that one pretty annoying detail there was not much bad to say about the food. The ‘Vermicelli Crab‘ maybe was neither too special nor very strong in it’s flavours but the ‘Pepper Crab‘ was simply outstanding. The gravy was extremely thick and stuck nicely to the crab which made it all pretty messy but finger licking good and the quality of the crabs was also top notch; packed with meat, fresh, sweet, amazing. They also know there veggies here as the ‘Sambal Kangkong‘ as well as the super long ‘Green Beans with Minced Pork‘ tasted great.
‘Master Crab’ sure is one of the good places for crab – well, at least for ‘Black Pepper‘ – but the impatient and mediocre service and especially the rule about the minimum crabs per flavour will probably make me opt for alternatives next time I want to go for crabs out of the usual.
Master Crab Seafood Restaurant 螃蟹师傅
19 Ghim Moh Road
Tel: +65 6314 1868
A surprise stinger at night.
Wow, this was a long day on the beach, in bars and clubs but eventually everybody got tired but as so often pretty hungry as well, so it was supper time. There were not too many options at this hour and since my friends from Hong Kong already had ‘Spice’ the night before and really wanted to eat ‘BBQ Stingray‘ we headed for up ‘Newton Circus’.
Arrived everybody swarmed out to collect their favorite dishes and what came back to our table was more like a Sout-East-Asian buffet rather than a little midnight snack. There was ‘Laksa‘, ‘Prata‘, ‘Murtabak‘, ‘Chicken Curry‘ and and and. It was all good and exactly what we needed but the ‘BBQ Stingray‘ from ‘The Ocean BBQ’ (stall 16) was something more memorable. I had many stingrays before but this one here was super moist and had an absolutely beautiful thick layer of sambal schmeared on top. It still had heat, the chilis and all but was extraordinarily fruity and nearly sweet which tasted like none of those I had tried before.
On top of that the uncle running the shop was a pretty nice fellar, the stinger was awesome and all that at 3 a.m. at night. Pretty good ending to an eventful day I say.
The Ocean BBQ 海洋海鲜
#01-16 Netwon Circus Food Centre
500 Clemenceau Avenue North
My Fountain of Crab
One of my good old Singapore friends had the extremely annoying idea to leave and move to Hong Kong so to give her a small send off, a group of friends including me took her out for some good old Singapore style seafood at her favorite place , the coffeeshop branch of ‘No Signboard Seafood’ in Geylang.
The main reason to come here of course were the crabs. The ‘Chili Crab‘ looked delicious and had a great punch of heat to it but as weird as it sounds was a bit too crabby on the gravy for me and I also wished for it to have been fruitier but then I am not the biggest fan of this version of crab anyway.
This was the bugger I was waiting for, their ‘Black Pepper Crab‘ my favorite crustacean by a long shot. The gravy was thick and so loaded with crushed pepper that I claimed the major share for myself and simply started eating directly from the serving plate. The crab was sweet and fresh and easily peeled out the shell. Only problem was we only ordered one.
One dish I usually get as well is the ‘Stir Fry Crocodile‘ that did get mixed ratings from my friends especially because if it’s texture some said was chewy. I disagreed as I found this to be just nice and firm with a tendency to slight bounciness. The meat itself had not a very particular taste of its own but together with the super thin fried ginger strips, the other spices and especially the chilis it became very fragrant and subliminal spicy. Something different than your standard seafood.
I always liked this place, it was where I had these famous Singaporean crabs for the first time five over years ago and I appreciate the much more relaxed atmosphere compared to the other way fancier locations within a vibrant bustling neighborhood.
No Signboard Seafood 無招牌海鮮
414 Geylang Road
Tel: +65 6842 3415