Momofuku Tour – Part 1.
Special Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich (w/ Daikon)
We came to New York for a couple of days on our way through to Montreal to visit some great old friends from Singapore, who moved here about a year ago. Thankfully both of them are crazy foodies and so there were no arguments on how to spend our quality time together. Today we walked around the Lower East Side of Manhattan and passed Momofuku Ko, which gave our hosts the idea to start a little bit of a Momofuku sightseeing tour. It was getting pretty late for lunch so our first stop waited just around the corner in the form of Fuku, the popular fried chicken sandwich shop out of David Chang’s culinary empire. This place is tiny and if I remember it right, only has standing options for their customers.
The mean Margarita
We had to pay while going in and following the recommendation of my mate I purchased the special sandwich and one of their alcoholic beverages. I was kind of surprised that a fried chicken sandwich shop actually serves something, that reminded me of a pretty mean frozen margarita. Wow, that thing was strong. Anyway, I was half through my aperitif when the sandwiches showed up. The whole thing was huge, and the little soft bun was just big enough to keep everything together and your fingers sort of clean. The meat was breaded with a nicely spicy and crunchy coating and super juicy on the inside. I must admit I really liked this one, even though I would normally disagree with Mr. Chang’s view on the white parts of the meat being inferior. I actually love me some good chicken breast from time to time. White meat, dark meat, in the end it all comes down to texture for me, but this chicken thigh with its’ crispy coat did a very fine job. But what makes the special sandwich so special? A big slap of crunchy daikon shavings, which also made the otherwise fairly heaty dish a bit lighter for me. I did also get the chance to sample the famous Säam sauce, their take on a Korean chili paste with an angle. It was intriguingly addictive and I enjoyed it enough to use it on every other bite from that sandwich, I’m just not entirely sure if I actually loved it.
Anyway the concept works, fast food with great quality ingredients, nice taste with a different set of flavors and some booze to go with it. Why the hell not?
Fuku (open all week)
163 First Avenue
United States of America
Lobster rolls baby.
After skating around the city a little bit we – not completely unintentionally – found ourselves hungry in the China Square area. I had read about that branch of Platypus here which is a lunch deli during the day and transforms into a lobster roll joint at night. Apparently double concept restaurants seem to be the thing these days.
There was quite a selection of different kinds of lobster rolls on their menu but as this was my first visit here, I stuck to The Traditional, not to let other and stronger ingredients overpower the seafood. The friendly dude, who waited on us brought out some delicious looking plates just a few minutes after we had ordered and the lobster roll was simply brilliant to say the least. The brioche bun was perfectly toasted so it got a little crisp on the edges and turned out to be the ideal vessel for all that deliciousness inside. It was loaded with a generous portion of big chunks from sweet and fresh lobster meat covered with a light and slightly fruity dressing with just a hint of garlic. If to change anything, I would maybe be taking it a bit easier on the butter for the bun to keep things nice and light but that’s just my preference. To add more substance, it all came accompanied by some fresh organic greens and some crisps, sprinkled with that oddly popular truffle oil. Latter was a dash too strong for me half way through so I didn’t entirely finish it.
This roll was rad, delicious and considering the quality of the food and the location of the place also totally reasonable priced at 25 bucks altogether with the sides and even a cold bottle of Sol to go with it; now that’s a “Happy Meal” right there. Next up, The Hickory Smoked.
Platypus Lobster Shack (after 6 p.m.)
3 Pickering Street
#01-31 Nankin Row (China Square)
Tel: +65 6438 7961
“Light & Cheesy”.
Back here during lunch break I felt light and cheesy and hence ordered their ‘Croque Monsieur‘ for a change. Presentation was nice, two large slices of bread, baked over with loads of cheese and creatively finished with scribblings of balsamic reduction on top. The bread was a bit flappy and the ham could have been thinner sliced but the hearty saltiness of the cheese and the touch of sourness from the balsamic made this a great new lunch option to turn to.
3A International Business Park
Tel: +65 6686 3368
Freshness is around.
We have a new sandwich/pasta shop at Velocity and as I went to to ‘Salad Stop!’ already twice this week I wanted to give this one a try.
It was their soft opening day or something and they ran out of most of their bread choices at the time I showed up for some late dinner but thankfully there was some good looking ciabatta left so I could still start assembling my cyo (create-your-own) sandwich. The toppings of my choosing were the pulled pork, julienne cucumber, coriander, thai basil and their cilantro loaded chimichurri sauce which they let me try first before settling for it. It was served stylishly simple in a brown paper bag on a wooden board, I picked it up and I instantly started munching on. The taste was actually great, all ingredients were fresh and delicious, from the tender pork fibres, over the crunchy finely chopped cucumbers to the kick ass chimichurri. If I had to change something about this sandwich the taste definitely wouldn’t be it. I would however suggest to be a bit more generous with the ingredients as there was a lot of bread which absorbed and therefore hid some of the great flavours what didn’t do the delicious ingredients the justice they deserved. Unleash the potential.
The place itself is more casual and simple set up in a modern way, the people behind the counter were super nice and helpful, that paired with some nice sandwiches is enough to bring me back here to try more and just make sure I’ll ask for some extra sauce.
238 Thomson Road
#02-26/27 Velocity@Novena Square
Tel: +65 6358 4466
Baked to go.
I had an early morning yoga session at Tanjong Pagar and made a little detour on my way home for some takeout breakfast from ‘Tiong Bahru Bakery’.
I was starving and even though I tried to be reasonable about it, seeing all these delicious looking baked things I totally over-ordered anyway. Back home I opened my takout boxes and started with the ‘Forcaccia‘ topped with a generous layer of salty parma ham, some fruity cherry tomatoes, savory cheese all under a bed of fresh sharp red onions and bitter arugula, cutting through the other more heavier flavors. That was pretty darn delicious and actually would have been enough as the rich forcaccia bread together with the cheese layer filled me up rather well. The stuffed bread loaf, I forget the name of, was unimpressive soft and nearly tasted sweetish. All in all it wasn’t too memorable if not maybe for the hearty and chunky filling of ham, cheese onions and herbs but I definitely preferred the forcaccia over this. It also seems that recently I add something sweet to my order more often and today it was an interestingly looking ‘Chocolate Snail Pastry‘. At first it seemed quite dry on the outer twist but became more chocolatey, sticky and fudgy the further I circled my way in. The chocolate also wasn’t too sweet either which I appreciated.
I liked this place a lot besides maybe the higher price tag but proper baked goods are a rare find so I didn’t really mind paying a little extra. People are welcoming and friendly, the self service proceeds rather fast considering the crowds coming through here and it seemed also quite a nice place to sit down and spend an hour with your friends over a good breakfast or brunch. I’ll be back to try more.
Tiong Bahru Bakery
56 Eng Hoon Street
Tel: +65 6220 3430
Little french breakfast café.
On the lookout for a quick breakfast before shopping we stopped by ‘Choupinette’, the place with the radiant and colourful sign on Bukit Timah Road. I didn’t have french style breakfast for ages and couldn’t go past the ‘Croque Madame‘ which is pretty much a grilled ham and cheese sandwich topped with a sunny side up. It looked quite neat there with that perfect circled egg and the squarish thick cut double layered toast underneath and taste wise it was pretty good as well. Salty ham, saltier gruyere cheese but unfortunately greatly over-toasted which made it all super dry so that I was really glad I had made my sandwich a “madame” as the runny yolk at least added some moisture to the dish. So flavours were good, execution regrettably didn’t delivery 100% but it’s still a pretty nice place for a quiet breakfast off the Dempsey Hill crowds with very friendly service as well.
607 Bukit Timah Road
Tel: +65 6466 0613
Little breakfast find in Causeway Bay.
Arrived in Hong Kong, we stayed with our friend who just had moved to Causeway Bay. The first morning wasn’t our designated dim sum day so I looked around the internet for a coffee place close by. I found a joint called ’18 Grams’ that turned out to be just a two minute walk away, a small pretty coffee shop that at most maybe holds 15 people including the outside tables.
I had the ‘Ham & Cheese‘ which was right what I needed for a very hungry morning, great toasted and crunchy poppy seed bread with a salty mix of the lean smoked ham and wonderfully gooey cheese. They also had my favourite ‘Iced Drip Coffee‘ which they funnily served in a champagne flute and a mega refreshing ‘White Peach Soda’.
I’d come back here again anytime to try the other delicious looking breakfast items or to have one of those fancy looking coffees again. Nice one.
Unit C, G/F 15 Cannon Street
Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
Tel: +852 2893 8988