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New lunch opportunities.

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It all started with a quick talk between doors when my colleague suggested to go and check out Bengal for lunch someday, and then only a few days later I found myself sitting on their little backyard terrace with a whole bunch of my coworkers ordering from their lunch menu specials.

I went for the Rost Polaw, which is a chicken dish, simmered in a light tomato yogurt gravy with potatoes and raisins. This was actually really good, the chicken was tender, the gravy slightly sweet and that chili mango sauce aside…let’s just say, we finished that bad boy til the last drop. Oh, and there was a side salad with mango dressing too.

So yeah, I really liked it here, and it was a welcome change up from our usual lunch stops. Sitting on the terrace was so nice, the service was funny and accommodating and there are so many more dishes to explore here that I’m sure it won’t be long til I’ll be back at Bengal again. Thanks so much.

Get Your Grub On!

Bengal
Eisanbahnstraße 43
79098 Freiburg im Breisgau
Germany
p: +49 761 1371828
http://bengal-freiburg.de/

❤ tacos.

The Holy Taco Shack - Food Truck
I collected a huge repertoire of food memories and pictures since I have been back to Europe, mainly because I have been traveling a fair bit to the Netherlands/Holland, Switzerland, France, Spain and Italy, which of the two latter were very focused on the local food experience. That aside I think it’s only appropriate to choose a place in Germany for my first review since almost a year, not German cuisine however representative for what’s going on here at the moment. The Holy Taco Shack is part of the reinvention of the culinary scene in Germany right now. Many people put a totally different value on the food they sell and eat today with a lot of love for detail and appreciation for culinary skill. Some results out of this are the growing numbers of food trucks as well as street food festivals and markets that seem to have started in Berlin but already have spread into all corners of Germany. This particular truck, or actually more a food trailer, is run by a German-American couple that left their former jobs behind and started their own business filling the big gap of proper Mexican food in Germany and thankfully decided to do so in beautiful Freiburg.

The Holy Taco Shack - Classic Tacos Mango SalsaAfter many missed opportunities to try their food before, I finally managed to be in Freiburg at the right time for their weekly appearance at the Rieselfeld Market on Saturday. We went fairly early, as apparently their food sometimes sells out rather quickly and I wanted to have free choice. So here I was, ordering my first round of Classic Tacos – a set of three – with all the meats from the menu, chicken chipotle, beef brisket and my secret passion, the carnitas, medium spicy with some extra mango salsa on the side. They use their homemade corn tortillas, made from maíz azul (a black purple-ish type of corn) that have a bit more to them than the regular corn tortillas. It might be just the colour but I thought they were pretty great. Now on to the inner values and I must say that all of the meats were exceptionally delicious. The beef was super nice and tender like it was slow cooked for ages (which it probably was) and the chicken, which I expected to be either a bit on the dry side or drowning in sauce, I liked even more, just so juicy and fantastic. My other expectation though proved to be right; the carnitas are still my absolute favourite. They were wonderful moist with a good char on the edges that had touched the hot plate, an insanely good combination of meat and fats. The homemade medium salsa was just right, not too spicy but still gave me a kick on my tongue and the mango version for an extra €1 was the perfect companion and totally worth it. Fruity, slightly sour and refreshing in between the flavour party going on around here.

The Holy Taco Shack - Spicy Classic TacosSince I wasn’t sure when I’d be having another chance to eat here again I went for a second round of the same, just this time with the spicy salsa and the extra jalapeños. This salsa is fun and squeezed cold sweat right out of my head so that I wished I would have ordered this mango pineapple salsa again to cool things down a little bit. All in all amazing food.

It was busy that day, the queue got longer and they still stayed cool and friendly even that many people were asking a lot of questions about the food and the TV show they have just been part of. I hope I’ll be able to come here many more times, it’s good to have you guys around, keep it up and all the best.

The Holy Taco Shack
Maria-von Rudloff-Platz 1
79111 Freiburg
Germany
Tel: +49 176 329 70 414
http://theholytacoshack.com/

P.S.: This is their usual Wednesday and Saturday location but follow their Twitter or Facebook for the latest updates and additional spots.

What’s up with all the ‘Expresses’?

imageWalking around the foot outlet cramped basement arcade connecting Mid Valley and the Gardens Mall seeking for some dinner inspiration gave us a severe case of sensory overload. We were tired and couldn’t really make up our mind and since my friend just wanted something light and healthy we ended up at ‘Zun Express’ a Chinese herbal soup place. The ‘Ginseng Herbal Chicken Soup‘ I had was actually pretty good, I mean it was just boring chicken soup but seemed to be perfect when you’re down with the flu or something; strengthening I guess and the little chicken meat that was in there was tender and tasted ok. All in all this wasn’t a very filling experience and I skipped the rest of the non soupy dishes on the menu because despite them all being called healthy, 99% also had the word “fried” in their description. Let’s just say I was happy there was a ‘Hui Lau Shan‘ just around the corner to fill up the leftover space with awesome moussy mango.

The Zun Express 尊厨
Lingkaran Syed Putra
The Gardens Mall
Lot LG-231, Lower Ground Floor
59200 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia

Subway Tacos.

imageIt was getting pretty late for lunch and I needed a good idea for something somewhere around the Orchard area that would appear satisfying enough. I remembered a colleague telling me that he often gets the ‘Burritos‘ at ‘Baja Fresh’ and since they also have tacos I started my Saturday activities by heading their way.

I instantly was a bit skeptical because of the ‘Subway‘ look-alike setup of the shop but now that I had already come all the way out here in the burning sun I thought “what the heck” and ordered three different flavors, ‘Grilled Mahi Mahi‘, ‘Char Siew‘ (Pork) and ‘Chicken‘. I received a complimentary portion of nacho chips and while they were preparing my food I made my way for the condiments taking samples from the different salsas and loading up on chopped cilantro. Only a few minutes later I had all my tacos sitting in front of me. Because I love fish tacos I started with the mahi-mahi which sadly didn’t taste nice at all. It was unpleasantly fishy which overpowered all other flavors. The chicken tasted like nothing really but at least the pork taco gave me some sort of satisfaction. The meat had been slow cooked tenderly and was pretty juicy so that this was the only one I actually had to use the second tortilla – that came with all tacos – to avoid it all ripping apart. This one was really good even though the tortillas were generally too dry and starchy which I counter fought by adding heaps of the ‘Baja Salsa‘ that had a mild heat and a char tang of grilled peppers.

Well, unfortunately this was rather disappointing and as ‘Lucha Loco‘ as well as ‘MexOut‘ have some tastier tacos to offer and one of them even cheaper, ‘Baja Fresh’ probably won’t see me again too fast.

Baja Fresh
9 Bras Basah Road
#01-03 Rendezvous Gallery
Singapore 189559
Tel: +65 8157 4136
http://www.bajafresh.com/singapore/

AfterworkOUT Bún Bò.

imageI had been thinking of Vietnamese food for around a week now and so ended up at ‘Viet Inn’ at Boat Quay after a yoga class just around the corner.

It was a hot yoga class so I didn’t really feel like a steaming bowl of ‘Phở‘ today and therefore ordered the semi-cold ‘Bún Bò Xào‘ (dry rice vermicelli with braised beef) instead. I was starving and thankfully this was not a small portion at all, loads of cold vermicelli topped with more loads of panfried vegetables and beef. The fried veggies and the beef tasted pretty good, they were a tad too oily but mixed up with the rice noodles it was just fine. The Thai basil and fried garlic, the  crunchy peanuts and the raw carrots and radish added some extra textures and freshness  to the whole thing which disappeared in no time.

It’s a normal looking place with no special atmosphere or flair, the service is sufficient and the food was simple but good. Probably not something I would jump in a taxi for but passing by I might be giving that ‘Phở Bò‘ a try sometime.

Viet Inn
49A Circular Road
Singapore 049404
Tel: +65 6536 1847

My Kopitiam Attempt.

imageMy friend from Jakarta who stayed with me wanted to eat some porridge and I wasn’t feeling too well so we decided to go for something quick and dirty round the corner and ended up at one of my least favorite places, the Kopitiam in Velocity. At least it looked more appealing since they had renovated the whole food court last year.

Looking for something that would be soothing my stomach I spotted a promising ‘Chicken Noodle Soup‘ at the ‘Korean Cuisine’ stall. There was nothing really special about this but it fitted the purpose. The soup was close to tasteless but therefore the natural flavors of the ingredients came out. There was a generous portion of rightly cooked rice noodles, leaves of cabbage, quite nice meat of chicken breast and a very funny squarish shaped hard poached egg. These were all very basic flavors without too much spices being used but it gave me back some of the power that I needed.

I’m not a big fan of Kopitiam and probably never will be but this was quite okay and I might return for a light and cheap after-workout-meal sometime.

Korean Cuisine
#03-47/56 Kopitiam
Velocity @Novena Square
238 Thomson Road
Singapore 307683

Mr. Wee is back!

imageIt’s been now a couple of weeks since my beloved ‘Wee Nam Kee’ has moved from the recently torn down Novena Ville down to United Square about a kilometer south. I had a good workout today and needed some proper protein and carbs to fill up so I headed into exact this direction.

Obviously I ordered their ‘Chicken Rice‘ from roasted chicken and simply replaced the oily yet delicious signature rice with the steamed version not to chuck all my morning efforts out the window. First up came their chicken soup which had a strong taste and was a great kick start that made me even hungrier. When the main arrived the meat was super tender and juicy and as so unusual for chicken breast actually tasted like chicken. Delicious. The kicker of this was the chopped coriander on top and the wonderful chicken stock underneath which was even richer in taste and had a light soy touch so that I munched up all the cucumber slices that soaked in it. For my rice I used a lot of their signature chili and grated ginger which made it all a flavor party and with every spoon I played around and changed the ratio of the ingredients.

I still love this place, familiar faces, great down to earth food and even that it lost a bit of it’s coffee shop charm, the longneck bottles of beer and the outdoor seating, it still managed to retain some of the old atmosphere and definitely it’s popularity. This is one of my favorites and not only because I can walk here. I have been here a million times before and there’s a high chance I’ll be back already next week.

Wee Nam Kee Hainanese Chicken Rice Restaurant 威难记鸡饭
101 Thomson Road
#01-08 United Square
Singapore 307591
Tel: +65 6255 6396
http://www.wnk.com.sg/

Meat Heaven is Close

imageThe evening of the actual farewell party had arrived and to kick off the night we had a guys dinner before meeting up with the girls for some drinking games in Wan Chai. My mate chose the ‘Blue Butcher’ which was just a 2 minute walk away from the apartment that I had rented for the weekend.

For starters we had besides others the ‘Truffle Fries‘ that were actually made with real truffles rather than truffle oil and tasted great and crisp.

imageAnother one was the ‘Bone Marrow‘ that came together with delicious crusty toasted bread, some arugula with caper berries and sea salt. Putting all ingredients together this became a delicious combination of flavors.

imageThen we had the ‘Compressed Organic Tomato with Burrata‘ which consisted of green and red tomatos that were skinned and glazed with a light tasteless oil as well as a knot of burrata cheese. The cheese was light with only a very little creamy center which I liked but real burrata fanatics might feel let down by. The tomatoes on the other side were refreshingly cool and had a clean tomato-y taste with a nice texture. This was pretty okay but still kinda just tomatoes.

As mains we ordered the ‘Australian Wagyu Bone in Ribeye‘ 32 ounces rare and the ‘Free Range Charred French Chicken‘. The steak was absolutely amazing in quality and taste. It had a strong char on the outside so the fat had melted and the inside was wonderful red and moist with a lovely marbling and a good fatty flavor mixing with the beef aroma. Brilliant. The chicken came accompanied by some crunchy caramelized carrots and was wonderful moist and glazed with slightly sweetish sauce. Tasty stuff.

The ‘Blue Butcher’ is a stylish and modern place that sure comes with a price tag but therefore you’ll get a great ambience and some amazing food. Nothing for every day dining but definitely a place for a special night. Pretty good.

The Blue Butcher
108 Hollywood Road
Central
Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
Tel: +852 2613 9286
http://www.bluebutcher.com/

These Wings are Swiss

imageOne of my good buddies never stopped raving about this place in Causeway Bay that’s famous for it’s ‘Roasted Pigeon‘ and ‘Swiss Chicken Wings‘ (瑞士鸡翼). Since I just came back from breakfast in TST and it was a more convenient location I met my friends at their branch in Central instead.

The meat of the signature ‘TPK Roasted Young Pigeon‘ was dark and tasted similar to goose but was quite tough and not as easy to nibble off the bones. The skin was lovely crispy and glazed with a sweetish soya sauce that was cooked and concentrated together with the pigeon’s innards for deeper taste. This was my first ever pigeon and I actually really liked it just a little smallish maybe.

image The ‘TPK Swiss Sauce Chicken Wings‘ apparently have their name from a misunderstanding between a Western customer and a Chinese waiter mixing up “sweet” and “swiss”. The special soya sauce  with sugar and rice wine indeed was sweet but tasted great and the chicken was juicy and tender. I would have preferred the wings to be more grilled cause the skin wasn’t crispy or anything and rather wobbly and fatty. Nevertheless the special swiss sauce was a nice twist to the usual chicken wings you get.

I liked this restaurant, super friendly and attentive waiters, tea house setting in the middle of Hong Kong with dishes that are not your everyday fair so when having some time during future visits I might pop by for some more miniature goose.

Tai Ping Koon Restaurant 太平館餐廳
60 Stanley Street
Central
Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
Tel: +852 2899 2780
http://www.taipingkoon.com/

Seven Hours, Fourteen Dishes.

imageThis was on nearly every Singaporean based foodblog the last couple of weeks and since a friend asked me to go and I had never been on one of those events we went early Saturday to start with an early lunch.

Where to eat first was already decided before we even arrived  – the ‘Porchetta Sandwich‘ from the ‘The People’s Pig’ (USA). This was one good start of the day. Eventhough they only gave out half sandwiches, those were delicious. The suckling pig like roast meat was juicy and pleasantly fatty with a sweet and spicy chili jam on top that gave the whole thing a bit more punch. The bitter flavor of the arugula balanced out the fattiness and spice and to top it off they added a nice piece of crackling which I would have loved to be bigger. The Inside of the ciabatta bun was dipped in the pork jus which gave the sandwich an even meatier taste. So we were off to a good start.

imageWith the pork sandwich half way down we strolled a few stalls further for the ‘Tacos‘ from ‘Tacombi’ (USA). First disappointment was they didn’t offer the ‘Beef Tacos‘ anymore as they apparently didn’t turn out right in this climate. Second disappointment was that the ‘Fish Tacos‘ weren’t really that good. The battered and fried fish was super dry and so was the tortilla they used. Even though the chipotle sauce was quite tasty and the red cabbage was nice and crunchy I felt unsatisfied.

imageNow it was time for some Asian food and so we head for one of the longest queues all the way at the end ‘Phan Rang’ (Vietnam) with their ‘Banh Xeo & Banh Khot‘ combo. ‘Banh Xeo‘ I already had before in Vietnam and these ones were really tasty filled with crunchy sprouts and vegetables and fried crispy on the outside. The ‘Banh Khot‘ were like little egg tarts with prawns and I wished they would’ve been a bit longer on the heat as some of them were quite raw inside tasting like undercooked omelette but overall still not bad but I didn’t envy the chef, assembly-line-frying both dishes without a break.

imageSwitching back to western cuisine we opted for the ‘Soft Shell Crab Burger‘ from ‘Euro Trash Food Cart’ (USA) and yet another dissapointment – they ran out of their beef paddies so we had to go for the plain crab option. This slowly started to seem like a pretty “incomplete” event. Luckily even without the beef paddy this was a pretty awesome burger once I did get over the fact that I ate a whole crab with everything in and outside, I’m weird like that. The crab was crispy and still moist inside and the thousand island like dressing gave it a nice fresh touch. Just the bun was more the sweeter kind which I found slightly odd.

imageFurther on the western trail we arrived at the ‘Swamp Shack’ which sold ‘Shrimps & Grits‘ and their so called ‘Smothered Chicken‘. The shrimps were mega crunchy with a very dry batter which held up pretty well against the gravy and the grits which was like a corn polenta, nice and fluffy yet very filling. The chicken dish had the same gravy with mashed potatoes but I had a hard time finding some meat in there. Good comfort food with the grits as my favorite component.

imageNext up was ‘Soto Tangkar‘ by ‘Pak Haji Diding’ (Indonesia). The soup was quite rich and a tad spicy but the beef didn’t really cut it as it was too chunky and tough for my preference.

imageNow this was one of my highlights of the day, the ‘Seafood Tostada‘ from ‘La Guerrerense’ (Mexico). On their sign they offered two different kinds but our crispy corn tostadas came with everything on it they had in stock. The seafood topping was a cevice of fish, crab, shrimp, tender octopus and delicious sweet scallops that must have just hopped out of the sea. This was then finished off with a big cajun style marinated shrimp big chunks of avocado and a spicy shrimp lemon juice with peanuts. So delicious complex simplicity.

imageUntil now we had stayed away from the Indian stalls as many of them seemed to sell quite filling stuff but this one looked pretty interesting and so we tried the ‘Litti Chokha‘, little charcoal baked buns with a mix of tomatos, potatos and eggplants as well as some mint sauce to go with it. The buns were harder on the outside and crumbling on the inside and soaked up the condiments pretty good. I really liked the vegetarian chokha as it was nicely light and suited the buns well.

imageAs they had both, beef as well as pork jerky we ordered the ‘Hainan Fen‘ from ‘Hai Ya’ next. Apparently a very common dish from the Hainan province in China but I had never heard about it here. Thick eggs noodles were topped with a multitude of ingredients – beef and pork jerky, cilantro, chives, peanuts, sprouts, little shrimp, squid and a soya based gravy. I realy liked it, especially the jerkies and peanuts and even the tiny shrimp weren’t as fishy as I thought. One thing I would have loved to have missed though was the squid which was also some kind of jerky, pretty strong in taste and hard to pick out as it camouflaged itself as noodles.

imageEnough of the filling dishes we went back to India and tried the ‘Chicken 65‘ from ‘Abhishek’. This fried chicken was covered in a wondeful spice mix with a citrusy fragrance and the sweet spiced dipping powder took it all to the next level. That was awesome and I just wished lean chicken breast was more popular in Asia as that would have made this even better.

imageAfter all those hearty dishes it was time to check out the dessert corners of the fairground and so we started with ‘Kue Pancong‘ (Indonesia) that were lightly baked coconut cakes in a special shape topped with white sugar. I love coconut so this was right up my alley, maybe just a little dry.

imageThe next sweet affair again came from India and was offered by a Singaporean stall named ‘Heaven’s Indian Curry’. They offered a dish called ‘Putu Mayam‘ or ‘String Hoppers‘ which was basically freshly pressed and steamed rice noodles topped with bright orange sugar and grated coconut (also available with chicken curry). This was great and tasted quite light cause of the steamed noodles and the dessicated fluffy coconut with a sweet cover of orange caramelized sugar. If you missed the fair their shop is at #01-15 Ghim Hoh Market and Food Center, 20 Ghim Moh Road.

imageBefore washing all that wonderful stuffing down with the one or other Warsteiner we had one last sinful dish, the ‘Sticky Rice Banana‘ from ‘Nam Bo’ (Vietnam). I was lucky queueing up at the right time as the staff on the fairground told me this is by far the most popular stall and waiting can be rather long during peaks. I really like Thai ‘Mango Sticky Rice‘ and thought this might be similar but here they wrapped banana chunks in glutinous rice before grilling it over coales wrapped in bana leaf and finishing it with a thick sweet coconut sauce and sesame seeds. Eventhough I would have wished for more banana this was a lovely closer to an endless seeming feast and so seven hours and fourteen dishes later (I didn’t count the seconds of ‘Porchetta Sandwiches‘) we finally capitulated and didn’t move too much for a while.

I really enjoyed my first food fair experience even with some sold out items and complete stalls being closed like the Danish pork buns which I was so looking forward to. What really pissed me off was that they re-opened on Sunday again. Dang!

http://www.wsfcongress.com

World Streefod Congress 2013
Singapore F1 Pit Building & Paddock
1 Republic Boulevard
Singapore 038975

Angry Chicken For Lunch!

imageAnother day, another lunch. Somehow this week we felt like something new and so again today we tried a place we haven’t been to before  – ‘Nando’s’, a Mozambican-Portuguese franchise restaurant at JCube mall next to Jurong East MRT.

We all decided for a variation of the ‘Angry Mango Chicken‘; Wrap, Pita and my choice, the burger with their signature ‘Extra Hot Peri Peri Sauce‘. As my two sides I had the ‘Coleslaw‘ and the ‘3 Bean Salad‘ which both were more boring than anything. The coleslaw was slouchy and missing crunch and both salads lacked a good pinch of salt which might have saved them from falling under the ‘lame’ category. The chicken was not so much a burger as a sandwich. The bread was more baguette like but very soft and as they meant good with the sauce also completely soaked. The chicken itself was quiet nicely grilled, not particularly moist but tasty nevertheless. Together with the greens and the peri peri sauce it made quiet a good combination, just the mango wasn’t really that present. The sauce tricked me at first as it appeared tangy yet not biting which changed like three quarters through the sandwich when I started sweating and had to breath with open mouth. Tasty though.

Even that this is not the place I would go the extra mile for it sure is a decent place for a lunch change once in a while. And next time I might try the pita version as that actually looked really toasty.

http://www.nandos.com.sg/

Nando’s                                                                                                                                                                     2 Jurong East Central 1                                                                                                                                    #03-07/19 JCube                                                                                                                                    Singapore 609731

Dig In…With Your Hands!

imageA good old friend is back in town and he wanted to go back to his favorite Indian place in Singapore ‘The Banana Leaf Apolo’ on Racecourse Road in Little India.

As an appetizer we ordered the ‘Fish Cutlets‘ which had a nice soft, completely unfishy texture with only a hint of fish taste to them that was accompanied by a nice herb & spice mix as well as whole bay leaves. All served cold with a green tangy mint gravy. My favorite, the  ‘Fish Tikka‘, is marinated in a delicious red gravy and was grilled perfectly sealing all the juices within each tikka cube. It tasted very light and fell apart easily so I didn’t really need to chew. Another meat dish we ordered was the ‘Chicken Korma‘ which was heavily rich and creamy. Not being an expert in Indian cooking, I believe that korma is usually cooked with yoghurt and cream but here the gravy also had a light coconut taste to it. It was good but I felt heavier with every bite. Lastly a vegetarian ‘Gobi‘ (cauliflower) dish with onions which was the only really spicy food we had but unfortunately there were rather few gobis and much more onions in it.

Some people might say that the Apolo is a place for tourists but it is still my go to place for Northern Indian food. The choice is huge and the dishes taste great and the only reason I don’t come here more often is that I’m scared I would soon roll my way around.

Use your hands peeps!

http://www.thebananaleafapolo.com/

The Banana Leaf Apolo                                                                                                                                        54 Race Course Road                                                                                                                             Singapore 218564

Taiwan’s Famous Fried Chicken In Singapore!

imageSince a friend told me about this place in Taipei I wanted to try it, so when they opened a shop in Singapore my mission was clear.

When we went I ordered the “Spicy Chicken” with “Garlic Fries”. They fry up everything the same way and later sprincle different spice mixes on chicken and fries to give them their individual taste. My chicken was not too hot and quiet tasty on the breast part. To my surprise I found some neckbones in mine but the portion was generous enough to fill me up good anyway. The fat is well drained so the chicken does not taste greasy at all but comes along a tad dry because of the powder spice mix. Mine was alright together with a drink but my friend blew off garlic powder clouds everytime he took a bite. All in all a nice junkfood alternative but far from a culinary epiphany.

Hot Star Large Fried Chicken                                                                                                                          #B1-K7 City Square Mall                                                                                                                                   180 Kitchener Road                                                                                                                                 Singapore 208539