Archive

Tag Archives: Chili

Finally some heat.

imageAfter a couple of days on Trawangan we figured it’s quite tough to get real Indonesian food down here – maybe apart from the nightmarket  – and therefore didn’t feel guilty going for some Italian tonight. I found the chain of ‘Trattoria Cucina Italiana’ on the internet and as it was also ridiculously close to our hotel and we were exhausted from all that sunbathing we came here for dinner.

I generally prefer a thin crust but this ‘Diavola’ was a tad too thin for me, still good but I missed a little bit of dough to chew one since this crust just crumbled away on me. The sugo-cheese-ratio was as usual leaning towards the cheesy side but the taste wasn’t bad at all and to my great joy this thing was sweat-on-forehead spicy. Funny only I had to go to an Italian restaurant for that.

Trattoria Cucina Italiana
Beach Front
West Nusa Tenggara 83000
Gili Trawangan, Lombok
Indonesia
Tel: +62 8190 798 2995
http://www.trattoriaasia.com/

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/

A Pumpkin From Heaven

imageIt was a laid back Sunday afternoon watching a movie with friends and after being back home we all felt hungry but were too lazy to make a big effort. I then mentioned that I had some great ‘Dan Dan Mian‘ at the signature Chinese restaurant of the Park Royal Hotels and apparently that was reason enough so we located the closest Park Royal and were on our way.

Wandering around the restaurant looking for the bathroom i spotted a dish on another table that I just had to have. What caught my eye was their signature ‘Pork Belly Pumpkin‘ and since we weren’t super hungry I ordered a smaller version for S$26. When it came to our table it looked absolutely beautiful, a whole pumpkin from the oven, filled up with big glazed and braised pork belly cubes. The pork belly pieces were mega tender and soft and the fat melted between the meaty parts and fused into the magical gravy that had a sweet roasted aroma with a soya infused richness that made this the perfect sin. The pumpkin that was baked until soft soaked up the delicious sauce and made it by far the best pumpkin I have ever had.

Besides this outstanding vegetable and the noodles we also had their ‘Cucumber & Chili‘ as an appetizer which were great, steaming hot, slightly sour and fiercely spicy which i considered fun to eat.

I think I mentioned before that I am not a big fan of these nicer sit down Chinese restaurants but ‘Si Chuan Don Hua’s’ food is just so good. I really have to come back and give their ‘Dim Sum‘ and ‘High Tea‘ a  shot.

http://www.sichuandouhua.com

Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant
Park Royal Hotel
181 Kitchener Road
Singapore 208533
Tel: +65 6428 3170

Very Very Little Medium Spicy

imageWithout fail this is the one place I always come back to since my first time I visited Hong Kong when I found this just around the corner of the hotel I stayed at in Tsim Sha Tsui. The noodles here literally burnt themselves into my memory as I firstly underestimated their spice level and paid the price for it big time. It was supposed to be breakfast but since I stayed in Sheung Wan this time around the trip to Kowloon pushed it all more into the lunch zone.

For the first time I didn’t challenge myself going up another spice level as I really wanted to taste all the ingredients for once, pure self-discipline. Because I couldn’t 100% figure it out I researched what ‘Yunnan‘ or ‘Crossing the Bridge Noodles‘ broth is usually made of and many sources suggested that it comes from boiling a fat chicken together with pork bones which totally made sense knowing it. I thought there was some beef stock in there as well though as the soup had this natural sour touch to it. The spicy minced pork I added gave it just the litte pep it needed without making me sweat and added extra meaty flavors to the dish. I went full on with the greens and loved the extra portion coriander, leek and green onions that enhanced the whole thing with freshness. All above the noodles were plenty – naturally I ordered large – and awesome. They were thin and surprisingly springy and chewy considering the steaming heat of the soup should have cooked them to mushy strings, I was happy it didn’t.

Now that I know how the original base tastes I can return to climbing up the nine spoke ladder picking up at level seven where I last left off. I will be coming back here every time again and again as it is still under my top favorite bowls of noodles in Asia and never gets old or boring. “Very spicy” here I come.

Sing Lum Khui Rice Noodle House 星林居雲南米線餐廳
Shop A, G/F, No. 23 Lock Road
Tsim Sha Tsui
Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
Tel: +852 2416 2424

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

Crazy or Super Crazy?

imageMy first week in Japan was nearly over and my friend was so nice to take me ‘Tantanmen’ hunting on Friday. I found this place in Kanda on the internet and as it looked great and promised to be super spicy we head for Ogawamachi station directly after work. I have never been in this area before and here were heaps of little restaurants found around every tiny corner. After taking a couple of wrong turns we eventually found ‘La-Show-Han’ by the red sun logo on the door which I recognized from a blog. This place has only few bar seats and first we were the only ones and so had the chance to have a little chat with the master who was actually hilarious and very kind.

We were only two people but not knowing when we would return to this place, we pulled three different bowls and a couple of beers from the vending machine outside. My friend ordered the ‘Spicy Green Hot Pepper‘ version but the master recommended her an off menu option which he called ‘Mala Tantanmen‘ and described as a Sichuan/Thai fusion dish as it used Sichuan pepper, bird’s eye chilis and sesame. This one was my favorite, the sesame broth was nicely thick and the heat was moderate enough to still taste the ingredients and enjoy it. Also the bird’s eye chilis kicked in in a very unfamiliar way. Great stuff.

1368784328268The second bowl was the ‘Sesame‘ version which was delicious. This one wasn’t spicy at all and tasted lovely and obviously like sesame with a nutty finish coming from crushed peanuts sprinkled on top. I also liked the sort of sprouts topping every dish seem to have and that were giving it a cool and fresh twist. Okada san said that he uses the same noodles as his favorite ramen shop does and they were wider than usual and cooked until nicely chewy and springy.

1368785426208-origLast but not least Okada san brought us the ‘Premium Sichuan Style‘ Tantanmen which was the initial reason to come here. He checked twice if we really wanted to have this particular one and noted at a sign mentioning that this was only meant for “crazy people”. He left out the spicy extras at first, for us to try the milder taste first before turning it into the full version. It was more of a dry type and tasted great. The soup at the bottom was much thicker than in the bowls before, lovely creamy and rich and after some slurps we handed the bowl back to the master and he worked his magic. He sprinkled a lot of ground Sichuan pepper on the noodles and finished with a generous drizzle of homemade Sichuan infused vegetable oil. The noodles now were covered under a generous layer of cracked red pepper color and looked much more intimidating than before/. I tried to be courageous and started with a big slurp of noodles. Oh, they were dangerous. The pepper instantly numbed my outer mouth, inner mouth including tongue and everything else that was touched by the noodles. It all became cold and hot at the same time, made me sweat on my head and made my ice water taste very odd. It all tasted brilliant though and very different to every Tantanmen I ever had before but I might just have overestimated my tolerance for spice in this case. There is also a ‘Super Crazy‘ version which I politely skipped after tasting this bad boy.

La-Show-Han Front (1 of 1)This was a great find and even that i had to realize that apparently I am not “super crazy” I absolutely loved it here. Besides the great and eye opening super spicy food we really felt very welcome here and it was nice talking with the master who took his time explaining and answering all of our questions. When I will be back in town I’ll make sure to pay this place another visit to try some of their other options working on my craziness.

http://lashowhan.com/

La-Show-Han 辣椒漢
Kanda Nishikicho 1-4-8
Chioda-ku
Tokyo 101-0054
Japan

Long Udon with Longer Names!

imageI recognized ‘Tsuru-koshi’ the last time I had lunch with my colleagues at the IMM in Jurong East and so I suggested to try it out today and since nobody had a better idea there we went.

As it seems common for udon shops we had to place our order before taking out seats and I chose their S$12 lunch set with ‘Atsu Atsu Tan Tan Udon‘ – pretty long huh? – together with a bowl of ‘Soboro Don‘. The ‘Don‘ was nothing I would desire having again, the minced meat tasted pretty boring and a bit greasy and the rice wasn’t as sticky as I had hoped for. The udon on the other hand, despite using the same plain minced meat tasted interestingly good. They sat in a lightly flavored sesame broth, which mixed with the meat and especially the very soft boiled egg turned into a flavor I quiet liked and never had tasted before and the udon were also nice and chewy. Even that this was the lunch set and the bowls were obviously smaller than the a la carte ones this was still a pretty big portion that I hardly could eat my ‘Mud Pie Mc Flurry’ after. Not.

The setting is no thrills, the little service you get is alright and fast enough and I still like udon very much which gives me enough reason to add this to the list of appropriate lunch places close to work. Cold udon next.

Tsuru-koshi Udon
Jurong East Street 21        
#01-19 IMM Building          
Singapore 609601