Get my spice on – Chapter 1
Usually 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.
Chong Qing Xiao Chi 重庆小吃 (Chong Qing Snacks)
Concourse Area (People’s Park)
100 Upper Cross Street
Oh man I missed this place and finally I made it back here on a day they were actually making their beautiful noodles. I was psyched and first up I had to have the ‘Dan Dan Mian‘ or ‘Spicy Sichuan Noodles‘ how it says on the board. The noodles were freshly handmade and nice and soft, maybe a bit too soft. The gravy was insane, just mildly spicy but enough to squeeze some drops of sweat out the back of my head, thick and rich and full of peanut sesame flavour. The savoury pork mince on top together with some crushed peanuts, fresh chives and cilantro finished the job just nicely.
I was already pretty filled up but not finished just yet as I also wanted to finally try their ‘Zha Jiang Mian‘. The bowl was loaded with freshly thin shredded spring onion and cucumbers sitting on beautifully thick and gooey minced meat soya bean sauce that was lukewarm and made this a great dish for the tropical heat today. I know this all sounds like raving and exaggerating but I really think it’s that darn good, M. this one’s for you.
Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao 中国拉面小笼包
335 Smith Street
#02-135 Chinatown Complex Food Center
Octopus and Taco Thieves
After a while I finally came back to ‘Lucha Loco‘ for a friend’s farewell party. For starters I had the ‘Ceviche de Camarones y Pulpo‘ a fantastic refreshing dish full of fresh and sweet prawns and octopus. The texture of the octopus was amazing and just on the spot, firm without being chewy and the lightly sour taste of the lime juice together with the cilantro and herbs made this simply delicious. My favorite non-taco dish here.
For my taco selection this time I went for one of their specials, the ‘Taco de Barbacoa‘ with lovely tenderly braised lamb meat that was juice and strong in taste. A great taco but I would have wished for some more mint in the salsa as it nearly disappeared between all the the other flavors.
By default I had the delicious ‘Taco de Carnitas‘ but this time I also ordered the ‘Taco de Pescado‘ which I didn’t have for a long time. It usually is a little bigger than in the picture but my colleague stole a piece from this nicely grilled snapper before I could stop her. The smaller size didn’t change anything, it still tasted great. The fish was moist and slightly charred on the outside and the combination of the freshness from the salsa and the spiciness from the chipotle made this work perfectly.
Another dinner much and well spend with great food, strong drinks and an outstanding friendly service. Still my kind of place, thanks a lot.
Lucha Loco – Mexican Taqueria Y Garden Bar
15 Duxton Hill
Tel: +65 6226 3938
Yeah Baby, Another Taco Shop!
When dining at ‘Intrepid’ yesterday we recognized this Mexican place next door and came back for it with more friends tonight. They have a built-your-own menu for ‘Burritos‘, ‘Tacos‘, ‘Rice and Salad Bowls‘ as well as ‘Nachos‘ but my radar was all on the ‘Tacos‘ tonight.
I went with slab of ‘Tacos’ that come in three and mixed and matched a little to get a better idea of the flavors their menu has to offer. The first one was braised pork with cabbage and salsa fresca. It tasted nicely fruity and the meat was super juicy as they cook it in orange juice but the salsa fresca was not much more than just diced tomatos, onions and cucumbers. As second I had one with flank steak and the salsa verde. The meat was more chunky and didn’t have a very beefy or particularly special taste. I liked the salsa verde though as it was fresh and quite tangy in after taste. The last and by far my most favorite combination was the one with the beef brisket and mango pineapple salsa. The slow roasted brisket tasted fantastic and was very moist, the shredded cabbage added a nice crunchy texture to it and the fruity salsa was simply delicious, slightly acidy but so fresh and suited the dish just nicely and I also really liked the cilantro in it.
I think this is a great place. The food was pretty nice and very reasonable priced (3 tacos for 17$), they had good happy hour Corona buckets and the service was fast, on the spot and I found actually quite funny. Happy and content.
Mexout – The Mex’perts
39 Pekin Street (Far East Square)
Tel: +65 6536 9953
Who Needs 18 Folds?
Finally Chinatown Complex Food Center reopened after a long break for renovation and since the last group of friends visiting Singapore were starving I brought them here hoping my favorite stall for ‘Xiao Long Bao‘ – ‘Hong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao’ or ‘China La Mian Steamed Buns’ was still there. And “Thank God” it was. The Chinese couple who ran it for the last couple of years seemed to have teamed up with another couple recently and today the two husband were on shift.
We ordered the ‘Xiao Long Bao‘ (XLB), the ‘Jiao Zi‘ and the ‘Spicy Sichuan Wonton‘. The XLB here maybe don’t have eighteen folds but to my opinion they are still the best hawker version available in Singapore. The dough was very thin so we could make out the soup level inside and the soup itself had a delicious and rich pork taste. Note to myself, “don’t be so greedy otherwise you will burn yourself every time again”, which I do, every time. I especially liked the meat filling as it tasted great, was smaller portioned and minced very fine which also pleased my preference for non-chunky texture. That all together with the smiling faces of the owners and a low price of five dollars for ten XLB makes me come back here again and again. The ‘Jiao Zi‘ were based on the same meat mixture but enhanced with chopped up chives which worked fantastically together. The dough was fried crisp on one side and nicely chewy on the other. The wonton had tiny pork meat pockets with a lot of noodle-like flattened chewy dough around that was soaked in a tangy chili oil. Delicious.
Even that I loved the dumplings as always I was left with a bit of emptiness as it was a Sunday on which they don’t offer their ‘Spicy Sichuan Noodle La Mian‘ but since I come by here quiet frequently I knew I won’t have to wait too long to taste them again.
Zhong Guo La Mian Xiao Long Bao 335 Smith Street #02-135 Chinatown Complex Food Center Singapore 050335
Red Piggy Is No Biggie!
I was getting pretty hungry and since I felt pretty good about something meaty all signs pointed towards ‘Korean BBQ’. I don’t have a lot of experience with Korean restaurants in Singapore and since the last place I liked is currently under renovation I followed a friend to the ‘Red Pig Original Charcoal Korean Restaurant’ on Amoy Street.
The place is rather rustic with the paint coming off at some areas and a lot of pig posters all over the place and a surprisingly small dinner menu. We ordered all meats except chicken which were beef, two types of pork belly and sausage. On top we also ordered their seafood pancake. As bottomless sides they served a nice light cabbage kimchi which is not too spicy, a creamy sweet corn hotplate and my favorite, a delicious salad with a kimchi dressing. The beef was nicely marbled and tasted good but wasn’t too memorable and the cheese sausages were ok. One type of pork belly was natural and the other marinated in their spicy signature ‘Red Pig‘ sauce. The natural pork belly was tasty but a bit too thick for my preference but the special red pork version was thinner sliced and had a good spicy kick to it. Last arrival was the ‘Seafood Pancake‘. This one was actually very nice even that there was hardly any seafood (octopus) to be found but therefor it was loaded with fresh scallions and super crisp.
Overall this place seems authentic what also shows by the high ratio of Korean customers here, their service is fast and very friendly and their prices moderate. The food is good but just didn’t cut it for me and the selection on the menu is simply to small.
Red Pig Korean Restaurant 93 Amoy Street Singapore 069913
If it’s too hot, you are too weak!
I first tried this awesome dish when visiting a good friend in Beijing last year where she brought us to a restaurant that fries you up any ingredient you can think of in a spicy chili gravy.
Today again I had different plans for lunch initially as I wanted to bring an old uni friend who came over for a visit for Xiao Long Bao and Sichuan Noodles but didn’t know that Chinatown Complex is currently under renovation. Thinking of a fast solution to our problem I remembered friends mentioning that they found a shop which offers the ‘Mala Hot Pot‘ in a Yong Tau Fu style at People’s Park Food Center right across the street.
We were really hungry so we went for a big bowl of the medium spicy version with lots of vegetables, glass noodles, potato, tofu and beancurd skin (10$). It came out of the kitchen piping hot and smelled wonderful. We got our grub on and it was exactly as I remembered it from China. The ingredients were all fresh and not overcooked, all covered with a glaze of their biting chili gravy with enough Sichuan peppers to numb your entire pie hole. It started quite harmless but the more we worked our way down where the ingredients soaked in the gravy it slowly started burning holes into my stomach. Let’s just say we were happy we went for medium. Oh and the noodles, loved the noodles, next time I have to ask for a double portion.
This place is great and as ‘Dry Pot‘ is not yet so commonly available in Singapore I will pay them a visit from time to time when I need to spice things up.
Ri Ri Hong Mala Xiang Guo 32 New Market Road #01-1042 & 1053 People’s Park Food Center Singapore 050032