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Double crabs per flavour is only half the fun.

imageMy 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
#01-229
19 Ghim Moh Road
Singapore 270019 ‎
Tel: +65 6314 1868

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A proper ending to a Mexican day.

imageTelling good friends about my Mexican lunch planted the idea of tacos into their brains that they had to have ’em before leaving for their U.S. trip in the morning. As my earlier experience was nothing I necessarily wished to repeat we played it safe and went to my all time favorite.

My lunch had been late and I wasn’t too hungry so I took the chance to try some of the small new dishes they had introduced. Starting with the ‘Tostaditas de Cangrejo‘ which were truly amazing. Big piles of sweet crab meat in a light creamy dressing. The avocado came hardly through but the chili splinters hit in nicely. Cold and spicy, a great dish.

imageI wasn’t actually planning on having tacos again but then they had a new special one on the menu that changed my mind. The ‘Taco de Callo de Hacha‘ had some nicely pan charred fresh scallops with a great texture, pickled onions and grilled corn which gave it all an oddly interesting and crunchy texture. Nicely done guys, nicely done.

Lucha Loco – Mexican Taqueria Y Garden Bar
15 Duxton Hill
Singapore 089598
Tel: +65 6226 3938
http://www.luchaloco.com/

My Fountain of Crab

imageOne 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.

imageThis 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.

imageOne 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
Singapore 389392
Tel: +65 6842 3415
http://www.nosignboardseafood.com/

Getting my textures on!

imageI finally managed to catch up with some lovely friends, including my very reliable Nippon food consultant, at Cuppage Plaza  over some quite interesting dishes. We met at ‘Kaiho’s’ a mid sized sushi bar on the third floor and to my surprise ended up having a multi course omakase set. The dinner kicked off with some starters like ‘Edamame‘, funny looking ‘Fish Crackers‘ and a delicious somehow cured ‘Cuttlefish‘. I was really skeptical as all these dried squid things are totally not mine but this was amazing, not too fishy with a soft elastic consistency. Best thing was the roe mayonnaise to dip it in.

imageNext was a fat slice of ‘Otoro‘ (fatty tuna belly). The rose meat melted between the otherwise rather hard and extremely chunky white bits which were really difficult to chew down all followed by an equally weird undefinable piece of chunky fat underneath. Taste wise good but texture, oh my.

imageThis was followed by a nice selection of small dishes like fried fish cubes, a selection of good quality sushi and sashimi, sweet crab legs, maguro soup (tuna), a wonderfully surprising ‘Agedashi Eal‘ and some sweet and creamy ‘Uni Handrolls‘ (sea urchin).

imageMy favorite dish of the night was a lightly seared ‘Beef Sushi‘. It had such a strong beefy flavor and even though cut fairly thick didn’t require any chewing at all. No teeth needed. Simply amazing.

imageAfter the official menu had finished we kept on ordering sushi variations and ended it all with above ‘Sardine Sushi‘ which was expectedly fishy but in a great way with something that seemed like a fermented bean and sambal paste on top that spiced it up properly.

For dessert we had a juicy yet a bit watery ‘Momo‘ (Japanese peach) and a brilliant ‘Wasabi Ice Cream’. To my delight the sharp wasabi taste and the light sweetness worked very well together but the awesome thing about this really was that with every spoon the heat grew on me so much that at the end I had to hang my tongue out of my mouth to give it some fresh air.

‘Kaiho Sushi’ is a nice little new place for my list and has a lot to offer. Maybe just the price and the variety of challenging textures here will make me choose places like ‘Nagomi‘ over this for my next omakase run.

http://bernardtang.com/

Kaiho Sushi
5 Koek Road
#03-01/02 Cuppage Plaza
Singapore 228796
Tel: +65 6738 1315

The Roo Burgers are in Town

imageI had read about ‘Intrepid’ on other blogs and friend’s facebook posts and since then couldn’t get those ‘Kangaroo Sliders‘ out of my head. So when my friend asked me what my plans for dinner were I made this a suggestion and so we went. We had a bit of a hard time finding the place as it didn’t have a big sign yet but when you find the Water Gate of Far East Square and look very closely it’s exactly next to it.

Naturally we started with the famous ‘Kangaroo Sliders‘ and they looked pretty darn good coming out of the kitchen. As kangaroo meat gets tough and dry very fast they broiled it to a medium rare. I usually prefer my burgers medium to medium well but the meat was of such good quality that medium rare was perfect and kept the patty moist and juicy. It was lean and had this distinct venison like flavor lifted up a level by the saltiness of the prosciutto that was “melted” on top. The bun was lovely fluffy and the host told us that they are making them from scratch freshly every day just for this dish as well as the crispy chips which maybe could have used a pinch more salt.

imageAs seconds I ordered the ‘Pork Sausage‘ which seemed to be some sort of special as it was off the usual menu. The “dog” came in a proper baguette bun, not that usual soft mushy stuff and the sausage had a great snappy casing, the meat was firm, well seasoned and tasted nice and porky. I found the sprinkled crackling on top was a great idea but maybe would have been even better if it was roasted instead of fried. The most delicate and special bits here though were the thinly sliced fennel slices that unfortunately were a bit overpowered by the sausage and the cubes of baked apple that had a fantastic sweet cinnamon flavor.

imageRecently we always seem to order beyond that hunger feeling and this time it was the ‘Crab Cakes‘. They were fully packed of sweet crab meat with a super crispy crust in which was a tad too much frying oil left. The cakes were accompanied by a salad of mixed leaves, tomato, creamy avocado as well as black and salty caviar that popped nicely in my mouth and tasted like little drops of sea.

I quite liked it here with the Aussi twist they took on the dishes and the very friendly and kind staff so I might be coming back to try their ‘Kangaroo Loin‘ and the brunch items. Thanks guys!

Intrepid Gastro Bar
40 Pekin Street
#01-01 Far East Square
Singapore 048770
Tel: +65 9068 8297

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

Bored of Chili Crab? Try The Bee Hoon!

imageThis popular coffeshop was introduced to me by some friends as until then my first stop for seafood had always been No Signboard Seafood in Geylang. Their main location is in Ang Mo Kio but we have always been going to Toa Payoh as it was a bit easier to reach.

I was really excited to come back here as the last time I had a proper crab feast was a few months ago and since we were a group of six we could order several different types of these delicious crustaceans.

We started off with some ‘Guiness Stout Ribs‘ that were sweet and sticky and so tender they fell off the bone. I remembered having them before but this time they really made an impression on me.

On came the main attractions. First their signature ‘Bee Hoon Crab‘ (pic) which comes in a claypot and seems like it is drowning in the thin buttery sauce infused by the taste of the crab and hiding springy bee hoon noodles under the surface. The crab we had was the meatiest I’ve ever had in my hands and even the legs were full of sweet soft delicious flesh. Second on stage was the ‘Chili Crab‘ which was sure tasty but a pinch to sweet for my taste. Nevertheless all buns were gone at the end of the meal dipped in chili gravy. The closer and my favorite of the night was their ‘Black Pepper Crab‘. It wasn’t love at first sight with crabs and me mainly because of the messy eating process but once I discovered my love for this Singaporean favorite I quickly made the pepper crab my first choice. And I must say this one must have been the gold medalist among all the ones I had before. The tick pepper gravy sticking to the crab was so intense in taste and so good that I ate it to the last bit together with rice and all the onions inside. Literally finger-licking-good!

I wasn’t disappointed before and haven’t been disappointed this time. What the shop lacks in atmosphere and location it sure makes up for in quality food and the friendliness of the staff who were always smiling and utmost polite. Recommended.

Mellben Seafood                                                                                                                                                   Blk 211 Lorong 8 Toa Payoh                                                                                                                           #01-11/15                                                                                                                                                 Singapore 310211