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Momofuku Tour – Part 1.

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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.

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
New York
NY 10003
United States of America
http://momofuku.com/new-york/fuku/

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“Light & Cheesy”.

imageBack 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.

VivaVox Cafe
3A International Business Park
#01-10 Icon@IBP
Singapore 609935
Tel: +65 6686 3368
http://www.vivavox.com.sg/

Freshness is around.

imageWe 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.

Marco Marco
238 Thomson Road
#02-26/27 Velocity@Novena Square
Singapore 307683
Tel: +65 6358 4466
http://www.marcomarco.com.sg/

Little french breakfast café.

imageOn 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.

Choupinette
607 Bukit Timah Road
#01-01
Singapore 269708
Tel: +65 6466 0613

Little breakfast find in Causeway Bay.

imageArrived 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.

18 Grams
Unit C, G/F 15 Cannon Street
Causeway Bay
Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
Tel: +852 2893 8988
http://www.18grams.com/

Meatball Grand Prix.

imageIt was the second night of the F1 Grand Prix and a friend and I had scouted the walkbout areas for suitable spots to catch the best views of the race when we both became pretty hungry but didn’t want to have any of the standard event foods like the overprized underaverage burgers and such. At the Esplanade we ran into ‘Sauce’, a place I heard does everything meatballs but had forgotten about again.

We had two servings of meatballs to start with – the ‘Classic Italian‘ (beef and pork) with ‘Firehouse Arrabiata‘ and the ‘Old School Beef‘ with ‘Green Market‘ pesto. Both types were actually great, the meat tasted pretty good and they had the perfect consistency, nice and fluffy. The arrabiata sauce, slightly tangy was full of sweet tomato flavor and the pesto with it’s slight bitterness wasn’t bad either. Unfortunately the portions were rather small so we added their meatball sandwich to our order. We had the ‘Classic Italian‘ version again so the meatballs obviously were the same. The bread on the other hand looked promising but was a boring slouchy something, which was quite dissapointing knowing they prepare the much more difficult meatballs rather well and then cock up on the bread sourcing. I probably would also recommend to take it easy on the cheese as it strongly overpowered the great meaty taste.

Anyways, meatballs top, sandwich flop! The service was messed up but let’s just blame that on the customer overload during the formula 1 and the outer and interior design isn’t really worth mentioning either. However I’ll probably give it another try for a quick meatball snack.

Sauce Bar
8 Raffles Avenue
Singapore 039802
Tel: +65 6837 2959
http://www.saucebar.com.sg/

Finally a decent Reuben!

imageI had seen a bunch of pictures of sandwiches from this place from many fellow bloggers that I couldn’t get it out of my head, especially since their subs use coleslaw or sauerkraut on them. I somewhat expected a modern sort of deli but this was a rather plain subway style kind of joint, where I had to order at the counter and my name got called up once my sandwich was ready.

I wasn’t that hungry but just to be on the safe side I ordered the large version of the ‘Corned Beef on Rye with Swiss Cheese, Sauerkraut and Russian Dressing‘ or as I would have called it the ‘Reuben‘. Large here meant nothing else than an extra slap of corned beef (could’ve been much bigger for my liking) which was wonderful juicy but a bit streaky at parts. Sauerkraut must be my favorite sandwich topping in the world and also on this one here it just gave the perfect sour note to the saltiness of the beef and the cheese, everything was tucked in nicely. All that was balanced out by the creamy fruitiness coming from the Russian dressing but best of all was that the bread was awesome too, all buttered up and toasted right, just nice. Mainly because of its’ light color I had my doubts that it was actually rye bread, but then again I’m not a baker whatsoever. I also did get a fat slice of pickle with my sandwich but made a personal note to anyway order some extra ones next time as one simply just wasn’t enough.

I’d love this place to be closer to my work or home but for me to make my way out to MBS regularly just for a sub in such a simply setup place they better up the ante on the meat and sauerkraut. Still, it was pretty good.

Sweet Spot Deli
Bay Level, #01-30 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
10 Bayfront Avenue
Singapore 018956
Tel: +65 6688 8584