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Jin Hua Fish Head Bee Hoon (金华鱼头米粉) @ Old Airport Food Center

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Jin Hua is a household name for fish soup in CBD, very much so that I have joined the relentless queues during lunch just for a bowl of steaming hot goodness. Hurray to this franchise which also sports queues but more forgiving ones! Even way past 2 pm, the queues were neverending.

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Sliced Fish Soup ($5)

Bland broth in comparison to Hougang Hai Zhen Yuan's, the sliced fish slices made it worse since they were barely seasoned too.

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It may problems with a franchise but I still prefer their fried fish version over sliced. Given now I have found an alternative, I'd probably be switching camps. 

Jin Hua Fish Head Bee Hoon (金华鱼头米粉)
Old Airport Food Center
#01-120

Hougang Hai Zhen Yuan (后港海珍圆) @ Old Airport Hawker Center

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Old Airport Hawker Center ranks as one of my favourite ones around - a foodie's haven literally with each district's best featured all at once.

Hougang Hai Zhen Yuan is one of those, located right smack next to Jin Hua's franchise from Maxwell Market - fiesty move but it prodded us to try.

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Mixed Fish Soup ($5)
Batang Fish

The broth at first glance already looks richer than the other fish soups attempted and with the addition of fried scallions and seaweed, it smelt just too good for further snaps.

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Uber fresh batang fish slices in a broth so flavourful, this is one for the those who prefer a strong flavoured broth  possibly derived from hours of simmering and plenty of bones. Get a bowl of rice and be ready for a delightful meal.

Judge the stall not for the crowds for I think I've found my idea of best mixed fish soup in town! Plus, their menu specialises in just fish soup - think fish head and sliced fish too!

后港海珍圆
Old Airport Hawker Center
#01-121

The Lokal Revisited @ Keong Siak

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Since patronizing The Lokal, a new perspective on brunch was born. Their menu comprises of house cured meats and brunch options in man-portions, more meat than eggs and equally filling desserts. To say I have tried everything on the menu is not true, I always stick with the perennial favourites, I call it inertia.

The same dishes attempted this time round. I'm getting boring already, I sense. 

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Pork Sausage Burger ($25)

I enjoy their burgers because of the generosity of ingredients and pork burgers are a breath of fresh air from the usual beef suspects. It was unfortunate the first arrived not fully cooked and rare pink bits embedded within but the kitchen replaced it.

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Juicy, charred and a beautiful touch of grilled pineapples and melted cheese in the same burger. Thick fries and their homemade chilli sauce is always a call for a yummy meal.

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Their onion jam is a must order for me, handmade and oh-so-tasty.

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Warm Mackerel Salad ($18)

Warm salads are a rarity, more so when they are on point like this one - delicious, hearty and satisfying.

There is so much to like about The Lokal except the crowds. I suppose that is the issue when a cafe gets too popular and service does get hit a fair bit.

The Lokal 
136 Neil Road

Grand Pavilion Revisited @ Esplanade

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The bane of running promotions on Groupon means the bargain hunter of a consumer like me would not visit on a normal basis but rather wait for the descent of the next voucher promotion to visit.

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Grand Pavilion is one of those places I would head back in a heart beat with a Groupon, and that was exactly what happened.

Who does not love a good deal, anyway?

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Whole Peking Duck ($58)

Face it, I cannot resist peking duck. It must be the sorcery in that egg crepe, sweet sauce and thin as wafer crispy duck skin that makes me order it every single time.

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Not forgetting these keropoks!

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Having the duck chopped up is also a preferred way to eat it except the herbal sauce does make this taste like a herbal duck more than peking duck. Crispy goodness, mmmm!

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Half Crispy Chicken ($20)

Another poultry dish nailed well on crispy skin and crunchy keropok.

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Sweet and Sour Pork ($27.80)

A childhood favourite that usually sees more batter than meat but Grand Pavilion's has a lovely crunch, tangy sweet and sour sauce perfected with pineapples and last but not least a delicious affair that leaves me clamouring for more.

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Steamed Garoupa with Beancurd ($41.80)

There were inconsistencies in their steamed fish dishes the last round and turned out reasonably well this time. Hit and miss usually for me.

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Hong Kong "Kai Lan" ($24.80)

This looked so well greased, loved the crunchiness of this. Simple vegetable dish but so hard to nail.

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Braised Beancurd with Seasonal Greens ($24.80)

Silken egg tofu ingots and mushrooms served with seasonal greens of snow peas, I would have expected another type of greens served.

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XO Beef Rice Noodle ($31.80)

The parting end to the meal was this - none of the fanciful raw egg in horfun, just simple stir fried beef hor fun. Albeit a tad greasy yet this had so much flavour - the smoky, the tasty and the delightful. Best consumed with green pickled chillies.

Perhaps our interest was waning but I have tried almost all the signature dishes across all the visits. Dimsum would be on the cards next.

Grand Pavilion
Theatres by the Bay
Esplanade Drive #02-25/27/29

Para Thai Revisited @ One KM Mall

Para Thai came to mind one rainy evening, I am not even sure how thai food and cold weather goes hand in hand especially when spicy food is not the forte of Para Thai even.

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I'm not sure if these are considered thai appetizers per se since I have seen them at Indonesian restaurants too. Nonetheless, keropok's always hard to resist and that mouth watering chilli sauce is worth the $3 price tag. I sounds ridiculous but I probably could get more than a bag full of keropok if I bought them outside anyway.

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Baked Prawn Glass Noodles ($16.90)

It could be the presentation of the dish in the menu that made the difference so stark - the first question that came to mind was, where are the three prawns?

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Turns out they were buried deep at the bottom of the pot. Rice vermicelli was delicious though a tad oily and the prawns were a let down with their mushy contents.

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Black Olive Fried Rice ($11.90)

Yet another that defied the photography presentations, chicken was fried with the rice together with what seemed like minced beef. Tasty rice dish that fared alot better than the vermicelli.

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BBQ Pork Collar Homemade Sauce ($13.90)

I love my pork collars and this did not disappoint - the sinewy charred slices laced with a certain sweetness and smokeyness. Trust the Thais to know what to do with pork collars! Great eaten on its own or with chilli padi, personally I thought the homemade sauce was too sweet.


Hits and misses at Para Thai but truly there is nothing to fault when prices are this friendly and dishes are more acceptable to the wider palette. As much as I love my food hot and spicy, this is a good option when one is dining with non spicy diners.


Para Thai
One KM Mall

Hakumai Sushi Revisited @ International Plaza

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I love heading back to CBD over the weekend for meals because the crowd is more dispersed and there is none of the maddening city traffic to battle and meals can be enjoyed without hurrying to end the seating.

Unlike most other Japanese outlets, Hakumai Sushi entertains diners who would prefer bento sets to the more premium and pricier kaiseki and omakase options. 

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Salmon Avocado Don ($26.80)

Salmon Avocado and Roe On Rice
Truffle Sauce Chawanmushi
Soup / Salad / Fruit


Amongst their range of affordable bento sets is this particular don that was considerably cheaper than the chirashi going at $39.80. Think thick cuts of salmon sashimi and avocado dressing a bowl of furikake rice.

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Sukiyaki Gozen ($26.80)

Beef and Vegetables Cooked with Sweet Sauce

Salmon Sashimi / Truffle Sauce
Chawanmushi / Rice / Soup / Salad / Fruit


Beef sukiyaki for the already hot weather, it strangely did not heat the temperatures up in the restaurant. 

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Individual pot for cooking. This would suit colder temperatures better, in my opinion.

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Sashimi Gozen ($33.80)
Mixed Sashimi /
 / Truffle Sauce Chawanmushi
Salad / Fruit


Portions are on the small side even with this choice being in the next price bracket. The selection of sashimi was decent, not super fresh but good enough.

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Tempura Moriawase

I found the selection alright, nothing to scream about the thick batter and limp seafood. 

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Hot Soba
 

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Lady Bento ($38.80)
Salmon Sashimi / California Maki
Botan Jiru (Prawn Soup)
Salad / Fruit


My lady bento set was served in courses, well almost. The california maki and salmon sashimi arrived first.

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And the full set on a lacquer tray.

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Truffle Soba

The main highlight of this dish is the truffle oil tossed into the noodles and topped with fish roe and artificial crabmeat.

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Truffle Sauce Chawanmushi, another of those gimmicky dishes that played on truffle as the highlight yet was really nothing much beyond truffle oil.

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My comparatively more "lady" portions of Mixed Tempura. Two prawns and a carrot.

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Grilled Cod with Spicy Cod Roe

Much ado about nothing, even with the spicy cod roe mayo, it still tasted bland. More time over the grill may have helped but this was another of those letdowns.

Very average fare at okay prices, like the omakase that lacks finesse. This perhaps works better in the department of value for money than a proper Japanese dining experience. Techniques and dishes displayed show a time of the past, somewhat passe in my opinion.

Hakumai Sushi
International Plaza, #01-50A

Shiraz Mazzeh @ Takashimaya

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Hands up, how many of you have walked past this kebab stand along the streets of Orchard and wondered how in the world the crowds would be drawn to it on hot days?

I did and finally joined the queues one fine and really hot Sunday afternoon.


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This kebab stand specializes in gourmet kebabs and in just three flavours - beef, chicken and lamb.

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Ordering process is simple, pay and decide on filling, vegetable stuffing and 2 choices of dressing.

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Served piping hot in a foil bag.

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Lamb Kebab ($10.50)

A rolled up wrap stuffed with greens, meat and drenched in sauce.

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Somehow this fell short of expectations, the kebab roll was not entirely piping hot despite being over the griddle for a fair amount of time and my choice of dressing: Hummus and Garlic Yogurt ended up having a strange smell and aftertaste. I would recommend getting the kebab to go and sitting by the fountain in Takashimaya - the weather is too unforgiving to be sweating over an unworthy roll too.

Not my best kebab though my curiosity is satisfied.

Shiraz Mazzeh Kebab Stand
Outside Takashimaya