Thursday, July 31, 2008

Yong Tau Foo @ Zion Road Hawker Centre

Zion Road Hawker Centre is one of the gems of hawker food, Newton Hawker Centre and Lau Pat Sat is over-rated honestly. Before the major renovation there was a popular stall selling Ostrich Meat...at nearly $9 per dish it was a luxury years back. Doused in generous black pepper gravy, the meat so tender...pity it's no longer there anymore. I found another reason for me to visit Zion Road Hawker Centre though, yong tau fu!

Yong Tau Fu's a seemingly simple dish to make but not many can pull it off perfectly. Some go into a price war, trying to out price each other, the cheapest being 15 cents but half the usual portion.

I usually like mine with the soup with chilli and sauce.


Chanced upon this yong tau fu stall with a queue! Singaporean's way of discerning whether the dish tastes good is by the queue. Being uniquely singaporean, I followed suit and definitely it's not "the blind following the blind".

40 cents per piece of yong tau fu isn't exactly very cheap nor pricey but the ingredients are fresh. One plus point? The sprinkling of fried anchovies over the soupy dish gives it an added flavour. The crunchy fish made it more tasty than not. They've got the usual fare of bean curd, sausages, kangkong...fish cake, fried egg etc.

I'll be back, for sure!


Da Jia Fu Yong Tau Fu & Fishball Noodle

Zion Road Hawker Centre
11th stall

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Food @ Ikea Alexandra

Singapore's most popular answer to Swedish cuisine...is IKEA. Read a lil on Swedish food...the most renown food is meatballs, otherwise known köttbullar. Potatoes are the main complement in most dishes.

IKEA's my favourite place for good food and picture perfect affordable furniture..so much so, it's a happy place..just like Mcdonalds. Their food has been for the longest time on my list of regular must-visits.


IKEA's answer to it, my favourite must-order, Swedish meatballs with potatoes and cranberry sauce. I can eat it anytime..anywhere. The mom stocks up on the frozen meatballs to satisfy my meatball cravings now and then. Weirdly enough the meatballs taste really good with the cranberry sauce...like lambchops with mint sauce.

Fried chicken wings...juicy and tender! Sinful indeed..but finger lickin' good.


Very ordinary french fries...

Tried a new dish this time..pity no pics to go with it. The water prawn bowl? The prawns are laid out prettily round the bowl...and surprise! It tastes really good. Slightly salted and chewy. Liked the amount of roe found in the shrimps. The orangey pink prawns definitely are a must-try the next time!

www.ikea.com.sg

IKEA
Alexandra Road

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Waraku @ Katong Branch

Waraku's one of my favourite-st Japanese hangout because of its affordability and quality food! I first came to know of it along East Coast Parkway when it was still under a different name..finally step foot when it merged with another and was introduced as "Waraku", I've not looked back since! A showcase of a couple of my favourites and new dishes..though I must admit for Waraku, I stick to mostly those couple of dishes despite being a self-acclaimed experimental eater.





Niku Curry in Udon ($10), a must order every single visit. It's grilled beef slices with curry udon. Uber delicious I'd say, though Japanese curry is very different from your usual Indian/Malay curry. It's watery but blends really well with the udon and beef. *thumbs up!*





Ebi Ten Maki ($9.80)

A must order for me every single time as well...it's a sushi roll with ebi tempura. The presentation wows, simply because it comes in a long plate and has the full prawn there, including the head. This dish like the curry udon has never failed me, taste wise. Very consistent. The tempura's fried lightly, not your usual heavy/overcooked tempura at some places...together with the rice and seaweed, oiishii!





Sashimi Salmon ($6.80/3 slices)

Waraku's one of those places that has pretty normal sashimi...not the melt in your mouth kind...just normal. Definitely pricey for 3 slices!





Tempura ($12)

It came in a presentation that was really impessive, complete with dried buckwheat? Or a bunch of dried something. The soba noodles are chewy and different from the sakae kind..however...a comparison with shimbashi? I'd say...shimbashi anytime! Quite a deal with the portions given.




Ramune ($2.80) Not too sure about this but it's a kind of soda with packaging that wows. The waitress pops the bottle, the glass ball falls to the bottle neck of the bottle with a loud "clink" and prevents the liquid from flowing out too fast. Awesome, I was attracted to that glass orb for a loong time, just gazing at it. The soda's not fantastic though.

Waraku's really consistent with their quality and standard of food across all outlets which is what consumers like me are looking for. Their seasonal menu's always so enticing. Great to hangout, dine...or just to satisfy that japanese craving. Service is above average but would be nice if it wasn't so crowded as they've got a tendency to clear your tables really quick, a subtle enough hint to "get your ass out".

Still is on my list of regular hangouts!

Reservations are a must for weekends!

http://www.waraku.com.sg/

Waraku - Katong Branch


86 East Coast Road
BLK B #01-11/12/13 Katong Village
11:30am - 11pm (Last order 10:30pm)

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Soup Spoon @ Raffles City

I first came to know of The Soup Spoon yonks of years ago when Raffles City had none of the extensions yet, when it was at the corner of the Basement, next to a chocolate shop. Then I scoffed at the idea of having soups in styrofoam bowls for meals. Ever since the first slurp, I am one ardent fan!

I've always been a huge fan of Campbell's soup...so The Soup Spoon completes the picture with a fast-soup concept! TSS's one of those concepts that has few competitors, probably just Cedele bakery that comes close.

What impresses me is their bi-weekly soup specials and the very heartwarming tales behind it. Absolutely loving it! I'd say The Soup Spoon has done an awesome job retaining customers with monthly flavours...with the Soup Card going on? Love that too!

The usual favourite; Beef Goulash. Prime beef cut stewed with the infamous paprika and loaded with starchy vegetables to make it a meal in itself. It's got a tangy flavour to it, coupled with beef cubes...very delicious indeed!

I tried a new special (normally I'm game for new items..); Russian Roulette. Beef stew with beef strips, button mushroom and starchy vegetables cooked in brown beef stock. It's somewhat not as tasty as Beef Goulash, a wholesome soup though. In actual fact, the Russian Roulette and Beef Goulash look uncannily simlar in terms of ingredients, just varying in soup stock. Albeit, twas a really delicious lunch complete with the complimentary bread roll!

More, more!

http://www.thesoupspoon.com/
The Soup Spoon
Raffles City Shopping Centre
Basement 1 Unit 75/76
Sun - Thurs: 10.30am to 10.00pm
Fri-Sat: 10.30am to 10.30pm

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Super Dog @ Downtown East

One of the "new"-er additions in the fastfood scene is SuperDog, a first of its kind of fastfood in SG actually, sans DairyQueen-Orange Julius which offers the regular hotdog/cheesy hotdogs...not sure if they still sell hotdogs though. There's also the famous German stall in Chinatown...and Gogo Franks at Takashimaya and all over the island. That is actually about it, for the hotdog scene here.

Sunk my teeth into the Spicy Italian topped with garlic onions snug in lightly toasted hotdog buns. ($5.80). Found this a little on the salty side, the sausage was oily too! Couldn't really taste the spice in it, just the chopped chilli bits that did not pack a punch, much less an oomph. I'll give them credit for the warm, crunchy toasted bread that went really well with the garlic onions that were rather appetizing. The problem with an overloaded hotdog is...I end up eating it separately, the bread and relish, and finally the sausage.

Nibbled the Bacon Chilli Cheese Dog with fried egg too! ($4.60) This was another huge oily one to handle. Calories, cholesterol...it has it all. The same topping as the Chilli Cheese Fries though. Not a wow I must admit.

Chilli Cheese Fries..($4.20) Superdog's one of the few places that offers Chilli Cheese Fries (with beef!), with Carl's Junior as one of the other alternative. Portions-wise, Superdog already loses...taste? It's just...alright.

Breaded Fish and Chips ($5.80). I quite like this actually! Different from all the salty stuff they've got. The fish is crunchy and not that doused in oil. The chips are similar to the fries...salted ones.

A pricey fastfood affair in all honesty, but a change from the usual Mcdonalds/BurgerKing..Not sure if I'd be back anytime soon though!
Burgers are also available too.


Super Dog

Monday, July 21, 2008

1A Curry Puffs


Curry Puffs are one of the favourite snacks of Singaporeans...and definitely mine too! Reigning in the Curry Puff battle are the couple of kings and queens (in my humble burpworthy opinion); Old Chang Kee, 1A and Polar.

A humble snack that kind of began with simple stuffings like potato or sardine has revolutionalised into curry chicken...chilli crab...durian even! 1A being the most innovative of the lot. 1A's curry puffs are known for the crispy pastry shaped like an ingot.

The curry gravy is somewhat watery...chicken bites are fewer than the potato cubes. However, the pastry is indeed "crispy" as promised.

Maybe I'll give their chilli crab or durian puff a shot next? Or..just stick to OCK.

Prices start from $1.20.



1A Curry Puffs




http://www.1acrispypuffs.com/

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Marmalade Pantry @ Hitachi Tower

Marmalade Pantry once again...with the enjoyable company of Blamer and Leecher! :) Fond memories of the birthday this year at Palais Renaissance and I've been dying to head back there again...intermittently satisfying the cupcake crave with Toast ones, which are actually the same and cost the same. Food-wise, the range is wider and more wholesome at Marmalade Pantry, given Toast is more for tea and quick-lunches.

I've been told Marmalade Pantry at Hitachi has 2 seatings over lunch..12-1pm, 1-2pm..and we sat through 1.5 of that, with waiters interrupting to clear plates, pass you menus for dessert, and briskly clearing your dessert plates..in that order. All in a bid to shoo you off the precious seat for another hungry diner.

I had to go with Ribeye Steak Sandwich with grilled onions, avocado & wasabi mayonnaise ($24) given that I really enjoyed it the first time and it's an all-time favourite for Marmalade fans. Blamer had the same! I'd have to say it's exceptional, even better than the first time I sunk my teeth. The sandwich was huge, generous servings of chips (which I really adore cos' it's not your usual boring crinkle/french fries/potato wedges..reminds me of Kettle chips!) and the salad with balsamic vinegar. Oohlala. I had my steak medium well, juicy and tender...none too tough. Just right. For once I didn't mind the chockfuls of onions in the sandwich...the wasabi mayo could've been stronger but was a really enjoyable and tantalizing treat on the tastebuds! For once, I polished my plate clean, really clean...and I bet I must've surprised them with my huge appetite.

Leecher had Spaghetti Alio Olio with Confit of Pork Neck & Chilli ($20). Presentation was somewhat interesting with the pork neck looking exactly like roast pork, and just 5 pieces of it. Apparently quite good.

What's Marmalade Pantry without their famous desserts?


Cherry Crumble Tart ($6.80)for Leecher, Chocolate Deluxe ($4.20) for Blamer and Limonata ($4) for me! The last two are cupcakes btw. The tart was somewhat like a brick...solid and a little bland. The cherries weren't the juicy kind...nearly preserved. Chocolate Deluxe was as good as it's always been...chewy chocolate, decadence! As for my all time favourite, it was a burst of surprise for the two...zesty, just the way I like it! The cupcakes are so good, they're normally sold out past a certain hour. Ta-pao-ed one and the recipient loved it too! That's the magic of cupcakes...and marmalade pantry.

Service could've been better...but for the food? It's as good as it gets! Pity that the place is bustling and noisy...will be better if it's slightly bigger in space though. Takashimaya's got the space and atas-ambience, somehow the sandwich tasted better in Hitachi Tower.

Definitely will be back...for more! Crab Caesar...Chicken Pot Pie...next! :)

Reservations are highly advised!

http://www.themarmaladepantry.com/
The Marmalade Pantry
#01-04
Hitachi Tower
16 Collyer Quay

6438 5015

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Peach Blossoms @ Marina Mandarin



I've been wanting to visit Peach Blossoms again after a really impressive CNY lunch I had earlier this year. I made my booking 2 weeks in advance..that's how popular Peach Blossoms is! Backed by veteran chef, Eric Yeo who has 27 years of experience upped the expectations! Had the privilege of trying the dimsum ala-carte buffet lunch and here goes;
Marina Mandarin has a very impressive layout to begin with, birds chirping merrily in the cages, open concept of all the rooms, super high ceiling kind of set the mood of an "atas" lunch. Enter Peach Blossoms, it's akin to entering China, complete with the intricate wood designs on the rosewood partitions, ladies clad in high slit cheongsams and tables arranged so exquisitely; yes, the napkins have peach blossoms embroidered on them...enter the land of all things intricate.
The appetizers on the table were tasteful, not your usual boring boiled peanuts or worst still, oily peanuts, it's stewed curd skin with steamed peanuts. Delicious.
Note that all drinks apart from ice/warm water are chargeable, definitely not part of the buffet. We had chrysanthenum tea, low sugar. Such details were taken note of, see the handle of the pot; tagged with the flavour of tea. And kept warm. Thoughtful indeed.

The buffet menu comprises of a 4 pages..of which 1 is dessert...bringing the total savoury items to 31. We tried our best to sample all items at least once...if not twice...or even thrice! ;)

SOUP

Soup of the day -- water cress soup with pork (Left)
I actually loved this! Surprise, surprise! For a cantonese, and a soup lover...(actually only my mom's soups), I hardly take "non-home cooked" soups..and boy, Peach Blossoms actually had me taking two portions of this! Flavourful soup, well marinated pork.
Sweet Corn Soup with minced chicken (Right)
I didn't mind this that much...more like a chinese cream soup.
Wanton Soup with Laver

Normal wanton soup with seaweed. Did not come across as stunning.
Porridge

Porridge with century egg and lean pork

Pathetic meat and egg bits in the congee...
Porridge with fish fillet

I liked this!! Fresh fish chunks in the congee...yummy, two bowls!

Porridge with shredded chicken

Did not fancy this hugely.

Only the fish and lean pork with century egg porridge came with crunchy bits, delicious.
Dim Sum

Har gao (Steamed prawn dumpling with preserved vegetable)
Siew mai (Steamed pork dumpling with fish roe)
A must-eat at every dimsum place. Both certainly did not disappoint in terms of quality of ingredients or taste. We had reorders of this. :)

Steamed Xiao Long Bao with minced pork

The minced pork was not fantastic, the skin of the xiao long bao was thin enough, somehow Crystal Jade's ones are slightly better.

Steamed Barbeque Pork Bun

I found this a tad too sweet for my liking.

Steamed Dumpling with Honshimeiji Mushroom and prawn paste

First impression; struck me as a colourful crystal dumpling wrapped like a money bag. I found the skin too thick.
Steamed Dumpling with Luffa Melon, Black Fungus and Mock Ham

This has a really cute name in chinese " Feng Che Jiao" literally meaning wind car or basically those spinning childhood toys and it really resembled it! A lil salty but I liked the combination of melon, crunchy black fungus and ham.

Steamed Beancurd Skin Roll in Abalone Sauce

Liked this, the beancurd skin was chewy and nice but the abalone sauce tasted just like your usual oyster sauce.

Steamed Yam cake with chinese sausage

Prettifully done, in flower shapes and drizzled generously with sauce. I could taste the diced yam bits and mushroom, delicious.

Steamed Glutinous Rice with minced chicken wrapped in lotus leaf

I've yet to find glutinous rice that wows, and Peach Blossoms kind of disappointed me. Not much of a flavour, just soft sticky rice with chicken and egg.

Steamed Pork Spare Ribs in XO Chilli Sauce

This is a silent killer. Looks so plain and ordinary, tastes SO good. The pork spare ribs are well flavoured and not oily, not too fatty, meaty enough, one word: JANG! (literal cantonese translation: superb!)

Steamed Chicken Feet in Black Bean Sauce

Looked normal and probably tasted normal to me, I didn't dare eat this.
Poached Shrimp and Water Chestnut Wonton with Vinaigrette Chilli Sauce

This presentation was meant to impress, came in a glass...filled with wontons and the vinaigrette sauce. I actually liked it, the sour-spicy flavours that blended really well with the wonton.

Steamed Cheong Fun with Char Siew/ Prawns

Cheong Fun had a good texture, not too chewy nor thin, just right actually. The prawn version was better, between the two.
Fried Carrot Cake in XO Sauce

Not your usual street fried char tao kuay, came with bean sprouts, egg and choy bow (some preserved veg). I did not mind this.

Deep Fried crab meat roll with prawn, dried scallops and onion

Not much of a distinct taste, being so deep fried.

Deep Fried crispy mango and prawn roll

I'd say, the flavours do not really complement each other.

Deep Fried crispy banana and red bean roll

I believe the kitchen made a boo-boo with this, what was placed on the table was... crispy banana and red bean AND prawn roll. Imagine my reaction when I placed this seemingly sweet item into my mouth and I ended up tasting savoury. Really funny taste.

Deep Fried wanton in sweet and sour sauce
Normal...

Deep Fried pastry with prawn and cheese

This curry puff looking pastry bore no hint of cheese, just a salted prawn nested in the mass of pastry.
Baked Egg Tart

Classic cantonese delight, finger licking good! The pastry's flaky, the custard's perfect...hou sek! (meaning yummy!)

DESSERT (Only one per person allowed)

Chilled Puree of Mango with Sago and Lime Sherbet

I tried it over CNY, and this time..it did not disappoint again! Came in a glass orb-like bowl with dry ice, adding that "magical" touch to it. One zesty dessert. The lime sherbet's the bomb. Again and again I'd try if only they did not have a limit per person. :(
Chilled Puree of Pumpkin with Black Glutinous Rice

Suprisingly gooood. The pumpkin hinted of a slight sweet taste, blended in really well with the black glutinous rice.
Chilled Red Bean Cake and Coconut milk

Another dessert surprise from the kitchen! Looked and tasted somewhat like your nyonya kuehs BUT, the red bean layer is mashed red bean, which made it all the more delicious. Hardly you have desserts that are close to its natural form.

Seasonal Fresh Fruits

The presentation was...pretty enough. A platter of strawberries/honeydew/dragonfruit.

Chilled Black Glutinous Rice and icecream

Nothing much to shout about.

Overall, very satisfying with occasional dishes being on the salty end...Refined dimsum is what Peach Blossoms is, rather chinese food with a refined touch. Portions are just right bite-size and not too huge (my main grouse of buffets is, they chuck you normal huge portions and expect you to finish every bit of it...it's a buffet for pete's sake!) PLUS they actually take the initiative to ensure all dishes come in exact quantities that your table; i.e. 4 in a table, 4 of every item.. Brownie points for that!

Presentation was neat and meant to wow, unlike your usual dimsum buffet where presentation's normally slipshod, messy and meant to just stuff in your mouth and next dish! Peach Blossoms takes the effort to present, thumbs up for that! Pity the waiting time in between dishes are a tad too long, makes you feel full rather quickly. And, the waitress totally forgot my list of dishes. :/ Well, that being said..at least the waiters more than made up for the slack service of that particular waitress "P". Generally most waiters/waitresses were smiley and courteous...a service treat!

A minor incident that I brushed aside as..."lack of education" on the part of the management; we requested for "mustard", in all of the dimsum places I've ever eaten they normally provide it correctly, thick chinese mustard. Peach Blossoms is the only place that provided ENGLISH MUSTARD (you did not read it wrongly), english mustard with chinese cuisine, specifically cantonese. I'm not quite sure if I should laugh or cry.
I did a dimsum-count of the dishes we stomached, a grand total of 39. Amazing feat. I'm definitely not complaining! It's been a gastronomical delight, not sure if I wanna repeat the feat anytime soon but I'll be back for the main dishes next! Their wasabi prawns are...divine~

Dim Sum Ala Carte Buffet
1130am -230pm

$26.80++/ pax


Sat/Sun/Public Holiday
Reservations are a must!
Peach Blossoms
Marina Mandarin Hotel
Level 5