Monday, October 14, 2019

Shui Kway / Chwee Kueh (自制水粿) @ Sembawang Hills Food Centre [Singapore] #sembawanghillshawkercentre

In usual circumstances, i am not that motivated to have my meal at Sembawang Hills Food Centre since the famous Causuarina Curry is just a short distance away. However, i didn't have a choice last Sunday as dad needed to eat vegetarian and the prata place didn't have any available vegetarian set.

I was almost tempted to get a simple toast for my father when i noticed a stall offering homemade chwee kueh! If memory serves me well, i remember chwee kueh (or shui kway as the stall prefers to call it) is a vegetarian dish made of flour and preserved radish.

Even though i don't crave much for chwee kueh, the ones in Chong Pang are Alex's favourite and i would steal a bite or two whenever he asks me to buy a pack of 8 pieces for his breakfast. To me, i always feel that the sweetened preserved radish played a darn important role.

Hence, i was thinking of doing the same with my dad's breakfast; just one bite to determine if the food is good, especially when it has the tagline "homemade" on the signboard and there's a decent queue when i was there.

Sadly, it was a disappointment. The texture of the steamed flour pudding was not bouncy and soft and the chai po (preserved radish), with its miraculous ability to super enhance the palatability, failed to impress with its bland taste and lack of crunchiness. Guess i must make a mental note never to bring Alex here.

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Address
590 Upper Thomson Rd,
#01-16, Singapore 574419

Map

As above.

Prices
6 Pieces - S$2.10

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Tua Pek Kong Temple (Vihara Budhi Bhakti Temple) in 2019 @ Nagoya District, Batam Island [Indonesia] #tuapekkongtemplebatam

I was deliberating if i should have a post on the oldest Chinese temple in Batam as i had done up a rather comprehensive entry right here in this blog four years ago! Alas, i couldn't resist being trigger happy and guess it may not be a bad thing to provide a pictorial update.

That archway was new with construction still ongoing even though i had no idea how that area looked like in 2015. From the look of it, entry fees for vehicles might be imposed to enter the temple's compound.

An interesting looking cat; its eyes were so hypnotizing! 

Photographs taken of the tua pek kong temple. Things didn't seem to change much over the years and you may actually refer to the post here for more information about the temple. 

The patron deity remained largely overshadowed by the bigger qilin (mythological Chinese creature) and i continued to be marvelled by the gigantic candles placed on the floor! 

Outdoors, where i noticed a great wall lookalike surrounding the temple. An interesting feature of this religious abode is its abundance of photo opportunities, given the many statues dotted all over the place.

Just a limited few; you can find more in my 2015 post here

I had a great time taking photos of the kids; especially loving the one with Jovyn mimicking the pig, Zhu Bajjie, from the Journey of the West. She failed in her depiction as her tummy was nowhere the size of the pig! p.s. just to be clear, she willingly posed for the picture! 

Buddhist Hall behind the main Taoist temple! An imposing structure, the decoration within was a lot simpler, with a quieter environment. Check out my separate posting here.  

The wait for me while i explored the "great wall".

Even if you are no Taoist / Buddhist, i would still recommend you drop by the temple. Of course, you can be respectful and take photos with the statues. However, the compound also houses some food stalls with the most popular selling kuehs, prawn fritters etc; definitely a good place for breakfast! 

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Address
Address Lubuk Baja Kota, Lubuk Baja, 
Batam City, Riau Islands 29444, Indonesia

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Roast Paradise (烧味天堂) - Good, Caramelised Char Siew with Not Oily Chicken Rice @ Old Airport Road Hawker Centre [Singapore] #soshiokpork #roastparadise #oldairportroadhawkercentre

Roast Paradise (烧味天堂) has been on my to-eat list for quite some time but i didn't manage to try it the past few times i was at Old Airport Road Hawker Centre as everything was either sold out or that the stall had closed for the day.

Hence, i specially made use of my half day away from work last Wednesday to patronize the stall and was ecstatic to find it still open for business with plenty of their signature char siew on display!

The menu was a tad confusing and i zeroed in to the char siew + roast pork rice combo! I figured that since there's no queue; i might as well take the opportunity to try their roast pork (known as siu yoke) too.

Ta-dah; not much wait as i was first in line! As a fellow colleague had advised, going after the peak lunch hours is so much better! p.s. i arrived at close to 3pm on a Wednesday afternoon.

Notice anything strange? Aside from the saucer of chilli sauce, there's another one filled with dark char siew sauce! For char siew sauce lovers, it's like being hit with tons of love emojis! However, the happiness was also mixed with sadness as there didn't appear to be much meat...

Roast pork was cooked to a crisp and retained much of the meat's juiciness! The crunchy skin was a tad salty but it wouldn't be an issue if you have them with the rice which was our typical chicken rice; one that's not oily yet incredibly flavourful. One of the few occasions where i contemplated asking for a second bowl of rice!

Char siew was the real reason i made this special trip down to old airport road and it sure didn't disappoint with its extra caramelised outer layer protecting the tender meat within! While the portion wasn't big, it was sliced thickly which helped ensure a satisfying bite in every mouthful. The char siew was good on its own but dip it into the special char siew sauce (it tasted really different from your common char siew sauce) for that additional oomph! 

With so many good food i was already craving for whenever i am at Old Airport Road Hawker Centre, it doesn't help for me to add Roast Paradise (烧味天堂) to the list! How to prioritize my tummy like that?!

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Address
51 Old Airport Rd, #01-121,
Singapore 390051

Map
As above.

Operating Hours
Tuesdays to Saturdays - 11.30 am to 6.00 pm
Sundays - Until 5.30 pm
(While stock lasts)

Prices
Char Siew + Roast Pork Rice - S$5.50

Thursday, October 10, 2019

食香阁 - Shanxi Chinese Cuisine @ Bishan Cafeteria (Above Bishan Bus Interchange) in Singapore #食香阁 #bishancafeteria #shixiangge

For the longest time ever, I am aware that there's this particular non-air-conditioned food court above Bishan bus interchange. I made one feeble attempt to check it out many years ago and walked out empty handed.

This time is different as the Great Kon had given a strong endorsement to one of the stalls in Bishan Cafeteria and since it's pretty near to Singapore Heart Foundation (where i had to take a CPR + AED course); i decided to go there for lunch.

食香阁 - among all the stalls on the level, it's hard to miss it as it draws the longest queue despite having the pager system in place for diners to collect their food once it's ready. Hence, what you see is merely a line of people waiting to order their food!

Pay, take your order slip with the queue no and wait for your number to appear on the LED number panel. The queue for collection is said to take longer than 20 minutes during peak hours on weekdays. Heng i went on a Saturday.

Waiting like the rest. Anyway, i understand that the chef (owner) used to work for crystal jade restaurants and had over 20 years of experience, with specialization in la mian!

There's only one stomach and i can only try so much; presenting to you the beef la mian (牛肉拉面) and the meat bun (肉夹馍)! The Great Kon's favourite is the noodle with intestines but as i don't take internal organs; i had to make do with the alternatives.

Beef La Mian - broth was light with a peppery tinge and while the slices of beef were not as tough as expected; they are not quite the kind of beef i enjoy. The best from this dish actually caught me by surprise as i am not exactly a big fan; the handmade la mian (noodles) which tasted extremely good! I couldn't help inhaling them (coupled with loud slurping noise) until i had to stop myself given my carbo-restricted diet!

Meat Bun - I had to stop taking in more noodles as there's still the meat bun!

How should i describe this meat bun? It's definitely not the meat bun we are accustomed to seeing in Singapore and instead of steamed, soft dough, the holder of the meat appeared to be more pastry / naan like.

Filled with a generous amount of diced braised pork, the taste was interestingly similar to kong ba bao that's less sweet and you get a crunch (and flakes) from the drier pancake pastry. Personally, i am all for kong ba bao, especially the epic ones from Westlake!

At S$3.50 apiece, i also thought it was quite pricey.

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While i wasn't totally blown away by what i had at 食香阁, the fact that there's so many Chinese nationals in the queue say a lot about its authenticity. I might not go for their beef la mian again but i am actually keen to try their minced meat la mian and tomato with egg shaved noodle!

Address
17 Bishan Place 579842 Bishan Pl,
Corner of Bishan Cafeteria,
Singapore 579842

Map
As above.

Menu
As above.

Pricing 
Beef La Mian (牛肉拉面)  - S$5.00
Meat bun (肉夹馍) - S$3.50
[NETT]

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