Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Pa Bul Lo Korean Charcoal BBQ - Skip the BBQ @ Serangoon Garden [Singapore]

Do you believe in fate? I do as I personally feel that things happen for a reason and fate did determine that we arrived a tad late to check out a popular eatery at Serangoon Garden. 

With plenty of hungry diners ahead of us, it was decided unanimously we would proceed to another restaurant a few doors away; Pa Bul Lo Korean Charcoal BBQ.

It's always great to be served chilled water at proper Korean restaurants, at no charge! Anyway, though the name of the restaurant has a charcoal BBQ in it, the griddle in front of us was obviously gas-powered. Turned out the meat were partially-grilled over charcoal in the kitchen first; not an issue for me since I have the tendency to burn the meat. 

Despite the bottle of cold water, my friends saw the need to order a bottle of Makgeolli for sharing. Alcohol drink is a must whenever I meet up with these two secondary school friends and they (both ladies) are much better in holding their liquor! 

Completed our ordering and here comes the side dishes, including the condiments and lettuce for our BBQ meat, and the sauce for the pancake. What did I like the most from the side dishes? Definitely the tangy sliced radishes! I think I asked for refill at least twice! 

Pa Bulgogi Beef
- at S$52.00 a serving (about 360g), it was pricey! I found the presentation pleasing though given the huge chunk of shredded spring onions. Boy, I felt healthier already! 

Sadly, the bulgogi wasn't amazing, at least for me, to command such a high price. Indeed, it was slightly different with a heavy dose of pepper but I think my pocket would better appreciate the S$6.50 bulgogi beef at Hwang's Korean Restaurant @ NUS University Town instead. 

Kochujang Pork Belly
- similar to Pa Bulgogi Beef, this was served with a heap of shredded spring onions! 

There was, again, that strong peppery taste, in addition to the spiciness from the kochujang. To be frank, it was a refreshing twist for the taste buds although as with Pa Bulgogi Beef, the steeper price was hard to stomach for a poor man like I! 

Sundubu Jjigae with Rice
- I have never liked Korean Spicy Soft Tofu Stew as the taste was usually watered down and loaded with too much spiciness. The one here at Pa Bul Lo was a far cry from what I used to have.

The soup had a thick consistency and was chockfull of flavours from the sea! The tofu was silky soft and I actually craved for plain rice to better enjoy the broth with the tofu. One word; shiok! 

Seafood Pancake
- the Korean style pancake is one dish I love to order for sharing and I thought I have eaten enough of them that nothing would surprise me anymore, until I took a bite of the above.

Meat on the thin and crispy pancake was exclusively octopus and instead of a salty, soy sauce based dip, it was sweet and went perfectly with the pancake! I can't wait to return to have another bite of the seafood pancake! 

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It was a satisfying meal for me, given that the two ladies didn't have a big stomach! However, my eyes still popped a bit when I received the bill. The next time I drop by, it would likely be just Sundubu Jjigae with Rice and Seafood Pancake. Should I continue to feel hungry, it would be a short walk to Chomp Chomp hawker centre! 

Address
63 Serangoon Garden Way, 
Singapore 555959

Map
As above. 

Menu
As above.

Pricing
Pa Bulgogi Beef - S$52.00
Kochujang Pork Belly - S$38.00 
Sundubu Jjigae with Rice - S$13.00
Seafood Pancake - S$22.00
Makgeolli - S$25.00
(Subject to GST and Service Charge)

Monday, October 26, 2020

The Move Out - for My Beloved Books

It's been almost 5 years since I moved out of my parents' flat but as their house is always there and no rental charge would be imposed; there are still a lot of things that I continued to keep there. For example, the tons of books, photo albums and personal mementos.

Contrary to popular beliefs, I love to read and had amassed quite a bit of books, especially from authors like Matthew Reilly, Jeffrey Archer and even the very localised Neil Humphreys. There were more by other authors but given the space constraints within my 3-room flat; sacrifices are necessary. 

One book series I couldn't afford donating would be the Crayon Shin Chan manga! That main Japanese comic character (and his family) provided me with much laughter when my spirits were low and I remember anticipating the new volume whenever I walked past the newspaper vendor. A must-keep! 

So many books and there's no way I could haul them back to the house without a car. Thank goodness for the large luggage bag! You can never imagine how convenient it is; via this mode, I had moved my collection of Absolut Vodka bottles and even my precious piggy banks! 

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Briyani 47 - The Mutton Briyani That Caught Me By Surprise @ Yishun Block 343 [Singapore]

Today, I am going to write about a stall located within a coffee shop that's nowhere visible from the main road; I myself didn't know about it until I happened to jog past one bloody hot afternoon via the sheltered linkways all over Yishun! 

I noticed a nasi briyani stall there with the name 47 and coincidentally shortly after, a friend shared about it with me on Facebook. Decided to finally check it out and was surprised to find a queue! In the two times that I jogged past, there was no queue but then; the signboard was switched off so it's highly likely they were already sold out for the day.

Queued for fifteen minutes and I managed to secure the last second serving of Nasi Briyani (Mutton). Chicken was already sold out and the fish was running fast. Boy, I didn't know the foods were such hot property, especially when it opened only at 11.30am and things were already running out before 2.00pm! After which, I also saw many customers who came and left, with disappointment written on their faces. 

From the look of it, I really didn't understand the fuss at first. No papadum and gravy was given and it sure looked a bit dry and plain with the pickled cucumbers-carrot mix, giving it some needed cosmetic. All things changed when I took my first bite.

Mutton was properly diced up and mixed in with the basmati rice that was so aromatic due to the deep fried onions; the meat was tender with just a bit of fat and it sure didn't overwhelm the taste buds. Most importantly, it was boneless! The lack of gravy, thought to be thoughtless at first, turned out to be a blessing in disguise as each chunk of mutton was already coated with curry and was flavourful on its own! You absolutely don't need that extra bowl of gravy to up the palatability.

For that extra oomph, mix in each spoonful with a bit of the pickled vegetables. Sweet, crunchy and not as spicy as its colours implied. As you can see, there's almost nothing left on my tray after 15 minutes! p.s. the portion is generous for just S$6.50 and to me, it's also placed higher on the taste ladder compared to the nearby Bismi Briyani (Lamb Chop) at Yishun Park Hawker Centre.

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Address
Block 343, Yishun Avenue 11,
Within The Traditional Taste Coffeeshop,
Singapore 760343

Map
As above.

Menu
As above.

Pricing
Mutton Briyani - S$6.50 

Friday, October 23, 2020

The Larder Cafe - Revisited in 2020 @ Toa Payoh Central [Singapore] #thelardercafe

I reviewed The Larder Cafe more than three years ago; while my friends and I had a great time there, it was only recently that I decided to pay it a visit with another friend whom I owed a treat to. Can't blame me for this delayed patronage as Toa Payoh had too many choices when it comes to good food! 

Three years passed and I didn't think things have changed much as far as decor is concerned. It was still as cosy as I last remembered and if not for the queue of hungry diners beside me at the alfresco dining area; I would have stayed even longer.

Anyway, I was adamant in trying something new with my friend and we decided on the monthly special (lamb rack), BBQ pork ribs and charcoal waffle with two scoops of ice cream! 

BBQ Pork Ribs
- came recommended by the waiter, I would say this was satisfying with a delectable marination and meat that easily fell off the bones. Was it better than sticky bones at Morgansfield? Nope, it's not yet there.

I was more addicted to the truffle fries. Served crispy and hot from the boiling oil, it's hard to resist the alluring truffle aroma! Darn, I really should cut down on French fries; being indulging quite a bit recently as Jovyn would ask me to buy a pack from McDonald's for her every week!  

Lamb Rack
- this was exactly how it was depicted on the menu; sauté potatoes, ratatouille and lamb chop with mint chimichurri (sauce for grilled meat). What took me aback was the portion as I didn't expect the portion to be so little for a dish that cost S$35! 

For someone who dislikes potatoes in general, except for fries, the sliced sauté potatoes were delicious with seasoning that elevated them on the palatability ladder. Ratatouille was alright; it sure didn't elicit the pupil-dilating, fireworks-popping animation expressed by Ego in the Ratatouille movie

Despite its disappointing portion, the saving grace was that we paid for good quality lamb chops that were well cooked to a lips-smacking good tenderness! It had been a while that I had such enjoyable lamb chops since Mary Had a Little Lamb from the now-closed buckaroo.

Charcoal Waffle with Two Scoops of Ice Cream
- the waffle I had at The Larder Cafe the previous round was good and while I would have gone for the same this time; we opted for charcoal waffle instead. 

With two scoops of classic ice cream; my friend requested for triple chocolate whereas I went with mexican vanilla. Poor him didn't know I am not a huge fan of chocolate ice cream but well; not a huge fan doesn't equate to hating it! I can still eat.

No complaint about the ice cream; the charcoal waffle was way fluffier than the buttermilk waffle I had the first time. The exterior had a thin, crisp layer; my personal preference would like an even thicker layer of crispiness. 

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Address
Block 177, Toa Payoh Central,
#01-124, Singapore 310177 
(Near Toa Payoh MRT Station)

Map 
As above.

Operating Hours
11.00 am to 10.00 pm
(Closed on Mondays)

Website

Pricing
BBQ Pork Ribs - S$35.00
Lamb Rack - S$18.90
Charcoal Waffle with Two Scoops of Ice Cream - S$13.00
(NETT; No GST; No Service Charge)

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Seng Kee Local Delights - Hokkien Mee @ Lau Pa Sat Hawker Centre [Singapore]

Surrounded by towering skyscrapers, the historical Lau Pa Sat is a unique landmark at Singapore's central business district that I actually seldom visit despite my love for hawker centres!

What shocked me, when I dropped by last Saturday, was the sheer number of empty stalls! Serving mainly the office crowd, I was totally expecting a much reduced lunch crowd but to see stalls devoid of signboards and kitchen equipment made me sad; hard not to associate it with the damaging impact from the pandemic. 

Since I can't rely on queue to determine the popularity of the stall (given the pathetic number of diners), I searched on internet and found out that quite a number of blogs recommended Seng Kee Local Delights.

Cooked by a young chap, I am apprehensive on whether this plate of hokkien mee would taste decent although I was taken aback by the price of this meal. It cost a hefty S$6.00 and that's the minimum; I don't think I have ever paid more than S$4.00 for a plate of hokkien mee at a hawker centre! 

Stingy me proceeded to check what went into this S$6.00 plate of hokkien mee; quite a lot of eggs, there were pieces of squid and also two decent-sized prawns. Initial one-word conclusion: expensive! 

Surprisingly, the noodle was palatable with an addictive wok-hei flavour that's further enhanced when I mixed in the aromatic sambal chilli. The strands of yellow and thick bee hoon noodle would, however, benefit from a longer soak in the broth to tenderize their texture  

Final, many-word conclusion: frankly quite a large portion and decent tasting despite the touristy pricing. I think it would be good for sharing if you are bringing along your foreign friends and would be ordering other local dishes. 

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Address
18 Raffles Quay, 
Stall #10, Lau Pa Sat,
Singapore 048582

Map
As above.

Menu
As above. Sorry that the pricing for the dishes was noticeable. Generally, the minimum is S$6.00 with the exception of fried kway teow, and carrot cake, which started at S$4.00.

Pricing
Hokkien Mee - S$6.00

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