Monday, November 30, 2020

Empress Porridge - Delicious, Wholesale and Healthy Meal @ Fusionopolis (above one-north MRT Station) [Singapore]

When I first heard the name,
Empress Porridge, I envisioned the interior design of the shop to embrace the opulence beauty of imperial China with operational staff dressed in attire from the Qing Dynasty, including the wearing of horse-hoof shoes favoured by the empress and consorts.

Well, the staff members wore company tee shirts and the eatery couldn't have been more normal, with Christmas decorations captivating our eyes at the ordering counter. Anyway, it's not my first time trying Empress Porridge although I always purchase from its smaller outlet at NUH Medical Centre.

Menu was limited with just four dishes but I don't deviate from their signature empress porridge! I am not sure if my eyes were playing tricks on me as the portion here at Fusionopolis seemed much larger than the NUH Medical Centre branch. 

Don't be deceived by the plain outlook; give the porridge a stir and you would find, in addition to the braised peanuts and youtian, a lot of other quality stuff like dried scallops, dried shrimps, squid and pork collar! Grains used was a mix of white and brown rice.

I can never pinpoint the porridge style; it neither has that smooth consistency favoured by the Cantonese version nor the overly watery kind typically loved by the Teochews. What it had was a simple, delicious, wholesome flavour all locked into each and every grain; said to be the result of slow cooking! 

It might not be as luxurious as lobster porridge but I would still savor every spoonful put into my mouth until the whole bowl was cleaned out, with the exception of braised peanuts. p.s. the reason why I am a regular patron is because Alex loves Empress Porridge and often asks me to buy a pack for him whenever he works the morning shift on a weekday.

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Address
1 Fusionopolis Place,
Galaxis, #01-15,
Singapore 138522

Operating Hours
Mondays to Fridays - 11.00 am to 2.30 pm
(Closed on Saturdays and Sundays)

Website

Menu 
As above.

Pricing
Empress Porridge - S$5.80

Mei Li Cafe (美丽の小息站) - Your Neighbourhood Cafe @ Yishun Block 729 [Singapore]

I have a pretty routine route nowadays for my almost-daily jogs and there's one eatery I would bypass so frequently; I knew for a fact that it would close on Sundays. Since it's within a few minutes' walk from my flat, I arranged with a friend to check it for lunch on the week I was working from home.

Mei Li Cafe - a hole in the wall dining establishment that many wouldn't have noticed unless they stay around the nieghbourhood. Even I only got to know about it recently despite living in close proximity and the cafe had been operational since May 2019! 

Operating hours are from 6.00 am till 8.00 pm; I wouldn't wake up that early (and it's not the same direction towards the MRT station) to find out what's for sale but I bet you would be able to find prepacked nasi lemak, noodles, cakes, kuehs and sandwiches placed on a table outside the cafe. 

Place was cramped with tables to accommodate two groups not comprising more than four people each. Extra tables can be placed outside although I doubt it would help to alleviate the space crunch. 

Menu as above; selling mainly finger food (fries, waffles, instant noodles with options to add egg, luncheon meat and / or hotdog) to accommodate likely the nearby junior college, primary and seconday schools, I was more interested in their daily special set which changes according to the friendly owner.


Special Set
- on the day of our visit, it's the braised chicken set! 

Cabbage tasted just like my mom's cooking style and as some friends are aware, my mom cooks real well. Pity her son me didn't have the patience to train under her. Braised chicken was fresh, featuring the most desirable portion with meat that had a tender texture. 

It's sad, however, that it didn't taste braised enough and both my friend and I found it too bland for our liking. A fellow diner seemed to share our thought and asked the owner why she didn't make curry chicken that day! By the way, rice is refillable! 

Waffle with Ice Cream - 
Thankfully, we had the foresight to order this as dessert! If you are expecting those thick waffle from most ice cream parlours, brace yourself as this one from Mei Li Cafe was more the thinner kind you can get from Prima Deli, with just an extra scoop of ice cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce.

I actually like the fluffiness inside and the crispiness on the outside, and the chocolate chip ice cream we had didn't taste like those cheapo ones you get sometimes from some shops. At S$3.50, this would also be affordable for me to treat Jovyn on the days she would come over to my house for stayovers. 

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Address 
Block 729, Yishun Street 71, 
#01-107, Singapore 760729

Operating Hours
6.00 am till 8.00 pm
(Closed on Sundays)

Pricing
Special Set - S$7.90
Waffles with Ice Cream - S$3.50

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Chub TuTu Kueh (胖嘟嘟) - Interesting Flavours Available @ Yishun Block 759 [Singapore] #chubtutusg

It was out of nowhere, literally. I was cutting past a few housing blocks to get to a supermarket when I chanced upon these shops at the void deck of a HDB flat. In the past, they would likely be convenience stores to serve the dwellers around the estate but this particular one stood out.

I was drawn to the kueh tutu banner in the middle store and upon a closer look, it's not the typical kueh tutu we are accustomed to seeing in Singapore. Aside from traditional peanut, coconut, gula melaka, you can find exotic fillings like mentaiko, avocada, mars, carbonara ham, durian etc!

The first time I walked past, I was with Jovyn and balked at the pricing although the Haig Road Putu Piring at Northpoint was even more expensive at just 4 for S$3.50. Hence, I returned recently when the mothership furor had died down and there wasn't a queue.

While there are three price tiers, you can mix and match so long you are within the same tier. So here's our pack of kueh tutus comprising of two coconuts, two gula melaka and one peanut!

Always have your kueh tutus piping hot as the texture would be optimal for indulging right after they were taken out from the steamer! I couldn't resist and, together with my friend, found a nearby table so that we can start eating them immediately.

Compared to other kueh tutu stalls, this is definitely one of the better ones, probably just ranked second to the putu piring at Haig road hawker centre. It was aromatic with a higher filling - rice flour ratio and each kueh tutu seemed a bit larger than those you found in the market; maybe that's why the stall was named chub tutu.  

Texture wasn't as soft as haig road putu piring and I must admit that the sprinkling of freshly grated coconut meat on the putu piring at haig road is a an incredibly nice touch. We were more in love with the coconut and gula melaka fillings; the operator was so generous with the "liao" and quality wasn't compromised. As these were had after lunch, we didn't want to risk our waistline by getting more. 

Honestly, with the price point, I am not optimistic that the shop can survive at the current location, where residents are quite price sensitive knowing that rent is likely to be low. I can only hope that their bulk orders / live stations would be high enough for the shop to remain at its present address so that it's more convenient for me!

=====

Address
Block 759, Yishun Street 72, 
#01-298, Singapore 760759

Map
As above.

Website

https://chubtutusg.com/

Menu
As above.

Pricing
Kueh Tutu (Classic Mix) - S$3.00 for five pieces. 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Moo Story Mookata - Set Menu A (Platter for 2) @ Yishun (Opposite Safra) [Singapore] #mookata

A friend had cancelled me twice for mookata and my craving for it finally peaked a few days ago; I told myself I die-die must have my mookata! As I was working from home, somewhere near would be beneficial and a search on the web brought me to Moo Story which had a rating of 5.0 amongst 37 reviewers on Google!

Immediately after 6pm, I popped out of my house, strolled over to the block opposite Yishun Safra, took a look at the menu and within minutes, ordered the set menu a (platter for 2). Maybe because it was a Wednesday, the place wasn't as crowded as expected. 

For S$29.90, I think we got quite a decent set with vegetables, meat and seafood. At Thai Hao Chi Mookata, the set was pricier although I think the portion was also larger. Actually, I am not as picky as most importantly is the taste. 

Most important ingredient; the pork lard! It's nothing now but wait till it's charred and crispy; an absolutely delightful "snack" to indulge in at the end of the meal.

Vegetable platter - a mix of cabbage, sweet corn, mushrooms, carrots, kangkong, egg and tang hoon. Not my focus anyway as I am a meat eater when it comes to bbq / steamboat.

Meat platter - dory fish, squid, prawns, salmon, hotdog, crab stick, marinated pork, marinated chicken and pork belly. You know what I am looking for to? The chicken and pork as the Thai marination is always so addictive! I would normally order extra servings but since it's my first time, better play safe.

The two types of chilli; the right one was spicier. I think it's essential to have chilli as a dip for the grilled meat and the best one I had so far was the garlic chilli dip from this family seafood at Bangkok! Since we can't travel now, I would have to settle with the ones we have in Singapore.

Grilling in progress! Even though the vessel was gas-powered; the good thing is that the pan was non-stick which means you don't have to grapple with an increasingly burnt pan as time goes by. Only issue was that you don't get that deep-set smoky flavour typical of charcoal barbecue. 

Throwing in the mama instant mee (chargeable at S$1.00 a pack) at almost the end of our session. Compared to plain, white rice, I have a deep affection for instant noodle and the mama tom yum mee is one of my favourite!

While we managed to clean up literally everything that's edible, I am actually not 100% positive in my review. Ingredients were fresh, including the salmon and I do not have any complaint except for the second most important ingredient, the marinated meat. They tasted more like marination in the Korean style and if I want Korean bbq, I would have visited I'm Kim Korean BBQ.

=====

Address
661 Yishun Ave 4, #01-431, 
Singapore 760661

Map
As above.

Menu
As above.

Pricing
Set Menu A (For 2) - S$29.90
Instant Mee - S$1.00
(Nett)

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Queen Street Goreng Pisang (Fried Banana) - 四马路炸香蕉 @ Albert Centre Hawker Centre (Bugis) [Singapore] #albertcentrehawkercentre #vegetarian

Come to think about it, there are actually quite a number of hawker stalls selling Chinese-style goreng pisang in Singapore although in my humble opinion, none could meet the high standard of the legendary lim kee so far. 

This didn't stop me from exploring further and today, I am going to review the Queen Street Goreng Pisang at Bugis' Albert Centre Hawker Centre. As I do visit the famous guanyin temple at Bugis from time to time, I am aware of this stall and had in fact tried the fried bananas a long time ago. 

As with goreng pisang stalls nowadays, they no longer just concentrate on fried bananas. You can also find fried sweet potato, green bean, tapioca, yam, durian etc. I am traditional; the fried banana is always top on the list. 

Fried Banana - batter is crusty and quite thin; you could almost see the banana hidden within! This would appeal to those who dislike having too much batter (flour). For me, it's a mixed feeling as it's the batter that enhances the flavour of having just banana and if it's too thin; I think I am better off eating banana that's freshly peeled. 


Price varies for the banana, ranging from S$1.00 to S$2.50, depending on the size and the one I had would fall in the mid-range as it cost S$1.50. Taste wise, it's sweet with a mushy texture; sure didn't disappoint although price wise, still a bit pricier than the
toa payoh's one.  

2-in-1
- at first look, it's hard not to mistaken this as fried sweet potato. 

Especially with the above thickness, but this was a version of the popular 3-in-1 which commonly featured near year cake (nian gao) sandwiched with sweet potato and yam. Why was it named as 2-in-1 then? Because its main ingredients are just sweet potato and new year cake! 

While the texture of the sweet potato was too hard for my liking and lacked the sweetness, it was a different story for the nian gao in the middle; mochi like with a soft, melty texture that didn't stick to my teeth. 

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Address
271 Queen Street, 
#01-46, Albert Centre Food Centre,
Singapore 180271

Map
As above.

Menu
As above.

Pricing
Fried Banana - S$1.50
2-in-1 - S$1.20 

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