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. 

=====

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

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Loo's Hainanese Curry Rice - Since 1946 @ 71, Seng Poh Road (Across Tiong Bahru Hawker Centre) in Singapore

Tiong Bahru is a place I am quite familiar with but it never fails to surprise me with the trove of good food found in the neighbourhood. On the recommendation of my younger sister, I decided to check out Loo's Hainanese Curry Rice; a popular eatery with a history of over 70 years.

Reading that the queue can be insane, I purposely went on the tail-end of the lunch hour. My wait was only about twenty minutes although the stress came from the wait for a table which you have to secure yourself by standing menacingly next to diners who were about to finish their meal.

Publicity materials like newspaper articles, accolades etc attracted my attention and I was so looking forward to my meal. That is rare given that curry rice's main component is a carbohydrate which I have always wanted to reduce! 

Taken after I had made my order; as mine was for three persons, the friendly staff members would serve the dishes of food to our table later. As I was late in arriving, some of the items like deep fried prawns were already sold out. 

First thing on the table; the plates of plain rice drenched with the signature curry gravy said to be made over three days! Lazy people like me wouldn't even consider trying to make it myself. Too much time taken and it would be easier for me to just eat direct at the eatery. 

Mom with all our dishes displayed in front of her! I was thinking of ordering more; however, I would still want to leave some stomach space for desserts at the super near Tiong Bahru Hawker Centre.

Fried Egg
- its old school-ness (crispy edges, gooey yolk and black sauce) enticed me to order as it would be the perfect companion for the rice despite the fact that my mom would likely say she can probably fry me the same kind of egg at home! 

Cabbage
- I love soggy cabbage that still packed a crunch! This was not bad even though I thought it would benefit from a deeper flavour to make it more memorable. 

Squid
- seeing quite a number of diners ahead of me asking for me, I jumped on the bandwagon too! It was a fine piece of squid; solid without being rubbery! Even my mom, who wore dentures, was happy with the texture and flavour. 

Hainanese Pork Chop
- personally, I never quite like this traditional dish as they were often too thick for my liking and the taste was honestly unimpressive. This was different; the tomato-like gravy was tasty, the meat was sliced pretty thin and the batter didn't result in the cloying effect often encountered at other competitors! 

Mixing all the good stuff into the rice and having hell of a great time ingesting everything! Gravy was piquant and a tad spicy; absolutely delicious with the exception of one problem. It's insufficient and I was craving for much more to drench over parts of my white rice that had yet to turn orange! 

Slurp! Looking forward to my next visit! 

=====

Address
71 Seng Poh Rd, #01-49, 
Singapore 160071

Map
As above. 

Operating Hours
8.00 am to 2.45 pm
(Closed on Thursdays)

Pricing
Everything in the picture except for the mineral water; S$20.50 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Feng Taiwanese Food - Winner for Singapore Food Masters 2018 and 2019 @ Northpoint City Mall [Yishun, Singapore] #northpoint

Feng Food, offering Taiwanese cuisine, started operations at
Yishun's Northpoint City Mall for almost three years and I had never once patronized it until I started noticing, after the circuit breaker (to counter the spread of COVID-19), the queue outside the eatery. 

Finally got to arrange for an early lunch with my mom to check out the restaurant and the first things that caught my attention on the menu were the Singapore Food Masters logos! In the past when I still had a car, I would actually purposely seek out the nominated eateries listed on the annual Singapore Food Masters. 

With just two of us, I can't be too liberal with our order; hence, just five items of which two were beverages. I love such order list where the chef recommendation labels were clearly indicated next to the food / drink. 

Taiwanese Roselle Tea
and Brown Sugar Caramel Pearl Milk Tea - hot one for mom whereas I would continue to pretend to be the youngling craving for sweet stuff. No much to complain about the roselle tea which had a strong fruity sourness. My milk tea was bland in the beginning until I realized I forgot to stir up the brown sugar on the bottom! So delicious although some pearls were too hard; p.s. expect a sugar high. 

Hakka Style Braised Meat Rice
- nowadays, loroufan is something I can't resist not ordering whenever I am at a Taiwanese restaurant! Provided it's on the menu of course. 

From its appearance, there didn't seem to be any difference from the luroufan I had elsewhere although it's labelled as a hakka-style. A lot of expectations here for a winner of Singapore Food Masters 2018 and 2019.

It didn't impress as I always like my braised meat rice to veer on the sweeter side; the meat here was more savoury with a relatively stronger pork flavour. A pity as well that the preserved vegetables failed to work up an appetite, as they usually would. 

Moon Shape Prawn Cake
- I guess many people would wonder if this would be an equivalent to the Crispy Golden Prawn Pancake at Din Tai Feng when they saw it on the menu. It's incomparable as the one at Din Tai Feng is just epic! 

This one from Feng Food had other fillers like carrots and likely flour. And did you did realize that it's obviously not moon-shaped?! Nonetheless, there's one element that stood out from Din Tai Feng's version; the accompanying chilli dip which was chockablock full of garlic and sugar with a dash of vinegar! Darn, I think this chilli would go well with most things! 

Guan Mian Noodles Soup with Marinated Pork Chop
- I was keen to try both the interesting looking guan mian noodle (specialty of Taiwan's Tainan area) and the pork chop and this option gave me the best of both worlds! 

Now, this special noodle had a unique wavy shape and said to be handmade using traditional sun drying method with no added coloring and preservatives. To the untrained taste buds like mine, unfortunately, it tasted like mee hoon kueh and which is not the kind of noodles I like. Broth was also too light for my liking. 

Marinated pork chop was lightly seasoned even though the highlight was more the tenderness of the meat which was optimally fried without the toughness. And of course, they went so well with the chilli dip! p.s. I requested for extra from the service staff member, who happily obliged. 

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What we had were just a fraction of what were available on the menu and while I wasn't too impressed with the luroufan and the guanmian noodle (soup); the food were quite reasonably priced with good service. You bet I would be there soon, to check out other dishes! 

Address
930 Yishun Avenue 2, #B1-156, 
Northpoint City Mall (South Wing),
Singapore 769098

Facebook Page

Order List
As above. 

Pricing
Taiwanese Roselle Tea - S$3.00
Brown Sugar Caramel Pearl Milk Tea - S$3.90
Hakka Style Braised Meat Rice - S$9.00
Moon Shape Prawn Cake - S$11.00
Guan Mian Noodles Soup with Marinated Pork Chop - S$12.20
(Subject to GST. No Service Charge)

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