Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Pin Xiang 品香 - Fried Oyster Omelette @ Chong Pang Hawker Centre in Yishun [Singapore] #pinxiang #oysteromelette #chongpanghawker

I was quite happy with the char kway teow ordered from Pin Xiang 品香 a few months ago and since we were thinking of getting something to share between family members; I suggested getting a plate of fried oyster omelette.

Costing just S$5.00, I didn't like the presentation as it appeared more like diced-up omelette without much crispiness; which would be the style I personally enjoy. Nonetheless, seeing might be believing but eating is a huge determinant when it comes to food.

Surprisingly, the strong oyster flavour hit me when I took my first bite and while I don't like oyster per se; the rich taste of the sea enticed me to take another bite, and yet another one before the pager beeped to tell me that my satay was ready for collection

Each piece was actually crispy on the outside and soft in the inside; the combination was perfect and retained a much needed balance between crispiness and gooeyness (due to the potato starch). And what goes well with the oyster omelette? The saucer of sour, spicy chilli sauce! 

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Address
Block 104, Yishun Ring Rd,
#01-143, Chong Pang Hawker Centre,
Singapore 760104

Map

As above.

Operating Hours
9.30 am to 9.30 pm
(Closed on Wednesdays)

Menu
As above.

Pricing
Fried Oyster Omelette - S$5.00

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The Dark Gallery Cafe - Discover the Dark @ Ngee Ann City [Orchard, Singapore]

Despite having a full lunch at The Sushi Bar, there would always be room for desserts, and conveniently located just a few floors below the Japanese restaurant was The Dark Gallery! The name didn't register in my mind even though I frequently passed by its original store whenever I was at Millenia Walk! 

Although famed for its chocolate selection, I am actually not that obsessed with chocolates. Most importantly, we just needed a space to sit, relax and mingle while having a slice of cake, waffle for sharing, and hot drinks. 

Delish looking cakes; now that I do bake every now and then, I think it's about time for me to go through some official training for cake decoration and piping so that I can save on buying cakes in the future! 

Ice cream and yes, we did see some dark-coloured shades there that consisted of chocolate ice cream with cocoa level that went as high as an intense 88%! Non chocolate lovers would be assured to know there were other types like sweet strawberry, red velvet, caramel latte, Japanese macha etc. 

Available toppings for your ice cream as above! 

Got a table and seats! For a cafe called the dark gallery, the atmosphere was not sinister and darkness didn't seem be the mainstay or focus in the interior design. Maybe I expected too much from a name. Whatever the case, let's now draw your attention to the desserts.

Signature Dark Chocolate Cake - covered with a 66% dark chocolate mousse, it didn't taste as strong of bitter chocolate as anticipated even though I was more disappointed with the dense texture of the sponge cake. Was it bad? No, it wasn't. Would I order again in the future? Nope.

Single Origin Mocha - forgot about the drinks! Even though I am a huge fan of local coffee like kopi gao, I would usually go for mocha when I am at westernized cafes. This cup of mocha was one of the better ones I have had with a rich, creamy texture. Pity it was my friend's order; oh well, I managed to steal a sip and love what went into my mouth! 

Hazelnut Hot Chocolate - of course we need to have a glass of hot chocolate for a place renowned for its chocolate right?! Sadly, it wasn't wholesome chocolatey and there's a spiced tinge to it which I didn't enjoy. My amateurish taste buds also didn't catch much of a hazelnut whiff; to be fair, my friend did. 

Waffle with Ice Cream - can't resist ordering the waffle (original) which was priced a bit high at S$18.00 although you would be given two scoop of ice cream with two servings of toppings! 

Obviously, we had to have one scoop of dark chocolate ice cream with the highest cocoa level; the sur del lago (88%). Another would be the genmaicha ice cream. 

To be fair, I am in reality not a chocolate person although I do like the occasional bitter sweetness from amazing dark chocolate. This sur del lago, sadly, didn't appeal to me; maybe I am better off with cheapo chocolates. Genmaicha was comparatively better. Waffle wise, didn't impress; texture wasn't crispy enough and inside was gummy. Saving grace; the caramelised almonds! 

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Address
391 Orchard Road, 
Takashimaya Shopping Centre, 
Ngee Ann City,  #B2-29,
Singapore 238873

Website

Menu (not comprehensive)
As above.

Pricing
Signature Dark Chocolate Cake - S$9.00
Single Origin Mocha - S$8.00
Hazelnut Hot Chocolate - S$9.00
Waffle with Ice Cream - S$18.00
(Inclusive of GST)

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Zhou Ji Wanton Noodle @ 724 AMK Central Food Centre [Singapore] #amkcenrtalhawkercentre

It's once again my monthly visit to Ang Mo Kio for my hair treatment and while there are quite a number of hawker centres in the ageing town; 724 AMK Central Food Centre is always preferred due to its proximity!

I decided to try something new and opted for Zhou Ji Wanton Noodle, which appeared quite popular. And don't you think there's that simple, traditional vibe to that red signboard?! 

My simple wanton noodle; when it comes to old school wanton noodle, one iconic ingredient would be the pieces of visually unappetizing char siew! Trust me, they just don't taste as delicious as those with fats in the middle and glistened with charred, saccharine bits

Soup had four wantons; small as they should be although taste wise, pretty decent. At the very least, there was still a bit of taste to the miniscule meat filling within.

Now the noodle, after a mix to ensure the strands of noodle were covered in the ketchup and chilli sauce. When I was young, it's only ketchup and I only started going for chilli in my 20s; late considering that my elder sister started in her early teens! 

Thin and springy with a touch of tangy spiciness, this was the old school taste I enjoyed back in the good old days when a nice meal was all that matters, plus the option to get some sweets from the mamak shop.

Burp! 

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Address
Block 724, Ang Mo Kio Ave 6, 
724 AMK Food Centre,#01-14, 
Singapore 560724

Map
As above.

Menu
As above.

Price
Wanton Noodle - S$3.00

Dim Sum in Empire Fine Chinese Cuisine @ Ngee Ann City [Orchard, Singapore] #dimsum

When I exited from The Sushi Bar a few weeks ago after the farewell lunch for my colleague cum friend, I walked past the nearby the East Ocean Teochew Restaurant and guess what sparked a craving? The display of dim sum outside the popular eatery! 

I returned to the same floor at Ngee Ann City a week later but the number of hungry diners clamoring to get into the restaurant was too large and I knew it would likely be a while before I can even step in! That's when we noticed Empire Fine Chinese Cuisine, an eatery that opened for business after circuit breaker. 

Dim sum was available as an option and the moment we stepped in; we were surprised by how small the place was and the opulence of the interior design. Needless to say, the captivating ceiling would be the first thing drawing your attention! 

Comfortable, velvety chairs and crockeries with designs that seemed to tell a story of a man fishing in one of the many beautiful lakes in China. Anyway, I was famished and ordering the dim sum would be way more important than anything else.

Our orders! 

Steamed Crispy Rice Roll with Shrimps and Foie Gras - wrapped with crunchy Chinese fritters and further wrapped with the smooth rice roll, this dim sum would be suitable for people looking for contrasting texture.

It didn't disappoint, especially with the fresh prawns hidden within that complemented well with the foie gras, that's likely the key determinant for the higher pricing. 

Steamed Prawn with Bamboo Shoots Dumpling
- typically known as har gow, they included, interestingly, bamboo shoots which I don't enjoy. Not sure what they would taste like as whole, we ordered simply because we were curious.

Usually, I would remove a large part of the dumpling skin as they were too thick for my liking. These were thinner than the norm and boy were the prawns big and *crunchy*! p.s. strangely, no taste of the bamboo shoot! 

Deep Fried Beancurd Skin Roll with Prawn
- relatively normal with a rich mushroom flavour; I do wonder if a saucer of mayonnaise would help elevate the flavour. 

Steamed Pork with Black Truffle Dumpling
- on its own, the siew mail was delicious and I seriously think that the addition of black truffle was unnecessary as it didn't result in an OMG, SO GOOD expression. 

Steamed Barbecued Kurobuta Pork Bun - I was a bit hesitant to order this as Alex isn't a steamed bun person and if they turned out to be not of his expectation; I would have to finish all of them myself! 

Pillowy soft with sweet, savoury filling chock-filled with yummy pieces of char siew that's not cloyingly sweet; the problem is that I had to share with Alex as they were so good! 

Steamed Dumpling with Black Truffle in Superior Soup - I would always make it a pot to order this one dumpling soup whenever I see it on the dim sum menu. Reason being it's like a one gigantic xiao long bao surrounded by the delicious meat broth.

Took a sip of the soup; quite bland. Don't be so quick to discount as breaking the dumpling skin would be key to release the aromatic truffle and transforming the soup into one that's unforgettably awesome! What's inside the filling? You can find minced meat, prawns, sea cucumber, mushrooms and I guess some strands of shark's fins. 

Mashed Taro with Ginkgo
- another item I find it hard to resist not ordering in a dim sum restaurant is orh nee! My favourite is from the now-closed Mong Hing Teochew restaurant and it's always the benchmark when I had orh nee from other eateries. 

Alex loved it as it was nicely flavoured with a light sweetness that didn't overwhelm the palate. I thought the texture was a bit too watery and while it's nice; it's still not comparable to Mong Hing

Soup with White Fungus and Red Dates - in reality, it's our typical cheng tng which I would count as my favourite local dessert here in Singapore. The taste appealed to me and I like how it was chilled perfectly without the need for additional ice. 

Only issue; serving size was tiny and I could literally count the one piece of snow fungus, singular red date, two dried longans, two lotus seeds and two ginkgo nuts. Given the size of my mouth, they were gone in no time! How I wish the the soup was refillable. :(   

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The dim sum we had were generally better than expected, with an interesting twist that came with a higher price premium. While I wouldn't be able to afford a monthly visit, this would be nice as an occasional treat. Shall bring my parents next time to indulge! 

Address
391 Orchard Road, #05-30,
Ngee Ann City, Singapore 238872

Operating Hours
Mondays to Fridays Lunch - 11.30 am to 2.45 pm 
Saturdays Lunch - 11.00 am to 2.45 pm
Sundays Lunch - 10.30 am to 2.45 pm
Dinner - 6.00 pm to 9.45 pm

Website

Ordering List
As above.

Pricing
Steamed Crispy Rice Roll with Shrimps and Foie Gras - S$9.80 
Steamed Prawn with Bamboo Shoots Dumpling - S$6.80
Deep Fried Beancurd Skin Roll with Prawn - S$6.80
Steamed Pork with Black Truffle Dumpling - S$7.80
Steamed Barbecued Kurobuta Pork Bun - S$5.80
Steamed Dumpling with Black Truffle in Superior Soup - S$9.80
Mashed Taro with Ginkgo - S$6.00
Soup with White Fungus and Red Dates - S$5.50
Tea - S$3.00 per person
(Subject to GST and Service Charge)

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