Everything Else, Food Hunter

Beef Noodle X Lunch

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Kway Teow | Sliced beef | Beef ball | Bean sprouts | Chinese parsley | Tart chilli sauce

The tenderness of the beef is always something to look forward to in a bowl of beef noodles. With a variety of cuts to choose from (triple, brisket, tendon or frank), it is hard to get tired of this dish.

Not only that, there are other parts of the beef noodle that is yummy. The soup entices me with its herbs and spices brew. Plus, the tart chilli sauce is unique of the beef noodle. Made of grated lengkuas (galangal root), squeezed lime and cincaluk (pickled shrimp), the slight sour and spicy taste helps add a different dimension to the taste and not make eating the beef too much on the stomach.

Oh my. I’m now craving for a good bowl of this again.

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Food Hunter

Ayam Penyat Ria @ Far East Plaza

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A friend of mine have never eaten Ayam Penyat before and I decided to bring her to try it. Originating from Indonesia, the chicken is marinated in different spices and subsequently fried. It is smashed (“Penyat”) and served with a fried bean curd, fermented bean curd and chilli.

The outlet we were at was the branch from the original one at Lucky Plaza. Though the outlet was small, there was no long waiting time and service was prompt.

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The chicken was crispy and juicy but to my dismay, it looked rather small and did not satisfy my hunger.  However, it was well seasoned and you could taste the turmeric powder. The chilli sauce was spicy and packs quite a punch. But be warned for those with a low tolerance, or you might end up a fire breathing dragon!

Fried and oily aside (which my friend loved it), I think the way how the chilli is prepared makes or breaks this dish, and it is something to excite the taste bud.

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Everything Else

Dong Po Colonial Cafe @ Kandahar Street

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After patronising all those modern cafes featuring complex espresso machines churning out steamed milk and exquisite espresso shots, a visit to Dong Po Colonial Cafe almost felt like I had returned to somewhere familiar after a long absence. I remember growing up on kopi from the drinks stall before church, and my parents would try to limit the amount I drank (“small children shouldn’t be drinking so much coffee!”). Coffee came in small porcelain coffee cups with a saucer, unlike how most hawker drinks stalls serve their drinks in glass mugs these days. The drinker would pour a bit of his coffee into the saucer for it to cool and slurp it up from there. This practice has since given way to ‘civilised’ manner of drinking straight from the coffee cup.IMG02682-20131101-1013

However, I observed a number of the well dressed middle aged customers doing just that at Dong Po Colonial Cafe. Perhaps they simply saw it as a necessity to revive habits long tucked away in a setting that seemed so apt. The cafe is done up in an old school nanyang coffee shop style, replete with vintage Flying Pigeon bicycles, tea and coffee kettles as well as furniture.

IMG02699-20131101-1045IMG02694-20131101-1042True to traditional style, you would not expect to find dainty cupcakes or cookies here. What Dong Po serves up instead is a variety of long lost pastries and tartlets, many of these I have never encountered, which goes to show just how long these goodies have disappeared from the food scene here. The pastries all seem to combine both western and local elements, somewhat like little pieces of evidence that our little island was once a British colony.

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Kopi and Bostock Set

Order the little snacks ala carte or get them in sets that consist of a drink and a snack or two. I opted for the Kopi and Bostock set. Having never tried bostock apart from the one Chong Hao made (recipe featured in an earlier post on this blog), I thought it was high time to try another interpretation of it. The one served at Dong Po is made a la minute. My order arrived at the table fresh off the grill, fragrant with frangipane, toasted almonds and caramelised syrup. Instead of the traditional brioche base used in bostock, Dong Po puts a local twist to the delicious almond breakfast bread by using white toast instead. While this might reduce the sweetness of the bostock, it also adds a slighty more savoury flavour and crusty finish to the toasted bostock. A slight orange-y flavour lifted the dish and prevented it from being too cloying. Topped with a generous amount of frangipane and burnished slivered almonds, this is undeniably great breakfast food.

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The coffee, meanwhile, was a good rendition of Nanyang coffee. It was smooth and sweetened with just the right amount of condensed milk. Thankfully, it was not watered down and weak like how some hawker stalls serve up their kopi these days.

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It was a joy to sit in a bustling coffee shop and look out the window on a rainy day, savouring a good cup of coffee and breakfast. I imagine this might have been what it was like when the pace of life was slower in the past and people preferred local coffee and food over higher priced western options. The beauty of being taken back in time wasn’t lost on me and for that (and the urge to try the other little goodies on offer) I will definitely be back.IMG02687-20131101-1018

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Everything Else, Food Hunter

TANGS Market @ Orchard Road

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“Excuse me, are you sure you can finish two bowls?” 

That was the surprising question I got from a Caucasian man who was in the queue behind me.  One look at the food portion and I could have told him that I was able to finish both. But being polite, I told him it was for my friend and myself to have.

At $4, I was a little disappointed that my 85 Redhill Teochew Fishball Noodles was not able to fill my hungry stomach. However, the noodles had a reasonable spicy and sour taste from the chilli and vinegar sauce.  Thankfully it was just the right amount, if not it would have coated my lips in oil. The fishballs were quite springy and it came with a special mushroom / vegetable piece.

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To top off our lunch, we had Kway Guan Huat Joo Chiat Original Popiah ($4). Known as the “Poh Piah Maker to Singapore’s Presidnet and Prime Minister,” it was slightly longer than the usual ones. Wrapped with stewed turnip, radish, beansprouts and fresh lettuce, this healthy snack tasted good and each had the right portion and  crunch to it.  The poh piah skin was not too thick and doughy and it slightly soaked up a bit of the chilli, hoisin sauce and turnip stew in it.

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The fishball noodles and popiah were not the only thing found in the TANGS Market. Tucked within the kitchen and household section of TANGS, it also brings Peranakan, Penang and local delights under one roof. Like a noisy street market, the queues snaked around the narrow walkways and people were jostling through looking for seats in the small area.

The interior were furnished in old school items with an eclectic mix of bright colours and Peranakan patterns and prints. Some includes childhood favourites like the Khong Guan little biscuits with sweet star-shaped coating and Nyonya porcelain wares. While the price to the portion of food serving did not whet my appetite, I do think this newly renovated place is breathing life once again to the once quiet underground passageway towards the Orchard Road train station.

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