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, Food Hunter

Hainanese Delicacy Chicken Rice @ Far East Plaza

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Apologies for the lack of post recently! Our tyftfwe friends have been busy lately to let you in on our food and baking adventures!

Food is one of the way to catch up with friends and instead of a cafe, the classic dish of Hainanese Chicken rice was chosen. Conveniently located in town, office people would be seen queuing for this during lunch time. 

One of the reasons is because its reasonably-priced and fuss-free. The chicken was tasty and tender. The rice was fragrant but I found it to be a bit on the oily side. The chilli sauce was not too spicy but just right. Plus it always goes well with a plate of green vegetables topped with fried shallots.

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But was this worth the wait and queue? Its a yes and no, as I have tried other better chicken rice before but this still taste above the average. However, what I found quite interesting was the atmosphere sitting within a narrow corridor, eating out of a hole-in-a-wall and having to share tables with strangers. A mix of English, Cantonese, Hainanese and Mandarin conversations gets peppered across the shop making it quite a lively space.

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Food Hunter

Tokyo Pasta Mario @ Wisma Atria, Food Republic

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Scallop | Bacon | Spinach | Dry Sakura Prawn | Cheese| Linguine pasta

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Chicken Okura | Onsen egg | Japanese Mentaiko | Ladyfinger | Seaweed | Linguine pasta

I always had the perception that food courts do not do a good job with Western food or pasta in particular. Their range usually goes as far as to only have carbonara and bolognese. But I was wrong after trying Tokyo Pasta Mario.

Their pasta is done in a fusion of Italian and Japanese style and I found it to taste better than other mid range pasta places. What is great about their food is that it is priced reasonably between $6.80 – $9.80! They also serve Japanese teppanyaki and pizzas too.

On my first try, I had the Scallop, Bacon & Spinach Pasta with Dry Sakura Prawn topping ($7.80). Presented in a big plate, it felt as though I had ordered something from a restaurant. The pasta was tossed in an aglio olio style and there was a slight olive oil taste. The mix of the sakura prawn, the salty taste of the bacon and spinach matched pretty well together with the fresh seared scallop pieces (though I love for the scallop to be bigger). Plus, the pasta was cooked al dente which was quite rare in a food court!

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On my second visit, I had the Chicken Okura with Onsen egg in Japanese Mentaiko ($7.80). After giving it a good toss with the onsen egg, the noodle became thick in the egg sauce and mentaiko (marinated pollock roe). It almost had a similar resemblance to carbonara with a hint of the pollock roe’s taste. The chicken was lightly pan-fried, but I do think that was done so as to allow for the sauce to be more prominent. The ladyfinger was quite a weird combo in the noodle but I’m not complaining since I get to have some greens in my food! 

Comparing between the two, I preferred the scallop pasta because it had more ingredients and it did not feel too heavy on the stomach after eating it. However, some guys might find the pasta portion a bit too little for them. But I still think that their pasta is worth a shot to try!

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Food Hunter

Toss & Turn @ Ion Orchard

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Before an extensive 4k walk to church, I wanted to pack some healthy food for dinner and was craving for a good sandwich and salad. Having passed by this place a couple of time, I decide to try Toss & Turn, a soup and salad bar by Cedele.

Packed in a designer style wrapper, the combo was a mixed grain loaf with chicken avocado and with a side salad.  One bite and you get the flavours from the roasted chicken and the freshness of the vegetables. The avocado had a slight sweetness to it and the good thing about it was that it was slightly mashed and not too chunky on the mouth. 

On the other hand, the salad was piled with lots of goodness; edamame beans, purple and green lettuce, carrots and croutons. The plus to it was the free flow sunflower seeds and pomegranate dressing that I could add to my salad from their counter. The pairing of the sweet and light dressing with the sunflower seeds and the croutons added a nice dimension and texture to the crunchiness of the salad. If you think that pomegranate dressing is too wild for your taste bud, the counter also serves other types of dressings, like the usual Caesar, Thousand Island to the fruity or less heavy kind for the salad.

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I was surprised that the portion of the food left me feeling quite full from the hearty meal! Judging by the stream of people that visit this outlet from office people to school going students, it seems to hit the right notes to appeal to people to eat their greens. I even went back a second time to try to create my own salad to take-away.

However, their service was a let down as I was kept waiting at the cashier while the staff was busy minding other customers and errands. While the regular salad portion was huge, their food prices is a bit steep ($9 for a regular bowl, $7.80 for half a bowl) just for greens and I think having it too many times seems like high maintenance? Maybe I’ll stick to buying fresh veggies from the supermarket and tossing them myself.

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Food Hunter

The Burger Bar by Fatboy’s Concepts @ Far East Plaza

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Think of the word “Burgers” and the immediate place that comes to mind is a fast food joint. However, apart from those, you will find other eateries that serve burgers with so much more variety. One of these is The Burger Bar by Fatboy’s Concepts. This small outlet is a branch from the main Fatboy’s Burger Bar you find in Thomson and Katong.

What makes The Burger Bar by Fat Boy’s Concepts different from other places is that you get to build your own burger. Think of it as an unhealthy version of Subway. It gives you the freedom to choose the type of meat, bun, toppings and sauce. The plus point of being able to customise your burger is that you will never ever get bored of eating from a standard menu since there are somewhat endless choices.

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Ordering is done on your own on an iPad which simplifies the ordering process. The basic burger is priced at $6.50 with a choice of meat and given toppings of lettuce, cheddar cheese and tomato slices. The next step is to select any additional toppings or premium sauces (prices range from $0.50 to $3). The final step is a choice to top it up to make it a set meal (an addition of fries and a drink) or to have additional sides.

I got myself a burger consisting of grilled chicken on a wholemeal bun with smoked chipotle sauce and an additional topping of grilled pineapple. The burger came piping hot and it is quite telling from the grill marks on the chicken that it was hot off the grill. Although I had anticipated the burger to be on the smaller side (given its price), I was quite surprised how generous they were in serving up a huge slab of chicken.

Because of its size, handling the burger was a bit cumbersome at first. Once you get past that and you sink your mouth into the burger, the different textures and flavours create such a party in your mouth. There is the juiciness of the chicken, the charred grilled taste of the meat, the crunch from the lettuce and the sweetness of the pineapple. However, my bread turned soggy after awhile due to the amount of juice and sauce and I was left trying to not let it seep through the wrapping paper.

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Generally the meat was well cooked over the grill and the burger itself left me very full even without a set meal! Although I did not try the other sides, my friend who ordered the mozzarella sticks found it a bit tough to bite through. However, it was quite fun to watch how far you could stretch the cheese!

The space is quite small but if you prefer something different and away from the hustle and bustle of the Orchard crowd, this may be the place for you. But after eating this, I do think a run was very much needed.

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Food Hunter

Guan Kim Restaurant @ Tanglin Halt

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Planning for a meal that requires table space for a big group of people can be troublesome. This is especially so when certain places are unable to accommodate and it is a bummer if you have to split into smaller groups at separate tables. Moreover, it is another challenge when people are on a budget.

With 10 hungry church teens in tow, I decided on Guan Kim Restaurant. Tucked away in a corner of a shop house, this quiet coffee shop is a stone’s throw away from Commonwealth MRT and neighbouring hawker centres.

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The main draw to this place is the chicken rice. Known as “white chicken” (白鸡), the cooked chicken is dipped in ice to produce a jelly-like skin finishing – all that collagen goodness. We ordered a whole chicken and asked for two bowls of Yong Tau Foo soup (clear soup containing various items like fish balls, stuffed bean curd, and vegetables) and a plate of vegetables with oyster sauce.

There definitely has to be an art behind making chicken rice for it to be one of the national dishes of Singapore. It is a hot favourite I would recommend any of my international friends to try.

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The chicken meat was tender and not dry. The ratio of sesame oil to soy sauce in the dressing drizzled over the chicken was just right, making it fragrant and savoury, and adding a delicious ‘smoothness’ to the meat. Best of all? It did not leave an oily after taste! The skin did not look too undercooked and did not have too much of a jelly texture (which I preferred!). A plus point to this is that the chicken had been de-boned (maybe the store owners saw that there were many young people at the table), yet there were a good two plates of meat to go around; doesn’t being served a plateful of bones with a bit of meat hanging off them get to us all the time!

The rice was flavourful – delightfully aromatic with garlic, ginger and chicken fat – and just oily enough to give the mouthfeel that makes you just want another spoonful. And another. And another. Also, what would chicken rice be without that garlicky chilli sauce? The chilli packed just enough heat, was tangy with ginger juice and really hit home with the garlic flavour; it paired really well with the black sauce and their rice. One bite of the meat and a spoonful of rice with the chilli – exactly what the taste and texture of chicken rice should be. In addition, the chicken stock served alongside it was not oily nor was it overly salted. 

The overall ambience of the place left us feeling like we had been transported back in time. One of us even commented that it had the feel of being in a Malaysian coffee shop. Chatting and eating within this setting was quite different and nostalgic as compared to swanky air-conditioned style eateries that are common rendezvous points these days.

The total cost of meal was quite surprising as everyone had to pay a mere $3.60 and yet all of our hunger was nicely satiated.

To sum up it 5 phrases:

Good food, low prices of food, big group seating, casual dining space, old school interior.

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Food Hunter

구이가 Guiga Korean BBQ Restaurant @ Tanjong Pagar Road

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Banchan 반찬 (clockwise from top)

yeongeun jorim | nakji bokkeum | deodeok muchim | sigeumchi namul | gamja saelleodeu| baechu kimchi| kimchi oisobagi

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It looked like a scene straight out of a movie: rainwater surging towards us from all directions and, horror of all horrors, we had nowhere to seek refuge.

Caught in an unexpected flash flood, all we wanted was something hot. Something right off the grill. Something… Oh, something like a good ol’ Korean barbecue. We found ourselves stuck along the five foot way of the row of shophouses, trapped between rising water levels along the main road and what other than a homey and inviting looking Korean barbecue restaurant. Of course, we couldn’t resist.

Guiga Korean BBQ Restaurant is the new kid on the block among the row of Korean eateries you find along Tanjong Pagar Road, and we find, being new is not always a bad thing.

We ordered the chicken in soy sauce and were served an array of banchan to kick start the meal.

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There is always much anticipation as raw meat hits a hot grill. The sizzle of the meat; the smoky aroma that wafts into your consciousness; the sight of the meat turning from pink to a dark caramel colour, with slightly charred bits at the tips; the heat rising off the grill; the explosion of flavours and textures as you bite into a lettuce-wrapped bite-sized piece. This moment of gratification, knowing that the short wait for the food to cook (certainly felt like an eternity to us) and the sacrifice made to smell exactly like what we just ate was all worth it.

The chicken was tender and well seasoned with soy sauce. Every bite delivered a combination of the juiciness of the meat with a hint of the charred grilled flavour. Eaten dipped in a little tangy and savoury dipping sauce, wrapped in a lettuce leaf, every lettuce wrap we had was a parcel of crunchy, meaty textures. As is the Korean custom, the helpful service staff laid out the meat on the grill for us although we could have very much done it on our own. This gesture is what good service is about, since customers definitely wouldn’t want their hands dirtied with raw food.

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Guiga is definitely worth a visit for some good quality Korean barbecue in a homey, family business setting. If you are a night owl looking for food, this place is open till 6 am! What we appreciated most was that the banchan were considered as ‘service’ and we did not have to pay for them as a result. Of course, you could always say that the cost was accounted for in the price of the food, but it always helps to think of the cup as half full, no?

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