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

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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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

MEDZ @ Millenia Walk

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If you have been to Marche, MEDZ offers a similar concept with a wider range of cuisines. Not only do you get Western food, there is French, Italian, Greek, Mediterranean, Moroccan and Spanish. A dessert bar and a selection of beer and cider is also included in the menu. Among the things my friends and I had, we had the rosti, moroccan chicken with couscous, carbonara and the octopus squid ink paella.

Having travelled to Spain and Italy, I had certain expectations of squid ink and paella as separate entities. But I was being too adventurous that day and chose from their menu the squid ink paella with octopus and pork. My paella came with lots off round blops in my plate and I soon realised that it was small octopus the size of fishballs. Honestly, I freaked out a bit at the sight of the “little creatures” because you could make out the whole body with its mantle and tenticles  still intact.

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So with my game face on, I ate the octopus as a whole. The texture was rather chewy and my thoughts went into a bit of an overdrive of whether something will burst out of its mantle. They were quite generous in their servings that I had to give away some the octopus (or rather I did not want to see anymore blops). I felt that the combination of the pork belly, octopus and paella was too much for one seating especially when the squid ink also added on to the rich flavours (I had to have some salsa to neutralise the taste).

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Moving along from that octopus encounter, I had rave reviews for the other food. The carbonara tasted like any regular ones you can find elsewhere. The rosti (according to my friend) was pretty good and thicker than Marche’s. While the Moroccan chicken was quite a refreshing change from the other food that I see commonly. Served in an earthen pot, the chicken was done well and the couscous was a refreshing change from eating plain white rice. My cider loving friends also found their bottles to be rusty and ended up returning the drinks even after a new bottle was given. 

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I do think that this is a place to bring friends if you cannot decide on a single cuisine or type of food to have as a group. At least your friends have the choice of choosing what they want and saving you the hassle. The atmosphere is also pretty decent to have friends sit around, linger and just talk while eating. But if I ever return, I think I should stay clear of the octopus and squid ink paella.  

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Food Hunter

Thai Smile Cafe @ Lorong Telok

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I first visited this coffee shop style Thai eatery after work. It was late and my colleague and I had not had dinner. She suggested Thai Smile Cafe, one of her favourite post clubbing food haunts open late into the night. Perfect for supper or a late dinner. She recommended the Tom Kha Gai (Chicken Galangal Soup). I tried it and have never looked back since.

A few weeks later, I was back for my second visit. I needed to satisfy that Tom Kha Gai craving and try more of their dishes! Thai Smile serves up a variety of Thai food and Thai-Chinese food. It is popular with the expatriate crowd but don’t let that put you off! Contrary to expectation, the Thai food is pretty authentic and, better yet, affordable.

 

 

IMG02457-20131018-2013Yam Woon Sen (Thai Glass Noodle Salad)

The salad was refreshing and delightfully spicy! The mix of lime juice, lemongrass, fish sauce, chillies and herbs created a light and piquant salad. It was tangy, savoury, spicy and sweet all at once. The glass noodles were smooth; the crunchy shredded carrot and sliced onions and fresh squid and shrimp thrown into the mix added a good contrast in textures. A beautiful salad I enjoyed down to the last noodle!IMG02459-20131018-2014Basil Chicken with rice

The Basil Chicken was decent but not spectacular. The seasoning could have been more flavourful and the minced chicken was a tad dry and lacking a strong basil taste. However, this would do good for those who do not quite like the strong taste of  basil!IMG02460-20131018-2014Tom Kha Gai (Chicken Galangal Soup)

And finally, the Tom Kha Gai! This is a spicy soup thickened with coconut cream and is a rich, sinful delight to indulge in with a bowl of rice. The chicken chunks were tender and there was little else inside the soup, letting its flavours shine through. The bad cousin of tom yam soup, the Tom Kha Gai is one unhealthy option and sharing the calories always helps.

Thai Smile Cafe is a great place for Thai food when a late night craving hits and is good enough to satisfy huge Thai food lovers. I would definitely recommend this place if you happen to be having some drinks in the Circular Road/Clake Quay area this public holiday. Happy deepavali to all our hindu readers! (:

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