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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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

Nyonya & Baba Peranakan Cuisine @ Vivocity

peranakanAyam Buah Keluah | Sambal Kang Kong | Nyonya Chap chye | Hu Piao Soup

Many years back, I used to be hooked on a drama titled “Little Nyonya”. There were scenes where the Nyonyas would prepare delicious Peranakan meals and desserts and it always looked so good! Their food is all about fresh ingredients, good preparation, spices and the riches of flavours. But TV show aside, my family decided to head to Nyonya & Baba Peranakan cuisine to celebrate my mum’s birthday.

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peranakan2Achar | Keropok | Belachan chili

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peranakan5 peranakan7Ayam Buah Keluah

Needless to say, the food for the dinner set was good and it was refreshing to have  achar and keropok as a standard appetizer. The set came with vegetables, meats and soup. On an interesting note, the rice was served by the waiter who would scoop from a pandan infused tub of rice so you can inform them on how much you want and not be eating too much carbs!

One of the highlights was the buah keluah, which I usually look forward to in a Peranakan meal. The buah keluah is actually a poisonous fruit with hydrogen cyanide, and it is quite deadly if consumed without prior preparation. The way to eat it is to scrape out the flesh from the inside of the fruit and eat it either on its own or by mixing it with some rice. It usually is served in a thick curry sauce and it has a nutty taste.

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peranakan10Puloh Hitam | Chendol

The dinner set ended off with a choice of puloh hitam or chendol and that in itself was quite a task for the stomach. It was quite decent price-wise, but what is more important was the time for my family to eat together, and that’s what matters. (:

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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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Food Hunter

Mu Parlour @ Holland Village

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Finding a lunch place on the weekend that is not crowded is pretty rare. Especially when you are at Holland Village, where the cafes are packed with people and it gets quite noisy. Don’t you just wish for a quiet somewhere you could go to for a relaxing Sunday?

All hope is not lost, as proven when my companion and I stumbled upon Mu Parlour. Interestingly, both of us had visited this place previously to study it for an urban class and remembered it to be a designer concept store. So like Alice going down into the rabbit hole, we went up the stairs lined with brick-clad walls on each side.

We were greeted immediately by the service staff and ushered into a bright and clean white space. It was filled with different furniture pieces and each had its own character.

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While I was supposed to have the No. 11 (beef burger with avocado), my words went faster than my thoughts and I subconsciously ordered Burger No. 1 ($15+) instead.

No. 1 consisted of beef, monterey jack, streaky bacon, gherkin and topped with a charcoal bun. The beef did not have an overpowering taste and was seasoned nicely with pepper and with other condiments. While the meat was thick, it was packed firmly and cooked evenly. The toasted charcoal bun was unique in colour and was a bit dense in texture, but  it tasted almost like any regular bun. One bite and you get the flavour of the juicy beef, the melted monterey jack, the crunchy texture of the bacon, lettuce and gherkin all rolled into one.

Not forgetting the fries that came along with the burger – they were seasoned with pieces of diced garlic. However, I felt that they were a little over-fried.

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If you choose not to have their burgers, there is also salad, coffee, cake and various pastries to satiate your hunger.

So would I be back? It really depends. Although the price of the food is kind of steep, the quiet ambience of this place might somehow make me consider my return.

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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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