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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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

NamNam Noodle Bar @ Wheelock Place

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On days when I get a craving for something hot and soupy, I often find myself hankering after a steaming hot bowl of pho. The herbal, meaty broth and flat rice noodles are soothing, homey and not to mention, pretty healthy as well. Authentic Vietnamese food can be a little tricky to find in Singapore, and although NamNam Noodle Bar is opened by the Les Amis group, it serves up a good version of the classic Vietnamese dish.

Sam and I headed down to the Wheelock Place outlet for lunch on a weekday and were pleased to find that they were offering a set lunch consisting of a choice of Chicken or Sliced Beef Steak Pho, a side of Vietnamese Spring Rolls and a choice of a Vietnamese Iced Coffee or Iced Lotus Tea. Naturally, we both picked the beef and iced coffee.

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Vietnamese Spring Rolls | Fresh Southern rolls with sweet shrimps, egg and fresh herbs

It could be a matter of personal taste, but I felt that the spring rolls were abit too bland for my liking. The dipping sauce did help to give it a sweet-savoury flavour packed with shallots and garlic – and the sauce eventually did make this a very likable dish- but the spring rolls alone were clean tasting and seemed like it could do with abit of seasoning. Despite that, I must point out that the shrimp was fresh and the amount of fresh herbs, egg and vermicelli wrapped inside made a good combination of natural flavours and textures, making it a great dish for the health conscious.

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Pho Beef Steak Slices

The noodles were a joy to eat: smooth, slippery and light, cooked to perfection. They carried the flavour of the broth well, unlike how noodles sometimes don’t soak up the flavours of the soup they swim in. There was a good amount of noodles and a surprisingly large number of beef slices. We had thought that they might stinge on the meat but were proven otherwise. The meat was done medium well, with the centres still a rosy shade of pink. Thinly sliced and tender, we enjoyed every bit of it. The herbal, lightly salted soup was satisfying and light. For those who prefer their soup with a bit more punch, sauces such as fish sauce, hoi sin sauce, chilli sauce and soy sauce are available. Just add them straight to your noodles and slurp up every last bit.

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It was a great deal, considering the central location and the fact that the meal filled us up very nicely. When asked about her opinion of NamNam, my Vietnamese friend put it across best. ‘Authentic or not, if it’s good, it’s good. Who cares.’ Well said!

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Food Hunter

Real Food @ Killiney Road

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Dumplings with brown rice vermicelli and soup | Steamed dumplings with organic sesame oil and tamari

I love my greens.

Yes, you’ve heard me. But visiting Real Food for the second time makes me happy not only for that reason. For one, the vegetarian food you get is healthy, fresh and organic. The people who serve you are so down-to-earth, just like your next door neighbour.  Plus, the large space is quiet and simple with contemporary furnitures from Kartell.

I think this sets it apart from any other vegetarian places I have tried. I am won over by this place because of the variety of food they have. Pizzas, rice, spaghetti, coffee, smoothies and more!

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During my first visit, the pumpkin soup was amazing. It even had a bit of purée of the pumpkin flesh in the soup that was way better than the processed kinds from other places.

My friend and I had dumplings. It was really good because not only was it handmade, it was also not like the typical “vegetarian” food that replicates by using flour and mock meat to stuff the filling. Instead, they use around 10 different ingredients like carrots, mushrooms, bean curd, French beans and chestnuts to make it quite a refreshing dish to have!

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Dumpling with brown rice vermicelli | Pumpkin Soup | Organic Mushroom Aglio Olio

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On an interesting note, it feels like a system of trust in this cafe because no one attends to the cashier until you stand at the counter. This store also includes the small retail area that sells organic fresh veggies, oats, chocolate and even shampoo and bath soaps!

If you like to try something different and a healthier alternative, here’s the place for you!

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Everything Else

Multi-grain Bagel x Breakfast

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Multi-grain Bagel | Philadelphia Cream Cheese

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Bagels are a largely popular American Breakfast food. Popularised in the 1980s-1990s, it was brought to the US by Jewish immigrants. Although the roots of this humble ring of dough are highly debated, legend has it that in 1683 in Vienna, Austria, a local Jewish baker wanted to thank the king of Poland for protecting his countrymen from Turkish invaders. Thus, he made a special hard roll in the shape of a riding stirrup-Bugel in German – commemorating the king’s favourite pastime and giving the bagel its distinct shape (source).

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Bagels are traditionally made of yeasted wheat dough, boiled for a short while in water before being baked, giving it its unique chewy texture. When eaten fresh, bagels are rings of chewy, fragrant comfort food. If kept overnight, they’re equally good sliced in half and toasted till crisp on the cut side and slathered in cream cheese.

Bagels are a common morning pick-me-up along with a cup of coffee in the US but this delicious and convenient breakfast food sadly doesn’t seem to have caught on as much here in Singapore. Thankfully there are places that do sell fresh bagels, but these are few and far between.

Various varieties of bagels can be found in bakeries and common ones include cinnamon raisin, blueberry and chocolate. The one pictured in this post is a healthy take on the bagel, with multi-grain! What better way to start the morning than with healthy breakfast food? Grab a bagel for breakfast to chase away the Monday Blues and here’s TYFTFWE wishing you a very happy Monday and a food-filled week ahead (:

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Food Hunter

Keisuke Tokyo @ Millenia Walk

ramen1Tonkotsu Ramen with Egg ($13) | The seasoned bean sprouts taste so good on its own and it’s free flow!

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The chicken broth was originally clear until I added the bean sprouts!

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I read that Keisuke Tokyo is one of the places in Singapore with really good ramen and broth. My friend and I decided to give it a shot and have something soupy, warm and nice. Once you are at your seat, you have to order using a form and can customise how much oil, the saltiness level or noodle texture you prefer. Their free flow seasoned bean sprouts placed on the table was really good, and we made it into an appetiser of sorts because we were just too hungry.

Majority of the ramens that I have tried are always served in a pork based broth (tonkotsu: pork bone). My friend decided to give the rich and thick base a try and found it really delicious. On the other hand, I decided to try their “shio” broth which is a lighter and clearer base made from chicken. At first sip, I felt like I was drinking home-made soup that I would have at home, and that felt refreshing. In general, I would say it is one of the better tasting broths I have tried.

By the time we finished our meal, there was a long queue waiting outside for lunch. Phew! Had we reached the place at a later time, we might not even get seats! If you do not mind the distance, try going to Milliena Walk for food! They do have an enclave of some pretty nice Japanese food places and coffee there.

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Food Hunter

SPRMRKT @ McCallum Street

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Somehow I find this bistro’s name just too cool. It’s ‘supermarket’ without the vowels. But more than its name, SPRMRKT goes beyond typical utilitarian supermarket practice. It is where food, retail and art converge.

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Eggs Florentine | Breakfast Set B: 2 slices toasted brioche with scrambled eggs honey baked ham/ smoked salmon | Grapefruit Juice | Latte

What makes this place stand out from the crowd is that the menu changes each day (not counting the “all-day breakfast”). It keeps you wanting to go back for something different each time! All their food is about making things fresh and natural. They even sell their raw ingredients!  When I was there, yummy bakes were seen being readied for their turn in the oven too.

The breakfast set was pretty decent. In addition, you are surrounded by some cool photography works and a display of kitchen ware and ingredients that you can buy. It is a lot in one space, but it definitely hits the right notes with the office crowd in the city area.

Maybe it’s time for you to head down to do your grocery shopping?

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