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

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

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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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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Food Hunter

Laurent Bernard Chocolatier @ Mohammad Sultan

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“Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” – Forrest Gump

I was told that the chocolate soufflé is their signature dish but my full stomach could only accommodate a nice hot drink and something within my budget.  Their interior is pleasantly decked out in Tiffany blues and with fresh flowers.

While the price of things on their menu is a bit steep, drinking their hot chocolate redeemed it back. It is really one of the best I have tried in Singapore and it reminded me back to those winter days in Europe. (:

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