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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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

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

peranakan4Nyonya Chap Chye

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.

peranakan8Sambal Pomfret

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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

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

U Mariánského Obrazu @ Praha, Czech Republic

Svíčková na smetaně

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Vepřo-knedlo-zelo

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Svíčková na smetaně 2

Svíčková na smetaě

Pečená Kachna 

Vepřo-Knedlo-Zelo 

Staropražská česnečka s opečeným chlebem 

Velkopopovický Kozel 10% (Tmavé) 

I confess it was quite a mouthful to say all of this when I first entered U Mariánského Obrazu. This restaurant serves delicious traditional Czech food at such affordable prices and the local beers are a must try! Though the Svíčková na smetaě is my favourite, these bread dumplings fill you up fast.

If you want a slice of Prague and are willing to travel out of the tourist areas, I would recommend this place. Kudos to local Czech friends for introducing this place to us!

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Food Hunter

Lido Beach @ Venice

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Spaghetti al Nero di Seppia (Spaghetti with squid ink)

Not to be mistaken as squid ink pasta, this tasted so good with just rocket and some squid. It does, however, leaves you with black-stained lips! Sadly, not many places in Singapore serve this, and I really wish I could have some again.

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