Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A Giant Hot Link from Home Depot in the US

Giant Hot Link

OK, that headline is a bit misleading, as Home Depot isn't exactly pulling a Costco and selling food. But there was a little "Food & Drinks" shack parked right in front of a local Home Depot today, and I needed a quick hot dog before jumping onto three back to back conference calls with Asia tonight. I was a bit worried at first when she slathered relish onto my hot link, but in the end I was still happy, mainly because she also threw jalapenos in there, thus covering up the taste of the relish. This went down the hatch in minutes.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews in the US

Royal Red Robin

If my memory is correct, the first and only time I've been to a Red Robin was 25 years ago. And I seem to remember it being a family restaurant. I suppose that it still is a family restaurant, but what got me interested in coming here tonight that tagline about gourmet burgers and beer.

It's too bad then that I couldn't really taste the patty, as the bacon and egg covered it all up. It was also kinda slippery when you tried to put a mayo-slathered bun on top of a fried egg; the thing nearly slid right out of my hands. The thick fries weren't any good, nor did I like their seasoning salt.

Heck, if I'm going to nitpick, then I'll point out that I didn't like the beer selection either. In retrospect, I wish I had just gotten a plain burger with some raw onions; I didn't even realize that the "royal" above didn't have any onions when I ordered it.

China's Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot in the US

Hot Pot

It may seem odd that I'd come all the way over here to the US to eat at a hot pot chain from China. But a teammate and I needed a place to eat, and there was an outlet nearby today. Interestingly, they don't encourage the use of sauces here, although you can pay for some if you'd like. The broth wasn't particularly spicy either, but it was salty and savory, making me happily gobble up the thin slices of lamb that we dunked in. I left totally stuffed, and also left the place smelling like B.O. given all the cumin in the air in there.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Thai Wanton Mee from Kin Moo in Singapore

Baa Mee Keow Haeng Moo Dang

I'm a pig. This is my third meal tonight. Granted, each one has been relatively light, but I needed just a little bit of carbs to finish things off. And I recalled that the portions at Kin Moo were pretty small, so I stopped on in, especially since there were tables available. This time I went for that bowl above, which came with an impressively generous handful of cilantro. It all went down with ease, especially after adding a quick dusting of the dried chili powder on each table. The Thai milk tea was better than I was expecting too, even if it still wasn't as strong and fragrant as I would've liked it to be.

TONO Cevicheria at DUO Galleria in Singapore

Tasting from front: mixto, tonno, nikkei

I had mixed feelings about coming to this Peruvian place (7 Fraser Street #01-49, 6702-7320), in part because it looked like it was going to be rather expensive. Still, I was in the neighborhood tonight, and the thought of some ceviche and a pisco sour sounded like just the little top-up that I needed. Yeah, it was pretty good with its refreshing bursts of citrus and fish, so much that I lapped it all up to the last drop. But even then, that was a S$35 (US$26) sampler platter; add one glass of booze and this thing was out of my budget. So for me, it's just one of those places that I've tried and I liked but can't afford to go back to.

My Lunch at House of Chicken Rice in Tanjong Pagar

Chicken Rice

No, there was nothing that special about this set from House of Chicken Rice. It was just a convenient place for a fast lunch today and it happened to make for a nice picture. OK, what *was* interesting were the seasonings, like the red chili sauce not being the usual sour garlic mixture but instead was a tad sweet. I'm not quite sure what made that ginger sauce green (it didn't taste like scallions nor cilantro from what I could tell) but it did make it look kinda cool. And hey, if it's green, it must be healthy, right?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Sin Ming Roti Prata: Faisal & Aziz Curry Muslim Food

Coin Prata Set

This place (24 Sin Ming Road #01-51) was suggested for breakfast today, in part because our stop at Thasevi yesterday was so lousy (boring curry, weak tea, and extremely slow service). This place, however, was the complete opposite. Not only was it prompt, but the prata coins above were uniquely chewy, while the curry was spiked with a bit of citrus or something to give it a tangy twist. And despite a dunk in the curry, the taste of the prata itself was very clearly pronounced. Yes, this is probably some of the best roti prata I've had. Thumbs up.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Taiwan's Cheers Cut at Shaw Lido in Singapore

Ninja Crispy Chicken

Chizha, a fried chicken franchise from Taiwan, now has an outlet at the Shaw Lido basement food court (1 Scotts Road #B1-01). It's your typical dajipai shop, but their cuts are particularly huge, with them being seemingly more than ten inches long.

To my surprise, they wanted to cut it up and drizzle your choice of sauce on it, including nacho cheese (eek!). Well, thankfully I convinced them to keep my sauce on the side (my "Sichuan" sauce was sweet and tasted of black pepper), and instead I kept trying to sprinkle that red chili powder on it for a more traditional take. It still wasn't spicy enough though, and the chicken (neither the meat nor the batter) wasn't that great either.

Now, I can't really make a comparison to Hot Star Large Fried Chicken. But I guess the bar for fried chicken has been set so high for me by Rang Mang Shokudo that it's hard for a lot of places to make a good impression on me anymore. Sigh, I've become a fried chicken snob.

SBCD Korean Tofu House in Tanjong Pagar, Singapore

Dumpling Soondubu

So it seems that this place in Tanjong Pagar Centre (1 Wallich Street #B1-01, 6386-6441) is from the folks behind BCD Tofu House in Los Angeles, where the "S" stands for Singapore. The menu was pretty similar too, with its BBQ and soondubu combination packages available, and a fried fish as part of the banchan ensemble in front of you (but you had to pay for the raw crab). The tofu was homemade too, even though I wasn't sure if it was organic or not.

It's too bad then that it wasn't salty enough. It was plenty spicy; in fact they even seem to have added some local chili padi to my "spicy" version, but it just wasn't salty enough. Still, the rice came in a stone pot, which meant you got some nice crispy edges. If I come back, then I need to remember to try a combo meal with the original beef version (I think my dumpling one today made the soup too thick), but only at the medium level of spiciness. Most importantly, I'll have to sneak in some salt packets while I'm at it.

Poke Lulu at Oxley Tower in Singapore


Yet another poke shop has opened in Singapore. Actually, these guys have been around for a while at United Square, but I didn't hear very good things about it, and thus I never really cared about going. Still, they opened up a shop in the city recently (138 Robinson Road #01-07), so I stopped by to give it a try during my lunch hour today.

It wasn't as bad as it was made out to be. But they were also pretty darned stingy with things like that puny scoop of avocado above, and I didn't really care much for the dressings that they laid out (no sesame oil, let alone any chili oil). As such, it will likely only be somewhere I'd go out of convenience rather than really wanting the food.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Hong Kong's Mui Kee Congee at Casa Verde in Singapore

Fish Belly Congee

Mui Kee is a congee place from Hong Kong that has a pop-up at Les Amis' Casa Verde at Botanic Gardens (1 Cluny Road, 6467-7326) through the end of the year. I liked it, particularly the fish belly version above which had a lovely smoky aroma to it (the basic pork one, on the other hand, lacked such a fragrance). The porridge itself lacked discernable grains of rice, and yet was also rather thin - in a good way. I liked how they didn't hold back on the scallion, cilantro, and ginger garnishes either. Having said that though, I don't know if I'd rush to come back here. But if I do, I need to remember to get here before 8:45 AM on a Sunday as the lines were really starting to form at that time.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Barcelona's Restaurant Gaig in Singapore

Bacalao Empedrat

This Michelin-starred chef from Barcelona opened up a restaurant at Dempsey Hill a couple of years ago. But I never went, in part because some Catalan friends told me that they didn't like it, and also because it was targeting people with pay grades far above mine.

He recently opened another shop (16 Stanley Street, 6221-2134) not far from the office though, and it was offering lunch sets at a more reasonable S$38 (US$28). The venue, plating, and service were very high-end. The quality of the ingredients and attention to detail were what you'd expect of a Michelin-starred chef too.

But I was disappointed with how under-seasoned the food was, making it kinda boring. Seriously, everything would've been better with just another pinch of salt. Well, I'm happy that I finally tried his food, but I'm still not excited about getting Spanish food in Singapore.