Monday, July 24, 2017

Brass Spoon and Pho Bar in Hong Kong

Premium Raw Beef Noodles

Hong Kong doesn't exactly sound like a place to get Vietnamese phở. But the SCMP did a story about a few upscale places that have popped up, so I went over to Central for a shootout after work tonight. Brass Spoon (10 Pottinger Street, 2804-1811) was unique in that the broth was slightly earthy, but more importantly, the premium meat was deliciously tender and tasty, making me very happy with it, even if I didn't like the noodles.

Beef Noodle

Too bad I didn't like the next place, Pho Bar, though (24 Li Yuen Street West, 2109-2028). The broth here was way too dark for my liking, and while there was certainly a variety of cuts of meat (not to mention skinny noodles), the bowl just didn't come together...not as phở, anyway. It tasted more like a Chinese or Thai beef noodle instead. I'll stick to Brass Spoon, but just need to remember that they close early at 7 PM.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Midrange Japanese Watermelon and Ruby Grapes

Midrange Japanese Watermelon and Ruby Grapes

"Midrange" may sound like an odd descriptor for a small watermelon and a bunch of grapes that cost a whopping S$38 (US$28). each. But in the grand scheme of pricey Japanese fruit, this was relatively cheap, and possibly even low-end. They were both disappointingly rather unremarkable in taste too (those grapes, for instance, weren't as unique as Kyoho, and frustratingly had tiny seeds in them too), even if they were still much more consistent and delicate than your everyday cheap ones. The only thing that was kinda unique was the super thin watermelon skin, which was less than half a centimeter thick.

Big Fish Small Fish at Punggol East Container Park


We finally made it out to that container park off Tebing Lane today. I was rather disappointed to find that the menus on most of those seven vendors looking rather boring; this fish and chip shop was the only one that looked half-interesting (50 Punggol East #01-K35).

Actually, it's more of a fish and *crisp* shop - if you're using British English, that is. Yeah, basically they were thin American chips, done in house, and not a bad job of them either. And buried underneath all of that was a bit of fish too: nothing to go nuts over, but having things like a salted egg dip (in addition to malt vinegar - phew!) kept it fun.

It definitely doesn't beat Smith's though for a proper serving of fish and chips. Indeed, halfway through this meal I started to think of those thick cuts of potato (as well as their delicious halibut) from Smith's. But this waterfront place is pretty cool in the late afternoon, especially with so many stalls nearby selling beer too.

Camelicious Pasteurized Camel Milk from Dubai

Camelicious Pasteurized Camel Milk from Dubai

I've tried camel meat before, but I don't think I've tried camel milk. So I was very curious to see how this bottle from Dubai would taste, figuring it to be relatively mild yet hopefully still rich. To my surprise, it smelled a bit like leather goods (yes, like a purse, jacket, or shoes). It wasn't overwhelming, but like goat's milk, certainly had a unique signature. I wonder how this would taste fresh on the farm.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Nasi Lemak Burger at McDonald's Singapore

Nasi Lemak Burger

Well, I finally tried it. After hearing about people either loving or hating this thing, I landed squarely in the middle. It wasn't as bad as some people said, and it really did taste like nasi lemak, sans rice (and the Bandung McFizz drink wasn't that bad either). But I don't think I'll be coming back for this again either.

Actually, I left most items on this tray only half-eaten, but I did take the Chendol McFlurry with me so that I could finish it. Somehow that McDonald's soft serve just went well with gula melaka. If I were to come back for any of this, it'd probably be for that ice cream, or perhaps the coconut pie with its crispy exterior.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Taste Affair at Amoy Street Food Centre, Singapore

Sake Butter Clam Spaghettini

This hawker stall at Amoy Street Food Centre has been getting some attention because the chefs come from a small chain of casual French places in town. I've never been to one of those outlets, but I was kinda curious about this place, if anything because they were one of the few places near the office that is open early for breakfast (7 Maxwell Road #02-128).

Still, I never made it here for breakfast, and instead came here for lunch today. If I really wanted to nitpick, I could argue that the mushroom and egg in this bowl were kinda clichéd. I could question why the clams were seemingly treated as more of a topping rather than being done together with the noodles. I could also whine that it was just a tad heavy on the garlic.

But hey, this was only S$6 (US$4.40), which is quite a steal. More importantly, they didn't overcook the noodles here, and generally handled everything with care (reminding me a bit of Ah Bong's, actually). That means that I will be coming back, in particular to finally try their breakfast, especially since they seem to be open on Saturdays too.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Tokyo's Shitamchi Tendon Akimitsu in Singapore

Signature Tendon

This shop from Asakusa has finally opened its doors at Plaza Singapura (68 Orchard Road #04-65, 6264-3390). I didn't realize until I got there that it was run by Japan Food Holdings, which has brought in a ton of other Japanese brands including Ajisen, Musashi, Kazokutei, Keika, Butao, Osaka Ohsho, and Yonehachi, often with mixed results. The free chawanmushi and tubs of bean sprouts and cabbage on each table (a la Keisuke) weren't very encouraging either.

So it was to no surprise then that I didn't like this bowl. I tried not to hold any preconceived notions based upon how run-down those other brands have become over here, but this bowl was just too soggy and oily, and honestly made me feel kind of gross afterwards. Actually, I've never been that big of a fan of tendon in the first place, but if I had to eat it, then my preference is for Kohaku, especially since I'm told that Tensho has gotten dramatically worse since I last ate there too.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The White Pepper Crab from JB Ah Meng

White Pepper Crab

We went to JB Ah Meng's new air-conditioned location today (534 Geylang Road, 6741-2418) and decided to give their white pepper crab a try given how they seemed to be famous for it. And yeah, it was smoky and fragrant, and the meat in those smaller crabs that they gave us was more tender and sweet than the usual big ones. The bee hoon was almost a requisite item to go with it (not as crispy as Yong Kee's but tastier), and we also got some fried eggplant thing that was fine but not as great as online reviews made it out to be. Perhaps more interesting was the fact that they had pictures of Ferran Adrià's visit to this place plastered all over the wall and menu.

Café&Meal MUJI at Paragon in Singapore

Basic Set 1- Japanese Style

I ate here once before (290 Orchard Road #04-36, 6735-0123), but it was so forgettable that I never really had much interest in coming back again. Still, the place opens at 10 AM daily, which fit our schedule today, so we stopped by here to grab one of these "basic sets."

Most of it - particularly the miso soup - was rather boring; the only thing I really liked was the egg. But it was MUJI after all (not that different from eating at IKEA, I suppose), and ultimately it was a pretty good deal at S$8.80 (US$6.40), especially for something so healthy.

It was only after paying did I realize where their margins really were: the soy and sansho fries, which went for a whopping S$6.90 (US$5.00), not to mention the many drinks (like tea) running for S$5.90 (US$4.30). So now I know: next time, stick to just the basic sets if I want to save money.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Craft Feeds on Duxton Hill, Singapore

Chargrilled Zucchini

I can't remember how I found out about this place (13 Duxton Hill, 6909-0521), but it was supposed to serve craft beer and small plates, two things that are music to my ears. I thus came over for a quick bite before going home tonight, picking up a few items like some tender Hokkaido scallops, some nicely-charred Brussel sprouts, as well as the chargrilled zucchini above, all of which were done delicately and with care. It was all washed down with a couple of pints of a local pale ale on draft with friendly staff and nice music.

Having said that though, I'm hesitant to come back again, mainly because the bar was rather limited. Sure, they had a lot of different beers available, but in bottles (he said that he needed to start slowly first before getting more types on tap). They had cocktails on their drink list, but it was also limited to just a few classics like an old fashioned or gin & tonic. It's too bad; I really wanted to like this place, but unless the bar improves dramatically, I don't really have much desire to come back.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Miami's Yardbird at Marina Bay Sands Singapore

Blue Plate Special

Miami's Yardbird Southern Table & Bar has finally opened its shop in Singapore (10 Bayfront Avenue #B1-07, 6688-9959), albeit under the shortened name "The Bird" given that Hong Kong's Yardbird is coming to town soon too. Anyway, I grabbed their lunch plate above, the first bite of which was pretty good given the minimal batter and good amount of crispy skin and fat to go with it.

But then I got to the breast meat, which was a huge turnoff. Now, don't get me wrong: I'm the kind of guy that specifically requests breast meat when I go to a local chicken rice shop. And this one here was very juicy. But it was also so ridiculously large that most bites lacked any skin or fat attached to it, making it so boring that I had to keep dipping it into that hot sauce to make it edible. Seriously, they need to offer a dark meat option.

That said, I will come back, but more to try the shrimp and grits and wedge salad, not to mention that wonderful-looking list of booze. For fried chicken, I'll only eat the dark meat...or perhaps better, I'll just go to Rang Mang Shokudo instead. That place still has the best fried chicken around here.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Legendary Bak Kut Teh on South Bridge Road, Singapore

Bak Kut Teh

If I heard it correctly, the lady behind Legendary is the daughter of the Founder Bak Kut Teh guy. I've always liked Founder, so I figured I'd stop by her South Bridge outlet during my lunch break today (42 South Bridge Road, 6535-9969). And yeah, I liked the fatty ribs and the punchy peppery broth, even if the latter was slightly thicker than I'd prefer. I'd rather come here than go to that Song Fa place down the street.