Sunday, August 19, 2018

TAP Craft Beer Bar at Robertson Quay, Singapore

Drunk Bacon

I was pulled in here (86 Robertson Quay #01-02, 6694-2885) by their "$10 Pints & Wines" sign, only to realize that this was an extension of the craft beer bar from the back of Capitol Piazza. Anyway, I grabbed this "drunk bacon" to go with my brews. The beer batter was crispy, but the bacon inside was soggy, and the Sichuan ketchup that it came with was sweet too. I don't need to get that again, but I will definitely come back, especially given how everything was so much cheaper than the other bars and restaurants around here.

My First Trip to Mei Ling Market & Food Centre

Blissful Plate

We came down to 159 Mei Ling Street this morning, mainly because of Michelin Bib Gourmand stall #02-33. I didn't like it though. Sure, the ingredients were done with care, but that sauce was too herbal...and there was a hint of laksa leaf in it too, if I tasted it correctly. I didn't even want to finish it.

Fishball Noodle

I was much happier instead with the fishball noodles from Xin Lu at stall #02-05. The noodles were cooked and seasoned nicely while even the clear broth was nice and savory. Granted, I don't care much for those smooth-textured fishballs, but it's not a bad deal at just S$3 (US$2.10).

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The Salad Shop Has Changed Their Menu

The Salad Shop

The Salad Shop in Tanjong Pagar (79 Anson Road #01-03, 6534-8068) has been handing out flyers recently, offering a discount off their new menu. I figured that this was just a fine-tuning of their usual checkbox-based salad menu, which they've refreshed from time to time. So I was shocked to find that they completely redid it: they are now trying to compete with The Daily Cut and Grain Traders with a variety of warm and cold pre-cooked/marinated items to go on top of a bed of leaves or carbs.

To be fair, I liked the taste of what I chose. I liked it enough that I've been back for three days in a row, and in some ways I like it better than The Daily Cut, especially since they are more generous with their portions here. But I'm still really miffed that they changed their menu. I originally wanted to come here for a cold, refreshing salad of raw unadulterated ingredients, configured just the way that I like it. My favorite salad shop is gone (despite them keeping the same name), and I'll have to fall back on SaladStop! from now on.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Blue Lotus Chinese Grill House at Tanjong Pagar Centre

Hot Stone Pork Lard Truffle Flavored Fried Rice

This modern Chinese place (5 Wallich Street #01-13, 6996-0880) had a big sign in front of it showing their lunch specials, one of which was a bowl of rice with a clear vial sticking out of it, and with some kind of clear liquid inside. The caption said that it was a pork lard fried rice dish, and my eyes immediately lit up. Ooooooh, could this be something like the elusive pork lard rice that is difficult to find even in Hong Kong?

Nope. It turned out that the pork lard was just that little solidified cube in the bottom right corner, and was used to lube up the scalding hot stone pot first before you threw in the rest of the items in a counterclockwise sequence. The little vial was last, and that was just a truffle oil that hardly tasted of truffle. It was still tasty though, and the pot was hot enough to give the rice a nice scorched texture.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

China's Liang Sandwich Bar at VivoCity in Singapore

Scallions Sandwich

This chain from China has a bit of an odd name (1 Harbourfront Walk #B2-K22, 6255-0310). First of all, it's not what you'd normally think of as sandwich bar. Instead, it's a stall selling congyoubing or jianbing with options to shove protein inside. Secondly, the place is adorned with pictures of Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou everywhere, including both the menu and the paper wrapper. I'm not sure what Liang is referring to, but I'll bet you that most people just think of this place as "Jay Chou's Scallion Pancakes."

Anyway, given that we already had lunch earlier, I opted for the cheapest item on the menu: a basic congzhuabing for just S$2.50 (US$1.80), and without the egg option either. I was surprised to see them pull them out of the freezer and throw them directly onto the griddle, but it still turned out to be fluffy and piping hot without being too greasy. I might get one for a snack again if I happen to be nearby, perhaps opting for the Jay Chou chicken option next time.

Tokyo's Kagurazaka Saryo at VivoCity in Singapore

Aburi Chicken Shio Cha-nabe

The folks behind Ajisen have converted their Fruit Paradise outlet at VivoCity into an outlet of Saryo, a small chain of matcha cafes from Japan (1 Harbourfront Walk #01-59, 6376-9978). Now, a matcha shop of course is focused on tea and dessert. But that's just not my thing. Instead, I was interested in the savory part of their menu, which was centered around something called cha-nabe. From what I could see, it was basically ochazuke served in a Le Creuset-like French oven, and with the option for udon instead of rice.

They had multiple broths and protein options too, including tonkotsu, miso, tom yum, and soy milk for the former, plus shabu shabu meat, tantan meat, and salmon for the latter. I stripped mine down to the simplest chicken shio above, and it was a decently refreshing ochazuke, complete with a fat ume plum lurking inside. That worked for me, and I am kinda curious to see what the other broths are like now. But no, I have no idea what the desserts are like (that's potato salad in the upper right corner of the tray, in case you are wondering).

Sumifru Rose Bananas from the Philippines

Sumifru Rose Bananas

I saw these at NTUC FairPrice Finest last night, and the label drew me in: an "absolute sweet and creamy banana" with the added bonus of edible seeds in them? Cool! These I had to try. It's too bad then that they were neither sweet nor creamy. And the seeds were so small that I wouldn't have even noticed them had they not pointed them out. They were otherwise just very small bananas. Oh well.

Epilogue: I also tried their "Banapple" variety several days later. The label suggested that it tasted like apples, but it turned out that it was only due to it being a rather tangy banana. Their marketing team is trying really hard to put a spin on things, it seems.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

China's Tongue Tip Lanzhou Beef Noodles in Singapore

Signature Beef Noodles

A Lanzhou beef noodle chain from China has opened at Tiong Bahru Plaza (302 Tiong Bahru Road #02-107), and it was delicious. The beef was tender, the broth had a nice bouquet of spices (I'm not talking about the chili oil), and there is a wide selection of hand-pulled noodles to choose from. I slurped mine up in seconds, even if the noodles were a tad on the soft side.

Dry Noodle

Yep, I liked it enough to go for another one. Now, that dry mazesoba-like bowl above sat in a rather sweet mixture underneath. But like at Kajiken, you could spike it with a good dose of vinegar to cover it up. I think I'll be coming here quite a bit; the service is fast, and the food is up there with some of the better beef noodle shops in my books, even if the broth is not as beefy as Liu Shandong in Taipei.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Soon Lee at Makansutra Gluttons Bay, Singapore

Orh Luak

Makansutra Gluttons Bay is a curated collection of hawkers next to the Esplanade (8 Raffles Ave, 6438-4038). It's been around for years, but I've never bothered to eat there, in part since it was always filled with tourists without anywhere to sit. Well, tonight we were nearby and had no problems sitting down at 5 PM.

There were several stalls, but Soon Lee was my favorite. Why? This Teochew orh luak oyster omelette, whose corn starch was fried to a nice crispy state, all while being seasoned with just the right amount of salty briny fish sauce, and with the added bonus of being garnished with cilantro. I would've been happy eating nothing but this.

There were a number of other stalls there, including Wee Nam Kee, Huat Huat, Gerry's Grill, and some cze char places. But this was the only one that mattered in my mind (I need to figure out where the original stall is!). Oh, Alhambra was there too, but the meat was horribly tough. At least they still had that killer chili and dark soy sauce.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Ramen Revolution 2018 at Resorts World Sentosa

Kiramekinao Shiosoba

The Ramen Revolution festival is back at Sentosa this weekend. As with last year, most stalls already have a local presence: Suzuki, Santouka, Sakura, Teppei's Men-Men Tei, Kajiken, Ebi-Toro Menzo, plus Kanshoku and a couple of other local shops. There were only two that they flew in for this, and the first was the oddly-named Junk Story from Osaka. It's a Michelin Bib Gourmand shop doing a chicken and clam broth. The taste was extremely clean (almost like a matzo ball soup), but admittedly wasn't anything that got me too excited.

I was much happier with this tori paitan from a shop called Men Dokoro Wakamusha in Fukushima. The shallots gave it a much more interesting earthiness, while the noodles were flat and firmly cooked, all while being complemented with some thin but fatty pork. The broth wasn't as savory as Kagetsu, but was a solid tori paitan nonetheless. The only thing I didn't like was the boring bamboo shoots, but that's just nitpicking. I hope that they bring more shops from Japan down here next year.

My Guilty Pleasure: Alati Chuanr and Cheerday Beer

Chuanr and Qiandaohu Beer

I've been going to Alati a lot lately, and this is now my go-to order: a dozen chicken chuanr for S$17 (US$12.50), paired with a cold can of Chinese Cheerday Beer that I grab from the 7-Eleven at Velocity for just S$4.30 ($3.15). Yum. I haven't been in the mood to order that fatty lamb again, in part since the chicken here is just so darned tender and tasty as it is.

Epilogue: I recently grabbed some lamb and it was lousy, with lots of unchewable gristle in there. I'm sticking to that impressively moist chicken from now on.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Fresh Taste Big Prawn Noodle on Zion Road

Prawn Mee

When this year's Michelin Bib Gourmand list came out, I had to do a double take. Why? They listed a prawn noodle place from Zion Riverside Food Centre, but it wasn't Noo Cheng, which always draws huge lines. Was there another prawn noodle stall there that was even better?

Nope, it was the same stall, but is now called Fresh Taste (70 Zion Road #01-04). Actually, the signage still says Noo Cheng all over it except for a little bit of text in the upper left corner; I can only assume that the name change was done to distance themselves from the original Noo Cheng over at Adam Road.

Anyway, the line tonight wasn't too long, so I grabbed the cheapest S$6 (US$4.40) prawn noodle, especially since it's been a while since I've had it. The broth wasn't anywhere as sweet as I remember it being (a good thing!), and was quite savory. Too bad that they didn't have flat noodles though.