Friday, February 27, 2009

Hokkaido Sandwich & Sashimi, Singapore

Tonkatsu Sandwich

I went back today to try out a couple more of this shop's sandwiches, starting with the tonkatsu sandwich pictured above. I'm no expert on katsu-sando, but this one was fine - I kinda liked that brown mustard sauce and the hidden bits of corn in the patty.

I also finally got around to trying that fruit sandwich, which was pretty much sliced fruit and whipped cream shoved in between two slices of bread. It actually tasted alright, but after having gone through nearly two sandwiches for lunch, I frankly got a bit sick of all of the bread. Maybe next time I'll ask these guys to cut off the crusts for me.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Trying Out Some Tatami Iwashi Salad

Tatami Iwashi Sarada

This was the tatami iwashi salad from Hokkaido Sandwich and Sashimi (4 Marina Boulevard #01-33, 6509-0685), a Japanese sandwich shop that has opened at The Sail @ Marina Bay. I originally came down here for a sandwich, but this starter sounded interesting so I got one as well.

What you see are little baby sardines sun-dried into flat sheets and then thrown on top of a small salad tossed in a Japanese dressing. I rather liked it as it wasn't as fishy nor salty as I thought it would be, although it was a bit pricey at S$12 (US$8) for a tiny little plate.

Oh - and how were the sandwiches? I grabbed a tarabagani sandwich, which featured Japanese crab...and more specifically, Japanese king crab. It was pretty much what I had figured it would be like: mildly sweet, small-portioned, and on very soft bread. I kinda liked it, even if the hint of onions in the Japanese mayo-slathered crab fueled a bit of dragon breath on the way back to the office. Maybe next time I'll try that peculiar yet intriguing-sounding fruit sandwich that I thought I saw on the menu.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pai Kuat Wong from Hong Sheng

Pai Kuat Wong

I think this was called pai kuat wong, which was basically some Chinese pork ribs in a sweet and sour sauce. And apparently this place, Hong Sheng, is known for this stuff. I'm not big on sweet items so it wasn't a huge thing for me, but it was fine and tasted like it looked.

Sliced Bread, Singapore Style

From left: Koptiam Bread and Pandan Bread

I don't eat much bread, so it took me a number of years after living in Singapore to finally discover this stuff. But I kinda liked it...the green one on the right anyway. It was pandan-leaf flavored, and its mildly sweet fragrance reminded me a bit of King's Hawaiian bread - one of the few forms of bread that I do enjoy, next to baguettes and sourdough.

The white-colored one on the left, on the other hand, was more amusing than it was tasty. Basically, it was packaged bread that already had the crusts removed. Man, if only we had that when we were kids - I would have actually eaten the entire PB&J sandwich without having to throw away the crust!

I was told later that they cut off the crust because it comes out of the bakery all dark and unattractive, which shot down my original theory: that this was the fourth bacheloresque thing I'd seen in Singapore next to sliced ice cream, Mamee Monster Noodle Snack, and Milo Dinosaur. Anyway, this stuff is called Kopitiam Bread - presumably since it's used in local kaya toast and sometimes to mop up the sauce in chili crab.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Risotto from Cova Pasticceria Confetteria

Risotto ai Tre Pomodori, Capesante e Basilico

Here was the risotto from Cova Pasticceria Confetteria. It was fine, although the veal cheek ravioli was much more exciting to me thanks to all of its rich cheese and mushrooms. I still haven't tried the pastries from this place though.

Friday, February 20, 2009

CLE African Restaurant, Singapore

Pepper Soup

I don't know anything about African food, but from what I'd seen on TV, it looked like some pretty spicy stuff. So I came down here today (16 Verdun Road near Mustafa) to give this place's pepper soup a try. It probably doesn't look like much in the photo, but it definitely packed in the heat, making all of the intestines and such much easier to eat. I may not necessarily come running back here for another serving of innards, but if the rest of the food here is this spicy, then it's worthy of another run.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Teochew Tai Chi Chicken Soup

Tai Ji Ji Rong Geng

The menu at Teochew Restaurant listed this in English as a rather odd-sounding "Tai-Chi Mould (Kung-Fu Dish)," but I don't think this had anything to do with what sounded like two forms of martial arts. Instead, Tai-Chi was in reference to the yin and yang symbol (taijitu), whereas Kung-Fu, from what I gathered, was simply in reference to the "highly skilled" process required to make it...like gongfu tea.

Anyway, this basically turned out to be a spinach soup with some kind of chicken puree stuff floating on top to give it the contrasting colors; the two got mixed together before serving. This was also an example of a geng, or a Chinese soup with a thick consistency and savory taste that I enjoy.

So this bowl ended up being a delight to drink, even if I realized the hard way that this "small" size was really meant for a family rather than a single serving like I was led to believe. Then again, at S$15 (US$10), I sure would have hoped that it was bigger than a single serving.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Chennai Cabbage from Muthu's Curry

Chennai Cabbage

Here was some cabbage with lentils from Muthu's Curry. I just liked the look of the chili peppers on top; otherwise, it was just your usual salty cabbage.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Japanese Sagahonoka Strawberries

Sagahonoka Strawberries and a Musk Melon

In another episode of expensive Japanese produce, here are some Sagahonoka strawberries from the Saga prefecture. These things were so fragrant that you could smell them from a distance. Unfortunately, the taste didn't do anything for me, as it was so mild that I didn't feel it was that different from a normal box of strawberries. I was hoping for something punchier.

I don't know how much these were as they were a gift, but they certainly couldn't have been cheap. And with such a premium, I would have expected them to aesthetically look a bit better, but a lot of these were pale and blemished. Well, the pale color might have been intentional - when you bit into it, the flesh inside was consistently white.

And yes, that was another Japanese melon in the background. This one was also from Shizuoka...and cultivated in a greenhouse, if I read the label correctly. I may not have gotten that excited about the mild taste of those strawberries, but the sweet juicy tenderness of the melon was just unbeatable.

An Ji Famous Fish Head Noodles

Sang Mee

No, that's not fish head on top of noodles. This place was actually a local cze cha serving all sorts of dishes at the Chinatown Complex (335 Smith Street #02-193), and it looked like they were most famous for this dish, sang mee, where slices of fish sat on top of a bed of crispy deep fried noodles. It was much better than I thought it would be, not only because the noodles were extra skinny, but also because the fish was very fresh and tender. Successfully trying to shove those huge curly noodles into your mouth without getting the dark sauce all over your face was a bit of a challenge though.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hokkaido Corn Chowder from Pierside

Hokkaido Corn Chowder

Pierside, a place that I had mixed results with in the past, appears to have revamped its menu for the better. I was really happy with this corn chowder, especially since it featured a piece of Hokkaido corn on the side. It was so tender and aromatic from the grilling that I wished that they had given me the entire ear to eat. This starter came at an eye-popping price of S$21 (US$14), but at least it didn't come in a vacuum-sealed package.

And yes, their oven roasted miso cod has survived the menu revamp.

Yakitori Bento from Kushigin

Yakitori Bento

I normally don't go for lunchtime bento boxes. But I was in the neighborhood today and realized that I hadn't been to Kushigin in ages, so I went in and picked this yakitori bento out of the bunch.

It was a lot better than I thought it would be. Underneath the assortment of skewers on the left were my usual raw veggie sticks with miso paste, while under the meat and mushrooms on the right was a bed of rice, complete with tsukemono in the corner. It was pretty much everything I would have ordered a la carte anyway, and all for the bargain price of only S$12.50 (US$8).

My only gripe was that it was a bit slow for a time-sensitive workday lunch, but hey - my belly was satisfied and full when I left.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mei Hong Yuen Dessert, Chinatown

Mango Snow Ice

Since we were in Chinatown already anyway, we stopped here (65 Temple Street, 6221-1156) for dessert, a place that was incidentally featured in 8 Days this week for featuring Taiwanese "snow ice." They didn't have any mango flavor listed on the menu, but I couldn't imagine eating any other flavor of this stuff so fortunately we found out that it was indeed available as long as you asked for it.

And lo and behold this giant thing came out for only S$5 (US$3.30). I was surprised to find that it was all made from the tissue-like flavored stuff rather than sitting on a bed of shaved ice underneath, but that worked just fine for me as it was just what I needed to purge out all of that oil and salt from dinner. Just watch out for the brainfreeze.

Hometown's Signature Boiled Fish

Gù xiāng zhāo pai shuǐ zhǔ fèi téng yú

I couldn't quite figure this one out. This was basically just Sichuan water-cooked fish, but it was S$36 (US$24) and listed on a completely different page from the cheaper, standard version. I expected it to be another dish altogether, but it looked like some premium version with higher quality ingredients or something. It was apparently Hometown's signature dish.

It definitely was one of the better ones that we've tasted, with fresh fish and a huge dose of tongue-numbing peppercorns. In fact, it arrived completely covered in dried chili peppers (the photo above was after the lady scooped most of them away). I liked the fragrance of it all, but one of these days someone is going to have to explain to me what the difference was with the standard version that they offer.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Ninniku Maruage from Shinjuku

Ninniku Maruage

We spotted these at another table last time we were at Shinjuku, an old-school izakaya here in Singapore that's always been a dependable standby for us. This little bad boy is pretty much what it looks like: an entire bulb of garlic deep-fried and salted. The cloves just popped right out of this thing, although unfortunately most of the taste was all gone by this stage, so they provided a little miso on the side if you needed it. I sure hope that garlic really does reduce cholesterol.

Hitsu-Mabushi from Wakashachiya

Hitsu-Mabushi

Here's the hitsumabushi from Wakashachiya. I wasn't even planning to get this - I was craving their signature curry udon instead. But upon arrival I found that these guys had revamped their menu. I can only assume that they expanded their offerings in order to appeal to a wider audience, but in the process they slashed the number of toppings that were available for the curry udon, and my usual eggplant and tomato toppings fell victim to it all. Disappointed, I fell back on one thing that did survive: the hitsumabushi.

Fortunately, it was still the same as I remembered it - complete with a gimmicky instruction sheet about how to enjoy this stuff four different ways using the condiments that were provided. Well, for grilled eel it did the job, but the menu revamp means that I'll be less likely to come back...which was probably the opposite effect of what they wanted.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Din Tai Fung has added Spicy Wontons

Spicy Wontons

It looks like Din Tai Fung has added one of my favorite dishes, red oil wontons, to its menu. I didn't like this rendition though as it was really more sour than it was spicy (at least, here at their Singapore branch), forcing me to dump tons of more chili oil on top. Even then, it still didn't have the punch that I was looking for. I'll stick to their famous xiao long bao next time.

Chee Cheong Fun from Holland Drive

Chee Cheong Fun

Here's some chee cheong fun from a random stall at 44 Holland Drive (#02-03). I didn't really care for the fishiness of the chili sauce, but otherwise these little steamed rice things were fine - and was certainly much better than what I've been served at a hospital before.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Shaanxi Cold Noodles from Geylang

Shaanxi Liang Pi

Hey that was pretty darned good (thanks for the tip!). This shop right at the end of Lorong 13 where it meets Sims Avenue (27 Lorong 13 Geylang, 9682-4531) specializes in these cold flat rice noodles from the Shaanxi province of China. I've never been to Shaanxi before so I have no idea if this was authentic or not, but it sure was tasty.

For just S$3 (US$2), one gets this mouth-watering little bowl of spicy and sour noodles that just hits the spot. It was similar to the cold noodles from Hometown except that it featured rice noodles and included little bits of frozen tofu as well as cucumber and bean sprouts. For me, it could easily be summed up in just two words: refreshingly appetizing. Just don't wear a white T-shirt here as you're bound to get splatter from all of the red chili oil.

Souperlicious, Suntec City Mall

Minestrone Soup

This was just another soup place in Singapore (3 Temasek Boulevard #01-152, 6836-1711). I definitely liked it better than The Soup Spoon, but it won't be anything that I'll go out of my way for; the taste of my minestrone soup wasn't really that much different from something that I could get out of a can. Hopefully the other varieties here are better.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Red Mango, Suntec City Mall

Satisfying MangoSo Pinkberry's frozen yogurt rival from Korea really has opened up shop here in Singapore (3 Temasek Boulevard #01-140G). Pictured here was one of their suggested combos called Satisfying Mango, featuring mango, peach, and granola. It tasted fine, but I preferred the tartiness of Pinkberry.

Now that I think of it, I used to really like a frozen yogurt shop in Brentwood called Humphrey Yogart, where I would usually select a tart version of their yogurt and get fruit blended into it. I'm not sure if they are still around or not though - especially since it sounds like the epicenter of this recent Pinkberry vs. Red Mango rivalry was in West LA. Can anyone verify?

Siti Nur Liyana Claypot Noodles

Soto Ayam

No, that's neither a claypot nor noodles, as I didn't order the namesake item here. I came to Adam Road Food Centre hoping to get some soto ayam from stall number 9, but they weren't open yet. So I hopped five stalls over to stall number 14 instead and grabbed their rendition. This ketupat rice cake-filled version was fine, but the chili sauce was a bit sweet so I hope that stall number 9 is open next time. Or maybe we can just divert over to the Botanic Gardens instead.