Saturday, November 28, 2009

Kirin Autumn Brew...in November

Kirin Autumn Brew

This limited brew from Kirin was hoppier than a typical Japanese beer, which is also why I didn't really like it that much. Then again, it probably didn't help that it sat around until nearly December before I got around to drinking this "autumn brew."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Eating Phở Tái on Shenton Way

Phở Tái

Buddy's Restaurant (25 Shenton Way #01-07, 9092-3934) is just an everyday Singaporean cze cha, but they recently added a stand out in front where a lady specializes in Vietnamese food. Actually, there wasn't much more than just phở and gỏi cuốn, but nonetheless the phở turned out to be a lot better than I was expecting.

It reminded me a bit of Phở Cong Ly in Saigon with its to-the-point style, but basil and bean sprouts were still provided. The broth was very light and clear, and yet it was still and savory. I liked how they loaded it up with coarsely ground black pepper and shredded scallions too. It was a lot better than many of the other phở shops in downtown.

This was a bad choice during the week though, as it definitely required some teeth brushing after returning to the office. And the time window for this is fairly limited; even though Buddy's cze cha (unrelated to Buddy's Sawasdee, I assume) is open until well past midnight, the phở apparently sells out just after lunch.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Okayu Set at Ochacha, Singapore

Okayu Set

Ochacha, a green tea place kinda like Koots in Japan, has moved to Paragon (290 Orchard Road #B1-25, 6737-3889)...and is rather audaciously situated across from Starbucks, incidentally. They obviously focus more on drinks and cakes, but they also offer this breakfast set for S$5.90 (US$4.25) from 9-11:30 AM...or S$7.90 (US$5.70) at any other hour of the day. It wasn't anything to go nuts over, but it did the job as a quick snack. The S$2 (US$1.45) for the tiny little cup of tea on the side was a bit of a ripoff though.

Friday, November 13, 2009

SQ's Low Sodium Meal out of Taipei

The Low Sodium Meal on SQ

Ugh - that was nasty. My last two special meals on SQ were a lot better than I thought they would be, but this one tasted just like what the words "low sodium" invoke: bland and unappetizing.

Sadly, this featured tasteless pieces of chicken breast in both the appetizer as well as the main course, and they even left the third plastic tray empty - as if they couldn't find anything else to put in there. I wonder if this was because of the local caterer in Taiwan?

The ironic thing is that I had to add some of the standard issue table salt and butter that came with the roll on the side in order to make it half-bearable. So much for eating healthy.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Yong Kang Beef Noodle, Taipei

Beef Noodle Soup

The Taiwanese are as passionate about beef noodle soup as the Japanese are about ramen: everybody has their own opinion on which little shop makes the best one. And this place (Jinshan South Road Section 2, Lane 31, Number 17, 2351-1051) apparently has established quite a name for itself.

I can see why. The meat was tender, the broth was rich, and they had a number of condiments to go with it. I still prefer the uniqueness of Chuan Wong, but this one was still a worthy representative.

Actually, I got more excited about the red oil wontons that they had available on the side. It looked like a mushy mess when it first arrived, but to my surprise, the stuff was loaded up with so much lard that it was impossible to resist. The spicy peanuty sauce never hurt either.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Some Random Taiwanese Food

Taiwanese Food

This was just a random shop around the corner from our office that my local colleagues took me to. They ordered a bunch of little local dishes, like that bowl of rice noodles as well as a small bowl of rice topped with ground beef that was supposed to be some local specialty. It was fine, but I didn't see what the big deal was as it tasted just liked it looked.

What was interesting was that little plate of cold shark meat in the background, which was covered in shreds of raw ginger and was to be dipped into soy sauce and wasabi...kinda like that cuttlefish that I had on the streets last time. It wasn't really anything special from taste-wise, but it was unique.

Room Service: A Taiwanese Breakfast

Taiwanese Breakfast

I very rarely order room service. But with such a hectic day ahead of me, I settled for convenience and ordered a local breakfast in my room, which turned out to be gigantic with a huge bowl of porridge that I only ate half of, plus a bunch of dishes to go with it that I barely touched. I felt pretty bad about that. I should have just eaten off the street.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

SQ's Low Sodium Meal Again

SQ's Low Sodium Meal

Here was the low sodium meal again on SQ today. Just as with last time, it wasn't as bland as the term "low sodium" might suggest...although it wasn't exactly anything to go nuts over. But I am glad that I got it instead of the regular meal.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Gyoza no Tetsujin by En, ION Orchard

Gyoza

I wasn't planning to come here, but I needed a bit more food after that Korean fried chicken. Fortunately, just across from Bon Chon was this new gyoza shop (#B4-88, 6509-3256) from the people behind Okinawan restaurant En. I grabbed a box to top it off.

The thing that immediately struck me about these were the skins. They were super thin, but were also sticky enough that it was hard to separate these without ripping the neighboring piece open, even if it still tasted fine in the end. My preference is still for Ohsho as a result.

Interestingly, they had a sign out front that said that these were from Osaka Osho, which apparently is not the same as the Gyoza no Ohsho chain referenced above. I'm not sure what Osaka Osho is like, but it reminded me that a visit to the Gyoza Stadium is in order next time I get the chance to head back up to Osaka.

Hunting Down Korean Fried Chicken

Bon Chon's hot chicken and kimchi coleslaw

I've never been a huge fan of Korean fried chicken. I've liked the spiciness, but the heavy sweetness was always a huge turn-off. And yet deep inside I somehow held onto hope that I would eventually find a shop - possibly in Korea - that would take it easy on the sugar. Fortunately, last week's Sunday Times listed out a few shops in Singapore that perhaps could do it without the travel.

I went to the story's highest-rated Kko Kko Na Ra on Tras Street first. The bool dak was light, crispy, and scorchingly spicy - so much that I felt like Adam Richman in Man v. Food struggling to finish the last piece. But it was also so sweet that I really wouldn't have wanted to finish even if it weren't that spicy. I was thus pleasantly surprised when visiting the new outlet of Bon Chon at ION Orchard (#B4-06A) instead. The chicken pictured above was still a little sweet, but it was gentle enough where it actually complemented the taste rather than overpowered it. I finished these with ease.

Now, I still prefer buffalo wings (ironically, Korean chicken has apparently been successful in New York, of all places). But at least Bon Chon proved to me that I could find Korean chicken that wasn't too sweet, even if it really wasn't that spicy either. Well, I'm sure that I'll still end up at Kko Kko Na Ra again, not just because of their late hours but also because of a bunch of other items on their menu that looked worthy of a try.

My First Bowl of Lor Mee

Lor Mee

Every time I go to Tiong Bahru Market, I notice a huge line for stall number 80 selling something called lor mee. I had no idea what that stuff was, so today I finally waited it out to see what the big deal was.

If it weren't for those garnishes on top, this would have been nothing more than a bowl of heavy noodles doused in a goopy brown sauce. The sauce was unremarkable, but at least it had neither the sweet nor herbal taste that I worried about. Fortunately, the addition of cilantro, chili peppers, and Chinese black vinegar gave it a bit more life. Indeed, I wished that I had put more vinegar in it...and I went a bit overboard with the huge clump of minced raw garlic.

I thus went to get another bowl at stall number 4 across the way, which had close to no line but one that I liked better due to his toppings. Maybe it was also because I intentionally loaded it up with extra vinegar, reminding me a bit of that thick Chinese soup called geng. Well, if I get this again next time I'll need to remember to go heavy on the vinegar but easy on the garlic.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Wood Tub Rice from Lau Pa Sat

Wood Tub Rice with Spicy Diced Chicken and a Chinese Burger

Some stall at Lau Pa Sat was selling these wooden tubs of rice, as well as what they called a Chinese Burger. They looked interesting, but they were nothing more than just gimmicks in the end. The "burger" was forgettable, while the rice wasn't really anything special - it was just served in an atypical looking bowl, that's all. In fact, the chicken on top was also so sweet that I didn't bother finishing it. I liked that spicy chili oil that they had on the side though.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Hamachi Carpaccio from Shin Kushiya

Hamachi Carpaccio

Shin Kushiya has been around for a while, but I had always avoided it because of how commercialized it looked. Still, tonight we stopped at the VivoCity location (1 Harbourfront Walk #02-120, 6275-8766) in part because I spotted this item on the menu, which looked strikingly like Nobu Matsuhisa's signature yellowtail with jalapeño...at least, it looked like it on Shin Kushiya's nicely printed menu.

I was thus a bit surprised to find the dish itself adorned with bell pepper chunks, with barely a slice of chili pepper to be seen. Nor was it as fragrant...at least, to the best that my memory from over ten years ago could recall. Well, this place didn't exactly pitch it to be like Nobu's version, so it was my own fault for assuming so. I suppose that it was fresh at least.

Oh - and how did the other food fare? Given its name, we had to get some kushiyaki, some of which was fine, but some of which was totally drowning in sweet tare sauce (if I somehow end up here again, I'll definitely have to request that they don't use that stuff). At least I liked the ginger dressing in the kaiso sarada.