Sunday, October 31, 2010

Huhu Udon by En, ION Orchard

Himuro Udon

We came down to ION Orchard again today to try to get our hands on some more bánh mì, only to find that they don't start selling it until 3 PM after they get their order of bread. But on our way out, we came across this udon shop (#B4-56, 6509-3256). Run by the En Group, it was sitting right next to the ION Orchard outlet of Go! Go! Curry!.

We grabbed this cold himuro udon, which didn't come out with the sesame grater and shaved ice that was depicted in their menu. But the noodles were pleasantly thick and firm, which was good enough for me...and was much better than that Toku Toku place. I wish something like Rakugamo would come to Singapore though.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wendy Vietnamese Cuisine, ION Orchard

Bánh Mì Saigon

No, this wasn't meant to be a streak of Vietnamese food. We noticed some decent looking baguettes at this place a few days ago (stall number 5 in ION Orchard's Food Opera down on basement 4) and finally got over there today in the hope that they could turn it into some some decent bánh mì.

It was better than we thought it would be, with light and airy - if toasted - bread surrounding a good combination of pickles and chili peppers. Despite how disturbing it was to find iceberg lettuce inside, overall it worked well enough for us to want to come back again, especially given the mixed results we've had in trying to find a decent rendition thus far.

And yes, the phở here was do-able too. But I'll probably pass on the gỏi cuốn next time as one of the green herbs inside didn't sit well with me. I wonder what the rest of the stuff on the menu is like.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Eat All You KHAN Mongolian Grill

Mongolian BBQ

Yep, it's another Mongolian BBQ in Singapore. I came across this unexpectedly when passing through Lau Pa Sat (18 Raffles Quay Stall 47) earlier today, so we decided to come back tonight to give it a try. The name certainly was amusing, but would the food be any good, especially being in a hawker center? Well, I suppose that they exist in US food courts.

It was better than I thought it would be, and at S$6.50 (US$5), it was probably the cheapest option in town too. Their bowls were a bit small (not to mention confusing given that they want you to put meat in a separate bowl), but they were generous enough to give you an extra helping of noodles if you get the single serving option. I just need to remember to mix the sauce myself next'd think that I'd have learned by now.

Sunny Viet, Lau Pa Sat Festival Market

Phở and gỏi cuốn

I don't really go to Lau Pa Sat too much these days, but I needed to be in the neighborhood around noon today anyway, so I figured it'd be worth stopping by to see what new stalls have popped up. This Vietnamese one naturally caught my eye (18 Raffles Quay Stall 98), especially since they even offered bánh xèo. That was only available after 3 PM though, so I fell back on the usual bowl of phở.

The sad appearance of the gỏi cuốn wasn't too encouraging at first, but the phở was better than I thought it would be, especially compared to previous experiences of getting phở at a hawker center. Their đặc biệt version had more cuts of meat than I was expecting too, even if the herbs were pre-mixed. Unfortunately, the broth wasn't good enough for me to finish, which also meant that I'm not exactly going to get any cravings for this place either.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Flames Mongolian Fresh Grill and Bar

Mongolian BBQ

Another Mongolian BBQ has opened in Singapore (77 Boat Quay, 6534-4020). This one was cheaper and more downscale than the Tent, but it's not like one really needs Mongolian BBQ to be dressed up anyway. And despite the relatively limited selection of ingredients, I was able to get mine tasting right as long as I took control of which sauces I wanted. I still prefer to get this stuff in the US though.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Le Froglet Shiraz from Marks & Spencer

Le Froglet Shiraz from Marks & Spencer

We've seen wine in a can and wine in a box. How about wine in plastic stemware? These were at Marks & Spencer and I couldn't help but chuckle at it...not to mention cave into curiosity.

It was pretty harsh and nasty. And the rim of the stemware was thick and cut at right angles, which physically made it a bit hard to drink too (Reidel this was definitely not!). But hey - in a picnic situation, I suppose that plastic stemware looks a bit better than in a juice box.

Truffle Xiao Long Bao from Din Tai Fung

Truffle Xiao Long Bao

The photo above looks like just any other xiao long bao, but it's actually a French truffle infused special from Din Tai Fung. Apparently it's usually for VIPs in Taiwan, but they are offering it at the Paragon location in Singapore three times the price of the basic dumplings.

Was it worth it? Well, you could definitely taste the black truffles once you bit into it. But I don't know if it was so mindblowing that I'd opt for it again. Frankly, some simple mushrooms minced into the stuffing might be good enough for me. This was interesting to try either way.

Lunch From IKEA (Not Meatballs!)

Ikea Food

My lunch today was from IKEA. But it wasn't the typical Swedish meatballs from the cafeteria, but rather some cheese and crackers from the market (next to the hot dog stand) downstairs. They did the job, with a smooth tasty cheese to go along with light and crispy crackers, plus a pear soda on the side.

I'm not sure what all the fuss is about those chicken wings in the cafeteria though. I got it based upon some tips I saw in foursquare, but they were just basic fried chicken wings rather than anything too unique. Note to self: the pickled herring is very sweet, so get the lox next time instead.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Keisuke Singapore Has Changed Its Menu

Keisuke Premium Tonkotsu Ramen

Keisuke launched a new menu this week...and unfortunately, not necessarily for the better. Given the fact that people kept comparing their ebi ramen to local prawn noodles, they shifted their menu towards more mainstream (and hence, less remarkable) items instead, including a tonkotsu ramen that just wasn't rich enough for me. Worse, the scoop of chili included in the "premium" version pictured above ended up overpowering the taste of everything, including the cheese and the watercress, two items that I probably otherwise would have enjoyed. And perhaps for the first time ever, I did not drink the broth at Keisuke down to the last drop. If I get this again, I must remember to tell them not to add the chili.

Yep - there were a lot of changes, with the sign even sporting a new "Ramen Dining" tagline. Gone are the little red chopstick stands and wet towels. Gone are those white spherical bowls with their logo at the bottom. And without the ebi ramen around anymore, that wonderful seafood aroma that used to hit you when you entered the restaurant has disappeared too. Instead, these guys are now serving hiyashi ramen and butter corn miso, and even the gyoza are looking more like the little ones from Ippudo rather than those distinctly-shaped long ones of the past. I guess one can't blame the capitalists in them for trying to appeal to a wider audience. But this just evokes memories of the now defunct Wakashachiya Singapore, which similarly tried to change its menu, and unfortunately lost its appeal to me in the process.

Well, at least the kani ramen as well as their awesome shoyu and shio ramen survived the revamp. And a new offering of seasoned bean sprouts at each table is a nice touch. But I still think they should have brought their tontoro kuro ramen from Japan over here - that would make them a standout. Instead, with this new menu, they just blend into the rest of the crowd, thus motivating me to go to somewhere like Kusabi if I want something more unique. Farewell, ebi ramen. I'm really gonna miss ya.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Xi Yan Private Dining, Singapore

Golden Fish in Lemongrass Sauce

Xi Yan (38A Craig Road, 6220-3546) is one of those private kitchen concepts from Hong Kong that we never made it to given that it required a minimum party size. They've since removed that requirement and allow you to pick your arrival time now, but it is still a fixed menu that one has to reserve in advance.

We generally liked the dishes tonight, including an abalone ginseng chicken soup that was savory without tasting like medicine, as well as a glutinous rice whose steamed crabs were refreshingly light without being drenched in any sauce to overwhelm it. The fish above worked too, even if I'm a bit tired of the idea of a deep fried fish in a sweet and sour sauce.

But this isn't a good place to come to if one is in a rush. Dishes move at a leisurely pace, so one has to set aside a good number of hours to go through it all. The decor, while artistically funky and fitting, wasn't quite as upscale as I would have thought it to be either. I respect what they do, but it won't exactly be a top of mind place for me.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mr. Bean's Roasted Soya Nuts

Mr. Bean's Roasted Soya Nuts

No, this isn't from Rowan Atkinson, but rather the local soybean milk chain. I saw them for sale at the counter and figured that they'd be worth a try. They weren't anything that was just a vehicle with which to eat some salt and flavoring after all. But it was interesting to try out.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Beef Ramen at Tampopo

Original Gyu Ramen

Tampopo is running some kind of a gyu ramen special this month. The thought of a beef stock-based ramen was a bit strange, but it turned out to be a lot better than I thought it would be. Rather than a heavy beefy flavor, the broth was kinda rich and creamy...almost tonkotsu-like.

The only weird thing was the two slices of konnyaku that they topped it with, as they had some kind of a yakiniku flavor infused into them. Actually, I guess I kinda liked the taste of grilled meat, but it's just the wiggly texture of konnyaku that is disturbing.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sights From Across Singapore on a Sunday

Wasabi Towels

Here were just a few random but amusing things that I spotted across Singapore today, the first of which was that paper towel dispenser hanging off the side of a hawker's fridge. If one looks closely, the dispenser is designed to look like a giant tube of wasabi.

Hello Kitty Wine

Next up is Hello Kitty-branded wine from Da Paolo Gastronomia. And unlike that Kodomo No Nomimono children's beer, this one was really wine. I hope no kids get this confused with that Hello Kitty yogurt drink.

Urine Funnel

Finally, we saw this at an auto parts store. One doesn't need to be able to read Japanese to figure this one out. If you're still scratching your head at it, just imagine if you were stuck on a long road trip and maybe had a bit too much of that wine above. It'd save you the hassle of having to pull over at a gas station.

The Lunch Special from Cova

This penne was part of the lunch special at Cova Pasticceria Confetteria today. It was delightful with its creamy and savory mushroom sauce coating that firmly cooked pasta. I wasn't too crazy about the seabass nor antipasti in the rest of the meal, but it's not like I should expect that much from a pastry shop after all. Either way, this place soon may end up becoming our substitute for the now defunct Bollicine.

I'm digressing here, but it's a real bummer that Bollicine has shut down. It just adds to the list of sleeper restaurants in Singapore whose food was enjoyable enough to make us go there very frequently...but apparently not enough to keep them in business. RIP, Bollicine. Just as with the likes of Mushroom Park, Xiao Ping, and Banoo, you'll be sorely missed.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Fentiman's Curiosity Cola

Fentiman's Curiosity Cola

Curiosity Cola from Newcastle Upon Tyne had a fitting name, not only due to its tiny bottle (that Orangina can is there just for scale), but also because of its description as a "fermented botanical cola drink with ginger and herbal extracts"...and the presence of a very small amount of alcohol that resulted from the brewing process.

The ginger and herbs were pretty strong, which I suppose is a good thing, but isn't really anything so compelling that I'd reach for another one, as I was hoping for something nuttier. And no, the alcohol was not detectable. Curiosity, indeed.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Homemade Tofu from Shimbashi Soba

Homemade Tofu and Yuba

Shimbashi Soba at Paragon recently renovated, and it looks like their menu got touched up in the process too, including this homemade tofu and yuba, which is limited to only ten quantities per day. I naturally grabbed one, and was delighted to find it so rich and creamy that it was almost milk-like, hardly even requiring that bonito-heavy sauce on the side. Yum.