Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chennai's Hot Chips Restaurant in Singapore

Hot Chips Mini Meal

Another chain from Chennai has opened in Singapore. Actually, it looks like these guys have been here for a while now, including one shop across the street from Mustafa. I only noticed them when I saw them at Lau Pa Sat recently. And despite the strange name, they sell Indian food rather than British chips.

I had no idea what to order so I got this so-called "mini meal," which included three different types of rice and then some. It was fine, but I should have followed the rest of the crowd in line as everything they got seemed to be a lot better. The Tanjore meal, for instance, looked like it was worthy of a try next time.

Monday, March 28, 2011

More Japanese Beverages...Sorta

Umenishiki and Hitachino Beer

Here was some more Japanese beer from Meidi-Ya, this time with a brand called Umenishiki. I went for the bock, which...well, tasted like a bock. There was nothing bad about it, but nothing that blew me away either. Well, I definitely liked it better than that Hitachino Nest stuff with the owl logo. I thought that I might have liked the Red Rice Ale, but it was way too fruity for me.

Japanese Drinking Vinegar

Perhaps more interesting was the Japanese vinegar that was parked right next to all of the alcohol. Yes, you're supposed to drink the vinegar out of health reasons. It's not as weird as it may sound - I like that tangy bamanto apple vinegar (mixed with water or alcohol at least). But what's strange is that purple one in the upper left hand corner. Yup - that's garlic-flavored black vinegar, which I guess one is supposed to drink as well. I dunno if I really want to try that one.

Wet Tissues in Beverage Cans

Lastly, these were not beverages at all, but rather moist towelettes (i.e., butt wipes) stored in cans that were made to look like drinks - one of them clearly being a knockoff of Pocari Sweat. These were from Daiso rather than Meidi-Ya.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pasta Kabe No Ana, Shokutsu 10 at nex

Tarako Shirasu Spaghetti

I've been meaning to come check out this Japanese pasta place for a while now (23 Serangoon Central #B1-80, 6634-8024). It was only when I came here today did I realize that it was actually part of yet another one of those Japanese food malls in Singapore, albeit this one being run by the folks behind Kuriya.

Unfortunately, I didn't like it as much as Youmenya Goemon. The noodles here were too soft for my liking and the shirasu in my selection wasn't anywhere as edgy as what is featured over there. I might still come back though; I didn't mind the salad that I had today after all, and they're also running a couple of promotions right now involving cheap and/or free beer. :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Three Pound Lobster from Morton's

Three Pound Lobster

Actually, I've never been a big lobster fan. To me, they just seemed like overgrown shrimp, with coarse meat that was not really worth the money. But I've always been kinda fascinated by that giant sedated lobster that Morton's rolls out on those wooden carts. And given that our meal was covered as part of a gift tonight, I opted for a S$150 (US$120) three pound lobster just to satiate my curiosity.

Yes, it turned out fine. The meat was sweet and tender, and I liked the savory juices that I could suck out of those giant claws. But has my opinion about lobster changed as a result? Not really - I'd still rather spend my money on something else. One really shouldn't complain when being treated to a nice meal at Morton's though.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Usman Restaurant, Serangoon Road

Clockwise from bottom: Seekh Kebab, Tandoori Chicken, and Haleem

Mmm...delicious. I was told to get three things when I came here (238 Serangoon Road, 6296-8949): seekh kebab, haleem, and Lahori-style chicken. I arrived with expectations on all three of them and they generally surprised me. For instance, I wasn't expecting anything out of the ordinary when it came to the seekh kebabs given how commonplace they are. But when these arrived, I immediately realized why it was that I was told to come here: the visibly obvious presence of chili seeds weaved into the meat, making it pleasantly spicy and fun to eat. Yum.

What surprised me even more was the haleem, or that gooey paste thing in the back. This chicken and lentil thing didn't look like much, so I wasn't expecting anything either. But when I tasted it, it immediately became my favorite thing here. Why? It was so rich and was a bit like the stuffing inside a savory chicken pot pie, but with the buttery crust whipped right into it too. I downed that stuff in the blink of an eye.

I had some trouble getting the chicken though. When I first came here for lunch last week, they were only selling your everyday tandoori chicken: you know, the red kind, like in the photo above. But the spicy white Lahori version was not available until after 3 PM. I thus finally made it back today to try it. Its spiciness wasn't in terms of heat, but rather its range of spices. It reminded me a bit of Pollo Campero, albeit punchier and less salty. The cool thing is that these guys are open until 2:30 AM too, so I'm definitely coming back for a late night snack.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ajisen's Attempt at Kogashi Ramen

Kogashi Nankotsu Ramen

Man, even Ajisen is trying to do kogashi ramen. Perhaps not surprisingly, this still wasn't anything like Gogyo's aromatic wonder. This was more like scorched garlic oil thrown on afterwards; in fact, the black stuff cleared off pretty quickly after eating the stuff inside, thus becoming not much more than just their regular tonkotsu broth (which, considering how nasty Ajisen usually is, was actually more drinkable than I would have thought). Well, it will still be Kusabi for me then.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Abezen's Sandaime Bunji in Singapore

Gyutan and Oden Set

I originally came down to Millenia Walk today to eat elsewhere, but when I noticed a sign that said that Japan's Abezen had opened up a shop down the way (9 Raffles Boulevard #01-14, 6333-1516), I couldn't help but change my plans. Called Sandaime Bunji, this place specialized in both gyutan and oden. Yes, it was a strange combination, but fortunately they had a lunch set today that featured both, along with some oxtail soup and tororo rice.

And yes, it worked for me. Oden has never really been anything to get me excited, but I liked the crisp clean broth that came with it. And while the tongue was cut a tad thicker than I like, it was tender and did the job. Besides, at only S$26 (US$20) for this set, I wasn't complaining. The dinner menu had some stuff that looked interesting enough to come back for too.

It was only after I left did I realize that parent company and kamaboko maker Abezen is from Shiogen in Miyagi Prefecture. Yes, that's the same Miyagi where Sendai sits. This past week must have been pretty tough on these guys, especially while opening their first overseas outlet here in Singapore just the other day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hoi Bibimbap from Manbok in Tanjong Pagar

Hoi Bibimbap

Tanjong Pagar has always been loaded with a lot of Korean restaurants, but it seems like there's more popping up all of the time. Tonight I walked down the street to see if any of them might be worth a visit, including one that featured those Darth Vader siphons but in an attractive brass color. It seemed like it had potential but I kept on walking given that I wasn't in the mood to blow a wad of money on beef tonight.

But then I noticed another one on the other side of the street without grills, and with generally lower prices (58 Tanjong Pagar Road, 6224-6061). When I looked at the name, I realized that it was the same Manbok that had those brass siphons, except this outlet wasn't as focused on barbeque. Anyway, I sat down and grabbed a bimbimbap, with the only one available today being a raw fish version. That sounded like it might be interesting.

I wasn't quite sure what to do at first since the rice unexpectedly came out separate from the rest...would that make it make it just bibim? Anyway, I ended up eating it like a salad without the rice (and yes, I guess I liked it despite the tough quality of the fish), all while singlehandedly clearing out all of that banchan that was clearly intended for a much bigger group of people. I had forgotten how many vegetables one could get in Korean food just by eating the banchan alone.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Japan's Okonomiyaki Fugetsu in Singapore

Buta Okonomiyaki

An okonomiyaki chain from Japan has setup shop in Singapore. Fugetsu occupies a little stall in ION Orchard's basement (2 Orchard Turn #B4-66, 6509-5085), and I liked it. The thing that struck me right away was the abundance of nicely shredded cabbage, which helped me gobble this thing up in seconds.

But I can't imagine this thing being any good if I had accepted one of those pre-made versions that they offered at first. The rationale was that one wouldn't have to wait, but I told them that I was willing to go for a stroll around the other shops in order to get a fresh one. After all, how could a pre-made one be any good when these things are supposed to be eaten hot off the grill?

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Tampopo's Kurobuta Mini Shabu Shabu

Kurobuta Mini Shabu Shabu

As if I didn't have enough fatty pork already today, tonight I grabbed this black pig shabu shabu...ironically, because I needed something light and soupy with some vegetables, which this technically did provide. At just over S$21 (US$16), it certainly wasn't anything to compare to a place like Ohsumi. But this was Tampopo after all, and it made for a convenient meal.

The Philippines' Tapa King in Singapore

Tapa King Tapsilog

Lau Pa Sat is increasingly filled with lots of Filipino shops, eh? This one a big chain from the Philippines, with its first overseas location in Singapore. Not to be confused with Spanish tapas, Filipino tapa is a form of cured meat that is often served with garlic fried rice and an egg. I was a bit hesitant about this, thinking that the meat would be annoyingly sweet, but it wasn't at all. It was mildly savory and much more moist and tender than I had imagined it to be, allowing me to wolf this thing down in the blink of an eye...and in fact go back for seconds.

Crispy Liempo

But the second time around, I got this crispy liempo instead, which was basically a piece of grilled pork belly, and with literally half of it being pure fat. It was delicious; just like that backfat chicharon stuff, it wasn't the best thing for your body, but it was insidiously tasty. There was plenty of vinegar and sour soup at hand to cut through the fat if you needed it. I'm definitely going to have to work this one off though (and properly purge my system with some greens), especially given the biryani that I just had yesterday too.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Bismillah Biryani on Dunlop Street

From front: Chicken Biryani and Mutton Biryani

Oh man, that was delicious. After just one bite I had to interrupt the lunch conversation today just to say how amazing this was. The rice here (50 Dunlop Street at Perak Road) was fluffy and full of spicy savory richness, and the caramelized onions on top only added to that. Now, it's been a while since I've had biryani so maybe my enthusiasm is partially due to how long it's been, but I liked this so much that I'm easily coming back. I'll definitely stick to the mutton over the more forgettable chicken though.