Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bao Lai De, Outram Road, Singapore

Xinjiang Skewers and Mapo Tofu

Recently I noticed that a few Sichuan restaurants have popped up on Outram Road. And since we were in the neighborhood this afternoon, we walked by all three of them to see what was on their menus. Two of them featured hotpot as well as some cooked dishes, so we ended up at this one because he was also serving Xinjiang skewers (249 Outram Road, 9325-5187).

The skewers were fine, but still nothing compared to LDM. And the Sichuan dishes like mapo tofu and string beans likewise were edible, but a far cry from Hometown.

Probably the most unique thing tonight was the eggplant in the Xinjiang skewers section. It was cut into a giant flat sheet and grilled on one side (while spiced up on the other), thus making it like a Xinjiang version of nasu dengaku. If I come back here again, then it would really just be because of the eggplant.

Friday, August 26, 2011

BK Whopper Bar, Clarke Quay

Angry Whopper and Beer

I'd been wanting to come here for a while now (3B River Valley Road #01-06)...really just to try that Angry Whopper more than anything. Well, OK, and maybe the novelty of getting a Pulp Fiction-like glass of beer at a special Whopper Bar version of Burger King. We were in the area tonight, so I figured it'd be a quick meal to finally satiate the curiosity.

When I first heard about one of these Angry Whoppers (in Germany, of all places), I understood that it was supposed to be filled with jalapeƱos. So it surprised me when I got this to find that it had fresh local chili peppers instead, which turned out to be rather mild. And the Angry Sauce was more salty than it was spicy, thus not making this much more than a Whopper with chili peppers thrown in.

Well, given the Clarke Quay location, I'm sure that this place would be fitting as a post-drinking snack. I wonder if this thing evolved out of the Sichuan Mala Whopper or if that was a completely independent creation.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My First Yellowtail Collarbone...Maybe

Hamachi Kama Teishoku

Grill Fish Nagato had this hamachi kama as a special today. Apparently I grabbed the last one too since they took the sign away after I ordered. I couldn't remember if I had had yellowtail collarbone before (or was it tuna jaw?), but hey, at only S$16 (US$13) for the set, it was surely still a good deal for something that was considered a delicacy.

Yes, the meat was very tender, despite an appearance that suggested it might be a bit tougher. It was a bit strange to eat at first given all of those fins and bones to navigate around, but these bones were pretty thick, making it actually a bit easier to eat than other fish that require plucking out a bunch of little bones. Admittedly, I won't get cravings for this stuff either (maybe I need to eat a more expensive proper version to get truly spoiled), but it was interesting to try.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Old House Melaka Lok Lok, Singapore

Lok Lok

I didn't mean to eat this. I originally came down here because there was a Xinjiang skewer place in Geylang called BBQ Box that I noticed had opened up a shop at the retro Food Republic Beer Garden at St James Power Station (3 Sentosa Gateway). But the skewers were disappointingly soggy, even if I liked the way they spiced them up.

The more interesting thing thus became this other skewer stall on the opposite side of the lot, as it was something that I'd never heard of before (apparently it's Malaysian?). Instead of being grilled on a fire and dressed with a cumin-based spice mix, these lok-lok things were fried in hot oil and then accompanied by a couple of sauces.

The good thing was that frying them made them nice and crispy. But I didn't like the sauces at all, which means that I won't likely get this again. And I guess I won't be going back to BBQ Box either. Well, no worries. I can always get my Xinjiang skewer fix at LDM...or even one of those Boat Quay shops if they are still around.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Chaunsa Mangoes in August

Chaunsa Mangoes

It's August already. I thought that mango season was pretty much over, but then a colleague of mine who just returned from Delhi put these on my desk, saying that North India and Pakistan still had these late bloomers called chaunsas (apparently you can get them at Mustafa right now too), which incidentally were his second favorite type of mango behind the alphonso. He said that they are are never sour, unlike Thai mangoes, and he felt that they were even better than those Burmese mangoes that I like so much.

They were definitely very sweet; it was almost like pouring sugar into my mouth. In fact, they were so sweet that I kinda wished they were a little sour to give it a tangy zip. They definitely weren't as rich as an alphonso either, thus really making them a little one-dimensional. Well, I liked how juicy they were, and that something so sweet was available so late in the season after all. But I think I still prefer the Burmese ones, whose well-balanced taste had more character (as far as I could remember, anyway).

Keisuke's Tonkotsu King in Singapore

Black Spicy Ramen

Yayy!!! Keisuke opened a second outlet today at the new Orchid Hotel (1 Tras Link #01-19, 6636-0855), and it finally featured the black sansho-based oil that I loved so much from his Shodai Keisuke outlet in Tokyo. Granted, it wasn't dressed up as nicely with the tontoro chashu and chili strands that he used there, but it still featured that roasted Sichuan peppercorn taste that made this thing so delicious, especially with the sesame seeds and free eggs that one doesn't get at his PARCO Marina Bay outlet. (Keisuke-san himself was here today too, BTW.)

Someone was just asking the other day which ramen shops I like the most in Singapore, and Keisuke (either of his branches) is still at the top, even after they ditched that awesome ebi ramen. A close second for me is Kusabi, who is totally underrated in my opinion but whose gekikara uobushi is still a favorite of mine. Third would probably be either Marutama's nut-based aka ramen, or maybe Tetsu from Iluma's Ultimate Ramen Champion. While others like Santouka, Ippudo, and Nantsuttei are definitely fine examples of high quality ramen too, they blend a little into the crowd, whereas it's these other shops that really stand out from the rest.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Burmese Food From Maw Shan, Peninsula Plaza

Dry Shan Noodles

I was in the neighborhood and needed a quick bite, so I figured that I'd pop over to Peninsula Plaza to see if there was anything interesting there. Inle Myanmar was packed with customers, so I made my way over to the food court instead, only to find that pretty much every single stall there was Burmese. I thus randomly plopped myself down at this one (111 North Bridge Road #B1-07) and picked the first thing off the menu: dry Shan noodles.

I really didn't have any idea of what to expect, but I liked it. These salty greasy noodles went down easily, especially when I further scooped on some of that crumbly dark chili sauce they provided at each table. They also had some tofu on the menu; I didn't get any, but I can only presume that it would be more authentic than the one from Cedele. Anyway, I still like Burmese food...it's like an earthier version of Thai food, if that is any way to describe it.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Today's Lunch Set from Kushigin

Unadon Lunch Set

I'm amazed by what a good deal this is. Kushigin runs daily lunch sets for only S$10 (US$8), and that's inclusive of tax and service charge, thus requiring nothing more than a ten dollar bill. And just as with Nijumaru upstairs, these guys produce proper quality food, like today's rich and tender unadon that I wolfed down in seconds. They're a bit slower than Nijumaru, but at least they run this deal on weekends.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Meii Sushi, Tanjong Pagar Plaza

Kanpachi Don

Here is a kanpachi don from Meii Sushi (7 Tanjong Pagar Plaza #01-108, 6220-3466), a cozy little shop that I finally made it to today rather than my usual lunch at Miz across the street. As the name suggests, they specialize in sushi, and I liked his generously thick cuts of fresh fish, all while staying down to earth at the same time.

And to my surprise, a couple of clams were included in the miso soup that accompanied the bowl, making this set a good deal at S$18 (US$15). Yes, it is just a coincidence that I've been eating so many sushi bowls lately. But they are healthy and cheap...or at least, cheaper than a proper sushi course, which apparently is this guy's real specialty.