Sunday, February 26, 2012

Let's Toss! at Tiong Bahru Plaza

Sichuan Salad

Chris Rock would have a field day with a name like this. Anyway, yes, I came down here (302 Tiong Bahru Road #01-02, 6271-1309) because I saw the writeup in the Sunday Times today, as the idea of a Sichuan salad piqued my curiosity.

As you can see from the photo above though, this is hardly what you'd call a salad. In fact, it's basically just a bunch of your standard cold appetizers from Northern/Central China like kelp, tofu skin, and flat noodles but, well, tossed together.

I mean, sure, it tasted fine enough that I'd eat it again, especially if it saves me the hassle of having to go to Geylang. But "healthy" is hardly the word I would use to describe this stuff, considering how much salt and oil go into Sichuan food.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

McDonalds Singapore's Wasabi Filet-O-Fish

Wasabi Filet-O-Fish

Yes, this thing sounds terrible. But we needed a quick snack this afternoon, with the Golden Arches in some ways being the only choice. So I took a leap of faith and ordered it, even though it sounded really bad.

I ended up liking it so much that I impulsively blurted out, "Hey this is pretty darned good," in a volume much louder than I should have. Why? Plain and simply, that nasty-looking green mayo tasted like Arby's Horsey Sauce, which is something that I can't get in Singapore.

So actually, it wasn't even about the Filet-O-Fish. And yeah, I guess it's not like I'm going to be making many runs to Mickey D's because of this either. But I do miss Arby's.

Tom Yum Spaghetti from Secret Recipe

Tom Yum Spaghetti

Secret Recipe is a chain that I usually try to stay as far away from as possible, especially when the menu lists things as off-putting as tom yum spaghetti. To my surprise though, this didn't taste as bad as it sounded. I actually ate this thing pretty quickly, and all without the help of those fiery dried chilies. Granted, there really isn't much else here that interests me, but if I have to eat at Secret Recipe again, then at least I know what to order.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Korean BBQ from His.tori in Tanjong Pagar

Korean BBQ

Tanjong Pagar is full of Korean restaurants, with new ones seemingly popping up all of the time. But there was one that always had a huge line out front every night, apparently due to an all-you-can-eat buffet deal that naturally would appeal to what seemed to be starving students.

Well, this wasn't that shop, but rather what was presumably a knockoff just a few doors down (20 Tanjong Pagar Road, 6224-6539), with the same S$22 (US$18) price point for all the Korean BBQ you can eat. And yes, that period in the headline is actually part of the shop's name.

One couldn't expect much quality as these kinds of prices, although at least it was better than that nasty Seoul Garden place, even if the foil and knobs of butter reminded me a bit of those steamboat places that used to exist in Marina Bay years and years ago.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Baja Fresh Has Opened in Singapore

Shrimp Tacos

On the way back from Chinese food last night, we noticed that an outlet of Baja Fresh had opened at the Rendezvous Hotel (9 Bras Basah Road #01-03, 6337-7300). I haven't been to a Baja Fresh since back in school, when this Fresh Mex thing was all the rage. But I figured that if it was the same as it was back then, then they should at least have a salsa bar at this outlet.

Fortunately, they did. None of them were particularly spicy, but having it fresh nonetheless was key, even if they were a bit stingy with the chips. And I liked both my shrimp and grilled fish tacos, the latter of which was surprisingly smoky. At the end of the day, it was still just another chain restaurant, but at least I don't need to hover around Spruce's weekday lunch hours if I need a quick taco fix now.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Beijing Nengren Ju, Tyrwhitt Road

Sour Vegetable Boiled Fish

This was a completely random visit. We were originally trying to hunt down a Thai place nearby, only to find that it had closed, and thus stopped by this random northern Chinese place on a side street out of sheer convenience (25 Tyrwhitt Road, 6396-8006).

Fortunately, it was a lot better that we had figured it would be, with string beans spiced up just the right amount, as well as some cold flat noodles that were much better than that Yang Gui Fei place (i.e., nowhere as salty).

The thing above may seem a bit strange, but it was basically a white version of shui zu yu, leveraging some sour pickled vegetables (a bit like the white broth from Wei Lu in Taipei as opposed to the standard red one). I liked it, but it was definitely a lot more veggies than fish. Next time we should give their Mongolian hot pot thing a try.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Udon Factory, Lau Pa Sat, Singapore

Oroshi Bukkake with Tempura

Ever since we hit up an outlet of Rakugama in Japan, I'd been hoping to find a similar setup here in Singapore: a fast assembly line where one orders noodles first before progressing to pick up sides of tempura and then paying. So I was pretty happy to come across a place that did exactly that, at stall number 32 of Lau Pa Sat, of all places.

Unfortunately, I didn't like it. The tempura was the biggest disappointment, the batter being off-puttingly thick. Maybe it would have been better had I gone during the busy lunch hour instead, when the high turnover would have forced it to be fresh from the fryer rather than having to gnaw on the cold pieces that I ended up with tonight.

But I didn't care that much for the noodles either. I mean, I suppose that it did the job, but it definitely wasn't the thick chewy stuff from Rakugama. I'm gonna have to stick to Tsuru-Koshi for udon then...and hit up either Ten or Teppei for tempura.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Squash Blossoms from Pizzeria Mozza

Squash Blossoms

Mmm...these were so much better than the zucchini blossoms that we had at Piperno in Rome. The batter on these was so thin yet crispy that I gobbled up these rich cheese-filled things in no time, nearly going so far as to ask for another serving. And yes, the crispy pizza was just as good as before too, although next time we need to remember a few things: the pizzas really are single-serving sized (i.e., load up on the delicious appetizers), the salumi is pretty salty, and the counter seats are cool since one gets to watch the kitchen in action.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Boiled Pork Slices from Bibigo Singapore

Boiled Pork Slices

I'm sure that the name of this dish sounds much better in Korean. And I'm sure that if I had known what I was doing, this dish from Bibigo probably would have been a lot better. But I ignorantly assumed that this plate of cold meat would come with a standard issue assortment of fresh greens to wrap this stuff up in. It did not. I ended up eating all of the meat straight - or at least, with those raw garlic slices that will surely garner me a welcome reception at home later. In retrospect, this was probably meant to be a dish for a family to share. I should have gone for the bulgogi instead. Oh well.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Thai Tantric, Orchard Towers, Singapore

Tom Yam Soup - The Thick, or Cloudy, Version

Yep - it's a third place serving Thai food at Orchard Towers. This one was just around the corner from Korat (400 Orchard Road #03-23, 9056-3958), but with much fewer seats. And yet all of those seats were filled early this evening, whereas Korat was completely empty. I'm not sure how true this is, but someone said that people from the Thai Embassy come over here to eat too.

All of that got my hopes up too high; I ended up walking away unsatisfied. Part of it was my own fault for ordering the wrong thing; a soup that I got was not the spicy glass noodle soup that I thought I was ordering. I also suspect that part of it was because they intentionally toned down the spices on our dishes. But some of it was simply just bad ingredients; the prawns in our tom yum soup above had clearly seen better days.

Well, at least the veggies that we got were fresh. And I'm still willing to come back as long as someone suggests the right dishes to order. But frankly, I got more excited by the shop downstairs that was selling pizza by the slice. I was too full to eat it, but it smelled like it would hit the spot after a few beers.