Saturday, June 30, 2012

Green Eggs from Kith Cafe

Green Eggs

Here was a plate of green eggs for breakfast this morning, which would have been more amusing if they had paired it with some ham. Anyway, if you're wondering what made it green, it was pesto sauce. It made it tasty (especially with some cheese), but was also a tad pricey.

Perhaps more relieving was that fact that there was finally someplace half-decent to eat at Park Mall now (9 Penang Road #01-01E, 6338-8611). It sure as heck beats being forced to eat at Fish & Co, Sakae Sushi, or Han's.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Koo Kee Yong Tow Foo Mee, Bishan

Ma La Yong Tow Foo Mee

I walked past each stall at the Kim San Leng Food Centre today and ended up picking this place, in part because I was told that the noodles were good, but also because I saw an interesting mala variation of yong tau foo that might be interesting to try. Unfortunately, it turned out to have none of the Sichuan peppercorns that the name suggested, being instead a more of a goopy sweet sauce instead.

Yong Tow Foo Mee Set A

I did like the flat porky noodles though, so I went back to try the more proper unadulterated version with this set above, which I ended up liking much better, especially the veggies were drizzled with a bit of a fermented doufuru sauce. I didn't care much for that chili sauce on the side, but if I'm up here again, I'll be sure to get this version, although admittedly more for the noodles than for the yong tau foo .

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hawaiian Kitchen Aloha Ma Maison

Tuna and Avocado Loco Moco

It looks like the Ma Maison folks have opened up a Hawaiian offshoot over at the newly renovated - and renamed - Bugis+ mall (201 Victoria Street #01-12, 6884-4471). I haven't been to Hawaii in more than ten years, and even when I was there, I don't think I ever had loco moco, as it never really sounded that appealing to me. But these guys specialized in it; I guess it really isn't too far of a stretch from their hanbagu after all. I grabbed this raw tuna and avocado version in hopes of a slightly healthier take.

To my surprise, I liked it - a lot. I suppose that one could argue that it isn't much different from a negitoro don, but the tuna, avocado, mayo, and sauce all went together perfectly with the brown rice, making this thing go down my throat with ease. They didn't have Spam musubi nor other things that I think of when I think of Hawaii (bizarrely, the other specialty of theirs was pancakes), but I won't complain if I have to come here again.

Eng's Noodles House, Tanjong Katong Road

Wanton Mee

I was still a little hungry after lunch today, so we came down here (287 Tanjong Katong Road, 8688-2727) for a little more, especially since we were in the neighborhood anyway. Besides, we were looking forward to trying this potent chili sauce that we had heard about.

Now, given that this orange sauce sat in little squeeze bottles on each table, the thought of La Victoria from back home immediately came to mind. But the taste of this was completely different. It wasn't rich like La Vic's...instead, this was a simpler, straight-to-the-point spicy.

Actually, the star of this place for me wasn't the chili sauce, but rather the noodles, which were just the right texture as well as the taste. I suppose one could add those little bits of fried pork lard to give it the richness of La Vic's, but most of it was gone by the time we got there.

Sandwich Saigon, East Coast Road

Bánh Mì

I haven't had much luck getting good bánh mì in Singapore, so I wasn't getting my hopes up about this place either (93 East Coast Road, 6345-3849). Boy, was I wrong. The bread here was completely spot-on: it was crispy and light as air, as Vietnamese bread should be, blowing other places around here completely out of the water.

Now, these guys were pretty timid with their ingredients: chili slices were not provided by default, while pâté incurred an extra charge (even the condensed milk in my cà phê sữa đá was very limited). In that sense, local chain Baguette is much tastier. But no one compares to the bread here: I even went back for a second one. Either that, or they were just too stingy the first time around.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Hot Kid Milk Beverage from China

Hot Kid Milk Beverage

I randomly ran into this at a Cheers convenience store on my way home last night. Not quite sure what it was, I looked more closely at the label to find out that it was a milk powder-based drink from China. Surely they were aware of the scares associated with that though, so they made it clear that this was made with milk powder from New Zealand instead. Anyway, it tasted a bit like Brach's butterscotch candies, which was better than what I was expecting, but honestly only a one-time thing just to satiate my curiosity.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Mandarin Chicken Rice at PappaMia

Chicken Rice Set

Recent news stories have pointed out how the PappaMia chain has hired a former Meritus Mandarin chef, which effectively said that Chatterbox-like chicken rice was now available out on River Valley Road (429 River Valley Road, 6887-5055), right next to Boon Tong Kee and Five Star. I haven't been to Chatterbox enough to really remember what it tasted like, but it certainly looked the part with all of its individualized porcelainware. Either way, I liked the fragrantly flavored rice - almost to the point where I wish I had another bowl.

But the rest didn't really stick out too much. The chili sauce was more of a straightforward sambal rather than the usual chili-lime-garlic combo. The chicken was tender, but not very generously portioned. And the soup was my least favorite of them all, as it tasted more of roasted shallots rather than chicken itself. But hey - at least they included a sprig of cilantro, even if there wasn't much sesame oil. Yes, I'll come back here; it's a nice break from the other two guys down the street, and it sure is cheaper than Chatterbox, after all.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bistecca Tuscan Steakhouse, Singapore

Tortellini Ripeni di Mortadella con Crema di Piselli e Pancetta

When this place first opened up a while back (25 Mohamed Sultan Road, 6735-6739), I had my doubts. I mean, I like bistecca the dish, but when they went so far as to name the restaurant after it, it seemed as if they were trying too hard. Yet a colleague of mine kept mentioning that it was worth going to. And for some reason, I've been craving flame-grilled beef for the past few weeks, so we came down here tonight to finally give it a try.

I'm glad that we did. Everything that we had was delicious, particularly due to the use of a proper quality salt that brought everything to life. Indeed, my favorite things tonight was nothing more than just a simple side of grilled asparagus, drizzled with some olive oil and salt. The tortellini above had a wonderfully thin slice of crispy pancetta on top, while the steak was smoky with an aged depth to it, all with the fatty taste that one expects from a ribeye.

Puzzlingly for a place that prides itself on being Tuscan though, the menu didn't have any beans available. And frankly it was all too expensive. Sure, at these prices, one gets the decor and service of an upscale fine-dining establishment, but I guess I was hoping for a more humble and rustic feel that would focus on the skills of the kitchen instead. Well, fortunately the food had no problems shining through, and I'll bear the high prices again precisely for that reason.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Canned Fruit in My SQ Fruit Platter

SQ Fruit Platter

Alright, these ongoing fruit platters of mine aren't anything to get excited about, but I was surprised to see that they actually used canned lychees and peaches in one of the trays, complete with the sugary syrup (ugh).

At least the ventilation at Soekarno airport has gotten a little better since last time. But I need to remember to go to the JAS Premier Lounge on the left next time rather than the more claustrophobic Pura Indah lounge next door.

Restoran Beautika Khas Manado

Manado Cuisine

A teammate mentioned last night that of all the many cuisines available across Indonesia, food from Manado is one of the spiciest. So for lunch today, we came down to this chain, which has a few outlets across Jakarta. And how spicy it was: nearly every dish was pretty darned hot (without being sweet, thankfully)...so much that the residual heat still left my stomach burning afterwards. Indeed, it was so spicy that our colleague avoids coming here for lunch when she knows that she has meetings later in the afternoon. Alas, I still had a meeting ahead before leaving for the airport.

Le Méridien's Signature Breakfast

Clockwise from front: Smoked Salmon and Poached Egg, Grilled Vegetables, Eye Opener Shots, and Scrambled Eggs with Tomato Salsa

Le Méridien in Jakarta didn't really strike me as anything too special; the building's age is showing and the rooms were rather worn. But one thing that was interesting was the "signature breakfast" that they contracted Jean-Georges Vongerichten to create, such as the scrambled and poached eggs on the plate above, both of which I gobbled down quickly (OK, those grilled veggies on the left weren't his, but presumably more the result of the Lebanese restaurant on site).

Even more exciting were his so-called Eye Opener Shots of juice sitting in a little fridge when they greet you at the entrance. They were perky, featuring spices like chilies and cloves, along with the punchy tang of raspberries and pineapple. I was never really that drawn to Le Méridien hotels (nor hotel breakfasts) in the past, but I'd look forward to this if I had to stay here again.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Rumah Makan Aceh Seulawah, Jakarta

Mie Aceh and others

A former colleague of mine once told me many years ago to check out this place (9 Jalan Bendungan Hilir, 021-5708660), which serves food from the Aceh region of Indonesia. They have a variety of items to choose from, nasi padang style, including a variety of spicy fish and chilies that went down easily.

I was also told that one has to get the mie aceh, or basically noodles from Aceh. I liked it a lot - it was spicy without being fishy or sweet. Perhaps the most notable thing of them all here though was something on the menu called sambal ganja. Yep, that one. They were sold out of it tonight, but Snoop Dogg and glaucoma patients around the world would have surely been excited.

Exploring Indonesian Soto in Jakarta

Soto Kudus

We went to the canteen in the basement of the office today for a quick lunch in between meetings, and I was told that Indonesian soup was the main thing to get here. So I grabbed this soto kudus, in reference to a city in central Java. It was a bit sweeter than I thought it would be, but it was light and refreshing, especially after soaking the rice in it.

Soto Betawi

I still needed more food though, so I went to another stall to get some soto betawi, which is local to right here in Jakarta. This one was richer with some coconut milk in it (although still thin and light), while also more fragrant with all of its roasted scallions and such. I liked this one a lot more. I'm not sure why my colleagues hated that S-tee so much though - it didn't taste that different from Teh Botol.

An Unintentional Fruit Platter to Jakarta

Fruit Platter

If I remember correctly, I didn't order a fruit platter for the outbound leg, but rather only for the return trip. Nonetheless, I think SQ assumed that I wanted a fruit platter for both legs, and thus brought me this - all on the smaller square tray that they use for this short hop to Jakarta.

Anyway, the more notable thing that I need to remember is that there is another set of Visa on Arrival stations on the other side of the travelators that I should go to next time I come into Jakarta airport. Most people make an immediate right out of the gate and thus it's the first set of stations that has the much longer line.

Monday, June 11, 2012

My First Taste of Miso Katsu

Miso Rosu Tonkatsu

See that brown stuff on my rosu tonkatsu? It may look like the Japanese curry that one might oftentimes choose to accompany this stuff, but it wasn't. It was a miso-based sauce instead, which is apparently the way that this stuff tends to be done in Nagoya. Well, I got it here at Tampopo in Singapore. It was a bit saltier than I was expecting, but I suppose that it was a nice change from the usual Worcestershire-based sauce.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Ramen Bar Suzuki, Singapore

Fish Powder Ramen

Another ramen shop has opened up, this time at Boat Quay (61 Circular Road #01-01). Like many others around town, this one is tonkotsu-based. At a quick glance, it almost seemed like an offshoot of Keisuke's Tonkotsu King given its white/red/black varieties, free eggs/beansprouts, and the eerily similar layout of its paper order forms. But alas, the black version was not based on those awesome sansho peppercorns that Keisuke uses. Instead, it was based on squid ink and roasted garlic...and it was mildly sweet at that, reminding me a bit of Butao in HK. I was a bit let down as a result.

Fortunately, their dinner menu featured a limited-quantity special that used fish powder, which gave the otherwise surprisingly thin broth a bit more character. And I kinda liked the coarsely cut scallions, as well as garlic chips and fried pork lard at your disposal should you wish to scoop some on (apparently they give unlimited bowls of white rice at lunch time too). But Keisuke is easily still my favorite by far. Now that I think of it, I should get back to Menya Musashi one of these days and try out the rest of their menu too.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Monster Curry Has Replaced Go! Go! Curry!

Ebi Karaage Curry, Level 3

We weren't originally planning on coming here. But when we passed by the recently setup Go! Go! Curry! outlet at PARCO Marina Bay tonight, we found that it had already been replaced by something called Monster Curry. They were still serving Huhu Udon alongside it though, so I can only assume that it was the same owners that somehow didn't have the franchise rights to Go! Go! Curry! anymore and needed to rebrand itself (not sure if that was by choice or not). Well, what was fairly obvious was that this place was meant to compete with CoCo Ichibanya, as they offered five different levels of spiciness, with a dare to go to number five.

See those orange splotches in there? That was basically your level of spiciness, depending on how many you ordered. If you didn't mix it up, you could taste the original curry, which was thick and surprisingly sweet, although not necessarily annoyingly so. Either way, the surprise was the heat provided by those orange splotches: it was delightfully hot, and fun enough that I'd be willing to come back, even if it was a bit weird to have Japanese curry without those little pickles. Actually, just two squirts of the orange stuff was enough for me. Add a few more and I wonder how close that would get to an English phall?

Friday, June 01, 2012

Extra Veggies at Pepper Lunch Express

Salmon and Chicken Pepper Lunch

I noticed that Pepper Lunch Express stalls at food courts have an option to add more vegetables for just S$0.30 (US$0.25) more, so I decided to splurge tonight. The lady loaded on a ton of bean sprouts as a result, which is great for me since I love that stuff. But I also thought it was just amusing to see it all piled up high on the hot plate like that.