Friday, August 31, 2012

My First Cannned Spanish Seafood

Pulpo en Aciete de a can

Have you ever watched some of those travel shows where they go to tapas bars in Spain and amusingly, they get served expensive seafood out of a can because it strangely tastes *better* that way? I'd always been rather curious since that time, and I noticed that the Four Seasons Gourmet Market at Marina Bay Link Mall had some canned seafood from Spain that were selling up to a whopping S$70 (US$56).

They were sold of of those when I went there earlier this week, but they did have this little S$20 (US$16) can of octopus. As expensive as it sounded, this was delicious. It was tender, savory, and just made me want to eat more. Granted, I'm not exactly a pulpo expert, but I liked it enough that I'd be willing to pay that kind of money for a can of seafood again. One of these days I need to get back to Spain to try more.

Ang Hapag Kainan, Lau Pa Sat

Pritong Tilapia

I wasn't intending to get Filipino food for lunch today. But I needed to be in the neighborhood this afternoon, and I figured that I'd stop by Lau Pa Sat for a bite beforehand. The stall (#70) with the longest line was this one, and I noticed that some people were walking away with some fried whole fish that looked promising. So I got in line and paid my S$8 (US$6.40).

The good thing was that it was crispy and tasty on the outside, yet moist and tender on the inside. But it was also pretty darned small; so much that I was starving afterwards and had to stop by the udon shop to top up (still disappointing, BTW). The lechón here sure looked like it might be worth a try though; maybe I'll give it a shot next time.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Exploring Albert Centre Market & Food Centre

Roasted Chicken Rice

After finishing up a quick task on Waterloo Street today, we went on over to Albert Centre Food Centre. I'd never been there before, but it looked pretty big and old, so I figured that there had to be some kind of gems hiding inside. One of the stalls that had the longest lines was Leong Yeow (270 Queen Street #01-49), complete with claims about being the "Famous Waterloo Street Chicken Rice" and "The Most Famous Chicken Rice in Town." There was nothing to complain about, but I suppose there wasn't anything so great about it that I would make an effort to go back for it, even if I did like those firm grains of rice.

Carrot Cake

While we were at it, we noticed a number of comments on Foursquare that suggested getting the Chinese carrot (turnip) cake from Guan Kee at Stall 59. Yes, this was one of the better ones that I've had, especially with its salt and grease. But just as with the chicken rice, I don't know if it is anything so unique that I would get cravings for it.

Finally, we went to Queen Street Prawn Noodles at Stall 60, in part because they offered pig tails as an option in your bowl. At first it sounded (and looked) a bit strange, but I'd never had it before, so I figured that I'd give it a try at least. The good thing was that the prawn noodle broth was nice and smooth. But the pig tails? They were moist and chewy. I think I still prefer my pig skin and fat in a crispier rendition.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mookata Traditional Thai BBQ, Katong


When I noticed these guys a couple of months ago, I think they described it as Thai yakiniku (103 East Coast Road, 6344-2985). That meant that it featured not just Thai spices and dipping sauces, but also a uniquely convex cooking surface that I had never seen before. The idea is that one takes pork lard and melts it on the surface to not only prep for grilling, but also to help flavor the soup that sits on the edges. Cool - that one I definitely had to come back for!

The good thing was that the pork fat did indeed dribble down into the soup, as did the juices from the meat that we grilled. But it took a bit of getting used to, as the sloping surface meant that one had to position the meat just right so that it didn't slide into the soup. Next time, I'll also know better than to waste money on that tiny portion of kurobuta; the cheaper marinated pork collar was good enough.

Yes, I suppose that I wouldn't mind coming back, but frankly I'm not going to be very proactive about it. The tom yum broth that they provided was a bit sweet, as were their dipping sauces, which featured three different levels of spiciness, none of which really blew me away. The condition of some of the ingredients that came out was a bit of a letdown too, although I suppose that I couldn't expect much of a place that does weekday buffets. I'd be curious to try other places to see if they do their sauce and stock differently.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Aged Miso Ramen from Menya Musashi

Aged Miso Ramen

I went to the Raffles City location of Menya Musashi today, in part to answer the question that I posed the other day about whether that awesome nitomen was available here as well. They had it, but they also had some other things, like a longer-aged miso for a deeper taste. It made the broth in the bowl above thick and borderline-nutty.

Another thing that they had here was something called a Musashi Swordsman Roll, or a gunkanmaki featuring pork rillette made from their chashu. Even more interesting was the fact that the soy sauce on the side was in a light beige-colored mousse rather than the usual dark liquid form. It was airy and almost seemed like something that one might get at a fancy place like Esquina.

Alas, neither of these things were anything so exciting that I would come back for them. But I'm all over that nitomen, and am definitely going back for that. The ION Orchard location also had some kind of curry ramen special that I didn't see available here.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Nitomen from Menya Musashi Kodou

Kodou Nitomen

You can't really see it underneath all of that chashu in the photo above, but this tsukemen featured two kinds of noodles: the usual curly kind that you can see in the foreground, plus another one that was almost as wide as pappardelle, but thicker and cut into stubby lengths (maybe Chinese dao xiao mian is a better comparison). I just loved the chewy dough of the latter, especially when dunked into that deep fragrant broth alongside. Yum - I liked this even better than (the now departed) Tetsu.

Anyway, this was from the new Menya Musashi outlet at ION Orchard (2 Orchard Turn #B3-25, 6509-9394), which has thankfully overtaken that nasty Aoba Ramen place. For most of their tsukemen, they allow you to request up to five times the amount of noodles at no charge, but unfortunately that practice did not apply to this one, whose only option is double noodles, half of it being the special wide ones. Does anyone know if they offer the wide noodles at the original Raffles City location? Either way, I'm coming back for more.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Taka No Tsume at Ramen Champion Changi

Takanotsume Ramen Deluxe with Sichuan Style Sauce

The folks at Ramen Champion swapped out Tetsu at Bugis+ not long ago. It looks like they also swapped out Gensuke at their Changi Airport location too, this time replacing it with Taka No Tsume from Chiba. Its tagline was "extra red hot," which certainly made it sound interesting enough to try.

Unfortunately, it was a letdown, as its "Sichuan style sauce" didn't really feature any Sichuan peppercorns. That fried chicken was tasty on its own, but using it as a topping together with eggplant and cabbage was a bit excessive. Keisuke's Tonkotsu King still has the peppercorns nailed down the best.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Uma Uma Ramen at Forum Singapore

Uma Uma Ramen

Another ramen shop from Japan has opened up in Singapore (583 Orchard Road #01-41, 6235-0855). Not be confused with Yakitori Uma, this one is run by the folks from Iggy's, if I read it correctly.

The broth was the surprising thing here. Being Hakata-based, I figured that it was going to be a white-ish tonkotsu broth, but this clearly had been hit with soy sauce too. And yet, it wasn't a thin shoyu broth either; instead, it was thick and earthy. It was good enough that I drank it down to the last drop.

Still, I won't get any cravings for this place. And I was a bit bummed that they didn't have any gyoza on the menu. But I won't complain if anyone suggests that we eat here; I'm curious to try the spicy one now.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Kushikatsu from Saboten at Changi T1

Pork and Onion Kushikatsu

I didn't feel like getting a full-on set at Saboten today, so I turned my attention to the sides, like this kushikatsu. It was fine, but at S$7 (US$5.60) for that plate, I won't be going for it again. They also had a katsu sando available, but it was a bore - and worse, it came with fries. I'd better stick to the sets next time.

Perhaps more interesting was the new Terminal 1 at Changi Airport. It was good to see that they had *finally* finished renovations. It was certainly refreshing, but it still didn't feel as spacious at Terminal 3. I suppose that there is only so much that they can do when working with an old building like that.