Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Vegan Meal on SQ

SQ's Vegan Meal

I got a vegan meal on the way back, in part as an effort to stay healthy, but also just out of sheer curiosity. It was better than I thought it would be, perhaps because my expectations were extremely low after having had that low salt meal on the way up. But I think I also liked it because in some ways, it wasn't that different from the minimalist veggies that I might quickly assemble at home. It's only now that I think of it that I realize that I'm a closet vegan from time to time!

Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong

Har Gow

On my way to the airport today, I stopped yet again at Hong Kong Station to see if there were anything interesting to eat before heading off. After walking around a bit, I finally stumbled upon what seemed to be a random dim sum shop (12A Podium Level 1 at IFC Mall, 2332-3078), whose freshness and quality were surprisingly good, especially as they were steamed to order and came out tongue-scaldingly hot. A uniquely savory chili oil on the side never hurt, and the prices were surprisingly cheap.

It was only after I got onto the Airport Express afterwards and Googled the name of this place did I realize that this was an outlet of that famous dim sum place in Mongkok that got a Michelin star; you know, the place run by the former Lung King Heen chef that is said to be the world's cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant? Wow. (That also means that I didn't need to eat at that crappy Cafe de Coral place on my way in yesterday; I could have had cheap Michelin-starred dim sum downstairs instead!)

Strangely enough, I found out that our corporate-hosted dinner last night was also Michelin-starred, and I didn't even realize it. Granted, in last night's case, I really didn't think much of the food there (and hence didn't post anything about it either; it seemed like just a typical hotel restaurant). But for today's meal, I can see why it has been getting so much attention. Next time I should try those metal rice bowls that I saw so many locals getting.

Socialito on Wyndham Street in Hong Kong

Pork Belly Tacos

That was better than I was expecting (60 Wyndham Street, 3167-7380). Normally I'd shun Mexican places out here in Asia, but when I read that this guy had done some time under Rick Bayless, I figured that it might be worth a shot. And fortunately, I liked it. Thanks to the use of proper ingredients, the pork belly tacos went down in the blink of an eye, as did the chorizo tacos. I'll come back for this, especially since they serve micheladas too.

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Random Lunch at Café de Coral

Some Minced Pork Lunch

Yeah, I know; this place is pretty gross. But I was in a mad rush to get to several meetings after landing today, and that low-salt meal from the plane definitely wasn't going to last me until dinnertime. And yet I knew that I could be in and out of Café de Coral in less than ten minutes after getting to HK Station, so I popped in here and grabbed whatever they had. There really wasn't much to choose from, actually, as the menu board had pretty much cleared out already.

And I'm not quite sure of what I got either. It was some kind of minced meat thing with rice and veggies that fortunately tasted a little better than it looked, especially given the extra grease coming out of that meat (I poured it over my rice, making it easy to shovel down). This was definitely a case of needing to eat-to-live rather than living-to-eat.

My First Run on an A380

Low-Salt Meal

In all of these years that the A380 has been out, I had never flown it, largely since my long haul flights are usually with United instead. But on today's quick hop to Hong Kong, SQ surprisingly used one of these "superjumbos," as the captain called it on the PA system. I was kinda curious to see what it would be like, and in fact, even got a window seat just to see if things like the window size were different.

Yes, it was bigger (at least, the inner pane was), even if it still used those traditional pull-down shades instead of those hi-tech ones that I've been reading about. More notably, the plane was surprisingly quiet during takeoff. But otherwise, the rest of the cabin wasn't that much different, with the same SQ seats and overhead bins. And SQ had some interesting faucets in the lavatories, but the water wasn't flowing. Oh well.

And oh yeah, that meal above tasted as bland as it looked. Granted, I did special order the low-salt meal, so I had no one to blame but myself. I might order it again merely for the sake of being healthy, but I couldn't help but smell the Indian meals from passengers around me and start salivating.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Masa Steak and Hamburg from Yazawa

300g Masa Hanbaagu

I didn't eat much all day, and by the end of it, I was craving protein in red meat form. So I figured that this would be a good chance to finally come down to Yakiniku Yazawa's steakhouse next door (11 Unity Street #01-01, 6235-2941). The menu featured Japanese steak priced above S$200 (US$160) in some cases, but I went the budget route, getting a 300 gram serving of the lowly hanbaagu for only S$38 (US$31). Of course, that wasn't exactly cheap either, but I guess it was kinda like going to Morton's and getting their pricey hamburger rather than their even more expensive steak.

Nonetheless, being from Yazawa, it was all about the wagyu, which certainly made this stuff super tender (mine even squirted out hot juices when I cut into it). Just like next door, it was clear that they took a lot of pride in their ingredients, regardless if it was the salad that I got for a starter or even the quality of the rice that I got to close this off. But alas, I realized after eating this that it was actually *too* clean, whereas my guts were actually craving the depth of aged American beef instead. I'll definitely still be back here, but most likely on a special occasion to get those proper cuts of Japanese beef instead.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Kingsbury Non-Alcoholic Malt Beverage

Kingsbury Non-Alcoholic Malt Beverage

This was a random thing that I came across at a little dollar store the other day. There was Japanese all over it, so I figured that it would probably be like that Sangaria non-alcoholic beer that I got at Daiso that one time. But upon closer inspection, this thing is actually from the US. Of course, it was nothing to get excited about. It tasted pretty watery (cue: canoe joke), but at least there was no nasty aftertaste, and was better than that sweet Karamalt stuff.

Shinjuku Has Moved to Kushigin's Old Spot

Tsukune to Daikon Setto

I wasn't intending to come here, but when the cab turned the corner and I saw Hotel Grand Central being torn down, the first thing that came to mind was, "Oh no, where did Shinjuku go??" And before I knew it, my cab made another turn toward Cuppage Plaza when I noticed that Shinjuku had taken over Kushigin's spot. Whew!

The interesting thing was not only how much smaller this new place was for them, but also that they kept one thing that I really liked about Kushigin: those dirt-cheap S$10 (US$8) tax-inclusive lunches that they rotated through on a daily basis. Today's was this pork tsukune and daikon set that I gobbled down in seconds.

It was only afterwards that I finally made the connection. I mean, I knew that Kushigin and Nanbantei were related, but it hadn't dawned on me that Shinjuku was run by the same people too. All three of these guys are old, but they have always been dependable standbys for me.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Spicy Chicken Feet from Chinatown

Spicy Chicken Feet

I've never been a big fan of chicken feet. They always seemed to be something that people ordered at dim sum places for the sheer novelty (or even shock value) of it all, and to me, it just tasted like a bunch of gelatinous skin wrapped around tiny bones. But tonight, this spicy version from some vendors in Chinatown was handed to me as a sampler, so I sat down with some suds to see what it was like.

They were pretty darned spicy, and much more interesting than those soy sauce-based ones that one gets in Cantonese restaurants. And that spiciness went great with some cold beer. I guess that it's a bit like eating buffalo wings or even the Boiling Crab; one really can't eat it as a meal given how little *food* is actually there in exchange for taking the time to gnaw on those pesky bones. But washing down those salty spices with beer can be a fun afternoon snack.

Still, I couldn't quite get used to that strange texture. Didn't Bourdain get some flame-grilled chicken feet in Vietnam once? If so, then I'm assuming that it would make this a bit more palatable, as one definitely can't complain about the taste of grilled chicken skin, especially if it offsets the uneasiness of chewing on collagen. I'll have to hunt some down next time I'm there; hopefully it's available at one of those wonderful bia hơi.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Uma Uma Ramen's Better Menu


It looks like Uma Uma's menu has expanded. When we got here tonight, I was surprised to see a number of new things, including the gyoza above as well as maze-soba. The gyoza were tiny, but came with that smear of dried chili peppers that kept it interesting. And I think it was the same dried chili peppers that were ground into the spicy ramen that I had tonight too, giving it an interesting depth. OK, so Uma Uma is better than it was the first time around. It's bizarre though that a place run by Iggy's wouldn't take American Express.

A Total Turnaround of Bar-B-Q Tonight

Bar-B-Q Platter

The first time I went to Bar-B-Q Tonight was not long after it had finally opened its location in Singapore. And it was such an unremarkable experience that I didn't bother going back. But apparently the chef had finally come in from Pakistan to train the kitchen after that, and the food was supposed to be amazing now. We came here today for lunch as a result, and it was indeed huge change for the better.

We got this "Bar-B-Q Platter," which was a huge pile of chicken, fish, and shrimp, all of which were delicate, well-seasoned, and with the right touch of char-grilled aroma. The bigger surprise in this platter was actually underneath all of that, with pieces of lamb buried inside, providing not just a crispy skin, but also a tasty fat that helped flavor the rice. The greasy tasty rice was awesome (it reminded me a bit of Bismillah), and was easily my favorite part of it all.

I'm definitely coming back, preferably for dinner or on a weekend when I don't need to be afraid to take bites of those raw onions (apparently, squeezing limes onto them helps to take off a bit of the edge). I was told that they generally have the same items in the buffet, but I'm adamantly sticking to the platter. This was not only in the interests of getting food that is served straight from the kitchen, but also I'm not convinced that the fat from the lamb would pervade the rice as much as in those mass troughs.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ryoshi Sushi Ikeikemaru at Liang Court

Squid Sushi with Liver

A new sushi place has opened up at the basement of Liang Court where Yu Sai Shoku used to be (117 River Valley Road #B1-48, 6337-1022). At a quick glance from the outside, I wasn't expecting much. After all, the former sushi place next door wasn't anything great, and these guys were using conveyor belts, which in Singapore at least is typically used by terrible places like Sakae Sushi and Ichiban Boshi (ugh!!).

But when I sat down and saw what they had to offer, I suddenly said to myself, "Oh my God, this is actually real sushi!" There was a surprisingly wide selection of proper fish, including a range of fresh specials; you weren't going to find any lame California rolls here. Of course, it wasn't high-end either, but it was good enough that I'll be back here regularly, especially since I could sit down, eat, and pay, all in less than ten minutes. Nice.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Valrhona Lava Cake at Saizeriya

Valrhona Lava Cake

Saizeriya is an amusing place. One doesn't exactly go there for quality; it's really not much more than a notch above cafeteria-grade food after all. But it's also shockingly dirt cheap, and I'm guilty of going there once in a while just to get a quick S$4 (US$3.20) plate of pasta, a S$4 salad, and a S$4 glass of red wine, albeit an ice-cold refrigerated (!) glass of wine at that. And the other day, I noticed that they were now offering a S$6 (US$5) lava cake for dessert, featuring none other than Valrhona chocolate, of all things.

Yep, that's right. While Morton's is known for its (formerly Godiva-based) molten lava cake, these guys now have a Valrhona lava cake, but at Saizeriya prices. And after dinner tonight, this sounded like exactly the thing I needed to try to purge my mouth of that garlic nastiness (even *I* couldn't stand my own breath!).

Alas, you get what you pay for. You may notice that they didn't call it *molten* lava cake, and it became clear when I cut into it, hoping to see chocolate oozing out of it. It didn't. It just stayed there in a mushy lump together with the cake itself, eliciting a bit of a chuckle from my mouth. Granted, one couldn't have expected much at these prices, but next time I think I'll just stick to their S$2 (US$1.60) ice cream for dessert.

The Cajun Kings on Jalan Riang

Cajun Kings

I think I read about these guys a couple of months ago (15-1 Jalan Riang, 6284-4426), but I didn't really think much of it at that time, as the thought of getting Cajun food in Singapore just wasn't that enticing. Then I heard more about this place when we got back from the US last month, and with memories of those mind-blowingly good crawfish at the Boiling Crab fresh in our heads, we wanted to come down here to see if we could get anything even remotely close to that here. Besides, I noticed that they were using plastic bags like the way Vietnamese-Americans do, and this guy was supposed to be from San Francisco too.

I still wasn't completely convinced that they were doing the Vietnamese slant on this though, as they seemed to want to position themselves as proper Cajun. All of my questions were cleared when we got there and saw them with buckets of limes and little plastic tubs of salt and pepper; this was without a doubt in a Vietnamese-American style, even if there was no white rice on the menu. But there was one problem when our piping hot bag came out: the red spices inside were rather shallow in quantity and thick in consistency. It was basically the result of having not enough butter, and conversely a surprisingly heavy amount of garlic. And unfortunately, the garlic was just too overwhelming.

Granted, the Boiling Crab has a garlic butter and Cajun spice combo too, but over there, we were able to crank up the heat without getting the garlic mix. Strangely, the Cajun Kings only allowed you to make it spicy if you got the house combo. Well, next time we come here, we're sticking to the so-called "OG" version without the garlic, and we'll just have to live with the fact that it won't be spicy. They didn't have those sweet crawfish (although they were selling dungeness crab at a whopping S$80 or US$65 each!). At least the heads on the prawns were still somewhat fatty and sweet enough to be enjoyable to suck on.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Foodbar DaDa, Robertson Quay

Romesco Asparagus

No, this wasn't meant to be two nights of Spanish food in a row. But these guys have been getting a bit of attention lately, in part due to the fact that they sell Josper Grills. So we came by tonight to give it a try (60 Robertson Quay #01-12, 6735-7738).

The good thing was that the food was of high quality, with the patatas bravas and some kind of creamy cod puffs in particular being a couple of my favorites. But as you can see in the photo above, they plate things up in a more modern fashion. And they tended to avoid the use of Spanish on the menu, calling the paella something like "black Mediterranean rice" instead.

I prefer the more traditional means of Los Primos. Take, for instance, the pulpo here, which was just as tender and with a delightful smokiness at that. But the paprika and olive oil were much more pronounced at Los Primos, and they didn't have to resort to trying to plate it on a sushi stand like they did here.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Los Primos Taberna y Tapas Bar

Clockwise from bottom: Pulpo de Gallego, Croquetas de Pollo, and Jamon Iberico de Bellota

A Spanish colleague of mine has been telling me about this place for a while now (81 Club Street #01-01, 6423-1773). He wasn't impressed with everything, but it was still good enough for him to come back here multiple times. We had a chance to stop by before heading home tonight, ordering the pulpo just like he suggested, along with a number of other items.

That pulpo was great. Those tender pieces were dusted in a perky paprika and doused in a fruity olive oil. The croquetas did the job too, as did the gambas. And of course I couldn't stop gobbling down the jamón. I liked it all so much that it almost seemed like one of the best Spanish places in town.

...that was, until the paella arrived. The first bite was just too tomato-ey, and to make it worse, the seafood wasn't very fresh. Fortunately, I could live with the texture of the rice, but otherwise, this was a bit of a regret. Now I know: next time, I'm coming solely for the tapas.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Wings Bar, Clarke Quay

From front: Buffalo Wings, Sichuan Wings, and Cajun Wings

A new buffalo wing shop has taken over the former location of the Tent Mongolian BBQ (3D River Valley Road #01-02, 6333-4460). It had an eye-catching, if slightly tacky, WWII-themed decor. The more interesting thing to me though was the fact that they weren't just serving the usual buffalo sauce, but a number of other ones, including one based on Singapore chili crab, one based on local chili padi, and one based on Sichuan spices, among many others. We grabbed a few of them to see what they were like.

The disappointing thing was actually the classic buffalo sauce. I suppose that there wasn't anything wrong with it, but after having been spoiled by wings back home, this just wasn't as punchy. The dark and unsightly one in the photo above was the Sichuan one, which wasn't as numbing as I had figured it to be, but it had some earthy heat that was certainly different. My favorite one was the one that was the least dressed: the Cajun one in the back. It was basically just dusted with some of your typical Cajun powder, but it kept the skin crispy and light, and was seasoned just right.

Yeah, I suppose that it was fun enough that I'd come back one of these days, but I probably won't be in any huge rush. And admittedly, if I wanted the normal buffalo sauce, I'd probably go to Hooters on the other side of the building. But it was interesting to see them playing with so many different kinds of sauces, all to be washed down with refreshing draft beer. One of these days, I'll have to get back up to upstate New York for the National Buffalo Wing Festival.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Coming Back to Satay Bee Hoon

Satay Bee Hoon

The first - and last - time I had satay bee hoon was more than ten years ago, and I hated it at that time. Why? I was so disappointed because I was expecting something like Tung Kee's #2 back home, but instead I got noodles drenched in that sweet peanut sauce that one usually dips satay skewers into...and hence, the name, I suppose.

But this afternoon, we were out near the East Coast Lagoon Food Village, and the only two things that seemed to register in an old copy of Makansutra were the beef noodle guy as well as some guy doing satay bee hoon at stall #17. I figured that it might be worth giving another try then.

To my surprise, I liked it. This one in particular seemed to be laced with that briny sha cha sauce from Xiamen or Taiwan, making me gobble this up with ease. The interesting thing is that this wasn't even the same Makansutra-rated hawker anymore, and yet I liked it better than the Channel U-covered stall #27, whose sauce tasted more like the sweet dipping stuff instead. I'll stick to #17.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sugar N' Spice, Alexandra Retail Centre

Fish Vermicelli

When I first walked by this place (460 Alexandra Road #02-19, 6276-0367), I had no idea that it was Vietnamese. After all, the place was called Sugar N' Spice, and was decorated as if it were selling cakes and pies. It was only out of the corner of my eye when I saw a picture of something that resembled phở did I stop to look at the menu more closely. Then, it was apparent, with everything from phở to bún to even bánh mì.

Strangely though, these guys hid the Vietnamese names on the menu. Phở was referred to as "Vietnamese Comfort Broth," while bánh mì was called 7-inch Heroes. Regardless of the names, I didn't really care much for the food. The gỏi cuốn was depressingly frail, while the phở reminded me of Pho Stop or one of the many other shops around here, featuring a pre-garnished and otherwise unremarkable broth.

Only when I walked up to the register to pay did I realize what was going on. These guys are related to Orange Lantern, a place I had never been too fond of. But at least the soda chanh here was done perfectly, just as it was over there. And I liked the grilled fish in my bún above, as it was a bit reminiscent of Thien Long back home. Maybe I'll try the bánh mì next time, but I won't be in any huge rush.

Time for More Octopus in a Can

Epicure Pulpo al Ajillo

I wasn't intending on getting a can of pulpo. But in the midst of picking up some essentials at Cold Storage, I noticed this can of octopus for only S$6.95 (US$5.70), and figured I'd grab it just to see if it tasted any different from the other one that I got.

Yes, the difference was surprisingly obvious, as this one was a bit stankier, and some of the pieces still had inedible bits that I had to spit out. Well, again, one of these days I'll need to get back to Spain to try the real canned stuff.

Bánh Xèo from Wrap & Roll

Bánh Xèo

I finally made it back here to try out their bánh xèo today. And the good thing is that it was better than I thought it would be, with a thin crispy skin that made it much better than Pho House at Suntec. Unfortunately, I didn't really care for some of the other things I ordered though.

Well, having gone through most of the menu by now, I pretty much know what I'm going to stick to next time: bún chả as a starter and bánh xèo for my main. And yes, that's despite the fact that the menu says that the bánh xèo is for two people; it's small enough that I still needed more food after eating it all.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Katanashi Japanese Tapas Bar in Singapore

Karaage and Potato Sarada

I had a few minutes tonight to grab a quick bite before rushing off to the other side of the island later, and this place was conveniently nearby for some quick suds and snacks (77 Boat Quay, 6533-0490). An outlet of a chain from Japan, it was basically a very small izakaya with a surprisingly limited menu, but that didn't mean it wasn't tasty.

That fried chicken above was done perfectly and was great when spiked with that yuzu-jalapeño paste on the side. I also got a raw scallop thing in a hot stone bowl that was delicious with its butter melting on top. I had to scramble after this, but I definitely plan to come back when I have more time to explore everything else that they have to offer.

Gunther's Restaurant on Purvis Street

Cold Angel Hair Pasta and Oscietra Caviar

It's interesting: after all of these celebrity chef restaurants have opened up over the past couple of years, I had totally forgotten about many of the other high-end restaurants that had dominated Singapore in the past, and Gunther's was one of those (36 Purvis Street #01-03, 6338-8955). So when this place was selected as the venue for a business lunch today, the thought that immediately came to mind was, "Oooh...we're goin' old school!" And I wasn't getting my hopes up, in part also because of a forgettable meal at sister restaurant Garibaldi next door many years ago.

The meal turned out to be great. We didn't even bother with the menus. When they hauled out a tray full of fresh shellfish, produce, and even white truffles to showcase to us, we went straight for that, all while paired with that cold angel hair pasta above, which is apparently a signature dish of theirs. I enjoyed it all, especially since the cooking showcased the freshness of the ingredients rather than covering it all with sauce or making it flamboyant. Even the crunchy bread and rich butter on the side was hard for me to stop gobbling down. Granted, the bill must have been outrageous (thankfully, my gracious hosts picked up the tab), but I'll definitely come back here again.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tonkotsu Kazan Ramen at Novena Square 2

Kazan Shoyu

Man, ramen shops just keep on opening here in Singapore, eh? This one was particularly interesting in that they used some kind of a cone to funnel steam through like a volcano, complete with an hourglass timer while it cooked at your table. It sounded a bit like Bene Spaghetti, but with ramen, so I was very curious to see what the heck this was (10 Sinaran Drive #02-68, 6397-6636).

The Red Cone

As it turned out, it was just a red metal cone, but the hot stone bowl helped brown the noodles a little, and the good thing was that the broth was not too salty. I'd be willing to come back to try one of the other bowls on the menu (without all of the volcano theatrics), but I just wish they had an outlet elsewhere. There's something about this cramped Square 2 place that really bothers me.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Keishoken Ramen at Ebisboshi Shotengai

Orange Ramen

This was unexpected. I was on my way to Yoshinoya when I noticed that a new selection of ramen had appeared at Ebisboshi Shotengai at Great World City. Given its location, I figured that it would just be Bishamon rehashed, but it looked like this was a chain from Japan that has also opened an outlet at Changi's Ramen Champion.

They had the usual red, white, and black options available, as well as a yellow and orange one. Yellow was clearly a curry-based one, but I had no idea what the orange one was. As it turned out, it was made from apples, pork, and peanut butter. Huh? Peanut butter in my ramen? This one I had to try.

It was kinda gross, actually. OK, let me restate that. The tonkotsu base was fine. But the bowl as a whole just didn't have anything remarkable about it, as one couldn't really taste the apples nor peanut butter in the scoop of miso. I won't be getting that one again.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Taiwan Long Chuan (Fruit) Beer

Taiwan Long Chuan Passion Fruit Beer

Yeah, I know. This beer from Taiwan doesn't look very appealing, does it? It ended up tasting a bit like a Zima, which was admittedly a bit better than that I was expecting. But we're not exactly talking about a microbrewed raspberry ale either. This was more like a fruit soda with a beer aftertaste.

Takashimaya Singapore's Autumn Hokkaido Fair

Mixed Seafood Bento

Time for another seafood box, this time a whopping S$27 (US$22) one from the Hokkaido fair running at the basement of Takashimaya. Admittedly, it really wasn't worth the money, but at least I got to try a number of new things beyond the usual crabmeat and uni, like some other types of roe as well as some kind of shellfish bits.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Vietnam's Wrap & Roll, Round Two

Cuốn bún chả Hà Nội

I still needed a bit more food for lunch today, so I stopped by Wrap & Roll on the way out to see if some of the other stuff would prove better than yesterday. And the good thing is, yes, the bún chả above was much better, with its tender smoky pork and fresh herbs, all wrapped up on my own in little circles of rice paper. If I've learned anything from this, it seems like it's better to stick to the "Roll it Yourself" side of the menu rather than leaving it to the professionals in the kitchen. I'll have to validate this theory with another visit to try their bánh xèo soon.

Finally Getting Musashi's Curry Ramen

Curry Ramen

Yes, I came right back to the Star Vista today precisely to try to nab this curry ramen before the Musashi guys pulled the plug on it here too. And unfortunately, I think that built up my expectations too much, as there wasn't really anything that special about this (apparently it's a top seller at their Akihabara branch or something). Granted, the broth was decent enough that I had trouble putting my spoon down, but I'm definitely sticking to the tsukemen, assuming that they don't bring back that nitomen anytime soon.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Saigon's Wrap & Roll in Singapore

Đặc sản cuốn Huế

Vietnam's Wrap & Roll chain has opened an outlet at the new open-air Star Vista mall (1 Vista Exchange Green #B1-11, 6694-1111). As the name suggests, they specialize in rolls, which has always been a favorite of mine and hence something that I was looking forward to.

Unfortunately, most of what we had was a letdown, particularly the bánh cuốn, which were depressingly anemic. A plate of stir-fried noodles that we had were just boring and clumpy. The requisite gỏi cuốn were at least respectably assembled, but the taste was unremarkable and forgettable too.

OK, there was one thing that I did actually say "Mmm..." to: the grilled pork rolls on the right hand side of the photo above, as they carried a nice char-grilled pork aroma. And based on that alone, I'd be willing to come back to try the bún chả that I noticed on the menu. But if that doesn't work out, then I don't know if I'd be coming here much after that.

Note to self: the Menya Musashi outlet here is still offering that curry ramen that I missed last time, so be sure to come here quickly before they yank it from their menu too.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Tambuah Mas Indonesian Homestyle Cuisine

Counterclockwise from top: Cumi-Cumi Goreng, Singkong Santan, and Gado Gado

I've never really been a huge fan of this place (19 Tanglin Road #04-10, 6733-3333), and after eating there again tonight, I'm still not particularly impressed. Admittedly, I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was, but I think part of it is simply the result of being spoiled by a few recent meals in Jakarta. Take, for instance, that gado gado above. I pretty much ate the whole thing, but it just didn't inspire me like Gado-Gado Boplo Ratu did.

Kepala Ikan Istimewa

Well, there was one interesting thing tonight: this gigantic fishhead in a tangy assam sauce, all kept warm on a burner. The fish itself was kinda nasty (i.e., not exactly the freshest thing in the world), but the sauce was interesting enough for me to go back for a second scoop to pour over my rice. We really weren't expecting such a big fishhead though.

Friday, October 05, 2012

CUT by Wolfgang Puck in Singapore

Steak Tartare

This was an unplanned visit...and an expensive one at that (2 Bayfront Avenue #B1-71, 6688-8517). But we needed a place to eat at the Marina Bay Sands tonight, and surprisingly, these guys could take a walk-in on a Friday night. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a letdown. I mean, both the starters and steak were fine, including both the tartare above as well as a grilled ribeye. But these prices were unnecessarily high; a tiny little golf-ball-sized scoop of sorbet with a few berries was a whopping S$24 (US$20). Then again, I guess such high casino prices are par for the course here.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Mapo Tofu from Tanyoto Singapore

Mapo Tofu

After a few post-work drinks tonight, I needed something spicy, salty, and greasy to sit in my belly. And what better genre of food is there to fill that need than Sichuan cuisine? I wasn't quite in the mood for Tanyoto's hot pot though, so I grabbed this mapo tofu off their cooked food menu, and it surprised me with how delicious it was.

Unlike other renditions, this one was perfectly balanced without being too salty nor greasy and yet still pulling the punches with the spices. Thanks to that, I wolfed two bowls of rice down in no time at all. Word to the wise though: don't wear a suit there like I did tonight. Now I'm gonna have to send it to the cleaners just because of the stank that was left on my jacket even though I was only there for a few minutes.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Back to Menya Musashi's Normal Menu


It looks like Menya Musashi Singapore has dropped some of the specials that they had previously, including not only the awesome thick nitomen, but also a curry ramen that I was hoping to try tonight. The only special remaining was the aged miso that I had last time, so I fell back on the normal menu, in this case the red broth with a triple portion of noodles.

It didn't look encouraging at first. The egg looked very sad, while the yakibuta in front looked dry and shriveled rather than the beautifully charred marbled pork pictured on the menu. Fortunately, it tasted much better than it looked, allowing me to clear it all quickly. The broth was salty and thick, but the addition of some dashi made it drinkable to the last drop. I'm full now!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

My Lone Indian Meal on SQ 15

SQ Indian Meal

This paneer curry was my first meal after takeoff today; it was tasty enough that I wolfed it down within seconds, squeezing as much curry out of that little cup as I could. It's too bad that Indian selections were unavailable during the next two meal services though, despite being printed in the menu as available options. I've learned my lesson: even if this route to the US has both Korean and Indian meals listed, I'll still have to pre-order the Indian meal if I want it guaranteed. At least the Korean eel that I got later was delightfully spicy.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Fung Lum at SFO International

Beef Chow Fun

It might seem strange to be getting beef chow fun just before getting on a flight back to Asia. But I really wasn't in the mood for burgers or pizza. Lest one forget, Fung Lum has been a local South Bay restaurant for ages. (Remember those "Baaaascom Avenue" commercials on TV? The amusing thing is that the guy at the register here had a pretty thick accent too - so much that I had trouble understanding him.)

Anyway, this turned out much better than I thought it would, being pretty close to what one might get in Hong Kong without a ton of those unnecessary cabbage and carrot fillers that I would have expected from a Chinese-American takeout. Granted, they didn't have that critical Cantonese chili oil here, thus relegating me to those takeout packets of Sriracha sauce instead. But it still worked.