Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A Phở Shootout: Quê vs Super Ngon

Que's Phở

It was unintentional, but I happened to have two bowls of phở today, so here is a comparison of the two. The first was from a small counter called Quê at Triple One Somerset (111 Somerset #01-K10), and it was better than I thought it would be, thanks the attention to detail in the ingredients as well as the mildly earthy broth. I liked it enough that I'd like to come back to try her bún chả and bánh mì.

Super Ngon's Phở

Then after work, I went to Super Ngon (466 Crawford Lane #01-08, 9644-7039), just a few doors down from Tai Hwa Pork Noodle. This one had a much simpler, salty broth without many herbs, making it north Vietnamese style. Normally I prefer southern-style phở, but they also had pickled garlic and a sour chili mixture that kept it fun. Indeed, I think I liked this shop better, but both were good enough that I'd be happy to return.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Madam Leong Ban Mian at Amoy Street Food Centre

Mee Hoon Kueh

Cool, this ban mian hawker stall had a pasta machine in it (7 Maxwell Road #02-109). I went for the mee hoon kueh at the top of the menu, and the chewy dough was enjoyable. It wasn't quite the in-your-face Malaysian chili pan mee that I was expecting though; instead, it was a lightly sweet and watery bowl. Either way, the uncharacteristically sour red chili sauce was my favorite part of this meal.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Ajmir Store Banana Chips from Malaysia

Ajmir Store Banana Chips from Malaysia

This was a random find at a corner store yesterday, and to my surprise, these were savory rather than sweet. They were kinda like what we would normally think of as potato chips, aside from some minor differences in texture and taste. I still prefer potato (particularly some of the Spanish brands that I've been buying at the market lately, like Lesana Fritos), but I'm happy to eat these too.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Pandan Gardens Fishball Noodle (Since 1982)

Signature Fishball Minced Meat Noodles

This small chain of fishball noodle stalls goes by the acronym PGFN. The quality of the noodles was the best part: that mee pok above was thin without being overcooked. I liked the care that went into those fishcake slices too. Now, it was a tad sweet, but I still finished the bowl.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Rayyan's Waroeng Upnormal at Amoy Street Food Centre

Jumbo Penyet

The menu here was a bit hard to decipher, but they were nice enough to tell me that the ayam penyet above was the most popular thing (7 Maxwell Road #02-86). I could see why; it was crispy and tasty on the outside and moist and tender on the inside. But I'm not likely to go back, as the sambal was sweet. So was that crunchy topping on the rice, as well as the salad dressing. I mean, I still ate most of it, but I prefer sambal that isn't sweet.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Yong Tau Foo from Hakka Fun Hamcha & Yong Tou Fu

Yong Tau Foo

I went back to Hakka Fun today, but this time I leaned toward the other half of their menu: the yong tau foo above. And it was one of the best yong tau foo I've ever had, despite being nearly cold after sitting around at room temperature for some time. The key was the quality and care that they put into each piece, none of which required the assistance of any sauce. That said, the orange chili sauce on the side was fun too, especially given that it was ginger-heavy and slightly sour. Yes, I liked these guys more than their neighbor Xiu Ji.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Chongqing's Li Ji Chuan Chuan Xiang in Singapore

Chuan Chuan Xiang

This is one of the other chuan chuan xiang shops next to Hei Chuan Chuan (295 South Bridge Raod, 6221-9629). It was at least a notch or two better, on everything from the broth quality to the condiments to the decor and even the service. But it also wasn't all-you-can-eat; they charged by the skewer and plate here. The quality of the ingredients wasn't anything special, but I still prefer this place over Hei Chuan Chuan.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Hakka Fun Hamcha & Yong Tou Fu at Chinatown Complex

Hakka Hamcha (Leicha)

This stall serves a lei cha fan that is rather unique (335 Smith Streeet #02-123). It's not just the heavy presence of roasted peanuts, but also that puffed rice in the corner. To be sure, it's supposed to be a base rather than a topping. But I had already ordered my brown rice before asking what the puffed rice was about, so she was nice enough to let me try a little on the side. It was basically like Rice Krispies - and as such, they got soggy very quickly after dumping in that slightly bigger green soup. But I was happy with it, not to mention delighted at having consumed a fairly guilt-free lunch.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Beijing's Jia He Xing at Marina Square, Singapore

Rainbow Dumplings

This small jiaozi chain from Beijing opened an outlet at Marina Square about a month ago (6 Raffles Boulevard #03-128, 8655-7158). It looked promising, especially given that they made dumplings to order. The best thing was the chewy skin, the texture which also shone through in two of the noodle dishes that we ordered.

But everything else was a disappointment, like the chili sauce, which wasn't even the slightest bit spicy, as well as the surprisingly dry meat that garnished the noodles. Xi Ding beats the pants off of this place, so I'd much rather go there. But if I do find myself here again, then I'll focus on the "three delicacies" shrimp version.

Update two days later: Xi Ding has closed down, so that's no longer an alternative.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Chongqing's Hei Chuan Chuan in Singapore

Chuan Chuan Xiang

I've passed by here several times (291 South Bridge Road, 6908-5833), but the idea of putting skewers into hot pot just didn't resonate with me. Yet, tonight I realized that this is a chain from China, and in fact two competing chains from China are right next to it too. That got me interested, especially since this type of hot pot is called chuan chuan xiang. I wanted to see what it was all about.

Well, this shop is all-you-can-eat. Just walk up to the fridge and grab as many skewers of meat and veg that you want. I guess the skewers are meant to make it easier to portion, as well as fetch out of the broth. But otherwise, it was your usual mala hot pot, with a marginally sufficient broth and condiment selection. I wonder what their cold broth option is like though.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

El Carbón Grill House in Singapore

Charbroiled Chicken Chop With Grilled Prawn

This small chain of stalls was started by a former COLLIN'S chef. And there are a lot of similarities, as seen in the chicken chop above. Just as with COLLIN'S, it's very affordable, it's done in a Mibrasa oven, and comes with pasta, salad, and a cob of corn. Now, I don't eat at COLLIN'S enough to make a detailed comparison, but this was moist and tasty enough to eat quickly. Yet, just as with COLLIN'S, I didn't bother to finish the pasta, and I made sure to ask for no dressing on the salad.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Shenzhen's Liuliangban at HDB Hub, Singapore

Signature Beef With Pickled Cabbage

This chain of suancaiyu shops from Shenzhen has opened a little stall at the basement food court at HDB Hub (480 Toa Payoh Lorong 6 #B1-01, 9861-0696). He has a variety of different styles, including mala, tomato, and even Thai. But I wanted the suancai version. It turned out to be more tangy (read: sweet) than I was expecting, but this bowl of beef, potato slices, bean sprouts, and kelp was still fun to eat, especially since he finished it off with dried chili peppers sitting in sizzling hot oil. Note that the #1 "New Style" at the top of the menu is watered down for overseas diners; get the #4 instead, as that one is full strength for mainland palates.