Friday, January 24, 2020

The Phở Đặc Biệt from So Pho in Singapore

Phở Đặc Biệt

I don't like this chain of phở shops, mainly because of the broth, which is more salty than aromatic. They don't even provide any basil, let alone many other herbs. But the top of the phở menu has a bowl that features a flame seared marbled sirloin beef, making me wonder if it was anything like the #15 at Pho 90 Degree back home. The good thing was that the beef was tender and fatty with a bit of a broiled taste. But it definitely wasn't #15 either, and that lousy broth didn't make it any better.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Chongqing's Xiao Bin Lou at Jewel Changi Airport

Jelly Noodles and Bean Curd Skin with Onion

This chain from Chongqing is one of those places at Jewel that I've wanted to go to from day one, but only now had a chance to go (78 Airport Boulevard #02-208, 6970-0016). I grabbed the liangfen above, which was sweeter than I prefer, but I really liked the tofu skin behind it, which was not only seasoned just right, but also had a wonderful texture to it.

They also suggested that I order a bowl of their chicken soup, which went for a whopping S$15.80 (US$11.70). It was expensive considering that it was only a single serving, but the mushrooms and peppercorns made it deliciously savory...so much that I was practically licking the bowl clean. Like that milkshake in Pulp Fiction, I don't know if it was worth the money, but it was pretty darned good.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Briyani at Meghana Foods in Bangalore, India

Chicken Boneless Biriyani

After finishing meetings today, my teammates from northern India said that they wanted to get Hyderabadi briyani, as it's better down here in the south. So we went to an outlet of this Andhra chain, ordering things like that chicken version above, as well as a mutton one and a spicy chicken starter on their list of specials today.

I was a bit surprised at how salty and dry the chicken was, while the rice was mushier than I was hoping for too. It was better in the mutton version, but even then, I was so full that I couldn't eat much more. It did pack a good number of spices though, and was arguably better than the briyani at Nagarjuna.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Royanna Military Canteen in Bangalore, India

Mutton Keema Balls

One interesting thing that I found when trying to find uniquely local places to eat in Bangalore was something called a "military hotel." They're basically old school places that served meat for soldiers back in the day. There are still a number of institutions across the city, but they were all a bit far away, so we walked over to this place, which seemed to be a more modern take on it (St Patricks Complex #9 on Brigade Road, 074836-15161).

They pushed those mutton kheema balls above, and they were awesome, particularly because of how spicy the gravy was. I liked it so much that I kept ordering more of their piping hot (and thin) chapati just so that I had some bread to mop it all up with. We also got some of their chicken, which looked like they had been fried to a crisp when they came out, but instead turned out to be wonderfully moist inside. This was much better than I thought it would be.

Karavalli in Bangalore, India

Counterclockwise from bottom: malabar paratha, chevod balchao, allapuzha meen curry

This South Indian place at the Gateway Hotel was recommended to me by several folks (66 Residency Road, 080666-04545). And since we had a break between meetings today here in Bangalore, I made it my lunch destination. I went for the items that my friends recommended, particularly the Goan lobster on the right, but also a Keralan fish curry above it. The former was sweeter than I prefer, but certainly still edible, while the latter was my preferred choice, as it was slightly sour and tangy. Still, my expectations were a bit too high going in. If I am ever to return, I need to remember to get a table indoors so as to avoid those mosquitoes.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Hotel Fanoos Restaurant at Johnson Market, Bangalore

Beef Irani Sheek

Here's another old school place here in Bangalore. They do kebabs, which you can either get from the takeaway stall downstairs, or go up to the restaurant next door (17 Hosur Road, 098863-99614). I chose a variety of cuts, but the best was easily the beef sheek roll, which was spicy but complemented with onions and a delicately thin wrap. And yes, that's beef...here in India. Most of the menu here is beef, actually.

Nagarjuna Andhra Style in Bangalore, India

Veinchina Kodi Mukkalu

That was awesome. See, this place (44/1 Residency Road, 080-2555-9848) has been in Bangalore since 1984, serving food from the state of Andhra Pradesh next door. It turned out that that the food was decently spicy, and I mean specifically the heat from chili peppers. The roast chicken above was a bit dry, but that didn't matter given how it was seasoned to just the right level of spiciness, complete with a deliciously smoky aroma. The briyani here wasn't as good as Bismillah, but I didn't care. I'd like to try more Andhra food while I'm here.

The Indian Vegetarian Meal on SilkAir

The Indian Vegetarian Meal on SilkAir

That probably doesn't look like much, but it was awesome. It was just the right amount of dal and curry to go with that long grain rice, making me inhale this thing in seconds. And there was a pleasant surprise awaiting me at the end: that dark round thing in the upper right corner. I thought it was a tomato or even a grape, but it turned out to be a roasted chili pepper, and a delightfully spicy and aromatic one at that. It's probably not often that one likes an airplane meal so much that they want a second serving, but that's exactly what I wanted today.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Ryan's Grocery (and Kitchen) at Great World, Singapore

Ryan's Burger

An upscale grocery store from the Bukit Timah area has opened an outlet at the newly revamped Great World (1 Kim Seng Promenade #B1-146, 6767-3393). It's basically a butcher (with some awesome-looking slabs of beef dry aging behind the glass) that has a restaurant attached for you to consume steaks on the spot. But those were a bit pricey, so I went for their namesake burger instead.

Good news: the beef tasted great, and it was more or less garnished just the way I like it, keeping it simple with just lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayo. My only gripe was the beetroot relish, but fortunately it didn't overpower it all, even if it did make the beef a bit harder to taste. Next time I come back for this, I'm asking them to keep the relish on the side.

My Own Little Dark Chocolate Shootout

My Own Little Dark Chocolate Shootout

This is really just for my own records than anything, as I've been trying out a variety of dark chocolates lately. So here are notes to myself on the ones that I should buy again versus the ones that I should avoid. The björnsted 85% on the left definitely falls into the latter; I don't know why, but it tasted oddly saccharine and chemical-like, even though the ingredients all looked fine. The Cachet 85% was much better, even if it had a bit of a citrus aftertaste.

My favorites are still in the middle with the two Lindt bars. The 99% in particular was awesome in how it let the nuttiness of the cocoa shine though, while the minimal amount of milk and sugar in the 90% was good too. For the 100% bars on the right, the good thing was that the Stella was not as acidic as Marou from Vietnam. I liked the Ghiradelli bar better than the Stella, but maybe I should do a head-to-head comparison with Montezuma soon.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Bara Indonesian Grilled Rice at Icon Village in Tanjong Pagar

Bumbu Kemangi

This new Indonesian place looked really cool (16 Enggor Street #01-10, 8321-6771). It specialized in nasi bakar, or steamed rice wrapped in a banana leaf and grilled on a fire. I thus eagerly came here to try it today, going for the first set on the menu.

Unfortunately, I went in with the wrong expectations, as the rice didn't stand out as much as I thought it would. If there was any aroma imparted by the banana leaf, I couldn't taste it, as it was buried by the much stronger scent of lemongrass.

To be sure, I like lemongrass, but it dominated everything, including the basil chicken, as well as the sambal. Moreover, it was all too sweet. I thus wonder if the grilled or fried chicken would be more suitable for me. I'll come back to try those if they offer a sambal that isn't sweet.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Ya Lor Geylang Lorong 35 Braised Duck by Sean Kee

Premium Braised Duck Rice

To be honest, I was drawn here more by this place's name than the food itself. See, it was originally a stall from Geylang called Sia Kee. But it's known as Sean Kee, and now they've commercialized into a more modern outlet called Ya Lor at Guoco Tower (7 Wallich Street #B2-32, 6243-6613).

That "premium" plate above featured the widest variety of items available: duck meat, bean sprouts, braised peanuts, braised egg, chili fishcakes, and beancurd, all covered in their dark sauce. Normally I'd whine about sweet sauces, but this one actually went quite well with it all. And that's without masking the taste of the duck either.

That said, I clenched my face when I tasted the soup, as it was undrinkably sweet. The chili sauce was sweet too, but fortunately it was more sour than it was sweet, thus making it pleasantly tangy. Maybe next time I'll get the porridge so as to keep my distance from the soup.