Saturday, November 18, 2006


Pu Tien (Hing Wa) Restaurant - Kitchener Road - 14 Nov 2006

Whenever I eat Hing Wa food, I'm reminded of my old friend's story about his grandparent's tale of woe. His granddad (or gmum - i forget which) was part of a farming family. Every morning, they would share this pot of boiled porridge. The women, who did the light household chores, would eat from the top of the pot (being more watery), while the men, who did the heavy lifting in the fields, would eat from the bottom. *Violins*.

But Pu Tien at Kitchener Road is a far cry from my friend's vivid imagery. This restaurant serves some pretty unusual dishes - even by Cantonese or Hokkien standards - and makes it a must-return just to check out all the other dishes that you've probably never had before in your life.

We started with an opener - cold sliced raw bitter gourd, dipped in honey - as an opener.
Then, we moved on to a really unusual flour/gourd/egg omelette.
After that, herbal prawns in broth, cooked in a bamboo container.
Famous Hing Wa bee hoon.
Famous Hing Wa starchy noodles.

The other stuff, like Soon Hock in special sauce, were pretty much run of the mill. But I'd recommend this restaurant mainly because it still has the ability to surprise you. Food quality is good, service is decent, the food is served FAST.

But, remember to book in advance - gets crowded even on weekdays. And make use of the valet parking in front. Very useful.

All in all, nice.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Kaya Toast Metrics

Based on my thousands of hours of research in the Yakuns, Killeney's, kopitiams, and miscellaneous hawker centres around the island, here are my top 5 metrics for determining the ubiquitous chinese wafer.

Metric 1: Crunch.
When it goes into your mouth, it's got to break up easily within the first couple of bites. Not too dry though.

Metric 2: Thickness of butter block.
This is the magic ingredient. The butter has to be at least 2mm thick, and occupies at least 60% of bread area. My regular kopitiam - five foot way at tanglin halt- swears by goldbell butter bcos according to the proprietor, it retains its rich creamy taste without being too oily. Beware of wannabes use butter kept in the fridge too long. And don't even get me started on shops which use - ugh - margarine.

Metric 3: Level of burn
It's gotta have the dark brown hatch marks on the bread. Otherwise it's just not toast.

Metric 4: Thickness of bread
There will be some heretics who argue for thick bread, but these are the same people who like their minjiang kueh thick. For the purists, it's thin or nothing.

Metric 5: Synergy.

The best toast in the world won't cut it if the coffee tastes like its rented. Local coffee is the best. Anyone who eats kaya toast with Illy deserves to be bitch slapped.


Beer Butt Chicken @ Blooie's

This chicken went through quite a lot just to satisfy some hungry customers. It's Blooie's house-special called "Beer Butt Chicken". Basically, they shove a can of Boddingtons up chicken hershey highway and let the beer slowly steam out. Then they mix up the remaining beer into a savory sauce for dipping. At $38, and 3-hour advance ordering required, it's pretty ok if you like your food with a sense of humor. Otherwise, regular chicken will do just fine.

Don't forget to try the lamb rack when you're there too. This Blooie's at The Aquarius at Science Park II (Pasir Panjang Road, just after the smallish Shell station).

Monday, May 01, 2006


YaKun opens at Holland Village! Yay!

Yay! Nuff said.


Marmalade Pantry - Lunch - 280406

For those who've not realized that Foster's in Palais Renaissance has converted into the Marmalade Pantry, this sentence makes it obvious. I was actually looking for Foster's for my regular cheeseburger lunch, and boy, am I glad I did.

This place is for fancy, frou-frou and chi-chi people, and I don't think me and the missus, with two sprogs in tow, qualify as such. So they did what chi-chi restaurants do when faced with such moral dilemmas - they placed us at a table near the kitchen (the one outside the toilet had already been taken).

Back to the food - I had the Rib Eye Steak Sandwich with Wasabi Mayo. It came with some lightly fried sweet potato crisps, a small salad, and a beautifully cooked, juicy, medium rare rib eye steak trapped between two slices of ciabatta bread. FABULOUS for 20 bucks.

Wifey had the Ultimate Burger for 19 bucks. If you're not looking to pay $101 bucks for a foie/truffle/kobe beef burger, this is probably as good as it gets for sub 20. My first bite brought a blast from the past - it reminded me of the burgers I used to have at Taman Jaya (which, admittedly, only cost RM2). The burgers, served out of a van run by a guy called, what else, Jackson, was probably the most delicious burger I've ever had - this guy had a real touch with the caramelized onions, and the burger patties: crispy on the outside, soft and juicy on the inside. Back to the present - this burger was kinda like that, but probably made by a guy called Pierre.

My boy had sausage and scrambled eggs. Nothing much to shout about, except that there were enough eggs for two adults, and I'm also certain they used cream instead of milk for the batter.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Sini La - ShunFu Mart - 01.04.06 - Breakfast

This place was started up by an old friend of the family, so that's my declaration of vested interest fulfilled. Still, friend or not, this is supposed to be a semi-accurate record of notable food stalls, so this will hopefully be fair. Here goes:

The nasi lemak - It's not the normal stuff that you get from your regular chinese OR malay nasi lemak stall. Suffice to say, its the rare one that serves boiled kangkong and "mei ren yi" as side dishes, instead of the regular, inedible, overfried ikan kuning. Sambal is just perfect - not the too-sweet, too-spicy, too-oily gook that you get from the Lee Wee shops - but well fried with lotsa onions.

The lontong - this one can easily be classified as the best lontong in town. Two things stand out: the sambal, which blends very well with the curry; and the tau fu, which is (surprise, surprise) FRESH. Made all the difference.

The mee rebus - a little bit disappointing this. Too sweet for my taste buds. So will probably not repeat unless there is a product upgrade on this.

Seafood soup - even though this is a muslim stall, I would have sworn blind that the soup stock contained pork. Sweet and hearty, it reminded me of the many great soups that my mom made, normally with lots of pork ribs boiled for many hours. I did ask the chef, but he refused to share the secret. So I will have my suspicions for now.

If you are looking for malay food with a twist - a FRESH twist - you won't go wrong with Sini La.


Restoran Singapura - Selegie Road - 31.03.06 Dinner

Ah - cold crab. Nothing quite beats the taste of a well-prepared bit of ketam sejuk, with its distinctive crabby taste, with the metallic tang that comes from the coldness.

A long favourite of all Hock Chew food fans, this place still serves some of the best cold crab in town, at reasonable prices. The fish tail, steamed in black bean sauce, went down well, but it tends to overwhelm everything else, so make sure you order this first. If you still have a bit of space to fill toward the end, just order a plate of fried mussel noodles - sticky, gooey, heavenly.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Samy's Curry House - Marina Square Food Court

I was sorta going off the rather expensive and over-spicy banana leaf served at Samy's original branch at Dempsey Road, so it was with some hesitation that I decided to queue up at its branch at the newly-opened Marina Square food court.

First - the rice. After seeing the people in front of me get about one full percent of Thailand's total rice export piled up on their banana leaf, I opted for half. No one will feel cheated about the amount of rice they dish out, I'll guarantee you that.

Then - the vegetable dishes. Basic long bean and dhal, nothing to shout about.

Next - the chicken masala. They gave me - i swear - half a chicken. This was when I began to worry a little bit about the final bill.

Finally - the drasam. Excellent, sour/salty taste - without being too salty OR spicy.

Total bill - $5.40. What gives? It's a damn sight cheaper than the extortionate prices they charge at dempsey road.

Highly recommended.

Monday, March 27, 2006


Yet another kaya roti place. Ah Mei - Rail Mall - Upper Bukit Timah Road

A pleasant little airconditioned coffee shop along the row of shophouses (near Cold Storage) at Rail Mall - ala Killeney or Yakun - for your daily snort of kaya roti, eggs and coffee. But with some important differences.

First: the coffee. These guys have done it differently by roasting the coffee with chocolate. The coffee tastes nicely nutty, with a well-rounded fragrance that retains the original strong character of local coffee.

Next: the toast. These guys actually mix kaya with peanut butter together - don't quite know whether it was by design or accident, but the mixture was surprisingly tasty. I think I'm in love.

Furthermore: other food stuff. Ah Mei, in her infinite wisdom, decided to incorporate a roti prata counter (with a selection of other junky, popular indian-muslim food like Roti John), so you are guaranteed of getting something that will suit your kids.

Just right for the family.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


Guillemard Turtle Soup - Lunch - 18.03.06

Despite my long held stand against eating turtle meat - no doubt formed during my time spent on Redang Island playing midwife to pregnant turtles on a moon-lit beach for one whole week - I was pretty impressed with the setup of this place, located along Guillemard road between Geyland Lorong 34 and 36.

Before you turtle huggers start your flame wars, I did not participate in any dish that even had the hint of turtle breath in it. I had the Song Fish head - luscious omega 3 fat chunks trapped underneath slimy black skin, and a bowl of black chicken soup - which come to think of it, had just a smidge too much MSG. However, I did observe my friends as they tucked into a bowl of medium sized bowl of turtle soup - you need to pour in a special condiment that the restaurant prepares specially for the dish, using white rice wine, herbs and ginger. Strong stuff!

If you want to find out more about this eatery, visit Really.


Another Kaya Roti place! Let the pilgrimage begin

Wow. Just discovered a new kaya roti and eggs and kopi place in Holland Village hawker centre. Tried out the kopi - very nice, and the bread - very nice too, with the right amount of butter (read: slabs) slapped between two wafer thin crispy slices of brown bread.

And joy of joys, it opens at 6am every morning, including mondays too. So I know where I'm going at the start of the next work week.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Bukit Batok Video? - sounds yummy

Yes! Another attempt by our local Singapore boys and girls to put our little red dot on the global map. We Salute You!

You won't find the video link here by the way. It's ILLEGAL to distribute porn here. Ok to watch it though.

Monday, March 13, 2006


Five Star Hainam Chicken Rice - Cheong Chin Nam Road - Bfast - 13.03.06

Since Killeney, two doors down, was closed for renovations, I decided to have my daily snort of kaya toast, runny eggs and kopi-o at this place instead. I've had the chicken rice a couple of times before; wasn't entirely sure how their toast would pan out. But hey, with Hainam in their name, it wouldn't be too bad, would it?

Thank goodness - it wasn't. They use thick white toast instead of the thin brown one which I like, but the butter blocks (yes, blocks) were large enough to make sure the entire concoction didn't end up being too dry. The kaya was pretty basic - don;t expect anything homemade here. The kopi-o was reasonably strong, just a smidge on the sourish side, but still decent.

A reasonable alternative to Killeney, but I now wish that I had the teh tarik at Al Azhar three shops down instead. There's always tomorrow...

Friday, March 10, 2006


My very own Le-mon - before dinner - 10.03.06

Isn't this the cutest ever? For $159, it's a pretty good deal compared to the rip-off prices from Apple. Free speaker cube, free arm strap for sports, free rechargeable battery kit, and free cover/lanyard/headphones. Try getting that from Apple.

Also considered players from Shiro and a-cheap-china-ripoff-brand-i-can't-recall. The shiro gave me a pretty good laugh - it's selling point was a 1.5cm OLED screen - which the salesman was pretty proud of. Have you tried watching any sort of video on a 1.5cm screen? C'mon - even if it was porn, it'll still be pretty painful.

Got it on the 6th floor of the IT Show 2006 at Suntec. And what the hell is OSIM doing at the show?


Ah Seng (Hainam) Coffee Shop - #02-95 - Amoy Street Hawker Centre - 10.03.06

If you're looking for an alternative to the Mcdonalization of toast - thanks to Yakun or Killeney, it's good to find a place that goes back to its hainanese roots when it comes to kaya toast. The kaya is the thick brown type that my granddad used to make when he ran a tiny little corner coffee shop in a small little kampung somewhere in Selangor. My enduring memory of my granddad is of him squatting in front of a small hot charcoal stove (because constant heat is best for making kaya), continuously stirring a small little aluminum tin full of kaya, and just generally really sweating his arse off.

Anyway, I didn't really see any squatting going on the back of this shop, but I do have words of wisdom to impart to those coming to this shop. According to the auntie, it's cheaper to order the toast,eggs and coffee as a SET, instead of ordering them individually, cos the latter is more expensive. REMEMBER THAT.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Soon Lee Beef Claypot - Alexandra Village - Lunch - 09.03.06

Tender succulent pieces of beef stewed in a claypot, with lots of carrots, coriander and potato. On top of a roaring camphor fire. Been coming here for the last 10 years now - What more can I say?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Rice cakes - 08.03.06

Thaksin was absolutely right - selling a national asset is NOT as easy as selling rice cakes.

We armchair politicos salute you!


Teck Kee Noodle Shop - Zion Road - Bfast - 06.03.06

Ever tried the wonton noodle at Zion Road? Noodles are cooked slightly al-dente, and are just a wee bit thicker than normal mee kia, but sauce is correct - just the right mixture of charsiew oil and soya sauce. I had an additional order of chicken feet to go with my wontons - the cartilage and skin just melts in your mouth. Apart from the slightly pricey tag - $4 - I would recommend this place for decent noodles.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


Mr. Prata - Clementi Avenue 5 - 05.03.06

Driving around with my family - getting famished because I'd stinted a little after my early morning jog. Ever noticed how yogurt doesn't really fill you after you've run your arse off for 4 klicks? So decided to just go to one of my more regular food joint for a quickie - Mr. Prata to the rescue.

This sorta-newish place is located off Clementi Avenue 5, in a row of HDB shophouses just opposite the Clementi Police Station. It serves up (what else) prata - or roti canai north of the border - in many varieties. Besides the basic kosong, egg, egg onion, it's also got french, italian, and (this one the kids will love you for) ice cream wrapped in crispy roti prata. The best part is, they make their stuff fresh, so you don't end up eating soft soggy lukewarm prata. And always remember the basic rule - if you want it fresh, just order prata with egg and onion. It's some kinda secret code or something, or there's a reason I'm just lazy to find out.

Apart from that, Mr. Prata has a wide selection of south indian food, ranging from biryani to banana leaf rice, and, surprisingly, nasi lemak as well, though the last should really be classified as malay food. The teh tarik is pretty excellent too - best part is, if you ask for "kurang manis" or "less sweet", these guys actually give you something that won't send you into diabetic shock.

The fish curry is top notch here. Great assam taste, which goes really well with the fresh fish they use. The biryani is also pretty good, but not as tasty as some that you could get in Little India.

Overall, it's a decent place for a quick prata and curry meal. A bit pricey for roti prata, but then, it's airconditioned, and its got a cash register too.


Lagnaa - Upper Dickson Road - 02.03.06

Trying to keep this in my memory for the last three days - surprising how quickly food related information drains out of your brain a few short minutes after the last morsel has passed your lips.

Was looking for a nice, unusual place to take my wife to celebrate (albeit a few days late) our annivesary. So we decided to visit this kinda-hard-to-find but highly recommended place in Little India. Lagnaa - a little way in from Upper Dickson Road - is run by a charming Indian gentleman by the name of Kaesavan - or K7 as he writes on his name card - who also happens to be the chef, maitre'd, and front-door stop all rolled into one. The shop, which opened in Nov 05, specializes in North Indian food, bare-foot style. What this means is that you get to sit on the floor. The decor is pretty sparse, but K7 assured us that the food would live up to our expectations.

This is what he recommended to us first timers:
- For starters - a basket of Onion baji - onion dipped in spice-filled batter and deep fried: deliciously warm and crispy, not too filling, left us wanting more.
- For main course - almond chicken, a buttery pale curry with tender chicken slices; mutton masala; and paneer & kidney bean curry; with kashmiri naan (that means with nuts and fruits) and saffron rice steamed in bamboo as accompaniments.
- For afters - a creamy cheese cake-like dessert in a shallow glass, which contained a hint of nuts and spices in the base. Absolutely delicious. And masala tea (not the too spicy kind that you get at other Indian joints, but just right on the palate after a heavy Indian meal) to follow.

Overall verdict: the food was great. Great for guys looking for a cool "ethnic" place to bring their dates, but not at Esplanade-level budgets. The total cost came up to SGD 54 for two. And there's a loyalty program that guarantees a 25% discount if we go back there for round two. You can bet we will.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?