Friday, August 31, 2007

Pasta Brava

C says:

This place totally exceeded our expectations. I can’t believe it’s taken us this long to finally come here, given that it’s just a short walk away from A’s office. Now that A won’t be at this office much longer, we decided we better get our asses here while it was still convenient.

We had a late-ish dinner here on Friday, at pretty short notice. I called at 7.30 for an 8.30 reservation and thankfully managed to get one. The experience started out on a slightly low note, because when we got there at 8.30 sharp, they didn’t have an available table for us yet. We had to wait rather unglam-ly outside the restrooms while they waited for a table to finish up so that we could have it. We managed to be seated about 15 minutes after we arrived.

That aside, the rest of the evening was great. We always steered clear because it looked quite stuffy and posh from outside, but once inside it’s quaint and cozy, with a generally unpretentious and quite boisterous crowd. Service is good – pleasant but not patronizing. And the food…

We shared the Proscuitto with melon – a tad boring but this was a really amazing version of the dish. The melon was like honey, and the ham here was wafer-thin, well cured, and didn’t have that quality that some lower grade parma hams do, where they can’t be cut and you have to swallow the entire slice in one gulp.

We shared two main courses. First was one of their house specialities - the Beef Tenderloin with red wine and chocolate sauce. At first I didn’t taste the chocolate, but after a while, stronger and stronger hints of it came through. It wasn’t overpowering or even very sweet. It just added a nice depth and richness to the sauce. This was very tasty but didn’t completely blow us away.

What did, was the Stracci (unevenly cut pasta shapes) with scallops and prawns in saffron cream sauce. The menu has 2 sections – Pasta, and Home-made Pasta. Most of the items in the home-made pasta section are raviolis and tortellinis; the stracci was the only non-filled pasta. It was amazing – rich yet not too heavy or cloying, and quite generous with the scallops and prawns. And the pasta was silky smooth with a firm bite.

Portion sizes were just nice for us to try a dessert each. I had the panna cotta with amaretto, and A had the apple pie with ricotta cheese and vanilla ice cream.

The apple pie was quite rustic and heavy, but I really liked the pie crust. Surprisingly the panna cotta was much better – it was pretty much a spiked crème caramel, and was still light enough that I could probably finish one portion myself next time.

This is probably the best Italian restaurant that isn’t Valentino’s. It’s certainly my top choice for satisfying a last minute spontaneous Italian craving, since Valentino’s always requires at least 2 days’ advance booking.

A says:

Starters and desserts are substantial but the mains are very small. Perfect for a full 3-course meal, although honestly, I might have two mains instead (1 pasta and 1 meat).

Pasta Brava
11 Craig Road
Tanjong Pagar
Tel: 6227-7550
Lunch: 12 noon - 2.30pm
Dinner: 6.30pm - 10.30pm
Closed on Sunday

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Red Velvet Cake from Food For Thought

C says:

My colleague V surprised me with a slice of Red Velvet Cake from Food for Thought today (thanks, V!). Food For Thought is a joint that’s on A’s and my radar, but we haven’t had an opportunity to go yet. It’s a café/diner situated opposite the National Library, that has as its slogan “good food for a good cause”. Part of its profits go towards social causes that the owners support, like bringing fresh water to less developed nations.

I’m certainly not one for causes; the only reason I’m keen to try the place is the array of interesting-sounding sandwiches and desserts. They’ve got a pulled pork sandwich that sounds pretty yummy, as well as a sinful kong bak one. Well, we can’t comment on the food till we actually go, but our preview with the cake is definitely promising.

Red velvet cake is a Southern chocolate cake, with a distinctive red colour and a white frosting – usually either cream cheese or buttercream. The one from Food For Thought is a combination of both – a light buttery cream cheese frosting that, while very tasty, tends to slightly overwhelm the cake. And the cake definitely ought to be the star. They got the texture of the cake here just right. It was moist, yet light and airy. Absolutely delicious. The colour is a bit of a red (har har) herring, because you would expect it to taste like raspberries or something, but it just tastes like a regular sponge cake with a hint of chocolate.

Note: the colour was traditionally from rhubarb and beetroot, but now most red velvet cakes just get their colour from red food colouring.

If the cake is any indication of the rest of the menu, then Food For Thought certainly has some pretty good stuff to offer. We’ll definitely be trying it soon. In the meantime, if anyone has eaten there, do share!

A says:

Not bad. Taste wasn’t what I expected from the looks of it. Thought it had a bit of bandung flavour from the colouring, but that could just be psychosomatic (addict insane)!

Food For Thought
420 North Bridge Road
North Bridge Centre
Tel: 6338-8724

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Home-made pasta

C says:

After making the “Hostess” cupcakes, I was left with 5 egg yolks that I didn’t want to waste. I (foolishly) decided to make pasta – my very first attempt, adapting a recipe from good ol’ Jamie Oliver. Kneading it and rolling it out was quite a workout in itself. I don’t have a pasta machine, so I had to roll out the pasta sheets using a rolling pin. Halfway through I gave up, and enlisted A’s help. I must say, he rolls a pretty mean pasta dough – his were much thinner than mine. His cutting skills suck, though. ;p

I cooked the tagliatelle with clams and squid that we bought today from Greenwood Fish Market. They were Littleneck clams from New Zealand, and were huge. They were all cleaned so it was a breeze to cook with. The clams were really good quality – all of them were fresh and opened up upon cooking, so I didn’t have to throw a single one away.

I would like to cook this again, because there are a few things that I should/shouldn’t have done. But probably with store-bought pasta instead…

A says:

The pasta was pretty good but some were too thick. Good clam flavour but my problem with clams is there’s not enough meat. Next time, we’ll probably need to add more squid or scallops for texture.

“Hostess” cupcakes

C says:

After seeing a random cartoon depiction of Hostess cupcakes (yes, those pre-packaged synthetic marvels that we used to see at the back of Archie comic books in days of old), I was inspired to create my own version.

It was really just a combination of a standard chocolate cake, dark chocolate frosting, and a marshmallowy ‘Seven Minute Frosting’. I like how they ended up looking, but less pleased with the actual taste. I think the cakes were a bit dry and hole-y. Maybe I overmixed the batter. Oh well. Practice, practice.

A says:

C’s the hostess with the mostess. Maybe could add more of the marshmallow topping if we don’t want any copyright infringement issues.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Another Rong Guang BBQ Seafood joint

C says:

This branch of Rong Guang BBQ seafood (the other one is at Alexandra Village) is at the corner of Ulu Pandan Road and Clementi Road. Yes, that area that has been home to a number of restaurants in the past, all of which didn’t survive for very long. I hope the A&C curse doesn’t befall the Rong Guang here, cos it’s quite a good discovery for a late dinner that’s really close to home for us.

I wonder how the two outlets are related. Their name cards are almost identical, down to the menu (in Chinese) printed on the reverse; but both cards make zero reference to the location or even existence of the other outlet. Very strange.

I dare say that the food here was better than the Alexandra branch, but that’s not a very fair statement because the only similar dish we ordered was the seafood fried rice. I found the one here better – it had a better wok hei flavour, and they serve a kick-ass sambal belacan that goes with the rice perfectly.

Instead of the stingray, we ordered the sambal sotong. Although the squid was cooked perfectly – fresh and springy and tender, not chewy or overcooked at all, I don’t think this dish is particularly outstanding. It’s loaded with onions so it’s not very wu hua, and the actual sambal is neither here nor there. It’s not spicy, nor particularly sweet, just a bit blah.

The pai guat wong pork rib, on the other, was really good. This could rival any posh Chinese restaurant – the outside was crispy yet the pork was still tender, and the sauce had just the right balance of flavours. Not too sweet or sour. The dusting of sesame seeds topped off one of the best versions of this dish I’ve had in a while.

This place closes at midnight, so at least now we have a fallback dining option if we need food in the vicinity after 9 pm. The only possible problem may be the parking situation. We were here on a Wednesday night at about 9 pm, and the car park was ¾ full, even though only about 4 tables were occupied. I guess a large table of about 10 accounted for 3 to 4 cars. Parking is free, which is a plus, but I’m not sure if there will be spaces available during peak dinner hours.

A says:

I see parking as a problem at peak hours, but other than that, this place seems like a winner for us. Too bad it doesn’t have the avocado milkshake from AV though.

Rong Guang BBQ Seafood
301 Ulu Pandan Road
Tel: 6468-8290
Open daily 5 pm to 12 midnight

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sushi Tei – one year on

C says:

HA!!! It took more than a year to prove that I was indeed right! When we had the amazing aburi sushi at Sushi Tei back in May last year, it was part of the Spring promotion, and when I gave my feedback that they ought to add it to the regular menu, the hostess said that other customers had given similar feedback so the management was considering making it a permanent menu item. A disagreed, claiming that the woman only told me that she’d relay my comments to get me off her back.

Well, as usual I was right, because… It’s now on the permanent menu!! They have both the assorted platter, and individual plates consisting of 2 pieces of each variety. We were so excited that we ordered 2 platters – one each.

(Clockwise from top left: scallop, yellowtail, sea bream, tuna belly (otoro), swordfish, salmon belly)

If you recall our previous post, the aburi sushi is in a mind-blowing world of its own, because the fish is still rare inside, but with a charred and smoky exterior. They probably use a blowtorch to sear the fish. It was awesome, and a good alternative for those who don’t like totally raw sushi. While all 6 are very good, some stand out more than others. The swordfish and sea bream are slightly more ordinary. The scallop is lovely and sweet, and the otoro is tender yet full-bodied and meaty. The salmon belly and yellowtail were our favourites today, so much so that we ordered a repeat order of just those 2. Both just melted in your mouth, the yellowtail even more so than the salmon. Pretty good value too – the platter is $14, a plate of 2 pieces of yellowtail is $4, and the salmon belly is only $2.80. The tuna belly is a bit more expensive - $8 per plate of 2, so I won’t order it separately; I’ll just have it as part of the platter.

We also ordered a couple of new items. First, the unagi platter, which consists of various types of unagi sushi preparations. This was interesting, but sounded better than it tasted. Everything ended up tasting quite ordinary, so we won’t be ordering this again.

We also had a Cha Soba with Pan Fried Salmon. The presentation was quite interesting – 3 piles of cha soba, each with a slice of pan fried salmon topped with roe. Taste-wise, the salmon was good but a little overcooked, and the noodles were a bit slimy – definitely not up to Shimbashi Soba’s standard.

Even after some of the misses today, I’m still really happy that the aburi sushi is now on the permanent menu. I’m not sure for how long though, knowing the A&C curse, so every so often we’ll be making a pilgrimage to satisfy ourselves.

A says:

Aburi sushi rocked. It was a bit cold so not as good as last time. I think it tastes best when it’s hot off being seared. Recommendation is to get a platter to see what you like, then order extra.

Sushi Tei
#03-13/14 Raffles City Shopping Centre
Tel: 6334-7887
Opening hours: 11.30 am to 10 pm daily.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Opera cupcakes

C says:

To celebrate A’s recovery and more importantly, the fact that I’ve got some free time again, I decided to practice the Opera cupcakes that I learnt at the cupcake class a couple of weeks ago. They turned out ok, I guess, but still not quite there compared to those we made with Lynn. I have no idea why – I blame my oven, heh heh.

A says:

Still a bit too neighbourhood bakery for my taste.

Sin Kee Chicken Rice

C says:

We chanced upon this stall in the Holland Drive hawker centre, because we were marooned here on Saturday morning during a downpour. This stall is somehow linked to the Margaret Drive chicken rice (both are called Sin Kee) – I think this one used to be at Mei Chin Road. I can’t remember what the association is; possibly some disagreement or something that led to one party opening their own stall.

Well, a comparison is inevitable. And the conclusion? The chicken here is really tender – even the breast meat is juicy and tender, possibly even more so than at Margaret Drive. However, as tender as it was, the chicken just seemed to lack the flavour oomph that Margaret Drive has. The chilli sauce here really packs a punch though.

The stall sells laksa too, which you can have with their chicken; we only discovered this after we ordered, so unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to try it this time.

A says:

Chicken seems more tender, but the other place has more flavour. Rice is also a bit bland. Think I’d rather try the shredded chicken noodle instead.

Friday, August 17, 2007

By The Servings

C says:

Sorry for the silence. It’s been a frenetic week for atetoomuch, what with A being ill since National Day, then being hospitalized for a (false) dengue alarm. Well, thanks to everyone for their concern – we’re back now and can’t wait to pick up where we left off.

This is quite a random post, but worth a mention all the same. This hole-in-the-wall dessert shop at Market Street Car Park sells some bizarre concoctions, like peanut balls in rosebud syrup, and hawthorn nata de coco. To be honest, when they opened in late 2006, I didn’t really give them a second thought, and figured they wouldn’t last very long. Well, they’re still around and seem to be doing better than I thought. Y told me she saw quite a few boxes of their mochi when she went for lunch today, but by the time I was there at 7 pm after work, they only had a solitary box left. An assortment of 5 flavours – yam, red bean, peanut, sesame and green tea – for $3.50. Apparently their mochi is hand-made by a Japanese chef daily.

I must say it was surprisingly good. They’re quite generous with the filling, and the mochi itself is very light and soft. The only one that was a bit so-so was the yam, which was lacking in filling as well as flavour. The red bean is a winner, as is the green tea one. The sesame and peanut ones are like most ah ballings, but still no less tasty.

Y said they sell assortments as well as single-flavour boxes, so I guess one has to go early to be able to choose.

A says:

Not bad.

By The Servings
146 Market Street
#01-41 Market Street Car Park
Tel: 6536- 6739
Opening hours: Mondays to Fridays 8 am to 8 pm. Closed Sat, Sun and Public Holidays.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Patriotic cupcakes

C says:

A is ill, so we pretty much stayed in the whole of National Day. I decided to bake the mascarpone cheese and strawberry jam cupcakes that A mentioned previously. Only after I baked and iced them, did I realise that they looked quite patriotic. Unintentionally apt then, that I decided to bake these on National Day. Heh.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Valentino’s again

C says:

Failing to get a last minute reservation at Valentino’s last Sunday made us quite psyched for it, so sometime around mid-week we called for a reservation for this Sunday. They have 2 sittings – one from 6 pm to 8.15 pm, and the other from 8.30 pm onwards. We chose the earlier one so that our food would have enough time to digest.

Since our last visit, they’ve changed the lobster pasta on the menu yet again. If you’ll recall, the $27 Lobster with Pink Sauce gave way to a dish whose cost was subject to the weight of the lobster. Now, apparently after customer feedback, they’ve standardized the size of the lobsters that they order, so the Lobster Pasta is back on the menu, at a revised price of $42.90, for a medium-sized crustacean.

Needless to say, I ordered that again, and while it was quite exquisite by any standards, it was somehow not quite as stellar as the one we had the last time. I guess this proves that the quality/size of the lobster directly affects the final outcome of the dish.

We shared the Tomino cheese wrapped with parma ham and pan fried. We had this once before, and this time it was possibly even better than before. The parma ham was crispy, and the cheese was slightly molten and gooey inside. Each mouthful was quite salty but not excessively so, and yet also quite mellow thanks to the cheese.

One of the reasons we wanted to come here was to try their Squid Ink pasta, to see how it compared to the one from Friends at Jelita. After racking our brains on how to fit in everything that we wanted to order, the waitress suggested that we share the Squid Ink pasta as a starter. This was oilier than the Friends one, and while it was still tasty and the squid pieces very tender, I actually think the Friends one was better. The squid ink sauce at Friends was fuller bodied, and I think the shaved parmesan was a contributing factor.

My main was obviously the lobster pasta. A ordered one of the daily specials – the grilled tuna. After a bad experience at Da Paolo Rochester where the tuna was so overdone that it was dry and flaky like canned tuna, I specifically requested that the tuna be done quite rare. We weren’t disappointed. The fish was perfectly done – seared on the outside, and still moist and rare in the center. Enhanced with just a squeeze of lemon and drizzled with good olive oil, this showed that the best way to show off good ingredients is to keep it simple.

Amazingly, after all that we still had room for dessert. Barely. A had his trusty tiramisu again, and I tried the Chantilly cake with chocolate chips and shaved white chocolate. This lighter-than-air sponge cake was a perfect end to an incredible dinner.

A says:

Have a hard time deciding what my favourite restaurant is now. I think just for the range of things I like on the menu, this place beats Buko Nero. I still get the feel that the staff frown on the fact that C and I don’t order any vino to go with our meal though.

Ristorante da Valentino
11 Jalan Bingka (off Rifle Range Road)
Tel: 6462-0555
Tuesday to Sunday: 12 pm to 2.30 pm, 6 pm to 10.30 pm

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Maxwell Road Thunder Tea Rice

C says:

Thunder Tea Rice, or Lui Char Fan, is the food of my people. The strange name is apparently derived from a Hakka pun – “lui” in Hakka means grinding/pounding of ingredients, which is how the soup for this dish is made. But “lui” also means thunder, hence the misleading name.

The ingredients for the bright green soup, including mint leaves, sweet potato leaves and tea leaves, are pounded together then added to water and brought to a boil. It’s a bit nasty on its own – quite bitter and bland, but you’re supposed to add it to the rice mixture.

The rice is topped with a whole host of chopped vegetables, roasted nuts, diced taukwa and chai poh (preserved radish). You mix it all up, adding some of the soup, and just shovel it in. This is a seriously healthy dish – there’s no meat, hardly any oil, and if you don’t stir in all the rice, you can control the amount of carb as well.

This isn’t my top choice at Maxwell, but I had this today because we were going to have an early and heavy dinner tonight. It tastes light and clean, and the crunch of the vegetables really makes you feel quite self-righteous in voluntarily having something so healthy. As for the taste, well I would have preferred some ikan bilis, which is sometimes served with this but not at this Maxwell stall. Also, there were flashes of celery, which isn’t exactly my cup of tea.

Will I have this again? Probably, for a healthy change and if I’m in the mood for a detox. But not at Maxwell though, where there are so many more exciting things to choose from.

A says:

Thunder… Thunder… Thundercats…Ho! It’s okay but not something I’d order.

Thunder Tea Rice
Maxwell Road Food Centre
Stall 86

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Cupcake class

C says:

A few of us (C, S and myself) attended a private cupcake class this afternoon, conducted by Lynn Chen, who also teaches at Palate Sensations. Having Lynn just to the three of us was great, because for one, we could bombard her with all sorts of stupid questions, and also we weren’t afraid to mess up or show our relative baking ignorance.

We learnt how to make and decorate two cupcakes – an Opera cupcake, which is a coffee cupcake filled with chocolate ganache and frosted with coffee buttercream, and a Carrot cupcake with cream cheese frosting, and topped with an absolutely adorable piped carrot. I won’t reproduce the recipes here. You can either get them from me, or attend one of Lynn’s classes, heh. I’ll just use this space to post a few photos and tips, for my own benefit so that I don’t forget what we were taught.

Tray of completed opera cupcakes. C’s are the ones on the left, mine are in the center, and S’s are on the right (she used another tray for the rest of hers). We all used different piping tips.

Tip #1: After creaming the butter and sugar together, beat eggs and add them into the creamed butter mixture in small amounts. This is because eggs are mostly water, and if they’re added too quickly into the oil-based butter mixture, it’s likely to split or curdle.

Tip #2: For easier cupcake decorating, freeze just-baked cupcakes for 5 to 10 minutes, rather than waiting over an hour for them to cool sufficiently to be frosted.

Tip #3: To cut out holes in the cupcake for filling with ganache, take a long serrated paring knife and insert it into the cupcake at an angle (pointing towards the centre of the cupcake). Cut all the way round and you should end up with a little cone that you can remove. Note: ganache should be cooled before filling, otherwise it’ll be too thin and just seep through the cake.

Tip #4: When making the buttercream, add the hot milk to the egg mixture slowly at first, to avoid scrambling the eggs. Once the mixture has warmed up a little, the rest of the milk can be added in at once. Bring the mixture back to the heat and slowly stir to thicken the custard till it stops swirling when you stir it. Remove from heat occasionally to check, to ensure that it doesn’t thicken beyond the ideal point.

Tip #5: Straining the custard is essential, because there will inevitably be little lumps of cooked egg, particularly egg white bits. The buttercream will never be smooth with these little bits.

Tip #6: Both the buttercream and the cupcake can be modified for other flavours. For a lemon cake, you can substitute some of the milk with lemon juice, and add lemon zest. For the buttercream, instead of coffee emulco you can add chocolate emulco, or lemon zest.

Out of the 6 carrot cupcakes, you can tell which one is Lynn’s and which are mine. Her perfectly piped carrot is the top left one.

Making the piping bags and piping the carrot was the trickiest part. To make individual little piping bags, take a triangle of parchment paper, shaped like so:

Fold the bottom corner up:

And hold with thumb and forefinger, making sure that it’s folded such that there’s a 90 degree angle, like so:

Fold the other end up, and tighten by pulling it upwards until it’s a sharp point, and tuck the end into the bag:

Fill it with icing, and to seal it – hold it with the vertical seam facing you. Push the icing down, and fold the top down once towards you, fold the corners in away from you, then keep folding away from you to push the rest of the icing down. Cut a 5mm hole for the carrot, and a 1mm hole for the leaves.

To pipe the carrot, pipe the icing and stop, pipe and stop, etc, to create the little joints in the carrots. To taper the carrot, reduce the size of the blobs until at the end, just pull away to get the sharp end of the carrot.

Well, it’s all well and good for us to do this under Lynn’s supervision and watchful eye. The real test will be when we try this at home on our own, and whether we succeed in recreating our ‘masterpieces’ or not. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

A says:

Not bad, but I prefer C’s marscapone cheese and strawberry jam cupcakes.

C says:

Dude, you're my husband. Biased much?

Friday, August 03, 2007

Yamakawa Super

C says:

Another reason that we were at Central today was to check out this new store, that I’d read about in Urban. It’s a Japanese snack/confectionary store in the basement of Central, selling all sorts of funky Japanese goodies. Imagine the snack sections in Isetan Supermarket or Meidi-Ya, multiply that ten-fold, and you’ll get an idea of what this store is like.

I made the mistake of going there on an empty stomach before dinner. Check out the stash that I ended up with:

Some of the more interesting things that I bought are: sweet potato McVities digestives, a Takopachi (octopus ball) shaped and flavoured corn snack, White wine and Muscat tea, and Brandy and Orange KitKat. There are loads of other funky things as well, like yuzu-flavoured Hi-Chew candy, Tahitian Vanilla Pocky, Mentaiko (cod roe) Pretz and lime-flavoured After Eights.

Prices aren’t ridiculous either. They’re probably along the lines of what you’d pay at Isetan or Meidi-Ya, and there’s loads more choice here. They only take cash at the moment though, so be prepared if you’re going to go crazy like I did.

A says:

I’m not much of a snacker but there’s a small toy section where I’ll be getting a Naruto headband on my next visit. It is my dream to be the Hidden Leaf village’s next Hokage!

Yamakawa Super
6 Eu Tong Sen Street
Tel: 6534-9518
Open daily: 11 am to 10 pm


C says:

We went to Central tonight intending to have Marutama Ramen, but when we got there the queue was insane. I guess word has well and truly gotten out, because at about 7.30 pm on a Friday night, there were more than 30 people in the queue. Considering that the restaurant’s capacity is probably less than that, we did the math and figured it wouldn’t be our turn for a long time. We wandered around the stores for about 20 minutes in the hopes that the queue would abate, but it was just as long as ever so we abandoned our ramen plans.

Central is certainly becoming a food destination, because even though the retail stores were pretty deserted, almost all the restaurants were buzzing. Even the most unlikely of restaurants, like Billy Bomber’s, had a queue. We ended up at a Chinese restaurant called Grains, which is run by the Yunnan Group of Restaurants.

This place tries to serve healthier food, like brown rice, double boiled ginseng soups and health teas, and they even go so far as to put icons next to the more unhealthy items on their menu, stating “Eat in moderation”. Portions were bigger than I expected, so we ended up ordering way too much.

A few items like the fried chicken wings and carrot cake were nothing spectacular. What was good was the Soya Sauce Chicken, and their home made Spinach Tofu with Shimeji Mushrooms. The chicken was juicy and not too fatty, and was accompanied with roasted peanuts that had been soaked in the savoury soy sauce. The tofu was quite a delight – the outside was deep fried and fragrant, with the inside still soft and silken. The shimeji mushrooms and shredded dried scallop added a ton of flavour as well.

We also ordered the Baked Pork Ribs with Wuxi Sauce. The meat was fall-off-the-bone tender, but the dish was let down by the sauce, which I thought could have had a bit more oomph.

Prices are very reasonable here. Portions are quite hearty, and we even had to doggy-bag some chicken wings cos we were just too full. Everything we ordered, including a brown rice and soya bean milk, only cost $48 after a 10% OCBC discount. Very good value for money, and a pretty safe bet if you’re in Central and all the Japanese restaurants there are packed to the gills.

A says:

Not bad. If we ever come back (not likely since the Japanese places are more tempting), I’ll probably stick to 2 mains and a small carb so we can try the desserts. Those seem somewhat interesting, even after the shock of having sugarless soya bean drinks.

6 Eu Tong Sen Street
Tel: 6534-7707

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Middle Road Pork Rib Prawn Noodle

C says:

Another Yummy King recommendation near Mustafa, this stall RAWKS. Ever since a slightly disappointing experience at the Wah Kee Prawn Noodle at Cambridge Road (Pek Kio), I’ve been looking for a good stall selling prawn noodles with pig’s liver.

This stall doesn’t quite nail it 100%, but it certainly comes close. Here, the pork comes first, and the prawn is secondary, which is just the way I like it. The soup is apparently brewed with a mixture of pork ribs and prawns, and it tastes like a glorious mixture of prawn noodle soup and bak kut teh.

In addition to pork ribs, this comes with all sorts of pig parts too. You can either request for a mixture, or tell the guy what you want (or don’t want). I went for the works, but without kidney (the one organ I don’t eat).

This was heavenly. There were a few pieces each of small intestine, liver, tongue, pork ribs and tender sliced meat, and a perfunctory prawn or two. Add some chilli padi (you have to ask the guy for it), and you get bliss in a bowl. The liver was perfectly cooked, the meat just fell off the pork ribs, and all the innards were well cleaned because there was no nasty smell at all.

The owners are surprisingly polite – I expected the usual gruff uncle but he was really nice. It’s quite nondescript though, so here are rough directions – it’s in Kim Leng Eating House, which is at the junction of Sam Leong Road and Verdun Road. I definitely need to come back here for more. They’re only open from 8 am to 2 pm though, so unless we want to brave the Little India crowds on a weekend, I guess this is an ‘on leave’ only place.

A says:

I hate prawn noodles (almost as much as I hate Lor Mee) but this one wasn’t horrible. I still wouldn’t order it, but that’s just mee. Harhar

Middle Road Pork Rib Prawn Noodle
Kim Leng Eating House
Sam Leong Road
Opening hours: 8 am to 2 pm; closed Mondays

San Duo HK Shao La Roasted Meats

C says:

A and I were on leave today, and after our usual foray to Mustafa Centre (we never go on weekends because of the frightful crowds), we decided to try a few stalls around the area that we saw on Yummy King.

One was this roasted meat stall, opened by a genuine Hong Konger. In fact, you can almost imagine that you’re in Hong Kong because you speak to them in Chinese and they respond in Cantonese. Anyway, A had the char siew siew yoke rice, and I had the roast duck noodle.

The roasted meats were a bit of a disappointment. The char siew and siew yoke were nothing fantastic. I think my grandmother’s roast pork is better, and the char siew was too sweet and not sufficiently charred and smoky. Check out my grandmother’s roast pork and you’ll see what I mean : )

The duck noodle was saved by the noodles. The duck was tough and chewy, but the noodles were really good. Delightfully thin and springy, and tossed in a light but tasty gravy, I could happily just eat the noodles on their own. I can only imagine how good the wonton noodles are in Hong Kong, if these noodles are any indication. The chilli oil was pretty good too.

This stall sells roast suckling pig too, but they don’t prepare it for sale on a regular basis. You have to call 2 days ahead to place the order – a whole pig is $120, and half is $60.

Well, I’m not sure if we’ll come back here but if we do, I’m having the noodles for sure, and perhaps with a failsafe soya sauce chicken.

A says:

It was a let down. Not worth having unless you’re already there.

San Duo HK Shao La
206 Syed Awi Road
Tel: 6392-9372; HP: 9487-7738
Open daily 11 am to 11 pm