Monday, January 31, 2005

Beng Hiang Restaurant - Hokkien Food

Beng Hiang Restaurant Pte Ltd
112-116 Amoy Street
Singapore 069932
Tel: 62216695/84

To be fair to my mother, since we have been on the food trail with our Teochew roots, we decided to go to a Hokkien restaurant this time round. So, to make it a real family affair, we asked my aunty along as well, so we could form a table of 10, but the hidden agenda was to sample more items on the menu.

Duck Salad

So instead of taking their engineered set menus we tried to put together our own and for S$224 we had:

Duck Salad
Hokkien Mee
Prawn Rolls
Emperor Chicken
Sizzling Bean Curd
Steam Tilapia with bread crumbs
Oyster Omelette
Stir Fried Dow Miao
Kung Ba Pao
Orh Nee (Steam Yam Pudding)

My favourite dish was the duck salad. I love duck so I’m biased, but the dressing that they serve it with is light and tangy with little shred of duck. I think like my mother I shall insist on ordering that whenever we return to that restaurant. YUM YUM. Everything else was pretty nice, the oyster omelette was fluffy and crispy and the oysters were fresh. What I however would suggest is that you NEVER order the sizzling bean curd, it was below par and terribly done.

My overall impression, I like my Hokkien culinary roots.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Taste of Thailand - Zhi Char with a Thai Accent.

Taste of Thailand
Sembawang Shopping Centre
604, Sembawang Road,
#04-05, Singapore 758459
Tel: 67589121

If you are looking for thai-thai food, this isn’t the place for you. This is more of a Thai-Chinese restaurant which has a hint of Thailand. The menu has the usual Thai dishes such as pineapple rice and tom yum soup, but if you are looking for more authentic Thai dishes such as green curry, papaya/green mango salad and things like that, they don’t have it here. I think that this is more of a zhi-char place with a sprinkling of Thai flavours or maybe it is Thai food with a very local interpretation.

Nonetheless, the food here is rather good, everything I ordered was rather interesting and I think what is best about this place is the price. We had lunch here for S$33 which overfed 3 of us. We over-ordered thinking that the small sized dishes would be small, but they are rather generous portions. Somehow when I was eating here, I thought back of a day when I was craving some spicy food in the Netherlands and had a plate of phad thai for something like 10 euros, imagine the amount I could have ordered me in this little restaurant.

Deep Fried Fish with Chili Sauce

The seafood tom yum soup was a tad too spicy for me that I only took a sip and I decided that it was too much for me. The sweet potato leaves vegetable dish and the sautéed pork with ginger was rather good too. Other than that, we had pineapple rice and deep fried cuttlefish and fried fish with the special chili sauce. For me, the highlight was the fried fish, I’ve watched cooking programmes and they talk about how deep frying gives a special texture to your food, and I think I finally understood what it meant today with the deep fried fish that they served us. What is fun about this is that you can slowly munch and crunch away at the fish till its fins and the chili sauce is a nice complement to it, not too hot, a little sweet and a slight hint of sourness. I think if there are young children who don’t eat fish but love their deep fried foods, this might be the best way to start them on eating fish, it’s fun too since I think the best way to tackle this fish at the end if with your hands. All in all, this place isn’t too bad, its pretty decent food at a very reasonable price, it is a little far though, but if you around the area, this might be a good pit stop.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Kitchen Experiments: Braised Daikon


500g daikon
4 cups dashi stock
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons sake
3 tablespoons mirin


Remove skin and thick outer layer and slice the daikon into eight thick pieces. Cut a thin strip on an angle from the top and bottom edge of each piece. Cut a shallow cross into the top on one side.

Place the daikon slices in a saucepan with dashi stock, sugar, soy sauce and sake. Bring to the boil, removing any impurities from the surface with a spoon. Boil for 10 minutes then reduce heat and simmer covered for 2 ½ hours or until daikon is tender and lightly browned.

Gently stir in the mirin. Set aside for 10 minutes before serving in small bowls with a little of the cooking liquid.

My Notes: I served my daikon on cold soba because I had some sitting in the fridge leftover from a dinner.

What’s good about daikon is that it is a good vehicle to take on flavour and once it is stewed long enough it is really soft and nice to eat and it feels healthy and light.

The recipe states the cooking time for 2 ½ hours, but mine only took about an hour for my daikon to get soft and tender.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Tangling (tong huat) Seafood Satay Steamboat

Tangling (tong huat) Seafood Satay Steamboat
Circuit Road Blk 79 Food Center

Here is a no fuss value for money steamboat. What’s good about this place is that because it is next to a market, the food that they serve you is fresh. You get a pretty wide range of choices too. How the system works is that you sit at a table and they will set up the steamboat and bring a tray of food for you to choose from. For S$50 we fed 5, and these were the things we had – fish maw, chicken, pork, beef, fish, vegetables, straw mushrooms, cockles, fish roe, eggs and meatballs. What is hallmark about this place is its satay sauce as the name suggests and the chili sauce is pretty good too and I prefer it over the satay sauce that it serves here. Plus, it is a family trade, so I like this place and the idea of a recipe being passed down through the generations. It is weird talking about an ambience in a hawker center or food court as opposed to the purposeful construction of one my various restaurants, but this place has a nice laid back feel. So if you are in the mood for a relaxing steamboat but haven’t got any ingredients prepared at home, this place isn’t too bad an option.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Shun Lu Bak Chor Mee – Del’s Meepok Store

Shun Lu Bak Chor Mee
588 Jalan Datoh
Teck Seng Coffeeshop

Open only for breakfast and lunch and closed on Mondays

This was the first place that my cousin/neighbour/best friend/nutter putter brought me to when I got back from Europe for my meepok fix. Unfortunately for us, on our first few attempts it was shut and so we had to turn around and drive home with empty stomachs. However, patience as I learnt is a virtue and we succeeded on our third attempt. So going back today made me think about the first time I was here and how my cousin is now away and should be missing her meepok and so I shall have to return the favour and buy her breakfast here when she gets home.

If you go big, the large bowl here would cost you S$5. I however advise you to go for the dry version rather than the soup because the soup is a little bland and if you are stubborn on having a soup, I would point you to my favourite meepok stall in Bishan. I guess in meepok land it is expensive for a bowl of noodles, but, let me explain to you why it is good. First of all, it has dried fish bits for you to crunch or to put in your soup, whichever you so desire. Secondly, the mushrooms here are very well stewed and flavoured. Thirdly, the chili is good. A little mind blowing in the sense that my ears popped and my nose started running. On the other hand, it is a good way to clear your nasal passage. They also give you a pretty generous bowl of soup with pork balls and the Chinese moss. There are also small bits of crackling which for the sake of my health I try to avoid, but if you crunch on one or two, they are always such a delight.

The other good thing about coming here is that there is a chicken and duck rice stall next to it so which waiting for your noodles, which would usually take a while due to the crowd, you could order a plate of chicken and duck to chomp on as an amuse bouche. The chicken is pretty good too, soft, succulent and the sauce is good – garlicky and not too salty. The only downside about this place is that it can get really hot sitting along the 5 foot way due to our hot and humid tropical weather but that’s life here.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Kitchen Experiments: Wagyu Beef

Wagyu meat is striking because of its wonderful marbling which results in a never-before-experienced succulence that sends the taste buds reeling. The fat in the meat has more monounsaturated fats and melts at room temperature which makes Wagyu beef suitable as part of a lower-cholesterol diet.

The high degree of marbling adds an extraordinary depth of flavour which makes Wagyu beef a culinary delicacy.

Wagyu meat is suitable as part of a low-cholesterol diet.


Slice of 250gm Ribeye Wagyu Beef

"Wayu is a Rare Pleasure Indeed, Every Time You Serve It

Wagyu beef has an exceedingly melting and delicate texture. When properly cooked to rare or medium-rare, a Wagyu strip steak, for example, bursts with a rich, buttery onset, followed by a hearty, meaty finish that lingers gently on the palate."


This piece of beef has officially made me a food snob. The meat is fabulous, it is actually Kobe beef under a different name, Kobe beef comes from Japan, but Wagyu is the same Kobe cattle that have been bred outside of Japan. In fact, Wagyu translated is actually Japanese cattle. So about this meat, it is the marbling that makes it the meat it is, there is probably more fat than meat.

There isn’t much cooking to it because you don’t want to cook it so much that you don’t enjoy the piece of meat for what it is. The taste is really something, it is foie gras in meat form. It is buttery and rich and it really just crumbles and melts in your mouth that I thought it was eating butter. Seriously, maybe they should consider using wagyu beef as an eco-friendly fuel when we run out of oil. It was so rich that I thought I was going to be sick from it, but nonetheless, it was fabulous. Only thing is, it is very very expensive. So I think that is going to be my once in a life experience eating a golden cow.

Awfully Chocolate the Cake Shop

Chocolate Banana Cake

112 East Coast Road
#01-26, Katong Mall
Singapore 428802
Tel: 63452190

501 Bukit Timah Road
#01-05 Cluny Court
Siingapore 259760
Tel: 64690565

If you are in need of a sugar rush or you simply love chocolate cake I would recommend this place. They have ½ kg cakes that cost between S$20-$25, that you can take away and you’ll find one that will suit your mood or your character.

All Chocolate Cake – simple chocolate fudge cake

For the chocolate purist who like it straight up neat.

Chocolate Banana cake – chocolate cake layered with banana puree

One of the heavenly chocolate marriages, it’s a great cake to have if you feel like being tropical or if you just love bananas.

Chocolate Rum and Cherry – chocolate cake layers with dark cherries and rum

For days you are feeling down and you need chocolate, sugar and alcohol to make the day seem brighter or if you are an alcoholic and need alcohol in everything.

My sweet toothed brother loves this place, he swears by the chocolate banana cake. I’m more of a chocolate purist, but it was still pretty good, well, this shop will at least give our other famous chocolate cake shop in Singapore a good run for its money.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Saffron Bistro - Northern Indian Delights

Saffron Bistro

50 Circular Road
Singapore 049405
Tel: 65365025

Saffron the spice is the most expensive spice in the world and it is used in cooking for its colour and its strong intense flavour and aroma. Saffron the bistro serves up good food that has strong intense flavour and aroma in its own right. I’ve been here a few times and I have yet to be disappointed with the food.

What’s good about this place -- it is a mid range priced northern Indian restaurant which serves up good food. They serve you a nice shot of mango lassi as a complimentary appetizer with really spicy pappadums with a mint sauce and chutney. The food is consistently good. There is a wide range of dishes from you to choose from.

For today’s dinner cost us S$82 where we had the Murg Tandoori (Charcoal tandoori baked chicken), cod fish marsala, bhindi marsala (spiced ladysfinger), jalfraizi (a combination of cauliflower, potatoes, capsicums, onions and green peas) and a basket of assorted naan. Everything was good, the flavour was spot on with it being strong and intense. The tandoori chicken is really moist and succulent, and the various marsalas were strong in taste but not over powering; spicy without it being too hot.

What upset me about this place was that they need to be a little bit more organized in the kitchen. They served us our tandoori chicken without the naan and we had to ask them repeatedly for it which made little sense, and since we didn’t want the food to get cold we decided to chew on the chicken really slowly in anticipation for our naan, but we still finished all the chicken before it came. It is almost like serving all your dishes and not serving the rice in a Chinese restaurant, it makes very little sense. But other than that, food here is good, other things that I didn’t have today but I would recommend – saffron fish cakes, lamb chops and the garlic prawns. And if you are too lazy to leave your house to try this place, they have home delivery: either call them or go to .

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The Moomba - A Little Down Under

The Moomba
52 Circula Road
Tel: 6438 0141

Moomba (according to the write up in the menu) it means “let’s getting together and have fun”, which I guess is what the restaurant was going for, a nice social eating place. I think to a certain extent they have succeeded, they’ve got a pretty nice private function room upstairs which I had a little peek at while on my way to the bathroom (so maybe not so private anymore). Other than that, it has expanded where it now has Moomba the restaurant, the Moomba tuckshop and the Moomba wine cellar, all located around the same area, and it has been around for 8 years, so I guess it must be a place to Moomba.

Kangaroo Meat

Australian cuisine is what this place seems to serve, and I guess you can’t really define Australian cuisine, since all the Australians will tell you that they have great food due to the freshness of their food, so what is it really? Australian Cuisine = Fresh food? Well, according to this restaurant, it is about marrying the many flavors that has influenced their food – their fresh foods, Asian flavours, Aboriginal Flavours and I guess for lack of a better term, “Western” flavours. We joked around the table about what we were going to have or what this place should serve, perhaps a koala spit roast served on a branch, but that seemed a little too morbid and cruel. Instead, they have normal food like ceasar salad, salad with figs and blue cheese, foie gras, squid cakes, and a list of vegetarian such as Portobello mushrooms and tomato risotto which you can have either as a starter or a main. Starters average at around S$16 and the vegetarian main courses at S$25. They have a decent selection of meats as well – Pork loin, Sea Bass and of course cuts of steak that cook on a BBQ.

I had the foie gras that was served on daikon with braised koroubuta pork and Japanese hot mustard followed by Kangaroo loin with white truffle infused apple soy sauce with sweet peas and a wasabi potato mash. I HAD TO TRY THE KANGAROO, I mean, it is after all something that isn’t on all restaurant menus. The verdict? Foie gras, good, but everything on the dish was salty, so I think they could have improved it by having something that was contrasting in taste, because after a while everything just tasted salty. The kangaroo meat was gamey to say the least. It looked like duck but didn’t taste anything like duck, it was a little tough and too chewy, all in all, I don’t think I liked it, so I did justice to the kangaroo, I’ve tried it, but it’s not my kind of thing. The desserts looked pretty good, they have a chocolate tart, a cheese board, strawberries with mascarpone and sticky date pudding, but I was too full to put anything else in my mouth, so I passed. Dinner averages at about S$50-S$60 a person for about two courses so its kind of pricey, and I’m not sure if I’ll come back, it was a pleasant experience, but I think there might other places that I will prioritise.

Lei Garden - Le Cantonese Garden of Singapore!

Lei Garden Restaurant
30 Victoria Street
#01-24 Chjimes Centre,
Singapore 187996
Tel: 63393822

I’m back with my fork in my right hand and a wooden spoon on my left. I haven’t been writing/blogging/updating mainly because my canon has died on me and so I have to send it to the service center and so I couldn’t take pictures of things in my kitchen and the food that has been going into my mouth. And I guess I have been lazy, there were a few reviews I meant to write but never did. Nonetheless, I’m back!

The most traveled and tasted form of Chinese food in my opinion is the Cantonese cuisine. Go to any big city and you would find a teahouse or a place that serves up dim sum. I won’t be cheesy and cliché and tell you that dim sum means “dot heart” and so it involves love and all that kind of thing, instead, I’ll just tell you of where I had really good dim sum – Lei Garden. Lei Garden might be one or the best Cantonese restaurants in Singapore. In addition to its setting in the old church compound of Chijmes, it’s a nice place to go as a family or just for good food and a good place.

We had the usual dim sum fanfare of ha gao, siew mai, char siew pau, char siew sow, carrot cake and such. One of the dim sum dishes that I liked was the lobster tail that was wrapped with crispy vermicelli. Why it was good? It was light, not too oily, crispy, and did I say there was lobster? Some thing else that we tried that was outside the dim sum menu was the crab noodles (it has been a while so I can’t really remember what it is called), however I can remember that it was great, the fragrance of the crab permeated the soup and it was classic Cantonese food – light but not tasteless. There isn’t any doubt of the quality of the food here, but I was a little disappointed with the level of service for a place of such high standing. Sure it’s a Chinese restaurant and maybe Chinese people can be rude, but waitresses should wait on people, and I had to ask for my char siew sow 3 times that I was worried they were going to give me 3 servings and stuff it down my throat if I refused. Maybe it is to make it seem more authentic and to add to the usually noisy and riot scene that is prevalent in dim sum restaurants, I don’t know, but if you can gloss over the service, the food isn’t to be missed. The menu is a little pricey, but we managed to have a dim sum lunch for 5 for S$80.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Sin Fong Restaurant -- Heart Stopping Kuay Chap

Sin Fong Restaurant
560 MacPherson Lane
Tel: 6748915

(at the corner of Machperson Lane and MacPherson Road)

So much for starting the year right and eating right, I guess the diet always starts tomorrow. So to kick off the year and to grease up my stomach for healthier things to come, we went out for an indulgent lunch. It didn’t take lobster, foie gras, oysters, peking duck or other fancy expensive things that would increase your cholesterol by a few points, but just good old ‘crunchies’ as a friend terms it. This might just be the cheaper alternative to foie gras, deep fried intestines. Sure it isn’t as fancy, but its got plenty of things in common, its crunchy on the outside and pure indulgence on the outside, soft and oily that it just melts in your mouth. It was so good and sinful that I could only put one piece in my mouth without feeling that I was going to die of a heart attack after lunch.

Deep Fried Intestines

We went out for a kuay chap* lunch. This stall has it all. I’m not sure if makansutra has rated this place, but if it hasn’t, it needs to make its way down to this stall. It has got everything you want, if it is in the pig or duck, they’ve probably have it here – intestines, heart, tongue, stomach lining, heart and other offal delights. Other normal things that they have are bean curd, duck meat, salted vegetable and tau pok. You can either have rice or kuay chap. The kuay chap here is nice, the sauce looks nice and thick rather then the runny watery ones you get else where and the rice comes with little pieces of yam in it. Lunch for 4 of us came up to a total of S$30 for a platter of duck meat, offal and tofu, a plate of salted vegetable and a serving of rice/kuay chap per person. What I also liked about this place is that on their platters, they not only give you sliced cucumber but also sliced pineapple which is thing to pop into your mouth in between the little indulgent pieces. Come here, but leave your diet plan at home.

*Kuay chap is actually rice flake noodles that look like tortilla chips but are usually used for stir fries or soups. The Kuay chap is thus usually served in a soy sauce flavoured broth and eaten with condiments.