Monday, March 30, 2015

Nur Indah Padang Cuisine

Sunday morning and I joined my in-laws for breakfast at Changi Village. We decide to forgo the usual Indian food-Nasi lemak affair and go for something different. That's when we came upn this shop. Maybe we also overlooked it or maybe it's newly opened but we eventually got curious.

Early in the morning and already soooo many dishes on display!

I saw the 'Mee Rebus Tulang' on the signage outside, so I thought of getting it. Turns out others want to try the 'Nasi Ambeng' (white rice accompanied by various dishes and served on a round tray, meant to be shared). This Nasi Ambeng is the food trend amongst the Malay community, nowadays.

My mum-in-law point out that this are the same people behind the restaurant at level 3 of Joo Chiat Complex, that serve a buffet of delish Kampung dishes.

I take a look at the array of dishes inside and point out what I might want. Later, do I know that the 'Nasi Ambeng' set already has a fixed array of dishes included in the mix. Aww, shucks…!


Inside, they have this tiny kiosk with a decent variety of salad greens. At $1.50 per plate, it's pretty value-for-money, especially when we make the selection ourself.

Also available are various chilli sauces in jars. Stuff like red & green sambal belado, sambal belacan etc.

Nasi Ambeng for 4 pax

The portion is seriously scary…

Nasi Ambeng for 2 pax

I shared this with my mum-in-law & helper. The amount of dishes drive me crazy! I can't decide which ones I wanna eat at any one bite. Too overwhelming!

And that fried yellow mee, really…?! Reminds me of the Nasi Rames served in an Indonesian eatery here.

Clockwise from top: Mee goreng (Fried yellow noodles), ayam lemak cili api, bagedil, ikan kering (fried dried, salted fish), beef rendang, urap (keluban), terung sambal lado (steamed brinjal w/ belado chilli), stewed beef lungs (paru), sambal ikan bilis & petai), sambal belacan, sambal goreng and serunding in the centre.

The small bowl is the gravy for the Ayam lemak cili api.

All the dishes are ok but the stewed beef lungs, it taste weird. Maybe because I have never eaten it before so I find it strange. The meat was really soft and taste a bit sweet. I can also taste a hint of spices but that's it. Hmm… whatever happened to the gool ol' 'paru goreng kunyit' (lungs fried w/ tumeric)?

All in all, I feel that Nasi Ambeng is way overrated. Why? Because this tray that's meant to serve 2 cost almost $25 or so…? We can always buy dishes of OUR choice, put on a tray/large platter with 2-3 portions of rice and I betcha' it will cost much less. Seriously.

Ok, maybe I'm just miffed that I didn't get my 'siput sedut' (stewed sea snails) because everyone's just too full for anything else…

Nur Indah Padang Cuisine
Blk 5, Changi Village Road #01-2013
Changi, Singapore

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Dapur Penyet @ City Plaza

My colleagues and I now have another favourite Ayam Penyet place for lunch. We used to troop down to Ayam Penyet Ria at Bedok Point but we've stopped since they moved to Bedok Mall.

We were planning to have some fried chicken at Arnold's in City Plaza one day, when we saw a poster in the lift, advertising this new restaurant called Dapur Penyet. There were pictures of food items in their menu and needless to say, we were taken in.

Below are a compilation of pictures from our many trips there; from poor quality images to better ones (after I changed phones).

Counter & menuboard

I love it when restaurants have pictures of their food on the menu boards. Sometimes, you just need to see the pictures to decide what to order. Or you want to know how some dishes actually look like. Especially when you're fickle.


Bright, spacious and contemporary.


The ever popular 'Soda Gembira' (Happy soda)-made with Strawberry syrup+condensed milk+carbonated drink (eg. Sprite/7up).

I would advise getting something milky to help ease the spicy heat that might have built-up at the end of the meal.

3-Layer Tea

I got adventurous and tried this new drink on the menu. It didn't cross my mind that this is like tea latte sweetened with… palm sugar (gula melaka).

…It really is an acquired taste.

Keropok & condiments

A bit of warning here: The sambal terasi (prawn-paste chilli) is SPICY…! The kind that makes you hiss and your tongue to sizzle kind of spicy. Apparently, they stick to the original recipe and the folks in Indonesia sure like it hot. In fact, almost all the ingredients are imported from the motherland.

The black sauce in the middle is the dark soy sauce (the thick, sticky kind). Something I like to mix with the sambal terasi because it adds flavour and helps reduce the heat.

The black sauce with things floating in it, is a menace. It's just so fun to dip the keropok in it because they go so well together. But the thing is, those things floating on the surface are actually chilli seeds. And the heat builds up over time when you least expect it; given the deceptively sweet taste of the sauce. Soon after… BUUURRRNNNNN…!

Sup Buntut

Oxtail soup. My male colleague's favourite order. Pretty flavourful with fall-off-the-bone tender meat.

The thing about this place is that they serve a small potion of soup with every order of mains so it's not really essential to order a separate bowl of soup (unlike other restaurants).

Sate Ayam

Finally found another place selling Indonesian-style sate! I miss the ones that I used to get from Waroeng Penyet.

Juicy, skewered chicken meat doused with spicy peanut sauce, then drizzled with dark/sweet soy sauce and sprinkled with fried shallots. If only they use mutton (goat), just like in Indonesia. Shiiiok!

Bakso Penyet

A side order to share. This usually comes with plain rice but we request to omit it.

Ayam Penyet

My colleague, the picky eater; he loves their version. And unlike the usually suspects of tahu-tempe-kangkong-kobis for the sides, here there are 2 generously-sized tofu, a slice of cucumber and blanched cabbage.

I read an ARTICLE (in Malay) on Berita Harian and it was said that the chicken is boiled with spices and tumeric for 2 hours before being deep-fried. Guess that explains why the flavours permeate into the meat so well.

Ayam Sambal Hijau

Fried chicken with green chilli. This and another main- Ayam Balado were dishes that hail from Padang region, in Sumatera. The balado chilli has a salty-tangy flavour and is something common in the Minang cuisine.


Ayam Bakar

This grilled chicken dish has its origins in Solo, Central Java. Tender grilled chicken that has soaked up the sweet and savoury flavours of the sauce.

I guess the chicken has been marinated prior to grilling?

Ikan Bakar

The fish tasted like it's been soaked in the same sauce as the chicken above. I don't know how long it's been marinated but the pomfret taste almost like it's been… pickled.

Ikan Penyet

The fried pomfret's meat also has some flavour too. Maybe it's also been boiled or marinated?

I've also tried their beef options; both the Empal Penyet and Empal Bakar. MAybe I'm someone who loves her red meat but these 2 are my favourite dishes here. The sauce goes REALLY well with the beef.

Next stop: The Iga Bakar (grilled beef ribs).

Sample of their menu (for M'sian market, but it's similar)

Dapur Penyet
810 Geylang Road,
#01-43 City Plaza
Singapore 409286

Other locations are at: 
Baghdad Street, Clementi Mall, Tiong Bahru Plaza, Lot1, City Square dan Hospital Universiti Nasional (NUH) New Medical Wing

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Garuda Padang Restaurant (Katong)

A quick update on one of our quick company lunches.

It was a colleague's birthday and Le Boss was somehow craving for Nasi Padang so the wife came upon this grand idea of bringing all of us along just so that we can try many dishes at one go.

She's been aiming to try out the food here because she always noticed it whenever she drive by Katong area. We were all wondering if this will be similar to the high-end version (collaboration with Tung Lok group?) at Vivo City.

As soon as we come upon the entrance we looked at one another and realised that, nahh… maybe not. This place is more down-to-earth, like a typical Nasi Padang shop at Arab Street.

All the dishes are presented in large platters behind the glass display. We were all swooning over the various dishes and my lady boss was like, "Okay, let's do it this way. Which are the dishes that you do NOT want?"

Haha, she was so game to try almost everything so we opt out those typical dishes like the Telur Balado (boiled eggs in balado chilli) etc.


I personally am VERY curious because I'm pretty used to eating real Padang fare because my Father-in-law is a Minang (ethnic of folks in Padang) and of course he loves to eat the cuisine of his ethnicity. My Mum-in-Law (MIL) even learnt how to cook their authentic dishes from her own MIL. So things like sambal balado, dengdeng goreng, kalio/gulai and rendang are often in the menu at home.

And from the looks of it, the dishes here seem like the real deal. I am sick and tired of places claiming to be selling Nasi 'Padang' and yet, they sell stuff like 'Sambal Goreng', "Urap' and even 'Asam Pedas'. Those dishes are a mish-mash of Padang, Javanese and even Malay cuisine! They might as well claim to serve Nasi 'Campur' ('mix' rice) instead of Nasi Padang.

The spread

From top-left: Lemak pucuk ubi (tapioca shoots in creamy coconut gravy), telur dadar (omelette), gulai kambing (mutton stew), acar (pickled veggies), sambal udang-petai (prawns & stink beans in chilli), sapi ijo (beef w/ green chilli), ayam balado ijo (fried chicken with green balado chilli), sotong hitam (squid in ink gravy), sambal balado ijo/merah, gulai ayam (chicken in coconut gravy), rendang sapi, terong balado, gulai sayur nangka (lodeh).

You might wonder why we ordered the omelette when it's such a simple dish? Well, NOT the Padang version. Their omelette has things like scallions, dessicated coconut and rice flour that makes it crispy like fritters!

Sapi ijo - one of my fave dish

All their dishes get my thumbs up! And the beef rendang's dark appearance may be a turn-off for some but that actually means that it's been simmering for a long time over low heat so it's really full of flavour (though a bit tough).

Doesn't look like much because we opt-out 3-4 dishes in the display. My boss later add-on orders for the more popular dishes. But these are for only 6 pax, mind you (yes, ours is a small company).

I went to the washroom at the back of the restaurant and realised that their kitchen staff are truly Indonesians. From Padang, no less.

Restoran Garuda (Authentic Indonesia Nasi Padang cuisine)
220 East Coast Road
Singapore 428917

Tel: 6441 0220

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Tian Kee & Co.

As continued from previous post. We were at Dakota Crescent estate and the last pic saw my colleague headed to block 12. Just what is there?


Tian Kee & Co.

Huh? Just WHAT is this place…?

**hipster post alert**

Apparently, this space used to be a provision shop (my mind flew back to images of money being kept in a pail overhead and the shopkeeper pulling it down with the tinkling of bells to get some change) and is converted into a cafe with a retro concept.

What a gem!

from the inside

A mish-mash of various old-skool furniture pieces and a re-upholstered sofa along the wall.


As old-skool as it can get. Check out the posters!

One end of the counter

The zinc cladding at the counter is a nice, rustic touch. The shopfront is merely a low wall with the roller shutters up.

No air-con here so the ample ventilation is much appreciated.

other end of the counter

Rusted signages. In all 4 local languages, mind you.

And those postcard-sized pictures that look like it dates back to the 50-60's... Aptly, they're about coffee.

behind the counter

Whimsical stuff that can easily induce some nostalgia.

The cartoon cardboard cut-outs, the Milo tin that has seen better days, the biscuit tins…

You can even see colourful soda in glass bottles in the foreground.

our drinks order

long black

Ahh… the typical kopi cup.

mocha latte


I must have been soo delusioned by Starbucks' rendition of a macchiato (my to-go drink is the Caramel Macchiato) and was a tad crestfallen to be served this in that tiny espresso cup. Huhu.

But they use pretty good beans here. That's some darn nice coffee, I gotta admit.

In case you're wondering what's the difference between a latte and a macchiato in general, well here's a good graphic guide.

Well yeah, I either get served a small amount in an espresso cup or get a half-cup of drink. Go figure.

The also have some nice cakes and typical cafe foods like all-day breakfast and stuff. Their rainbow cheesecake looks really lovely (reminds me of paddle pop ice-cream).

All in all, it's a pretty great experience. Almost 90% of this place is really retro/antique. From the signboard, the kiddy ride outside (still functioning, mind you), the furniture & fittings, cutlery & crockery plus the bric-à-brac behind the counter. And not to mention the building and estate it's located in.

Oh did I mention its riverside location?

Tian Kee & Co
12 Dakota Crescent 

Tue to Thu: 12pm – 9pm
Fri: 12pm – 9pm
Sat: 10am – 9pm
Sun: 10am – 8pm

Friday, January 30, 2015

Dakota Crescent Estate

My colleague randomly thought of this place and brought us here. He came upon this 'old skool' estate during his morning cycle and want us to have the experience of 'being taken back in time'.

It's a quaint estate with much of their infrastructure and amenities left intact (save for some touching-up).

Seeing this concrete playground with its sand base got me all excited. It's very similar to the playground of my childhood!

I remember, the place becomes a water playground after a heavy rainfall and we literally jump right in, barefooted. Who cares about bacteria or dog poop or whatnots in those days? Before those mall rooftops and heavily padded water playgrounds of today; we've already had our own rendition, back then.

The most 'gung-ho' amongst us will climb up that triangular peak and remain there when playing 'catching' because no one else can climb there to tag them as the next 'police'.

We always have holes in our clothes because there were lots of sand on that concrete slide (more sand = smoother ride down).

That round tyre swing allowed you to swing 360deg and not just in the front-back direction. And always got junk stuffed inside the space in the tyre. And who can forget about pretending to be firemen when sliding down that vertical pole…?

Wish I can bring my kiddo here to try the playground that his Ummi always loved. I heard that this estate might just be razed in the near future. It's close to the city, after all. The land must be really expensive here.

In the last picture~ Just where is my colleague headed to, at block 12…?

Till' the next post!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

So Pho

Apologies for the super long hiatus. I almost thought that I won't be blogging ever again. Work pace picked up since I returned from maternity leave and a kid plus a baby at home leaves me so drained that all I want to do is sleep early and not blog.

And the fact that my iphone got flooded and my cousin loaned me her iphone 4. After being used to such nicer photos, it's quite a downer to have pictures that are less... erm.. desirable.

Anyway, here's one of the first few meals I had since my return from maternity leave. Ventured a bit further with my colleague to Nex at Serangoon. We went there 'blindly' with no idea of what to have for lunch. We just want to get away from the areas near or around our workplace!

Only upon reaching there do we source the shop directory and see what appealed to us most. And we decide on this Halal Vietnamese fare.


The is Bánh mì is calling out to me!!!




The interior of this restaurant is contemporary yet cosy.

What's interesting is that the whimsical decor vary with each wall facade.

Beverage & Condiment

I was delighted to see the bottle of Tương Ớt (chilli sauce) on every table. It's similar to the more popular Sriracha. This sauce goes well with almost every dish; whenever I'm in need of some heat.

Beside it was my colleague's Ice Lime Tea cooler. Very refreshing on a hot day.

Bánh xèo

We want to order a side to share between the both of us and we settled on the Bánh xèo- crispy Vietnamese pancake/crepe, with fillings. Can this also be attributed to the French influence on the country?

I've always seen this being eaten by hosts of travel shows; whenever they chow on Vietnamese street food but I can never get my hands on a Halal version, locally. Seeing this on the menu made me really excited.

This came served with a side of pickled veggies and lettuce. We are to wrap the pancake in the lettuce leaf with some pickle stuffed inside. And dip into some of the Nước chấm (dipping sauce) before taking a bite.

The fillings

The crepe is really the crispy shell like I expect it to be. Combined with the savoury fillings of diced tofu, fennel, mushroom, shrimps and spring onions, it can easily be a meal on its own.

Bún Chả Giò Bò Nướng

Also known as Bún Bò Nướng Chả Giò. Whichever rocks your boat. Basically it's grilled marinated beef served on rice vermicelli, with spring rolls.

I had the same dish when I dined at Orange Lantern, previously.

My colleague asked for my opinion as to what she should order and I told her about this dish that I had previously. She must have been taken in by my salivating description.

In the background is my glass of iced lemongrass tea.

Cha Ca La Vong

As for myself, I got excited (yet again) when I saw the famous Cha Ca La Vong on the menu.

Cha ca means 'grilled fish' and 'La Vong' is the name of the legendary restaurant that created this dish. Tourists in Hanoi always make it a point to visit this restaurant to try this dish. And interestingly, the restaurant serves ONLY this dish.

How do I know this? Well, is it any surprise that I learnt all this from watching travel shows? That's how I learnt to hanker after all these exotic dishes. :P

Anyway this dish consist of marinated freshwater fish slices that's cooked with tumeric, ginger, dill, fish sauce, spring onions etc. And supposedly, lots of herbs. The bunch of herbs are absent in the one served here, I'm afraid.

Taste-wise, it seem more bland than what I expect. Maybe my expectations got heightened by the fame this dish received. Well, nothing that the Tương Ớt and Nước chấm combo can't help with


All in all, the dining here is quite pleasant. I had initially wanted to try the Bánh mì (Vietnamese sandwich using French loaf) but I obviously got taken in by the Cha ca instead.

However, I later chanced upon the Bánh mì in the menu of Streats Hong Kong Cafe, of all places. That's when I realised that these 2 restaurants, as well as BaliThai and some other restaurants; are under the same parent company- Katrina Holdings.

Also, I seem to see fennel being used widely. Well, it's strange that fennel is used in South-east Asian cuisine but I'm very sure it is fennel that I see. Don't tell me it's celery?!

So Pho
Serangoon NEX, #B1-15
T: 6636 8195

Opening Hours
Daily 11:00 am – 10:00 pm

(They also have another branch at #B1-08 JEM)