Tuesday, June 29, 2010

tea break in office

(F) Blueberry danish (B) Mix-Fruit Danish

These 2 are the ones to induce the most temptation from us.

The blueberry jam + chunks of real blueberries sits on top of this custard filling with a light sprinkle of icing sugar. The tanginess from the blueberries is nicely balanced by the slight sweetness of the custard.

The mix-fruit Danish has a single blueberry, redberry, raspberry, half a fig & strawberry and a slice of pear sitting on a dollop of custard. And a thin ring of sugar frosting.

Between these 2, I much prefer the blueberry danish; even though the mix-fruit danish is more aesthetically appealing. The fact that the blueberry comes in semi-liquid form, making the flavours blend well on the tongue. The thicker crust is another plus and the powdered icing sugar lead to a more even sweetness compared to the thin frosting.

Besides, the single blueberry flavour makes it taste less complicated.

(F) some-pear danish (B) Chestnut Danish

I didn't consume that pear danish so I can't comment on that...

The chestnut danish is reminiscent of the popular Mont Blanc, which is a cake or tart made of puréed chestnuts and whipped cream; often on a meringue base. Just that this one here has the generic flaky pastry as the base.

The chestnut cream/paste is only slightly sweet, so the taste of the actual chestnut remain whole. Totally remind me of the piping hot 'buah berangan' (roasted Chinese chestnuts) bought from the street vendors. Inside, a layer of chocolate sauce lies beneath the chestnut cream; on top of a biscuit-like base that's supported by the flaky pastry.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Thaksin Beef Noodles

@ Seah Im Food Centre

Just some stuff from there...

Fetched my bro from his workplace at Bukit Merah on Sunday afternoon. Everyone was questioning, "Where to, next?"

Mum complained that she was ravenous.

I was a little broke since it was the lull period before THAT time of the month (payday!!) so I was thinking of the various hawker centres (yes, cheap & good!) within the area. That's when I recall that Harbourfront is merely a 10mins drive away from Bukit Merah. Seah Im Food Centre is adjacent to the bus interchange.

Thaksin Beef Noodles

Hate to admit this, but since I discovered this stall, I have not been patronising any other stall whenever I'm here. Even though I'm very much tempted to try the popular chicken rice from the neighbouring Aspirasi stall.

Before they have any other branches elsewhere, I willingly come all the way here just to satiate my cravings. And back then, I love my food really hot and spicy so I had no qualms about dumping some of the available chili powder (highly suspected to be bird's-eye chili) into my soup and even dipping the meat into a mixture of the same chili powder with the vinegar-minced chili padi condiment.

There used to be a branch in Tampines Central, where the S-11 Foodcourt is. But it has since closed down and the only branch way out in the east are in Changi Airport.

Their variety comes in 4 types - Standard at $3.50, Value at $4, Supreme at $5 and Super at $6. My order has been the same since day 1 - Value with Kway Teow. This portion is just nice for me. At least there's the thick chunks of beef brisket, the tender strips of beef tripe and the soft slices of fresh beef. And the kway teow complement the rich taste of the broth nicely.

I was disappointed to see that my portion seemed measly as compared to what this fella had at the Clementi branch years back. I remember having such healthy portions of everything, previously. From the beef to the veggies. Now I got only a lonely sprig of basil which is NOT enough. My mum complained that she got hardly any kangkong in her bowl. And when I mentioned the fresh beef slices, she went, "What slices?" Poor her.

The proprietor really has got to check that the portion remain consistent throughout all their branches. Different stall hands just do things differently and the preparation of your food are in their hands, after all.

Thaksin Fried Rice

My mum was excited to see that they're now serving Thai fried rice and Phad Thai (fried kway teow) too. And since we're having noodles, my mum insist that I order the fried rice to share. She must be thinking, "How does Thai fried rice taste like?"

When we made our order for the fried rice, this lady got down to work immediately. Meanwhile at the same time, another stall hand was preparing our 3 bowls of beef noodles. Next thing we knew, the fried rice was served together with the 3 bowls of beef noodles. And it's served piping hot. We know because she fried it in full view of us.

As I carried the food back to the table, I can take in the 'wok-hei' scent wafting from the fried rice. The rice was nicely done, I'd say. There's simply the small prawns/shrimps, bean sprouts and chives. The seasoning seem light. My mum suspected the use of the chili powder which kinda give it a nice scent. Is that how Thai fried rice is like?

Kinda remind me of Phai Thai. Just that they use rice instead. Even then, Pad Thai is fried with beancurd cubes and has ground peanut & lime on the side. I don't see that in the picture of the Phai Thai that they display. I guess I'm better off ordering that from Magic Wok instead.

Well, I can't expect much when it cost only $3 anyway.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Magic Wok @ E!hub

Magic Wok has opened another outlet at #03-101 E!hub! Finally another halal dining option to make up for the closure of the satay club at Downtown East.

Went there with my in-laws last night and I was really starving by then. I had wanted to take pics with my phone but was disappointed to see the dim, incandescent lighting they have there. I'd rather not waste time taking poor quality food pics and focus on the food instead.

I have to say that they're having teething issues that day (Friday night). The young, inexperienced staff seemed flustered. Our order of Pandan Chicken didn't arrive and had to be canceled off.

I dunno if it's the opening promotion but most of the stuff in their menu (Fried rice, noodles etc) are currently priced at only $3.50. Didn't check when the promotion ends though.

Decor wise, they didn't really make much change from the former tenant (Teasire Cafe). Pretty much open concept.

Gonna come back here for my favourite Thai Fried Rice and Phad Thai. Hopefully in the day, so I can take proper pictures.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hana Korean Cuisine

@ Banquet Parkway Parade

I'm hoping and REALLY hoping that my search for cheap, good & Halal Korean food has come to an end.

This new stall here seems promising enough.

I was jubilant to see Spicy Octopus on their menu even though I was more than prepared to see them serving me squids instead of the octopus itself, seeing that it may be pretty costly to serve the actual octopus with their hawker prices.

Spicy Octopus with Fried Chicken set - $6.30

I was indeed surprised to see that they used baby octopus (also known as 'idako' in Japanese) for the spicy stir-fry. And thankfully, these morsels of mini octopus meat aren't tough. And from the taste, it's easy to tell that they used the actual Korean chili. Either the 'gochujang'(hot pepper paste) or the 'gochutgaru' (chili powder). Definitely not your typical 'sambal' taste.

I let my mum have a taste (the big 'Hallyu' fan that she is) and she's pretty impressed.

I was disappointed that they didn't serve kimchi soup. That clear, whitish soup there is just vegetable-egg soup.

Their fried chicken cutlet was a little thin but definitely crispy. Drizzled with some lightly-sweetened mayonnaise, it tasted fabulous when dipped in the spicy sauce from the octopus.

Now, just what is so Korean about the coleslaw? I would rather they fill that space with some kimchi, even a little bit. And maybe another popular 'banchan' (side dish) like the spicy fried anchovies.

I don't see bibimbap on their menu. Anyone have any suggestion for any Halal Korean hawker stalls elsewhere? Otherwise I just have to head down to Breeks for their Asian menu to get my fix. Or maybe Seoul Garden Hotpot (formerly Fresh Bulgogi) at Terminal 2.

Anyone tried the ala carte Korean food offering at Han River? They have bibimbap too, right?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

my favourite waffles

What do you look for in waffles?

Soft & fluffy?

The one from this stall here is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Unlike the one from Prima Deli which also have the same characteristics, this one here is THICK.

Uhuh. Thick waffles that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. And depending on who prepares it, the filling can be pretty generous too. They prepare only upon order so you gotta wait a bit but that only means that your waffles come piping hot!

My favourite chocolate waffles cost me $1.50.

Ice-cream waffle - $2.50

This was my colleague's order of peanut butter waffles w/ ice-cream for dessert when we had lunch from the Malay food stall that shared the teeny-tiny premise with this waffle shop that also sells bubble tea. Confusing enough?

This is a bubble tea shop actually - that sells waffles on the side. They are pretty adventurous with their offerings, too. There's banana-chocolate waffles, apple something-something and other fruit fillings available.

Maybe they were kinda' inspired by Waffle Factory, which is located a few doors away. But their waffles fare wayyyy better of course.

However, paying $1 for that rather-smallish looking ice-cream scoop doesn't seem worth it. Ok, so there's a bit of chocolate rice and sauce... Pfft! Well, it's still more value-for-money than Gelare....

I'm somehow missing the thick & soft Belgian waffles from The Sweet Stone Parad'Ice. Especially when dipped in their Belgian chocolate sauce... Mmmm..!

Located at B1, Singapore Post Centre. Located beside Cut & Curl hair salon, on the same row as McD.

*Update: The shop is called, SMOOTHY DE CAFE.*

Monday, June 14, 2010

manhattan fish market

~with family

Manhattan Fish Market (MFM) made the right move to apply for Halal certification. Although their food were mainly seafood but Muslims were apprehensive to dine there anyway.

Ever since they got their halal certification, I've been bugging my mum about dinning there but she just doesn't seem that eager. Unlike her curiousity about Botak's Favourites ever since she read about them in the Malay paper.

My bro was in a generous mood and he somehow managed to convince my mum to dine here. And since he want to buy them Crocs footwear and something for my baby, I suggest that we head to Marina Square where there are MFM, Kiddy Palace/Mothercare & Crocs; all under 1 roof.

Came at around 4+pm and it was quite the lull period. Thankfully, the staff were attentive and accommodating.

Manhattan Caesar Salad

My dad kept reminding us to order 'salad'.

There were quite a number of options for veggie dishes. They even have a promotion for this platter of boiled veggies but I guess a decent bowl of salad won't harm; although $8+ for some greens with tomato, boiled egg and croutons seemed a tad pricey.

Clam Chowder

I don't know why this one here came off as a tad sourish. Taste a lot like a diluted version from out-of-the-can. I only got clams on occasional spoonfuls.

I suddenly miss the creamier (and more tasty!) clam chowder from Long John Silver. Something must be wrong when one starts hankering for a soup from a fast food outlet while dining in a renowned seafood restaurant.


Chopped garlic, vinegar-chilli sauce & mayo. To cut through any 'fishy' essence of the seafood. But that garlic will bring forth some 'dragon-breath' instead.

Fried Country Mushrooms

The batter was pretty tasty and gives a nice crunch with every bite. Goes really well with the given mayo.

Really like that mayo, somehow. Told my bro to set it aside so that the staff won't clear it together with the empty bowl but my bro took my suggestion lightly; so it was not surprising that the little bowl disappeared when the staff served the next dish. Pfft!

Deep Fried Oysters

The server said, "Fried Country Mushrooms," as he served this and got us all confused. I thought we just had that?!

Somehow, I noticed that the accompanying sauce was different so I guess the server must have gotten it wrong since both looked kinda similar anyway.

The batter's similar to the mushrooms. The creamy sauce tasted pretty savoury and right then I wish I still had that bowl of mayo from the mushroom dish. The oysters were quite plump and juicy. Wish there were more than just 1/2 dozen...

Garlic Butter Mussels

Mussels poached in creamy garlic-butter sauce. Served with baguette slices.

Everyone loved this dish. Especially my bro. He, who love mussels AND creamy sauces.

I just pick up the mussel with the rounded shell towards me and slurp the meat together with the pool of sauce inside it. Mmmm...! I use the sauce with everything. With the baguette slice, garlic rice, fries and the crispy fried fish fillet.


Manhattan Seafood Platter for 2

My bro, in his generousity, had wanted everyone to get a main course each, on top of the seafood platter.

The platter with it's huge piece of fried fish fillet, half-a-pan of garlic rice, handful of fried calamari, chips, couple of fried oysters and 4 flaming prawns.

Thankfully, I managed to convince my mum that the platter should more than suffice for us both since my bro & dad both ordered something for themselves.

The fried fish fillet (similar to the one for fish & chips) with the garlic-butter sauce was nicely crisp but it's a tad too greasy to be eaten whole so be nice and share, will you? The fried calamari tasted okay. If only those rings are much thicker & bigger. More like squids than calamari, if you ask me.

The chips were alright and everyone loved the garlic rice. Especially when eaten with a bit of the garlic-butter sauce.

And the flaming prawns were da bomb! That sauce on top could be sweetened mayo for all that matter. It's just sooo delish! They 'flamed' the sauce with a blowtorch prior to serving the platter. Kinda gimmicky but I wish they could have flamed them a tad longer. Like the crème brûlée effect, you know?

My mum was remarking, "So that's where the burnt prawn smell comes from!" She had smelled something similar upon entering the restaurant earlier and she thought they had accidentally burnt some prawns in the kitchen.

Creamy Seafood Pasta

My bro's personal order. Fettuccine with grilled fish & squids; tossed in garlic-butter sauce. He has a weakness for pasta with creamy sauce.

My bro had wanted penne but I told him that this ain't Pastamania, where he can choose his pasta variety.

My dad had the Baked Pacific Dory (sorry no pic) - Traditional baked fish fillet in sweet plum sauce. The fish was placed on a piece of banana leaf and wrapped in foil before being baked. Despite the fish looking limp and soggy (looks almost like it's steamed); it tasted really good, especially after a squeeze of the lemon wedge.

The fusion of juice that oozed out of the fish & the plum sauce that collected at the bottom of the foil wrap goes really well with the garlic rice, too.

Note: Despite the various types of food variety, whenever they specify, "Garlic-butter sauce," it's one and the same. It's prevalent in almost every dish.

We have the same 'garlic-butter sauce' for the poached mussels, the creamy pasta and on the crispy fish fillet. So look out for the term, 'garlic-butter sauce' as you make your order or you might end up with the same sauce in every dish and that creamy sauce does get pretty cloying after a while.

A good place to come to when you want western-style seafood. A bit of warning, though. It's a tad pricey!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

adam road nasi lemak

selera rasa nasi lemak

Late Saturday afternoon and badly affected by many harrowing traffic conditions that day, I thought of having some nice comfort food to ease my stress.

And the nasi lemak from Adam Road FC came to mind. The fluffy basmati rice, the sweet sambal and ESPECIALLY the piping hot, crispy chicken wing. Mmmm...!

Came at around 3+pm and was glad to see that I've beaten the crowd. There's still a queue at the stall but not as long as always. Got the 'Full House' set since I don't fancy inconveniencing myself when I order the 'selar kuning' fish anyway.

Only when I put my plate down on my table did I realise how dismal the food had looked. And then it dawn on me that I have gotten for myself the remnants from the lunch-hour batch!

Oh woe is me! They could have given more sambal than just that small dollop, right? The rice was still fluffy albeit no longer warm. I know the eggs are usually cooked upfront but they were a tad cold. The otah isn't prepared there so it's excused.

dismal chicken wings

But the chicken wings! Cold and soggy! How can like that! Boo hoo!

I travel all the way there for their chicken wing!

No wonder there's nary a crowd!

Lesson learnt. Go during the peak period. Even if it means that I've to wait for a parking space. Even if I have to stand around to wait for an available table. Even if it means that I've to be part of a looong queue.

Just so that I can get my piping hot & crispy chicken wing!

Or I can try to seek out that Sheikh Najib stall at Rowell Road. Their chicken wings look no less crispy!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Botak's Favourites @ Simpang Bedok

This was the food we ordered from Botak's Favourites stall in Tang Tea House at Simpang Bedok; when we dined there for bro's belated birthday dinner.

Menu can be downloaded HERE. But it's for Botak Jones.

Prices are based on what's printed on the receipt.

Stuffed Jalapenos ~$7.00

Their online menu put up a warning that these are seriously spicy stuffs. It was no big deal at first but the heat kinda build up on your tongue later on.

Oh, those in the unknown, jalapenos are Mexican chillies and they can be pretty mean on the tongue. These are stuffed with mozzarella cheese and coated with bread crumbs and then fried till crispy outside. Inside, the piping hot cheese oozed this delightful creaminess. The jalapeno tasted kinda' tangy, almost akin to the pickled green chillies we have with noodles.

Both my bro and mum remarked that they're pretty spicy but they still gobbled theirs up anyway. My mum even took the remaining piece. These are served with their shitake/pepper sauce.

The filling

Look at all that cheese!

NZ Ribeye Lady's Cut (150gms) ~ $13.30

My mum's steak order. This dainty portion is highly suited for her. This set with regular set dishes would have been $12.50 but since my mum chose the double-baked cheese potato, there's an additional 80 cents charge.

Only when we've placed our order, did we realise that they didn't ask for our choice of doneness for the steaks. From the looks of it, it seems to be done, 'medium-well'. A little too done for me but very much suitable for my mum's conservative tastebuds. Cooked and yet, still tender.

My mum happily remarked that this steak fare pretty well in her books, alongside those from Eatzi Steakhouse.

NZ Ribeye Steak (200gms) ~ $15.90

Only my dad's set came at the actual price cos' he refused the cheese potato. He won't tell me what he wants for his sides so I hastily decide on their fries and coleslaw.

My mum was worried that the steak's doneness might not be to my dad's liking but he didn't have any complaints so I guess it's fine. He can't finish the large portion of spicy fries, though.

I'm glad that they didn't pour they gravy over the meat upon serving. In my opinion, if an establishment is confident about the freshness and taste of their meat, they only need to season it with salt and pepper. If it taste good on its own, there's no need for any gravy. That choice should be up to the customer.

Black Pepper Chicken ~ $9.30

My brother is hardly adventurous when it comes to meats so he eventually settled for the chicken. Simply Black Pepper Chicken. He didn't even want to have a go at their household favourite; the Cajun Chicken (because the term 'cajun' is unfamiliar).

He'll never order steak. The only beef he'll order at such establishments are burgers. And lambs are a no-go cos' he can't stand the gamey smell.

Here they used the chicken breast instead of the thigh. I've always thought that only the chicken thigh can be really juicy while chicken breast are generally quite dry. This one here proved me wrong. This is served with the shitake/pepper sauce that's similar to the one served with the stuffed jalapenos.

He also ordered the double-baked cheese potato with butter-boiled sweet corn.

Rosemary Lamb Chops (200gms) ~ $14.80

My order. I know I want red meat but I can't decide what. Been sometime since I ordered lamb chops because I've been disappointed countless times with really badly prepared ones.

True to it's name, I can breathe in a whiff of the rosemary scent as I took a bite of the tender meat. The sprinkles of herb on the meat is also pretty obvious. There's also a dollop of mint sauce on the side and a glob of the shitake/pepper sauce on the meat.

I tried being all prim and proper at first, using the fork and knife to trim the meat off the bones. But when I decide to hold my infant son instead, I just picked the lamb by the bone and bite the meat off. Hah! That felt much better!

Finger-lickin' good!

Whoopass Cheese Fries $14.80

Saw someone ordering this. I looked at my brother and he looked back at me at the same time.

Upon ordering, then do I realise that it SURE is weird to have to say 'whoopass' in the presence of my parents. Haha.

Someone told my bro that this one here tasted akin to the chili-cheese fries from Carl's Junior. But Carl's Jr. fries aren't spiced, right? And that chili con carne (the spicy minced beef sauce) sure is tasty! And the stringy, melted mozzarella cheese below it makes this all the more fun to eat. Yumz!

Finally the Muslim community got to have a taste of the famous Botak Jones food after hearing so many raving reviews from all over the place. Especially about their steaks, burgers and the chill con carne. Their steaks seemed to be consistently done.

I'm gonna try their burgers next.

But next time I'm down in Simpang Bedok, it'll be to the newly opened Western Chow restaurant! Already checked out their extended menuboard. Looks delish!

Tang Tea House Hong Kong Cafe

Trooped down here for my bro's belated birthday dinner cos' my mum read the BH article on Botak's Favourites which has a branch located inside this premise (that'll be another post for another day).

Right now I wanna focus on (part of) my dim sum cravings that's finally satiated.

Ordered some dim sums as appetisers. Oh did I tell you that I actually went to Hong Kong and back without eating their Halal dim sum because I screwed up on the mosque location?

Deep Fried Shrimp Dumpling w/ Mayo ~ $3.20

My bro's chosen order. The combo of the words fried+shrimps+mayo did him in.

Inside the Shrimp Dumpling

The wantan skin of the freshly-fried dumpling was crispy (duh!). What bowled me over was the generous filling of 100% shrimps inside.

Shanghai Steamed Chicken Dumpling (Xiaolongbao) ~ $3.20

Honestly, I was full of envy to see raving reviews of the Xiaolongbaos at Din Tai Fung. The idea of soft yet durable dumpling skin with piping hot soup inside...

Enticing, isn't it?

Imaging how eager I was to try their Xiaolongbaos.

Well, all of us hardly got to suck the soup out because the skin at the base of the dumpling broke and out spilled the soup. I gingerly picked up my dumpling and tried to bite off the top part and suck the soup out (following descriptions of other people's experiences). But the skin on top was a tad tough. And then the skin at the base of my dumpling also broke. Pfft!

The meat filling inside goes well with the condiment served together with the fried prawn dumpling (1st pic above). The ginger slivers in black vinegar comes hand-in-hand with Xiaolongbaos.

Siew Mai ~ $3.00

This-taste-really-good. If not for the fact we're all having a main course each, I would have ordered another portion of this.

Did I spy a bit of shrimp inside the chicken meat filling? Yum!

Har Kow ~ $3.20

I didn't get to eat this. ):

Because there are 4 of us. And the portion has only 3 pieces. )):

But my bro remarked that the filling is just as hearty as the fried version.

Ah well. Next time I come here, it gonna be for the Chinese food offering. Especially the Beef Brisket Noodles. And maybe that HK-style steamed Tilapia fish.

And more dim sums!!!!!!!!!!!