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)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Truffle's at Starhub Green

Ok, it's not exactly a cafe/restaurant/bistro in the building. It's actually a Western food stall inside Jia Wei Foodcourt, at the ground floor of Starhub Green.

Bored with the usual offering, my colleagues and I always while about the lack of food variety in our work area. We wonder if there'll ever be a Halal Western food stall.

Lo and behold, during my maternity leave, my colleague excitedly whatsapp-ed me when she saw a new Western Food stall there. And it has a Halal cert!

Upon my return, I made a visit. It's run by a Malay family in fact. That's how it appear to me, that is. The front is manned by a young girl, presumably the sister, the chef appear to be her brother and the preparation seems to be done by the mum.

…For all I know, they could even be unrelated. Hurhur. 

The stall

The tentalising display pictures really had me drooling.

The menu stand

On the left is the list of ala carte food items:

Soup - portobello mushroom soup, salad and mains like various pastas, steak & fries, H.S. Wagyu Burger, H.S. Fish & Chips, Chicken Parmigiano etc. They also have truffle fries (whoa!).

On the right is the list of The Daily Specials, the $7 Combo Mix and list of side dishes. Their ice-cream is the New Zealand ice-cream brand.

Sides - Mushroom soup

The soup has a thick consistency (obviously homemade) and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, prior to serving.

H.S. Wagyu Burger - $ 8.90

I got really curious about this so I just gotta have it, although the $7 Combo Mix seems like a better option for a first-timer.

Fries aren't freshly fried, presumably because it's the lunch rush hour.

Inside the burger 01

It looks promising.

Inside the burger 02

Is that seaweed? Interesting…

I re-read the description:
"Charbroiled chuck & wagyu patty with caramelised grilled onions, avocado, nori & unagi sauce served with aioli & shoestring fries."

Seems like one heck of a combination. Avocado, nori, unagi sauce…? Fusion, eh?

The beef patty looks a tad overdone. And true enough, it does seem a tad dry with the first bite. I love varieties and the description really impress me but the whole experience was a bit underwhelming, somehow. I wonder why.


Here are some of the chicken mains that we've ordered.

Chicken chop w/ alio pasta

Ordered something from the $7 combo. I guess Chicken Chop will be a safe option. Seeing I was hungry, I opted for alio pasta as the side.

They sure gave a lot of pasta. I almost seem like it's alio pasta w/ chicken chop, instead of vice versa.

Chicken cutlet w/ alio pasta

Another item from the $7 combo. It seems that the chicken combo set comes baked beans on the side.

The crispy crumbs of the batter really make the chicken look scrumptious!

Chicken Parmigiana - $7.90

I was really curious about this grilled chicken breast with chunky tomato sauce, sesame bread crumbs and gratined cheese. Sauce was nice although the chicken tasted a bit gamey.

What I love about this dish was the generous lashings of balsamic vinegar. I LOVE balsamic vinegar!

H.S. Halibut Fish & Chips - $7.90

Ok, I wonder what that initials, 'H.S.' really means. The halibut fish fillet is battered the 'original' way. Not those breadcrumbs style. This dish comes with sides of fries and garden salad. Love that they used the Mesclun mix as their choice of greens.

The tartar sauce on the side was covered with a bit of vinaigrette from the salad. From far, I thought that they served  a sunny side-up egg with this!

Grilled Fish

This main dish that comes from the $7 Combo Mix. It seems that the mesclun greens (garden salad)  is a common an accompaniment for fish mains, just like how the baked beans are, for the chicken mains.

The portion for the fish fillet seemed a little puny here, so much so that my hungry colleague felt a little let down. Very dismal, she said.

They also have other specialities like truffle fries, pastas and stuff like steaks and lamb chops; all of which I've yet to try. My colleague have had some of their pastas and she was a tad disappointed, though.

All in all, we're glad to have a little more variety in our lunch menu, food is quite presentable and the pricing here seems quite affordable. Wish that they aren't so lacking in the taste department, though.

67 Ubi Ave 1
Starhub Green
Jia Wei Foodhub

Monday, July 21, 2014

Manhattan Fish Market Coupon promo

First and foremost, I feel the need to apologise for the poor quality of photos. My phone got water-logged right on the day when I gave birth and I had to borrow my cousin's iPhone 4.

Another thing; after a couple month of staying home, I've somewhat lost my food photo-taking mojo. Most of the pics below… well, they're taken after someone's already dug into them. Hmpf!

Well, It doesn't help that we were breaking fast during Ramadhan and were naturally hungry. Especially after a queueing for a table.

Anyway, my brother excitedly told me that he purchased some discount coupons for $10. It's meant for dine-in at certain Manhattan Fish Market branches.

Discount coupon (click on image for a closer look)

It seemed that many have purchased this coupon too. When we were in the lift with 2 other families, we saw that thay have this set of coupons in ther hands too. No points for guessing where they'll be dining!

We took the 50% off deal for the Fried Giant Platter & Spicy Seafood Olio, $55 off deal for Fish For 4 and a free Chowder of the Day. Yes, a lot. Well, there's actually 9 of us, so pretty worth it. We simply tore off and present to the server, whichever coupons we wanted to use.

Gave the 1-for-1 deal for the Small Grill and another portion of the Chowder of the Day a miss.

Part of the 'Fish for 4' deal

This set comes with 2 sets of the Manhattan Fish & Chips, 2 sets of the Grilled Dory Fillet, the Quad Delight, 4 bowls of Chowder of the Day and 4 glasses of 'Gummy Bear' drink (Curacao syrup + tropical fruit mix).

There SURE is a lot!

Manhattan Fish & Chips (at least $9.95)

Their ever-popular item. One of the better Fish & Chips around, I'd say.

Grilled Dory fillet with Garlic Herb rice and veggies
Lite - $10.95

My relative from Indonesia, who cannot have a meal without rice; totally appreciate this. And that spicy sauce on the side taste like some salsa with a fiery kick. So delightful!

Another person who had this was my dad. This dish was also right up his alley. Especially with the blanched veggies on the side.

Quad Delight - $13.95

This is also part of the 'Fish for 4' deal. This platter has fried country mushroom, fried calamari,
cranberry coleslaw and chilled seafood mix (baby squid, mussels & imitation crabmeat).

Comes with 2 sauces: salsa & honey mustard.

Ok, fine. Here's how the platter really look like:

pic courtesy of www.manhattanfishmarket.com

Fried Giant Platter - $19.95

This platter comes with grilled tiger prawn, calamari and dory fillet with a side of chips, veggies and Garlic Herb rice. Fried food galore!

AND this is how it really look like:

pic courtesy of www.manhattanfishmarket.com

Didn't manage to snap pics of the Chowder of the day and the Spicy Seafood Olio.
Will input the pic from their online menu instead.

Free Chowder of the day (that day we got the Clam Chowder) - $4.90

Spicy Seafood Olio (it's really delish, with generous seafood portions and a nice fiery kick!) - $15.95

All in all,I can say that for $10, he got pretty good deals, actually. The food is nice to share amongst the targeted family crowd. Worth the money- many times over.

(The quality of the photos are just so inferior… Sigh.)

Friday, May 09, 2014

Penang Culture at Century Square

The last hearty meal I had at a restaurant, before I gave birth to my girl. Had a meal with my hubby's extended family, for an early Mother's Day celebration. Good thing also, for I gave birth on Mother's Day itself.

I was excited at the prospect of dining here because I've always been curious about Penang cuisine, aside from the famed Assam Laksa. Another reason was that I sorely missed having the Assam Laksa,


Teh 'O'

My hubby's favourite drink order. Love the 'old skool' style teacups. Even the spoons.

Hot Yuan Yang

A coffee-tea mix. Typical of me to be unable to decide between the 2. So I chose this.

Iced Milo Float

Ordered this for Kiddo. Or was it my Hubby? Because I will never order for him a drink as sinful as this (note the ice-cream) as part of his meal.

Vitagen - part of Kid's set meal

I wasn't aware of the Vitagen being part of the kid's meal and ordered the iced Milo for Kiddo. After the luscious drink, he naturally rejected the Vitagen.

I saw that they also have this drink that's unique to Penang. The Ampla juice (buah long long/kedongdong). Slightly sweet, sour and pretty tart. I think it comes down to personal preference. I don't really fancy it. I don't mind the actual fruit, though.

Penang Rojak

Mix of fresh fruits and vegetables in spicy prawn-paste sauce with ground peanuts. The sauce wasn't as spicy as I prefer. Also have pieces of cuttlefish.

I much prefer those rojak at hawker centres. More kick.

Kiddo's meal - 
Sweet & sour fish + nuggets + rice + Vitagen$7.65

Other items on the Kid's menu are:

Kid's Nasi Lemak - Fried belachan wings + rice + broccoli + Vitagen - $7.65

Penang Kway Teow soup + Vitagen - $6.95

From the 'Specialty Rice' menu

Black Pepper Beef w/ rice - $8.95

My helper's choice. She's the type who wants to eat white rice for dinner so she chose something out of the 'Specialty Rice' menu.

Penang Thai Apple Chicken w/ rice - $6.95

Very interesting dish. The sauce taste like a milder version of the typical sweet & sour, anyway.  Just that the addition of green apples made it more interesting.

Nasi Lemak is the typical fried chicken-ikan bilis-omelette combo, save that the one here also comes with Nyonya achar.

From the 'Wok-Fried' menu

Penang Special Fried Rice - $7.65

Hubby's nephew was busy picking out any veggies he saw on that plate. Pretty mild dish. Kids will like it, I guess.

Fried Glass Noodles - $7.65

This honestly don't look filling to me. I think I will order a side of plain rice to eat with this instead. Like the Korean 'japchae'.

From the 'Noodles' menu

Penang Assam Laksa - $6.95

Ahh… My long awaited bowl (literally waited long because they almost missed out my order).

I love the rice noodles they use here. Rough, wavy and thicker type, supposedly imported from Penang. Makes this a very filling dish. However, I wished there are more greens; like the one I had back in Banquet Eastpoint.

The gravy is such 'umami' goodness. Spicy, tangy with chunks of mackerel floating around. Love it.

We also Belachan Chicken wings (Har Cheong Kai), Hokkien Prawn Noodles, Premium Crayfish Prawn noodles but they were far away from me that time. I won't be easy for me to waddle there and bend over the table with my heavily pregnant belly (did I mention that I gave birth the next day?).

You can check out their menu HERE 

Penang Culture
2 Tampines Central 5
#04-11/12 Century Square
Singapore 529509.
Tel: 6789 8180.
Operation Hour: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Last order at 9.30 p.m.).

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Seoul Garden Hotpot - bringing a curious foodie

NOTE: There's a new branch opened in the East-side!

Paya Lebar Square
60 Paya Lebar Road

Tel: 6341 6077
Fax: 6341 6076

My colleague, Sri and I are avid fans of Korean variety shows. Especially when they involve FOOD. And believe it or not, she hadn't tried ACTUAL Korean food, save for the occasional ones I cooked from home.

So when we happen to watch a show that seemed to involve a whole load of Korean food being cooked and eaten, we decide that it's about time that we head over and enjoy some for ourselves.

Seoul Garden HotPot seemed to be the only restaurant selling Halal ala carte Korean food. We head over to my favourite branch at Harbourfront because we deem ourselves 'too old' to head to town (another branch is at Cineleisure). After work, especially.

Hot cinnamon tea & white fungus sweet soup

My default drink order when I'm here. It's very easy on my stomach and help to digest the food better somehow.

The cold white fungus is a dessert that comes together with the set meal.

Kimchi of the day (cucumber namul)

Deep-fried oyster mushrooms (foregd) 
Deep-fried mid-joint wings (backgd)

The mushroom is a must-have order for starters. The fried chicken is chosen as our side in the dinner set meal.

Japchae (pan-fried seafood glass noodles)

My colleague was ever so curious about this dish. So we ordered it. She loved it.

Those glass noodles/vermicelli, called 'dangmyeon' are unlike the Chinese type we get here. These are made from sweet potato so it's thicker, chewier and darker. And pretty filling.

Beef Bulgogi Bibimbap

How can we introduce Korean food to someone without having them try the Bibimbap? Opted for the beef 'bulgogi' (sweet & garlicky soy sauce marinade) version. And of course, I opt to top up $1 for my fave 'kimgaru' (seaweed) rice.

I love that they add a generous heap of 'tobikko' (flying fish roe). A good tip is to add more 'gochujang' (spicy bean paste) sauce than what is given in the small platter. Small jars of them are available on the tables.

Totally enjoy digging at the crispy and charred rice bits at the bottom of the iron bowl!

Mandu (meat dumpling) hotpot

My colleague's definitely trying different things, most of which are reminiscent of what she's seen on the various variety shows.

This savoury and spicy soup was such a refreshing end to that particular weekday. With enoki & shitake mushrooms, cucumbers, kimchi, mung bean sprouts and chicken dumplings inside; it was indeed hearty and satisfying. We can't stop slurping down the soup!

Both of us walked out feeling really full, yet very, very satisfied. She loved the food so much, she came back again with her family!