Saturday, April 30, 2016

7 Letters @ Heritage Fest 2016

This was a night spent under the colorfully lighted up skies of the Singapore National MuseumHeritage Festival 2016 was underway where street food stalls ply the compound, and patrons ate away on wooden tables and chairs. It was lovely. If you need more glittering photos of the night, see here.

We were here for the public screening of 7 Letters -  A local film made up of "seven short stories that tell of our heartland and its people through tales of lost love, identity, inter-generational familial bonds and tensions, unlikely neighbours, and even references to traditional folklore." The project was timely; celebrating Singapore’s 50th year of Independence. Being conscious of our difficult independence, and how the country had evolved over the last 50 years; the film serves as a good reflection. Surely, it meant different things to each one of us. It felt sentimental, right from the first story. And it continues to tug at the heart-strings till tears flow free. 

Fully supported by the Singapore Film Commission (SFC), the film was never ticketed. So catch it when you can.

食福肉粥, Shi Fu A1 Rou Zhou - Charcoal Broiled

Century Egg Porridge ($3), added Mince Meat ($0.50)

It is difficult to locate porridge stalls when you need them. So please note down this stall in Bukit Merah View Food Centre that offers traditional charcoal-broiled porridge. We see their charcoal stove cooking.

The porridge is smooth and light tasting; the meat tender. Nothing sensational. But are every bit of a good plain porridge that comforts and quench the body.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Sheng Da BBQ Seafood (Stall No.2)

Oyster Egg ($6), Tiger Beer, 633ml ($7)

This was Friday dinner at the newly revamped Newton Circus Food Centre. The place was clean and airy, installed with many more tables in its inner courtyard. It was full and very much alive! Some hawker tried to stand near empty tables in a bid to 'reserve' them for their potential clients; but you can just ignore them - they don't dare try too hard.

As we were tired and hungry, we just ordered from the BBQ seafood stall nearest to our table. The food wasn't fantastic, but it's the conversation we shared that matters. We have still the weekend to count on.

Next time, we will try on the better stalls here.

Sambal Squid ($12)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Tanjong Rhu Wanton Noodle (Since 1986)

Wanton Noodle ($3)

There are two good wanton noodle stalls here in the Jalan Batu Food Centre. Both used to operate consecutively at the adjacent block 7 Coffeeshop. And both wanton noodles are so similar! You would think the stall owners are related.

The one we are having today is the underdogs; while the other made famous by Chua Lam's (an eminent food critic from Hong Kong) visit is this stall. Which tastes better? We would clearly say it is this underdog.

The stall offers a variety of seasoning sauce - Chili, Ketchup, Plain, Black. We stick to our favorite Chili Ketchup. And it tastes of good old times. Ultra springy noodles, crunchy fried wanton and some better than average roasted pork. It's the noodles that won us over.

Fried Wanton Noodle ($3)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Saa Sha Ali Rojak Stall

Indian Rojak ($8.70) - Potatoes, Prawns Fritter, Egg Fritter, Vegetable Fritter, Fish Cake, Red Squid.

What does it take to be a 'must eat' Indian Rojak?

First, we like all the items to be freshly deep fried to crisp before serving. Especially the whole potatoes, which i have grown to love. Second, the sweet potato sauce has to be starchy, sweet and spicy, served hot! Needless to say, ingredients for the fritters have to be decent.

These criteria seem simple enough, but not every stall makes it. We found it at Haig Road Market & Food Centre, and are returning frequently for it.

Friday, April 22, 2016

炎记威威食品, Yan Ji Wei Wei Seafood Soup

Crayfish Seafood Soup ($10), added Fish Maw for $2

This is my second visit to Yan Ji Seafood within a week. I was totally wowed during my first trip, but got weary after the more than salted soup this afternoon. Its signboard read that sun-dried Hokkaido scallops are used in concocting its seafood broth, but on both occasions we tasted mainly of dried sole fillet (flat dried fish, 扁鱼干)? So while many complained about the half filled bowl of soup serving, we don't.

What's gratifying is perhaps the freshness of their shellfish. No doubt about it. The crayfish, prawns and fish maw are the must order. It's a great pity that Dory fish fillet is used in their fish soup, unless you specified for the more expensive Pomfret ($10) or Red grouper ($10). The freshness of their Dory doesn't rid it of the mud tang.

Minced meat balls were also the standard fare. It was special because dried sole fillet was hammered to bits and added into it. But i asked for mine to be excluded this time as it is too filling and forgettable. I had preferred to leave more appetite for their flavorsome braised trotters. Alas, more Dory fillets were substituted in the absence of meat balls...

Long distance to the Woodlands Food Centre and the fact that the stall closes for dinner are good excuses for me to avoid a hurried return.

Braised Pig Trotters ($7)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

J&C Bakery - Maker and Wholesaler

Assorted Cakes, 10 Pieces (Mix & Match, $5)

My first encounter with J&C Bakery was at their outlet in Upper Changi Road, East Village. The little stall drew me with the lovely smell of bakes, and its pretty array of cakes, tarts, puffs and kuehs. Little did i realize they own a kitchen in the Woodlands Loop factory!

Walk-in customers are aplenty here; and we got to choose from the many shelves of neat pastries! We packed away 50 pieces of the assorted cakes and some egg tarts (6 for $4.80), mini chocolate eclairs (10 for $4.80) for the office party.

For my home, it was the fine sponge cakes of banana, durian, double chocolate and banana walnut. The family favorite, however, turned out to be the traditional baked tapioca kueh! Mark my words.

Baked Tapioca Kueh, 6 Pieces ($3)

Saturday, April 16, 2016

新鸿运, New Lucky Claypot Rice

New Lucky Claypot is easily one of the oldest claypot rice hawker in Singapore. They have shifted from Bukit Merah -> Clementi -> Holland Drive Food Centre now. Hope they'll stay long in this almost deserted building, with most stalls closed for dinner, and New Lucky is having the whole of the large airy premise to itself!

Our claypot for two persons is pretty substantial. It consists of chicken, pork and liver sausages (lap cheong), Szechuan preserved vegetables and salted fish. The rice grains were cooked just right, neither too hard nor soggy. The chicken pieces were tender and juicy; you would love it.

After the satisfying dinner, the smoky aroma that stayed on my fingers (even though i had only briefly tried steadying the claypot, while scraping off some burned rice) reminded me of the real charcoal works behind this simple meal.

Claypot Rice for 2 ($10)

Pork Ribs Lotus Roots Soup ($4)

华记, Wah Kee Big Prawn Noodles

An old uncle said to the man before us in the queue, "Go eat from other stalls. Quit queuing." The man answered, "But today is my only rest day; and i came all the way for this." To this, i told Ric. Die die must eat once.

And we were right. Once might just be enough.

Regular patrons advised us to get the minimum order of $5 bowl; as they found the larger prawns in the $10 and $20 servings too 'stiff'. But today's prawns in the $5 doesn't seem right too. I can't quite put a finger on it. I can only say that it was unusually crunchy, maybe like crystal prawn. And despite the large size, i can't taste prawn's meat. 

The magic is in the broth. The added sambal chili paste and pork lard on the soup should be accredit too. Together, they cooked up a rich, layered flavor of herbal sea-freshness. It is mysteriously impressive. Whether you like it or not, will be subjective. But you just gonna try it here, once.

Big Prawn Noodles, soup ($5)

Friday, April 8, 2016

Malay Nasi Padang - for Fish and Rendang

Assam Fish, Bitter Gourd and Rice ($3.90)

I come here often, for my fish craving.

Unlike most Nasi Padang stalls which charges you easily $3 for a piece of fish or the beef rendang, the ones here in the air-conditioned NTU North Spine Food Court are usually $2.50. These are often not deep fried but broiled. I appreciate tasting its fresh tenderness and gooey collagen.

Vegetable dishes are at 60 cents and 80 cents, depending on its complexity. Prices aside, we were never disappointed with their authentic Malay cooking.

Chili Kang Gong, Sambal Goreng, Fried Beancurd and Rice ($2.70)

Saturday, April 2, 2016

家味, Jia Wei Vegetable Rice

Egg Omelet, Minced Pork Balls, Bitter gourd, Steamed Fish and 3 Porridges ($9.50)

At 2 recent gatherings, we had separately 2 gangs of elderly colleagues recommending fiercely the steamed fish at this 'vegetable rice' stall in 133, Ang Mo Kio Ave 3. Cheap and good, they said. We thus made an effort to be here on a Saturday afternoon. Noting they are close for dinner.

Maybe the Teochew styled steamed fish is indeed commendable; serves with full works of preserved plums, Chinese fermented beans, ginger and chili. But price isn't exactly cheap. And their other cooking is mediocre.

This returns us to Ann Hoo Vegetable Rice who is just next door. Next street actually.