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All posts for the month May, 2012

Butter Fried Rice

Published May 31, 2012 by piggie

Technically, my first fried rice attempt was a disaster. It was probably worse than dog food, and I really struggled to swallow.

Left with mainly fish cake, and my reluctance for a plain dinner, my 2nd attempt at fried rice is a relative success! I deep fried onion and garlic before mixing them with sliced fish cakes and buttered rice, toppled with egg and generous pepper, adding some salt and MSG to neutralise the stink smell from the egg. Pork floss was included to provide some sweetness to my ‘masterpiece’, and the end product is a dish with mild onion hotness. I wish I could have some pineapple, shrimp, ham and chili, but given the limited resources at my disposal, I must say I’m pleased with my work! 😀

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Nam Sing Hokkien Fried Mee (南星福建炒虾面)

Published May 26, 2012 by piggie

I remember a famous Singapore-borned Hong Kong writer cum food reviewer once commented that Singapore’s food does not taste better than Hong Kong in general, he was dead wrong! In my humble opinion, it was very much the other way round. Having been to Hong Kong for quite a handful of times, I find that unless one knows where to seek for good food in the Eastern Pearl, otherwise, Hong Kong’s food standard lacks the variety and delicious our tiny country can offer. I have tried some Michelin-starred restaurants, and some I found, rather over rated. However, I admit it’s fast diminishing because our younger generation do not want to inherit our fore fathers’ culinary skill (and work tirelessly behind that tiny hawker center cubicle) and couple with Singapore government’s narrow sight on focused economy may somehow deny our future generation a chance to taste some exquisite dishes.

Hokkien fried noodle (or mee) is a very unique dish in Singapore, and nowhere else. Regardless of how a certain shameless Malaysia minister trying to hijack some famous Singapore dishes, I’m afraid our dear neighbouring country has, in general, failed to successfully replicate this dish. I ever tried their own version, and perhaps I didn’t patronise a good stall, to be absolutely honest, I felt like throwing out after just ONE taste. ‘Yuck’ was simply an understatement. Btw, that particular hawker in KL claimed a rich 20 over years of experience behind him! =.=”

I’m not saying every Singapore’s Hokkien fried noodle are as good in standard, but Nam Sing is one of the better outlets in Singapore. Situated at the famous Old Airport Road hawker center, Nam Sing Hokkien Fried Mee is just one of the many famous stalls selling great local food, thus making Old Airport Road hawker center the best in Singapore in my humble opinion. At $5, I won’t pretend it’s cheap in terms of the dining environment, but one can be assured of the quality they are proud of, as well as a generous portion of squid along with prawns and egg.

The appearance of their noodle may not be as appealing as certain competitors, but it was deceptively nice! They are among the few who use thin bee hoon (along with the norm thick yellowish noodles) as their ingredients, which I find more tantalising than those thick bee hoon. And the broth they used has been thoughtfully prepared for hours, which enriched the taste of the noodles. Unlike most other vendors, Nam Sing provides sliced chili instead of chili sauce or samba chili. They claimed this is the traditional way it was served. And lime was provided to infuse a little fragrance to the wet noodle.

Frankly speaking, consider yourself lucky if you have the chance to try it! I’m not bragging, but they have rest days as and when they wish, and their business is so good that even during off peak hours, one may have to wait for around half an hour. Don’t even think of going there for dinner, chances are, they sold out way before that, I missed out on almost every occasion except once whenever I visit Old Airport Road Food Center for dinner.

Address:

51 Old Airport Road

#01-32 Old Airport Road Food Centre

Singapore 390051

Getting there: It’s inbetween Mountbatten and Dakota MRT stations along Singapore’s Circle Line, 5 minutes walk from either station.

Wasabi Corn Pork Butter Rice

Published May 26, 2012 by piggie

Having tried minced pork on noodles to some success, I thought it will be easy to replicate it on rice, but not this time.

I probably should have fried the corn pork until it was more crispy before dipping them into a mixture of soy sauce and wasabi. But the aftertaste was a tat more salty than I anticipated. I was wondering, perhaps I should not have used soy sauce, it didn’t give a distinct taste from the corn pork that could provide a little desired suspension. I could have achieved better result with olive oil or butter, or even melted cheese!

Home Cook Minced Pork Noodle

Published May 13, 2012 by piggie

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I’m not pretending to be a chef, in fact, far from it. I hardly know how to cook! LOL!

It happened one fine afternoon when I was boiling instant noodle, my friend messaged me, hence I responded to it. Took a few minutes off, but I conveniently forgot my lunch. And that’s my last pack of instant noodle, bloated! @_@

I was hungry as a <(=@=)> and I could not wait to get another pack of noodle from the supermarket, so, I scooped the bloated noodle from the ‘soup’, and started thinking what I can do with it.

I very much wanted to twist the noodle off those excess water, alas, I settled on frying them, but not without any ingredients of course, otherwise, it probably serves itself worse than a dog food! LOL! So, I opened the fridge and trying to savage whatever I could do with. Found myself some leftover luncheon meat (well, actually, it’s some corned pork from Tulip), which I shredded into minced pork, and fried with sliced onions. I would very much love to have some spring onions, but mum didn’t keep stock. Next, I fried the noodle in the residued oil and added some of those cheap awful butter mom brought, which actually tasted terrible on breads (seriously!).

After that was done, and I was satisfied that excess water had been drained off, I added pepper and the minced pork on top, along with some pork floss.

And the result? OMG! That was the best noodle I have ever cooked! A buttery taste with semi-crispy minced pork and pork floss, it tastes even better than some restaurants I patronised! And that’s how I turned a tasteless bloated noodle from a vomiting material into a class act! I’m not bragging, and mum cooks better noodle than me, but mum never uses butter in her meals, and I have successfully integrated butter pasta into instant noodle. I hardly ever like pasta noodle, but the buttery taste still fascinates me. Now, I found a way to make pasta out of local noodles which taste much better! Feel so proud! ^.^

Authentic Hokkaido Ramen – Baikohken!

Published May 13, 2012 by piggie

Baikohken (梅光軒) was a name I have never heard of until a Japanese associate introduced it to me. At this moment, I only know of two outlets in Singapore, in Boat Quay and Takashimaya respectively. And since then, I had been to Baikohken 3 times, all at Takashimaya food court.

So, what makes it stand out from the likes of Santouka, Ippudo, and Aoba? I tried to ask my Japanese associate, but he didn’t elaborate in detail, merely strongly recommended Baikohken. To be honest, I have not tried Santouka, and only tried Ippudo & Aoba once. Ippudo has thick tonkotsu broth, typical Kyushu (Hakata, to be exact) styled Ramen with lots of innovations! I can’t comment on Santouka since I have not tried it. But Aoba? Quite simply, forget it. It’s pricey and the quality is over rated. To this, even my Japanese associate explained, their quality is mediocre from the authentic Aoba Ramen in Asahikawa, Hokkaido. And I confess, not only it’s not worth its price, but the broth was really terrible! I thought they probably used sea water as the base of their broth. Yes, it’s too salty. I had been to Japan on 4 separate occasions, been to Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shinshu (Nagano), Shikoku, Chugoku, Kansai, Tohoku, and of course Kanto, and trust me, never had I tried any ramen as bad in Japan!

So, back to Baikohken… Japan is famous for ramen, which they inherited and transformed from traditional Chinese noodles. There are now two distinct region of ramen, namely the Kyushu and Hokkaido styles. And in Hokkaido, it’s further divided into Shio (Salt), Shoyu (Soy), and Miso ramen, of where Hakodate (函舘), Asahikawa (旭川), and Sapporo (札幌) are the respective regions famous for it.

Baikohken, originated in Asahikawa, naturally is famous for their Shoyu based ramen, but they do provide Miso and Shio ramen among others to cater for different appetite as well. And their serving comes in half portion or full portion, in most cases, half portion is more than enough for me, and that literally already serves a larger portion than what most hawker centers noodles vendors are offering.

Shio Ramen (Half Portion)

It’s still a tonkotsu broth, not as thick as the Kyushu styled, while I’m not sure whether Baikohken do it the Hakodate* way, the broth does taste naturally sweet, not overdoing it. And the generous supply of spring onions spiced up the soup much to my desire.

(* Traditional Hakodate Shio Ramen are not so much as in adding salt, most vendors add seafood with tonkotsu while preparing the broth, resulting in a mild salt taste)

Sanzai Ramen (Half portion)

As the name suggests, Sanzai (山菜) ramen is probably more famous in Japan’s mountainous region than in Asahikawa. Though I don’t know whether the ingredients are grown in Japan (I seriously don’t think so), the veggies are more generous than the noodle enclosed. Cabbage, carrot, leek, bamboo shoot, bean sprout, and fragments of shredded pork made up this entry. This is my mum’s favourite, and I must admit, the portion of bean sprouts are more than the noodle itself. And I almost think this ramen should really be renamed accordingly. But nevertheless, thanks to the broth, this entry tastes less dry than I anticipated.

Baikohken is an unfancied ramen outlet, at least at the Takashimaya branch, they don’t offer much side dishes other than the few types of ramens. This is a pretty small outlet, and most of the time, it’s quite occupied, though meal hours apart, usually doesn’t have to wait long. In addition to the ramens, spices such as Miso, chili powder, garlic, and pepper (all from Japan) are provided on the table to tilt the taste to individual preference.

I’m pleased to learn (much afterward), that many diners find Baikohken among the best Ramen restaurants in Singapore despite their humble existence. Their presence might not be as established as Ajisen Ramen, but their unassuming effort is fast earning accolades.