All posts for the month June, 2013

Tian Tian Xiang Popiah天天香薄饼

Published June 22, 2013 by piggie


I have not tried nice and cheap popiah for a long long time. $1.20 was the cheapest I could find, and that was when the famous Queenstown Popiah was still at the now-demolished Margaret Drive Food Center. But one fine day some months ago, I passed by Bukit Batok Central and discovered this humbled stall at S11 Food House by the name of Tian Tian Xiang Popiah, I was amazed by their price, $1. I thought at this price, they probably have to compromise on some expensive ingredients, and lost some spark in quality. But even so, the taste was exceptionally great!

I noted no less than 8 ingredients from the stall, minus fragments of shrimps and Chinese sausage, but retaining the basic egg, shredded peanuts, lettuce,  bean sprouts, garlic, prawn paste, chili paste, some kind of crispy chunk, and of course, stewed turnip. Leaving out shrimps and sausage may have lost some taste to the popiah, but seriously, many other outlets simply going through the formality of adding just a few tiny flakes of these and charging much more, the fact is, I couldn’t even taste any trace of them! On the contrary, Tian Tian Xiang’s popiah was excellent with that crispy chunk inside, which I suspect made of fried flour or something. Although the thickness of their popiah skin was a little thin, it was still good enough to last for more than 30 minutes without giving way. Overall, the flavour of the ingredients blended quite well together!

I specially bought a few home for the old folks to try, surprisingly, mum told me it wasn’t the first time she had it, and that even my uncle also gave it full credit a few months back. And if you google, you will find a few more good reviews about it!

Unfortunately, however, Tian Tian Xiang is also succumbing to increasing price pressure, they will raise their price by $0.20 comes 01 July 2013. That might tarnish my interest a little bit, but let’s hope it doesn’t take away the quality.

Tian Tian Xiang Popiah
S-11 Food House
Block 640 Bukit Batok Central #01-40
Singapore 650640
Opening Hours: 12pm-8.30pm daily

Sapporo Ramen Bishamon毘沙門

Published June 19, 2013 by piggie

I came upon Bishamon’s Wednesday 50% off all ramen offer when I was shopping at Bukit Panjang Plaza. Frankly speaking, by now, I guess I realise I find it hard to resist such offers, besides, Bishamon was a ramen outlet I had wanted to try for years, but for some reason, it was never made a priority. So, this idea finally materialise today.

Tonkotsu Seafood Ramen ($14.20, before discount)

Tonkotsu Seafood Ramen ($14.20, before discount)

I fancy having seafood ramen, particularly Hokkaido is famous for seafood, and Bishamon is renowned for Hokkaido styled ramen, though I very much doubt Bishamon uses seafood from Hokkaido to be honest. I had initially wanted a Shio (using chicken) broth, but settled for tonkotsu because my dining partner had a shio, so I might as well try my favourite tonkotsu.

Our order turned up rather quick, and my seafood ramen came with 3 prawns, 3 scallops, 1 whole Japanese fish cake (chikuwa), leeks, bamboo shoot, black fungus, but no egg nor char shu, it was after all, a seafood ramen. My noodle was the thin straight hosomen, which doesn’t absorb the broth well, but also doesn’t get soggy easily. But the broth… simply forgettable. Indeed, Hokkaido is not well known for tonkotsu broth, but I found the broth too diluted for my liking, that’s still bearable but definitely not the excessive MSG. For once, since as long as I can remember, I didn’t finish the broth. I began to understand why despite such an offer, Bishamon did not manage to attract diners despite during the busiest dinner hour. Simply put, their ramen lack character.

Vegetable Shio Ramen ($12.20, before discount)

Vegetable Shio Ramen ($12.20, before discount)

My dining partner craves for vegetable ramen. I managed to sample the noodle, the chicken broth was rather mediocre, with ingredients including a chikuwa slice, corns, bean sprouts, leeks etc. The noodle used was medium curly chuboso chijiremen, typical of Hokkaido ramen, however, I tasted some undesirable remnant of alkaline…

I suppose that summed up my disappointment at Bishamon, this would probably be my one and only visit, which somehow justified why I never visit before I encounter this promotion.

Ramen Santouka

Published June 12, 2013 by piggie

I have been patiently waiting for offers on Ramen Santouka, I knew it will surely come one day (because they had offered it many times before :P), and no point walking in paying shelf rate. I was proven right when inSing came out an irresistible offer in conjunction with, with Ramen Santouka’s Signature Special Mixed Soup Ramen (Awase-Aji) Set at $10.60 nett! That was a whopping 40% discount although currently, JCB card holders are entitled to 50% off (selected?) ramen during weekday lunch hour, for their Central branch at least, not sure about Cuppage.


Special Mixed Soup Ramen (Awase-Aji) Set $10.60

The offer I secured comprised of Santouka’s signature special mixed soup ramen, a bowl of Hokkaido rice with rice flakes toppings, pickles, and a cup of hojicha. It seemed that this was a rather popular order, so much so that the food were served almost immediately after we placed order, when I barely finished conversation with my dining partner. Apparently, they had the ingredients ready, just to rinse it with broth, and it was ready for serving.

I always tried out ramen broth first as an unspoken ritual, and this was one of, if not the best broth I ever tried! My understanding was that, it was a composition of Shio, Shoyu, and Miso soup base, basically all of Hokkaido’s signature broth. Ramen Santouka started off with only Shio ramen in 1988 in central Hokkaido Asahikawa, a prefecture actually famous for their Shoyu ramen. Shio ramen, on the other hand, was typical of Hakodate, South Hokkaido. Whereas Sapporo is synonymous with Miso ramen. To master a single broth type is already a great achievement, not to mention integrating all three to come out an unsophisticated taste, without the apparent supplement of other spices. The broth tasted adequately sweet, and not overly salty like most Hokkaido ramen do. It came with a tint of milky scent typical of Kyushu’s tonkotsu broth, mildly thick, and very appeasing. The noodle used was medium curly Chuboso Chijiremen, it was amazing throughout my meal, it remained springy and not at all soggy, despite I talked quite a lot during our meal. The ingredients topping the ramen included a generous portion of leek (Negi), 2 halves of moist egg (tamago), strips of bamboo shoot (menma), and two pieces of cha shu. The egg was naturally sweet, which is one important reason for keeping it half moist, while I don’t find the leek and bamboo shoot spectacular, the char shu was firm and chewy, it tasted closer to what we popularly know as roasted pork locally, minus the red rice yeast (红糟) of course. However, the char shu was ridiculously small, I couldn’t help having an impression they simply tore them into half to make up the number, although to be fair, it was thicker than norm. But I did note that this entree did not come with Santouka’s trademark plum?

Santouka02-SAM_1033I feel I absolutely have to mention the enclosed rice. Ramen Santouka put up a notice outside their outlet, informing patrons that they are using rice from Hokkaido. While Niigata’s Koshihikari rice is perhaps the best in the world, findings classified certain Hokkaido rice tasted as good, but naturally cheaper. According to Japan Grain Inspection Association, the ‘Kirara 397’, ‘Hoshinoyume’, and ‘Nanatsuboshi’ varieties of Hokkaido rice are in the same grade as Koshihikari. It can be seen that the rice are sparkling like pearl and less sticky than our conventional Thai rice, the taste was exceptional like most Japanese rice I tried. Although, to be frank, I couldn’t distinguish much difference from other Japanese varieties. But for the record, top Japanese restaurants in Singapore are gradually embracing Hokkaido rice, they are not those willing to risk their reputation using inferior ingredients. And a final thing I have to add, the rice flakes topping really spice up the Hokkaido rice! I also tried eating the rice with some broth, as recommended in a book I was reading enroute to Santouka by Naoko Takagi on Wakayama ramen, it was nice too!

There was nothing much I can recall about the hojicha though, I was busy chatting with my friend and probably drank it in a hush as plain water. LOL!

WP_000619-SantoukaOn 10 Mar 2014, Santouka was celebrating its 26th anniversary in Hokkaido and 7th anniversary in Singapore by launching a special one-day only price of $3.10++ (after GST $3.65) for any of the 4 basic types of ramen (for both S and M size). It was an opportunity not to be missed!

Having tried Santouka previously under some kind of promotion, this time round, the deal was even sweeter! At first, I was very skeptical about this promotion, and suspecting there might be gimmicks such as limited quantity, or a sampling portion etc. But when I turned up at their Central outlet at around 4pm, there was no queue at all, and I was promptly served. I ordered their Kara-Miso Ramen (Special Soybean Paste Flavour). The waitress asked me whether opting for the M size, and then I thought, here comes the gimmick, they must be charging more for the M-size! But nevertheless, (for some reason) I had not taken my lunch and didn’t mind paying more for the larger portion.


Spicy Soybean Paste Flavour (Kara-Miso Ramen, Usual Price $14.90++)

My noodle came within 5 minutes! The serving was quite generous, including 2 pcs of cha shu, menma, negi, kikurage (black fungus), and sesame, nothing from its portion shown any indication of compromisation because of the promotion. In fact, I was quite filled after the meal that I skipped dinner altogether. Noodle was quite springy, and the broth was smooth and spicy, though still not enough to make me perspire, but it was rather appetising. Cha shu was expectingly tender, but not very big piece.

When I was paying for my meal, I was ready to pay more. Surprisingly, I was charged a mere $3.65 (included taxes), it seemed like there’s no price difference between a small size and a medium size. That price was cheaper than one can find from any food court in Singapore for its portion!

Tokusen Toroniku Ramen Iberico Buta, $25.90

Tokusen Toroniku Ramen Iberico Buta, $15

I re-visited Santouka@Central on 29 May 2014 again, this time with a voucher purchased from, which I purchased for $15 (conditions applies). The voucher, valid for their signature Tokusen Toroniku Ramen Iberico Buta, which comprises a bowl of ramen, with ingredients separately placed on another plate. what made these special was the pork used, said to be from pork cheek, which was available in considerably lesser portion, and tasted more tender than other part of pork. I will elaborate on this in a short while, but for the time being, let me finish my description on other ingredients which also include leek, bamboo shoot, and black fungus. The noodle, which came in option of shio, shoyu, and miso (kara-miso, a.k.a. spicy miso, was also available for an additional $1) was nothing out of extraordinary, but knowing Ramen Santouka’s usual standard, in particular their outlet in The Central, it hardly ever fails.

Shio Ramen, $12.90++

Shio Ramen (medium), $13.50++

My other order was Shio Ramen, Santouka’s signature ramen, which surprised me a little because from where they originated (Asahikawa), they should be more famous for Shoyu-based ramen. Nevertheless, their clear, creamy broth was a big delight, and despite my consistent chat with my dining companion, the noodle didn’t turn overly soggy before I finished my meal. I discovered on the dining table, an ongoing promotion until end 2014, that upon signing up as their member via a QR code, patrons can get a free 3-piece char shu on any ramen order. That explains the 3-piece char shu beside my ramen in the picture above.

Ingredients in my Shio ramen included cha shu (separate from the free portion), chikuwa (Japanese fish cake slice), memma (bamboo shoot), kikurage (black fungus), negi (leeks), toppled with a pickled plum. The noodle was medium thick, round noodle, which retained the broth well and didn’t taste too salty for a shio broth. Now come to the cha shu, the one in the broth was tasty, tender, yet still retaining the delicious broth on every bite. However, the 3 free pieces of cha shu tasted expectantly dry and salty. So now I apprehend the magic of their broth! LOL!

Back to the Iberico pork cheek, which was served separately from the noodle. These left none of those dry and salty taste like the conventional cha shu I mentioned above. It was even tender and sweet tasted on its own. One thing puzzling me was, how do they get Iberico pig in Japan? These species are typically only found in Spain these days, and anyway, what famous for Iberico pork is actually the season cured ham, and these certainly don’t come cheap.


Published June 11, 2013 by piggie








Loong Fatt Eating House & Confectionery
No. 639, Balestier Road
Singapoew 329922
Opening Hours: Mon – Sat, 8am – 4pm

Fast Food For Thought

Published June 6, 2013 by piggie

I was torn between ordering a House Works or Pancakes from Food For Thought prior to reaching, but was really surprise to find them had a face lift when I arrived, with the word ‘Fast’ in front of their previous name. But that ain’t got anything to do with the movie Fast and Furious 6 (which shown in cinema recently) I bet. As a matter of fact, they now have a new restaurant at the National Museum nearby, so they converted the current outlet at 8 Queen Street into sort of a fast food restaurant, with a new menu of course. Consider myself lucky I didn’t come in May during their simple renovation. And so, initially I intended to dump this review as an update to my previous post, I now have to create new.

ffft-menuAs a fast food restaurant, their prices is slightly higher than those conventional giants, but their quality can be justified, at least for what I ordered, not unlike certain food court owned fast food chain that offers burger sets at restaurant price but only giving their trademark food court ambience with mediocre quality. Basically, burgers are Fast Food for Thought’s only main dish now, with options including pork, fish, chicken, lamb, and beef.

I ordered a Slow-Roasted Pulled Pork set meal at $12, which included fries and a soft drink. For a-la-carte order, the burger alone cost $8.50, but it is strange they are charging for the barbecue sauce, which cost $1.50, if I understand correctly. Chili and tomato sauce, on the other hand, are freely available at the counter. However, it’s a good thing they don’t charge for service & GST, it’s self-service throughout after all.

Slow-Roasted Pulled Pork Set ($12)

Slow-Roasted Pulled Pork Set ($12)

In a quiet afternoon, my order was served reasonably prompt. The burger and fries came in a big paper platter with a small dish of barbecue sauce, something typical in a fast food restaurant. I like the fries, which came in rich flour crumb and mildly salted, crisply fried on the outside until golden colour while retaining the softness within. Nothing special about the barbecue sauce though, search me why they would charge a ransom over it had I ordered a-la-carte. The utensil came in plastic, it was then pretty obvious they would be saving the trouble of washing them after every use. I thought Food For Thought was socially responsible? They brag about noble social causes on their web portal and now they are going against their own ideology? I can understand they wanted to save manpower, I wasn’t sure, but I thought they could have done it in a different light, such as encouraging people to wash their own utensil as a breakthrough approach, and reward them with a drink or ice cream voucher or something..??

Anyway, I get drifted too far from the food, my apologise, I often get carried away when it comes to environmental consciousness 😛 Let’s get back to the burger! It came with sesame bun, roasted sweet potato, creamy wong bok slaw with citrus juice, and roasted pork, not sure whether I can call it a patty, as it was painstakingly hand-pulled into shredded form, making it visually more appealing, and tastier too, although on a person note, I still prefer the fried pork patty as in Macau’s Pork Chop Bun. Nevertheless, hard work, and I appreciate that! I felt the sweet potato was an oversight. Perhaps to add a tint of sweetness to the pork, but I don’t find it blend well in a burger, not to mention there was already a fair amount of fries, it only made the meal more filling than I expected to. The salad was, at least commendable. But it was challenging eating the burger with hands, as the filling were generous and reasonably thick, what with those ingredients inside were not easily compactible, not to mention the bun at the bottom was half-soaked by the salad sauce that I had to eat the burger flipping it over. After the meal, my hands got stained all over and wasted quite a few pieces of serviette, LOL!

fast Food for Thought
8 Queen Street
Singapore 188535
Opening Hours: Tue – Sun, 11am – 7pm

I couldn’t find their phone number, on mentioning that, I suddenly recall seeing a very antique phone there, which I bet those borned after the 80s will probably never used one before, it’s those nostalgic dial phone, not the number pad type!

Daikokuya Ramen Dining / Menya Koji Ramen Dining

Published June 3, 2013 by piggie


For the first time, I struggle to determine the name of an ramen outlet, which itself, I found, was probably more fascinating than the quality of the ramen they served. I came to know this offer through Ramen Champion brochure, the name of the restaurant was specified as Daikokuya Ramen Dining. So on a Sunday afternoon, I was at Paragon and eagered to give it a try! I was surprise to learn on the spot that what I expected to be Daikokuya Ramen Dining turned out to be Menya Koji Ramen Dining instead! The address was identical, they even had a similar printed brochure on this promotion but bearing the name of Menya Koji Ramen Dining. However, inside the restaurant, everything printed, including serviette, receipt, menu were all bearing the Daikokuya trademark.


Anyway, let’s get back on track with the food! There wasn’t much detail on this ramen, it’s not even on their menu, so I can only vaguely describe base on my taste bud and shallow knowledge. I believe the ramen was served with miso chicken broth, it was towards the salty side, minus the usual sweetness of a tonkotsu. The noodle used was the medium curly Chuboso Chijiremen, with generous ingredients of bean sprouts, leeks, a slice of seaweed, 3 thick pieces of cha shu, and two halves of moist egg. The noodle was well-cooked, not soaky throughout my meal, and remained reasonably springy, with the cha shu slightly firm and chewy, but surely not the melt-in-your-mouth type. It retained the distinguished taste of typical ham, or at least it somehow absorbed the broth well. Overall, I found the quality moderate, decent but not spectacular. At $8.85 (included all taxes), it’s probably worth a try, but certainly not worth its usual price of $15++ If not for the promotion, I probably prefer Baikohken across the road, which still remains one of the better, unsophisticated ramen I can find in Singapore.

Guess what happened when I saw the receipt? My order was printed as Muso Special Cha Shu Ramen! Wow, they really good at playing with names huh? LOL! I suppose that’s a mis-spell “miso”, and that more or less justified my earlier suspicion that what they called Cha Cha Ramen should rightfully be Cha Shu Ramen. I’m not laughing at Japanese’ English standard, but I half expected whoever coordinating their presence here should have spotted all these discrepancies, let’s not wait until a wrong order is served then try explaining ya!

2nd visit (13 Jun 2016)

daikokuya_funanAfter 3 long years, I eventually return to dine at Daikokuya, this time at their Funan branch, which was previously Bishamon Ramen. I don’t really mean to say Daikokuya took over the outlet, I may be wrong, but seems to me they are basically under the same owner here, yes, Koji Tashiro san (田代浩二). It’s more likely a name change, and of course, along with it a different range of ramen. Their Funan outlet is having a promotion every Monday in June for their Ikkyu series of ramen, a closing down offer as Funan Digitalife Mall undergoing a major face lift soon.

To be honest, these Ikkyu ramens ain’t Daikokuya’s signature. Rather, it’s Chef Tashiro’s creation on the request of Hong Kong comedian Eric Tsang, and he eventually started a new brand under the name Tonkotsu Ikkyu. However, like his previous practice, after the ramen making a name for itself, his Daikokuya franchises also started selling them.

Special Black Garlic Oil Tonkotsu Ramen, $15.80++

Special Black Garlic Oil Tonkotsu Ramen, $15.80++

As you can see, my bowl has 4 pieces of medium size charshu (contrary to the large pieces illustrated in their poster, but I’m not complaining given the offer price I paid), one whole runny egg, black fungus, and leek. The broth retain the sweetness of a typical tonkotsu broth, and I found the black garlic oil a perfect complement to the broth, offering a small diversion to the usual tonkotsu flavour but not taking the entire limelight off it, not to mention black garlic contains a high level of anti-oxidants as compare to conventional garlic. Significantly, the creamy broth doesn’t have strong pork smell that some may find less pleasant (my mum’s gonna love this!). Personally, I favour the tinier round straight Hosomen noodle used here, which is common among Hakata ramen (typically tonkotsu), it tends to be less soggy. However, the spotlight is on the charshu, which was made using pork collar and cooked in the western sous vide style, by sealing them in airtight plastic bags and submerging them in a temperature-controlled water bath. My charshu were very thin, and didn’t come with strong pork taste.

Special Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen, $15.80++

Special Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen, $15.80++

The Special Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen here is a little less appealing in my opinion, nothing much differ from other ramen chain, apart from the charshu, that is. Granted, the tonkotsu broth is sweet, but like any spicy ramen, the chili tends to take away some limelight from the sweet broth. Though overall, I would still say it’s above average. Now this is the quality I expect of Chef Tashiro, a notable disciple of ramen god Kazuo Yamagishi of Higashi-Ikebukuro’s Taishoken, who is also the inventor of Tsukemen.

3rd visit (19 Jan 2017)

201701_daikokuya_top01_05_2I was, again, enticed by Daikokuya’s ramen promotion with J Passport at their Robertson Quay franchise. For $5, it’s probably among the cheapest ramen you can find in Singapore (Santouka offers the cheapest ramen at $3.10 in March every year). But to be honest, I have some reservation on their headline, ‘Hokkaido Authentic Tonkotsu Ramen’. I dare not claim to be a ramen expert, but being a ramen enthusiast, I do understand Hokkaido ramen are broadly classified into 3 main categories, namely Shoyu (Asahikawa), Miso (Sapporo), and Shio (Hakodate). Tonkotsu is typically Kyushu, which is on the extreme end of Japan mainland from Hokkaido. Even the noodles used in these two regions are vastly different.

OK, so much for the introduction.

We went on a Thursday afternoon, and was rather surprise we had to wait for seats at Robertson Quay! Probably few other restaurants there are open yet, I suppose. Granted, we didn’t have to wait for long anyway.

Both me and my dining partner were there for their promotion, their Tonkotsu Ramen (original price $12.80++). We just ordered the ramen, nothing else.

daikokuya_salad-sam_2175Surprisingly, we were served a plate of salad each, almost immediately. It was very appetising!

daikokuya_tonkotsu-sam_2176If you find the ramen looks bland, I can honestly say, it is. The ingredients are the usual suspects, leek, naruto, bamboo shoot, chashu, and Kyushu-style Hosomen (thin noodle), there is absolutely nothing here which suggested anything close to Hokkaido. While Hosomen (by the way, Hokkaido noodles are generally medium curly) can rarely go wrong, the broth was mediocre, revealing a thick pork scent. I can safely say, I have tried ramen in many Japanese cities, most of them are not even famous names, but none tasted as mediocre as this. It’s rich and creamy nevertheless, but definitely lack character. Kudos to Daikokuya for not using MSG here, but that doesn’t mean they can compromise in taste. The saving grace is the chashu, thick and roasted with a chewy texture, this is one of the better one I have ever tried. I guess for $5++, I cannot complain. But I certainly won’t be returning for this.