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All posts for the month February, 2014

Thai Express

Published February 18, 2014 by piggie

ThaiExpressAlright, I confess I am not a Thai cuisine enthusiast, but somehow, all of sudden, I’m patronising two different Thai restaurants over a span of two weekends, and I wasn’t even a regular restaurant goer in the first place!

Dad was grumbling, “Thai again?” Ahem.. let me remind him, it was his wife (well, ok, my mum!) who called for a Thai fanfare last weekend when we could have savoured others. And I certainly had to utilise these Thai Express vouchers in my possession before expiring end Feb.

To begin with, we were the first customers stepping into their JCube franchise a little after 11.30am, attending to us was this plump expressionless mainland waitress who looked disinterested. I courteously asked with a smile to be seated at the inner seats of the restaurant, but she declined without giving a reason! To be fair, at that point of time, she had not yet been informed of my intention to pay via vouchers, so it’s not that she behave ignorant due to that. Being a reasonable Singapore citizen, I didn’t want to kick up a big fuss over this, but really, the very least she could do, was to bring up a smile, and that’s really a bare minimum I’m asking for of any waitress, regardless of nationality. Erm, at least the other waitress was showing a little more enthusiasm.

Sa-nook Seafood in Jade Green Curry, $8.90++

Sa-nook Seafood in Jade Green Curry, $8.90++

I quickly settled for one of their set meal on offer, the Sa-nook Seafood in Jade Green Curry. This set meal comprised of Kaeng Khiew Wan Talay (Seafood in Jade Green Curry), Tou Hoo Tod (Fried Tofu with Crushed Peanut Sauce served with Thai Hom Mali Rice), and supposingly, Som Tam Krob (Thai Crispy Papaya Salad). I was enticed by the picture of their seafood soup from their menu, nevermind I found the Tofu too plain for a main course. However, after I placed order, the waitress came back and informed me they didn’t have papaya salad, could I do with mango salad instead? Quite frankly, I didn’t care, I won’t eat it anyway, I hate mango & papaya! 😛

The kitchen took very long to cook (we were the first patrons afterall), so long that the old folks took turn for toilet break (on another level of the shopping mall) and we even had time for a little chat before the food was served. But I ain’t complaining, I’d rather they took effort to prepare my meal rather than half-hearted attempt by simply pre-cooked and stuff it inside microwave.

Once my order appeared on my table, I could smell the fragrance (from the soup apparently), everything except the soup looked appealing! Oh, I’m not saying the soup was bad, but the picture on their menu looked more impressive. And let’s begin with it! The soup comprised of prawn (just 1), squids, fish, lemongrass, and some green soaked inside the rich coconut curry. It wasn’t spicy at all, but seriously, the ingredients alone was more presentable than what we had from Absolute Thai (AT), not to mention this whole set meal cost cheaper than a bowl of soup from AT.

I didn’t touch the salad, but I reckoned it looked appetising. I found nothing special about the Tofu, the accompanied sauce was a little mild for my taste bud.

Sa-nook Tamarind Fish, $8.90++

Sa-nook Tamarind Fish, $8.90++

Mum didn’t order this, I did. She had wanted the set meal with roast chicken, and left for the wash room before the waitress could take her order. Upon learning that they didn’t have the chicken, I switched to this, thinking that she could have my Tofu meal instead if she didn’t like this one. However, what a masterstroke this turned out to be!

Comprising Pla Makram (Tamarind Fish served with Thai Hom Mali Rice), Tom Yum Hed Nam Daeng (Red Tom Yum Straw Mushroom Soup), and supposingly, Som Tam Krob, which was replaced by a mango salad as well, the Sa-nook Tamarind Fish meal was sensational! Mum couldn’t stop praising the Tom Yum soup, in comparison with what we had a week ago from AT. I took the chance to chide her that it was her who insisted for the clear broth in the first place at AT. Seriously, if you are not prepared for spicy food, better not thinking of stepping into a Thai restaurant in the first place. I stole a spoonful of soup from her, and the taste was sophisticatedly tantalising. It has the right amount of sourness and spiciness, along with the onions, straw mushrooms, squid, fish etc, and together with the tamarind rice and salad, overall it was pretty enjoyable. Mum even found the appetite to finish almost all of my salad as well!

Khao Kulk Kapi Talay, $10.30++

Khao Kluk Kapi Talay, $10.30++

Dad didn’t want a set meal, he opted for the Khao Kluk Kapi Talay (Fried Shrimp Paste Rice with Seafood). I tried the rice, can’t say I love it. In my opinion, the shrimp should be minced, and that every rice should be wrapped with egg coating, and then of course, with pork floss and pineapple. That’s my understanding of a nice Thai fried rice.

Anyway, we left Thai Express with so much satisfaction than we had at AT, if we could have a better waitress, our experience could be so much merrier.

On 20 Feb, I revisited Thai Express, this time, with my friend at their Raffles City outlet. I had intended to try their roast chicken set meal, which is a good bargain, but somehow, Raffles City’s Thai Express carries none of those set meal promotion here.

Khao Phat Supparod Talay, $11.90++

Khao Phat Supparod Talay, $11.90++

Instead, I ordered their Pineapple Fried Rice (Khao Phat Supparod Talay). Having mentioned this previously, I feel obliged to elaborate, I probably was wrong to relate their Khao Kluk Kapi Talay with pineapple fried rice. It certainly wasn’t the right heir to one of Thailand’s most notable dish (I confess I didn’t look into their menu in detail). This one here is.

With the ingredients of coriander leaves, prawns, fried fish, squid, raisins, and egg, this fried rice did look interesting. But personally, I would have preferred the pork floss, pineapple fragments, and cashew nuts to be blended together as well. Putting them aside might have enhanced its outlook a little bit, but I’m sure they could have decorated the plate with something else. Nevertheless, I’m not taking the spark away from this wonderful dish, with the rice not too oily, and portion not exaggerating, one can almost feel the seafood in every bite. Promotion or not, this has got to be one of their star dishes, and I struggle to understand why this was not listed as one of their popular dishes.

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老夫子炒粿条 Lao Fu Zi Fried Kway Teow

Published February 16, 2014 by piggie

IMG_1977-LaoFuZiActually, I went all the way to Old Airport Road Food Centre for Nam Sing Fried Hokkien Mee, not this. But it wasn’t my lucky day as Nam Sing was not opened, and so I settled for this stall, which I had never tried before. The name of this stall was quite interesting, it is believed they had other name before switching the current one ever since they placed a set of Lao Fu Zi figurines in front of their stall, and patrons started calling them Lao Fu Zi Fried Kway Teow.

Lao Fu Zi Fried Kway Teow is quite a famous stall in Singapore, they are almost an icon along with Hong Lim Market & Food Centre’s Outram Park Fried Kway Teow, but that does not necessary mean they are as good.

I went there over a Saturday afternoon, well past lunch time, and there weren’t any queue awaiting, just the odd patrons before me, and it didn’t take long for my order to be ready. Prices starts from $4 (I believe they had just hiked their price from $3 over the last year), and that was what I ordered. I confess for $4 from a hawker centre, it is considered pricey, but they made it up with a generous portion of Chinese sausage and cockles, as well as bean sprouts and fish cake slice. They served two different versions of fried kway teow, white & dark. I had the conventional dark version, I doubt their white version has anything to do with Penang style fried kway teow, I suspect the only difference was the use of the dark sweet sauce, not so much on other ingredients.

As it turned out, Lao Fu Zi’s dark fried kway teow was not as oily as most other vendors’, and came with only a mild sweetness. For $4, I would also expect a lime to provide some extra dimension, but wasn’t given any. I could feel the heat dissipated from the pan onto the noodle, and that was one good factor over their fried kway teow. But nevertheless, for their price and quality, it’s not something worth queueing long period for nor deserving a dedicate visit.

WP_000587-LaoFuZiOh, one sparkle during my visit… While I was eating, the stall was graced by a pair of silver lions, how they danced within such confined alley way and managed to piece together mandarin oranges forming auspicious word and giving out 4D numbers with poker card was simply amazing! Well, I was certainly in for a treat!

老夫子炒粿条 Lao Fu Zi Fried Kway Teow
51 Old Airport Road Food Centre & Shopping Mall
Block 51 Old Airport Road #01-12
Singapore 390051
Opening Hours-
Mon-Fri: 10:00-24:00 HR
Sat-Sun: 09:00-24:00 HR

Absolute Thai

Published February 15, 2014 by piggie
IMG_1978-AT

Thai Yu Sang * (with salmon, $36.90++)

I have amassed $75 worth of Marina Bay Link Mall vouchers, and since I couldn’t find anything to buy there, I decided to treat the old folks. It was apparent mum only had one thing in mind, raw fish! Despite I hinted her I would be bringing them to another Thai restaurant soon, she insisted on patronising Absolute Thai, particularly for their raw fish (Yu Sheng). Well, dad & me gave in, we would have otherwise preferred Japanese (I thought dad preferred Chinese though, but ironically, he suggested Japanese that afternoon). I didn’t want to try Paradise Inn, their raw fish was too plenty for 3 diners, and I didn’t know why my parents ignored Din Tai Fung, whose raw fish was selling at $29 (if I remember correctly) for 3-4 diners.

Mum had initially wanted raw fish and another steamed fish. But I made it painfully clear to them I only had $75 in vouchers and had no intention to top up too much cash, so I told her, either raw fish ($36.90++) OR steamed fish ($29++), plus other dish. So I ordered a Tom Yam Seafood Soup for 3 persons plus a salmon raw fish along with 3 bowls of steamed rice. It sounded petty, but hey, let’s not forget the portion of the raw fish was meant for 3-4 persons, and we needed to split up the 4th person’s share! It was always me who come to the rescue if the old folks can’t finish the order, and frankly speaking, I don’t like it nor to waste food. I had initially wanted a Tom Yam Seafood Soup with a red broth, seemingly hotter with the addition of milk. However, mum dreaded of milk taste (don’t ask me why she love coffee with milk!), and requested the Tom Yam soup to be less spicy. Darn, I faint! I thought Thai restaurant was meant to be spicy?! Why on earth you step into a Thai restaurant but couldn’t take spicy stuff? Speechless… (=.=)”

Anyway, the Salmon Yu Sheng came with a few thick slices of salmon, shredded young mangoes (if I had saw this then I would definitely not step in, I hate mango!), shredded carrot, shredded radish, shredded red ginger, pickled green, shredded winter melon, shredded dried oranges, crumbled peanuts, sesame seeds, dried shrimps, red chili padi, golden crackers, homemade tamarind sauce & plum sauce. It certainly possessed the look, but…

I have a few reservation about the term ‘homemade’. They could call it self-made, special recipe whatever, but in my opinion, that term ‘homemade’ was abused here. Whose home was it made? The owner’s? Anyway, taking away my disgust for mango, I personally found this raw fish below expectation. Taste was one thing, which I shall elaborate shortly, but the whole procedure was just not right. Elsewhere, the condiments were usually evenly sprinkled over the raw fish by the waitress, so diners simply needed to lift their chopsticks and stir them over a certain height to stipulate fortune arising. Right here, they were placed by the edge of the plate. Imagine the crumbled peanuts, sesame seeds etc, how on earth could I scoop them up with just a pair of chopstick (believe me, the soup spoons weren’t of much help either)? Alright, they called it the Thai style, but let me elaborate, Thai style don’t embrace raw fish in the first place. Although I give credit to Absolute Thai for embedding Thai flavour into a traditional Chinese dish, whoever thought of this was certainly not considerate enough. OK, let’s come to the taste. Mediocre! I was looking for the chemistry among the ingredients, but it tasted just like a bloated plate of salad, with not much cohesion between them, which means every bite can offer you a different taste, that defied the purpose of stirring the raw fish in the very first place. It can be argued that we did not stirred evenly enough, but seriously, try teaching me how to scoop up the crumbled peanuts and sesame, which I think should have been sprinkled on top of the raw fish before serving, that is, if they didn’t want to wash a few more bowls. I do have some positive feedback on the size of their salmon though, some restaurants sliced them too thin that I could hardly taste them, at least Absolute Thai did it right here. Mum was full of praise for their Salmon Yu Sang, but sometime she can be a hypocrite, LOL!

IMG_1980-AT

Tom Yam Seafood Soup in clear broth (in fire pot, 2-3 pax sharing, $21.90++)

This picture shows my serving of the Tom Yam Soup with a clear broth, which the waiter kindly scooped for us, but I felt it was a bit of a let down. The spicyness of the soup was disappointing, though I wonder whether it was mum’s weird instruction or the clear broth itself to blame, I really had anticipated more hotness, perhaps I should have ordered the red broth instead. I also felt the ingredients were too plain, the conventional prawns, squid, fish, mushroom, and some lemongrass. Apart from the sub-standard taste, the display itself could do much help from some green, such as lettuce & cabbage? Honestly, its appearance was unappealing, looked more like our own home-cooked dishes than those we can expect to find at restaurant, too modest in my opinion.

We also had 3 bowls of rice, and the total cost added up to $72.70, including taxes and surcharge. What I can say is, these dishes are what I am unlikely to order again if I re-visit, may be I can look forward to their other entrees. Other than that, we were quite pleased with their service, then again, it was Saturday afternoon, and hardly any crowd there.

*Yu Sang is the Cantonese pronunciation for Yu sheng (pinyin)