Peranakan

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Penang Place

Published August 30, 2017 by piggie

Penang Place first started in Jurong East, and has since moved on to Fusionopolis before settling now at Suntec City. My friend and I saw a new tenant in Suntec City and decided to give it a try over a busy lunch hour. Although there was no queue and with spare tables available, we were warned by the waiter it could take about 30 minutes if we were to order a la carte. Sure, no issue.

We ordered Penang-Style Mee Goreng and their famous Penang Char Kway Teow, intending to share among us. Eventually, our order were served within 10 minutes, which really surprised us, prompting us to wonder whether they pre-fried the noodles and probably re-fried it with ingredients upon ordering. But that’s just speculation, and is not important as long as the dishes taste great. Fair statement?

Penang-Style Mee Goreng, $10.90++

Their Mee Goreng was served just shortly before the Kway Teow, it has a fragrance of wok hei and nicely presented with lime, cuttlefish, potatoes, tofu, prawn fritters, egg. The sweetness is perfectly done and overall, quite appetising! On a whole, of course, their ingredients are better than most hawker fare one can find.

Penang Char Kway Teow, $10.90++

The Kway Teow was only served briefly after the Mee Goreng, understandably, the appearance is a bit less flamboyant, but given the fact that it once earned “the best Penang Char Kway Teow in town” from Business Times, I expected it to taste better, even if just moderately. Reasonable? However, despite the presence of prawns, squids, eggs, bean sprouts, both me and my dining partner felt it lacked cohesion, it looks stale, and it tastes stale, which is why I suspect might be because the noodles were pre-fried, but lost the texture after been left luke warm for sometime. Their Mee Goreng at least has the sauce to cover it. But the Kway Teow tasted slightly dry. I had tried Penang Char Kway Teow in Penang which I chanced upon, from an ordinary coffee shop, not even a famous stall, it tasted much better, not to mention cheaper. OK, fine, I understand the absence of lard just so our Muslim friends can also enjoy it, or probably using less oil for a healthier meal. However, allow me to share a hard truth, that their competitor along the same stretch offers the same dish cheaper and better, no lard too! And I had actually blogged about that last year. I really wonder what made the Business Times correspondent declared this “the best Penang Char Kway Teow in town”. Very very far from it. Either their standard dropped, or possibly the correspondent had never tried good Penang Char Kway Teow before. Or maybe just my luck, we encountered a trainee chef? Another possibility is that they had taken from the buffet pot and re-presented it on a platter. I know I’m bold, but this is at best, mere average, I hope they improve their standard if they want to continue using that tagline.

By the way, they serve buffet too!

Penang Place
3 Temasek Boulevard
Suntec City Mall, West Wing
#02-314/315/316
Singapore 038983
Tel: +65 64677003
Website: http://www.penangplace.com/
Email: catering@penangplace.com

Opening Hours:
11:30hr – 14:30hr,
18:00hr – 21:30hr

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Hi Leskmi Nasi Lemak 榮興椰漿飯

Published April 23, 2017 by piggie

Singapore has its fair amount of great Nasi Lemak, and Hi Leskmi definitely deserves to be among the best. Exactly why they have such strange name (which doesn’t synchronise with their Mandarin name anyway) is pretty puzzling, but hidden inside a residential area in Whampoa, Hi Leskmi is actually well known among food hunters in Singapore. Somehow, I suspect, its location (particularly the lack of MRT connection) probably put off more patrons to their stall. However, come lunch time you will see a snaking queue forming outside, though waiting time is reasonably fast.

As can be seen from their signboard, they typically offer 3 types of set meal for an affordable price of $3.00, but you can order your own a-la-carte selection possibly for a little bit more. Hi Leskmi’s signature lies in their green-colour rice, presumably cooked with pandan leaves and of course, coconut milk. The rice is very fluffy and flavourful enough to make you return for more.

Set B, $3.00

In addition, it ain’t just their rice that is good, they did well with their egg and peanuts too! Their egg was still runny and the peanuts demonstrate crispy freshness, while the chili is a great blend of sweet and spiciness. Still, I must reiterate, I feel it’s the rice that has stolen the show.

Set A, $3.00

My friend ordered set A, the difference being the choice of chicken wing or fish cake. Set C comes with Otak.

Hi Leskmi Nasi Lemak 榮興椰漿飯
90 Whampoa Drive #01-24
Singapore 320090

Opening Hours:
10:00hr ~ 22:00hr

Qi Ji

Published June 24, 2016 by piggie
Laksa (Cockles + Prawn), $5.20

Laksa (Cockles + Prawn), $5.20

This ain’t the first time I try Qi Ji, but let me start this post with their Laksa. They have two prices for Laksa, the first, $4.20, comes without prawn, just the standard cockles along with tau pok, fish cakes, egg, and what I believe to be shredded chives. The second is what I ordered here, $5.20 with added prawns.

I won’t say $5.20 is cheap, hence I expected some quality here. Notably, the ingredients here is considerably sumptuous as compare to many food court or hawker center stalls elsewhere, and we also need to factor in the costly rental in the locations they settled. The spicy broth is at least delightful, as with the comprehensive quantity and quality of the ingredients present, with the prawns used being relatively large ones. For such price, it’s more worth than what you can get from Toastbox and Heavenly Wang. The former was mediocre with their quality, the latter is so pathetic that I don’t even want to blog about it. All three franchise are selling their laksa about the same price.

Qiji_Popiah-IMG_7880

Popiah, $2.80 (with prawns)

Qi Ji’s popiah is their signature dish. Their ingredients include ‘homemade’ sweet and chili sauces, garlic, lettuce, bean sprouts, crispy bits, egg, prawn, parsley and turnip. When I first tried them after a one-hour drive home, I feel the finished item lacked cohesive character. It’s like eating all those ingredients by themselves, and I believe the main flaw is their ‘homemade’ sweet sauce. However, when I eventually beat their lunch queue and eat on the spot, it tastes very much better. I suspect their sweet sauce dried up after a while and somewhat rendered the popiah’s bland in taste. In addition, whoever behind that counter preparing your popiah makes a significant difference too! Anyway, I can’t emphasise enough how I hate the term ‘homemade’ is misused. It’s their own recipe, ok fine, but was it made in any of their staffs’ home or at the premise itself? No. Anyway, the popiah I bought comes with prawns. For $2.80, you get to choose whether you want prawn or chicken filling. There’s a plain version (neither prawn nor chicken) which cost just $2.20.

qiji_mee_rebus

Mee Rebus Deluxe, $5.80

Qi Ji has two versions of Mee Rebus, the conventional one selling at $4, while their deluxe version costing another $1.80 more. You probably won’t see the chicken cutlet and deep fried fish cake on the conventional version, for that, the price may look somewhat expensive. However, that doesn’t take away how great their noodles taste. Their gravy wasn’t as thick as I’ve tried elsewhere, but the calamasi fragrance was powerful, making it overall a very appetising meal. I don’t usually find the chicken cutlet and fish cake tasty, but complementing their mee rebus, I found the chemistry works to a tee!

Updates:

Qi Ji has since upgraded their Laksa menu, there are no more cockles, replacing with clams. And they are now serving brown rice mee hoon (thick vermicelli) with their Laksa (option: noodle) instead. With that healthy upgrades, a price rise of mere 10⊄ is more than reasonable.

PappaRich

Published June 6, 2016 by piggie

PappaRichI have heard about PappaRich for sometime, but never tried until now. They are a restaurant franchise from the other side of the causeway and I always believe that I can get cheaper Malaysian cuisine elsewhere rather than paying premium prices at their restaurants here. It’s hard to argue about that, but the fact is, PappaRich has a vast collection of Malaysian delights consolidated under one roof, and it’s a convenient choice for our Muslim friends pampering their taste buds with their love ones as well as for visitors from other countries to have a glimpse what most Malaysian cuisines are about, minus anything that do with pork of course.

Pappa Prawn Mee, S$10.90++

Pappa Prawn Mee, S$10.90++

I won’t pretend their Prawn Mee is wonderful, but it’s decent nonetheless. With shredded chicken, 4 pieces of big prawns, hard boiled egg, bean sprouts, and water spinach. The soup is moderately sweet, but a good prawn broth usually comes richer.

Ipoh Kuay Teow Soup with Steamed Chicken, S$10.90++

Ipoh Kuay Teow Soup with Steamed Chicken, S$10.90++

The Kuay Teow soup came with flat rice noodle, spring onions, chives, and bean sprouts. I’m not a great fan of their chicken broth Kuay Teow Soup, which is light, and unremarkable for that price if not for the accompanying steamed chicken. Their steamed chicken is simply outstanding and deserves ranking among the best steamed chicken in Singapore! The meat are tender, oily, and taste marvelous with the soy sauce. PappaRich do serves steamed chicken with rice in their menu, and I suggest for those who like to try their steamed chicken to go along with rice. I will probably try it in my subsequent visit.

2nd Visit

Ipoh Kuay Teow Soup with Prawns & Chicken Slices, $9.90++

Ipoh Kuay Teow Soup with Prawns & Chicken Slices, $9.90++

This dish is quite similar to that of Ipoh Kuay Teow Soup with Steamed Chicken above, same bland soup, but with the addition of chicken slices and prawns. However, given a choice though, I’d still prefer one that comes along with the steamed chicken, because the nicely marinated chicken managed to bring the taste up by a small level.

Pappa Char Kuay Teow, $9.90++

Pappa Char Kuay Teow, $9.90++

This wok-fried flat noodles include 4 prawns, egg, cockles, chives, and bean sprouts. On its look, it certainly is attractive, and many diners ordered this dish while I was there. Indeed, it tastes good, probably the closest it can go to the real thing without the use of lard. However, it’s a healthier choice, and this remains the best order I had there!

Flavours at Zhongshan Park

Published June 12, 2014 by piggie

Flavour_bibiksI don’t usually like to blog about buffet, but guess I’ll just make this rare exception. As usual, most buffet restaurants have their hits and misses, and likewise I found at Flavours for their Afternoon with the Bibiks high tea. In the first place, $28++ is a reasonable price for a hotel restaurant, and under such circumstances, one cannot really expect loads of seafood. Yet, Flavours’ variety certainly did not disappoint. Despite branding it as Peranakan and Dim Sum high tea, they do serve a little beyond the main theme, with a very slight touch of Japanese and Western to go along.

IMG_2462-Flavours1Let’s look at my first platter, comprising Mee Tai Bak Goreng, Roti Jala with Chicken Curry, Chicken satays, fried carrot cake, Fish Tofu, Siew Mai, & Har Gau. The truly outstanding one here has to be their Mee Tai Bak Goreng, its appearance alone was already eye-catching, and fried to the right altitude, with enticing aroma that matched its taste. I found their fried carrot cake a tad plain though, blame it on my high standard perhaps, but ever since I tried Toa Payoh Lorong 1’s Chey Sua carrot cake (white), I never found any other pleasing. Siew Mai and Har Gau were satisfactory, above average, but may be it’s the mass-produced effect, I found them a little dry for my liking. I was initially impressed by the large satay, and greedily took a few sticks to satiate my desire. It turned out to be a slight disappointment. Firstly, I’d love the gravy to have more peanut paste (and more spices please!), but more importantly, the satays needed to be grilled longer until a little burnt, just so the meat could be more fragrant and offer some crunchiness on the bite. I understand it would be more sinful to the health, but this was how it was done traditionally. Just by grilling it lightly and rinsed with satay gravy doesn’t turn it into real satay, it’s just chicken stick that’s all, that failed to integrate with the gravy.

IMG_2464-Flavours2Alright, nothing to complain. I love sashimi, and these were just that little extra Japanese essence Flavours offer beyond their high tea theme. In-between, I also had steamed custard bun, steamed char siew bun, Kueh Pie Tee, kon-bak pau (Braised Pork Belly with Steamed Bun), tuna sandwich, egg sandwich, but non of these impressed me although mum was full of praise for their char siew bun and kon-bak pau. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s poor, just that these lack that oomph factor that stand out from the rest. There were also various hot dogs, Popiah, more sandwich varieties, gorang pisang, as well as nonya pastries which I did not take because I’d love to reserve my capacity for other more appealing food… 😀

IMG_2465-Flavours3These!

I always love pastries and desserts, and I must confess, despite the limited variety, Flavours satisfied me with their desserts, including their chocolate fondue! The Durian Pengat is a must try, and recommended by many reviewers for its aroma, in fact it was so good, it paled the sago pengat right beside.

I next made my own shaved ice, I’m not sure whether to call it ice kacang or chengdol, but I mixed everything miserably and created something too ugly to be pictured. But one thing I mixed it right would certainly be the following…

IMG_2467-Flavours4Rojak!

For a beginner, I couldn’t fault my own work, but if I have to be mean (to myself), I would like to quote Gordon Ramsay’s favourite phrase… LOL (it definitely is NOT “LOL”)! Partly, I’d blame the prawn paste. It’s not that bad, just that I found it rather diluted despite adding quite a portion. The better rojak in Singapore all have thicker prawn paste, notably Soon Heng Rojak over at Toa Payoh HDB Hub across the highway, whom I regard as the best in Singapore. Again, having tried that, I have to say sorry to Flavours, they have much room for improvement on this, notably their prawn paste.

WP_000743-ice-creamAfter Rojak, I had a cup of Chin Chow drink (Bandung also available) before taking a durian potong ice cream. I was a little disappointed with these ice cream option, I’m not referring to the flavour variety, but offering potong ice cream is a big step backward for a good restaurant in terms of image. I can understand price constraint, but I personally feel it will be better offering F&N Magnolia ice cream, they have durian flavour too! To me, those scooped ice cream not only offer better taste, but better image too!

Alas, coming to the end of this post, there is one thing I’d highly recommend, the staffs at Flavours! Their presence and spontaneity were simply outstanding as they thrived to please customers like me, who didn’t even bother to dress for the occasion. In part, perhaps because the restaurant was not congested (over a Sunday afternoon), but the waiters and waitresses cleared our emptied plate promptly, and was very helpful when my mum asked for coffee and sugar. Like I elaborated, the food quality can be further improved, but it’s already moderately good enough if I don’t view it as a restaurant. Also worth mentioning is their long high tea duration, from 1pm to 5pm, though I very much doubt I can eat that long. LOL! Needless to say, I skipped dinner that evening.

Flavours at Zhongshan Park
Level 1, Ramada Singapore
16 Ah Hood Road
Singapore 329982
Tel: 68086846
Website: http://www.ramadasingapore.com/dining

 

Toast Box

Published May 28, 2014 by piggie

Usually, I’d rather not blog about mediocre food, but this was one so awful that I felt I have a social responsibility to warn potential patrons about yet another of BreadTalk co’s half-hearted attempt.

I have a long perception of their premium price but usually low quality food, but was somehow taken in by the picture of their Laksa and decided to trust them one more time. When I was at their outlet, I found their Laksa set meal cost $6.10, and came along with a cup of Barley drink or ice lemon tea. I felt the price was unreasonable (restaurants apart, not even the best Laksa in Singapore charges that much!), so settled for their Mee Rebus set meal instead, which was ‘slightly’ cheaper at $5. I thought if it failed me, then at least George Quek, the owner behind the franchise, would earn $1.10 lesser from me. LOL!

It was very miserable for $5. So bad that I felt I chose not to take any picture of it at all. Firstly, the gravy was mediocre, nowhere near the usual standard you would expect from any Malay stall in a coffee shop or hawker center, not to mention the price was very much higher. The fragrance of the gravy could only be considered good enough if it had come out from an amateur cook’s first attempt. Then, after charging $5 for what I learned to be very miserable portion of noodle with a glass of Barley drink, which looked half the portion on their display placard (does George Quek know what is the difference between a slope and a hill?), also they would be so stingy not to include peanuts nor coriander leaves as part of their ingredients! How much does peanut cost? S$25,000? Or George Quek had never tasted a genuine Mee Rebus in the first place? And let’s not even mention any concern of nuts allergy since they were selling peanut butter toast anyway.

After the meal, I left feeling cheated. So frustrated that, for once, I didn’t want to clear my tray upon leaving (I always do that in hawker centers and food courts). Yes, the rental may be high, and kudos to George Quek for generating job opportunities, I might as well help him with that, and he can really do with the over-charging to get additional cleaners. Really, the whole ingredients (including noodle, a mediocre portion of Tofu, green chili, sliced egg. Period) probably cost < S$1, I am willing to pay for quality food and keep my mouth shut if it’s of decent quality, but in this case, it’s truly implausible. It’s only slightly better than Singapore Armed Forces’ free cook house food long before they sub-contracted out their food catering back in the early 1990s, And I swear even the street vendors’ version I tried way back in the mid 1980s tasted better for a mere $1.20 then.

A NORMAL Mee Rebus from a food court, $3.50

Note: This is NOT from Toast Box, but how a NORMAL Mee Rebus from a food court is like, for merely $3.50

Now, let me share how a moderate Mee Rebus should look like. The above picture was taken from a normal food court (definitely not George Quek’s franchise), the portion was more than double that of Toast Box, with better gravy and more ingredients than Toast Box’s miserable version, and a more appealing outlook, tasted a few times better! No, I ain’t not bragging.

On a subsequent visit, I asked the cashier whether I could just have the stand-alone Bee Tai Bak (a kind of white, short and thick vermicelli) Laksa, minus the mediocre drink, and was offered the price of $5.10 too.

CIMG1225-ToastBox

Laksa Bee Tai Bak, $5.10 (or $6.10 with a glass of drink)

Hmm… at least something. It’s really worth trading in the mediocre drink for a slightly better meal like this at the same price of the set meal for their terrible mee rebus or mee siam, here with ingredients such as Tau Por (tofu puffs), fish cakes, half sliced egg, and three small prawns, but no cockle, the quantity of the ingredients still easily more than double that of the mee rebus. Seriously, having tried their lousy mee rebus, nothing much could have come worse. Despite that, I am not saying their Laksa deserve a mentioning. If I have to use one word to describe it, it will be mediocre. But at least the food portion is reasonable. The gravy is slightly spicy, though not hot enough to make me sweat, and the prawns tasted not fresh. Overall, the quality still lack behind general stalls from a normal food court, moreover with its price very much higher. Granted, given the name, perhaps I couldn’t expect any quality in their food other than their toast, but having also tried that before, it was about the worst among the local coffee franchise one can find in Singapore. Really, I still have that feeling of sponsoring much to their rental or to their shareholders’ pocket. Not a franchise I would recommend.

The Soup Spoon Union

Published April 28, 2014 by piggie

TSSUNION_MAINMENU_mainI am a little embarrassed to confess that although I had walked pass The Soup Spoon many times, but I never had the idea of patronising them ever. I probably still won’t had I not obtained some of their vouchers on the cheap.

On a Sunday evening, I decided to visit The Soup Spoon Union at Raffles City because it’s probably their biggest outlet, with a fusion of food variety which includes their trademark soup, as well as noodles and burgers.

Despite coming on a bustling Sunday evening, The Soup Spoon Union only had a moderate crowd as compare to many of their other restaurant peers around the vicinity. I thought we could have a seat first and casually browse through the menu, but that wasn’t the case. Patrons have to grab a copy of their menu (prices indicated are already inclusive of GST) at the queue entry and make payment (either by cash or NETS) before seating. That can be quite congested if there are more than 5 parties queuing as their holding area is rather small. After payment, patrons would be given a electronic beeper and free to select any seats inside the restaurant (yes, the waiters won’t be leading you, but you ain’t paying any service charge anyway).

The food was served surprisingly fast, within a couple of minutes upon seating. That only means one thing, they are super efficient, but most significantly, the food were prepared well in advance and merely rinse through with broth (if any) before serving.

Pulled Pork Burger, $10.80

Pulled Pork Burger, $10.80

I had a Pulled Pork Burger from their ala-carte menu, and surprisingly, the pulled pork was very well marinated, probably the best I ever tried, retaining that right balance of sweetness, and topped with lettuce, tomato, and vegetable salad. Though I feel at such price, it seems a little ex, but pulled pork is a lot of work, involving hand-pulled before marinating (probably that’s why they called it Handburger?), and to obtain an optimum taste is not easy, however, they did it.

Tokyo Chicken Stew, $7.50

Tokyo Chicken Stew, $7.50

The bread that came along with this order was very different from that on their menu, which was suppose to be a small French baguette. Instead, we were given a ciabatta, though personally, I would have preferred the later anyway. The actual soup was also looked entirely different as well. It is understood that The Soup Spoon had simmered the marinated chicken into a broth of sake and mirin, and served together with ingredients such as lotus roots, shiitake, enoki mushroom, white radish, and bamboo shoots. The overall flavour was moderate, expected that of the mushrooms and chicken soup, but done with a Japanese touch.

Indonesian Soto Ayam, $10.80

Indonesian Soto Ayam, $10.80

The next order we had was Indonesian Soto Ayam, basically glass noodle with grilled chicken leg, in chicken broth spiced with galanga, lemongrass, candlenuts, egg, served with chili, Indonesian soy sauce, crispy fried shallots, potato crisps, and a slice of lemon. Apparently, the drumstick was pre-grilled, but it made little difference as it was soaked into the broth anyway, the meat was tender nevertheless. The broth tasted light, lacking strong characteristic, at best moderate in my opinion. After all, I got to admit I am never a fan of Mee Soto in the first place.

In general, I had difficulty identifying the genre of the food they serve, I suppose I can call it a fusion, with a trail of all things Asian.

The Soup Spoon Union
Raffles City Shopping Centre
252 North Bridge Road #B1-61
Singapore 179103
Open daily: 10.30am – 10.00pm
Tel: 63343220