Palate Pleasers N Tummy Teasers

Where to find cheap Japanese cuisine

August 28, 2008
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And we’re not just talking cheap food, it has to be decent-tasting stuff at the very least. Craving a Jap bento set or some curry udon yet holding back cos’ of the dreaded +++ that raise your bill beyond belief? Well, now you can satisfy those cravings and still be light on your wallet :) If you happen to live near the western side of this sunny isle, there’s the option of hopping over to the canteen at the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences at NUS; the Japanese food sold there is tasty and at student-friendly prices naturally. If a “journey to the West” sounds best to you only when it’s with reference to a book title, sit up and keep the following name in memory - Mansaku. I’m not too sure what this means in Japanese or if it’s even Japanese, but I do know that it works out to be somewhere along the lines of “cheap & good Jap food” for me :P

                        Salmon Set

Their popular Salmon Set. And I can see why too – The salmon fillets were fresh and pan-fried just right, doused with a sweet-salty sauce. The side of freshly shredded cabbage provided an added crunch. My only complaint was that the rice was a bit lumpy that day, but that is a minor gripe. With a meal like this costing under $7, they really don’t leave you much room to nit-pick ;)

                                       Mansaku

Business is so brisk that the owners, who used to operate both lunch and dinner shifts, need only open for lunch now. That means the stall is open from 11.30am till everything’s sold out (which usually doesn’t stretch beyond late afternoon) 8O Check out their Teriyaki Chicken set as well. The chicken is well-marinated, and the sauce fragrant without being overly salty like most teriyaki sauces used everywhere else.

Mansaku

#01-93 Golden Mile Food Centre (Beach Road)


Not your average instant mee

August 26, 2008
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I’m sure you’ve noticed the slew of Hong Kong char chan tengs mushrooming all over the island, the result of yet another food fad here. Everytime I browse through their menus of thick toasts, luncheon meat and egg sandwiches, bo lo buns and instant noodles, I get the sense that these are all dishes I could whip up at home. If I didn’t hate the washing up after that much :P

But food that can be easily prepared at home also means they most probably fall into the category of comfort food – food that warms your heart with the memories of home. And that is what’s offered at HK KimGary, the only char chan teng I know in Singapore which doesn’t have like 20 other outlets at every other mall. In fact, it is the only outlet here.

Korean mushroom noodles

Korean Instant Mee

I never thought I’d be impressed with instant mee, but I sure was with theirs. Using Korean brands of instant noodles that can be easily found in your local supermarket, their addition of ingredients such as corn kernels, ham and a sunny-side egg made this a wholesome, satisfying bowl of noodles. I especially liked how the corn gave the otherwise spicy soup base, a tinge of sweetness. The noodles had a surprisingly springy texture too. Like I said, something I could whip up at home if I really wanted to, but the idea of washing a greasy pan after frying some ham and egg just doesn’t appeal to me :neutral: Plus I can get a good meal here for under $10, so why not? ;)

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Hong Kong KimGary

#02-128 Vivocity

 

 


Posted in Cafes

What’s fish head bee hoon without the XO?

August 18, 2008
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Ever since I tried the famed Holland Village XO Fish Head Bee Hoon, I shy away from the typical virgin types sold everywhere else. It just isn’t the same without the booze – the ‘kick’ is lost. And so it was that my friends and I headed back to satisfy our cravings, the root of which stemmed from a bottle of XO that a mutual friend had brought to a drinking session awhile back :P

                         XO Fish Meat Bee Hoon

(XO Fish Chunks Bee Hoon for 2 – $12)

We were too lazy to deal with bones from fish heads hence the order of their XO Fish Chunks Bee Hoon. No bones, just meaty chunks of fish laced with a teeny aftertaste of XO. The highlight is of course the broth – milky, thick and sweet with just that bit of XO, I guess this is what would warrant the term “shiok” :D Just in case you’re wondering why there’s only a pathetic bit of green peeking out from the corner, the veg were all buried at the base of the serving pot.

Another crowd favourite is their Prawn Paste Chicken ($8) or “Har Jiong Gai”:

                                    Prawn Paste Chicken

I found theirs to be average cos’ it wasn’t as fragrant and crispy as I would have liked. The meat was also a bit dry though they did a good job in ensuring the chicken pieces weren’t overly greasy. In other words, not worth travelling down for but you can consider ordering it if you’re already there for their fish head bee hoon :)

On a final note, I’ve heard and also personally felt that the standard of fish head bee hoon here has taken a dip (as compared to some years back); I haven’t been able to find a ‘replacement’ thus far so any recommendations on places serving great XO fish head bee hoon would be much appreciated! Just post them in the comments section below :)

Holland Village XO Fish Head Bee Hoon

Blk 46, Holland Drive #01-359

Mon-Fri: 11.30am-2pm, 5-11pm

Sat & Sun: noon-2.30pm


Alco-Chocoholics Alert!

August 9, 2008
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If you love your chocolates as much as (or maybe even more than) your alcohol and the brand Royce doesn’t ring a bell, you have lived much of your life in vain. The only logical course of action now is, of course, to allow papilles to enlighten you on what you’ve been missing (before you run off to the store) :P

Nama Chocolate Aside from household Japanese confectionery brands like Meiji, Royce is another name that should pop up the next time you’re craving for quality chocolates but don’t wish to burn a hole in your pocket. Originating from Hokkaido, they carry a whole range of chocolate products from the usual bars and wafers to more quirky stuff like Potatochip Chocolate.

 Chocolate bars and the like are too boring for me, and I prefer my potato chips savoury so I tend to stick to their Nama Chocolate range. Albeit having a somewhat vulgar sounding name, these chocolates look and taste absolutely refined :D There’s the standard flavours of dark, milk and white but why bother with these when you can have champagne, V.S.O.P and every once in awhile, new flavours such as brandy, rum and green tea!

Rum Nama ChocolateA new flavour is launched every couple of months and here’s the current one (pictured right). These rum-infused cocoa-dusted nuggets melt in your mouth leaving you with a slight buzz from the generous alcohol content ;) And I did mention these won’t burn a hole in your pocket – at $14 for a box containing 20 pieces, it’s almost a steal for chocolates of a quality that would put some of the other designer brands to shame.

Royce outlets in Singapore can be found at Takashimaya Basement (where the food is) and Suntec City #01-142 (opposite Carrefour).


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