Palate Pleasers N Tummy Teasers

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).


Posted in Uncategorized

Dian Xiao Er – 17 July 2008

July 25, 2008
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Everytime I step into a Dian Xiao Er outlet, I feel as though I’m being transported back in time to the days when China was ruled by the imperial court, where it was the norm for men to sport long silky tresses and swordsmen downing jars of wine were as common a sight as HDB flats. The decor of their outlets really resemble those inns right out of a period drama :P

Apart from their quaint furniture, another draw of this place for me is, of course, their food! Just like their sister restaurant (Soup Restaurant) has a signature chicken dish, their specialty dish also features a bird:

                          Ten Wonder Duck

(Ten Wonder Duck – $12.80)

This Ten Wonder Duck is 1 of 3 versions of their trademark herbal roast ducks, which involve marinating the birds with herbs before roasting them in an oven. The number ten represents the 10 varieties of herbs and spices used in this dish. According to them, “a duck roasted in this manner is crisp to the touch and golden brown in appearance; its flesh tender and juicy with an overwhelming fragrance of herbs” :o Ok, they’ve said it all. Nothing much left for me to describe of this dish except to say that they aren’t lying ;) That said, this version boasts a somewhat sweeter taste as compared to the more savoury angelica root version. Both are good; depends on what your personal preferences are :D

                          E-fu noodle with Conpoy

(Stewed Ee-Fu Noodle with Conpoy & Golden Mushroom – $10.80)

If you love your mushrooms and ee-fu noodles like I do, this dish is a winning combination. The noodles are stewed thus allowing them to fully absorb the flavours of the conpoy shreds. Yum!

And the veg dish to round off the meal:

                                     XO Long Bean

(XO Long Beans – $10.80)

Long beans stir-fried in XO sauce – nothing spectacular and I couldn’t really taste much of the spiciness that’s associated with XO sauces. I found the long beans a tad undercooked as well.

I like that the chefs at Dian Xiao Er aren’t heavy-handed on the salt as some Crystal Jade outlets are wont to do, and that most of their fare taste pretty good. Check it out sometime if you haven’t already, and remember to order their herbal roast duck :D

Full list of Dian Xiao Er outlets here.


Posted in Restaurants

Local Breakfast Delights Part II

July 14, 2008
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I knew I would be heading back to Hainan Garden Market and Food Centre sometime after my previous post on it, hence my decision to chronicle my foodie finds in parts :)

The following will be a review of what I had on 2 separate occasions:

                                      Economic BeeHoon

                                                      (Economic BeeHoon – $3)

Settled for Economic BeeHoon one morning after wandering around and feeling uninspired as to what to have. The familiar Hup Lee (#02-29) signboard caught my eye and remembering the fragrant, tasty beehoon from their outlet at Kovan Market and Food Centre, I decided to stick with what I thought would be the “safer choice”. I even ordered the exact same ingredients that I’d usually have at Kovan. Unfortunately, signboards were the only thing these 2 stalls had in common. The noodles/beehoon at this outlet were bland and insipid; both veg I had tasted uncooked and hard. Deep-fried chicken wing? Mediocre. Another experience to remind me yet again that I should start avoiding f&b frachises like the plague; unless of course you’re McDonalds. Wait a min, I don’t even like Uncle Ronald all that much :neutral: My best memory of him would be how my sis used to burst into tears when my parents tried to make her share his wooden bench for a picture :lol: I guess having bright red hair and thick lips on a white-as-sheet face doesn’t endear you to children much.

Anyhowz, lesson learnt – To avoid disappointment, stick to your tried-and-tested stall instead of being lured by their franchises. Trust me on this; I’ve experienced franchise screw-ups across everything from zi char stalls to chinese desserts and even Crystal Jade. It seems that franchises work best if the stuff you’re selling belongs to one of the following categories: 1) frozen food (e.g burger patties) or anything that doesn’t require the skill of a chef to whip up, 2) drinks ala Starbucks, 3) you don’t sell food.

Tried Mong Kok Noodles (#02-41) again and this time I went for their Wanton Noodle Soup ($3):

                      Wanton Noodle Soup

I thought it was average. Nothing to shout about, though I must add that people are willing to wait for an hour for this on weekends. They are very generous with their noodles, which look nice and springy though they don’t taste so. Their wantons are ordinary; I’ve had better. Worth a try if the waiting time doesn’t stretch beyond 30 minutes.

P.S. I’ve updated stall numbers and pictures in my previous post on this place :D

Hainan Garden Market and Food Centre

Block 105, Hougang Avenue 1


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