Thursday, August 28, 2014

Datouxia in Upper Aljunied

The quest for the ultimate prawn noodle continues...with Wah Kee firmly seated at the throne, in my view, many young new challengers arise to take a shot...some fall short, but some, come amazingly close!

This is one of them. Quite amazing, considering that this shop is little over a month old when I was invited to visit. 

Straight into the noodles...first up, the big prawn dry noodle.

The broth is made by fresh sea prawns, and boiled with pork bones, ground prawn heads for hours to create the rather thick consistency, and full flavoured broth. The prawns used were quite large, halved in the middle for ease of eating, and were fresh prawns from the wet market which they buy every day. 

The taste was rather good. The prawns were fresh, crunchy, with a nice crustacean sweetness. The broth was, as mentioned, thick and quite flavourful. I tasted a hint of sweetness, and indeed some rock sugar was used in the preparation. A little of the powdered chilli elimated this altogether, and in my books a game changer. The broth took on a more savoury persona, full of umami, and very flavourful. 

As can be seeen in the pic above, a lot of lard crisps and deep fried shallots were piled on the bowl imparting a wonderful aroma and flavour. Very good in my books. 

My lunch companions had the soup variety

They offer also pork ribs and pig tails with the prawns on the noodles. They also offer a chilli paste which is also quite marvellous. A bit akin to XO sauce, but perhaps with less premium ingredients...the paste is made with chilli, belacan and dried prawns (hae bee). This adds a powerful umami kick to the noodles. 

For me, the soup is rather nice. But Penang Kia at Compassvale has a more flavourful and tasty soup. And Wah Kee has bigger prawns which are just as fresh, and as great tasting, with a broth which is more reminiscent of French bouillabaisse than any Prawn Noodle soup I have tasted. But Datouxia seem to have captured a nice happy medium in between offering an excellent broth and beautiful, fresh prawns. I highly recommend this Prawn Noodle. 

We also sampled the ngor hiang

I thought this plate to be rather average...nothing outstanding. Indeed, when queried, they do not make the ngor hiang but buy from the same supplier who supplies the Beach Road Prawn Noodle shop in East Coast.

The shop is opened by a young fellow, Ah Ann, who learned his craft as a cook doing economy rice, but yearned to venture out to do Prawn Noodles. He was inspired by the Beach Road Prawn Noodle...which he thought had such great potential, with good clientele, but yet, the food falls short of expectation. I agree with this assessment. 

He went back to his hometown of Alor Star and to Penang and Johor Bahru to try and learn how to do the prawn noodle, but even when he offered to pay for the recipe and tuition, nobody wanted to teach him. So he drove to the stalls he admired in Singapore at 4am in the morning, and observed how they made their prawn noodle. With some creativity, some tips from friends, and I guess a good palate, he came up with his own recipe. Enterprising indeed. And highly recommended for Prawn Noodle.

383 Upper Aljunied Road,
Singapore 367868
Phone: +65 90622342
Operating Hours: 7.30 am to 9.30 pm daily

Monday, August 25, 2014

Dong Po Colonial Cafe in Kandahar St

Last week I talked about an innovative Nanyang Kopi stall in ABC. This week, we explore how another traditional kopi tiam has taken innovation and modernized their offerings.

Situated in a restored shophouse in Kandahar, nestled just a few doors away from Sabar Menanti and Rumah Minang. The shop is rather quaint, with a name like Dong Po Colonial Cafe, it certainly looks the part. The interior is air conditioned, with tables and chairs reminiscent of the good old days. 

An old, Flying Pigeon bicycle is used as a decorative prop by the five foot way and one can certainly sit outdoors. I cycled there on one of my visits there, and sat outside by my bike. 

The coffee is a rather standard offering of Nanyang Kopi. Pleasantly aromatic, with a good mouthfeel and body, but not strikingly unusual.

The toast I have next to the coffee, is something quite special, and which I adore

Called the Bostock, this is usually made with brioche, but the innovation here is it is made with freshly baked (in-house) local style bread. Topped with an almond syrup and toasted almond flakes and dusted with castor sugar. The taste is rather mild...with the toasted almonds providing most of the flavour and aroma. I rather liked it. 

On another occassion, we tried the huge French toast with ice cream

This is truly enourmous. The bread is baked in-situ, and lightly coated with egg, lightly toasted, 
and stuffed with butter, topped with a vanilla ice cream, a dollop of fresh cream on the side and drizzled with honey. Quite nice. The bread was crusty, slight crispy outside but remained soft and moist within. Very nice contrasting textures between the bread crust, bread inside, the ice cream and the fresh cream. 

Nice, quaint place for a cuppa. Highly recommended.

Dong Po Colonial Cafe
56 Kandahar Street
6298 1318
Tue-Thurs 930am-830pm
Fri-Sun 930am-930pm
Closed on Monday

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hylam Street Old Coffee at ABC Brickworks

Nanyang kopi has its own charms, even for one almost totally entrenched in the espresso culture.

I have written about espresso in Singapore and the waves of progress. But quietly, the nanyang kopi scene remains as a constant support to the coffee drinking public. Instead of $4.50 typical for a double espresso, only $0.90 for a kopi-o. Black coffee, made by the immersion method using a sock.

Almost everywhere, these kopi tiams (coffee shops) offer low cost coffee and tea to the masses. Almost all the time, they make the coffee using Robusta beans, often mixed with maize and often roasted with margarine. The roast is usually quite dark, and sometimes some sugar is added during roasting, making a caramalized roasted bean, very dark. This makes a dark brew, black, thick, and for the better ones, with a beautiful aroma.

But this little store, tucked in the corner of ABC Brickworks does something I have never seen in a kopi tiam. The gentleman who makes the coffee, the barista I guess, grinds each pot of coffee on demand. All the other stalls around the island use powdered coffee, pre-ground to make pots which are diluted to make the cups of coffee. I guess each pot making about 10 cups or so. The pot brews thick, and the coffee is diluted as it is poured into a heated serving cup...according to the order. One can order "pok" meaning thin or more dilute like an Americana, or "gao" or thick meaning less dilution.

Note the grinder in the background on the left of the photograph.

The same sock immersion method is used, but for each pot, the uncle grinds his coffee from beans. This alone makes the coffee much more aromatic, and a great difference.

The kopi-o is black, thick, and wonderfully fragrant. Much more than any other kopi-o I have tasted in town. He also makes a nice tea. And of course, kopi, kopi-c, and kopi peng...translated, coffee with condensed milk, coffee with evaporated milk, and iced coffee with evaporated milk.  Along with toasted bread with bread and butter/kaya, and half boiled eggs. The food is not spectacular, rather perhaps just a bit above average, but the kopi is outstanding.

Hylam Street Old Coffee
ABC Brickwoods Food Centre, Blk 6 Jalan Bukit Merah #01-53 s150006 (Bukit Merah)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sum Kee Food at Yeo's Building Pasir Panjang

I have passed this place often. Often intrigued, but never tried. One of our watch gatherings, we decided to try this place out. And were we impressed!

So the cat is out of the bag...innovative cze char style food, with crazy creative names. Very nice environment, great food, good service. The owner Mr. Sum came up to chat with us after our meal, when we decided to move to the outdoor seating for some cigars and finish our cognac. Interesting fellow. Corkage is nominal $1 per person, and he will gladly provide stemware.

We started with some appetizers...interestingly named Bikini Chicken

Deep fried chicken skin: crispy, and light, not greasy. The taste is very mild, but the crispy texture is wonderful.

Next, Kung Fu Pork Ribs

Quite unlike any pork ribs we have eaten. The pork is lightly battered, and deep fried. The sauce is quite interesting...slightly sweet, slightly sour, slightly salty, and lightly spicy. Very nice. The sauce comes with jullianed cucumber, carrots and bits of onion.

The star for me, was the Wallet Chicken...this item is not on the menu

A whole chicken, totally deboned, and stuffed with glutinous rice, diced chicken meat, peanuts, chestnuts and dried shitake mushroom...every part of the chicken, including the drumstick and wings are deboned and stuffed.

The stuffing is a bit like a bak chang...wondefully moist. Very delicious.

The chicken meat is deep fried till crisp, note the blisters on the skin testament to the very hot oil used for the deep fry. The meat tasted like just any other fried chicken...but for me, the speciality in this dish is the stuffing.

We also had Ultra Man Chicken

Chicken nuggets, coated with salted egg yolk, fried till golden brown. This style is commonly used for prawns, but this is the first time I have eaten this with chicken. Works well...makes me wonder why others have not tried. Nice.

We also had Wa Wa Tofu.

Typical cze char stuff...but very well done. The tofu was fragrant, and very silky smooth...wa wa means smooth in Chinese. The vegetables were fresh, lightly fried, and still crunchy. The gravy, thicken with eggs was delectable.

We needed the all important prawn dish, as one of our members is a prawn Sambal Prawns:

I had expected the prawns to be larger, but other than the size, everything was great. Appropriately spicy, the fresh, succulent prawns had a crunchy bite and had a light fragrance of the sea and the sweetness typical of seafood.

The Jew Her Eng Chye  - cuttlefish with kangkong.

Nice. Reminiscent of the old stall at Gurney Drive in Penang. The eng chye was fresh, young, cooked expertly such that it still full of vigour and crunchy to the bite. The cuttlefish, I suspect is not the fresh variety, but rehydrated from dried cuttlefish, had a nice bite, and a great texture. The sauce was rather special...sweet, slightly spicy. Superb. One of the best I have tasted in Singapore.

Beef with bittergourd was next

The chef did everything right with this dish. But nothing stands out. The beef was tender, cooked just so, the bittergourd was not overly bitter, just a tinge of bitterness on the tongue, and giving way quickly to a sweet and lingering after taste. 

And the requisite spinach with three types of eggs.

Masterfully done. Cooked just right, with fresh high quality ingredients. The broth was very savoury and aromatic. 

Overall, as I had let the cat out of the bag earlier, highly recommended. Plenty of free parking outside. Reservations recommended for weekend dinners and weekday lunches.

Singapore 108942
Tel 1: 6737 3233
Tel 2: 6333 8556
Open daily

Monday, August 11, 2014

Lobster Porridge and other delectable cze char dishes at Maude Road

I wrote about our fondness for lobster porridge, and a very good one near Margaret Drive. But Chui Xiang is no more...the place where it was housed is slated to be demolished, and I understand the owners decided to reduce the operations to a stall in MDIS. So our search for a replacement began in earnest.

This little corner restaurant along Maude Road, near Little India came with lots of bloggers' recommendation...perhaps its because the PR people have been working the blogosphere with tastings. I did not participate in the tasting, but reading the review, decided to have a go at the lobster porridge.

A small portion, good for 2 pax is served with a medium sized lobster...about 450g fresh. Calling it a lobster is a bit of a misnomer, as lobsters have claws, but this was rather a crayfish or a rock lobster, dwelling in warm waters and lacking the said claws. More like a very large prawn, I guess.

The lobsters were nice and rather a bit larger than the Chui Xiang ones, though combined, they probably weigh almost the same. As a result, the Wanhelou ones here were a bit more meaty. The flesh was quite firm, had the requisite seafood sweetness and rather fresh. 

The porridge was cooked Teochew style, more like rice in a rich broth. The broth itself was nice, rich, If I were to make the obvious comparison, we found the Chui Xiang broth to be a bit brighter, so to speak, more flavourful and more robust. The Wan He Lou version was a touch heavy on the ginger...if it were to mask the less than fresh seafood, one can understand, but as the lobster was very fresh, this was not not essential, and I view it as perhaps a bit heavy. But it was still delicious, and made a nice filling meal.

We also had the kurobuta pan fried pork

The sauce was quite similar to what one would use for a char siew, I would imagine. And as a lover of char siew, I found this to be very nice. The pork was fat, tender, and had the slight hint of porkiness which provides a punch and dimension to the dish. Very nice. 

We also ordered the silver fish fried rice.

This was rather superb. The rice was nice and dry. The dish bursting with lots of ingredients, and tossed in a very hot wok with silver fish, scalions, eggs, small scampi, a bit of pork sausage. Scrumptious. Wok Hei was very powerful on the dish. Definitely a very agreeable fried rice.

Having sampled a small number of dishes, I think I can muster this restaurant a recommendation. I will be back to sample more of the rather large menu, and no doubt will enjoy it. 

Wan He Lou Chinese Restaurant
Daily: 11:00 - 14:30, 17:00 - 22:30

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Jia Wei White Beehoon near ABC Brickworks

White beehoon is quite an interesting dish. I wrote about the famous You Huak in Sembawang earlier, and found another, much nearer to my home at Blk 2 next to ABC Brickworks.

Called Jia Wei, it is run by an unassuming gentleman, and we have grown to like the home style cooking there...home style but prepared in a manner that is possible in a regular the har cheong kai...needs a literal bucket of hot boiling oil to make these:

Crisply fried in really hot boiling oil...I was told vegetable oil, so, um...a bit less unhealthy. The insides are still very juicy and really tender. The marinade is not as salty as many other HCK, so in that sense kind of home made. We love it. Only the mid-wing is used.

But the namesake of the cze char stall is the white beehoon. 

A really superb dish. The broth is very savoury, almost thick, but not quite...a wonderful umami mouthfeel and very satisfying. The beehoon is kind of springy, and the kind which remain so, not fully absorbing the broth and becoming bloated. The prawns are fresh, crunchy, with a nice breath of the sea. Very nice dish. Almost as good as the famous You Huak in Sembawang. 

Highly recommended for these two dishes. Their other cze char dishes are less spectacular, but still very nice to eat. 

Jia Wei White Beehoon (家味白米粉)
Block 2 Jalan Bukit Merah (Beside ABC Brickworks Market), Singapore

Monday, August 4, 2014

Texas Fried Chicken Jalapeno TXtreme Chicken

I don't normally blog about fast food...this might actually be the first...but I am impressed with this fried chicken.

Newly launched the Jalapeno TXtreme Chicken is an interesting one. With a rather thick crust which is very crispy and crunchy, the thin batter is also very spicy. And unlike many fried chicken from fast food outlets, the chicken is really moist, tender and juicy within. 

The chicken is unique...perhaps...they claim to use fresh chicken, and the cooking and preparation is three step. Step 1 is a mix of jalapeno peppers, habanero peppers, garlic, chilli, onion, fennel and seasonings for 12 hours. Next the chicken is hand battered, so that there is no exessive batter and ensure an even coating. And finally a salsa seasoning is sprinlked before the chicken is served...fresh from the fryer...well that is from the publicity blurb.

And on is exactly that. The batter is rather hard, crunchy crispy, with powerful hot pepper notes. As one bites into the chicken, the hot juices spill out, threatening to scald...the chicken is indeed prepared almost a la minute and served while piping hot...unlike some fast food chicken, which in the name of being served fast has been precooked and sitting on the warming tray for a while.

And finally, the chicken is indeed very tender and as mentioned juicy. Thumbs up. 

The biscuit accompanying is nice and fluffy, with a touch of honey on the top and a beautiful fragrance of butter. Accompanied with either french fries, mashed potatoes, coleslaw and a drink, the combination is available for S$8.20 at all Texas Fried Chicken outlets islandwide.

Texas Fried Chicken
Jalapeno TXtreme Chicken 
tasted at Expo outlet
Numberous outlets islandwide

Monday, July 28, 2014

STREET 50 National Day Buffet Highlights

I have reviewed the food at STREET 50 located at Bay Hotel a few times. It is one of the interesting places, a bit out of the way, but usually one which can be depended on for a nice, quiet meal.

For National Day, they have, for only August 9, a special buffet. I was invited to do a tasting of the highlights. Many thanks to Wanzhen of Craft Communications for the invitation and hosting the delightful dinner.

To start off, we had Tiger Prawns with warm ginger sauce

Beautifully fresh tiger prawns were marinaded in ginger juice and steamed. A helping of home made ginger sauce is ladled atop, and served. The prawns were fresh, and crunchy...and had a nice aromatic kick due to the ginger. Simple but delicious.

We then had the experience of the chef's local favourites with a twist...steamed hainanese chicken rice...but served with breaded chicken rice balls.

As can be seen, the chicken is almost bog standard...nicely done, cooked just so...the meat was tender and juicy...and passes muster, but hardly original or interesting. 

What made the dish interesting was instead of just chicken rice balls, a la those served in Malacca and in one restaurant in Square 2, the rice balls, made from chicken rice, was breaded, and lightly fried. The outer crust of the bread crumbs were crispy, and the chicken rice within rich, bursting with flavour, and still very moist. I found the chilli which is made from tomato chutney to be quite piquant and uplifting as well, though like many dishes in this tasting (and earlier tasting) to be a tad sweet...not too sweet, but on the sweet side of neutral. I guess the chef has a predisposition towards a sweet palate.

The next dish blew my mind. Penne with chilli crab sauce

Absolutely my favourite for the evening. The penne was cooked perfectly - al dente, and very nice. The sauce was something else. Sweet, slightly sour and powerfully spicy, with a touch of sweetness. The crab meat added another dimension and a depth to the taste. The dish is prepared a la minute, as pasta dishes should, and definitely a must try.

The spread on the buffet is quite substantial, but these were the highlights. Other dishes on the buffet spread are dishes like braised sea cucumber with baby abalone, fried scallop cake with yam, bak kut teh, Teochew braised duck and their popular durian pengat:

Crepe, like those prepared in a French styled Creperie, wrapping a cold dollop of pure durian, a dash of gula melaka makes this a beautiful dish to was the meal down with a sweet note. 

The National Day Buffet is only for August 9, and is priced at S$49++ for adults with a complimentary Singapore Sling, and for every 3 paying adults, the fourth pays only S$4.90++. Children at S$25++ will come with a complimentary Merlion Swing mocktail.

STREET 50 Restaurant & Bar
Bay Hotel Singapore
50 Telok Blangah Road, Singapore 098828
Tel: +65 6818 6681
Opening Hours: 6am – 4am

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Madrina Pizza at Queens Road

Pasta...who can resist it? The bane of weight watchers because it packs a wallop of carbohydrates. But I love it...

And use the excuse of my cycling as the need to eat plenty of carbs. In this review, I want to touch on one of our go to places for pasta, mainly because it is very near to our home, but also it is quite good, and we love the quiet ambience on weekdays.

My standard to judge pasta places is the deceptively simple aglio olio...just spaghetti tossed with olive oil, garlic, chilli and some herbs. I usually add some prawns as it goes particularly well with the aglio olio.

Simple dish, yet deceptively difficult. The pasta must be done just right, al dente. The virgin olive oil sufficient, but not too much as it will make the dish greasy. The bits of garlic, chopped parsley were nice, fragrant. And the prawns were superb. Very fresh, crunchy, sweet and tasty.

Kin had her spaghetti carbonara

To our taste too! The pasta was al dente as with the aglio olio. And the sauce was quite rich, it should be. The crispy bacon bits and shards of parmigiano completed the dish. We loved it! In true Italian style, the sauce was to be enough to stick to the pasta and no more. Too many Italian places in Singapore leave a pool of sauce after one finishes the pasta. This is not how it is meant to Italy, the sauce is to accompany the pasta, so it needs to be enough, and not too much. 

When Edwards eats with us, these days he is serving his NS...we needed another dish...and to mix things up, we tried (for the first time after years eating here, we always had the pastas...but we tried this time) the pizza.

Pizza with cooked parma ham, with plenty of rucola leaves. We lapped it up too...for some reason, the cooking just suits our taste. The bread was thin, crispy on the bottom, and only slightly fluffy...not chewy at all. The toppings were very good, and the ham was very nice. We found the rucola a bit much, but I am not one to complain about that, as I love it just as a salad.

For us, this little restaurant just works. I try not to compare it to the other Italian restuarants I have eaten, but I dare say it compares well. We will return for many more meals there.
Daily: 11:30 - 14:30
Daily: 17:30 - 22:00

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tiong Bahru Boneless Hainanese Chicken Rice in Changi Village

Interesting name for a shop which is in Changi Village. I don't quite know the origins of the shop, but I would imagine it was in Tiong Bahru at one time in history.

But all the historical aspects is useless if the chicken rice is not good. And as they say, for a good chicken rice, the rice, the chilli and the chicken must pass that order.

And this chicken rice meets all the criteria, with room to spare. The rice is beautifully fragrant, not greasy, but fragrant infused with chicken fat...not too starchy, nice and chewy as I like it...a bit on the al dente side. 

The chilli is marvellous. That's why I have surrounded the plate with a moat of chilli. Piquant, slightly sour, slightly salty, very spicy. Magnificent.

And the chicken is also beautiful. This single plate version with skinless breast meat...sometimes breast meat can be a bit tough and dry. But not this one...moist, very nice. Fragrant, savoury. 

Excellent plus plus. Highly recommended.

Tiong Bahru Boneless Hainanese Chicken Rice
5 Changi Village Road

Monday, July 14, 2014

Crystal Jade Korean Ginseng Chicken and BBQ Restaurant in Ngee Ann City

I make no secret of my fondness with the food from Crystal Jade chain of restaurants. From their Hong Kong styled dim sum, to fine dining, and the Korean styled restaurant reviewed here.

Celebratigf its 10th year, the Korean restaurant has moved to a new location at Basement 2 of Ngee Ann City. I went for a tasting of the main dishes, many thanks to Crystal Jade's Samantha for hosting and JJ for invitation.

As a starter, 6 different types of Korean appetizers...but here are my favourites: the Stewed Top Grade Beef Ribs

This is my absolute favourite amongst the dishes tasted that afternoon. The beef is Australian prime beef ribs are tenderly braised for several hours with rock sugar, pepper, sesame, red dates, ginger, garlic, apples, pears, carrots and radish. With the slow simmering, the meat is cooked over the low heat and is very tender, while full of flavour. Absolutely delicious. The radish has also absorbed the beef flavours very well and is very tasty.

Of course, the namesake Korean Ginseng chicken

An absolute favourite in Korea, especially during the summer months, this dish is known for its ability to provide stamina and strength to endure the long, hot months. A fresh young chicken is stuffed with glutinous rice, red dates and ginko nuts, and simmered in ginseng water and Korean ginseng. The pot is sealed and steamed for 1.5 hours before combined with a rich chicken stock and boiled slowly for a further 3 hours. 

The taste is marvellous. The meat and rice is aromatic, and the chicken is very tender, while still retaining the flavour. The ginseng root itself was a bit bitter but on the palate gives way to a light sweetness characteristic of ginseng. Very nice.

We also the BBQ.

Shown above, my favourite which is marinated beef short ribs. Marinated over 3 hours in a secret recipe, then broilled over a gas fire for a short while. Very tender, and flavourful. I preferred the stewed short ribs, but this is quite good too.

And a beautiful dessert to end the meal

Known as "baesuk" in Korea as a remedy for colds and coughs, the Crystal Jade version is made the traditional Chinese way with whole snow pears double boiled with chuan bei, dried longans and rock sugar. The chuan bei is a traditional Chinese medicine to treat dry coughs. In the cold version we were served, it was a fitting end to a beautiful meal, refreshing and nourishing. 

Excellent meals to be had. The braised beef ribs will keep me coming back for more...eaten with just a bowl of steamed rice...magnificent. Highly recommended.

Crystal Jade Korean Ginseng Chicken and BBQ Restaurant
Mon - Fri: 11:00 - 15:00
Mon - Fri: 17:30 - 23:00
Sat, Sun & PH: 11:00 - 23:00

Monday, July 7, 2014

More Prawn Mee: Joo Chiat Prawn Mee

One of the older prawn mee stalls around, and as I understand a spin off run by the daughter of the famous Beach Road stall, this little stall is tucked in a quiet residential street near Joo Chiat.

It came highly recommended for the flavourful soup and the tender pork while I tend to order only prawns for my prawn noodles, I tried the pork rib version this time.

I was not disappointed. The broth is old school...very tasty, bursting of umami, and very flavourful. The prawns were quite large, fresh and sweet, nice bite, and very tasty. The pork ribs were very tender...almost cliche fork tender, and rather nice. The deep fried shallots and pork lard crisps complete the ensemble, making it wonderfully aromatic and very tasty. The noodles were cooked the soft side of a bit over, but not too much, and still had some life in it to have some bite.

Overall, a nice bowl of prawn noodles. The soup, which it was famous for, however I feel is bested by the Penang Kia at Compassvale. The broth there was more robust, even more flavourful. But Joo Chiat Prawn Mee deserves a recommendation.

Closed on Tue, Wed to Mon: 7:30 am - 3:00 pm

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Penang Delights Prawn Noodles

The prawn noodle fascination continues with recommendations from friends. This one by a foodie friend who prefers this over my favourite Wah Kee.

Of course, with recommendation this high, I just had to try it. 

I ordered the speciality Penang Prawn Noodle, they use small prawns, and in a dry noodle

With lots of fried shallots, pork...the whole concoction looks a bit messy. The noodles were nicely cooked...I had the beehoon mee. But the broth were a little too sweet for me. In Penang, the Hokkien Prawn Mee often is cooked with a touch of rock sugar in the broth, but this is way too sweet. This version is the dry version, and they added tomato sauce, something one would NEVER find in Penang. The chilli was also a bit sweetish. The prawns were small, quite sweet and fairly intense in flavour. But overall, this dish does not do it for me. 

We also tried the more regular Singapore style prawn noodle

This goes a bit better with my palate, but the broth was mild, almost tasteless. the prawns were ok, but not exceptional. The broth is similar to the first bowl, a bit too sweet.

A quick look on the blogosphere revealed that it did get good reviews from many respected bloggers, so I guess there is no accounting for taste. And I strike this one as one which, unfortunately the taste does not quite agree with my palate. So no recommendation from me, but do give it a try, it might just be your taste.

Penang Delights

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tale of two Mee Poks: Tua Kong and 132

Mee Pok is one of the standards and staples of the Singapore hawker scene. Some have elevate it to artisanal level. Witness the Tai Hwa in Crawford Lane. And the Jalan Tua Kong.

Originally from Jalan Tua Kong, this veritable shop now occupies the corner coffee shop in Simpang Bedok. The workers wear T shirts bearing the inscription "Art of Mee Pok"

I visit often to this shop. But recently, over a period of a week, I went twice. The first order was $6.50 and the second order $4.50. The first visit, was on a Friday, and I had a rather regular Tua Kong Mee Pok

Unusual in that it had prawns, minced and sliced meat, fishcake. And a very nicely done mee pok. The broth on this dry version was thick and wonderfully savoury, with great umami. And coupled with pork lard and lard crisps make a satisfying meal. The chilli proved to have a strong kick, and very tasty. Though, a bit pricey at $6.50 a bowl. 

A few days later, on the following Friday, we ordered the least expensive option at $4.50:

No sweet succulent prawns. In its place, two fish balls, and the rest was similar. Taste wise this was not a bad bowl. But the question is...what does the $2 buy you? Indeed it is not a lot of money, but proportionally $2 is 45% more expensive. The jury is out on this one.

Not far away, in Marine Terrace, the 132 Mee Pok is another similar styled dish being served. As I queued at the stall, I read on the framed Straits Times report that this was possibly the stall which "invented" the mee pok. The next generation has taken over the business now, and continue to be quite popular.

For this, $5 portion, two very nice, fresh succulent prawns adorn, with fish cake slices, and fish ball. The noodle was done just right. There was precious little gravy, yes I know this is a dry noodle dish, but compared to the Tua Kong version which had a beautiful savoury gravy, this was rather dressed with pork a result a bit greasy. Taste wise it was superb. Very nice indeed. 

I can recommend the original Jalan Tua Kong version, but not the second one. The 132 version is also recommended if you are not averse to pork lard and a slightly greasier dish.

308 Bedok Road, Bedok Shopping Centre
Open 7.30am – 5pm
Closed Alt Mondays

Block 59 Marine Terrace
#01-105 MP 59 Food House
Open 7am - 4pm
Closed Mondays and 3rd Sundays of the month