Thursday, September 9, 2010

Restaurant Hopping: have you done this in one lunch?

My friend Larry is quite an extraordinary foodie...he is adept in finding little places...literal holes in the wall, where the food is quite excellent. Today, we had lunch, and went restaurant hopping...first course was a starter of steamed dim sum, then hot and spicy Thai, and finally a dessert of putu piring with teh tarik.

First off, Victor's Kitchen.

We had some steamed carrot cake, which is quite excellent...sorry no pics of the carrot cake, but it is excellent. Generous with the radish, and steamed to a consistency which I can only describe as just right. It is obvious the care and attention the owners and chef takes with their food. The dim sum is only put in the steamer on order...so sometimes it takes a while to be served. It is also obvious from the nai cha...characteristic iced milk tea, typical of Hong Kong cha chan teng.



The chef does not want to dilute the tea by putting ice inside the cup, but instead devices a simple yet effective method of keeping the chilled milk tea cold...Reminds me of a bottle of champagne sitting in its ice bucket, or drinking beer in India, though the practice is done for an altogether different reason...where as a foreigner, I fear for patogens in the unboiled water used to make the ice, so place the ice in a bucket surrounding the bottle.

We quickly proceeded a few doors away to Aroy Dee Thai...the place was already filling up fast with office workers and students from the nearby SMU.

Three dishes stood out. The Fried Tanghoon:



The tanghoon...is quite special. The strands of Thai vermicilli made from sticky rice...it is very springy, QQ in texture, and has well absorbed the braising liquid. A generous sprinkling of seafood and spring onions and taugeh complete this simple, but delicious dish...Aroy Dee!

The omelette is also very nice...and pretty too:



I always love the way the Thais do their eggs and omellettes. Especially what is known within Thailand as Thai Omelette...quickly fried...no correct that...flash fried in a super hot wok with scalding oil...so the omelette is fluffy but with crispy strands on the outside, and just barely cooked and still moist and almost runny on the inside. The other style is to make the omelette into a well cooked crepe like skin...and wrap this over either minced meat or fried kway teow. In this case, minced pork and seafood. Beautiful.

And finally, the piece de resistance...raw prawns with chilli dip.



This is superb. The prawns are shashimi fresh. Sweet, crunchy. The chilli sauce is oh so POWERFUL...not for the faint hearted. Very spicy, burn your tongue for the rest of the day spicy. Eater beware. But for those who can handle the heat, it is almost heaven! Slightly sweet, sour and very hot. It somehow is able to bring out even more flavours from the prawns. Another Aroy Dee!

Then finally, we travelled to Gelang Serai, to the Mr. Teh Tarek Restaurant, where Larry had found the best putu piring store in Singapore:



This is not your typical Kuih Tutu (the Peranakan call this kuih tutu, the Malays know the same dish as Putu Piring)...those sold in Food Courts or malls by syndicated vendors in their Tutu carts. This is the original ones. Freshly made with each order, they use real Gula Melaka, and super fresh, unpressed grated coconut. The taste is excellent. Soft, tender, melts in your mouth, fragrant, tasty, sweet are all adjectives which come to mind.



Victor's Kitchen
91 Bencoolen Street
#01-21 Sunshine Plaza
Tel: 9838 2851

Aroy Dee Thai Restaurant
91 Bencoolen St
#01-12 Sunshine Plaza
Singapore, Singapore
Tel : 63368852

Putu Piring at Mr Teh Tarek Eating House
970 Geylang Road

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