Bird's Nest with Crab Roe
I am a big fan of the Iron Chef series so when I heard that Iron Chef Chinese, Chen Kenichi was in town to open the Singapore branch of Shisen Hanten (四川饭店), I just had to head down to the Meritus Mandarin to see what Iron Chef cuisine tastes like.
Those of you who have been following the series would be familiar with Iron Chef Chen's exploits on the show. If memory serves me well, he is the longest serving Iron Chef with the longest streak of 14 consecutive victories. But more than that, I have always been impressed by his affable personality and down to earth modesty whenever he speaks to the audience.
Chen Kenichi's famous wok flip - Iron Chef!
One of Chef Chen's most iconic exploits is his wok flip where he throws a wok full of stuff impossibly high up in the air and catches it just before it hits the ground. I have seen some pretty weird and wonderful dishes that has been cooked in that wok and have always wondered what it would have tasted like! Chef jokingly told me that he had to come up with something to capture the audience attention and that was how he started doing the wok flip!
The bird's nest with crab roe is good example of the kind of food he could have wok flipped during the show. (Yes, imagine flipping a soup such that it turns 180 degrees in the air!) I was surprised to learn that this was a creation of his father, Chen Kenmin (aka "The Sichuan Sage") who arrived in Japan from Sichuan just after WWII. Chen Kenmin is widely acknowledged as the father of Sichuan cuisine in Japan. There was a lot of difficulty procuring authentic Sichuan ingredients in the early days, so he had to improvise with whatever ingredients he could lay his hands on to create dishes which best reflect the cuisine of his hometown.
The bird's nest with crab roe would not doubt remind you of sharksfin soup. I had initially assumed that this dish was a new creation in response to the decreased demand for sharksfin soup. But it has been around for decades. It is actually a great substitute for sharks fin soup and the bird's nest has a soft gooey, wispy texture which is quite delectable. The soup base has that special smokey, earthy flavour characteristic of Sichuan food which combines very well with the crab roe to make it rather shiok! 4.5/5
Another signature dish is the chilli prawns. Now, don't be shocked when I tell you that the sauce actually tastes very similar to our own chilli crab sauce. Sure enough, I found out Chef Chen's recipe includes the use of tomato ketchup and dou ban jiang (豆瓣酱 - chilli bean paste) which is quite similar to the recipe for chilli crabs. In Singapore, he serves this with a fried mantou because he knows of our local preference. The sauce is very good, but I was a little disappointed with the prawns that they use. Chef tells me that in Japan they use very nice prawns but over here they are still trying to procure the prawns that they want. 4/5
Mapo Tofu 麻婆豆腐
Mapo Tofu 麻婆豆腐 (pockmarked grandma tofu) is another of his signature dishes. Chef Chen tells me that his intention has always been to promote Sichuan cuisine by keeping it as authentic as possible. All the essential sauces are imported from Sichuan including the dried chilli which is one of the key ingredients of Sichuan cuisine. Mapo Tofu is one of those dishes that I make at home myself and I was pretty happy with my own version till I tried Chef Chen's dish. That was when I realized just what Mapo tofu was supposed to taste like. The sauce has that wonderful spicy, smoky, pungent, tangy flavour which leaves your palate with a pleasing numbness characteristic of Sichuan peppers. I found out later that they use a very special dou ban jiang from Sichuan which has been fermented for three years! I guess that is quite different from the stuff that I buy at the supermarket! 4.5/5
Cold Chicken with leeks, Cold Pork Belly, Kung Bao Scallops, Abalone with Chicken wing
The rest of the dishes were all very well executed as you would expect of any top class Chinese restuarant. There is just those little touches here and there that gives away the fact that the chef is Japanese, like how they debone the chicken wing in the stewed abalone dish and add homemade rice crisps to the kung pao scallops. Essentially, it tastes like well executed Chinese cuisine with a more delicate touch.
Iron Chef Chen Kenichi (right) with his son Chen Kentaro
The job of helming the first Shisen Hanten restaurant outside of Japan falls on the shoulder of 3rd generation Chen Kentaro who grew up observing his father in the kitchen. He was sent to Sichuan to work for 3 years in order to expose him to the authentic flavours of the region as well as to be immersed in the culture. He is already considered one of the rising stars in Japan and I am sure we will be seeing much more of him in our local media soon.
Well executed Sichuan cuisine. I haven't been to Sichuan so I can't tell you just how authentic it is. All I can say is that it feels and tastes more Chinese than Japanese although there are a few touches here and there which betrays its Japanese roots.
Level 35, Orchard Wing
Mandarin Orchard Singapore
333 Orchard Road
1. This was a media invited review
2. I am a huge fan of Chef Chen Kenichi
Bak Kut Teh $23.90 (4 pax) Individual portion $5.90
I met Jabez Tan 2 years ago when he started selling Bak Kut Teh at Jalan Kayu. He had just started out at the time, so his Bak Kut Teh still needed a bit of tweaking before I was prepared to recommend it on the blog. What had attracted me to the stall was the background story which you might have come across. It is one of those inspiring stories of a bad boy who spent many years in and out of prison who finally decided to make good. Much as I would have liked to help promote the fledgling stall then, the food was still not up to par. So we left him with some suggestions on how he could improve on the dishes before we re-visited again.
I am glad that Jabez is still at it two years later and that his Bak Kut Teh had improved markedly. This time round, we had a really good meal of Bak Kut Teh which I felt had the right balance of quality, environment and price that makes one happy to go back to again and again. The dishes here are best described as "Darth Vaderish" - black, bold, baritone. Don't play play, you are going to be tempted by dark side of the sauce. This is the kind of food that uses strong, unmitigated flavours that would make you feel like you are eating in a coffeshop in Malaysia.
Braised Intestines $6.90
Jabez describes his Bak Kut Teh as a mix of both Malaysian and Singapore flavours. This has been his style since he started and he has been working on getting the right balance of herbs to suit the Singaporean palate. I am sure that those of us who have traveled to Malaysia to eat Bak Kut Teh will immediately spot the tau kee (bean curd skin) which is so characteristic of the Bak Kut Teh sold there.
The soup is good, though it's probably not herbal enough for those looking for a true Malaysian style Bak Kut Teh. It is actually done on purpose as Jabez did not want to mask the natural flavours of the pork. Overall, it is an enjoyable bowl of Bak Kut Teh which is a refreshing departure from the usual garlic and white pepper variety that we are more accustomed to here. The Argentinian pork ribs are tender and falling off the bone without the porky odor which is quite acceptable. However, there is still room for a bit more oomph in the soup. Perhaps a bit more of a peppery punch would be nice. 4/5
Dry Bak Kut Teh $6.90
The dry Bak Kut Teh will no doubt grab your attention. This is a dish which Jabez thought up himself (after trying a version of it in Malaysia) and it's the kind of stuff that goes very well with rice. Upon ordering, the pork ribs and soup are placed in the claypot and boiled until the soup is reduced to a flavorful stock. Then black sauce, ladies fingers and dried chillies are added and then topped with crispy fried cuttlefish. The cuttlefish was a brilliant idea and it adds an extra crunch and umami that elevates the dish from very good to very shiok! 4.25/5
Braised Tau Kee $3.90
Braised Tau Kee (bean curd skin) is actually a misnomer since the Tau Kee isn't actually braised, it is simply pre-fried Tau Kee that is enjoying a hot spa in the braising sauce. This dish apparently came about because one of the customers asked for just Tau Kee with the braising sauce one day and it became a hit, so they decided to put it on the menu. It's actually quite a nice side dish to order and our kakis ended up ordering an extra bowl of this. 4.25/5
Braised Pork Knuckle $6.90
As I alluded to earlier, the braising sauce here is dark and rich. It really reminds me of the kind of stuff you get in Malaysia and you really need a bowl of rice to complement it. I was hoping the pork knuckle was going to turn out well but alas, the meat was a tad dry, so it really needs some reworking so that the meat retains its moisture while still falling off the bone. That means a low and slow braise to coax the meat into submission rather than steamrolling it with furious heat. 3/5
I have always felt very inspired by people like Jabez. Our lives can't be more different. I have always been the do-gooder, the prefect at school, the eldest in the family who always tried to do the right thing. Jabez on the other hand tells me that he had only passed primary one. He left school at primary seven (in those days you could study till primary 8 if you can't make it to sec school) and got involved with the gangs around the Redhill area. Soon he was into gang fights and drug trafficking which landed him into Boy's town and eventually into prison where he spent a total of 13 years with 12 strokes of the cane.
Yet, we share a common faith and from that faith, we enjoy a certain camaraderie. Even though our lives are poles apart, we had something in common. We both needed to be free. This is perhaps more evident in Jabez than myself since spending time in prison is such a significant event. But I know that a lot of people who are imprisoned. Prison does not necessarily mean physical incarceration. I know a lot of people who are imprisoned by self made plans, expectations, bad habits, addictions, unforgiveness, pride and obstinance. What they really need is a breakthrough in order to experience true freedom.
For Jabez, he eventually found his freedom when he became a Christian. Freedom first from his own dark past, then from physical imprisonment. During his final stint in prison between 2003 to 2007, while cooking for condemned prisoners, the light finally dawn on him and he made a final break with his previous life and literally experienced a re-birth.
Now, seven years later, he is happily married and runs this Bak Kut Teh restaurant in Simpang Bedok with the aim of giving other ex-inmates a 2nd chance at life. The pressing need for most inmates who have left prison is to be able to find a job and a place to belong. It is said that most prisoners face a 2nd prison after they have been release. Still being rejected by family and society, they often find it hard to find their purpose in life. So he gives them a job, teaches them a skill and even rents a place near to the restaurant where they can live. It isn't easy dealing with such individuals. They often need a lot of counseling after work and it takes a lot of patience and time to fully integrate them back into society. But having experienced a 2nd chance at life, he can't help but want to pay it forward.
This is not just a place where you patronize just because you want to support a good cause. The food is good and the whole place will make you feel as if you are sitting in a sleepy coffeeshop in Malaysia. The Bak Kut Teh is not your usual Teochew version but more of cross between the Malaysian and Singaporean styles. The pork knuckle needs a bit more work but I heard that he has managed to find a new Sifu recently, so I am looking forward to tender knuckles in the future!
Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh
302 Bedok Road
Bedok Shopping Complex
11am to 9.30pm daily
Roast Chicken $38 (whole)
I once asked Fashion Foodie who is a well traveled gourmand, which cuisine he preferred, Italian or French, to which he replied -- Italian. The next question was of course, why? To which he said that Italian food is more hearty and casual, very much like Chinese cuisine where family and friends can gather around the table to eat together. French cuisine, on the other hand, is usually served fine dining style which is good for the occasional meal, but not something he could eat on a regular basis.
I think it was five years ago that I asked him that question and it was quite true of the French dining scene in Singapore then. But how things have changed in recent years! With the rise of Spanish cuisine, it seems that more and more restaurants are catering to the Singaporean preference for more casual, shared dining.
This then is the niche that Bar-roque is targeting. They serve French food here, but the dishes are robust, down to earth and served on long tables without table cloths. Once the dish hits the table, it's every man for himself and if like me, you grew up in a family of three hungry boys, you get to eat more if you eat fast!
Tarte Flambe - Bacon and Onions $14
The food here strikes me like the type you would get served if you were sharing the meal with some farmers in some remote village in France. The flavours are bold and generous and there is less of an emphasis on the plating and more on providing food that you can pick up with your fingers to eat.
The Tarte Flambe is something I would recommend for a starter. This is basically a thin crust pizza done French style. Cheese, bacon and chopped onions on a cracker. How can you go wrong with this classic combination unless you are using lousy ingredients? But over at Bar-roque, you won't have to worry about that as Chef Stephane doesn't compromise on the cheese or the wine and even goes to the extent of making his own cured meats. 4.5/5
Charcuterie platter $32
Most restaurants would boast about their cured meats being imported directly from Europe but here they they boast that it is all made in-house. The home cured kurobuta pork ham is lovely as is the smoked duck breast and the various terrines. I love cold meats on hot crusty breads so I am quite partial to this. 4.25/5
Seafood Bouillabaise with whole Tarahiki fish $188 (depends on size of fish this is a portion for 6)
You would probably be familiar with Seafood Bouillabaise as a soup rather than a whole plate of seafood with a bowl of rich seafood broth at the side. From what I understand, usually the seafood is taken out of the soup and served on a separate plate to ensure that they don't overcook and get mushy. At Bar-roque, they do things a little differently. Here the seafood broth is made separately and you get to pick a whole fish that is be oven baked and served with it. They use a variety of air flown NZ fish here as one of the partners is from New Zealand has has good contacts with the local fisherman there. So, depending on the size of your entourage, you could pick a small fish for two to share or a large one for the whole department. The fish are air flown direct from NZ several times a week and are excellent.
We were served a whole Tarahiki fish which has been oven baked together with clams and other seafood. When the platter arrives, you help yourself to the fish and seafood and construct your own bowl of soup. The seafood soup is like a bisque and goes really well with the Tarahiki which is a fish that that is quite similar to a snapper. 4.25/5
Clam casserole with garlic pork sausage, with sourdough $36
Any French Chef would use wine in their cooking, but Chef Stephane seems to be a little more generous with his wine, not that I am complaining. The clam casserole was quite a pleasant surprise. The classic French dish would not have included the garlic pork sausage. It was something of his own creation and it was a superb combination. As I have alluded to earlier, there is a generous splash of white wine which gives the dish a wonderful tartness and aroma. The addition of sourdough croutons which remained crunchy even when soaked through was delightful. 4.5/5
Coq au Vin $34
For something even more robust and earthy, order the Coq au Vin. The chicken is first marinated with red wine overnight and then roasted before being made into a stew together with some lovely fresh mushroom and bacon bits. This dish really hit the spot for me. The sauce was rich and has that wonderful stickiness from the breakdown of all the collagen in the chicken. I could just have this with some bread and be a very happy man. 4.5/5
Chef Stephane Istel
Born in Alsace, France, Chef Stephane Istel started cooking at 15 and spent the last 8 years working with Daniel Boulud before being sent to Singapore to helm DB Bistro Moderne at Marina Bay Sands. He is a great guy to talk to and openly shared all his recipes with me and I have learnt quite a few cooking tips from him on my two visits there.
Rustic French food that you can share with friends and eat with your fingers! The flavours here are bold, unpretentious and Chef doesn't stinge on the wine in his cooking! You would probably end up ordering extra bread so that you can wipe up all the wonderful gravy in the dishes!
165 Tanjong Pagar Road #01-00,
(Just beside entrance of Car Park of Amara Hotel)
Open for lunch and dinner
execept Sat dinner only
Closed on Monday
I was there twice. The first as part of a media invite and the second was a paid visit with the kakis.
Prawn Mee with Carabinero (special order).
Naked Finn is a bit of an anomaly. You can't really call it Western or local cuisine. Perhaps it is best considered Singapore cuisine, which is a fusion of East, West and all the rest. If you really have to put a label on it, you can probably call it crustacean cuisine, because the food here is all based on Ken Loon's peculiar obsession with prawns and shellfish.
I have written about the psychiatric condition of Ken in my previous post, so I will not labor the point. This post is just to let you know that Naked Finn is now open for lunch and the main event is Ken's vision of the almost-ultimate prawn mee.
I say "almost" ultimate because the ultimate prawn mee would cost too much for lunch. So some compromise has to me made so that he can sell the prawn mee for $18 per bowl which should be more accessible for the general public.
Green Tiger Prawns
The soup is made from blue tail Sua Lor prawns which he gets fresh from Jurong fishery port daily. No salt or msg is added. The whole prawn is fried and then boiled and blended extract all the goodness from the meat and head. Prawn mee hawkers would normally save the meat as garnish and use just the head and shell of the prawns to cook the soup. Using the meat of the prawn is much more expensive but results in a soup which is a great deal sweeter. The resulting broth is reminiscent of Wah Kee's prawn mee soup and not the salty, brownish type that one would expect from the hawker centre. The broth is presented au naturale and it is up to you to season it with the sea salt and Iberico pork lard provided.
I have argued with Ken that he should have added a bit of salt in the cooking process to bring out the full flavour of the prawns. As such, when you are first presented with the soup, you might find it a bit bland. It is only after you add the salt and the lard that the full potential of the soup is realized. But that is my opinion. If your palate is more attuned to subtler flavours, you may prefer the more natural flavour of the prawn stock.
For the standard $18 bowl, you get two good sized green tiger prawns and a slice of Kurobuta pork belly which has been slow cooked then torched ala Ramen style. For the noodles, you have a choice of bee hoon or somen. If you wish to try the carabinero version, you have to order ahead and for $25, you get a medium sized carabinero whose flavourful, briny tomally adds a real umami boost to the soup. 4.25/5
Prawn mee is one of those few hawker dishes that Singaporeans are conditioned to pay more for. Jumbo prawn noodles easily cost around $15 to $25, so $18 for a bowl of prawn noodles is quite acceptable, especially when you consider that it is served in a restaurant setting. The real question is whether one can fully appreciate the natural flavour of the soup which is made from fresh whole prawns? Even though many Singaporeans frown at the addition of msg in their food, when it is missing, the same people would complain of the lack of flavour. Personally, I feel the soup is very shiok but only after you salt it adequately and add a bit of the pork lard to it. But there is no doubt that this is a bowl of prawn mee that is made with quality ingredients and lots of passion. You would not expect anything less from its prawn crazed creator.
The Naked Finn
41 Malan Road, Gillman Barracks,
Open for lunch and dinner
When I started blogging in 2006, a $200 meal (per pax) was considered expensive. Then Marina Bay Sands opened and suddenly the price of an "expensive" meal went up from $200 to $500, making your date think that you are a bit of a kiam kana (lit salty preserved olive - ie stingy) if the meal you brought her to only costs $200/pax. This sudden increase has made Singapore one of the most expensive places in the world for fine dining. Yet, no one seems to complain, or maybe some of us do complain while others still happily pay the exorbitant prices, thus keeping the prices sky high.
Why should dining in Singapore be so expensive? Compared to Hong Kong, our rentals are still lower, yet the price of fine dining there is more affordable. Is it the fact that manpower costs are going up or that it costs more to have our food imported? I don't have the answer, but I suspect that it is just high simply because there are enough people here still willing to pay for it.
The price of eating at a top end Sushi restaurant can easily cost $300-$500. For that kind of price, one can expect that each of the 150 grains of rice is aligned in the same direction and that the fish made its way here in the first class cabin of Singapore Airlines, fin cuffed to armed security guards. But not everyone is willing to pay the for price of perfection all of the time, so the real question is what are you willing to compromise on when you can't charge the meal to your company account?
It is this niche that Sushi Kuu tries to fill.
I must admit that my expectations of Sushi Kuu was not too high when I first stepped into the restaurant. It wasn't a traditional style sushi counter like Tatsuya or Hashida where you feel a sense of intimacy with the taisho and your hands come to rest on the smooth hinoki wood counter. Sushi Kuu is designed like the typical modern style Japanese restaurant with a bar counter as well as booths and regular table arrangements. In short, it didn't really look like the kind of place that took their sushi very seriously.
However, that initial perception changed when we were presented with the sashimi platter. The quality and generosity of the portions was a clear signal that they were serious about delivering quality food at a reasonable (compared to top end sushi restaurants) prices. Admittedly, the wasabi wasn't freshly grated but they use a pre-made wasabi which has the gingery texture of real wasabi which was quite acceptable. Their otoro, cut from a block of fresh pacific blue fin tuna caught from the Japanese waters was excellent. This sashimi is the standard platter for their omakase course which starts at $150++. It's another $20 to include Wagyu beef. 4.5/5
Wagyu Beef with Japanese eggplant
Here, they use A4 instead of A5 Kagoshima Wagyu which is an example of the kind of compromise which works for me. An A5 Wagyu would have cost a lot more with a less than proportionate increase in the level of enjoyment. In other words, the Pleasure/Price ratio of A4 is higher than that of A5 which equates to better value. Although our beef was slightly overdone, it was still very juicy and the sauce that came with it was really good which speaks a lot about Executive Chef Satoru's skills in balancing flavours. It would have been excellent if they the beef was done medium rare. 4.25/5
Black Truffle and Uni Chawanmushi
Our next dish of Chawanmushi with black truffle topped with uni is the kind of dish that anyone who see it would claim "Win oredi lor!" (Win already!). Usually when one is presented with a dish like this, it always seems a tad small which leaves you with that "I wish I could have more" feeling. However, the portion at Sushi Kuu is quite generous and by the time I finished the bowl, I felt quite contented. The chawanmushi could have been smoother but otherwise it is yet another very satisfying dish. 4.25/5
By the time the soup was served, Rocket girl and I were already feeling quite full. Something you seldom complain of when eating at high end sushi places. But as I have alluded to earlier, the portions here are quite generous, so for a middle aged guy like myself, it was quite filling. (If you are a big eater, this might not apply to you). The tea pot soup was not as outstanding as the previous dishes but it was competent. The dashi is made everyday from konbu and katsuobushi rather than from a pre-mix which is another indication of how seriously they take their food. Admittedly, they don't actually shave the katsuobushi themselves, but this is a practice that even some of the top sushi chefs don't do nowadays. 4/5
Aburi Otoro Sushi
After the inTEAmission sic, we were presented with a few pieces of sushi which were all well presented. Although they use a Hokkaido sushi rice, it was still very good but just misses top marks in terms of the rice seasoning. Both the engawa and aburi otoro sushi were very good. 4.25/5
Salmon handroll with Japanese lettuce
What was refreshing was the salmon handroll which was wrapped in Japanese lettuce instead of nori. I found this very good, but I must admit that I am very partial to the combination of goma sauce, rice and lettuce. This combination works with a wide range of meats from teriyaki beef to korean style marinated pork. Suffice to say, it works well with lightly broiled salmon belly too! 4.25/5
Hokkaido Milk Pannacotta
For dessert, I highly recommend their Hokkaido milk pannacotta with homemade strawberry jam. The pannacotta is light yet smooth, milky and satisfying. Great way to end the meal. 4.5/5
We were quite pleasantly surprised with the quality of the food at Sushi Kuu. $200 per pax is still quite an expensive meal, but compared to the high end sushi restaurants, it feels like a good deal. This is not the place to go for the ultimate, perfect sushi experience, but if you are willing to compromise on some not-so-essentials like having a Japanese taisho behind the counter and a hinoki wood counter, then you would have quite a competent and tasty Japanese meal.
Their $45 Wagyu Beef Don Lunch set and $38 Chirashi lunch sets seem like pretty good deals!
390 Orchard Road
Palais Renaissance #01-06/07
Open for lunch and dinner daily
This was an invited review
Coconut double boil soup $7.50
With all the Chinese New Year feasting, I am sure everyone is looking for something that would help to ease the conscience of having binged on high fat, high salt, high sugar foods like Bak Kwa and pineapple tarts, right?
Well, here's one place that I can recommend for healthy, yet tasty food -- something that is not easy to find at the coffee shops.
Double boil herbal soups and "old fire soups" (老火汤) have become very popular in the past decade as Singaporeans seek to have healthier choices when dining at hawker centres. I have found however, that in many of these places, the amount of salt, msg and oil in the soups can still be quite high. The difference between a proper double boil soup and 老火汤 is the temperature at which the soup is cooked. With double boil soups, the ingredients are heated over water or steam so that it is always indirect heat which never exceeds 100 degrees C. This gentle form of cooking results in a soup which is clear, yet flavourful. 老火汤 on the other hand is heated directly over the fire which results in a soup which is cloudy. Both forms have their merits and they are just different styles of soups.
Double Boil Soup $4.50 - $6 (Black Chicken with Ginseng)
The owner of Lim Soup, a banker by the name of Eric loves double boiled soup, but was frustrated with the quality of soups that were being sold and so he started his own stall at this newly opened coffeeshop in Bukit Merah Central owned by Dong Fong Fatt or the chicken rice fame.
What really impresses me about Lim Soup is this next generation hawkerpreneur's focus on providing healthy tasty food. He refuses to add msg to the soup, so there is none of the white crystalline powder in his kitchen. He also doesn't add any chicken powder or stock powder which usually contains msg. The soup is made in two stages. The first stage is making the master stock from boiling pork and chicken bones overnight. T his stock is then placed into small bowls and herbs, meats and other ingredients are added then it goes into the steamer for four hours. In order the boost the savoury, umami flavour, he borrows a trick from the Japanese and adds a slice of konbu to the soup! The resulting soup has a fuller mouth feel, yet still light on the palate!
Aside from the usual double boil soup, they make a very special version here which is steamed in a whole coconut. As you can see from the photo, they have spared no efforts and have even invested in a special tool to cut the top off the coconut so nicely.
The steamed coconut soup comes in a herbal and plain versions. My preference is for the plain version as you can fully appreciate the warm, sweet flavours of the old coconut. With the herbal version, the flavour of the coconut is somewhat muted. The soup is excellent and it leaves the mouth with a crisp palate with a hint of sweetness. We Teochews call it "Karhm, karhm". 4.5/5
Steamed minced chicken $3.50 (with rice)
The side dishes comprise of steamed minced pork or chicken in a variety of flavours. They use a mince which has less fat and roughly ground such that the texture is very good. In order to compensate for the lack of fat, they add cubes of water chestnuts to maintain a level of juiciness in the pork. Both the salted egg and the salted fish versions are very good. Of special mention is the braised mushroom version. Their shitake mushrooms are stewed till they are plump and flavourful. The lup cheong version uses a special grade of lup cheong from Hong Kong which has that wonderful bright floral aroma of rice wine. Instead of ordering this separately, you can have it steamed together with rice and topped with Beijing cabbage which makes for a very nice one dish meal! 4.25/5.
Delivery set $8 ($5 delivery charge for up to 8 sets)
Here is an idea of how the new gen of hawkers are changing the way we eat. If you have too much work and are unable to leave your desk, you can ring up Lim Soup and have them deliver your soup and rice to you in a thermos flask! The delivery fee is only $5 for up to 8 sets and they will come back to collect the thermos after you are done!
Chee Siang and Eric
So here are our two next generation hawkerpreneurs. On the left is Chee Siang who leaves his home in JB every morning at 5am to come to work. He sees making the best double boil soup as his life work and spends 16 hours a day on his craft. On the right is Eric who is a dealer by night and hawker by day. He loves double boiled soup a lot but is sensitive to MSG so much so that he decided to open his own shop! He also doesn't believe in microwaving double boil soup which is why he specially sourced thermo-flasks which will hold the soup hot for 2 hours! An unlikely couple, don't you think?
I don't often blog about "healthier" food because it is often hard to find one that is both healthy and tasty at the same time. So I am very happy to have found this particular stall who are doing a great job providing good quality, healthier dishes in an innovative way. This is the kind of food where you are walk away with a full stomach, a satisfied palate and not feel that you have to pay penance by going to the gym the next day!
Dong Fong Fatt kopishop.
Blk 161 Bukit Merah Central
11:30am to 8pm
Closed Sundays and PH
OK! It's time for another chance to win some great prizes! This time, we have 3 pairs of tickets (worth $196++ per pair) for brunch at Catalunya to be won!
So this is what you need to do. The theme is "BRUNCH!". To join the contest, post a photo of a brunch dish on your instagram page and add #ieatbrunch and @catalunyasg in the comments. There is no limit to the number of photos you can post. Contest will close on midnight 23 Feb 2014. Judges decision is final and blah, blah, blah......
All the best and a piece of advice, the photo you post must fit the theme "BRUNCH!" The brunchier the photo the better! You can click here to see the winning photos of our last contest.
You can view my instagram photos at instagram.com/ieatishootipost
Thanks to Catalunya for sponsoring the prizes! You can read my review of Catalunya here.