Al Musafir Restaurant: Place for a quick Naan fix


Plain Naan $1, Garlic Naan $1.50

You know, sometimes I think that there are pockets of Singapore which are like the Bermuda Triangle where we locals hardly ever venture and not much appears on the radar.

Little India is one of them.

Sure, every time I ask around for recommendations on Indian food, several names would pop up but when you walk through little India, you can't help but feel that there must be so many more great places to eat around!


The Ieat Hawker App was reviewed on Bridge Mar - Apr 2012 issue!  Thanks to Soundman for obtaining the publication!

Teochew Porridge (Macpherson Road): No Sweet and Sour Pork here!



I was just searching for a good Teochew Muay place to eat at and it just dawned on me that I hardly know of any good Air-Conditioned places to eat Teochew Muay ever since my friend SCS Butter decided to close Teochew Muay!  Don't you think it would be great to have Teochew Porridge in a nicer air con environment?  Granted there are some hotels that are doing this, but what I would really love to see is not so much a high class, expensive Teochew Muay, but just somewhere clean and comfortable to enjoy that bowl of gruel.  Of course, the most important factor is that the food still has to come across as authentic and rustic rather than fine and classy in order to keep to its historical roots.

La Pizzaiola: Affordable Pizza for the whole Family!


Parma and Rucola pizza 12 inch $16.90

Have you ever adopted a restaurant before?  You know, that's when you are so happy with everything at a particular restaurant that you tell yourself "Ahh!! From today onwards I am going to come here whenever I feel like having......!"

Well, our family just adopted La Pizzaiola as our Pizza restaurant!

The kids are always hankering for pizza and so I am always looking for a comfortable place to bring them to that I serves pizza that I would like to eat as well.  That usually means that the place has a Wood Fired Pizza oven and serves hand crafted Napoletana style pizza.  But the problem is that such places are always a little expensive.

Damien, my Pizza buddy who spent some time learning the art of making pizza from the Pizza Master Gaetano tells me that in Italy, pizza is one of those cheap and affordable things that you can to eat everyday.  But as you are aware, it is not easy to get a good pizza for below $20 in Singapore.


Bufala (Buffalo Mozzarella Pizza) $16.90

So, I was pleasantly surprised when I visited the newly (re) opened La Pizzaiola restaurant and found that  everything in the menu was less than $20, including salads and main courses.  The most expensive pizza was the Parma and Rucola pizza which costs $16.90 and as you can see in the photo, it was topped with generous slices of Parma Ham!

If you recall, I first wrote about La Pizzaiola back in 2007 when Italian Chef Loris and his wife Jennifer (local girl) set up their first restaurant in Holland Drive in a little HDB store space.  At that time, theirs was a "Ang Moh in the Heartlands" as well as a "Cheap and Good" pizza story.  Well, the Ang Moh didn't last long in the Heartlands and in 2008, they shut down La Pizzaiola to focus their efforts on Pietrasantra, their Italian Restaurant at Portsdown road.  But the dream of making good pizzas accessible to everyone was still very much in their blood.



Modern Italian Pizza Oven with rotating base

Fast forward 5 years and now that Pietrasantra is doing well, they have resurrected their pizza vision by setting up La Pizzaiola Mk II, located in a obscure row of shop houses in Braddell Heights estate.  The good news is that the Pizza oven got an upgrade, the restaurant got an upgrade and the pizza also got an upgrade but the prices are still the same!  In fact, their 12 inch Parma and Rucola pizza got a $2 price reduction! OK lah, once you put back the ++, its about the same, but now you have a nice comfortable place to sit and there's a the public playground just outside the back door!

The Pizzas are now even better than when they were at Holland Drive.  This is partly because of the new Pizza oven that they have invested in.  Granted, it is a gas fired oven and temperature is set at around 300 degrees Celcius so you cook the pizza in 4 minutes instead of the 90 seconds required by VPN standards, but you still get quite a descent pizza.  The interesting thing about the oven is the rotating base which ensures that the pizzas are cooked evenly!

The crust wasn't as artisanal as I would have liked.  It was a straightforward dough with a overnight rise, so it does lack that savoury fermented flavour of a more matured dough. The conicione does have a good snap but it lacks that slightly moist chewiness as it progresses to the middle of the pie.  Having said that, it is about what you get at most of the Italian restaurants around Singapore which is why the sub $20 price tag is so attractive!

You can't really go wrong with the Parma and Rucola pizza, but I would prefer if they used fresh basil leaves instead of Basil pesto in their Bufala pizza.  One of the most satisfying bites you can get in Italian cuisine is a mouthful of pizza crust with chewy Buffalo mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, olive oil and basil leaves.  So the next time I visit, I am going to specially request for that!  4.25/5

Conclusion

This is the best Pizza you can get for less than $20 in Singapore and I sure hope it will put pressure for other pizza places to start reducing their prices! 

La Pizzaiola
15/3 Jalan Riang
Singapore 358987
62825031
11.45am to 2.30pm, 5.45pm to 10.30pm
Closed Mondays, Open all day Sunday

VITAGEN: Prebiotics and Probiotics!

Advertorial



The WHO defines Probiotics as "Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host".  Unless you have been living on a mountain and hiding under a shell (ie Sua Gu - Mountain Tortoise), you would not doubt have heard about Probiotics by now.  Essentially, Probiotics are strains of "Good" bacteria which, when ingested, sort of make their home in your digestive system and prevent the "Bad" bacteria from taking up residence there.

The goodness of probiotics have been known for a long time.  Since ancient history, people knew that eating Yoghurt was good for your digestive health.  But it wasn't until the 20th century that a Russian Scientist by the name of Élie Metchnikoff proposed that it might be possible to alter gut flora by replacing the bad bacteria with good bacteria.  That was when the addition of Probiotics in our food started to take off.  Nowadays you can find infant formulas with Probiotics as well as cultured milk drinks with special strains of Lactobacillus in the supermarkets.  The other time when you are likely to encounter Probiotics is when you visit your doctor with diarrhoea.  You might be given sachets of Probiotics which you ingest to help put back the good bacteria and drive out the diarrhoea causing ones!

 
Microscopic image of Prebiotic

So you know about Probiotics, but perhaps not so much about Prebiotics right?    Prebiotics are a much newer development and were only identified and named by Marcel Roberfroid in 1995.  Essentially, they are non-absorbable carbohydrates that stay in the gut and act as a food source for the good bacteria. So when you take a Prebiotic with a Probiotic, what you are essentially doing is to create an optimal environment for the Probiotic to work.

According to the Mayo Clinic Website, there is encouraging evidence that Probiotics are useful for treating things like irritable bowel syndrome, eczema in children, diarrhoea and vaginal yeast infections, although they stress that more research is needed.  So what that means is that Probiotics may not yet be a sure cure for all these ailments, but there sure is no harm trying!

Aside from the addition of Prebiotics, VITAGEN has also decreased the amount of sugar in by as much as 50% compared to other regular cultured milk drinks.  This is a welcome development as I have always felt that we feed our kids too much sugar.  A lot of "healthy" foods that parents give to kids are loaded with sugar which I believe is contributing to the increasing obesity amongst our kids.  Many of the cereals, food/drinks contain too much sugar and shouldn't be considered "healthy" foods for our kids. So as parents, we should be on the look out for "less sugar" alternatives when we are doing our grocery shopping.

So the next time you are at the supermarket picking up some cultured milk drink for the kids, do bear in mind that not all cultured milk drinks are the same.  VITAGEN has the extra addition of Prebiotics as well as the benefit of having less sugar.  So so make an informed decision when choosing what to buy.
 

Qiu Rong Ban Mian: Honest to Goodness Handmade Noodles


Ban Mian $3

One of our readers wrote in recently asking me why I haven't blogged about Mee Hoon Kueh?  Well, I'll have to admit that Mee Hoon Kueh is not one of my favourite foods.  In fact, it is probably at the bottom of the list of 10 ten things I ever think of eating.  One of the reason is because I never did come across this dish as a kid.  In fact, I think it only appeared on our hawker scene in the late eighties or early nineties.  It really hasn't been around that long.  Having said that, I don't think I have ever eaten Mee Hoon Kueh either, but what I have eaten is Ban Mian.

Don't you think that Ban Mian is a most unattractive dish? Really, it comes across as a clump of limp noodles in a cloudy, insipid soup with green vegetables (and quite a lot of it) entangled in its murky mess.  Even the craggy Bak Chor is ugly and unrefined as is the blob of half boiled egg with its reticular egg white strands wafting in the soup.  Just about the only defining feature are the ikan bilis on top.  Personally, there is nothing about it that screams out "Eat me!  C'mon, what are you waiting for! Eat me now!!"



So what actually attracts people to Ban Mian?  Well, I think it might be a good dish for anyone feeling the need for a large bowl of hot soup and a substantial carbo fix. It's especially good when you are feeling hungry on a rainy day and its probably one of the cheapest ways to fill the tummy which explains why there are so many students lining up for a bowl of noodles outside this particular stall everyday!


Noodle Maker

One of the attractions of Ban Mian is the freshly made noodles.  Having said that, many stalls nowadays don't even bother to make their own noodles anymore!  So it is comforting to see a noodle making machine at this non-descript little stall at the basement of Roxy Square II.  The owners of this stall, a couple from Fu Zhou province best exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit of first generation migrants.  Having arrived Singapore some twenty years ago, they had been working in various restaurants before opening their own shop in the present location for the last 11 years.


Mr and Mrs Zheng

My kaki, Holydrummer has been eating here as a kid and has of late gone on a Ban Mian spree after the survey on our Facebook Fan page.  Within a short span, he had gone to try Poon Nah City Ban Mian, China Whampoa Ban Mian and Geylang Lor 32.  He insists that Qiu Rong is still the best or at least it is the most generous.

I do agree that this is a generous bowl of Ban Mian, but what impressed me most is the amount of honest to goodness passion that goes into it.   Mr Zheng tells me that they make their noodles fresh everyday on the premises and they even fry their own ikan bilis!  The wife has a soft spot for the horde of starving students that queue up at her stall daily and so she makes sure that they get a huge bowl of noodles for their growing needs for just $3! (The serving size is the same for everyone).

Conclusion

As far as Ban Mian goes this is one very hot, soupy and generous bowl of noodles.  I can't say that its made a fan of Ban Mian out of me yet, but its as good as what I can imagine Ban Mian to be at this stage.  Time to visit the other Ban Mian stalls to do a comparison! 4.25/5

Qiu Rong Ban Mian
50 East Coast Road
Roxy Square II Foodcourt
B1-14 Roxy Square Shopping Centre
Singapore 428769
10am to 9pm daily
63460409

Ozaki Wagyu Farm: The Quest to produce the World's Best Beef!


Tajima-gyu at the Ozaki Ranch

Do you remember the first time you tasted Wagyu Beef?  I certainly did and I am sure most of you would too because Wagyu is just one of those paradigm shattering experiences that you are not likely to forget.  Wagyu has since lost some of its mystique, now that it is readily available in Singapore.  However, I remember the amazement I felt when I first laid eyes on a slice of Wagyu.  How in the world can beef have such intense marbling?  The pure white reticular fat that is so delicately weaved in between the bright red muscle fibres is surreal.  You don't find this kind of marbling in chicken, pigs or sheep.  Heck you don't even find it in cows unless they are they are from the mystical land of the rising sun!

So how in the world do the Japanese manage to produce such a marvelicious piece of meat?

When Kobe beef was first introduced to the West, they made videos like these to create a sort of Eastern mystique surrounding the beef.  It was the age before Bruce Lee when Asian characters were portrayed by Western actors donning pigtails, Fu Manchu style moustaches and bucktooth dentures to depict the stereotypical Chinaman's rabbit tooth grin on film.  Much has changed culturally but the image of the Japanese cattle being massaged and fed beer is still very much in our collective psyche.  How much of it is true and how much of it is myth?  Do Wagyu cattle really live lives that every aspiring Tai Tai (ladies with Pradas who don't need to work) dream of?


The Ozaki Farm

These thoughts raced through my mind as my Air Solaseed Flight descended into Miyazaki Airport.  I would finally get to witness for myself the music, the massage and the bovine beer guzzling that miraculously transforms a mild mannered black haired cow into superbeef!  Perhaps I would even get to feed the cow some beer myself!

Miyazaki is an hour and forty five minutes by air from Tokyo and is situated at the Eastern part of the Southern island of Kyshu.  Like Hokkaido up north, Kyushu is often regarded as the outback of Japan where agriculture and farming take place. Although the most famous Wagyu, viz Kobe, Matsuzaka and Omi are produced on the main island of Honshu, Miyazaki prefecture is in fact, the 2nd largest producer of the Japanese black cattle and in 2007 won "Champion Cow" in the "Wagyu Olympics". Miyazaki Beef is already quite well regarded in Japan but I was about to meet a rogue farmer here who is breaking with convention and taking Wagyu to the next level. 


Ozaki San showing me his special feed

Having won the National Wagyu competition for producing A5 beef more than ten years ago, Ozaki-san felt that he wanted focus his efforts to producing the World's tastiest beef rather than the World's most marbled beef.  His motive is very simple.  He loves to eat beef and he wants to produce beef that he can enjoy eating everyday.  The Japanese grading system, he explains, focuses on the amount of marbling and the colour of the meat and fat but does not take into account the actual taste of the beef. (The Japanese Meat Grading System) He wants to produce beef that is not only sublime in texture, but one that is tasty and has a fat that is easily digested so that you can eat a whole slab of beef without being overwhelmed by its richness.


The Ozaki Ranch

Unlike cattle ranches in the West, Japanese cattle are raised in sheds where they spend most of their days in sheltered comfort.  This is done out of necessity in Japan where land is scarce unlike the abundance of wide open plains in the US and Australia.  In the early days, cattle were used as draught animals where they help farmers to till the padi fields.  Since much of Japan is mountainous, the Tajima (Black Hair) cattle have evolved to be small, stout animals which are very comfortable living in their own stable beside the farmer's house.  With the development of mechanization after the war, they soon became redundant as draught animals.  It was also around this time that there was also a surge in interest in eating beef as it was perceived that eating meat was what made the Westerners so much taller and stronger then the Japanese.  As a result, cattle began to be bred for its meat instead.


Tajima cattle enjoying an afternoon siesta

I think the more astute readers would have figured out by now that I am trying to set you all up for a big anticlimax right?  OK lah, so rather than telling you how excited I was to meet the Wagyu Warriors and hand-feeding beer to the cattle let me just say that the rearing of Wagyu is about as exciting as growing mushrooms.  There is no Mozart, no massaging and no beer.  There was also no flies, no smell and no mooing, just a serene environment where the cows quietly stood around eating and pooping, which is what most cows do even if they are out in the prairie.


Seaweed mix and charcoal mix

Now the point about the lack of mooing is important as it shows that the cows are healthy and not in any sort of discomfort.  Like babies, cows moo when they are in distress, so having a farm where all the cows are contentedly chewing curd is a good sign that everything is fine.  If you have been to a farm or the zoo before, you would know that animals really do stink.  The lack of stench at the farm is actually quite amazing although not immediately apparent since you never do realize such things until someone points it out to you.


Feed mixer

Ozaki San explained to me that the whole serene environment has a lot to do with the feeds that he gives his cattle.  Unlike a lot of farmers who simply give their cattle pre-packed high calorie feeds designed to maximize marbling, he has developed his own mix of thirteen different ingredients that he gives his cows.  His secret recipe for tasty beef, so to speak.

Charcoal is given to the cattle in order to absorb excess bacteria that is produced when cattle are fed on grain.  This keeps the cows healthy and at the same time, they also have the added benefit of producing less smelly poop.  Another special feed he gives is a seaweed mix which he imports from Peru.  The seaweed mix is believed to contain many trace minerals and helps in the anti-aging of the cow.  As I have suspected, all that fantastic marbling actually puts a lot of stress on the physical health of the cattle.  So the seaweed mix is given to keep the cattle in good physical condition.  Ozaki San also uses a corn in his mix because he believes that corn is essential to give the beef its beefy flavour, something he undoubtedly picked up during his stint in the US. 



"Mixing of the feeds occurs every morning and is the most labour intensive process at the farm" he tells me as he walked over to another pile of feed and cupped it in his hands.

"Ah noh, this is as close as the cattle get to drinking beer" he smiled at me, referring to the moist barley mash in his hands, a by product of the beer brewing process.  "And no, we don't massage our cows.  Massaging doesn't do anything for the cattle.  It is quality of the feeds that will determine the taste and marbling of the beef!" He quipped.


Brushing the cow

I continued to press Ozaki San about the other legendary practices of Wagyu farming.  How about brushing the cow with Shochu and straw brushes?  Surely there must be something you all do with your cows?  I read somewhere that the farmers would blow Shochu onto the cow and stroke them with a straw brush to relax the cow and to redistribute the fat to improve the marbling of the meat.


The cow brush

It turned out that they do groom their cows, but only because they tend to shed hair seasonally and it helps to remove the excess hair and grime.  But they don't do it all the time.  And rather than straw brushes, they use a metal apparatus with rows of saw like teeth.  And with that my entire romantic vision surrounding Wagyu cattle was effectively demystified and rendered impotent. 


Young unfattened cattle

As we walked along the rows of cattle in the shed, Ozaki San explained that they buy both steers (castrated bulls) and heifers (virgin cows).  Steers are larger in size and produce more meat whereas the beef from heifers tend to be a little more delicate and sweeter. They do this in order to cater to the different needs of the buyers.  Most Wagyu in Japan are slaughtered at around 28 months, but Ozaki-san believes that the flavour continues to improve as they mature which is why he prefers to slaughter them at 32 months.  This of course means more feeds which equates to higher costs.  But as Ozaki-san explained, he does whatever it takes to produce the best beef in the world!


Fattened cattle earmarked for Singapore in June 2012

As we walked along the rows of cattle, Ozaki-san explained that the cows start off skinny at one end of the shed and they begin by feeding them straw.  After a few months of straw feeding, they progress to be fed with his special concoction of 13 different ingredients.  As they cows get fatter, they are gradually moved to the other end of the shed until they get to the last row.

"Ah, here is 9707, the one that will be sent to Singapore!"  he smiled as we got to the extreme end of the shed.

Ozaki San has around 1500 heads of cattle at his farm and produces one cow per day for the market. He is probably the only farmer in Japan that actually markets his own beef using his own name.  The rest of the beef producers sell their beef to the co-ops which brand and market the beef regionally.  To do this he also operates his own cold room where the meat is cut and packed after slaughtering.  He is so confident of his beef that was willing to literally put his own face on the box, an icon which I thought looked strangely like the late North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il!


A box of Ozaki Beef

One of the big difference in eating Wagyu beef in Japan is that you actually get to eat every part of the cow from the tongue to the tail and over the next few days of my trip, I would be intimately acquainted with the anatomy of the cattle starting with the tongue and making brief stops at its four stomachs before getting to the intestines and finally, the tail. The real eye opener for me was the liver which tasted so much like a beefy foie gras, amazingly devoid of that muddy offal stench! The fact that the animal has been raised only on natural feed and free from hormones means that its quite safe to eat the innards and in Japan, they don't waste any part of the cattle.



Ozaki Beef will be making its debut in Singapore from 1 June at Copon Norp restaurant.  My friend Hisato is both the distributor as well as the restauranteur and he will be bringing in the whole cow so that we too can experience different parts of the Wagyu.  So do look out for the makan session in June!

This post was sponsored by Copon Norp Singapore, opening at the Berjaya Hotel at Duxton Hill on 1st June.

Whampoa Keng Fish Head Steamboat Rangoon Road: 2nd wife, 2nd restaurant


Steamboat $50

You all remember my last story about Whampoa Keng Fish Head Steamboat?  Well, after the story was posted, we followed up with a very memorable Makan Session where Sharon (2nd wife) entertained us with her singing.  Since then I had promised Sharon that I would visit her restaurant at Rangoon road soon, and as with the lyrics of the familiar chinese song 你怎么说 goes "你说过两天来看我, 一等就是一年多" (you said you will see me soon, but its been more than a year!).  Well, it really has been more than a year, but we eventually visited Sharon at her Rangoon Road branch!

The Rangoon Road branch turned out to be an excellent place to have a family dinner. I like the location as it is situated on a quieter road and so its easier to find parking.  The food is pretty much the same as the one at Balestier road since they have a standard procedure for preparing the soup base which includes a prepackaged mixed of herbs.  I was told that all in all, there are 30 ingredients that go into the soup which explains why it is so addictive.  With a lot of other fishhead steamboat places, the predominant flavour of the soup stems from the use of fried solefish (Ti Poh) as this is quite a classic Teochew style of cooking.  Although there is fried solefish in the soup, it isn't overwhelming and is nicely balanced with the herbs such that it creates a nice harmony of flavours on your palate. 4.5/5


Har Cheong Gai $12

There are a few things I look for in Har Cheong Gai.  The first criteria that goes without saying is that it has to be freshly fried.  I think that most places fulfill this criteria.  Next, it should only be mid wing joints.  This is important not just because it is the part of the chicken that best absorbs the marinade, but more importantly, the cooking is more uniform then if they use miscellaneous chicken parts.  Then I always like the visual cue that the wings have been marinated for long enough and this is usually seen when the flesh between the bones have that reddish tinge to it.  The batter should be thin and crisp and the inside should ooze with juice when you bite into it.  The Har Cheong Gai passes on most of this criteria but it would have a perfect score if the wings were just slightly larger in size so that they were more juicy.  Other than that, they are actually very good and well worth ordering.  4.25/5


Cereal Prawns $20

I am not sure who invented Cereal Prawns, but I think it is quite safe to say that it is a dish that probably originated in either Malaysia or Singapore.  I must say that person who invented it is quite brilliant as it is quite a unique dish!   What I really like about Cereal Prawns is the cereal itself which goes so well with rice.  Generally, I don't think much of the prawns that go with it as I always find that they are over cooked such that they are neither succulent and juicy nor crisp as a keropok.  In fact, if I were to cook this dish myself, I would use small prawns and fry them to a crisp and then toss them in the cereal! 4.25/5



I was quite amazed that many fans on facebook knew that the cereal used to fry Cereal Prawns is actually the familiar Nestum cereal that most people probably haven't eaten for a while.  Now before you start thinking of Cereal Prawns as health food, may I just let you know that the cereal mix is primarily made of two key ingredients -- butter (more probably margarine) and Cereal with a handful of curry leaves and sliced chillies thrown in.  So this is hardly health food which probably explains why it is so good! 


Pork Ribs with Cod Fish strips $20

One dish that is unique to the Rangoon Road branch is their Pork Ribs with Cod Fish Strips.  This is basically your Sweet and Sour Pork Ribs which has been topped with those familiar Fish Strips snack that have been deep fried and piled on top.   The Fish Strips are actually quite a good idea as it provides an extra dimension of flavour and texture. The pork was nice and tender but I found the sauce to be a tad too tangy.  4/5


Doris next to poster of her charity event 

Conclusion

Excellent place to satisfy that hankering for a good hearty Fish Head Steamboat!  The price of the steamboat here is slightly higher than other places listed in the blog, but the environment is much more comfortable and the side dishes are excellent!

Whampoa Food Street (Keng)
116/118 Rangoon Road
Singapore 218394
90232854 (Sharon)
11am to 11pm
Main Restaurant: 556 Balestier Road
91276550 (Doris)


Read Part 1 of the Whampoa Keng story here

Copon Norp Restaurant: Ozaki Beef Odessey and beyond


Roast Ozaki Sirloin Beef

I have been asked on several occasions about what I would choose as my final meal and the answer would invariably be a slice of grilled Wagyu Beef on top of of a mouthful of sweet short grain Japanese rice.

Beef has always been my favourite meat. It has been since I was a kid, which is unlike a lot of other foods which I only learnt to eat as I grew older.  It might come as a surprise to you, but I only started to eat seafood in my twenties and sushi in my thirties but beef has always been that special meat which I have always loved.  We didn't get a lot of it when I was growing up, but those few occasions when mom cooked beef steaks at home were always very special even though the beef was no where as good as what we can get our hands on nowadays.

Blanco Prawn Noodle House: Final Story of the Prawn Mee Dynasty


Jumbo Prawn and Pork Ribs Noodle Soup $8

The ancient texts tell us:  "Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity" Psalm 133:1.

How true!

As I pen this next story, I can't help but contrast the success of the Blanco Court Prawn Mee empire with some of the other hawker stalls which are currently undergoing family squabbles over rights to the family brand name.  It seems to me that it happens to Yong Tau Foo hawkers more than anyone else!  Just take for instance the family splits of Ngee Fau Ampang Yong Tau Foo, Rong Xing Yong Tau Foo and more recently, Hup Chong Hakka Yong Tau Foo.  Is there something about Yong Tau Foo that results in these sorts of problems, I wonder?  Probably not, but you can easily see how a family united and working together can help expand a business and a brand name much more effectively than when they split!

Maeda: Unpretentious, Casual Kaiseki style cuisine

This restaurant is closed

Starter:  Canadian Oyster, Hokkigai salad and Kazunoko

Situated along Joo Chiat Road, you might just mistake this small little Japanese restaurant as a massage parlor if you didn't know any better.   Maeda  has been around for almost two years and occupies the shophouse where Aston Prime used to be.  So it is a location I am most familiar with, having organized a Charity Makan session there in the early days of the blog.  The place is still under Aston's name but he has leased it out to Chef Maeda to run his little restaurant that serves up casual Osakan style cuisine.  It's not Kaiseki cuisine in the strict sense of the word, but then Kaiseki in Singapore tends to be less formal than what it is in Japan.  But by labeling "Casual Kaiseki" (my own labeling), I am trying to convey that sense of a degustation type meal with many different small dishes reflecting the seasonal produce of Japan, but without the strict formality.

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