There are some things in life that are so simple and yet so good. Things like ban jian kueh (慢煎粿 – lit slow fried cake) for example. Mix flour, eggs and milk into a batter, slowly pan fry it till it turns golden brown and serve it with crushed peanuts and sugar. Crispy on the outside, chewy in the middle, the combination of the warm chewy carbs with the savoury sweet ground peanuts is a good as it gets!
Dashi Master Marusaya is one of my favourite Japanese restaurants in Singapore. It’s one of the few places I know which uses only natural ingredients to cook their food. So their dashi doesn’t just come out of a pack. It is made the traditional way using Rishiri kombu (regarded as the best in Japan) and aged katsuobushi (of which they are the distributor) which they shave at their premises. That is why they dare to call themselves “Dashi Master”!
KEK Zi Char Burgers: Introducing the Sotong BLurger!
Behold the "Sotong BLurger! -- Eat oredi sure blur like sotong!"
The Sotong BLurger is basically deep fried calamari rings bathed in a creamy salted egg sauce between two toasted buns!
But wait, I hear you say, sotong in a burger?! You siao (crazy) or what?
Ye Lai Xiang Tasty Barbeque: Classic Hainanese Western Food!
You can find all sorts of authentic Italian, French and American cuisine in Singapore nowadays but back in the 70's when I was growing up, western food meant Hainanese chicken and pork chop and steaks served on sizzling hot plates.
Teochew Meat Puffs: Fuchow Oyster Cakes Made by a Teochew
I am a big fan of Fuzhou Oyster Cakes. I think they are the most delicious snack ever invented and the perfect type of dish for pasar malams (night market), fairs and the like. It really is too bad that it is a fast disappearing dish. I only know of four places selling this in Singapore. They are Maxwell Fuzhou Oyster Cake, Fu Zhou Poh Hwa Oyster Cake, Bugis Street and this Teochew meat puffs which is always on the move with the Pasar Malam.
Classic Singaporean style Teochew food! One taste and you know you are onto some really good stuff. This kind of Singaporean heartland restaurants are a real gem and are, in my opinion, the type of restaurants that should really be included in the Michelin Guide so that tourists can have a taste of solid Singaporean cuisine.
Teck Seng Soya Bean Milk: Handmade Heritage Beancurd
If you visit Tiong Bahru food centre in the mornings, you will notice a few stalls with long snaking queues. One of them would be a stall selling beancurd. On the face of it, this looks like a typical beancurd stall that you can find at any market. So, what makes this stall so special that people are willing to queue up for half and hour for a bowl of bean curd?
Yong Kee Seafood Fish Soup: Yummy Yam and Fish Head Soup!
The clear fish soup is good but it was the fish head yam soup that I felt really sets it apart from other fish soup stalls. The soup stock is made from a variety of dried seafood without the addition of pork bones and the owner himself would visit Senoko Fish Market in the wee hours of the morning to pick his fish for the day. The fish head yam soup is sweet, full bodied and very satisfying. Perfect for days when you yearn for fishhead steamboat but can't gather enough kakis to share a pot.
Discovering places like Chui Xiang Kitchen is really what this blog is all about. I really like these small eateries where the owner is also the chef. Chef owner restaurants are more common with cafes and Western eateries, but when it comes to Zi Char and local cuisine, you often find hired hands in the kitchen. Sometimes the owner doesn't even know how to cook! But when you find a small restaurant where the owner happens to be the chef, chances are that the food is going to be a little more special.
I am sure that readers who grew up during the time when sang meen was really popular would have a pavlovian response to the photo of the crispy plate of thin egg noodles with a mound of slice beef on top. I mean who wouldn't like noodles that are fried to a crispy crunchy texture? It's like eating "Mamee" except much better!
We have a group of makan kakis who meet every week to eat. Our goal, (which really is the goal of every foodie) is to find the next taste sensation, the next restaurant of resonance, the next mesmerising makan, to add to our resume of epic eats. This task is not as easy as it seems.