Tuesday, 27 December 2016

The World's First and Only Michelin Starred Ramen in Singapore - Tsuta Ramen

Pacific Plaza has now been transformed into a corridor of famous eateries with the likes of Kam's Roast, Tim Ho Wan and Tsuta Ramen. Brought in by a fellow bandmate from ACS.

On our off day, we decided to venture and queue for this acclaimed Ramen. We got there at 11:30am and it was an estimated hour's wait. The queue signs are fairly accurate. The place sits approximately 15 pax. It was a nice touch to serve mini bottles of water to customers in the queue. 

Once in, you'll place your orders via a prepay machine outside and wait for your seat. There are basically two choices, based on the broth base. The salt base "Shio", or the Soya sauce base "Shoyu". Sadly you did not have a choice on the firmness of the Soba like most Ramen stalls. The noodles did come slightly overdone. 

Both variants has truffle oil added. Once you enter the restaurant you'd definitely smell it. Initially I thought it'd be an interesting twist to a very traditional Japanese dish. But I'd come to appreciate tradition, the best Ramen I've tried were natural and balanced. Tsuta's Ramen be it the Shio or Shoyu with the Truffle Oil is simply overpowering. The Shio after the first 3 sips, what was interesting became too much. It was too salty and the truffle oil did not help. Thankfully some bits of Red Onions help keep some sharpness into this dish. 

The Ajitsuke @ Ramen Egg was done perfectly, firm on the outside and medium done on the inside. What was lacking though was flavour. To me the absolute highlight of this dish was the char siew. It seems so dry and tough when they took it out to slice. But in fact it was very juicy and tender in the bowl. 

It certainly was an experience but I would not queue an hour nor return for this.

Ajitsuke Shio Ramen ($21)

Ajitsuke Shoyu Ramen ($21)

Tsuta Ramen 
Pacific Plaza, Orchard Road
Opening Hours: 11am to 9:30pm daily

Monday, 26 December 2016

HamBaoBao - Crispy Pork Belly Burger

I've heard so much about this young hawker bringing Gourmet Burgers into a Hawker Centre and keeping it so affordable. Including the Unique name "HamBaoBao", translating as Hamburger in Mandarin. Situated on the top floor of Beauty World, this food centre looks like it is in need of a renovation soon. Look for stall 04-49, and you will find the Chef Owner at the grill. Before you head down though, be sure to check their Facebook page for updates, they've been known to close randomly. 

I was in the area and decided to try the Crispy Pork Belly ($5) variant. Would like to try the Buah Keluak one next time. It almost tastes like a Peking Duck wrap with its Hoisin sauce, English Mustard and Cucumbers. The Pork Belly is kept in an Air Fryer until ordered, and smacked on the Grill. Generous chunks of it with a Crackling, amazingly tasty albeit possibly losing a molar. Plus the buns are way too fluffy and thin! It collapses upon holding it up. 

144 Upper Bukit Timah Road
Beauty World Centre #04-49
Singapore 588177

Hours: 12 pm to 8 pm. Closed Mondays and alternate Tuesdays

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Park Bench Deli - Festive "Porcetta"

I've heard so much about their amazing Kong Ba Bahn Mi, Pork Belly on a Bahn Mi sandwich. But when I arrived, I was distraught that it was no where to be found on the menu! When I expressed my sadness, I was reassured that they had enhanced the Bahn Mi to a Porcetta, Crispy Pork Belly sandwich. It was a Festive Special Menu. 

The "Porcetta" ($16) below, was Roasted Pork Belly, Bacon, with Argula (Rocket), and a Roasted Garlic Aioli sauce on a Ciabatta. Messy is my first thought, sinful was the recurring theme. It was so good... Everything in that one bite was perfect. The bun held it in place, the pork was tender but firm and the Garlic Aioli and Caramelized Onions simply enhanced the flavours. 

We had also ordered the "Patty Melt" ($17), a 150g Chuck Beef Patty and Cheese on a Rye Bread with their special PBD sauce. 

Park Bench Deli
179 Telok Ayer St

Friday, 23 December 2016

Torico Kway Chap - Old Airport Road

I believe this is the main outlet, where the patriarch runs this stall with origins in Blanco Court. Whilst they have branches in Hougang and Bedok North run by his sons. Here in Old Airport Road, business seems good enough to justify taking up 2 stalls. Perhaps the only vendor to do so here. 

To start off, is perhaps the simplest but the hardest to perfect - the "kway", flat rice noodles in a light soup. The kway here is thick and smooth, whilst it sits in a flavourful but light soup. Usually this soup ends up tasteless in most other places. Here, it is meticulously prepared, evidently through many years of experience. Even the consistency and bitterness of the fried onions are controlled and complemented with the soup perfectly. 

In a set order for one, you'd get a good variety of Pig Organs laid out on a plate. Most other places do not offer such a variety these days. You have Large and Small Intestines, Pig Stomach, Pork Belly and the standard Dried Beancurd "Tau Pok". 

Large intestines are hard to find and to clean, it is a nice surprise to get springy and clean ones here. Even the Small Intestines were very clean, usually you get the powdery ones. Impressed. 

Most would agree, the most important component of a good Kway Chap must be the Chilli. Theirs is a natural balance, not too sour or overpowering. It has to complement the braise stock. Just enough vinegar and salt for flavour. 

To-rico Kway Chap 
Old Airport Road Food Centre 
Opening Hours: 11am - 3:30pm
Closed Mon and Tues 

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Stickies Bar - Quality Beer Food and Affordable Beers!

A hidden gem of a find in the outskirts of CBD, just next to MOM. Nonetheless, these days it almost seem impossible to secure a table. Since they've introduced their Beer'O'Clock promotion on premium beers on tap like Pure Blonde/Victoria Bitter/Steinlager, priced from 3pm onwards per pints.

But really, try the food here. Jumping straight to my favourite, the Sesame Wings. Fragrant, Crisp, and Juicy inside. This or the Mid Wings breaded to perfection will go so well with a fresh ice cold beer! 

My other favourite is the Pepperoni Pizza. They've succeeded in getting the Cheese firm enough without drying out the Pepperoni, and on a paper thin crust. 

Curly Fries with a Generous serving of Cheese!

Luncheon Meat fries done the way I like it, old school and not to dry. 

The Onion Rings too, proper Onions cooked soft with just enough breading, 

Stickies Bar
11 Keng Cheow St, 
#01-10, Singapore 059608
Phone: 6443 7564
Opening Hours: 12om–12am

New Harbour Pub @ Tanjong Pagar

A long overdue post after my stumble into New Harbour Pub along Tanjong Pagar. A couple of mates introduced me to this place and its owner Francis. We came not for the beer on tap from Archipelago, but not the amazing localised Bar Food. You can order the Pizza and Beer set, but I'd rather you dive straight into the good stuff. The Pork Belly and Satay is to die for.

Hainanese Pork Belly with Homemade Belachan

Satay - Skewered Meats

Hawaiian Pizza

New Harbour Cafe and Bar
114 Tanjong Pagar Rd
Singapore 088529

Tel: +65 6226 2657

Opening Hours: Mon to Fri from 11am to 11pm; Sat from 3pm to 11pm. (Closed Sun & PH)

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Eng Kee Wanton Mee - Bukit Batok St 11

I've been spending much of my time these days at Bukit Batok and had searched out the resident eats in the area. One of which had led me to a maze of a cluster of shops, but I found one of the best Hokkien Mee hidden from the limelight. 

Having a craving for old school wanton mee, I googled it and it led me back to the same coffeeshop! What used to be named Li Soon, changed its name to Broadway coffeeshop after the previous owner left its tenants in the lurch running away with their deposits. 

Eng Kee's Wanton Mee is indeed old school. Something you would remember eating in your school canteen. Its noodle texture is similar to that of Pontian, springy and fuller than the average factory made ones with a fuller bite. 

The Char Siew (Barbequed Pork) looks dry but turns out to be merely a good piece of Lean meat, still tender. Its sauce is unlike the normal dark soya sauce base, and more like Nam Seng's salt base. With a dash of broth and salt, stirred with Chilli paste, you get a Light and Flavourful base to slurp your noodles with. Almost like a Soba Tsuyu. 

The Wanton is equally nostalgic. Not something to wow about, just nostalgic. 

Eng Kee Noodle House
Block 155 Bukit Batok Street 11

Fried Carrot Cake - Clementi Central

I am pretty certain that he puts honey into his black variants...

Otherwise he basically breaks down his operation into a few basic steps. He has a pan on low heat to firm up the base cake. His second batch is fried white first. Tossing in eggs, some flavouring which I guess is fish sauce, then the preserved vegetables (cai po) then adds chilli to specification. 

When and If you ordered a Black version, he'd squeeze in a black concoction. Likely to be sweet sauce, dark soya, and etc. 

What sets them apart is the generous throws of eggs, and more importantly what separates the best is the taste and flavours. Many fall short with just light marinates onto the egg scramble. And of course we must mention the preserved vegetables that lends not just flavour but bite to each mouth. 

Fried Carrot Cake
Blk 448 Clementi Ave 3, #01-45