Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Polo Fried Chicken, Bangkok

Ok, I know this Bangkok series was supposed to focus on non-Thai or atypical Thai foods but I realized that I've not done a post on this before which would be a great injustice! Polo Fried Chicken has been serving a mean fried chicken in this area for a long time and has even been mentioned in the New York Times.

Started off with a tangy and spicy Isaan style raw pawpaw salad. Just the thing to whet our appetites.

The grilled beef was abit tough which is quite common with local beef but what it lacked in texture it made up with a nice smoky and greasy flavor.

I guess the Isaan sausage is an acquired taste. The odd sour flavor and the soft texture didn't really agree with me. I like snappy hotdogs.

Their spicy fishcakes have got to be one of the biggest I've seen. It's as though they were on steroids. Big in size and big in flavor as well, this was nice.

So this is the dish that allows this restaurant to make a name for herself. Fried with minimal batter till the skin is light and crisp, this chicken is a lot less greasy than it looks.

But despite the lack of grease it's not lacking in flavor. The generous crunchy fried bits of garlic sure helped enhanced that taste. This bird definitely lived up to her name.

Instead of normal rice, you can order a pretty fragrant sticky rice which complemented the dishes pretty well.

Do drop by Polo Fried Chicken if you get a chance, it's just up along Wireless Rd, so it makes a great dinner spot before browsing the nearby Suan Lum Night Bazaar.


p.s: Just a minor correction, they open till 10pm now. Their cards are just not updated.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Nam Sing, Bangkok

Nam Sing is a Chinese-Thai restaurant located in the Chinatown area of Bangkok which is supposedly pretty popular with Singaporean tourists. This joint was recommended by a friend based here for a nice roasted piglet. We ordered a few more dishes to complement the pig whilst we were here.

The shark's fins soup was not bad, quite tasty and with a generous serve of bamboo pith. The beansprouts were served raw though and I felt the soup was not abundant and hot enough to cook them enough to get rid of that beany flavor.

The crabcakes were pretty decent. Nothing really spectacular but greasy and salty enough to be a decent starter.

The deep-fried spareribs were also average. I was getting abit worried that so far, the dishes here weren't particularly mind-blowing...

The crab meat fried rice wasn't impressive either! It was rather plain and there was not enough crab meat in this. I was really getting worried at this point...

Fortunately, this meal was redeemed by this little porker of crispy porcine splendor. True to my friend's description, this place serves an excellent roasted suckling piglet. The skin was extremely crispy and the seasoning of the meat on the under surface fragrantly tasty as well. They even provided us with some sliced Chinese bread buns on the side with the sweet sauce so that this could be eaten Peking duck style. If there's any reason to come to this joint, it's for this porky.

Abadee, abadee, abadee that's all folks!


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Shahrazad Restaurant, Bangkok

There's something to be said about a city which you can visit four times in less than six months. Bangkok has become my favorite quick getaway for good food. Besides the traditional Thai food, Bangkok is also home to many other excellent cuisines. This round in Bangkok will focus on these slightly more interesting non-Thai eateries.

The sois (streets) off Sukhumvit in the Nana area are home to many Middle-Eastern restaurants. Shahrazad is one of the oldest ones here and true to their staying power, they do serve some tasty grub.

Their Egyptian breads are like slightly crispier and lighter versions of North Indian naans. Fragrant and served hot,

they went very well with the chilled hummus.

We had to order a serve of butter chicken to dip our breads into as well. Most of the Middle-Eastern restaurants have a little Indian variety on their menus and it's done pretty well too. The butter chicken pieces were pre-grilled chicken tikka chunks in a tangy creamy tomato gravy.

Grilled meats are a staple of Egyptian food so we ordered a bit of everything to sample. Here's the mixed grilled platter which had shishkebabs and beef slices. The shishkebab was not bad but unfortunately the beef was overcooked and hence too dry and tough.

The grilled lamb chops were described in the menu as "juicy" and "tasty" and boy did they lived up to their name. Skip the grilled beef and order this when you're here. Each bite is a mixed of salty and greasily juicy flavor.

If you want something more lean than the lamb chops, the grilled lamb shank is an excellent choice as well. Slow grilled till the meat is tender enough to fall off the bone, the amount of meat in this also gives you a substantial blast of protein.

Their minced stuffed breads are pretty good too because they use a different dough from their normal breads which doesn't go soggy when filled with the juicy minced.

Their creme caramel had a decent flavor but wasn't smooth and soft enough for my liking. The one I had in Vietnam was a lot better, but do visit Sharazad for their breads and grilled lamb meats.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Pine Valley Restaurant, Laguna National, Singapore

Pine Valley Restaurant is in the Laguna National Golf and Country Club, which itself is located very East (think of near the airport sort of East). Having had eaten at various country clubs in Singapore, I did not have very high expectations of this place.

We started with the Chinese New Year raw fish salad. Being not a big fan of sashimi, I preferred to select the portions with less raw fish and more crispy (cornflake?) bits instead. There were also some slices of raw mango in this which gave it a more naturally sweet flavor.

The sour and spicy soup here was quite good as well with generous bits of chicken and bamboo shoots in it. This place was slowly changing my opinion on country club dining.

The cold dish platter however, was very average. I don't mind if the jelly fish, chicken and sea slugs were cold but cold stuffed dough fritters in mayonnaise was quite a turn-off.

This dish was unexpectingly good. I always thought that it would be hard to find smoked duck in Singapore after Pin Hsiang at RELC went under but this was one of the best smoked ducks I've had. The skin was delicately thin and crisp and the flesh still juicy and succulent. It's fun how they converted some of the cuts into wraps like Peking duck.

The coffee pork ribs were only mediocre. The addition of coffee beans in these were a nice touch but it still tasted very much like just another sweet and sour dish with a bitter tinge.

Another Szechuan dish, the stir-fried long beans with minced pork was done quite well. Salty and greasy enough, there was also enough minced pork in this to complement the green stuff haha.

Fish slices with chives, I more familiar with prawns in this dish instead of fish but the fish tasted fresh, so it went down pretty well too.

It's not surprising if this beancurd dish looks familiar because it's almost an exact replica of the one I had at Li Bai. It tasted almost exactly the same as well.

The noodle dish at the end was decent. With a large scallop, slice of mushroom and vegetable stalk, it served its purpose of ending off the savories.

The lemon-grass jelly was highly recommended and whilst I found it rather unique, it's definitely not something I will crave. I'm more used to lemon-grass being used in savory dishes than desserts I guess.

The advocado cream would be what I call a dessert. Rich and thick advocado cream with a scoop of chocolate ice-cream. This reminded me of that drink I had in Jakarta and like it, it definitely hit the right spot.

All in all, this place had some hits and misses but if I do come back for anything, it'll definitely be that smoked duck and advocado cream.


p.s: May all of you have an excellent Lunar New Year. I'll be out of town for about a week, will be back with more stuff.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Helio Cafe IV, Marina Square, Singapore

This is the fourth appearance of Helio Cafe on this blog since my first impromptu visit and the subsequent chocolate and strawberry themed weeks. We started off with a pie-tee (crispy batter shells) entree which was quite delicious.

And the pork-wrap again marinated slightly from the first one but still very delectable.

Another variant of the baked chicken, always tender and welcomed.

The baked salmon with saffron infused cream sauce is almost a regular on my menu...

and so is the beef with red-wine sauce. If it did seem that I was rushing through the mains, that may be quite accurate because as nice as the mains that Helio does provide, their desserts really take the cake (no pun intended).

Fridge-set mandarin cheesecake on an oreo cookie base; very light with a citrus tang. Helio's cheesecakes don't make you feel bloated or stuffed if you eat too much. Which is good, because then, you can eat too much haha.

The green tea mochi cheesecake tasted a tad bit heavier than the mandarin one but the use of Chinese green tea instead of Japanese green tea was still quite a refreshing change.

A hibiscus version of the strawberry filo-pastry bake we had the last time. The contrast of the hot and crisp pastry and cold cream interior was still very well-done.

Baked orea cheesecake, pure indulgence in a slice.

Clement was kind enough to let us sample some Indonesian cakes that his friend bought back from Indonesia (by the way, these were from his personal stash i.e. not for sale). The Indonesian layered cake had to be one of the most fragrant and moist ones I've had.

The Indonesian baked yeast cakes were also incredibly aromatic without being too sweet. There was also a nice citrus scent to this which added a nice twist instead of just straight-forward sweetness.

The almond biscotti we sampled was so good that we bought a tub for Chinese New Year.

Last but not least these pine-apple tarts were quite excellent as well, with that melt-in-your-mouth sensation. If I'm not wrong, they are closed over the Chinese New Year holidays but may open their kitchen for private bookings.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Champagne Raspberry Cake, Ricciotti, Singapore

While I think that the pre-made desserts from Ricciotti are pretty decent, their make-to-order cakes are where they really shine. This was the closest shape that they had to a heart, so it'll just have to do for the occasion haha.

Come to think of it, it actually looks more like my guitar pick!

Like the mocha passion I tasted previously, the champagne raspberry cake was done very well. A soft layer of champagne infused vanilla mousse at the top followed by the richer and thicker layer of raspberry cream and jam sitting above the final base of light sponge cake; this was indeed a very tasty cake. The best about it was, it wasn't overly sweet. This slice looks abit crummy because we took this photograph of a leftover piece the following morning haha. Luckily the air-conditioning was strong enough to prevent it from going off although it did melt abit. Hope you all had an excellent Valentine's!