Friday, June 29, 2007

New Lucky Claypot Rice, Clementi, Singapore

I've heard about this place a few times and decided to set my heart on coming down tonight.

This place is very popular and supposedly you may have to wait for up to 40 minutes before your claypot is served. Thankfully, my friend had the foresight to make an advanced order thus we waited for only about five minutes before this was plonked down on our table.

The claypot rice is cooked traditionally in over charcoal and all the ingredients of chicken, salted fish and assorted Chinese sausages are stacked above it.

The larger chunks of chicken are first removed and the preparation of the rice is pretty much self-serviced. First we add a dash of oil.

Followed by a drizzle of thick, black soy sauce.

Then we stir the hell out of it.

And finally, add back the chunks of chicken that we removed earlier on. Well, I don't know if it was the lack of salted egg yolk but I felt that this was abit of a let-down. It definitely wasn't the worst I've had but perhaps I had built up too high expecatations for this. In the end I still felt that Old Mother Hen's was better.

To continue on with the trend of mediocrity were some satays from a stall in the same coffeeshop. At 50 cents a pop, I would have expected something pretty good but in the end this just tasted sweet.

The salad porkribs from the zi char were just too slimy and gooey.

And the seafood beancurd; completely unremarkable.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Imran Briyani Empire, Haig Road Food Center, Singapore

It wasn't really my intention to hit another briyani joint so soon but this stall at Haig Road Food Center (Block 14, Haig Road) looked pretty interesting.

They do Burmese briyani here which is a little different from the Indian style. This was served with chopped up potatoes on the side and even a bowl of clear soup.

Even thought the mutton was quite tender, the spices didn't really give me much kick. It wasn't as aromatic or fragrant as Indian briyanis; the flavor here being pretty much just straight-forward salty. Come to think of it, I had Burmese briyani once at Inle but remembered it being better.


Monday, June 25, 2007

Yakader Muslim Food, Tekka Food Center, Singapore

I love Little India, the sights, the sounds and flavors of all the food available. It just feels so marvellously ethnic. This little stall in Tekka Food Center always garners a pretty long queue and after having a taste of their briyani, I can see it was pretty well-justified.

The curried chicken is aromatic, fragrant, spicy and tasty all at once. The texture of the flesh complemented its flavor nicely being tender and succulent.

The fried chicken is like a fried variant of tandoori chicken. It's more savory than spicy but still, the dried and salty meat was right up my alley.

Long grain basmati rice with two chunks of chicken and a generous pour of curry (that's a slab of mutton briyani in the middle by the way). This was an indulgence worthy of the queue.

Nothing's better to end off the meal and chill from the blazing afternoon sun than a ice-cold glass of unsweetened mango lassi. A great gustatory hit for under 10sgd, I see myself coming back quite often.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Mango Sticky Rice D Style

Thailand is a country of very delicious foods. One of the dishes that I love is the mango and sticky rice dessert which struck me as being so yummy but yet so simple. This is my version; pimped up a little.

1. Shredded coconut
2. Coconut sugar
3. Gula Malacca (Malaccan palm sugar)
4. Glutinous (sticky) rice
5. Coconut juice
6. Coconut cream
8. Mango
9. Brown sugar
10. Pandan leaves
11. Banana leaves

1. Cook the sticky rice with the coconut juice (i.e. the "water" found in the coconut, not coconut milk) and pandan leaves

2. Start packing a small bowl by first adding some shredded coconut

4. Followed by some coconut sugar

5. Pack some sticky rice and throw in a generous chunk of gula Malacca and fill up the rest with more sticky rice

6. Steam the rice cakes for about twenty minutes, covered with a piece of banana leaf

7. In the meantime, start cooking up the sauce
8. Combine some of the coconut water with brown sugar, gula Malacca
9. I threw in some chopped up coconut flesh from the fresh coconut I bought but this is optional

10. Add in coconut cream, simmer till desired viscosity is obtained

Serve the rice cake hot with a cool slab of Thai mango on the side.

How could we forget the sauce that we left simmering?

After the rice cake is steamed, it creates a nice colored multi-layer effect. The hidden surprise being that melted chunk of gula Malacca oozing out when you break into it.


Krispy Kreme Donuts

You know your day is going pretty good when you find a Krispy Kreme bag on your dining table. But there wasn't one box of donuts on it.

There were four.

I'm quite a purist when it comes to donuts. Plain and simple sugar glazed ones are my favorite. Chocolate ones are still within my comfort zone. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm heaps adventurous with foods and I reckon I would try that zucchini-cream-cheese-affogato donut if someone sold them but when a friend is helping you courier some Krispy Kremes (abbreviated to KK for short, hmm luckily they're not known as "Krispy Krunchy Kreme" haha) from overseas, it's safer to go with the trialed and tested flavors.

As with most KK donuts, they're usually a tad bit overly sweet but luckily the chocolate glaze wasn't too sweet since it was layered over the original sugar glaze. Once I scraped off some of the sugar glaze, the sweetness was just nice.

And of course the original sugar glazed donuts were just as good as ever.

Despite traveling a substantial distance to get to me, these were still fluffy and soft. I guess KKs travel pretty well. Interestingly enough, with this current donut craze going on in Singapore, I wonder how much leverage I can milk out of these donuts. I'm sure they'll give me great bargaining power in any situation.

Interviewer: D, I'm not sure if you're really the man for the job...
D: I've got Krispy Kreme donuts.
Interviewer: Welcome aboard.

Cop: Did you know how fast you were going?
D: I've got Krispy Kreme donuts.
Cop: I'll get the coffee.

D: I've got Krispy Kreme donuts.
Girl: I'll go out with you.
: You've got Krispy Kreme donuts.

Ok.. I think the point has been made.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Sushi Tei, Holland Village, Singapore

So both Aburiya and Raku in Holland Village were closed in the mid-afternoon and I was still feeling like Japanese. Right behind Raku was Sushi Tei. A friend mentioned once that Sushi Tei was one of the better local Japanese chains around, so I decided to give them a shot.

The mixed aburi sushi platter was pretty good. Sure the searing (which wasn't done table-side either) wasn't as even as I would have liked it to be and the tuna wasn't as fatty as I hoped for, but for this price, it's really quite good.

The dragon roll is essentially sushi made out of a whole battered deep-fried king prawn, topped with advocado slices and mayonnaise. The contrast between the butter advocado, soft rice and crisp prawn was rather fun. I'm going to try the phoenix roll the next time I'm here, it looks like another interesting variant of this.

So far things were going pretty good till this came along. The jumbo chicken yakitori certainly lives up to its name of being huge but the sauce was just way too sweet and it wasn't charred as much as I would like it to be. But then again, this isn't a yakitori joint so this was a forgiveable mistake.

The teriyaki beef suffered from the same ailment as the chicken yakitori; the sauce although not as sweet, was still too sweet. At least it was tender and char-grilled a little more and the slivers of garlic were a nice touch.

The tonkatsu is quite decent. In fact, if this was just slightly more juicy and tender, it would come pretty close to Tomton's.

I'm a big fan of unagi and tamago so I just had to order this (I can't remember its name!). It's basically unagi wrapped with tamago. Despite the tamago being not really the best (too rubbery and inconsistent heat from the cooking element resulted in the bubbly and porous texture), I still enjoyed this a fair bit.

Although this may look pretty good, it wasn't really. I made the mistake of being tempted into taking something from the conveyor belt. I normally don't take conveyor belt stuff unless I'm sitting next to the chef and can see that it's prepared fresh. This tasted like it was going around for quite awhile; cold, slightly rancid even, well we all know that things which have been around aren't really that delectable.

Interestingly enough, there were more Japanese people dining here than locals during this mid-afternoon and to give them credit, the food was pretty good. Perhaps some of the bad mouthing I've been hearing about local Japanese chains may just be ostentatious innuendo from self-proclaimed food snobs.


Monday, June 18, 2007

NYDC, Singapore

I'm guessing that NYDC stands for something like New York Dessert Cafe? Then again I could be completely wrong, but one thing's for sure; this is a local (yup, there's none in New York) startup that supposedly does pretty good ice-cream mudpies. After enduring the scorching heat of trekking across the open-air carpark at Holland Village; I desperately needed something to cool me down and that's how I found myself here.

This is the Jedi Mudster, which is basically an ice-cream mudcake of chocolate ice-cream, macademias, maltesers(?) and vanilla ice-cream on a bed of crushed oreo cookies. It tasted pretty much like its description: sweet. But at least this was cold enough to take away abit of that mid-day heat.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Gorkha Grill, Chinatown, Singapore

What better place to find Nepalese food than smack in the middle of Chinatown? Apparently, this place has been around for almost ten years. That itself is quite commendable in this volatile food and beverage industry.

The menu here as their card states, isn't exclusively Nepalese. In fact, quite the majority of their dishes are Northern Indian. Nevertheless, the chicken momos we had for starters were pretty tasty. It's like a cross between a Chinese dumpling and an Indian samosa. The skin was pretty doughy and the filling had an aromatic taste of spices.

Ram toriya is basically deep fried okra. Lightly salted, these crisps get pretty addictive after awhile even though they are pretty greasy.

Jheenge papita is a Nepalese specialty where prawns are stewed in a thick gravy and steamed in a pawpaw boat before being served. Although it sounds pretty spiffy, I reckon there's more novelty in this than taste. It doesn't taste bad, but just not really as spectacular as I hoped it to be.

When I saw the description of the murgh makhni in the menu, I thought it sounded rather like butter chicken. Guess what? It tastes like butter chicken. In fact I think this is probably the Nepalese equivalent of butter chicken. But it was a good thing we ordered this because this was definitely one of the better butter chicken dishes out there. The gravy was thick and flavorsome and the chicken chunks, tender and succulent.

The vegetable dish of the day was palaak paneer which is a blended spinach paste with chunks of fetta cheese. I actually prefer the spinach bits to be coarser though, this was almost like baby food.

Piro khasi ko masu is quite a mouthful to describe this dish. It's basically mutton seasoned with "Nepalese spices". Although it wasn't really mindblowing when I had my first taste, the flavor somehow grows on you after a few more mouthfuls. At least, there was substantial protein in this dish.

Saag gosht has to be one of my all time Northern Indian favorites. Although it may look abit like the palak paneer, the flavor is completely different. The chunks of lamb were sizeable and tender. My only gripe would be the smoothness of the spinach, a coarser blend would have provided better texture.

As most of the dishes came with very tasty gravy, what better way is there than to soak and wipe up all of it with some freshly baked naans? The colorful naan is Kashimiri naan, which is basically naan with a topping of glazed cherry bits and crushed nuts. The other is just a straight forward butter naan. I'm a big fan of naans and the ones here are done pretty well, not too breadlike but not too roti-canai-like (elastic) either.

I don't really know what these are called but they're usually served at the end of Northern Indian meals and supposedly aid digestion, abit like after-dinner mints. I'm sure there's rock sugar bits and fennel in this and it sure did help reduce that bloated feeling after this big feed.