22 September 2013

Desserts First 糖水先

The weather is so hot these days that sometimes I just want to chill in aircon places only. Another great way to hide from the heat is to eat a bowl of cold dessert. In the field of desserts, one of my favourite types would be the Hong Kong style desserts.. Now I am able to find a piece of Hong Kong in Singapore. That will be along Liang Seah Street which has the three big players in the Hong Kong dessert scene: Desserts First 糖水先, Ah Chew Desserts and Ji De Chi. I observed that Desserts First is usually the most crowded, especially after dinner time.

During peak hours (i.e. after dinner, lunch), sharing tables with strangers is a must if you are with friends in small groups. That's because the tables are mostly for big groups. I went during off-peak hours during a weekend afternoon and there was no crowd. Mandarin pop songs were played which made me felt like I was in Taiwan instantly.

The menu is on the table. After you decide what you want, proceed to order at the cashier.

If you are a durian lover like me, you must try the Durian Shaved Ice ($6, below). Either Durian Shaved Ice or the Durian Snow Ice. They used real D24 durians. Look at the top .. It's real durian fruit which was rich, sweet and pungent. Every bite delivered a robust and icy durian taste. Chomping on the shaved ice and the smooth and creamy durian - a great way to relief from the heat. However, be careful if you are eating with a Durian hater. He/She might squeal in disgust if he/she catches a whiff of that durian smell which I insist it is fragrant! 5/5

The Green Tea Snow Ice with Red Beans ($5, below) was also a winner. It carried a bit of bitterness with the "just nice" amount of sweetness. The accompanying red beans were sweet and complemented the green tea well. The "snow ice" were firm yet soft and melts in the mouth, making it a refreshing treat on a hot day. 4.5/5

The mango desserts are also their specialty. The Mango Snow Ice ($5.50, below) is my favourite! The mangoes were not overly sour but sweet. Layers of the "snow ice" were smooth and each of them were rich with the sweet and slightly sour mango taste. Mixed with the cubes of mango, it was heavenly! The accompanying nata de coco pieces were also very nice and addictive to chew on. 4.5/5

Waffle with Nutella and Bananas with Vanilla Ice-cream ($6.50, below) was perfectly done too. The waffle was crispy and the combination of nutella sauce and bananas was excellent. The vanilla ice-cream was sweet and creamy. Atop the hot waffle, it was a delicious treat. 4.5/5

Service speed was average and not fast, maybe due to the long preparation time needed to make the "snow ice". However, be patient and you will be rewarded :) A tip is to avoid dinner/lunch times as you would need to wait for some time for a seat. The portions are also very big and it's a good idea to share if you are a small-eater. Overall, we loved this place very much. This place is a must-try!

8 Liang Seah St #01-04, Bugis, 189029

Tel: 6333 0428

Opening Hours:
Mon to Thu: 1630 - 1230
Fri & Sat: 1300 - 0100
Sun: 1300 - 2330

12 September 2013

Lime House

I swear my eyes were blinking with excitement when I heard there is a new Caribbean restaurant near Chinatown.

After all, it's the first time we have a restaurant (and the one and only one so far) in Singapore that offers Carribean cuisine. Set up by a Trinidad native. I immediately googled where is Trinidad. The fastest air ticket from Singapore to Trinidad takes 30 hours *gasped*.

I was surprised to be able to get a reservation easily on a Friday night. The cosy restaurant is located at the last of the stretch of shophouses (same stretch as Esquina) along Jiak Chuan Road in Keong Saik/Chinatown area. I like the decor immediately even though it wasn't anything close to what I had imagined (I did have some fantasies that it will look like a movie set from Pirates of the Caribbean).The chill vibe and rustic decor offers a comforting respite from the hustle and bustle of a busy work week. 

There weren't a lot of items on the menu. A look at the drinks menu and Lychee Ooh Lala ($17, below) caught our attention immediately. A concoction of white rum, lychee liquer, lychee syrup, sugar syrup, lime juice, mint leaves and sprite, it did sound good. I liked that it wasn't very heavy on the bitterness and quite refreshing to drink.. Tasted some what like drinking a zesty lychee sprite. 

The food menu did not have any pictures of the dishes so we just went with what sounded nice. The sides ranged from $8 to $12 and the mains ranged from $24 to $34. 

We got Wings n' Tings ($12, below) as one of the sides. It's actually boneless chicken fillets which was a good thing otherwise it will be messy to eat. The chicken meat was a bit tough and it was accompanied by a slightly spicy salsa sauce that tasted very much like spiced barbecue sauce. Eating with my eyes closed confirmed that my palate was eating sweet barbecue chicken. I was hoping to find a more exotic taste hence it was a little disappointing that it tasted like chicken in smoky BBQ sauce. 3.5/5

The next side we got was the Slipper Lobster Cocktail ($15, below), which was avocado with marinated Slipper lobster served with mango and pineapple salsa. When the waiter served the plate, I actually asked, "What's this?". The lobster meat was in tiny pieces and mixed with cubes of mango and pineapple. In the centre was a big piece of avocado. Maybe I should have noted earlier that the description started with Avocado and the lobster was just a supporting role. 3.5/5

Moving on to the mains, we had the Caribbean Jerk chicken ($24, below) with textures of sweet potato and Jerk BBQ sauce. Jerk chicken which is native of Jamaican is done by dry-rubbing or wet-marinating the meat with a very hot spice mixture. The chicken was fork-tender and flavorful. However, we weren't very impressed with the Jerk BBQ sauce which tasted like normal smoky barbecue sauce. I can't fault them for this dish but it was just not within our expectations as we thought Jerk sauce should be spicy. 3.5/5

The last course The Catch of the Caribbean ($26, below) came with pan seared fish, coconut breaded prawns, pumpkin puree served with souscaille and Creole sauce. Visually impressive, it looks like a beach with a cave. The "beach sand" was actually the pumpkin puree.  The fish, again, tasted very familiar and after a while I thought it tasted like the steamed garoupa served during Chinese weddings. Again, there was nothing wrong with this dish. It was well executed but it was just that I was expecting a stronger, exotic and a more multi-dimensional taste. Somehow I felt the creamy pumpkin puree did not complement the fish well. I liked the prawns which had a subtle coconut taste. 3.75/5

Service could be faster and more attentive. Given that the place was quite empty on a Friday night, slow service is not exactly acceptable. My glass of water was never automatically refilled throughout the night. 

Overall, expect food that is cooked well but don't go there expecting exotic or unusual tastes. You won't get anything too crazy or mind-blowing. Caribbean cuisine is more familiar than I thought. For the record, I researched on what exactly is Carribean cuisine:
"Carribean cuisine is a fusion of African, Amerindian, European, East Indian and Chinese cuisine. These traditions were brought from the many homelands of this region's population. In addition, the population has created styles that are unique to the region. Traditional dishes include Caribbean goat stew, curries.(from Wikipedia)"
That probably explains the western and Asian traditional flavors of the dishes.

Although it didn't turn out as hyped as I initially thought it would be, the ambience of the restaurant is quite lovely for a "liming" session. Liming is a Caribbean urban term meaning hanging out with friends. They have a bar on the second level for some liming after dinner too. Personally, it was quite an eye opener to Caribbean cuisine. And I must count my blessings that I didn't have to fly for 30 hours to get to its hometown in order to try it. 

2 Jiak Chuan Road, Singapore 089260 

Tel: 6222-3130

Website: http://www.limehouse.asia/

9 September 2013

Little Ice Cream Kafe (LICK)

Life is like ice-cream. Enjoy before it melts.

Ice-cream is one of my favourite foods. A pity it falls into "unhealthy" category if not I will eat it everyday. We found this Little Ice Cream Kafe, deliciously acronym-ed as "LICK" along Tanjong Katong Road, just a few shophouses after Ponggol Nasi Lemak.

Check out their website here for a list of the flavours they have! They have really interesting flavours e.g. D24 Durian, Earl Grey, Teh Tarik, Avocado, Gula Melaka, Kaya Toast and Lychee Martini. A single scoop costs $3.30, double scoop for $5.30 and triple scoop for $7.40.

I saw they do waffles too and I just had to get it. Waffles + Ice cream --> One of the most delicious things on earth!

We saw the staff having problem with the waffle machine and we got a little worried  #Fingers crossed. And they need to get more waffle machines! We waited for quite some time for our waffles. Luckily, there was free WIFI and TV to keep us occupied. 

Here's our waffle with Earl Grey and Lychee scoops ($10.10). Loved the fluffy and buttery waffles. And their scoops were of generous size! The Earl Grey ice-cream had the earl grey tea flavour and fragrance. The Lychee ice-cream was tropical and refreshing, had bits of real lychee and sweet. Strongly recommend the lychee ice-cream.

Here's the shop front.. Not sure if you are digesting the important information in the pic.. Yes LICK cafe has daily promotions on weekdays. It's quite a nice place to have desserts especially after dinner/supper at nearby Ponggol Nasi Lemak.

258 Tanjong Katong Road
Singapore 437046

Mon - Thu: 1:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Fri - Sat: 1:00 pm - 12:00 am
Sun: 1:00 pm - 11:00 pm

6 September 2013

Ponggol Nasi Lemak @ Tanjong Katong

I actually thought that I was going to Punggol for this Nasi Lemak stall until I googled the address. Although it is named Ponggol, this Ponggol Nasi Lemak stall is located along Tanjong Katong Road instead. As if it is not confusing enough, it has two branches : the main branch in Kovan and this is the other branch in Tanjong Katong. Ponggol Nasi Lemak started in 1990 at Old Tampines Road, then moved to the now-defunct Brighton Crescent premises in 1994 and then its current two outlets.

At first sight, it might look like a coffee shop, but there is only one stall - Ponggol Nasi Lemak. There is another small drinks stall behind the Nasi Lemak stall. It is a norm that one has to stand around and wait for others to finish their food as this popular stall seems to be always fully packed.

There are no set meals. Only ala carte dishes are available as the owner wants the customers to have the freedom to choose what they like. Prices are steeper than other normal Nasi Lemak stalls, ranging from $5 to $8, depending on what you order. For instance, my personalized Nasi Lemak (below) comprising of one chicken wing, luncheon meat, fish cake, peanuts and ikan bilis cost me $5.30.

Given the wide variety of dishes available, allow me to assist you to narrow down on what I think you should order:
#1- The chicken wing is a must-order. Fried to golden crisp perfection, the chicken wing was crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside. I am not sure what ingredient was used but I thought I tasted some prawn paste taste.
#2 - The peanuts and ikan bilis. Crunchy and crispy.
#3 - The Otah. Spicy, soft and disintegrates in the mouth.

For me, the sambal chili is the most important ingredient in Nasi Lemak and it can spoil the whole dish if it is not good. Ponggol Nasi Lemak's sambal sauce was one of the best I've eaten. I can totally eat it on its own. It was sweet, spicy and delivered the kick to the overall Nasi Lemak experience. Smile to the auntie and ask politely more sambal chili sauce (which was what I did, although my friend koped some of my extra chili sauce while I wasn't looking).  The coconut and pandan taste of the rice was aromatic and subtle, just nice and normal.

My overall rating: 4/5

Besides the newspapers writeups and "certificates" awarded by the local TV shows that adorned the walls of Ponggol Nasi Lemak, the stall apparently also gained some publicity from its claim over the title of the original Ponggol Nasi Lemak and announced that they were not related to other Nasi Lemak stalls that bears the name "Punggol" with the word "New" or "Old" or "21" added.. Nowdays Nasi Lemak also can be counterfeit ah (Source). Besides that, they were also once in the limelight over gossip that the son of the owner had gambling debts owing to MBS (Source). And there was also another article on $8.30 spent on a Nasi Lemak stall in Upper Serangoon which ignited the set up of a "Boycott Ponggol Nasi Lemak" facebook page (Source).

Address: 238 Tanjong Katong Rd Singapore 437026
Telephone: 6348 3303
Opening hours: 17:30-02:30 daily except Thurs which it is closed

3 September 2013

Skinny Pizza

Being a food blogger is a tough job. Being a female food blogger is even tougher. With the stereotyping of skinny girls are more desirable, we have to deal with the aftermath of an eating binge. Skinny Pizza is like my place to get good pizzas without feeling sinful. And it helps that it has several outlets which makes it more convenient for me to get my pizza.

Reasons why Skinny Pizza is for the pizza-loving girl who is always on a diet:

#1 - Thin-like-paper crust
The folks at Skinny Pizza were creative enough to come out with the super skinny crust which is as thin as a piece of paper. It cracks. Hence, unlike other thick crust pizzas, you won't feel too full from eating the crust which is usually just carbs. Unless you are planning to do some construction work, I guess you don't need those carbs.

#2 - Loads of healthy vegetables
The crust is hidden beneath all the healthy green toppings. I don't really like rockets but it's a chore to remove the rockets. Hence, I'll just obediently eat them together with the rest of the crust.

Skinny Pizza has quite an interesting variety of pizzas. We picked two which we never tried before.

The English Breakfast ($24, below) is a mix of smoky bacon and egg, served with Portobello mushrooms, roasted Neapolitan tomato sauce and ripped basil. Visually pleasant with a cooked sunny side up on top of the pizza, I loved the smoky bacon which was crispy and there was a generous amount of it. The combination of the roasted tomato sauce and sweet basil was perfectly executed, and together with the crunchy light crust, it was a satisfying pizza. 4/5

My main peeve is that the crunchy and light crust was too thin and broke very easily, and the toppings kept falling off. Hence, it was impossible for me to eat it in an elegant way.

The Ginger Butter Chicken ($20, below), crumbled mozarella, cashew nuts, rucola, onions, diced tomatoes and ginger butter chicken. When I took my first bite, I thought I was eating Malay/Indian chicken satay. The herbs and spices used were fragrant and the chicken was soft. The cashew nuts were an interesting topping and gave a crunchy texture. Overall, it was quite an oriental taste. 4/5

The Spaghetti Aglio Olio ($20, below) looks a bit different from the menu. Anyway it was quite an average dish and nothing to shout about. It was a bit too oily for me though. 3/5

We ordered a three-sides platter ($15, below), containing a 1/4 metre long sausage, sweet potato nibblets and truffle fries. The sweet potato nibblets were too much and we couldn't finish. As for the truffle fries, I am not really a bit fan of truffles and this one had an overpowering pungent truffle taste. Out of the three sides, I like the sausage most. My friends and I concurred that the three-sides platter were not really value-for-money and we should have ordered another pizza instead. 3/5

Tip 1: I think you can just walk out without paying because despite us calling for the bill three times, nobody gave us the bill. We basically waited for like 15 minutes and decided to walk out of the restaurant. No worries I am a law-abiding citizen and I paid at their cashier. You tell me, which customer has to pay at the cashier?

Tip 2: There is a current promotion for DBS/POSB cardholders. Simply spend more than $50 and get a 15% discount voucher on the next visit. The promotion lasts until 31 Dec 2014. DBS also has another promotion until 30 Sep 2013 where you get free truffle fries with every pizza ordered.

A great place for the pizza lovers.. Please skip the other non-pizza dishes. And hopefully the service can be faster next time when I visit with my 15% discount voucher.

252 North Bridge Road
Raffles City Shopping Centre
Singapore 179103

Tel: +65 6333 5069

Opening hours: 11am to 10pm

1 September 2013

Old Street Bak Kut Teh

Friends who know me well probably would not expect me to talk about Bak Kut Teh on my blog because I am a super unhealthy eater. Salads and anything soupy are the last things I would recommend. So how did I end up at this Bak Kut Teh place? It was basically the outcome of a decision tree.

We wanted cheap and tasty food --> Hawker food hmm... Laksa!
But we also wanted healthy food --> The first on my list of healthy hawker food that meets my definition of "tasty" was Bak Kut Teh.

My friend, who is a big fan of Bak Kut Teh, has tried most of the Bak Kut Teh in Singapore. The self-acclaimed Bak Kut Teh guru highly recommended Old Street Bak Ku Teh located along Upper Paya Lebar Road.

It occupies one of the shophouse units and is easily visible with its huge signboard. If you know where is the famous Kay Lee char Siew rice, Old Street Bak Ku Teh is actually located just two units away from Kay Lee.

Their specialty is actually the dry version but I was like, "huh ? I thought the main thing about Bak Ku Teh is the soup?". Anyway, my friend tried the dry version during a previous visit and didn't think it was fantastic. Hence, we ordered the normal soup version ($6) and fried You Tiao ($1.50).

The subtly herbal and peppery soup was both flavorful and zesty! As for the pork meat, there was a good amount of both fatty soft meat and lean meat. The pork meat was so tender that it just disintegrated in the mouth. And very tasty as well. The You Tiao, unfortunately, was not crispy enough. I think they have put the You Tiao out in the air for too long and hence it lost its crispness. Ok I am dreaming about the soup already. Overall 4/5

Tip: refilling of soup is free of charge.

Service was attentive but I visited them during an off peak hour. The food was served very fast. The environment was spacious, clean and very much a modern coffee shop.

Cheap - checked. Tasty - checked. Healthy - checked.

129 Upper Paya Lebar Road
Singapore 534840

Tel: 6759 1082
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