27 October 2013

Zion Road Char Kway Teow

 This is a story of how I tracked down Zion Road Char Kway Teow via my nose. Just to start off, I am well known among my friends as a blur sotong. So I found the address of the famous Zion Road Char Kway Teow from Google : 18 Zion Road. And when I arrived at the exact address using Google Map app, it was an old building that wasn't lit and looked haunted. Luckily, common sense prevailed in me not to enter it. Suddenly, there was a whiff of Char Kway Teow from the end of the road. The recognizable frying of the eggs was in the air. So my friend and I walked towards the direction where it was coming from. And tada! We found the famous Char Kway Teow. Turned out 18 was the stall number at this Zion Riverside Food Centre of which the address is 70 Zion Road.

While waiting for uncle to fry our Char Kway Teow, we ordered chicken wings and sugar cane juice from other stalls. The chicken wings were so-so but I loved the sugar cane juice. Think it's hard for sugar cane juice to go wrong, especially with oily food.

If there was only one last meal I could have, it would be Char Kway Teow. My rationale is since I were to die anyway, away with those second thoughts on high calorific food. And Zion Road Char Kway Teow would be in my list. Sweet and salty black soya sauce that coated on each kway teow or rice noodles were a culmination of uncle's experienced culinary skill at the wok. The fragrant fried eggs were to die for, and so were the big pieces of cruchy fried pork lard. And those fish cakes, they couldn't be more fresh. It might not be the most aesthetically pleasant mixture but it was certainly one of the most mouth-watering mixture. For the health conscious, I could not empathize with but say resistance is futile. One could not help but ask, "Could we have another serving?" Life is short so enjoy it. 5/5

And yes, I concur with the many newspaper cuttings that were proudly displayed that it is a die-die must eat!

Stall No. 18, 70 Zion Road, Zion Riverside Food Centre, Singapore 247792

Opening hours:
Closed on Alternate Mon, Mon to Sun: 12.00pm - 02.30pm and 06.30pm - 11.00pm

21 October 2013

Hong Kong | Hui Lau Shan

I believe Hui Lau Shan requires no introduction. The spreading of outlets all over Hong Kong is a testament to its popularity. I would always get my tong shui and mango desserts at Hui Lau Shan whenever I am in Hong Kong, rain or shine.

Mango and Mango Juice with Mango Jelly (HKD 36, below). Every bite and sip was mango goodness. And I loved that the mangoes were sweet, not sour. 4.5/5

Mango with mango ice-cream and glutinous rice balls (HKD 52, below). This is a combination of my two favourite things - Mangos and Ice-cream. The glutinous rice balls gave this little dessert a chewy dimension. 4.5/5

Mango with pomelo (HKD 52, below), the zesty and pulpy pomelo cum juicy mango pieces is a favourite combination that I always order. 4.5/5

Bird's Nest and Honey Jelly in Watermelon Juice (HKD 36, below). A different type of offering apart from the mangoes. The "bird's nest" was smooth and together with the watermelon juice, it was a perfect thirst quencher for a hot day. 4/5

Address: Various outlets all over Hong Kong

19 October 2013

Drury Lane

I've decided to do a break from the Hong Kong/Macau entries because I can't help writing about our yummy food in Singapore!

It's the weekend again! And this time round, I want to share a nice place for a weekend brunch - Drury Lane. Named after a road called Drury Lane in London, this cafe is located along our Tanjong Pagar Road.

Drury Lane is a cafe that is easy to fall in love with. It seems to have it right - an interesting and easy to remember name, shophouse in Tanjong Pagar, all day breakfast. And there's no way you can miss this red engine cafe along Tanjong Pagar Road.

Upon entering the cafe, I immediately fell in love with the cosy ambience. There are two storeys. The lower storey is where the kitchen is and also where the brewing of coffee is. There are some bar tables as well as some seats that were constructed from wooden crates. 

If you don't want to smell like your breakfast later, I recommend you head upstairs.

Loved the upstairs which felt spacious, unlike other cafes which made me feel like I am constantly touching my neighbor's elbow. Ok I exaggerate. The rustic and simple decor offers a respite from the stressful week. Time seems to slows down and you get some thinking sorted out. Nice place to hangout with your friends and loved ones too.

The menu is a simple one page comprising of breakfast favorites such as big breakfast, eggs, french toast and pancakes. I can't help but being curious about some of the names of the dishes, such as Big 94, Cloud 9, Cloud 9.4. I guess it should be something to do with their address 94 Drury Lane. They also served espressos, daily brews and teas. You place and pay your orders at the counter on the first floor and you are given a table number (in the form of a paper cup).

The table number - Not for drinking
I got the daily specialty brew of Bokasso Ethiopia ($5, below) which had a good balance of bitterness and acidity, and tasted of jasmine and citrus fragrance. This small cup gave the perk needed for the morning. 4/5

For tea lovers, kick start your day with English breakfast tea ($6, below), which came in a pot. Tea was from The 1872 Clipper Tea Company and it was full-bodied and robust. 4/5

The 1935 Toast ($8, below), a French toast with peanut butter jam and two bananas. While the banana were sweet, it was well complemented by the saltiness of the peanut butter in the toast. Nice comfort food on a lazy weekend morning. As for the name 1935 toast, its been rumoured that a hearty peanut butter french toast used to be the king of rock and roll's, Elvis, favourite food. Hence Drury Lane decided to name the toast after the year he was born as a little tribute to him. 4/5

The Cloud 9.4 ($12, below) might look like ordinary pancakes but a surprise awaited as I bit into it. There was pieces of ham embedded in the pancakes, making the pancakes a little salty. And the pancakes were very fluffy, just like their name. If there was a Fluffy Index from 1 to 10, I would give it a level of 10 and McDonald's pancakes a 2. So you get the idea. If you love your pancakes to be fluffy and soft, this is the one. However, I find it a bit too oily for me and by the time I finished my first pancake, I was too overwhelmed to start the second one. Perhaps you can request them to make it less oily. Also, the turkey bacon was too hard for me. 3.5/5

Ham in the pancakes

The cafe has free wifi and the password is stated on the receipt. Service was attentive and rather fast. Did I also mention that there was no service charge and GST? I don't usually frequent cafes because of their overpriced food. I mean, $20 for a eggs, sausage (and GST and service charge on top of that) which I could whip up myself? So I'm glad that Drury Lane's breakfast menu looks affordable (food prices range from $8 to $12), and it makes a good laid-back place with a chill vibe to hang out on a weekend. I don't mind going back to try their other food soon.

Address: 94 Tanjong Pagar Road Singapore 088515
Telephone: 6222 6698
Opening hours:
Monday to Friday - 9am to 10pm
Saturday and Sunday - 10am to 6pm
Closed on Tuesday

17 October 2013

Hong Kong | Bubba Gump Shrimp Company

Imagine you are at the Peak Sky Terrace staring at this view. You take out a camera and ask a passer-by to help take a photo of you and your friends. Suddenly a wind blows and you are eating your hair. With the winds that do not stop wrecking your nice hair, it's really impossible to take a nice photo at the Peak, don't you agree?

Sometime ago, I discovered a "one stone kills two birds" solution : Bubba Gump restaurant. 1) You get the view, and 2) You don't eat the hair. You eat good food.

Located on third floor of the Peak Tower, you can't miss it if you are taking the escalators to the Sky Terrace. It's just probably 2 to 3 levels (can't remember) below the Sky Terrace.

They have the main dining room and a smaller dining room. I was seated in the smaller dining room which had a partial view. The main dining room has the full view and ceiling to floor glass windows. My recommendation would be to get a reservation at the main dining room.

Main dining room picture from Bubba Gump website
The smaller dining room's view
As the restaurant name suggests, it specializes in shrimps and you would expect a wide variety of shrimp dishes. In fact, they were two pages of the menu dedicated to their shrimp dishes. We ordered the Cajun Shrimp (HKD 76, below), sautéed shrimps in Cajun spices and butter served with garlic bread. The fragrant garlic bread was crispy and make a good complement for the fresh and savoury Cajun shrimps coated with Cajun spices. It's a bit of saltiness cum sourness taste which was interesting. 4/5

Want something more than shrimps? Get the Forrest Seafood Feast (HKD 198, below) which comprise of fish and chips, fried shrimps, and coleslaw. Dip in the accompanying sauces - tar tar, cocktail and remoulade. Though it's fried stuff, it isn't overly oily or salty. Very addictive and it was wiped out pretty quickly. 4/5

To call for the waiter's attention, flip the board provided on the table to "Run Forrest Run". Service was attentive and our food was served pretty fast after we placed our orders.

My verdict: Definitely beats squeezing with others on the Sky Terrace. Head down to Bubba Gump. Life should be this way - immersing yourself in the lovely night lights, and chilling comfortably and indulging in good comfort food.

Shop 304-305, 3/F, The Peak Tower, 128 Peak Road The Peak, Hong Kong

16 October 2013

Hong Kong | Tim Ho Wan

Tim Ho Wan. The famous Michelin star from Hong Kong. That hole-in-the-wall eatery. The name that caused heart-beats to stop when it first landed in Singapore. The shop that had rumbling tummies queuing up for hours waiting to devour the handmade dim-sum. 

This is a story of how I went to the Tim Ho Wan outlet in Hong Kong and how I didn't queue for long.

As the original outlet at Mongkok was closed down due to high rents, we went to the IFC outlet at Central. Had a bit of issues in finding the outlet. But nothing is going to stand in between me and my beloved Char Siu Pau. With a bit of help from shop attendants, passerbys and a policeman, we found it :)) It's actually quite simple. Once you exit Central station, find Airport Express check-in signs. Take the lift that goes to Airport Express level but alight at level P1. It's right outside the lift.

Somehow there weren't a lot of people during dinner time at 6.30pm. We took a queue number and waited about 5 minutes.

The ordering system is fuss-free one where you indicate the number of items you want and pass to the waiter. The waiter will then pass the list to kitchen.

If you
1) don't know what to order, and/or
2) don't know Chinese,
just make sure you put more than "1" for the item I circled in red below.

I was referring to the Char Siew Pau. One has not visited Tim Ho Wan if one has not eaten the legendary Baked Char Siew Pau (HKD 18 for 3, below). It is seriously the best Char Siew Pau in the world!! The baked crust is crispy yet soft at the same time. As the teeth sinks into the crust, it crumbles.. into the sweet and savoury Char Siew meat that's filled in the bun. 5/5

The Siew Mai with prawn (HKD 24, below), was fresh and had the springy nom nom factor. I've eaten a lot of Siew Mai and Tim Ho Wan's version ranks high in the list for me. 4/5

The reason why Tim Ho Wan's dim sum are so good is because they make the dim sum only when the customer orders, hence ensuring the freshness of the dim sum. This is very evident in its Prawn Dumpling or Har Kau (HKD 24, below) which I could taste the freshness and sweetness of the prawns beneath the skin. 4/5

I loved its Carrot Cake (HKD 14, below) which has bits of shrimp, giving it the savoury taste. 4/5

My favourite way to end off the excellent dim sum dinner - the refreshing and light Osmanthus cake (HKD 12, below). It's not heavy and gives the feeling of cleansing of the palates. 4/5

So that's my Michelin dinner that cost less than S$10 per pax. And most importantly, it's satisfying and once again proves that good food need not necessarily be expensive.

Shop 12A, Hong Kong Station (Podium Level 1, IFC Mall) Central

15 October 2013

Macau | Seng Cheong Crab Porridge

In a sleepy town called Taipa in Macau, there was a better lit street which showed signs of more civilization at night - Rua do Cunha or 官也街.

We came here to try the famous crab porridge at Seng Cheong.

We knew we had come to the right place when we saw a fully packed restaurant. The nonchalant waiter asked us to head upstairs where there were seats. There were only big tables which could sit six at one. We shared a table with a couple from Tianjin who was here on a work trip. 

Without a doubt, we ordered the small Crab porridge 驰名蟹粥 (MOP 150). The big version cost MOP 180. For 2 pax, I would recommend getting the small version. It's way more than enough. We waited for quite a long time.. A very long time, probably 20 minutes.

Wow I must say it's crabilicious! Generous amount of crabs soaked in the very smooth and fragrant porridge. The crab was sweet, fresh and fleshy. According to the information pamphlet in the store, the porridge was cooked by boiling it with three different types of crab : 膏蟹, 肉蟹 and 水蟹, giving it it's rich crab flavor. We were big crab lovers and this gets our thumbs up. Even though I was hit by some crab while mama tried to use the pincer, it was worth it.

Do head down to the neighboring Mok Yi Kei (see previous post) for desserts after your meal!

28-30 Rua do Cunha, Vila de Taipa, Macau
Opening Hours: 12 noon – 12 midnight daily

12 October 2013

Macau | What to snack

This post cost me a heartache to write. Because it made me want to fly to Macau immediately and eat them!

Anyway for those of you out there who have plans to visit Macau soon, good for you. Please help me to eat on my behalf these delicacies.

#1- Lord Stow's egg tarts

First on the list would be The Lord Stow's legendary Portuguese egg tarts. Although there is an outlet at Venetian which was more convenient, we went to the original bakery in Coloane town since we were also in Coloane for sight-seeing.

The original outlet looked like it had been around since my grandfather's time..

Looks can be deceiving because once we entered the bakery, we were greeted by these loveliest egg tarts freshly baked.

The greedy value-hunter me bought 6 even though there were only 2 persons eating.. Each tart cost MOP 8. A box of 6 cost MOP 45. Of cuz it would be smarter to buy more right? :p

It wasn't a sit down cafe but there were benches outside the cafe for us to sit down and eat.

I swear Lord Stow's egg tarts are da bomb! The flaky crust was crispy and coupled with the soft and smooth egg creamy custard, it was a piece of heaven. Caramelized sugar gives the tart the slightly burnt look. 

I ate the rest for supper back at the hotel. And even after they turned cold, it was still as tasty! Someone once mentioned before that the highest level of cooking skill is displayed when the food still tastes good even when it turns cold. I guess Lord Stow's tarts would be a very good example.
One last look before it goes to my tummy..

Go, going, gone!

Address: 1 Rua do Tassara, Coloane Town Square, Macau
#2 - Gelatina Mok Yi Kei

Want some sweet stuff after dinner?

We found this little shop in Rua do Cunha or 官也街.

We got the Serradura. No it's not some sea monster. 
It is a type of Macau dessert also known as sawdust pudding. It's actually a vanilla ice-cream atop with very very fine biscuit crumbs. The biscuit tasted like Marie biscuit used for the base of cheesecake. Now, imagine it's grinded into very very tiny particles like sawdust, hence the name sawdust pudding. 

The combination was heavenly! I am not sure about other places but the sawdust from Mok Yi Kei was ultra fine and made it an enjoyment just to eat it.

The mango jelly (MOP 18) was also refreshing and smooth.

Address: 9A, Rua do Cunha, Taipa
#3 - Leitaria I Son 義順鮮奶

If you are familiar with Yee Shun (not the Yishun in Singapore), the famous milk pudding cafe in Hong Kong, below is where it all began.

Yee Shun Milk Company originated from Macau. There are quite a few outlets in Macau. Below is one of it located in the old Macau town along the main busy street 新馬路. It's a small shophouse and we had to share seats with strangers.

I had the Ginger Milk Pudding 熱巧手薑汁撞奶 (MOP 28), their specialty. Look at how smooth it is! I loved how light it was, and yet there was the recognizable subtle spiciness from the ginger. The ginger was not overwhelming and together with the milk custard, it was an unique dessert.

My mum had the Coconut milk with sago 椰汁奶西米露 (MOP 20), a refreshing thirst quencher on a hot summer day.

I must commend the cashier. We had to pay our MOP 50 meal with a MOP 500 note and the cashier didn't complain. He even helped us with our directions on where to find our hotel shuttle bus. In fact, throughout the whole trip in Macau, many friendly locals helped us with directions :)

Address: Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro 新馬路60號

#4 - Hang Heong Un 杏香园

We had some traditional Chinese desserts at a shophouse too. I like my desserts to be light and non-overwhelming. That's the purpose desserts should serve. Hang Heong Un serves some really nice ones but I can't help thinking they are overpriced.

I had the Longan White Fungus soup (cold) which cost MOP 37. That's like S$7! Apart from the price, I don't have much complains about the dessert. It's really nice, delicate and the sweetness was well balanced.

My mum had the Coconut Red Bean Iced (MOP 30). It's like drinking a coconut ice kachang. The coconut taste complemented red beans well and makes a refreshing drink after a heavy dinner.

Address: Map 13 Travessa do Matadouro, Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro
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