Thursday, January 24, 2008

January Makankakis Dinner 2008

It's that time of the month again! No, no, no. It's not what your are thinking and that sentence wasn't a complaint.

Makankakis dinner! The first Makankakis dinner for 2008 was set at Le Wai Tian.


Hungry and hungry, I was looking forward to the food. It was my first time there and I've heard good things about its food. So imagine my delight when the first dish made its appearance!


Deep Fried Pork Belly sounds like a whole load of FAT and nothing else. Well, there were skin and small waves of meat. While I generally do not appreciate pork belly for its ultra-high fat content, the one here made a great start to dinner. Fried till its skin was crisp while the bits of meat remained tender, it was moreish. The fats melted with each bite and the juices that oozed out were heavenly with rice. It's a good thing that I didn't get the 'fatty'/'grossed out' feeling here. Yum.


For soup, we had the Fish Maw Crab Meat Soup. It was unfortunately a case of Crouching Fish Maw Hidden Crab Meat. Or maybe it was just my bowl. Taste wise, a dash of pepper and a splash of vinegar perked up this soup. Warm and not too thick, it was comforting though nothing to shout about.


Prawn Paste Chicken seems like a favourite order at cze char places. The ones here were juicy and crispy. Personally, I would have prefered a stronger dose of prawn paste and felt that Prawn Paste No Enough.


Thankfully, it wasn't the Curse of the Golden Flower with respect to the next dish, Lotus Cabbage. The cabbage was braised till soft with cubes of tau kua (pressed beancurd) in a gooey, tasty sauce. I was digging around for lotus roots to no avail. I guess the name referred to the presentation of the cabbage.


The Curry Fish Head soon followed which triggered more orders for rice. The curry was lemak (thick, rich) without being overly so. The fish tasted fresh and was constantly attacked by chopsticks. Fish are friends, not food. Oh common! Don't be a clown(fish). It was Red Snapper by the way.


Black Pepper Crabs were gooood. The sauce had enough of a peppery kick and the flesh of the crustacean was firm, without sticking to the inner surface of the shell.


And the roe was so sinful! It had a very rich taste that made Ewan pass me some after he had decided that he cared for his heart and cholesterol levels.


After two seafood dishes, pork made its appearance again. The Chinese really like their pork. This time, it came in the form of Deep Fried Pig Trotters in Herbal Sauce.


The crackling was well done and fragrant. The meat was tender and the herbal sauce seemed to help cut back some of the oilyness. This was one hot Babe: Pig in the City.


As if the intestines cried out for more fibre, the Sambal Ti Wang Miao ( some kind of leafy shoots fried with chilli) was served up. It was a nice contrast of the heat from the chilli against the slimey texture of the vegetables. It may sound rather mind-boggling but it was a good change from the usual kang kong (water spinach).


Like towards the end of most Chinese wedding dinners, there was a noodle dish. The KL Hokkien Mee was decent but I think it lacked the kind of punch I was hoping for. Still, there was no need for the Mee Pok Man.


For desserts, it was Fried Ice Cream. While there was a period of time long ago when fried ice cream was THE food trend, I have never tried it. The version here was delicious. The 'crust' tasted like fried bread and encased a solid (in the states of matter sense) ice cream. While I believe that the ice cream was one of those generic tubs found in supermarkets, the blend of hot and cold, savoury and sweet was simply alluring.

There you have it. 10 courses for January Makankakis Dinner 2008. Oh wait, as Mia pointed out...there's a skinny epicurean and a hungry cow at the table!


Soon the Hor Fun (Fried Rice Noodles) was ordered and served. While the noodles were fried relatively well, the sauce was thick and bland. This rendered the Hor Fun flat(in the taste sense).


When people are not satisfied, they order more. And this time we decided on the Yang Chow Fried Rice. Oh man! The wok hei (literally the breath of the wok) was beautiful. Nothing like hot fried rice with good wok hei.


When people are happy, they order some more. Stephen ordered the Salted Fish Fried Rice. Again, it was well done. This time with the slightly smokey, salty impartations from the salted fish. Now I wonder if they also do a Beef Fried Rice...Mmmm. This could be Fried Rice Paradise.

I had an enjoyable time and thanks to Andrew & Tony for organising, Denis for the lovely Riedel glasses and to all the Makankakis who made it a night of food, wine and fun. Oh and I can't leave out the guy who passed me some crab roe. Haha. Glad you could make it for this one, Ewan! Hope you enjoyed yourself and cheers to more to come.


Le Wai Tian
324T Changi Road
(Between Eunos & Kembangan MRTs)

Chew On This: By signing up at http://www.makansutra.com/forums/singapore/viewforum.php?f=2&sid=7a6e7802eae71bc5b6584528cea5895e. It's a monthly thing!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Hidden Chicken Rice Gem

If roast turkey is still in your head, you are clearly disillusional. For the rest of us, it's back to normal life. Bak Kwa and steamboats are another story altogether as CNY looms.

Chicken rice- Singaporeans just can't do without it. Just ask any Singaporean and he/she will rattle off his/her personal favourite chicken rice haunt.

Seeing that chicken rice is rather unhealthy, I usually stick to the better known ones. I would'nt want to gobble down the calories and fats of substandard chicken rice. Fortunately, my (unexplainable) craving for bai zhan ji (roughly translated into white chopped chicken) got the better of me and I tried out this stall in Kaki Bukit.


The chicken (1/2 bird at $9) here was fantastic! Tender. Juicy. Smooth. And tasty. The chicken meat here actually has taste. I could only describe it as, for a lack of a better word, chickeny! Some places would soak their chickens into iced water rendering the chickens tender but often flavourless. I don't know if they use the iced water treatment here but the taste was retained.


The chicken rice (50 cents) was also nicely done with each soft grain coated with fragrance and flavour. It also doesn't leave one feeling oily. But we all know the truth is sometimes not what we feel yea.


The chilli here was a bit acidic for my liking but the minced ginger played its supporting role with an Academy-Award-wining performance. A combination of these two plus dark soy sauce on the chicken rice is lethal.


Those with feet fetish may want to check out the chicken feet (small portion at $2) here. Chewy with a bit of crunch, it was served drizzled with a Thai chilli sauce. Alas. I'm not a big fan of Thai chilli sauce. But that's just me.

With good chicken, good rice and good price, this is currently my favourite chicken rice place!


Feng Hainanese Boneless Chicken Rice
#01-58
Blk 511
Kaki Bukit Market Food Centre
Tel: 9457 5514 (Jeff) Yes, he does reserve chickens for you so call before coming down especially around 8pm when most of the chickens would have been sold out.

Chew On This: Jeff revealed that chicken fat goes into the chicken rice here as without it, "it just doesn't have that nice fragrance." Well, if you are like thehungrycow and can't stop at one bowl of rice (unless sick), I suggest having one bowl of chicken rice and ordering subsequent bowls of plain rice from the many cze char stalls around. Some damage control I guess. :p

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Nasi Lemak Lunch (Halal)

Having an afternoon off (read lessons cancelled, not ponteng), a few polymates cum university mates and I went out of Boon Lay for lunch. When staying on campus for five days, getting a weekday lunch out of Pulau Boon Lay feels like coming out of jail.

Having tried Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak the last time I was in Adam Road Food Centre, I decided to have a go at her neighbour's.


The nasi lemak (Malay-styled coconut rice) here at No. 1 Adam's Nasi Lemak is really good too. Though they do not use basmati rice, which Selera Rasa uses, the rice here packs a relatively stronger flavour than Selera Rasa. Slightly floral, it was fragrant without being heavy or jerlak. But those who like an intense full-bodied coconut kick will be disappointed here.

The set I had came with a chicken wing, bergedil, otak otak, omelette, fried ikan bilis & peanuts and the counter-sambal cucumber slices. ($4 or $4.50) That's quite a bit of food on the plate and while they generally passed muster, none were particularly outstanding. In fact their neighbour has better chicken wings.

But the star here (besides the rice) for me was the sambal. The chilli paste had some heat and just a tinge of sweetness. When paired with the rice, they were certainly made for each other. Personally, when it comes to nasi lemak, only the rice and sambal matters.

I don't know about you but this lighter-style of nasi lemak made me happy that afternoon. Plus the fact that I was not having lunch at a canteen. A sense of freedom does adds flavour.


No. 1 Adam's Nasi Lemak
#01-01 Adam Road Food Centre
Closes: When everything sells out after the lunch crowd in the early afternoon.

Chew On This: There is a daily special which changes daily. On the day I visited, it was prawns sambal and even though I did not order it, the macik gave me a portion. Closing time has its benefits.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Sofra So Good (Halal)

Making people suffer together seems to create a unique bond. One that only these people would understand. Even though it's been quite some time since ORD-ing, I'm happy that my batch of ZPC specs can commit to meeting up once in six months. Last December (yes, I'm still far from being done with 2007), it was my turn to organise the meet-up and I decided on Sofra Turkish Cafe and Restaurant.


Feeling hungry from the wait, I started dinner with the Red Lentil Soup ($3.30). Warm, slightly spiced and with bits of lentils, it was delicious. Reminded me of a Mulligatawny soup served in Kranji Cookhouse. The bread that came with it was great too, with or without the soup.


For mains, I chose the Chef Plate ($14.90) which consists of Doner Kebap, Izgara Kofte and a skewer of Shish Kebap (according to the menu). Not being a food expert of any sorts, I couldn't name what was on my plate. But I'm quite certain despite the dish's name, no chefs were harmed in the making of the dish.

I enjoyed the chicken and beef which were marinated in spices and grilled. The meat was tender and the heady mix of spices inviting. I didn't quite take to the salsa/salad which had a rather 'raw' taste though.

To go with the meats, there were two pieces of Turkish bread. It was the same bread that accompanied the soup. Thick, substantial and chewy, I love it! Thank you for being my carbo that night. It was my pleasure.


Dessert came in the form of Bakiava ($3.80 for 2 pieces). This is really for those with a sweet tooth. The pastry was drenched in some kind of syrup that totally drown the ground pistachios. Too sweet for my liking but I think the Turkish really like their desserts really sweet.


In the end, it was a sweet ending meeting up with friends whom I used to see on an almost daily basis but are now taking different paths. Till the next one guys! Tony, counting on you man.

Sofra Turkish Cafe & Restaurant
#02-42/43/44
Shaw Tower
Tel: 6291 1433

Chew On This: Sign up to be a Sofra member for $12 and be entitled to 12% discount on the spot as well as for subsequent visits over the next 5 years.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year!!

I'm a little late but still gonna wish you guys a HAPPY NEW YEAR! Had an eventful December holiday but it was too-short, too-busy. But at least I had a good time festive-feasting, hope you've had a blast too!

My resolution for 2008? To be a more disciplined blogger, clear back-logs and post drafts within 3 days! Err... clearly I've failed with the posting of this post. Ah heck resolutions. If I can't beat them, eat them.

Thanks to everyone who pops by thehungrycow and for supporting me through 2007. Cheers to 2008 and to more good eats!

May God Bless you with the dew of heaven and the fatness of the earth in 2008 and beyond.