Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dinner at Ka-Soh

Recent work has brought me to Amoy Street pretty often. Many times, I would walk past Swee Kee (Ka-Soh) Fishhead Noodle House (or more affectionately called Ka-Soh) but somehow never stepped in. Life has a funny way...

One Sunday evening after shaving botak for charity and after a few Erdingers, Neil suggested having dinner here. LOL.

And what a delicious dinner it was. :)

A crunchy, vinegared plate of pickles ($3) to whet the appetite. 

The Fish Slices with Tossed Hor Fun & Bean Sprouts ($9.20/pax) looked plain but the wok hei simply breathed life into it. The bean spouts were crunchy and the hor fun tasty with the smokiness of a hot oiled wok. Two hooves up!

Inspired by Michael Jackson, we can also have our hor fun black or white! Moohehe. 

Tadah! Hor Fun with Dark Sauce ($7.20/pax)- The magic here was the egg yolk. Mix the raw egg into the hot hor fun and the residual heat gives rise to a creaminess that lightly coats each ribbon of hor fun. The wok hei completed the whole dish.

But Ka-Soh regulars would know that there is more to it than hor fun.

The eatery is also known for its fish bee hoon soup. I opted for the Sliced Fish Noodles ($6.20/pax). It wasn't the rich, umami-fied, aromatic (think heavy notes of ginger, shallot oil and hua tiao jiu) fish soup I was hoping for. Instead, it was mild, natural with a gentle sweetness. Apparently no milk was added to the soup which was boiled with sheng yu (snakehead fish) bones for over 4 hours.    

A Fish Head Noodles version was also available at $7.20/pax.

One should also not miss the Prawn Paste Chicken ($13.50). Fried to crispy golden brown, the chicken wings were juicy and well flavoured with the heady, earthy prawn paste. Pretty shiok!

You Mai ($7.50) fried with fermented beancurd lah and garlic was a delicious way to eat vegetables. Crunchy, fragrant and savoury.

The interior oozes old-world charm and gives me a glimpse of what a restaurant was like in the early years. Like Chin Mee Chin Confectionery and Yet Con, this old schoolness is somehow very appealing to me.

Swee Kee (Ka-Soh) Fishhead Noodle House
96 Amoy Street (other outlets at Alumni Medical Centre & Jalan Bukit Bintang, KL)
Tel: 6224 9920
Opens: Daily 11.45am to 2.30pm; 5.30pm to 10.45pm

Chew On This:
 This restaurant is very forthcoming. Listed in black and white are a number of things like:
- Tea (slightly sweetened chrysanthemum) and towel are chargeable at $1.60 per pax
- No service charge
- Time is needed for preparation of the fish head soup and steamed dishes. Apologies if the dishes come late.
- Don't forget your belongings when leaving the restaurant
- No corkage for BYO
- Please display parking coupon. Charges from 5pm are 50 cents per 1/2 hour until 10pm.
- We are a GST registered company
- We charge $1.20 for 2nd plate of lard.

Moohahaha! So cute lah. Everything is spelt out don't complain. :p

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Indian Delights at Town Restaurant For Limited Time Only

I was craving for Indian food and was planning to hit Race Course Road when URA sent an invite to The Fullerton Hotel's "A Tasty Passage to India" dinner buffet (6pm-10pm; $52/adult, $26/child). How timely! Moohehe.

From 20 to 31 July 2012, in partnership with Taj Palace New Delhi and Jet Airways, Town Restaurant will feature a spread of Indian specialties. Let's take a look at the yummies.

For a carb-lover, the Sukhe Tamatar Aur Chigoza Biryani was superb. I enjoyed its fluffy, delicate long grain rice flavoured with spices and a tangy tomato taste. 

I can't remember what the name of this dish was but it was like a fried potato cake topped with mint sauce, yogurt, a spice sauce and pomegranates. The myriad of flavours and textures kept the taste buds well-engaged.

Lamb and mutton were probably the best meats there.

I liked the Mutton Pepper Fry with its complex spice mix.

The Lamb Chop was tender and very well-flavoured. :D

The Indian vegetable dishes were equally robust-tasting and delicious!

Take the Aloo Gobhi for example. The soft florets of cauliflower and soft small chunks of potato were cooked with mustard seed, coriander and other spices. I can eat this alone with a lot of rice! Moohehe.

Another favourite of mine that night was the Pindi Chole- a chickpea stew with a sweet earthiness in the background.

In addition to the Indian spread, Town Restaurant's usual selection of seafood (mussels, scallops, prawns, crabs, oysters) on ice, pastas, cheeses and some Western dishes are also made available to diners.

There was also Sashimi which I felt was pretty fresh and yummy. Three types were available on my visit- salmon, tuna and swordfish.

A roast counter with roast duck, roast pork, char siew and chicken rice tempted many people....including this cow. LOL. I liked the poached white chicken. Roast pork was also not bad but could have been sliced thicker. 

Veggie fans feast on this!

A very visually appealing spread of vegetables were put out for diners to assemble their own salads.

This cow grazed happily on the greens. :p

Western, local (burbur hitam anyone?) and Indian desserts were offered.

Try the Indian-style ice cream of Kulfi.

Here are the men who heads this collaboration- The Fullerton Hotel's Executive Chef Andrea Sacchi and Taj Palace New Delhi's Executive Sous Chef Shahid Hossain.

Thanks to Kazae Quek of the URA for the invitation and to Denice and Ler Ling of The Fullerton Hotel for hosting me. 

Town Restaurant
Lobby Level
The Fullerton Hotel
Tel: 6877 8128

Chew On This:
Check out the beautiful kolam on the floor. It is apparently used as a welcome and to bring prosperity in.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Red Tortoise Cakes

Oh Ang Ku Kueh lah! Moohaha. That's why I think these ethnic food names should not be changed or translated. With Singapore being such a young country, ethnic food names form an integral part of our culture. I say let Putu Mayam be Putu Mayam! :p

The Ang Ku Kuehs (60 cents each) from Ji Xiang Confectionery had a lovely soft chewy skin flavoured with pandan, and a sweet green bean paste filling. Such a simple and enjoyable snack. I do hope it survives through the generations.

Ji Xiang Confectionery
Block 1 Everton Park 
Tel: 6223 1631
Opens: Monday to Saturday 9am-5pm
Closes: Sunday & P.H.

Chew On This:  They have other Ang Ku Kueh fillings of peanut, yam, coconut and even durian!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Singapore Food Fest 2012 Opens!

In a twinkling of an eye and it's time again for the annual Singapore Food Festival! The 19th edition was opened last Friday by Mr Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State for Trade & Industry, and is themed "Seafood Tales of Temasek". Singaporeans are quite seafood crazy, no?

Singapore Food Festival Food Consultant Chef Eric Teo demonstrates the making of the chilli crab dish.

Check out the Chilli Crab Platter from Seafood Paradise. After a puzzling long wait (could be opening day jitters?), I finally tucked into the chilli crab, scrumptious salted egg yolk prawns, supreme seafood fried rice, deep-fried coral trout in Nyonya style, stir-fried geoduck in asparagus XO sauce. 

Moost memoorable were the salted egg yolk prawns!

Like laksa? How about some mussels with your laksa? :p Signature Laksa Mussels March by Neo Garden Catering.

Deep-fried prawn fritters- always a pleasure eaten hot and using fingers!

The Hokkien Mee from Zheng Xin Fried Hokkien Noodles was pretty delicious- moist and flavoured with seafood broth.

Chope! The Hungry Cow is very often also a thirsty one. Moohaha.
 Thank God for iced cold beer for instant heat relief. Yes, heat-stroke is dangerous. LOL. 

Then it was back to moore nomnomnom. The Fortune Food Popiah (has a luxe version with crab meat) was sweet, filled nicely with stewed turnips, crispy fried fish bits and was comforting in a healthy way. Strange how popiah can have a calming effect on the mind after oily food. Ah-Ommmm.

They even make the popiah skin on site! :)

Oh and before I go, I have the say the Fried Carrot Cake was awesome! Soft on the inside with a crisp egg batter on the outside and studded with salty chai poh. 

You won't think I would leave without grabbing one for the road right? Moohehe. Cold, refreshing Kronenbourg Blanc felt like heaven in a bottle on a wam Friday night. And it actually paired nicely with the fried carrot cake!

Then it was time to run off....for dinner. Moohehe.

Thanks to Marcus and Cheryl of Word of Mouth Communications and SFF for the invite.

Singapore Food Festival 2012
13-22 July 2012
Waterfront Promenade @ Marina Bay

Chew On This: Take an early morning tour (5am-9am) at Jurong Fishery Port with a chef to learn how to pick the freshest seafood. A seafood breakfast then awaits!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Monday, July 09, 2012

Not Quite Like My Grandma's

When a place has a name like "Grandma's" I guess it sets expectations quite high. Both my grandmas were excellent cooks. I fondly remember their lotus roots soup, pig stomach and white pepper soup, steamed kiap kiap fish, fried chilli black pomfret, ngor hiang, hei bee hiam etc etc among a long list of happy childhood foodie memoories.

But I kinda told myself to mooderate expectations as it was after all a commercial makan place.

I am glad I did.

The welcome snack is something that I like but definitely not what most grandmas would serve! In fact, I don't think my grandmas would have even tried them before. Corn chips. Moohahaha. With sambal which was pretty nice.

The Nasi Bukari ($14.90) is a one plate meal consisting of pilaf-style rice, beef rendang, prawns and a kick-ass fried chicken leg. The star is the kick-ass (did I just repeat mooself?) fried chicken leg! Crispy, salty skin with juicy flesh. Asian-style marinate.

Sotong ($8.90) done in hot and spicy tamarind sauce had delicious strips of onions sauteed in a sambal sauce just tamed with a bit of sugar. The squid itself seemed to be "boiled" and lacked a stir-fried kiss from a hot wok.

I quite like the Sweet Potato Leaves ($8.90). Cooked nicely with not too much oil. :)

When I saw the card promoting this on the table, I just had to order for myself some Homemade Mini Ngoh Hiang ($5.90). And I learnt when they said mini, they weren't joking! See their sizes compared to the fork. LOL. But anyway, this was a #fail for me. It is difficult to find good ngor hiang out there and sadly this one here also sank. The skin could have been fried longer (*ahem* rush job) so the underlying layers would not be chewy; the filling increased so it would be juicy and meaty; the five spice powder more balanced (this one had over-powering star anise flavour). Blah blah blah.

But life is not all about ranting and ranting bad stuff.

It is about finding the simple good, appreciating the sweet. The Cendol ($4.50) with its deep gula melaka notes, salty coconut milk and chewy green chendol was a nice ending to the meal.

Cheap, good, chilled beers are also an awesome way to live life! Moohahaha. Erdinger at $6.50 per 500ml glass anyone? :D

I will be back for fried chicken and beeeeeer. Hic.

Changicity Point
Tel: 6636 3180
Chew On This: Drink On This:

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Bar Chor Mee Comfort

It was about 7.30pm and I was hungry after a full work day. A quick look around the near-by Amoy Street Food Centre and I went for comfort- a bowl of Bak Chor Mee ($4.50 for medium).

I wasn't expecting mooch but this was a rather good surprise. The noodles were thin, curly and had a softness- reminded me of some Japanese ramen. Thick slices of liver (which I forgot to tell uncle not to put. Moohahaha) were just slightly cooked. The fishballs were supple and excellent! Throw in a few sliced red chili and the hot bowl of soup just warms the heart and soul. 

After a work out, a hard day's work, an alcoholic (not anonymous) session, or heck, even after the rain, sometimes all one needs is a good bowl of bak chor mee! :D 

Ah Ter Teochew Fishball Noodles
Amoy Street Food Centre

Chew On This: A few years ago, apparently this stall drew the crowd with a hunky bak chor mee dude dishing out the noodles. Hmm....mana?