Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Nutty-licious Black Ramen

The cooler rainy season is upon us and what better way to embrace it than to eat soupy dishes. So after shabu shabu, a few of us headed to the nearby Hakkata Ikkousha for some ramen! Moohehe.

The Black Tonkotsu ($13.50) was my personal favourite. The pork bone based soup was creamy and redolent with the fragrant, nutty notes of black sesame and garlic. This is probably the black ramen with the moost intense nuttiness I have tried. Hakkata-style noodles means the ramen was thin and straight. But you do get to pick your preferred noodle texture when ordering.

The original flavour version, Tonkotsu ($12), had the same creamy texture but was quite bland for me.

I guess this is where we needed to call upon the God Fire ($13.50)! LOL. This is level 1 out of 4 and had a mild heat which grew a bit more intense after a few seconds post-swallowing. Nothing too dangerous but then again that's probably what level 4 is there for.

Oh and the chasu here is on the lean, meaty side. So less guilt perhaps, and better mooderation? Moohaha.

Thanks to Katherine of WORD Agency for hosting us.

Hakkata Ikkousha
#01-07 CHIJMES (other outlets at Changi airport and Tanjong Pagar Plaza)

Chew On This: Still hungry? Add $2 for extra ramen after whacking the initial portion. Remember to leave some soup for this!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Handmade Fishballs from a 23 Year Old Hawkerpreneur

It is not often that one sees a young face behind a hawker stall given that most young Singaporeans would rather work in a more comfortable work environment. But it is encouraging that there seems to be a trend in young hawkerpreneurs who might just well be the bastion of hope for the continuation of local hawker food.

I first met Douglas from Fishball Story at the Ultimate Hawker Fest and had to visit his stall again after the event for more of that addictive chilli in his mee pok.

Fishball Story's Mee Pok ($3.50) is very good with soft, not mushy noodles, that had a certainly lightness to it. Doused with crispy lard, oil and heaps of a savoury fragrant chilli paste, the mix sent me to noodle heaven. I thought there was chye poh in the chilli but Douglas assured me there wasn't.

The fishballs are handmade by him (from 4am!) and boasted a firm, slightly rough rustic quality which was pretty appealing.

I certainly hope he won't stop telling this awesome story. Moohehe.

Fishball Story
Golden Mile Hawker Centre
Opens: 10.30am to 5pm daily

Chew On This: The fishballs here apparently use no flour! Only beaten sai tor her which is then seasoned and boiled.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tony Bilson x Tandoor

When the email invitation came, I was quite intrigued at how Australian and Indian cuisines would marry. On one hand is renown Australian celebrity chef Tony Bilson, on the other is Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre's Tandoor restaurant. With an open mind (and stomachs), I went, ate and now regurgitate. Moohehe.

The degustation menu started off with the Murgh Badam Ka Shorba (chicken soup brewed with fresh mint and truffles). Slightly thick and creamy, it was comforting though the mint and truffle flavours were hardly noticeable.

Next came the Roomali Red Snapper Chaat (carpaccio of red snapper with tangy chilli and lemon dressing), a beautiful plate of fresh fish slices topped with mussels, clams and caviar. Yes, it was a tad dry perhaps from sitting out a little longer than it should but this lightly flavoured dish paired really nicely with the Shaw & Smith Sauvignon Blanc. Loved the delicate flavours of this dish!  

Tawa Scallops (Indian spiced pan seared Norwegian scallops with saffron and fennel sabayon) featured a plump scallop against an aromatic kaffir lime leaf.

Mooving on to the mains, the Tandoori Australian Squab (bottom) and Tandoori Bharwan Duck (top) were both tender but offered different intensities of flavour. The former was delicate while the latter was more robust. That duck leg was apparently stuffed with foie gras too.

Moore meats! Hurray. Moohehe. Try the Pathar Ka Bataer (stone grilled quail with a black pepper sauce; on the left) and the Vilayati Sarson Gosht (Australian lamb shoulder; on the right). My favourite goes to the lamb. Slow cooked and crusted with a grainy mustard marinade, it was pleasantly meaty with a sweet, savoury flavour, smoky aroma and just a hint of lamby-ness. Excellent!

The meats generally went well with with medium-bodied, high acid Oyster Bay Pinot Noir.

Goat Cheese Pinwheel was a punchy, creamy fresh goat cheese that beckoned for moore naan! Oh the naan here is pretty awesome. ;)

Dinner ended on a sweet note with the flaky Caramelised Cardamom Fig Tart with raspberry sorbet and...wait for it...

Indian spiced chocolate! I'm partial to anything chocolate and not too sweet so this "exotic" creamy version with a hint of bitterness and spices was the perfect ending to the meal for me.

Overall, Chef Tony contributed in the contemporary presentation, the use of non-traditional ingredients and modern cooking techniques like sous-vide while working with Tandoor's head chef Suri to result in Indian flavours with a refined touch. Pretty interesting.    

Thanks to Yan Goh from Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre for the invitation.

Tony Bilson at Tandoor
14 to 23 November
11 Cavenagh Road
Tel: 6733 8333

4-course Lunch Set Menu
12 noon to 2.30pm
$48++ per person

Dinner Set Menu
7pm to 10.30pm
$58++ (6 courses) and $88++ (7 courses) per person

Chew On This: Vegetarian options are available for all set menus.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Ultimate Hawker Fest Returns!

Eat and support a good cause at the same time at the Ultimate Hawker Fest 2014 on 22 November. Organised by fellow food bloggers MissTamChiak, SgFoodOnFoot and TheSliverChef in support of Touch Community Services, a non-profit organisation which assists the needy, this event aims to raise funds through something close to many Singaporeans' hearts- hawker food.

Expect to taste local favourites from Rong Chen Bak Kut Teh to Lek Lim Nonya Cake Confectionery which are today helmed by the 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation owners. Several stalls are even fronted by young hawkerpreneurs who left their day jobs to pursue a hawker business.

Fancy an abalone in your Loh Mai Gai? Get it at Geng Shu Mei Shi Shi Jie's booth! Along with other eateries, this bunch of people aim to offer the "ultimate" versions of original dishes using premium ingredients. Think Foie Gras Rojak and 100 Days Corn-fed Anxin Chicken Rice.

Lastly, savour local dishes by celebrity chefs Eric Neo, Tan Yong Hua and Shen Tan as they whip up their versions of hawker nosh.

Check out the full menu here and get your tickets here! Majority of proceeds from ticket sales will go towards supporting over 32,000 beneficiaries of Touch Community Services.

Ultimate Hawker Fest 2014 
22 November (Saturday)
11am to 5pm
Suntec Convention Halls 401 & 402

Chew On This: Catch me there! Holler if you wanna graze together...if you don't mind a (hungry) cow. Moohehe.