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Being absolutely blunt when I say their Yakiniku Don ($14.90++) simply ain’t good, even when paying just half of its original price. The slivers — and I do mean slivers — of beef tasted rather plain and had too much chewy fat for my taste. Onions weren’t sweet, nor did they carry the flavours of the dashi they should’ve been cooked in. Worst thing though, was that there was hardly any sauce and whole bowl was rather dry. It tasted like a bunch of separate ingredients tossed together in a bowl, without that characteristic lovely sauce tying it all together. The rice was alright, but really if they could fck this up as well I don’t know what else to say.

I wasn’t 100% sure about trying this Wagyu Truffle Don ($34) cause of the steep price, and also cause I ain’t the biggest fan of truffle oil. But then I took a bite, and alright Izy Fook you got me convinced. There’s literally nothing bad I can say about this, nothing for me to pick on. First of all, they used nanatsuboshi Hokkaido rice in this and it was superbly cooked. Moist and just the right amount of sticky, if that makes any sense. Thin slices of wagyu were flavourful, tender, and juicy, with the perfect meat-to-meat ratio. Underneath that hides a slow-cooked egg with a beautiful runny yolk, and when you mix it all up that lends a wonderfully rich flavour to the whole rice bowl. But most importantly, the truffle oil wasn’t overly potent. Just enough to perfume the dish without overpowering everything — and that really sealed the deal for me.

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I’ve always loved the Cantonese classic cold dish of chilled tofu with century eggs and pork floss, and I thought ok there’s no way anyone can make this humble dish any better. Until I tasted Fook Kin’s that came with ikura. Those little ruby pops of saline, sweet, oceany goodness added such an unexpected burst of flavour I was just digging through the plate for more! Given how flavourful the other ingredients were though, I’d have preferred the sauce to be the regular soy sauce+vinegar mix instead of the starchy salty one they served. It made the originally light starter a little to heavy for my taste.

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I'm a big fan of dang gui roasted duck (read: Ya Wang/Dian Xiao Er), so there was no way I wasn’t trying Fook Kin’s rendition after seeing it on the menu. If we’re simply commenting on the roast duck, I have to say they did a bang on job. Skin was thin, fantastically browned and crisp, with a nice hint of the spices used in marinated the duck. The meat itself was equally satisfying, both tender and flavourful. Thing is, though, there’re plenty of good roast ducks in Singapore and what makes a dang gui duck a dang gui duck is the herbs and accompanying sauce it’s served with. I could definitely taste the aromatic herbs in the sauce as well as the characteristic bitterness brought by the dang gui/angelica herb, but unfortunately it was way too bitter. Instead of bringing about a pleasant contrast to the otherwise rich sauce, the bitterness overwhelmed it all and ended up overpowering the duck. I actually ended up dipping the duck in different sauces just to balance it out.

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Bao Boy has been on my list since they first announced their concept along Hong Kong street and, alright it took me awhile, but I’m glad to say I got my chubby arse there at last. Here’s their Halibut Fish & Chip Bao ($16), which I gotta say is absolutely fantastic if not for the slightly disproportionate portion of tartar sauce. Fish is sweet and utterly tender, perfectly golden, disintegrating with a slight nudge and releasing a flood of juices in every bite. I’d down a fish & chips like this any day, which really is the point isn’t it. The coleslaw was light and refreshing, lotus leaf bun was soft and fluffy (though oddly cold, like out-of-the-refrigerator kinda cold), and the housemade tartar sauce was super tasty. My only beef was they really slapped on that tartar, so much that it was completely overwhelming the fabulous fish.⁣

I just read that this concept’s a pop up that will run only till 8 Dec 2019 though, so make your reservations quick and grab yourselves some amazeballs bao! ⁣

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I’m not gonna run through course by course cause this was the only decent photo I managed to catch (I’m heavily reliant on my flash), so TLDR; every course was very well thought out and conceptualised, each element adding a complementary yet contrastive aspect to the dish, and really I’ve got nothing but compliments. The meal started off with starters that were absolutely stunning: chawanmushi was the bomb, and the mushroom tart was just 🤯 like who’d think microplaned raw shrooms could taste so good?? I’d recommend you get the $10 upgrade for the Jeju abalone multigrain risotto cause omg the smoky, tender, meaty abalone with that light risotto (I swear I tasted barley in there) was among the highlights of the meal. After plate and plate of insane flavours, the meal ended off with a light dessert of mellow melon sorbet, sweet sweet seasonal muscat grapes, and an ethereal makgeolli meringue. ⁣

It’s funny how, when asked for the most memorable drink I had in Taipei, my answer’s not only not the expected bubble tea, but instead really ordinary-sounding flavoured milks at this pretty little milk bar. As its name suggests, Milk Bar by BKA focuses on flavoured milks with a couple of desserts and bites to complement these sweet drinks. I have to say though their flavoured milks are seriously good. We tried the Matcha and the Mixed Berries (they use fresh berries for this!!) ones, and both were fantastic. The flavours were intense and well-balanced, not too sweet as well, and so easy to drink. Wouldn’t be a stretch to say I barely put the straw down lol.

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I have to admit I’m not the biggest fan of tsukemen (dipping ramen), as in I’d never pick this over the classic ramen, cause I’m a huge fan of having my noods just sitting and nua-ing in the piping hot broth and slurping all that up 🤤buuuuut that said, I gotta admit this Tom Yum Tsukemen was pretty darn good. Noodles were cooked right and held a nice bite; there was a good variety of ingredients for $15.90++ (they had quite a few bamboo shoots!!!); and oof that tom yum broth: serious punch of spices and heat. It genuinely lasted like tom yum which was just 👌🏻👌🏻 I did find the broth a tad too salty though, which makes the messy slurping not as pleasant. Not a major issue though if they could tone down the salt, so I’m defo giving my 👍🏻 for this! The Tom Yum Tsukemen’s limited to 10 a day if I’m not wrong, so be early if you’re planning to have this!

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I remember back when they used to be called “Five Ten” and dishes were literally priced at $5/10, so when I popped by The Salted Plum I was more than a little taken aback by the price hike. Where I could get little nuggets of fried chicken with nori butter at $5, I could now only get cucumber or peanuts at the same price 🙃 Still I ain’t gonna complain cause I still maintain they sell among the best Taiwanese restaurant chows in Singapore. Take their Lala: sweet sweet sweeeeet clams are stir-fried with Taiwanese pesto (flavour’s very similar to preserved veggies I reckon) then topped with crispy pork croutons, resulting in a fantastically addictive and umami-packed dish and pork croutons. It was so packed with flavour I literally COULD. NOT. STOP.

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Given my recent addiction to Izy Fook, I popped by Roast Paradise’s other collab and was as pleased with their roast pork and char siew. It’s easy to say “oh you like Roast Paradise anyway so it’s not a surprise to enjoy Fook Kin”; but what most don’t realise is maintaining consistency, especially across multiple eateries, is so so challenging. Take that fabulous standard of quality control and the resulting succulent roast meats, it’s simply impossible not to have every meal end in sheer bliss. If you can’t down so much meat though, I’d definitely suggest giving the char siew a go. You can find lots of good roast pork around Singapore — not that that downplays how good Fook Kin’s is — but I feel it’s not as easy to find char siew done as fantastically as theirs.

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Good Time Carbonara: homemade alfredo sauce, tons of smoky bacon, shiitake mushrooms, and mee pok. Yep you read that right, mee pok in place of pasta. Swapping the noodles doesn’t make the most innovative of fusion food, and while I commend the effort I can’t say it necessarily works. The thing about pasta is that it’s a lot thicker than mee pok, so when cooked right and al dente, it has a nice bite and carries the accompanying flavours well. Unfortunately mee pok’s a lot thinner and even if cooked right (ie not soggy), it’s still really soft and limp and doesn’t add as much texture as pasta. Every mouthful’s pretty much just a lot of sauce without a good contrast. Can’t say I liked the mee pok over regular pasta, but for what it’s worth the sauce is fantastic and they were extremely generous with the bacon and mushrooms.

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I honestly really enjoyed the thick curry that was super fragrant, not overly coconutty or cloying (read: not jelak), the fragrant spices clearly coming through; but I was a little disappointed at how there were almost no accompanying ingredients. One of my favourite things about fish head curry is the abundance of veggies in there — usually brinjal, tomatoes, okra even — and I was surprised to find barely a ladle’s worth of veggies in Fragrant Wok’s curry 😕 Still if you ain’t a sucker for the veggies like I am, you’d find the fresh fish and good curry pleasing enough.

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