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Appealing Asian

Appealing Asian

I like these culinary creations with origins from different parts of Asia.
Veronica Phua
Veronica Phua

Yay! @thecoconutclubsg has reopened.
After seeing my friend Jackson (Instagram: @misnoskcaj) share about his visit on his IG Stories, I knew immediately where I was headed for today’s brunch.
“The Coconut Club” has relocated further up the hill to a much bigger space at 28 Ann Siang Road (fun fact: Batey Ads, the first ad agency I worked at, use to occupy the premises). Aesthetically, it is a whole lot more stylish too.
As the restaurant is still in their soft launch stage (they just opened last Monday), only the Nasi Lemak and drinks were available when we were there. The popular side dishes of Otak-Otak, Sambal Lala and the like had been put on hold because the team was giving out a variety of dishes to everyone. FOR FREE. The reason as explained by the servers is that they wanted to test how well the dishes were received. It seem those that fare better will be added to the menu.
Anyway, about the Nasi Lemak which is the main reason I was there, I thought it was still very good but not exactly the same as before. The rice seems a touch whiter, lighter and fluffier now in comparison (if my memory hasn’t failed me), and the chicken is more evenly fried and a tad less salty as well. Everything else has remained the same, including the price of $12.80++.
I am really pleased to be able to get my fix of “atas” Nasi Lemak whenever I crave it now.


I got to learn more about Filipino cuisine when I was partnered with copywriter Tom Trinidad during my last few years at BBDO Singapore. He had moved over from Manila for the position and found the cutest little old one-storey house in Siglap to rent. To de-stress, he would garden and cook. I benefitted from the latter because he would invite friends over for meals regularly. Let me tell you, that man could make some very tasty food. Thanks to Tom, I got to know a lot about the different kinds of Sinigang and Adobo, and fell in love with the acidity and delicious flavours of those classic Pinoy dishes.

I checked out “Filipino Fiesta” for the first time last week and was very pleased with the meal we had. Pictured above is the Milkfish Belly Sinigang ($15), a very appetising dish with large pieces of soft boneless fish in an addictive sour soup that also contained lots of mixed vegetables. I couldn’t help but drain the bowl completely dry - it was THAT TASTY.

Because bittergourd is one of my fave vegetables, I had to try the one here as well and it did not disappoint. The Ampalaya (that’s the Filipino name for it) came sliced up and fried with egg ($7). A simple but good choice.

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I have always been a mega fan of Sisig. A few years ago, there use to be a coffeeshop at the corner of Craig Road and Tanjong Pagar specialising in Filipino cuisine which I liked to visit once in a while. They did an amazing Sisig which came sizzling on a hot plate and if I recall correctly, featured parts of a pig’s head because there was loads of crunchy bits of pig’s ears in it.

Recently, I had dinner at Filipino Fiesta along Joo Chiat for the first time, and thoroughly enjoyed my meal there. The service was sincere and warm, and besides having a homecooked feel about them, the dishes were really tasty.

I ordered three items for two of us to share. Shown above is their Sisig which is made with pork belly, chopped onions and chilli. It hit all the right notes of acid and salt, and was mouthwatering indeed, especially when I ate it with extra sliced chilli padi.


My parents use to take my brothers and I to Rendezvous Indonesian Restaurant back in the day when they were located opposite Cathay cinema, where the Rendezvous Hotel presently stands. At this original spot, there was no dining in air-conditioned comfort and no picturesque views. But it didn’t matter because the Indonesian-style dishes they cooked and served in the rather light-starved, rundown coffeeshop, such as the Chicken Korma, Sayur Lodeh and Chicken Liver Lemak, were a delicious enough attraction. I recall a dish with smooth, slightly flattened fish cakes cooked in a light lemak gravy which we always had to order but today, when I visited the restaurant at its current home inside Clarke Quay Central, I didn’t spot it. Not that it mattered as I had ordered more than enough for one person.
On the whole, I found the food they prepare to be still very tasty. The Sambal Goreng (a stirfry of beancurd, long beans, prawns and tempeh in a spicy rempah) and the Chilli Brinjal were shiok but the Rendang Chicken - now that is the one not to be missed.
Not surprisingly, quality comes at a price and it is indeed more expensive to dine here compared to many other Nasi Padang places. For your reference, I paid $28 in total for my solo meal shown above, inclusive of a glass of hot “teh-o”.


When I was filming for a Japanese TV programme at Maxwell Food Centre, I chanced upon this stall. According to the friendly ladyboss Ah Hui, her “chee cheong fun” (steamed rice rolls) are made based on her family recipe and produced by a supplier according to her specifications. There are actually two kinds - the tubular style which is served simply dressed in one of three traditional sauces, and the flatter design that she uses in her fancier versions of curry and laksa “cheong fun”. These were the two I decided to try.
Priced at $4 each, they come in a paper bowl and are topped with different ingredients. The curry “cheong fun” has items similar to what you can find at “yong tau fu” stalls including a tasty beancurd skin with cuttlefish paste, while the laksa version contains the classics of hardboiled egg, fishball and beancurd skin rolls. Both of the gravies aren’t too thick nor spicy, which should suit most people’s palates. They also don’t steal the thunder from the soft and silky rice rolls which at the end of the day, is the star here.
When I return, my next target will be the tubular “chee cheong fun” in sesame sauce.


I have long been a fan of Chef Damian’s uncompromising and robustly flavoured dishes. That and his encyclopedic knowledge in the culinary heritage of the Peranakans and Eurasians. So happy I got a good helping of both at the media tasting for Folklore’s Christmas Menu to be launched on 14th December.
The “White Debal” ($42++) was one of my two top dishes from that evening. It is essentially the popular Eurasian dish of “Curry Devil” but cooked with a white meat like chicken or turkey. I had a piece of thigh meat and it was cooked just right and tasted delicious. The highlight in this for me though had to be the housemade “achar”. Those pickled carrots, cucumber, whole garlic cloves and shallots gave the thick “rempah” punch and were so addictive to munch on.

Ask anyone who has ever picked my brains to recommend a Peranakan restaurant and they will tell you my answer was “Folklore”. The reason being my palate has always found Chef Damian D’Silva’s cooking very agreeable.
At the media tasting of their Christmas Menu, we got to try a few new items as well as a couple from the past festive menu that‘ve been included due to popular demand.
One of the two dishes I enjoyed most was the “Eurasian Pork Vindaloo”. It has its roots in Goa, and is piquantly spicy and tangy thanks to the vinegar added in with the garlic, ginger, turmeric, dry chillies and brandy. Traditionally, the meat of choice is pork ribs but Chef Damian followed his grandfather’s recipe that calls for bone-in pork chop instead. I think it’s smart as it makes it really inviting for you to eat with your hands which of course, is always fun.

By the way, every dish on the Christmas Menu can be ordered for takeaway for $3 more and 5 working days’ notice period. So if you aren’t in the mood to cook or have a potluck event to attend, there’s Folklore to the rescue! 😄


In my opinion, this was the best dish amongst the few we ordered to share at lunch. There’re two pieces of chicken (a drumstick and thigh meat) and they’re cooked till tender. Most importantly, the “rempah” paste was really fragrant and appetising.
This set is also very good value as it includes a plate of plain rice with some “achar” and a drink of your choice. I got the “kopi o” and it’s thick and strong.


Took my parents to Mrs. Pho for the first time tonight. Enthusiastic dining action coupled with a few praises indicated that it was a success. They shared a bowl of beef brisket pho as well as small plates of grilled meatballs, fresh springrolls and a papaya salad.
As usual, I got my order of the “M5” (bun thit nuong cha gio). The dry style of rice stick noodles with grilled pork chop, crispy spring roll, meat balls, fresh salad and herbs still tasted good even though I had not visited in ages.


The popular leafy vegetable is stirfried with “tau cheo” (salty preserved soya beans), onions and chillies for tonnes of flavour here. I find it a nice change from the generic sambal kangkong you get everywhere else. They do cook the vegetable till it’s very soft and limp though. Maybe that’s how they get it so tasty.


This was huge enough to be shared among 4 people. Filled with petai, lots of sliced white onion and big red chillies, it was not oily at all which was rather surprising. I liked the accompanying lemongrass shallot relish a lot as it helped to boost the flavour of the omelette.


Launched last Tuesday on level 4 of Tang’s Orchard is, an award-winning restaurant from Kuala Lumpur. After stumbling upon it yesterday evening, we ended up having an early dinner there. This was one of the dishes we ordered to try.
Spread over the two halves of grilled #eggplant were a “sambal hijau” and a “sambal merah”. I found the former, a green coloured paste, rather bland personally but the latter, a dark red one, was really tasty. The eggplant itself was cooked till just soft enough and had a light smokiness that was enjoyable.


Can't cook to save my life but boy, can I eat! 😄 (I pay for all my meals unless otherwise stated)

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