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Appealing Asian

Appealing Asian

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

Every once in a while, I get struck by a massive craving for Filipino food. The most recent occurrence was satisfied by a visit to @lesliessg. It was my first time there and I did not hold back when ordering for T.H. and myself. We pigged out (quite literally as I picked two pork dishes) on two sets of their 2-meats-1-veg combo ($10 each).
The roasted pork belly was very juicy and soft but some parts of its crackling skin was a little too hard for my liking. The braised beef though was perfect - it was fork-tender and had a great tasting gravy. I love their #Sinigang with pork ribs and pork belly too - the soup was mouth-puckeringly sour and the meat, fall-apart soft. The two other dishes of pumpkin with lady’s finger and long beans in coconut gravy, and the mixed vegetables with liver were really tasty as well. I like that this place offers all customers free flow of a complimentary soup (it was a beef-based broth when we were there) which is something I’m sure we all appreciate.

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Four ladies and fourteen small plates of Peranakan food. That was the final count at lunch with my three food-loving friends.

I love how Milly‘s initial concern about us having ordered too much food was put to rest by Gail’s quick-thinking comment to divide the twelve different dishes by four - “We would each order three dishes anyway”. Mathematics FTW.

My favourites from the spread would be the Belimbing Pork (its thick gravy which is high-in-acidity and thus very sour, was the perfect foil for the soft chunks of fatty pork belly), Cinchalok Bomb (recommended by Angeline, the crunchy-on-the-outside ball of beancurd was deliciously savoury and umami) as well as all four of the assorted Kerabu (Asian salad) we had chosen.

There were a few items that we found lacking, namely the Sotong Hitam, Belachan Chicken and Sambal Brinjal. When a staff came by to enquire about our meal, we shared our honest feedback. This was done in the spirit of hoping the team will want to work on improving the dishes, and not because we wanted to complain for the sake of complaining. To our surprise, when it came to payment, those items were omitted from our bill. Even though we protested and insisted on paying for them, she stood firm, explaining that since the eatery is still new and in the process of tweaking recipes, the management takes every customer’s feedback very seriously. Moreover, she pointed out, we hadn’t eaten much of those said dishes either. Wow, we were really impressed by this. One thing’s for sure, Belimbing Superstar gets a star from us for their service.

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H O S T E D
Whatever you do, don’t skip desserts at Kimme. Head Chef Louis’ style of “Progressive Korean” cuisine has him channeling his heritage all the way through the menu, so you will have sure-win choices for happy endings to your meal.
If you have space for something a little more substantial, his reinterpreted Hotteok is an excellent choice. The traditional Korean sweet pancake is very popular in the winter for obvious reasons. Chef Louis presents it piping hot with some gula melaka, a scoop of housemade walnut ice-cream and mixed seeds. They come together to complement the Hotteok’s chewy texture—similar to that of a slightly dense mochi—very nicely. My friend Annette and I were stuffed as it was the last of the three desserts to arrive. Yet we inhaled it, which pretty much tells you exactly how good this was.

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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M E D I A T A S T I N G
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.

M E D I A T A S T I N G
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! 😄

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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.

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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.

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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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