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Places I'd Pay To Go Back To

Places I'd Pay To Go Back To

I'm privileged to get to eat a lot of good food FOC as part of my job, but these are the places I would dig into my own wallet to dine at again.
Rachel Xie
Rachel Xie

Chinese New Year feasting has (almost) come to an end – it's time to kick back on the indulgent bingeing and go for more wholesome foods!

This is my favourite at @apoketheory: fresh salmon cubes tossed in a slightly spicy marinade and served on a bed of sushi rice, flanked by cherry tomatoes, edamame, mango, lime avocado, spiced roasted cashews and kale chips.

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Korean mixed grain rice fried with spicy kimchi in a cast iron pot, and blanketed in lots of melted mozzarella. That's already a winning combination, but there's also a secret ingredient: Masizzim's beef rib stew sauce, which adds robustness and depth of flavour, which you don't get in any other kimchi fried rice around.

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Was at Manhattan yesterday night for a preview of their new Hell's Kitchen district menu (launching today!), and I swear my eyes were gleaming when I saw this.

PASTA.

And not just any ordinary pasta dish, this one is spectacularly good with al dente penne and chunks of shredded duck confit luxuriating in a rich Italian cheese sauce and showered with herbed breadcrumbs.

Manhattan sure pulls out all the stops whether it's with cocktails or food, and for that, this magical bar ranks tops in my books.

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Of all the dishes at Masizzim that I loveeeeeeee, this is one of the ones I love the most. And really, is it hard to see why? Look at that cheeeeeeeeeeese!!!! The savoury jeon (Korean pancake) is fried so impeccably – crispy round the edges and across the surfaces, but chewy in the middle. Infused with piquant kimchi, the jeon is like a fusion pizza, slathered with tangy tomato paste and a copious amount of stretchy melted mozzarella.

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Brought to you by the same folks who debuted @chirchirsg earlier this year, Masizzim is set to be the next big Korean thing in Singapore.

Yesterday, I had a taste of their signature rib stews – beef, chicken and pork – and was utterly blown away by how fall-off-the-bone all the meat was, credit to at least 6 hours of stewing in a proprietary sauce. Special mention goes to the chicken, which we all know can get tough and chalky if overcooked; here, even the breast meat was delightfully tender.

There are two varieties for each meat stew – a non-spicy soy sauce base and a spicy gochujang (red pepper paste) one that is further customisable with 4 levels of spice. But regardless of whichever stew base you choose, the meat itself is absolutely delicious, reeking of a marinade in which it's soaked overnight for guaranteed flavour.

I could go on about the DIY mixed grain rice balls – I still can't decide whether I love the anchovy or tuna better! – but I'll leave that for another time. Also, the crispy-chewy Korean pancakes are a MUST-TRY, with not-so-traditional flavours like potato and tomato & cheeeeeeeeese.

Okay, now please excuse me while I wipe the drool off my face.

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Possibly the best fried chicken and waffles I've had in town so far, and I'm not saying this just because @sixthsensepr is handling the account. If you like this "soul food" dish, you'd best come try this rendition by acclaimed Clinton Street Baking Co. of New York fame when they open their Singapore outpost this coming Saturday.

Clinton St. uses buttermilk in a lot of their dishes, including pancakes, Southern biscuits, and of course, their fried chicken and waffles. This lattermost is served toasty and golden-brown, evenly crispy across the surfaces and edges while maintaining a remarkably plush interior; it cushions large slabs of chicken breast meat marinated in buttermilk for at least 24 hours up to 3 days so it's assuredly tender and juicy, then deep-fried for a mouthwatering crisp on the outside. Top that all off with drizzles of the warm, house-made maple butter – so delectably rich and luscious that you'll want to go nuts with it and eat it with EVERYTHING.

Gawd, I'm making myself salivate. If you're drooling too, you know what to do. Mark your calendar and set the alarm: Clinton Street Baking Co. opens its doors at 9.05am this Saturday, 19 September.

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I reckon this is one of the most satisfying dinners you could ever look forward to, because that's one helluva great beef patty sitting right there – it's made up of 80% chuck and 20% brisket; Chef Jachin Tan's golden ratio, and bound purely by the infusion of Parmesan. Toss on some earthy porcini mushrooms, piquant red onion confit, a slab of indulgent foie gras butter, and you have the makings of a jawdropper. But if that's not enough to win you over, how about some homemade bacon jam? Slather that over the top half of the kaiser bioche bun to complete the burger, and enjoy its smoky salty-sweet flavour as you chomp down on this bad boy. Oh, and although Skyve's truffle fries are served in a "garbage can", they really are quite the indispensable sidekick.

And if you're not yet convinced to be lured to Skyve for dinner, how about some live entertainment? On Thursdays, be enthralled by a hired magician who will perform right by your tableside. Watch him verrrrryyyyyy closely – he's a sneaky one!

Had the privilege of trying the new dinner menu at Skyve, and practically every dish I had impressed me so much. But one stood out by an inch and that's the duck confit.

A humongous salt-cured duck leg is sous vide for at least 6.5 hours before being finished in a pan, skin-side down to get it all crispy without drying the meat out. I love how the sous vide process helps render the flab down so all that's left is just the perfect amount of meltingly soft fat. And gawd, the way the meat just fell off the bone – or should I say the bone fell out of the meat – unbelievable.

To distinguish their duck confit from the typical French variety, Skyve serves theirs with a tremendous sweet potato mash that's so, so creamy, candied brussel sprouts, and a tamarind jus that reminds me of Chinese-style plum sauce.

This is absolutely right on the money on all fronts. 👍🏻👍🏻 .

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Had this twice this week – once with the @burpple Tastemakers and the second time with the family for Father's Day, and it's been a hit with everyone who's tried it; including my Grandma, who's probably Singapore's hardest Chinese food critic.

I love how these pork ribs are boneless, succulent and oh-so-tender. A definite must-try!

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Heading to @diamondkitchensg in a bit for a belated Father's Day celebration lunch, and my mouth is already watering with the anticipation of all the goodness that will be entering it.

One of the signatures since day 1 of Diamond Kitchen's opening is this dish of rice vermicelli braised until soft and silky in Chef's superior stock and Chinese rice wine, then tossed with loads and loads of fresh, briny clams. The mollusks are cooked just perfectly, not at all rubbery.

Not all salted egg sauces are made equal – Diamond Kitchen's clearly outshines almost all others (if not all) with the perfect balance of flavour and texture.

The savoury quality of the salted egg is definitely the hero, enhanced with curry leaves and chilli padi for an uplifting kick. The creamy consistency is neither too gluggy nor watery – it clings just enough to the shell and is absolutely delightful mopped up with the sweet flesh of the crustacean.

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Foodie lifestyle writer turned foodie PR girl. Notice the constant. I eat to live to eat.

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