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Locally Good!

Locally Good!

Singapore's local good food!
Xing Wei Chua
Xing Wei Chua

Having only opened their newest outlet a couple of days ago, pretty glad that Ah Lock Kitchen’s newest outlet is situated quite near to home this time. Located at the coffeeshop at Blk 573 Woodlands Drive 16 where Yes Nasi Kukus is also situated, Ah Lock Kitchen’s new outlet here now serves up muslim-friendly Hakka Tofu Bowls, replacing the pork elements with chicken instead. Whilst I find myself still needing to get used to the texture of the meatballs; more crusty and firm — a little less juicy that the pork ones that Ah Lock & Co. serves up at Tanjong Pagar Centre. Otherwise, the other elements including the tofu stuffed with meat feels pretty much the same; the sweet leaf provides much of the flavours of the greens here, while the beans provide the crunch — small cubes of tofu sits atop the rice as well, drenched with mayo for a slight savouriness and a creaminess that helps to bind all the elements together. Always preferred to have the Hakka Tofu Bowl with the Chili sauce being poured in — zippy and packing a punch in terms of spiciness; a great compliment to the entire bowl. Not exactly the same, but definitely good enough to get my Ah Lock cravings checked especially considering its location for me!

2 Likes

Had read about Brother Cheng’s Chicken Rice recently, and decided to check it out — opened by the same folks behind Omakase Burger, Brother Cheng’s Chicken Rice is a new concept that serves up the local favourite Chicken Rice within Picnic at Wisma Atria, located just beside Omakase Burger.

This is the set for one, with a price tag of $14.90 before GST; a premium above the many iterations served at hawker centres, but still a version that stays pretty true to its roots and being quite authentic. Only offering poached chicken here, the chicken here is served boneless for easy eating; coming with a slightly yellowish skin, the skin is silken and gelatinous, while the flesh itself is pretty smooth and succulent — fairly tender, whilst being drenched in soya sauce for some flavour. My favourite element from this rendition is however the rice — for a person who usually skips his carbs, the rice comes all fluffy and savoury; very aromatic as it perfumes of an evident note of chicken stock and ginger, packing a punch of flavours whilst being sufficiently moist. It goes well with the Signature Chilli Sauce, which was a nice balance of spiciness and zippiness; not too heavy on the calamari, yet tickles the tastebuds with its heat which should be pretty manageable for those tolerable to moderate levels of spiciness. Felt the accompanying soup was pretty clean in flavour, though slightly bland if compared to others served at hawker centres — liked how it came with quite a generous portion of tofu however. The You Cai with Oyster Sauce is an optional add-on without any extra charge; blanched, leafy greens which is crunchy, whilst drenched in oyster sauce for a savoury note while the shallots provide a crunch and a contrasting savoury note. No doubt the prices here are steep for the type of cuisine it serves; a plate of chicken rice would cost perhaps lower of $5.00 in a hawker centre, but Brother Cheng’s Chicken Rice is very much worth the experience especially for those who do not mind the price tag, which is still pretty accessible to most — one of the better ones around that we might return for in the future!

4 Likes

Shiitake Mushroom, Pickled Radish, Lava Egg, Ginger Flower. From Slate; a new establishment at Purvis Street which operates as a Aussie-style cafe in the day, and a contemporary tapas-style restaurant in the evening.

An item that is more Asian-inspired than Aussie-style, the Braised Pork Belly is an item off their brunch menu — more of a stew than being braised, the braised sauce carries a savoury note lighter in flavour as compared to the dark and rich sauce typically served up in Chinese renditions of such a dish. Coming with chunks of pork belly and mushrooms, we felt that the portion of mushrooms seem to be more generous than that of the pork belly; no doubt the pork belly was all juicy, succulent and melt-in-the-mouth (though sometimes carrying bits of cartilage), but we felt that it could do with a better ratio of pork to mushroom given how the pork should have been the highlight of the dish. Otherwise, the mushroom does provide a good contrast in terms of texture to the pork belly, while the coriander helps to cut through the savourines; the molten lava egg features a runny yolk and a soft egg white that is a crowd-pleaser. Comes served with a well-portioned bowl of rice on the side, we liked how the rice was just enough to go around the entire serving of Braised Pork Belly and was not too excessive, while the item also comes with sambal and green Chili on the side. A pretty decent item, though perhaps one of the dishes that lacks the Aussie-style influence we were expecting from their concept — still a good dish nonetheless.

2 Likes

One of my favourite lunches for the sheer convenience and speed that it gets served up. Run by the same folks behind Yu Kee Duck Rice, they had since opened up a few stalls of this “XO 肉脞面 Famous Minced Meat Noodle from Newton Food Centre” around, with outlets at Funan Mall and Bukit Panjang Integrated Transport Hub just to name a few.

This one is from their Wilkie Edge outlet; using XO sauce instead of the usual vinegar-y sauce, the noodles are tossed in a sauce that is all savoury without the sour-ish tang that some may dislike in their bowl of Mee Pok. The noodles are done all springy; thinner noodles than the usual Mee Pok, while the highlight for me is the crunchy meatballs that comes with a golden-brown exterior and a juicy, meaty interior — something that I just cannot resist (always falling victim to fried meatballs here). The noodles also come with mushrooms and beansprouts for varied texture and to balance out the savoury notes, whilst also coming with wanton skin which adds a crispness to the dish, though not something I find necessary but good to have. Usually can’t do with my noodles without having chilli; the chilli here does come with a slight kick of heat that should be manageable to most who have slightly moderate tolerance to spiciness, but it does provide a necessary contrast to the XO sauce in my opinion.

6 Likes

From Ya Lor, which had recently opened its doors at the basement of Tanjong Pagar, taking over the former premises of Kraftwich. Operated by the same folks behind Pezzo Pizza and Crave Nasi Lemak in collaboration with Sia Kee Duck Rice that is located at Lorong 35 Geylang, this is essentially the same relationship as Crave Nasi Lemak has with Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak; a name that is likely to become more commercial with more outlets possibly opening in the future.

The Signature Braised Duck Rice features other elements of Bean Sprouts, Braised Peanuts, Braised Egg (Half) and Beancurd. The braised sauce is the highlight here; though the flavours of the spices used here is not particularly distinct, the braised sauce is thick, flavourful and savoury as it lends its flavour to the other elements of the dish — a great accompaniment to the rice in particularly which helps to provide flavour and moisten up the rice. Otherwise, much of the other elements were pretty decent, though nothing much to shout about — the duck being not too bad, though could do being more tender and succulent for; thankfully not grainy nor gamey. A decent dining option for office workers in the area.

5 Likes

Checked out the new One77 Degrees bistro located at Singapore Expo recently; a location that is a little far flung away from the crowds considering how it is situated at the far east, whilst also being located deep within the complex outside Hall 3 of MAX Atria. Offering a set menu, all set meals comes with a choice of starters, mains and drinks — all of that under $20; pretty affordable.

This item features elements such as pan-fried, locally farmed Barramundi, curry leaf-infused pilaf rice, cherry tomatoes, Okra, and eggplant with a tangy and spicy Tamarind (Assam) sauce served at the side. Intended to be enjoyed by pouring in the Tamarind sauce into all the other elements, we were pretty surprised by how the Tamarind sauce carried a punchy flavour that is tangy and refreshing, yet aptly spicy — suitable for those who are able to tolerant moderate levels of spiciness for how it provides a distinct, but not too fiery kick to tickle the taste buds. The pan-fried Barramundi was also pretty impressive; crisp on the exterior, the fish was sufficiently moist within, further enhanced by the Tamarind sauce poured into it. The buttery pilaf rice soaks up all of that sauce, allowing one to mop up all that delicious sauce altogether. Coming with a mix of greens such as eggplant, Okra and cherry tomatoes, the vegetables provide a crunch and a refreshing burst of zestiness that helps to provide more texture and flavour to dish for some balance. Overall, something which felt like it was put together with thought — almost akin to a local fusion variant of an Ochazuke that works; great execution and of a good quality for its price, and somewhere I would be glad to revisit if in the area (because it just takes quite a bit of effort for me to end up here; if only it was nearer to me though).

1 Like

From the new Cafe Punggol Nasi Lemak that had opened its doors pretty recently at Capitol Piazza, just right across the Food Republic within the mall. Unlike their Jalan Besar concept which serves Nasi Lemak in a fast-food diner concept, the Capitol Piazza location is more of a cafe concept — serving up Nasi Lemak in both sets and ala-carte format, the Capitol Piazza outlet also serves up a curated menu of drinks and local beverages (i.e. Nanyang Kopi and Teh) as well as desserts such as Kueh-Kueh and Kaya Toast.

Coming with 1 Chicken Wing, 1 Otah and 1 Prawn, Set Meal 5 is the full works, also coming with Nasi Lemak essentials such as rice, egg, anchovies and peanuts alongside the iconic chili on the side. The rice here holds well to that of the standards set by Punggol Nasi Lemak outlets — there are places that serve better Nasi Lemak rice than them, but the rice carries a familiar light whiff of coconut fragrance that is pretty mild and not too moist; something that would resonate well with their fans who prefer their rendition of Nasi Lemak. While the chicken wing was pretty delicious with its crispy exterior and succulent, tender flesh, the fried Prawn was a little disappointing — just straight up mushy and lacking of any bite. Otah was pretty decent; comfortably spicy with evident notes of the Rempah spices being used in its preparation. Really enjoyed the anchovies here; fried till golden brown, the anchovies remained crispy, and comes with a slight sprinkle of sugar for a hint of sweetness amidst the saltishness — prepared in the same way like how my mum would have done. Sambal was also on-point; whilst carrying the signature sweetness of Nasi Lemak sambal, it also provides a spicy kick that should be pretty manageable to most; the sunny-side-up was a little inconsistent though, with one of our orders coming with an oozy yolk while the other was pretty much well-done. Sure; there may be some room for improvement for the Nasi Lemak here, but this holds true to what Punggol Nasi Lemak had been serving — somewhere which I would not mind re-visiting if the craving hits, or if I am actually in the area.

1 Like

From the new Bedok Bak Chor Mee at Circular Road; a new establishment that is situated just a short distance away from Yan Kee Noodle House and The Salted Plum that specialises in serving up "Bedok-style" Bak Chor Mee. Apart from serving up Bak Chor Mee in both dry and soup options, Bedok Bak Chor Mee also serves up other sides, as well Ngoh Hiang and a rotating menu of local desserts.

Going with the Crispy Prawn Cracker, Yam Roll, Water Chestnut Cake and QQ Pork Sausage, one could tell how the ingredients are pretty fresh and fried quite well; none of the fried fritters felt overly greasy nor soaked up in oil — items were pretty crisp whilst the meatier items come with a good bite and pretty juicy. The accompanying chili was also great; a good balance of sweetness and mild spiciness that provides a contrast of flavours. Something which is great to share around the table with the Bak Chor Mee that is to be ordered here.

5 Likes

From Tong Shun at Jalan Kayu, which seems to be a fairly new establishment which had opened along the same stretch of eateries as Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh. Having their focus on their roast meat offerings, it is said that their recipe for their roast meats are from Ipoh, Malaysia.

Between the two, we felt that the Char Siew left a very memorable impression — done in true Malaysian style, the Char Siew was sweet, juicy, tender and succulent; the cut served being fatty and melt-in-the-mouth yet carrying enough bite. Coated in a sweet and sticky sauce on the exterior, the Char Siew is pretty much stellar in its own right — very flavourful and a must-have indeed. In contrast, the Roast Pork was a little less outstanding; no doubt done well considering how it does not come with porky stench. That being said, the Roast Pork came with a slightly leaner cut as compared to the Char Siew; still savoury, though the crackling skin could be more crisp overall. Quite impressed with what we had ordered here for the most part, including the Fragrant Signature Fried Rice that came with loads of seafood (i.e. scallops, sliced fish and prawns) for $8.80 — somewhere which I am most inclined to visit yet again!

2 Likes

From Sing HK Cafe's newest branch at Food Junction Raffles City; the very same outfit that had previously started off with its own space at Everton Park before moving into a coffeeshop at Jurong Gateway Road before settling at its current location at Lau Pa Sat Festival Market.

Initially served with only white rice, we opted to upgrade to the fried rice at $2 extra. Watching the chef doing the fried rice was already pretty therapeutic; the chef skillfully controlling the wok with the rice dancing beautifully up and down with every move. Digging into the fried rice, the fried rice was savoury and garlicky; not too greasy but moist enough with each grain being pretty distinguishable — very flavourful on its own with a bit of wok hei. Coming with their signature scramble egg that is stir fried with pork chop, the scramble egg is all silky and soft, lacing up the tender and juicy chunks of pork which is flavourful without being particularly porky — very well done. A little expensive with the upgrade to fried rice at $8, but the generous portion of rice would certainly satisfy big eaters who usually crave for bigger serving sizes; otherwise, great to share at the table as well.

1 Like

From The Laksa Leaf; a Laksa speciality stall that occupies a small kiosk space at JCube at its basement that also has a small dine-in space for less than 10 pax within the tiny space.

Filling up the half walls for the counter seats with handwritten testimonials on sticky notes by patrons about their food, one would know how serious they are with their Laksa when there are a number of positive comparisons with a particular Laksa spot in the East. Considering how they only serve Laksa related items as well as set menus where one can pair up their Laksa with drinks, Otah or even Vietnamese-style fresh spring rolls, the Laksa was really on-point here — a creamy gravy that is well-balanced with the rempah spices used; chili available on the side to add to one's heart content. So ever Lemak, the gravy springs to life with the Sambal added, adding a spiciness depending on how much of it is being added in; the prawns all fresh without being grainy while the cockles though small, are pretty fresh without being excessively bloody. Coupled with the slurpy thick bee boon, their Laska is probably one of the best in the West; a place we would most certainly be looking forward to returning again!

4 Likes

Taking over the former premises of now-defunct Boca and the former spot of The Coconut Club, Belimbing Superstar is a new establishment that is run by the same folks behind The Coconut Club, which had since moved up to a new space at Ann Siang Road. Offering Peranakan dishes in cai png style, patrons would walk-in to receive a number tag and get their seats before making their orders at the counter — all items available are placed in full view behind a glass panel; all labelled with the price stated near the bottom. Drink orders are to be placed once seated, and both food and drinks would arrive almost concurrently, with rice served alongside with two gravies; all to be had with the dishes.

The Babi Pongteh was an item that we found pretty homey and satisfying; the stew featuring chunky pieces of pork, carrot and potatoes — a Peranakan staple. Really enjoy the savouriness of the fermented soy bean sauce; a flavour that is really comforting while the potatoes and carrots carry a soft bite — did not require much effort to chew, while the chunky pieces of pork was cooked to retain some bite in order to carry that fibrous meaty texture which gives it a good chew. Despite how it seems to be extremely easy to bust your budget here given how ordering works here, our order raked up to around $33.00 for 5 dishes whilst also including drinks and dessert (Cheng Tng) — pretty affordable when split between two. A place to visit for some comforting, home-style Peranakan fare that is just straight-up non-pretentious; just skilled cooking at its very best.

6 Likes

Up, down and everywhere around for food.

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