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Cheerless Chow

Cheerless Chow

The less-than-decent chow spots that I had the misfortune of eating at while on my gourmet expeditions.
Russell Leong
Russell Leong

On today’s episode of Outrageously Overrated Eats: Le Shrimp Ramen.

The Le Signature Trio ($19.90++) is a bowl loaded with all of Le Shrimp’s greatest hits: their prawn broth, handmade la mian, a pair of yuge prawns, prawn paste balls & shrimp shui gaos/dumplings.

While the plump & portly prawns were fantastically fresh, the shrimp dumplings & prawn paste balls were tasteless and uninspired. The handmade ramen was acceptable, and the broth, which so many have praised to high heaven, was awfully average. While it was flavorsome, it certainly loses out to a good bowl of prawn noodles from a good hawker.

Was the ramen delicious? Debatable.
Worth twenty bucks? Probably not.
Worth all the noise that’s been made about it? Hell naw.
Hotel? Trivago.


I’ve been gorging myself on Wow Wow West’s fantastic food ever since I was a young lad, and they’ve managed to keep their sublime standards up. Until today, that is.

Their fabulous fish & chips ($8 now) was my all time favorite, so I was looking forward to many good and delicious things to come. Well, said good & delicious things never arrived. First off, I don’t know how they screwed around with the breadcrumb coating that the fish is cocooned in, but they’ve definitely screwed it. The once glorious breadcrumb coating was more like a batter, and it was nowhere near as crunchily satisfying as I remember it. It was even soft and bready at certain points instead of being charmingly crisp.

Secondly, and most shockingly, the quality of the fish fillet has fallen straight through the fricking floor. The fillet of old used to be moist and passably flaky, but the current iteration is mortifyingly mushy. That alone was enough for me to say “I’m sorry, it’s not me, it’s you.”

Also, the fact that someone forgot to salt the fries certainly didn’t help at all. Well, that’s another childhood memory ruined.


You’d think that a stall that takes the better part of an hour to serve you your food would be, at the very least, decently delicious. Well, 132 Claypot Rice is here to laugh in your face and downright disappoint you.

I’ll admit, I had a craving for claypot rice and I decided to heed a top 10 list on one of Singapore’s biggest food blogs for once. That’s mainly due to the terribly tragic and horribly heartbreaking closure of my favorite (and best in Singapore) claypot rice over at ABC market. When I got to Old Airport Road, I ordered the two person portion, got the little electronic buzzer and happily settled down to await my little earthenware vessel of heaven.

Approximately 50 minutes later, said buzzer starts vibrating like a single woman’s battery operated boyfriend, and I eagerly took said claypot back to my table, mixed it up and slapped a yuge spoonful down onto my bowl. You see, that’s where the trouble began. There was a nice aroma of charcoal smokiness, and the charmingly crispy bits of rice stuck to the sides of the claypot, but there was NO SEASONING.

I’m not even exaggerating, it was beyond bland. The dark soy sauce was really only there for cosmetic purposes as there wasn’t even a hint of sweetness. The rice was boringly bland, and the chicken was so tasteless that a whole gang of brothas and sistas from the ‘hood would probably lynch mob you for disrespecting chicken like that. The only real saving grace were the slices of lup cheong, and there wasn’t even remotely near enough of that to even begin to salvage this dish.

This review might sound incredibly harsh, but it only just begins to scrape at the surface of my disappointment. After seeing all the good reviews online, and the hangry anticipation after waiting nearly an hour, my disappointment is immeasurable, and my day is ruined.


This being on the ‘Cheerless Chow’ list might be harsh, but it wasn’t good enough to earn a spot on the ‘Hawker Hits’ list, sadly enough.

Fried Kway Teow • Fried Oyster orh luak isn’t a completely lost cause, as the flavor was acceptable, and there were a few crispy bits that make a plate of fried oyster great. However, the oysters were awfully anemic, and the chili was painfully average.

Stick to the char kway teow, kids.


Because seven eight nine. If you still don’t get that joke, then God bless you. What’s not a joke, however, is Seven & Ate’s food.

Styled as a casual burger bar replete with a small selection of craft beers, Seven & Ate offers run of the mill cheeseburgers as well as considerably more adventurous burgers such as the pork & oysters burger ($16++) pictured here.

The pork and oysters burger is exactly what it says on the tin: two pork patties are doused in tonkatsu sauce and serve as the seat for the fried oyster fritter. Unfortunately, it’s a lot more batter than oyster in that fritter, and combined with the savoriness of the tonkatsu sauce, the oyster was close to nonexistent.

The pork patties aren’t too shabby, actually. Grilled with a nice golden brown crust on the outside, they were acceptably seasoned and went well with the tonkatsu sauce. Seven & Ate’s other burgers definitely looking like the better options, so I’d definitely recommend having any of those instead.


The only people who were more pumped for the Trump-lil Kim summit in Singapore were the various burger restaurant proprietors in Newcastle, who rushed to slap some vaguely Korean twist on the classic American staple food of burgers.

The Little Dictator sees a T H I C C Korean fried chicken patty that’s been drenched in a sweet Korean sauce glaze sitting comfy in between a soft milk bun, and crowned with pickles. That thick slab of fried chicken was juicy and utterly satisfying to my carnivorous cravings.

Unfortunately, this was a complete miss, just like lil Kim’s nuke missile program. The sauce coating said juicy chicken slab was just so saccharine sweet that it got rather ingratiating after a few bites. The kewpie mayo within just exacerbated the already piss poor situation, and those also sweet milk buns were completely un-toasted, and as such, went limp and soggy by the time I made it to the final third of this burger.

The Little Dictator ain’t gonna Trump any burger lists anytime soon, SADly.


Every now and then, a fusion of East and West manages to attain perfect harmony, but more often than not, it doesn’t end well.

The prosecution would like to present Exhibit A, the Cream Prawn Plate (A$18). The tempura prawns were pretty much the only saving grace about the dish, blessing the otherwise disappointing dish with its crunchy exterior and the springy, savory prawns within.

The cream sauce was rather revolting, as it tasted like mango molasses with extra sugar added and mixed with cream. The salad, well, the side salad dressing was decent, but there was no escaping from the horror that was the cream sauce.

Miss me with that, fam.

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The Star Vista seems to be the meat grinder for food & beverage outlets for some reason. I’ve lost count of how many F&B outlets there have gone bust, heck even the food court went out of business.

In spite of all that, 5 Senses Bistro have set up shop there right next to 18 Chefs. Their menu is an interesting mishmash of western cuisine and Asian cuisine, alongside a respectable selection of craft beers (no prizes for guessing why I was there). Confit duck leg shares a space on the menu with Holland pork belly rice bowls, pan roasted halibut, and tonkatsu burgers like this one.

The fried pork cutlet was fried to perfection. I’m not quite sure what they did to it after it left the deep fryer, but the amount of grease to pork ratio was perfectly balanced, as all things should be. Oddly enough, the soft buns, while impeccably toasted, were a touch too oily.

I desperately wanted to say better things about this burger because of how fantastically fried it was, but it was boring and bland. It’s almost as if the cook on duty was allergic to salt and seasoning, as both the burger and the fries were unfortunately under seasoned. The pitiable dollop of coleslaw adorning the tonkatsu should’ve been glamorously dressed in a zesty dressing of some sort, but alas, it was not fated to be.

5 Senses Bistro desperately needs to improve their engagement with the sense of taste pronto, or they’ll end up in the mass graveyard of eateries that failed in Star Vista.


@aftersbakerysg Ondeh Ondeh Lava Cake sounds good on paper, and should’ve been good in practice, but it wasn’t.

The sponge was thoroughly infused with the pleasant scent of pandan and was soft and fluffy, but that’s where the good stuff stops. The cake is pretty much guaranteed to induce diabetes thanks to just how ridiculously sweet everything was.

The gula melaka syrup drizzled over the entire cake was very sweet, the toasted coconut flakes were also sweet, but the worst culprit was definitely the saccharine sweet pandan lava filling. It was pretty much akin to drinking concentrated syrup. The whole cake was so sweet that I found myself turning to the also sweet coconut ice cream for some respite from the deluge of diabetes.

Yeah, this is gonna be a no for me dawg.


Otoko's Buta Kakuni (stewed pork belly) Don dropped the ball at two crucial points, and its strongpoints weren't exactly enough for me to place it onto one of my many 'good food lists', which is why it's here in food purgatory.

So, the good news first. Most of the thick, generously proportioned slices of pork belly are tender and break apart cleanly upon chewing. No porky odor either, which is a good sign.

...and now for the bad news. The gravy of what I assume is the stew was completely forgettable, and was rather bland. There were a couple of slices of pork that were inexplicably tough and chewy, which was a shock considering that the other slices of pork belly were acceptably tender.

What really buried this dish six feet under was the inclusion of a hard boiled egg into the ricebowl. Why, why in the hell would anyone put a dry egg into a ricebowl instead of an onsen egg, which could've been used to liven up the rice?

In the words of Randy Jackson: it's gonna be a no for me, dawg.


Soshinsen's US Pork Rack ($17.80 nett) is one of the 9 items on their slightly out of place western cooked foods section in the menu. Accompanied by a light but palatable potato salad (the artfully plated white cylinder in the back studded with cherry tomatoes is the potato salad), and sautéed cauliflower with an abundance of bacon bits, it certainly sticks out like a sore thumb on a menu dominated by sashimi.

The pork rack itself is superbly seasoned and cooked just right, and the unidentified sauce (best guess is that it's a cream & pesto sauce) it luxuriates in gives it richness and even more flavor. However, it's just inexplicably tough. It's not overcooked, but it somehow manages to be hard and a touch too dry.

They definitely need to tenderize it better, that's for sure. Their Angus Ribeye steak ($23.80) is infinitely better than the pork, so pass Peppa Pig and go straight for Connie the Cow.

It's an absolute shame though, the cauliflower was so soft and it tastes absolutely terrific, while the potato salad was quite addictive and light, and the sauce is spot on. There's just so much wasted potential here on this plate.


Unkai Japanese Cuisine has been around for a long time, but its only this year that they've decided to dive into the choppy waters of expanding their shores into serving fresh seafood.

At $15 for a half dozen, this plate of hotate tobiko yaki is acceptably affordable and the scallops ain't no slouch in the size department either even after being grilled to greatness.

However, it was shockingly salty, and I could feel my blood pressure going up by a few points. I couldn't quite tell how fresh it was due to the excessive amounts of salt in each mollusk drowning out everything else. The acidity of the lemon juice did cut through the saltiness a little, but it was akin to pissing in a wildfire. Well, at least the scallops were still marvelously meaty and cheerfully chewy, plus they're a bit of a mouthful.

Perhaps their fresh oysters would be a better choice.


Alcohol may not be good for my body, but my body is good for alcohol.

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