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Featuring Two Chefs Eating Place (Commonwealth), Fynn's, Hatched (Holland Village), Al-Azhar Eating Restaurant (Bukit Timah), 109 Teochew Yong Tau Foo, Imperial Treasure Fine Chinese Cuisine (Marina Bay Sands), Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle 阿宗麵線 (Ximending), Taipei, Taiwan, Kau Kee Restaurant 九記牛腩, Tai Hwa Eating House
Casey  Tan
Casey Tan

There’s arguably no better place to get woodfired bread than Firebake. And by default their tartines are generally pretty fantastic. Costing $18 for a full portion, the toppings vary from time to time but its always served on a thick slice of seedy bread.

Recently, mine was a vegetarian option consisting of avocado, sautéed mushrooms, feta, pickled pistachio and cress. It was super flavourful with mushrooms giving it that meaty feel. There was plenty of plenty of texture from the avocado while the pickled nuts and feta gave it plenty of zing and bite. I’m definitely looking forward to coming back and seeing Chef’s next creation.

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So I was really excited to see that #sunwithmoon has a sprawling Okinawan menu this season. One of the highlights was definitely the Rafute ($10.80). Juicy and tender, this classic Okinawan Braised Pork Belly dish is slow-cooked in Awamori (Okinawa distilled liquor), Okinawan black sugar, and soy sauce. It’s a savory, sweet, home cooked meat dish with a melt in your mouth texture that is found on dinner tables throughout Okinawa, and I guess in Singapore!

Influenced by the Chinese braised pork belly which most of us are familiar with, the dish is surprisingly light despite its outlook as all the fat is rendered from long hours of cooking. Great on its own, the experience really elevates when you pair it with jammy yolked eggs and Japanese rice.

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99 Old Trees is a quaint durian shop in Owen Road with one of the best kept secrets around; their SukaWa Durian Omakase.

Limited to up to 8 people and only up to two sessions per week, each lasting 45 minutes to an hour. They will present at least six durian cultivars ranging from the wildly popular Mao Shan Wang to the rare Black Thorn, while guests savour unlimited portions of Mao Shan Wang or D24 durians. yum.

Honestly? As someone that likes buying durian, I enjoyed the education portion the most. Having that one hour to ask them any questions ranging from how do you stop yourself from being fleeced to what durians are the most value for money is something you don’t get at most places.

Their durians are also fantastic. I had the best Red Prawn (Ang Hei) of my life. It was super creamy, and bitter sweet with little seeds and it’s now up there, along with Golden Phoenix as one of my favorites.

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Their cooked items are actually no slouch as well. Check out their revamped risotto ($26) if you haven’t. Available for brunch, lunch and dinner (i.e anytime you’d want a risotto), arborio rice is cooked with a deliciously rich seafood + white wine stock. A fresh trove of seafood ranging from scallops, prawns and mussels gets tossed in before shaved Grana Padano is folded in to boost its already-high umami levels. Sherry vinegar is then used for a deliciously ambrosial finish. For the perfect topping, a seared Mediterranean sea bass for the perfect icing on the cake. wew.

One of the BEST news is that this is available on their weekday contemporary set lunch which starts from a very very value for money $22 for a two course.

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MTR is a pretty small shop in Little India but it’s bustling with people generally all eating their masala dosai, and with good reason! A deliciously spiced potato filling is encased with a thin, crispy shell. Eaten with their turmeric based sambar and coconut coriander chutney, this is definitely one to write home about.

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Yat Lok’s roast goose is said to be a tourist trap but I really don’t mind traps if they taste as good as this.

The signature roast geese are marinated with a secret recipe and go through over 20 preparatory steps before being chargrilled to perfection. Such diligence leads to a hella crispy skin and meat that balances both herbal and sweet. Get the 1/4 goose with the drumstick (185 hkd) and pair it with rice to temper out the grease and you’ll be a happy camper for the rest of the day.

It starts with a aromatic mixture of sautéed onion carrots and bell peppers being mixed with squid and squid ink. Its reduced and moulded into round shapes before being frozen. The frozen rings are subsequently deep fried to golden brown leading to a intense unmade flavours with unbelievable melt-in-the-mouth texture. While it gets a bit rich and jelak after a while, this remains a must order for me, especially if you’re sharing.

A great dish for a special date and or occasion, their Wagyu Beef bowl ($75) comes with Japanese saga A4 wagyu sirloin, sea urchin from Toyosu market, Kyoto mushrooms, French truffles and Hokkaido ikura. Topped with an egg, this was fantastic. There was no underlying fishinesses and the beef was tender with great mouth feel. A great example of Japanese culinary luxury.

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The toasted brioche is the perfect vessel for Canadian lobsters meat mixed with kewpie (nectar from the gods). Have it with the salad, the balsamic really does a great job at cutting through all that richness. Worth the queue’ foooosho.

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Is it their aromatic thyme cones? Ingenious botanical flavours or instagrammable ice cream with the prettiest pastel hues? Probably all the above. But those qualities are all cherries on the sundae. It’s a tried and tested combination that nails the fundamentals. Solid ice cream, cheery customer service and great locations with lots of foot fall.

Ps the spiced pear is a perennial mainstay on my cone.

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At Chen’s their mapo tofu don ($8.80) isnt super bold and strong but somewhat mellower and subdued, so it was a surprise when i encountered a really sear-my-tongue off spicy one when i visited chen’s recently. Maybe it was a heavy-handed chef or just a tweak to a recipe but wew, it definitely packed a punch. That was said, it was still hella flavorful and paired really well with their japanese rice…Just be sure to have some water on standby.

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I LOVE their Mian Yang rice noodles paired with their spicy pepper broth. On one hand you have artisanal hand-made noodles directly important from Sichuan and on the other you have a relatively clear yet robust chicken broth spiked with fiery Sichuan vine peppers. When combined, they provide incredible depth of flavour with silky, slippery mouth feel.

You get the option of ordering add-ons and sides. There are some hit/misses but the deep fried intestines and the ox tongue are a must-order.

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