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Come Over To The West (Dark) Side

Come Over To The West (Dark) Side

Featuring iO Italian Osteria, Lee's Confectionery, Kim Lotus Dessert, Ayer Rajah Food Centre (West Coast Drive), Sing's, Jurong West 505 Market & Food Centre, Isetan Supermarket (Westgate), Xiang Jiang Claypot Chicken Rice, Fatty Weng Shi Tan (NTI Food Court), Soi Thai Kitchen (Jurong West)
Vanessa Kou
Vanessa Kou
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Looking beyond their obvious signature items, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Tongue Tip Lanzhou Beef Noodles’ Dry Chicken Noodles ($8.90+). Exceeding my initial expectations, it is something I would definitely order again at my next visit. Not just an alternative for those who don’t fancy or can’t consume beef, the grilled chicken fillets were nicely browned with a tantalising hint of char flavour. Sure, the meat might not seem like much but it was both tender and slightly crisp along the edges. Additionally, the noodles which came in 8 different styles ranging from thin, thick, flat and even triangle was prepared perfectly with a nice bite. Toss everything with the sweet-savoury sauce sitting below and you got yourself a really competent bowl of noodles.

Note: the Dry Chicken Noodles are usually not served with soup, given that their broth is beef-based but can be requested.

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Tucked in the quaint Jurong East neighbourhood, Lee’s Confectionery is certainly a welcomed addition to the area. Decked in minimalist white walls, the patisserie delivers a small selection of dainty French pastries. And one that caught my eye at the display was Dale ($8).

A lovely number; the dessert was plated on the spot with layers of matcha sponge, matcha ganache, passionfruit jam, pailletĂ© feuilletine crumble and dust of matcha powder. The pop of colour and tanginess from the jam hidden within, was very enjoyable as it seemed to have brought out the earthiness of the bittersweet matcha. What’s more, the plate held a good mix of textures with the crispy crumble, soft sponge and smooth ganache!

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Just across the entrance of Jurong East Swimming Complex, Lee’s Confectionery is the place to be if you are in the area for a light midday treat. A cosy spot to settle in and escape as you sample on their exquisite cakes. And of those few displayed, one that was recommended to us was JIĀO ($8) - a banana sponge cake with an oat crumble base.

Wordplay on banana and caramel, the fun dessert is injected with banana compote and mascarpone. Soft in the center and crunchy at the bottom, the cake was well balanced in terms of texture. Similarly for the sweetness, the elements complemented nicely with the plated sliced brûlée-ed bananas and spots of salted caramel.

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As great for family dinners, the chicken rice specialist also dishes out more than just the consistent well-loved Hainanese styled delicacy, with a variety of Chinese zi char items on their menu. But a must-order, the classic ‘white’ poached chicken is my personal favourite. Tender and flavourful, the smooth steamed meat is kept nice and moist with no greasy aftertaste. The savoury sauce also lending great flavours to the extra succulent chicken.

Clearly late to the White Bee Hoon trend, I finally got my fix at Prosperity Seafood White Bee Hoon which opened at Jurong West 505 Market & Food Centre recently (ps. not sure if they are a second outlet or have moved from Bukit Timah Market & Food Centre). Hence, not knowing what to expect other than the generous portion from those who ordered before me, I settled for their Lala Sliced Pork White Bee Hoon ($8, Medium) with an add-on of fish slices at $3 to share.

No doubt a good rainy day comfort food, the plate was loaded with ingredients. Well-executed, the texture of the bee hoon leans toward a firmer and springy bite with a good hint of wok-hei. The handful of la la, tender pork slices and scatter of fried pork lard on top also came together very well. Loving how thick and fresh the slices of fish were, the flavours of the seafood too were evident in the light stock and further enhanced by the natural sweetness of white cabbage. Yums!

📍#01-183, Prosperity Seafood White Bee Hoon, Jurong West 505 Market & Food Centre

Diggin' the slippery, silky-smooth scrambled eggs that simply glides down the throat with minimal effort. I just want a plate of 滑蛋牛肉鄭 Beef & Egg with Rice ($4.50) from Sing HK Cafe to get through the short yet slow work week. Nicely seasoned, the humble dish was also well-executed and a great comfort food for anytime of the day as it captures much of the familiar flavours that Hong Kong style stir-fry brings - homey and unpretentious.

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Freshly toasted and packed with warm, oozy, melted pecorino cheese and aromatic black truffle paste; iO Italian Osteria’s Traditional Stuffed Roman Schiacciata is the perfect starter and a must-order as the flavours were absolutely divine! Though humble looking, just imagine as the earthy cream bleeds into the malty, fluffy, slightly chewy-soft centre and that crunch you get as you bite into the crispy crust of the flatbread. Amazing.

#Burpproved

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Another meat that I ordered from the appetizers is their ‘child-friendly’ Pandan Chicken ($8 /4 pieces). Unskillfully unwrapping the leaves, I enjoyed the slight fragrance of pandan. And the texture of the chicken was very crisp on the outside yet was able to lock the moisture in. Service was prompt. However, seats are limited due to the space constraint and the queuing time a definite deterrent so try to beat the crowd.

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Just a 5-10 minutes walk from my block, Soi Thai Kitchen’s newest outlet at 502 Jurong West is certainly a welcomed addition to the neighbourhood by offering wallet-friendly Thai cuisine - which is not easy to find in the area.

Packed till late almost daily, there are even patrons waiting before the shutters are pulled up for dinner service. But as for the food, there are some hits and misses.

Of course my choices are limited due to my low spice tolerance, but for me the meats that I tried generally fared pretty well. The Premium Fried Pork Cheek ($12) was fried to perfection - succulent on the inside with lightly crisp and crunchy edges (note that the signature item is available in limited portions).

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I may not enjoy the traditional Chinese Rojaks that uses fermented prawn paste but I have been on an “Indian Rojak-high” since my first taste last month.

Excited to try Habib’s Rojak at Ayer Rajah Food Centre, I was super glad to find that their rendition was spot-on and perhaps my new go-to place to satisfy my rojak cravings (perfect for Westies too). Loading our plate with the classics like veggie, coconut and crispy prawn fritters, each were very well-executed and distinct in flavour - as often fried items end up tasting almost the same but Habib’s were good individually. And you can certainly taste the difference as the stall hand makes the items daily.

My favourite, however was the humble fried potatoes that indeed came with a bold savouriness that complements the sweet and spicy gravy superbly. Because gravy is key. Not too sweet or overly spiced, it was really balanced as the kick from the chilli was subtle while the fragrance of the peanuts were more pronounced. Yum, I can certainly see myself developing a loyal following for the dipping sauce.

Oh and they even have uncommon ingredients like beef offal to choose from.

#BurppleYoungHawkers

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I 💖 MELON PAN!!

And as if right on cue, the Summer Hokkaido Fair currently happening at Westgate Basement 1 had me queuing for Himawariya’s Butter Cookie Melon Bread ($3). Having mine just fresh out the oven, the soft, warm, sweet, crunchy crusted melon-y bread has no equal!

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Decisions, decisions. Fatty Weng è‚„ä»”èŁéŁŸæ‘Š located at NTI Food Court though more known for their orh luak (Oyster Omelette) serves a competent plate of Carrot Cake (Chye Tow Kway) too. Hence, when you can’t decide, simply get both black and white versions at a minimum of $5. A good mix of sweet and savoury, crispy and soft; the consistent eggy fragrance as you switch between the two just ties the flavours together. No lukewarm Chye Tow Kway here as our plate was pipping hot and with that extra kick from the chilli. The fragrant heap of disarray was also pretty substantial as the portion size is slightly bigger than the usual single flavour. And though you do get a nice fried egg-layer crust from the white variation, I still prefer the sweetness which the dark soy sauce imparts to the dish.

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2 Moods: Hangry & Not Hangry [Instagram: @vanessa_kou]

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