LOCAL PRIDE

LOCAL PRIDE

For local food and creations.
Brian Xavier
Brian Xavier

Opened by Mr Lorbak himself is House of Happiness, which is definitely not your average claypot rice eatery once you've tried what's on the menu; the brains behind the place have deviced a method to cook claypot rice in a significantly shorter span of time, as well as applying a par-boiling technique for a healthier dining experience.

The 16-hour Slow Cooked Teriyaki Pork Jowl ($7) was pretty amazing; super tender, fatty strips of meat that have been sous vide and subsequently pan seared with teriyaki sauce marination. Through an intricately timed process, the rice is really tasty along with the charred rice on the edge! Don't forget to add some in-house sauce: red bean-based dark sauce infused with Shaoxing wine and garlic - soooo good. πŸ˜‹

Da Hai Shan is surely a first for a halal zi char store with a very extensive range of dishes, and even the name gives no hints of it being a halal food store. πŸ˜…

The Braised Beef Brisket Noodles ($7) is the crowd favourite with the beef cooked for several hours for tenderness and flavours to fully come through! It comes with radish and mushrooms, and you can add tendon ($1) and/or gigantic prawns ($3) to your noodles.

If you'd like something a little healthier, the Herbal Chicken Soup Treasures ($5.50) and Black Chicken Soup Treasures ($7.50) might be what you want to go for. Never found black chicken to be appealing visually and never was intrigued to try it, but I quite liked this, even more so than the white chicken as the former had a 'cleaner' taste. Meanwhile, the clear broth is pretty enjoyable, being rich in taste and not too oily for my liking.

There's also the Teochew Porridge which ranges in price depending on what you add to it. With many items to choose from, this is great for vegetarians with mock fish and char siew, mock sio bak and mock luncheon meat, as well as their special scrambled egg which has bits of chili for those who would like some spice to creep in. Otherwise, meat eaters can opt for meat and fish selections like (really spicy) otah or even shisamo (?!) and even Da Hai Shan's signature har cheong gai, although you might want to be mindful of what goes into your porridge just so you avoid that whole soggy situation. The porridge itself has a nice thick consistency which I personally really like.

All in all, Da Hai Shan's massive variety of dishes, that and that they are a halal food stall with vegetarian options, makes for a very ideal dining option for all to enjoy at Jalan Berseh Food Centre!

Many thanks to @dahaishan and @eatwithjw for having invited me for the tasting! πŸ™πŸ»

Now you can - sort of - by ordering A Bowl of Dylan's Memories ($17.90++). Do not be alarmed or confused; that is the exact name of the dish! πŸ˜†

Composed in individual portions of Hainanese Iberico pork chop, spicy bacon jam, pickled mushroom, 64-degree egg, braised savoy and fluffy Japanese rice, this dish is actually an ode to one of Chef Dylan's favourites: scissors curry rice. You can taste this in individual components or mix them up to savour the dish in its entirety and at maximum flavour. I went for the latter - less the cutlet as I was afraid I might get it soggy - and boy, no regrets at all! The egg is runny, rice is fragrant, but what really won my heart with this dish at an instant was the pork chop which is so tender, crisp and delicious while appearing to have been very well drained of oil! If you love your pork katsu's, the chop here is solely enough reason for you to give this dish a try! 🀀

While there is no curry involved, the bacon jam works as a rather ingenious substitute by providing the kick of spiciness you'd typically expect to find in curry rice while bringing a sweet-savoury hint of flavour to the dish. Feel free to douse some ponzu sauce for added saltiness.

Overall, I reallyyyy love this dish, and I'd gladly return for it again (and again) in a heartbeat! Looking forward to more memories to be turned into food here! 😍

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The only thing that I've (quite recently) truly enjoyed eating with the word 'prawn' is Prawn Paste Chicken, otherwise known as Har Cheong Gai ($14), and Kok Sen whips up a really juicy and tender plate of that, with a golden crisp chicken skin and lime on the side to fully savour up the flavour of the chicken. πŸ˜‹

The Kueh Muih - an assortment of kuehs, subject to availability and daily selection - was recommended by a friend to try and when I was at @thecoconutclubsg, the three kuehs available were the Kueh Salat, Kueh Bingka Ubi, and Kueh Kosui.

I'd say they are pricey for their size (and because it is The Coconut Club), but the quality is definitely there along with the texture, flavour and fragrance. Especially loved the latter two, but perhaps only because I've had more kueh salats than any other kueh in my life (which - disclaimer - really isn't much lol) and didn't think it was the best I've had, although I will say it is still a pretty good one.

Now that they are listed as one of the winners of Michelin Bib Gourmand's 2018, I'd only expect queues to extend, not thay there wasn't already a queue before this achievement happened. Hope that with the longer queues, service and food standards will hold through the next time I'm back!

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I think I've found my new favourite Kueh Salat and it's from Clan Cafe, situated within the first level of Straits Clan. At $6.90++, this is the highest SES kueh I've had so far, but every bite is a moment of love and pure bliss; the pandan kaya custard is silky smooth, creamy and indulgently flavourful, while the butterfly pea flower-infused glutinous rice is sticky, chewy and light in taste, complimenting its other half perfectly for a lip-smacking kueh. 😍

On that note, happy 53rd Singapore. ❀️

Perhaps the priciest Nasi Lemak ($12.80++) I've ever had but it is so worth the experience!

I love everything about this - the fried egg with a runny yolk, fragrant coconut rice, crispy ikan bilis, even the sambal which was not too spicy for me (I can't with spicy food, so this might be not spicy at all to chili/spicy food lovers) - but what blew me away is the frickin' fall-off-the-bone tender and beautifully marinated ayam goreng berempah, or spiced fried chicken in English. I can't say I've had enough nasi lemak in my life to say the other components are the best (but they are the best I've had, so far), but I'm confident enough to say that this is one of the most tender and delicious chickens I've ever tasted, which for me, immediately justified the otherwise hefty price tag. ❀️

Will definitely see myself returning for this again, just not in the near future because πŸ’ΈπŸ’”πŸ˜­

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When I first found out that I was about to have HEALTHY NASI LEMAK, I was quite skeptical about how it will taste because isn't nasi lemak what it is because it is unhealthy? Sambal Time, located at The Sail at Marina Bay, is able to prove that this is possible with their own spin on the popular local delight, with less sugar and fat, as well as no MSG, coconut milk and deep-frying.

I ordered the Grilled Chicken ($8) which includes a boneless chicken thigh, mushrooms, ikan bilis (anchovies) and omelette 'pancake' egg with an additional medallion. Admittedly, without the coconut milk, there is an absence of flavour in the rice. Thankfully, this is easily rectified through the rest of the components that kind of make you forget you're not eating your usual high-calorie nasi lemak. The sauces range from non-spicy lemon butter to spicy garlic chili sambal. I chose something in between, which would be the sweet sambal, which really compliments the dish, with a spiciness and flavour that's very much to my liking. 😊

The grilled chicken is tender and not dry while the omelette egg 'pancake' is soft and really yummy, along with the mushrooms and anchovies that contribute wholesomely to the overall taste and texture of the nasi lemak! The medallion, while not originally part of the Grilled Chicken set, has got to be my highlight of the whole thing; cauliflower, potato and cheese mashed into one, this reminds of begedil except the medallion packs a lot more flavour with a crisp crust! The combination comes through really well despite the fact that I don't like cauliflower. If you're ordering a set without the medallion, just add it in for $1.50 - totally worth it! 😍

So if you're in the mood for nasi lemak without feeling too unhealthy and guilty, you can check out Sambal Time's more health-conscious version! Let me know what you think of this healthy rendition if you've tried this, or any other healthy spins of supposed unhealthy dishes! They even have a vegetarian and vegan option too! 😁

Thank you to the folks at @sambaltime for the warm and gracious hospitality, and @msjaniceeats for the invite!

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The Fried Mac & Cheese ($4 for 2) is sure to be an attention grabber for mac and cheese or cheese lovers.

I usually expect to find nacho cheese in coffee shop or hawker renditions of mac and cheese - perhaps to keep costs low, which is then personally fine by me by the way - but Fat Monkeys keeps their mac and cheese as the real deal. I do like that it is not dry and is reasonably cheesey. The taste is admittedly nothing too amazing to sing to the heavens for, but I quite like how the shell actually provides a crisp textural contrast to the pasta.

If you think you could do without the deep-frying frills, @fatmonkeyssg also has regular Mac and Cheese for a dollar less, and trust me; the rest of food here, especially the mains, is pretty impressive, and I'll be back for more. πŸ˜‹

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Katong is hella outta the way for me but I'm glad I made it over because I got to enjoy a delicious plate of Wanton Mee ($4) from Bei-Ing Wanton Noodle at Roxy Square!

The noods absorb the flavour of the sauce pretty well and go great with the already flavourful and thinly sliced char siew. My favourite part of this wanton mee has got to be the deep fried wantons, its crispiness like music to my ears and though thinly filled with meat, packs enough savouriness to enjoy! I personally think the portion is just right for its price and isn't too filling for me.

If you can't get enough of the Char Siew, order a side of that for $4. In comparison to what you get with the noodles, a separate order of this comes with extra sauce, sesame seeds and cucumber. It is evidently thicker which is possibly why it is less soft in texture (personally prefer it thinner), while tasting smokier. Nevertheless, it's still pretty yummy! πŸ˜‹

If you're in the mood for something away from the cafe/atas scene, especially in Katong, Bei-Ing Wanton Noodle is definitely worth checking out!

Thank you to the folks at @being1ton for cooking and hosting, as well as @msjaniceeats for the generous invite. 😁

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Bitters and Love recently released a brand new dinner menu and it's filled with with several enticing dishes, one being this Pumpkin Soup which happened to be their Soup of the Day ($10), and it is simply delicious!

The soup is smooth and thick with the delightful and natural sweetness of pumpkin, while the crispy croutons have a whiff of truffle flavour that adds a nice savoury touch.

On a whole, this pumpkin soup is really great - quite possibly one of my favourites hands down - and I do wish it would be a regular item on the menu on top of their soup of the day. Alternatively, I believe this would be a perfect accompaniment to Free the Robot's brunch items as well sooo...hinthintwinkwink. πŸ˜†

Shoutout to the fam from @bittersandlove @freetherobot.sg for the awesome meal! Thanks @helloernie_ for having me! 😁

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Found this gem near Joo Chiat, popular amongst NSFs and NS men alike, which is home to a variety of chicken and pork rice dishes, their specialty being the Salted Egg Butter Chicken Rice ($8), a generous serving sauce doused over deep fried chicken chunks.

The sauce is really legit; golden salted egg sauce with curry leaves and chopped chilli padi that adds a slight spicy kick to the dish. There is definitely enough sauce to accompany the rice as well, but make sure you take each piece of tender and crisp chicken with a generous scoop of sauce!

For me, the dish does get jelat...once the rice is gone - yes, that is how generous the portion of chicken and sauce is, so my advice would be to try and maintain the amount of rice you eat so you have enough to last till the end. πŸ˜‚

My other advice would be to share because this dish is FILLING. No. Joke. πŸ˜–

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