Founder Bak Kut Teh @ Jalan Sultan, Singapore

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I remember having to wait in line for a table at Founder Bak Kut Teh at Balestier Road, but the wait was always worthwhile, as Founder’s secret-recipe Teochew-style bak kut teh (pork rib soup) brings tremendous comfort to both the tummy and the soul. Apart from providing huge levels of comfort, the palate-pleasing peppery savoury goodness of the soup is what draws me back unfailingly. On top of that, the meat is perfectly tender and succulent, at its best when you pick up with your fingers and eat it off the bone. For all these reasons, I make it a point to visit Founder Bak Kut Teh at least once every time I return to Singapore. Furthermore, Founder Bak Kut Teh has been one of my favourite supper spots! Its first outlet opens till 2am, while the new outlet opens till 5am! Night owls, rejoice.

Founder Bak Kut Teh has been around since 1978, and is amongst the oldest and best. Wonder why they took so long to open a second outlet in Singapore to cater to the immense popularity, but thank goodness they finally did! In addition, its second outlet at Jalan Sultan is fully air-conditioned, unlike its first outlet that guarantees excessive sweating.

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A Truly Singapore Restaurant – National Kitchen by Violet Oon

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Often, when foreign visitors seek local food in Singapore, they are directed to hawker centres, where our gems are. While there are plenty of food stalls in the bustling hawker centres dishing out truly Singaporean dishes, there isn’t one restaurant in Singapore that does all that with flair and sophistication, not until National Kitchen by Violet Oon came along. Potentially one of our national prides, National Kitchen by Violet Oon serves up significant dishes from various ethnic groups that make up the Singapore culture.

The lavish design and grandeur of the restaurant integrates seamlessly into the majestic architecture of the National Gallery Singapore and its vibe. Continue reading

PappaRich – Malaysian food in Auckland, New Zealand

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PappaRich @ Metro Centre, Auckland

Born and raised in Singapore (neighbour of Malaysia), and currently residing in New Zealand, hawker food is something I crave for and miss the most. Malaysian cuisine is the closest we can get to Singapore food, since they share many similarities (such as Hainanese Chicken Rice, Roti Canai, Char Koay Teow, Nasi Biryani, etc.). For me, PappaRich hits the right spot on many levels when it comes to relieving homesickness and satisfying cravings. Before PappaRich came along, finding good authentic Malaysian food in Auckland city is a challenge (let’s just not even talk about finding authentic Singapore food anywhere outside of Singapore, because chances are near zero). Now, Malaysian cuisine is easily accessible, right smack in the city centre. Established in 2005 in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, PappaRich now has numerous outlets across South East Asia, Middle East, USA, Australia, with its latest venture in New Zealand. Expect a long queue at New Zealand’s first and only PappaRich! Malaysian cuisine lovers are certainly anticipating the opening of more outlets across New Zealand.


Pappa Char Koay Teow ($15.50)

For those who have yet to experience Malaysian cuisine, the dishes reflect the country’s cultural diversity; think: Malay, Chinese, and Indian cuisines. PappaRich serves up a variety of popular Malaysian dishes such as Roti Canai (Indian), Nasi Lemak (Malay), and Laksa (Chinese), matched with traditional flavours you find in Malaysia. In case you’re wondering where the name PappaRich came from, Rich is the name of the brand’s founding father.

What to order:

PappaRich Crispy Fried Chicken Skin ($8.90) – Snack on these addictively crunchy morsels while waiting for mains to arrive.

Roti Canai with Curry Chicken ($14.50) – Ubiquitous on the streets of Malaysia, roti canai is a must-order. It is a crisp and light flatbread with a slightly flaky surface. The open kitchen concept allows diners to watch how it’s being made (and tossed). Here, it is paired with various side dishes such as beef rendang (tender beef pieces stewed and coated in a rich and aromatic sauce), and tandoori (Indian, char-grilled) chicken, but the one with curry chicken is a personal favourite.

Roti Canai with Dhal, Curry Gravy & Sambal – The roti canai encasing beaten egg and sliced onion gives a whole new level of roti canai enjoyment.

Pappa Special Nasi Lemak with Curry Chicken and Sambal Prawns ($17.90) – With much influence from Malay cuisine, Pappa’s special nasi lemak is essentially aromatic coconut rice accompanied by succulent chicken in rich curry and piquant sambal prawns. Can’t go wrong! For another rice option, try the Indian Biryani Rice with Beef Rendang and Sambal Prawn ($17.90).

Curry Laksa ($15.50 to $16.90) – Curry laksa comes in three variants: with chicken, vegetables, or seafood, doused in a rich coconut-based curry. Try the Assam Laksa for a tangy and lighter version.

Pappa Chicken Rice with Steamed Chicken ($15.90) – Chicken rice is one of the dishes I miss most from Singapore. PappaRich manages to capture the essence of a good chicken rice, bringing forth fragrant rice infused with chicken stock, pandan leaf and the subtle aroma of garlic. The steamed chicken is served moist and tender, with a tasty concoction of light sauce, sesame oil, etc., and not forgetting the garlicky chicken rice chilli and dark sauce for additional flavour.

Pappa’s ABC Special with Premium Ice Cream ($11.90) – For dessert, try the crushed ice dessert (ABC) that comes with a range of toppings such as sweet corn, peanuts and lychee –a dessert typically consumed to beat the sweltering heat in Malaysia.

To speed up service and minimise miscommunications, PappaRich is utilising a fuss-free ordering system, where diners simply write their selection on an ordering chit, press a little button to get the staff’s attention, and the order is quickly processed.

PappaRich
291-297 Queen Street, Metro Centre, Auckland
Tel: +64 09 300 3181
Website: http://www.papparich.co.nz/
Facebook: facebook.com/papparichnz
Instagram: @papparichnz

Paradise Dynasty (March to May 2015 Promotion)

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Signature Dynasty Xiao Long Bao ($14.80 for 8 pieces)

Think of Paradise Dynasty, and the signature multi-coloured xiao long baos come to mind. A basket of Signature Dynasty Xiao Long Bao comes with 8 flavours, namely the Original, Cheesy, Szechuan, Garlic, Ginseng, Crab Roe, Black Truffle, and Foie Gras, which are also sold separately in single-flavoured baskets of 6 and 10. It was love at first bite for me, especially with the Foie Gras Xiao Long Bao, and I’m sure many can relate.


Chilled Malva Nut Tree with Pear Bits ($4.80 or $3.80 for OCBC cardmembers and PGR members)

This season, Paradise Dynasty takes a bold step, bringing forth an exciting and somewhat exotic menu, available at all outlets from 9 March to 31 May 2015. Some items on the menu might not bode well with conservative diners, for instance the Braised Duck’s Tongue and Steamed Bullfrog with Diced Chilli, but those who are well acquainted and appreciate these delicacies will be first to flock there for a chance to satisfy their cravings. A popular Shanghai dessert, Chilled Mava Nut Tree with Pear Bits also makes a rare appearance in this 3-month long promotion –a refreshing and not too sweet dessert perfect to end the meal with.

OCBC Credit/Debit card members and PGR (Paradise Gourmet Rewards) members get to enjoy special prices during this promotion. For instance, 6 pieces of durian xiao long bao is available at a special rate of $8.80 (usual price $10.80).

Durian lovers will be enthralled by the durian xiao long bao, made with the highly prized Mao Shan Wang durian. Continue reading

Cooking with Dancing Chef’s Pineapple Rice Paste and Tom Yam Paste

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It used to be almost impossible for busy executives to cook a decent meal at home, especially after a toiling day at work, much less restaurant/hawker-quality Asian cuisine. The amount of time one needs to spend on prepping the ingredients is enough to deter. Now, with the aid of Dancing Chef, you can flaunt an impressive spread, ready in a flash.

Dancing Chef was my best friend when I was based in Melbourne for a month, homesick and craving for Asian cuisine. The brand carries a range of easy-to-use Asian cooking pastes and stir-fry sauces encompassing the tastes of Thai, Chinese, Singaporean and Indonesian cuisines. It’s good to know that the pastes embody only natural ingredients, with no added MSG, preservatives, artificial flavouring or colouring. The basis of a cooking paste involves the chopping, blending and pounding of ingredients, which Dancing Chef has got it covered. You can make your own paste from scratch (which I have done before), but it takes lots of effort and time (though I would say it is worth it if you have time to spare).

So with the convenience of Dancing Chef’s cooking pastes, all we need to do is add in a few key ingredients such as fresh meat and vegetables, cook for a few minutes and the meal is ready to be enjoyed. With the cooking pastes, you can rustle up the meals easily, quickly and consistently. The cooking pastes also presents as a base for further enhancement, where you can allow your creative flair to shine by adding your own unique touches. Continue reading

50% discount at Tung Lok Seafood at Orchard Central with American Express Platinum Card

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Razor Clam steamed with Garlic and Vermicelli ($10 per piece)

I recently dined at Tung Lok Seafood Restaurant at Orchard Central and scored myself a great bargain of 50% off; it was almost like I robbed them of $100 worth of food. With the American Express Platinum Card, I have the liberty of ordering more than I normally would, or pick items that are doubly expensive, without exceeding the usual budget.


Braised House Special Beancurd with Nameko Mushrooms and Vegetables ($18)

The American Express Platinum Card has soon become a card gourmands can’t leave home (or live) without; it comes with free membership to two popular dining programmes –the Classic Far Card Membership, and the PALATE programme. Under these two programmes, card members get to enjoy dining perks at over 80 restaurants.

The PALATE programme and the Classic Far Card Membership are pretty similar; they both offer discounts of up to 50% off the bill at participating outlets. To be precise, the Palate Dining Privileges are as follows: 1 diner will be entitled to 15% off, 2 diners at 50% off, 3 diners at 35% off, 4 diners at 25% off, and 5 to 20 diners at 20% off.


Raw Oyster ($3.80)

Tung Lok Seafood Restaurant offers a wide range of seafood, from oysters to clams, lobsters to crabs, and fish to prawns, available in a myriad of cooking styles. Continue reading

Malaysian Food Street at Resorts World Sentosa (with 2 featured recipes)

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Since January 2012, Malaysian Food Street at Resorts World Sentosa has been indulging visitors with a mouth-watering plethora of Malaysia’s flavourful hawker fare.

Stalls whipping up dishes from around the Peninsula include KL Claypot Rice and Klang Bak Kut. There are over 20 stalls, some of which are halal-certified, such as the Kampung Nasi Lemak stall ($5-$6.50) and the Roti Canai & Nasi Briyani stall (under $7.50). Penang Char Koay Teow has consistently been the bestselling dish.

To keep things exciting, there’s the monthly special. The featured dish is available only throughout that particular month. Last month in September, Durian Chendol ($4.50) took centre stage. Thick and creamy durian puree crowns the standard dessert of shaved ice with red beans, green jelly, coconut milk and palm sugar. The green chendol jelly found in this Malaysian dessert is made from scratch here. This dish evoked memories of RWS’s annual Durian Fest –nothing quells durian cravings like it does.


Duck Satay ($13 for 10 sticks)

This October, guests to Malaysian Food Street are in for a special treat. If you find chicken, pork and beef satays too “mainstream”, the duck satay may come as a delightful diversion. I’m not an ardent fan of duck meat, but this duck satay is one of the best satays I’ve had, so juicy and succulent. Chunks of duck meat are marinated overnight with turmeric, onion, garlic, lemongrass, salt and sugar before they are barbecued over charcoal fire still slightly charred. The duck satay is paired with a specially concocted sauce made of crushed peanut and fresh pineapple puree. This is a must-try!
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Marina South Curry House -Comforting Tze Char Fare in the CBD

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Marina South Curry House fuels the CBD (Central Business District) crowd with a rustic taste of Singaporean-Malaysian tze char fare. The interior is reminiscent of a refurbished coffeehouse from the 70s era, with vintage elements that prompt diners of the good old times.

Heading the kitchen is Chef Gan Seong Teik, whom hails from Ipoh with over 40 years of cooking experience and has cooked in restaurants around the globe such as Mexico (1 year), Japan (1 year), Taiwan (3 years) and New Zealand (8 years).

If you ask me, I would say he has far better prospects tossing woks in foreign or western countries to pander to the homesick Asian expats and spreading the magnificence of the Asian food culture, rather than competing with like-minded countrymen. But he has chosen to settle down in Singapore at his current age of 56, as it is of closer proximity to his hometown. The CBD crowd get to benefit from it!


Fish head Bee Hoon ($7.90 for single portion/$18.90 for 2-3 pax, served in claypot)

The signature Fish Head Bee Hoon warms the stomach with a comforting broth that’s rich, milky and thick without the addition of milk, and tasty without the use of MSG in the cooking process. It is made up of a combination of ingredients simmered for over 6 hours. Fresh chunks of sea bass bring glee to fish lovers, with thinly sliced ginger refreshing the palate between sips and bites.

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Ramada and Days Hotels Singapore at Zhongshan Park launches exciting new items this August

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Spice Marinated Slow-Baked Duck Leg ($24.80)

Ramada and Days Hotels Singapore at Zhongshan Park launches exciting new items in both the a la carte menu and buffet spread this August in conjunction with Singapore’s 49th birthday. Celebrating the flavours that Singaporeans grew up with, Flavours at Zhongshan Park brings across local favourites with a western spin.


Prawn Laksa Risotto with Coconut Cream ($18.80)

The Prawn Laksa Risotto is a standout. Regular cream is replaced with Asian ingredients such as laksa paste and coconut cream. Accompanying the invigorated grains are succulent scallops, squids and prawns.
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National Day Buffet at STREET 50 Restaurant & Bar

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With National Day looming around the corner, restaurants and dining outlets geared up to celebrate this nation wide phenomenon. STREET 50 Restaurant & Bar makes no exception to indulge families for a National Day Buffet Promotion. Dining reservations may prove hectic and problematic especially on a public holiday, however patrons can dependably expect a good meal and relax in this decent soft lighted dining atmosphere. Chef Ricky, classically trained in French cuisine and his highly proficient culinary team meticulously prepares the buffet line with flavors from traditional local dishes.

Their signature drink, Ais Serai, is a homemade lemon grass concnction that’s sparkling and refreshing for a humid day on this tropical island.

Tiger Prawns with Warm Ginger Sauce whets the appetites for seafood lovers. Expect to come back for seconds and even thirds of this dish.

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Szechuan Court at Fairmont Singapore unleashes a new menu featuring reinvented classics

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Double Boiled Bird’s nest Chicken Soup ($48)

Keeping up with modern times, Fairmont Singapore’s Szechuan Court – renowned for serving outstanding Szechuan and Cantonese cuisine in Singapore – unleashes a new menu that features reinvented classics.

It would be an arduous task to please both traditionalists and modernists at the same time, but Szechuan Court succeeds in injecting modernity in traditions seamlessly without losing the essence of Szechuan and Cantonese flavours.


Golden Mini Bun stuffed with Beancurd and Minced Pork in Hot Bean Chilli Sauce ($7.80 for 2 pieces)

In the dim sum department, novel creations include the Golden Mini Bun stuffed with Beancurd and Minced Pork in hot Bean Chilli Sauce –a medley of textures in one bite, chaperoned with a mild hit of spice.
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Madam Kwan’s Truly Malaysian Cuisine at VivoCity

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Food is always a talking point amongst Singaporeans; we travel across the island and for some even across the globe for the love of food. Our neighbouring country, Malaysia, for instance, is a dining destination popular amongst Singaporeans for its richly flavoured dishes. Many have travelled to Malaysia for a taste of Madam Kwan’s famed nasi lemak. The opening of the 200-seater outlet in VivoCity, Singapore, brought innumerable joy to fans in Singapore.


Nasi Lemak ($13.90)

What’s so great about Madam Kwan’s Nasi Lemak? Continue reading

18th World Gourmet Summit (26 March to 5 April 2014)

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The annual World Gourmet Summit is back for its 18th edition, presenting another exciting series of culinary events that will be of great interest to lovers of fine food.

From 26 March to 5 April 2014, masterchefs from around the world – including Michelin-starred chefs Tomas Buhner, Sergi Arola, Alexandre Gauthier, Lorenzo Cogo, Sang-Hoon Degeimbre and Mathieu Viannay – will be participating in exclusive dinners, hands-on culinary workshops and educational sessions, bringing with them their own definition of classic fine dining in conjunction with this year’s theme ‘The Classics’.

Establishments that will be hosting World Gourmet Summit events are as follows: Forlino, Clifford at The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore, Grand Hyatt Singapore, Majestic Restaurant, Dolce Vita at Mandarin Oriental Singapore, The Prime Society, Raffles Singapore, Stellar at 1-Altitude, Tippling Club, The St. Regis Singapore, Tung Lok Signatures at Orchard Parade Hotel, Skirt at W Singapore and The White Rabbit.

22 partner restaurants – including Gattopardo Ristorante Di Mare, il Lido, Table at 7 and Wooloomooloo Steakhouse – will also be presenting exclusive World Gourmet Summit menus that will be available only during these eleven days.

Highlights include the Sunday Brunch presented by The Macallan & Scottish Seafood Collaborative Group at Tamirand Hill, Rhone Valley Wine Dinner with Nicolas Perrin & International Masterchef Mathieu Viannay at The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore, Eu Yan Sang Dinner featuring International Masterchef Arron Huang at Majestic Restaurant, and more.

The upcoming Eu Yan Sang Dinner on 31 March 2014 featuring International Masterchef Arron Huang and Hosting Chef Yong Bing Ngen at Majestic Restaurant is an exemplar of healthy indulgence. The two acclaimed chefs will be combining their prowess in Chinese culinary with the virtues of some of the finest traditional Chinese medicinal herbs from Eu Yan Sang, presenting a well-balanced and nutritious 6-course meal.

Taiwanese Masterchef Arron Huang, President of the Association of Taipei Cooking, who is passionate about developing and expanding Taiwan’s cuisine across the globe, feels that World Gourmet Summit is a great avenue for chefs around the world to showcase their distinctive style of cooking.

Hosting Chef Yong Bing Ngen, who has over 30 years of experience under his belt, believes an accomplished Chinese chef should have a solid foundation of Chinese cooking techniques and be continuously exposed to different ingredients and produce available in the market.

Chef Arron Huang’s famous traditional Taiwanese cuisine will be served alongside modern Chinese creations of Chef Yong with a theme of ‘Classic vs Modern’. I have never encountered so many different herbs in a single meal!


Fried Roast Duck Breast and Shrimp with Chinese Angelica and Licorice (by International Masterchef Arron Huang)

We all have that preconceived notion that Chinese medicinal herbs are bitter; but with cautious and meticulous encompassment, the dishes are well balanced and never overwhelming. Continue reading

New Menus at Forest and Tangerine of Resorts World Sentosa

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Steamed Salmon with Ginger Flower, Lemon and Kaffir Lime Leaves (part of Forest’s 8-course Sunday lunch menu)

Excitement surges twofold at Resorts World Sentosa as two celebrity chefs’ restaurants, Forest and Tangerine, unveil new gourmet offerings for a refreshed gastronomic sojourn.

Forest, helmed by Chef Sam Leong, has launched a Sunday lunch concept that satiates diners with an exquisite 8-course meal. Each dish reflects chef’s creativity in interpreting Chinese classics with a modern twist.


Duo combination Platter: Baby Abalone with Sichuan “Ma La” Sauce (foreground) and Wok-fried Crispy Duck pressed confit and Yam served with Mushroom Sauce (background)

Several duo combination platters add up to a total of 13 dishes in this 8-course meal. Continue reading