Taste of Thailand

Another one of the few places that I’ve been eating since young, this place sure has its history. From its original location at pre-renovated Sembawang Shopping Centre, it has moved to its current spot at the industrial estate nearby. First and foremost, one should not jump at the notion of getting authentic Thai food at this restaurant. The speciality dishes are influenced by the culture but the others are your typical Zi Char fare. But what sets this restaurant apart from your next door Zi Char stall are the quality of the food and the price. 5 girls, 5 dishes + 1 soup for less than 50 bucks. Good food does not necessarily come with a high cost.

Taste of ThailandPineapple Fried Rice: Served steaming hot, the rice, sprinkled with cubes of pineapple, slices of preserved sausages, shreds of omelette and topped with pork floss, is flavourful and definitely a force to be reckoned with. It scores very well with the kids and the carbo-loading men.

Taste of ThailandFried Fish: This fish may look all bones and skinny to you but do not judge too soon. Fried using a strong and powerful fire, the fish is crispy on the outside and yet, meaty and delectable within. Not to forget, have the fish with some of the chilli that they serve along. Like most, your taste buds will be in for a treat.

Taste of ThailandFried Cuttlefish: For years, this dish will never fail to be on my family’s table at the restaurant, but we still never solve the mystery that ensues this dish. Addictive and delicious at the same time, the cuttlefish is definitely well-marinated and fried. A must-try! P.S. They go well with the chilli sauce too.

Taste of ThailandSweet and Sour Pork: Something about their wok and fire-power makes their food extraordinarily tasty. A notch above the other versions I’ve tried, the sauce is of the suitable taste, neither too sweet nor too sour. Most importantly, the meat is of the right biting texture. Crispy on the outside and juicy within.

An important tip to take note is that the restaurant gets extremely crowded during the weekends. A queue starts snaking even before the sun sets for dinner time. Rumor has it that the quality of the food deteriorates when they have to be rushed during busy periods. So I suggest to try out this restaurant during the weekdays.

Taste of Thailand
1001 Yishun Industrial Park A
#01-1001 Yishun Industrial Food Centre
Tel: 67589121 Fax: 67540053

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Farmart, more than just a farm.

So why am I doing a food review of a farm centre that provides farm tours and pet attractions to families? Well, obviously, there must be something to eat here. This is one of the food places that my whole extended family would gather for the occasional impromptu Sunday dinner. Nobody is going to wax lyrical about the ambience of the outdoor eatery. But you will be amazed by the weekend crowd during dinner time despite the inaccessibility of the place.

Once you find yourself a table, do not expect a waiter to ask for you order, except for the drinks stall. Take a walk along the few food stalls and make your orders instead. From your typical Zi Char dishes to bbq seafood, served in aluminium foil, to your favourite chicken wings and satay. The tip is to lay off the carbohydrates such as rice and noodles and concentrate on the real deal. Indulge in the seafood such as crayfish, crab, prawns, gong gong, la la and stingray that has been grilled with a special garlic sauce. Don’t forget the Otah as well.

FarmartCrayfish: So fresh, you can just pull out the meat in one full piece and consume it slowly with pleasure.

FarmartPrawns: Grilled with butter and chopped garlic, this dish is a feast for the eyes and nose even before you can taste anything. Just like the crayfish, the prawn is fresh, making you crave for more of the sweet and firm meat.

FarmartBBQ Chicken Wings: Might not be the best that I’ve tried, but the marinade is deep and tasty enough to prevent you from stopping at one.

FarmartCrab: I have no idea how cheap these crustaceans are but apparently enough to order one for each person. Go ahead and use all ten fingers that you have been blessed with as you crack the crab apart into pieces. I guess the reason why crab tastes so wonderful owes to the fact that we have to work hard to pry the meat from the different parts.

Farmart Centre
67 Sungei Tengah Rd
Singapore 699008

Cha Cha Cha Mexican Restaurant @Holland Village

Mexican food is a particularly unique cuisine that combines a fusion of Mesoamerican cooking with European. In other words, you can find mainly beans, chili peppers, beef, pork, chicken, goat, cheese, herbs and spices in the menu.

Cha Cha Cha Mexican RestaurantCrabmeat Enchiladas: A Spanish corn tortilla rolled around crab filling covered with sour cream sauce and chihuahua cheese. This was a pleasant surprise to my taste buds.  The slightly sweet crab meat complemented by the sour cream and savoury touch of the Mexican cheese. Pair a serving with a occasional slice of onion or tomato and it hit the spot for me. Do not neglect the small serving of rice that they serve as a side dish that keeps you wanting for more.

This restaurant has given me a pretty good impression of Mexican cuisine for a start. Located along the streets of Holland Village, this simple chic restaurant attracts diners even at lunch time. If you get the chance, take a seat indoors and let the interior design and decoration whisk you away to Mexico.

Cha Cha Cha Mexican RestaurantThey serve complimentary nachos that are awesomely addictive as well!

Cha Cha Cha Mexican Restaurant
32 Lorong Mambong
Singapore 277690

 

Hai Xian Zhu Zhou, probably the best porridge in the north.

This is no classy chinese restaurant nor some famous hawker centre, but this kopitiam is always bustling with people in the morning. Tables are usually filled with families of different generations coming together to catch up over breakfast. Yet you will notice that most tables are empty for a long period of time. So what are they waiting for? From sliced pork to century egg and chicken porridge, this stall sells traditional porridge that could give others a run for their money. A regular patron since as a child, the sliced pork porridge here is a notch above other versions that I’ve ever tried.

Hai Xian Zhu ZhouServed with chopped coriander, fried shallots, cut you tiao and a dash of soya sauce, this is breakfast for champions. The rice grains are cooked into a smooth gruel, perfect for the tummy in the morning. In addition to the tender pork slices, little balls of minced meat and liver slices, be sure to ask to add an egg into the porridge for the extra creaminess and oomph. Lying hidden at the bottom of the bowl, use the spoon to scoop up the egg yolk and mix it well with the porridge to find a delectable cream-coloured mixture.

If you’re around the north, particularly Yishun, pop by the neighbourhood to try out the porridge. Beware though, waiting time could reach up to an hour. But hopefully, you will realise that the wait is worth it, every single time.

Hai Xian Zhu Zhou
Blk 233 Yishun Ring Road, Singapore

Benten Cafe, and it has nothing to do with the cartoon.

Yes, its Benten, not Ben 10. The latter is a popular cartoon of the kids these days, so people often get mistaken with this particular restaurant situated at the top levels of Jurong Point. Serving a variety of Japanese and Western fusion cuisine that is affordable in the price range, you will be spoiled for choices to choose from. Having being a patron at the restaurant for a handful of times, I think I can help you narrow down your options.

Benten RestaurantSalmon Cream Soup Pasta: One of the three cream soup pasta that the restaurant has to offer, of course I would go for salmon. Besides boasting al dente spaghetti noodles, this dish packs a punch in the flavour aspect. Strong, creamy, slightly buttery and most importantly, the earthy/woodsy taste of shitake mushroom. You know what’s the best part of this dish, you can drink the soup.

Benten Restaurant

Chicken Katsu Curry Omu Rice: Do not be intimidated by the large concave oval plate that they serve up. Focus what’s inside. The rice is wrapped with a layer of omelette that is relatively thinner than most omu rice served else where. But most importantly, the Japanese curry is slightly spicy and yet flavourful, tying the entire dish together as a whole.

Benten RestaurantSeaweed and Bacon Cream Pasta: Uncanny resemblance with the first dish, but do not be mistaken. I was expecting a somewhat similar taste but to my surprise, the dish was totally different. Courtesy of the bacon, the cream sauce carries a strong meaty and savoury taste. It can be a little overwhelming as you reach the bottom of the plate, but nonetheless, this is recommended for cream pasta lovers.

Seafood Garlic Pasta: So what’s in store for people who do not really have a liking for cream sauce? Garlic pasta. The spaghetti tastes fresh, light and of course, garlicky. However, compared to the heavy flavours of the cream sauce, this dish may seemed to be a little bland.

The restaurant may not be busy during the weekdays, but be prepared for a queue during the weekends. Besides its Japanese and Western fusion cuisine, the restaurant also attracts regular patrons with its parfaits of varying sizes. So if you’re down by the west side of Singapore, do drop by Benten and try the dishes.

Benten Cafe
1 Jurong West Central 2
#03-20
Jurong Point
Singapore 648886

Swee Choon, Dim Sum till the wee hours

For months, people have been thronging to this place for some dim sum lovin even at the wee hours. As usual, I got curious and the only way to know more was to taste the food for myself.

In operation for 50 years, Swee Choon has established a name in the dim sum dining industry. Not only Swee Choon redefined the menu of dim sum but the usual timing for dim sum as well. The norm of eating dim sum is usually in the morning for breakfast. But with dim sum restaurants like 126 and Swee Choon, dim sum has been made available to the masses for dinner and even supper with an extensive menu to boast.

Swee ChoonSoyabean Milk (warm): One of the best that I’ve ever tasted in my life. Sweet, smooth, silky and addictive.

Swee ChoonSalted Egg Yolk Custard Bun: This is my second attempt on the famous bao and I actually liked Swee Choon’s rendition. The “liu sha” flowed like a gold river. But most importantly, the taste was amazing. Sweet and savoury at the same time, definitely going back for more “liu sha bao” when I’m back at Swee Choon.

Swee ChoonXiao Long Bao: Swee Choon makes a neat rendition but not the best I’ve tried so far. I would love to have more soup in each “bao”.

Swee ChoonHar Gow: Fresh and juicy shrimps but the skin seems to be a little too thick.

Swee ChoonBeancurd skin prawn dumpling: A fine mixture of minced meat and fresh shrimp, this dish packs a meaty punch.

Swee ChoonFried Prawn Dumpling (Ming Xia Jiao): One of my favourite dim sum dishes, the dumplings hardly disappoint me at any restaurant. Swee Choon promises fresh and juicy shrimps in the dumplings which goes exceptionally well with the mayonnaise that is served together as well.

Swee ChoonFried Golden Tofu: Sprinkled with pork floss, this fried babies are worth trying. Crispy on the outside, the tofu retains its soft and silky texture on the inside.

Swee ChoonHor Fun: One of the many non-dimsum dishes that Swee Choon offers in its menu, the hor fun is a force to be reckoned with. Especially for people who require their carbo intake amidst all the dim sum, this dish will definitely sweep you away. The Kway Teow is fried to perfection, while the starchy and egg gravy binds the dish so well.

I finally understand what the whole fuss is about. This is not just a dim sum restaurant. This is a restaurant that brings people, who share a common love for Chinese food, from all walks of life together under one roof.

Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant
187/191 Jalan Besar
6294 5292
Monday – Saturday 6pm – 10am, Sunday & Public Holidays 6pm – 12pm