Category Archives: Local Flavours

Two brothers, Two Chefs.

Two Chefs Eating Place, operated by 2 brothers, has been all the buzz in the Zi Char industry. Ever since my instagram feed constantly picked up its famed Butter Pork Ribs, I’ve been wanting to try it out. But what put me off for so long was its inaccessible location at Commonwealth. In case you didn’t know, they opened another branch at Sin Ming Avenue as well. (Yay to the North people!)

IMG_8166-0.JPGDrunken Cockles: One of Two Chefs’ signature dish, pictures like this can be found on all sorts of social media platforms when the restaurant is searched for. Personally, I’m not a fan of “hum”, so I didn’t try out the dish. But according to my companions for the night, they found it similar tasting to those you find in your laksa. This dish might appeal to those who has a constant hankering for raw cockles.

IMG_8167Minced Meat Tofu: Recommended by the staff, we enjoyed this dish a lot. So much so, the plate got wiped clean within minutes. Bored of getting the common hot plate tofu at your zi char place, this tofu dish makes a good alternative.IMG_8169-0One of the better Three Egg Veg I’ve had so far, this dish consists of century egg, salted egg and normal chicken egg. I find it full of flavour and yet not too ‘je lak’. Definitely a must-try dish.
IMG_8168Salted Egg Yolk Chicken: Salted egg yolk dishes are the craze here. So no zi char dinner is complete without one. Two Chefs prepares decent salted egg yolk chicken with a stingy serving of the sauce. Beyond the sauce and crust, the chicken meat inside could with more moisture and flavouring. IMG_8170Curry Fish Head: Definitely not a speciality of Two Chefs. The meat was pretty tough and lacking in flavour, nothing to rave about. I wouldn’t order it again next time. 
IMG_8171Butter Pork Ribs: Considered one of the star dishes in Two Chefs, every table will not be missing a plate of the famous Butter Pork Ribs. Funny how the dish is named 牛油排骨, but yet dominated by the aroma and taste of condensed milk powder. Although this dish may not appeal to everyone, it is indeed a speciality and unique in the zi char industry, a key factor which keeps regular customers coming back for more. IMG_8172Cereal Prawn: Two Chefs gave our favourite dish, the Cereal Prawn, a surprising twist with a dash of milk powder and probably sugar into its cereal mixture. Intriguing but maybe weird to some. I love the crunchiness of the prawns though. It is hard to come by fresh, perfectly cooked prawns these days.

On weekends, this place is sure to be packed with diners, so do be prepared to queue and wait for at least half an hour. Personally, I enjoyed my dinner at Two Chefs. Like they said, “high-class dishes at affordable prices”. It’s a pity that their speciality dishes stand out while other favourite Zi Char dishes lacked charisma. A good Zi Char place to come for meals with your friends and family, but not really much to go crazy or craving about.

Two Chefs Eating Place (Commonwealth)
116 Commonwealth Crescent
#01-129 S(140116)

Opening Hours:
Mon: 5-11.30pm
Tue-Sun: 11.30am-2.30pm, 5-11.30pm
Closed on Every last Monday of the month
Tel: 6472 5361

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Tian Wai Tian Fish Head Steamboat

Making a Quick Statement

Fish Head Steamboat is an old tradition where charcoal is used to boil a soup broth from sole fish and sour plums. This results in a soup that is deep in flavour, delectable and packs a punch. Nobody’s going to wax lyrical about the eighties shophouse setting or the lack of air-conditioning, but you will be sure to find this place crowded with patrons jostling for empty seats or queuing to order. Their signature dishes are pretty standard there. So, besides the fish head steamboat of course,

We Recommend: Tofu Prawn (the sauce is mildly spicy and yet savoury at the same time.)

Tian Wai Tian Fishhead Steamboat
1382 Serangoon Road (Opal Crescent)

Opening Hours
Weekdays: 11am-2pm, 6pm to 11pm
Weekends: 4.30pm to 11pm
Tel: 62929982/91722833

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

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

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

Beach Road Scissor-Cut Curry Rice, the rice with a disguise.

I was out on a quest to travel on foot from Farrer Park station to locate the famous Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant armed with an iPhone GPS and a foodie buddy. Just as we were about to turn into Jalan Besar road, we walked right into a signboard that got my friend hysterical. For years she have been searching high and low and we stumble into the place just like that. As the saying goes, miracles happen when its the least expected.

Do not be put off my the sight of the long queue, they move as fast as the customers add on.

Alright, let’s go straight to the food. Besides the rice and the curry, you have a variety of side dishes, such as chicken wing, fried egg and ngoh hiang to choose from. But one of the most popular add-ons would be the fried chicken cutlet. So after the side dishes have been furiously cut into pieces by a snappy scissors, 3 different sauces are poured over the plate. So what do you get at the end? A plate of aw-curry-some. The 3 different sauces work so well together to give a slightly curry-spicy, milky and sweet taste to complement the steaming hot rice and side dishes. My friend and I finished the plate in around 5 minutes. We were either super hungry or it was that good. Wait, make that both.

Yepp, that’s the man snapping away with his “japanese hand” scissors. You can hear the blades clanging away as you eat.

Beach Road Scissor Cut Curry Rice
229 Jalan Besar (Junction of Jalan Besar and Kitchener Road)
Singapore 208905
11am to 3.30am daily

Chit’s Bar and Restaurant, food with a seaview

When my friend told me the name of the restaurant that we’re going for her birthday lunch, I was like “chit what?” Still a little unknown to the dining scene, I was eager to check it out. The most striking thing about Chit’s Bar and Restaurant was the seaview that the outdoor dining has to offer. Besides being able to dine just inches away from the water of Changi, they house seats in pretty little resort-looking huts for a placebo getaway feel.

So here are some dishes that we tried that very day.

Chit's Bar and RestaurantOriental Fried Rice S$8.50: This cocktail of fried rice, ham dice, prawn, egg bits and lettuce slices is the best of the bunch. Strong flavour, grainy rice, fresh prawns. Most importantly. all the ingredients in the dish work together so well as a team that every spoonful provides a firework to your taste buds.

Chit's Bar and RestaurantBeef Hor Fun S$9.50

Chit's Bar and RestaurantSeafood Hor Fun S$8.50:

Chit’s do a neat version of the two different types of Hor Fun. Not bad, but not fantastic. The sauce was a little too watery and the Kway Teow could be a little more overcooked.

Chit's Bar and RestaurantIkan Bilis Fried Rice S$8.50: Like always, if there is a spicy dish, I would most probably take only a few bites. But that one single bite was enough to tell me how much punch this dish can bring. Spicy and tantalizing.

Chit's Bar and RestaurantCalamari S$11.50: Did we just pay over 10 bucks for a meagre portion of oily breaded squid? I felt that it could be more chewy and crispy. Otherwise, I will avoid ordering this dish the next time and maybe make my own.

This place does give an exquisite seaside alfresco dining experience. Give a call and you can reserve seats under the beautiful huts. But do pray for good weather. Not only is Chit’s insanely inaccessibly remote, this place is still fresh in the dining industry. More misses than hits in its menu, maybe time will help the restaurant to improve.

Chit’s Bar and Restaurant
11 Changi Coast Walk  Singapore 499740
6214 9168

Sembawang White Bee Hoon

When I first heard the phrase “White Beehoon”, the first thing that came to my mind was “Isn’t beehoon white in the first place?” I am that technical. Only when I saw the dish for my own eyes then I could understand the famed title, “Sembawang White Beehoon” Tucked away in a little corner of Sembawang, you can spot the queue for You Huak Restaurant from afar during peak periods. It can get as bad as an hour wait. Well, you cannot not order the speciality dish after all the queuing.

You Huak RestaurantThis is a large plate of wholesome goodness. Like hokkien mee, beehoon is cooked with a flavourful and thick gravy with bits of egg. Remember to squeeze the lime provided to inject some tangy and appetizing taste to the dish. The prawn is fresh and the veggies are tender. What more do I need to say about this? If you’re in the north side of Singapore, be sure to queue at this restaurant.

There are other side dishes that you can order along with your white beehoon.

You Huak RestaurantFried Sotong: the oriental version of calamari. These babies taste great with mayonnaise. Forget about the tummy and live the moment.

You Huak RestaurantPrawn Paste Chicken Wings: strong and deep marinade. Every bite brings a savoury taste.

You Huak RestaurantPrawn Omelette: Fluffy, thick and tasty. This is my favourite type of omelette.

You Huak RestaurantSambal Kang Kong: I do not eat spicy food but people never fails to order this there.

You Huak RestaurantNgoh Hiang: bite-size wonders. Crispy on the outside, they are fried to perfection. Do not forget the sweet chilli.

You Huak Restaurant
22 Jalan Tampang
Singapore

Old Airport Road Food Centre

A list of dishes to try at the reputable food centre.

1. 51 Soya Bean   2. Western Barbeque (Chicken Chop)Western Barbeque   3. Albert Street Prawn NoodlesOld Airport Road Food Centre   4. Lao Fu Zi Fried Kway Teow   5. Lao Ban Soya Beancurd (so you won’t be the sua ku one)   6. Hua Kee Hougang Famous Wanton MeeHua Kee Hougang Famous Wanton Mee  7. Xiang Ji Lor Mee (#01-8, 8am-3pm)

IMG_9110.JPG

This list is definitely not exhaustive. The more I try, the longer it will get.

Hua Kee Hougang Famous Wanton Mee

Hua Kee Hougang Famous Wanton MeeJust like the soya bean curd war, there seems to be some wanton mee rivalry going on at Old Airport Road Food Centre. Located just a few stalls away from each other, I had no idea which to choose. In the end, I followed a friend’s recommendation and went for the stall at the further end.

I liked how the sauce was light and still salty, instead of a dark and heavy sauce. And I was swept away by the pieces of char siew. Tender and tasty, every bite gives you a strong burst of char siew taste. Yet, the magic stops here for me. The noodles and the sauce did not serve up a mean partnership. I will try the other stall soon and compare.

Hua Kee Hougang Famous Wanton Mee
Blk 51
Old Airport Road
#01-113B
Old Airport Road Food Centre