Saturday, 28 May 2016

Kajiken Ramen

The weather has been really difficult lately. I'm literally soaked in sweat every other day that I don't use carriage. So it'll probably come as little surprise that I am ill this week. The cure to illness is best done through good food (talk about greedy excuses) and thus I decided to seek remedy at the first Mazesoba Dry Ramen stall in Singapore.

Surprisingly there's no queue. Not that the place was empty, it's full house but there's only 1 or 2 people in the line and the turnover rate was fairly decent. Kajiken Ramen is the newest edition to the line of ramen restaurants at Tanjong Pagar. If you ask me, I feel that this space is getting crowded out and people are just moving from one craze to another. Keisuke Tonkotsu King which is walking distance away doesn't have a queue now. I recalled that I had to wait at least 45mins when they first opened. 

We tried the classic Mazesoba Nagoya Style ($12.80) which comes with ramen, spicy minced meat, vegetables and a soft boiled egg. It's really good! The dish isn't very oily for a dry ramen and the spicy minced meat provided a tangy taste that goes well with the rest of the ingredients. The meal comes with a small cup of soup broth which is really good on its own. Perhaps if they come up with a soup version with the broth I'll be keen to try it too. Vain Pot and I reached a consensus that ramen for all its worth are generally the same if we compared the popular ones. The key difference is really whether you like dry or soup, what kind of broth and the type of ingredients. 

I'll come back here for my dry ramen fix particularly because there's not much queue on weekends and the quality is really good for dry ramen. In my view it's an inexpensive way to treat yourself. 

Kajiken Ramen
#01-07 Orchid Hotel
1 Tras Link
(The parking at Orchid Hotel isn't wallet friendly so it'll be advisable to park elsewhere)

Saturday, 21 May 2016

A weekday food adventure...

I didn't even realize it's public holiday till someone asked if I was working today. Incidentally I am. In any case, all work and no play makes life really dull and it's not what I envision my life to be. Given that Vain Pot was on leave yesterday because she's flying off to Aussie, I took the opportunity to squeeze in another food exploration. Contrary to what some of my friends think, I need to work for a living even if my hours are flexible.

Vain Pot had errands to run prior to meeting me so we kinda had to settle for a quick lunch at Raffles Place. I've been wanting to try &Sons since I started a research on affordable places to lunch in the CBD area. The lunch menu is really value for money and worth every dollar paid in my opinion. 

The lunch was so rushed we didn't have the opportunity to order much. Besides, Vain Pot surprised me with dessert ... By now most regular readers know my love for spaghetti and I particularly like Aglio olio. My choice of Spaghettini with Fresh Prawns ($11.90) was really value for money. Just look at the generous serving of fresh prawns and you get the picture. The pasta was cooked till al dente and the olive oil that it's tossed with was just right. I like it that its not oily and the garlic taste was strong enough to give me satisfaction while I eat but yet not overwhelming. 

Vain Pot's choice of Linguine with Seafood Marinara ($11.90) was another dish which presents excellent value. The seafood was extremely generous and the pasta was al dente. I also like it that the tomato sauce carried with it some seaside freshness yet not overly sour unlike some restaurants who use ready made sauce. The only minor complain was that the dish would be perfect if it was slightly hotter. Within an air-conditioned compound, a lukewarm dish turns cold doubly fast. 

Would I come back again? It's a resounding yes! I can't wait to try more of their lunch menu, in fact I would and would edit this entry as I tackle the menu whenever I have the luxury of being in Raffles Place for lunch. There's a number of worthwhile places to lunch at in the CBD area but I felt &Sons tops the list in terms of the value and quality presented. 

#01-19, China Square Central, 20 Cross Street

Another thing I thought I'd feature is the baked cheese tarts hailing from Hokkaido. Anybody who loves food probably knows of the insanely long queues at the open space at B4 of Orchard Ion. Vain Pot was nice enough to gift me a box. Freshly baked, it tastes heavenly because the crust is buttery and crispy with melted cheese that melts in your mouth. Each queuing person is only limited to two boxes and the box can last up to 4 days if you put it in the fridge. But eat it while it's fresh and piping hot and you'll realize it is worth the 1-2nour wait. 

BAKE Cheese Tarts
Orchard Ion, #B4-33

Saturday, 14 May 2016

I Want My Noodle

This week is the first week I'm taking a break from my new job. Sounds like heartless employers huh? I am working by choice really haha... I chose to break because I got a shopping urge and Vain Pot is flying out to Aussie next week so better maximize our food outings while I can.

I have been craving to eat at I Want My Noodle for the past two weeks. In case you haven't figured out, I have a soft spot for instant noodles and anything that resembles it. Research seems to indicate that there's no msg added to the food at I Want My Noodles and prices are nett which is another plus point. The noodles apparently are made in-house along with some of the key ingredients I read. 

I picked My Aromatic Prawn Noodle ($14.50) largely because of my craving. The prawn mee at my neighbourhood market shifted, and I've been deprived of prawn mee since. My first impression when I was served was why prawn mee is accompanied by fries?! Turned out that it's prawn crackers, a very peculiar combination. Another disappointment I had was that the prawn shells were difficult to remove. In their menu photo, it showed the prawns cut in half. I felt a little cheated. The noodles and sauce presents an unique rendition of prawn mee which I felt didn't present much complains however I really found it difficult to appreciate the dish. It's just so different I neither can place a western or Asian feel to the bowl that I felt so lost eating. 

Vain Pot's My Lor Bak Noodle ($12.90) felt a lot more at home. The sauce that went with the noodles brought out a very localized Lor Bak Mee taste which made me wonder why Hawker centers rarely have this on their menu. The meat was tender and the ingredients were very generous. There's even a Japanese egg in the Lor Bak bowl richly endowed with giant mushrooms, giant wonton skin cracker and juicy Lor Bak. Yums! 

I was surprised that the winner of the night went to the side which we added just because I wanted to try more of their menu. The Meatball Soup ($6.50) is the real deal. The meatballs are made in house and the soup broth was pretty good. It's chewy, succulent and was an excellent add on to our meal. I'm so pleased it's Vain Pot's turn to diet because I got to eat more meatballs! 

To sum it up, I'll say that I Want My Noodle has its hits and misses. I took issue that the owner looked a tad too unfriendly when he was serving in the stall. If you lack passion for your own restaurant how do you expect guests to feel welcome? I'm not quite sure if I'll specially hop by Shaw Centre to eat atas hawker food with a twist anytime soon. While I'm really tempted to try their other noodle bowls, the ones I've tried just isn't enough to convince me to visit soon when there's a bunch of places in Singapore I'm still dying to try. Go only if you are on a budget and you want a sit down place with waiters in town to catch up with your friend. 

I Want My Noodle
#03-14/15, 1 Scotts Road, Shaw Centre

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Joo Bar

It's really rare when I get to go out and grab a drink at night. Not that I'm much of an alcoholic person but sometimes it's just feels good to be able to chill. This week is another major switch in lifestyle for me as I take on new roles and challenges in my job. This means lesser weekend getaways and more work!

I was first introduced to Joo Bar last year by Vain Pot. Apparently one of her friend recommended the place to her but the menu somehow didn't agree with my palate. Joo Bar is a Korean restaurant famous for their unique drinks and Korean menu. Being not a fan of Korean food, it took a picture of the Joo Bar Army Stew on Burpple to finally lure me there. 

It's high time I change my IPhone 4. Relying on it to take pictures at night is really a let down sometimes. Then again, I find carrying an additional camera such a hassle. The drawing card of the night as mentioned is this Army Stew ($24). It comes with some light Korean snacks but I personally think it's meant for a serving of 1 even though the waiter told us that it can feed 2-3 persons. I must say that the stew is good. There's strong distinct kimchi taste of the soup, very rich in ingredients and the ramyeon is well-cooked unlike some of the food courts which serve me 3/4 cooked noodles. Sharing this with Vain Pot, I felt I didn't managed to eat my fill of instant ramen. 

The Joo Wings ($18) came as a pleasant surprise. It's richly coated spicy and sweet soy glazed crispy chicken wings and one of the best Korean chicken wings I've eaten. Previously in my other post on Gayageum Korean Restaurant I mentioned that I never got what the fuss over Korean chicken was about. Joo Wings would definitely give me better indication of how different good wings are from their counterparts. It's succulent, tasty and not oily. The crispy level was just right and the well marinated wings are pretty addictive. Worth ordering! 

Lastly at Joo Bar, it'll be such a waste if you don't try some of their alcoholic beverages. We settled for the popular Makgeolli Slush, Yucha flavour ($22). It's pretty decent, with a strong taste of alcohol not overpowering the Yucha flavour and its a great way to quench thirst after eating spicy ramyeon and strongly seasoned crispy chicken. 

Joo Bar is a pretty good place to hang out for a quiet dinner with some light drinks. I like it that they gave me a quiet corner after I made an effort to make a reservation the day before. Service was prompt and non intrusive. The food gives me greater confidence in Korean cuisines and I'd be sure to be back for more chill-out sessions in future. Consider Joo Bar, if you wish to have an intimate dinner with unique drinks with a date or a cozy gathering with a small group of friends. 

Joo Bar
5 Tan Quee Lan Street
(Operating hours 5.30pm-12am)

Monday, 2 May 2016

Penang Street Buffet: Crab Buffet 2016

It's a long weekend and I have been lazy on the blogging front. The day itself was productive. I caught the movie Captain America: Civil War and also had my first ever crab buffet. It's amusing how some parts of Singapore is so ulu that few have actually been there. Apparently Vain Pot thought Causeway Point was Jem... One north one west...

So it's the East vs West crab buffet feast we went over the Labour Day holiday. From the brochure you get the price and the menu. Another key attraction is that it's halal certified. 

Besides all the crabs in the menu, here are some of the other stuff available there. My personal take on this is that it's value for money. You get the cold seafood bar which is amply stocked but I didn't really dare to eat it at such a mass produced place because of all the bacteria news about raw fishes. I'm kiasi. There's crab bee hoon soup which tasted like the real thing and crab meat spaghetti, durian chendol dessert, crab meat soup, dessert bar, fruits, and even a Peking duck counter. On top of that, all the crabs stated in the menu. I'm not a crab person and after one round of trying, I washed my hands and didn't touch the crabs. Vain Pot kinda enjoyed herself so I guess the crabs met her expectations. 

I would say that Penang Street Buffet is really good for its value if you are really into crabs. The variety here is fantastic. On the other hand, most of the food tasted like a 3 star hotel buffet spread, not something I'll pay $64 per pax for. In short, I feel it presents good value if you are the sort who feast on crabs, otherwise the $64 is better spent at some of the other restaurants featured in my blog. 

Penang Street Buffet: Crab Buffet
Causeway Point #05-12, One Woodlands Square