Category Archives: Chinatown Area

Covers Outram Park, People’s Park, Hong Lim, South Bridge Road & New Bridge Road

Pagi Sore

Kangkong Belachan Tahu Telor Ayam Bali  Cumi Bali

Pagi Sore
Far East Square Outlet:
No 88-90 Telok Ayer Street
Far East Square
(Opp PWC Building)
Singapore 048470
Tel:  6225 6002
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday (Closed on Public Holiday)
                         11.00 am – 3.00 pm   6.00 pm – 10.00 pm
 
Jurong Superbowl Outlet:
No 1 Yuan Ching Road #01-02

Jurong Superbowl
Singapore 618640
Tel:  6266 3200
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday (Closed on Public Holiday)
                         11.00 am – 3.00 pm   6.00 pm – 10.00 pm
 

My parents and I visited their Far East Square outlet on Mother’s Day (11 May 2008).  Whenever we eat at an Indonesian restaurant, we never fail to order the tahu telor and the avocado dessert.  These to us are the representation of local Indonesian food.

We wanted to order the Petai Pedas but sadly they didn’t have it available.  So we ended up ordering the Kangkong Belachan (S$8.80), Tahu Telor (S$8.80), Ayam Bali (S$5.80 per piece; we ordered 2 pieces), Cumi Bali (S$13.50), 2 alpukat (S$4.20 each) and 1 chendol and of course, who can forget the rice!.

The food came pretty fast considering it was a lunch-time crowd and on top of that, Mother’s Day!  We barely had to wait for more than 15 minutes before the vegetables start arriving.

The level of spiciness in the food is indicated in their menu – 0 spoon means no chilli at all, 1 spoon means not that spicy, 2 spoons mean spicier, etc.

The first to arrive was the Kangkong Belachan.  This dish wasn’t too spicy (they only had 1 spoon) which is great coz you’ll have some people who can’t take spicy food.  Quite an ordinary dish.  I mean you really can’t go wrong with this dish unless you used really lousy belachan to fry the vegetables.

Next came the tahu telor (deep fried bean curd with egg).  Again another fail-safe dish.  The tahu (bean curd) is soft on the inside and a little bit crunchy on the outside (because of the egg).  Not spicy at all.  They poured a special sweet sauce over the tahu telor but you don’t really find it overwhelmingly sweet.  Wish they could make it a wee bit spicier so you can have the kick!

After a short while, the chicken and the squid arrived.  Both were cooked in the same style – bbq with a kind of sauce spread on top of the meat.  I find the chicken nice but it was a tad too sweet.  Too much of the sweet sauce!  Not so crunchy despite being bbq.  Tasted more fried rather than bbq.

I love the squid!  It was done just nice; you know if you overcooked the squid, it becomes too tough but this was perfect!  A bit on the sweet side but not as sweet as the chicken.  Pagi Sore also stuffed the tentacles inside the squid before bbq.  I don’t know if this made the squid a wee bit juicier but it was good.

The rice…. I love the rice too! Each portion was served wrapped in a banana leaf so that you get the nice fragrance when you unwrap the rice.  Somehow, you can never stop at just one portion.  Even small eater like me had 1.5! 😛  They charge you S$1.50 for unlimited servings of rice for each person, so if you are a huge rice eater, it’s really worth it.

The belachan… they charge you S$0.30 for each small plate of belachan so don’t be too happy and order as much belachan as you like, thinking it’s free.  The belachan is nice BUT not spicy at all!  You do get the taste of belachan but somehow, I would have much preferred it to be spicier.  No kick if it’s not spicy! However, if you love the belachan here, you can always buy it by the bottle – 230g for S$7 and 380g for S$10.

We had the alpukat (avocado dessert) which is nice but always too sweet!  Very thick and I wish they would go easy on the gula melaka (brown sugar) which makes the avocado too sweet.  Dad enjoyed his chendol – no bad comments so I guess it must be nice for him.  He has a sweet tooth so if you don’t, ask them to go easy on the sugar.

I must say that I am pretty impressed with the service here – very friendly!  Mom was even given a stalk of rose after the meal and as a Mother’s Day special, we were each given a bowl of dessert on the house.  It was a cold dessert – white fungus, wolfberry and 1 more item I can’t describe (we call it lian zhi but I can’t find the English word for it).  Nice but I liked better the one I tried before at Crystal Jade Shanghai Restaurant.

Overall, excellent service and good value for money.  We paid something like S$70 for the meal and we felt so stuffed thereafter.  Most importantly, my parents love the quality of the food.  A definitely will go again restaurant!

La Chasseur

Le Chasseur
31 New Bridge Road
Tel: 6337 7677
Opening Hours: 11am to 11pm daily

The name “Le Chasseur” brings to mind either French or Italian food but alas, you would be so disappointed when you realize it serves just home-cooked Chinese food (家常菜). 

My family and I went to this place on 4 March 2008 during lunch.  We tried the pig’s trotters in vinegar (dad’s favourite dish), stewed bitter gourd and the you tiao with sotong yesterday.  We also ordered 3 drinks and 3 bowls of rice to go with our meal and it costs us S$21.50. 

All dishes served at this eating place are in 1 standard size and the restaurant claims to have no MSG (Monosodium glutamate), no GST and no service charge. 

Dad said the pig’s trotters is not bad (although it’s not as good as Mum’s).  I am not a pig’s trotters fan, so I just basically go for the sauce.  The sauce is sourish enough (sour taste came from the vinegar) but I feel that it should be spicier (spicy taste should come from ginger and not chilli) to give it that oomph, so lacking in this dish.  This dish came with quite a few chopped up pieces of pig’s trotters in a claypot and cost S$7.50. 

The stewed bitter gourd costs us S$5.00 and came in a small bowl.  Portion was miserably little for 3 persons; but it should be ideal if you’re ordering for 1.  Taste-wise – the bitter gourd is soft but otherwise quite bland; no bitter taste of the bittergourd. 

Next, the you tiao (fried Chinese Crullers) with sotong (squid) – please, save your money for another dish.  This dish came out a bit cold.  Not only that, the you tiao was not crunchy and the sotong tasted bad.  Thumbs down for this dish! 

I ordered luo han guo (a kind of fruit – medicinal in nature) drink.  I don’t know if this drink is home made – but I’m guessing it should be because it is not sweet at all.  In fact, it was a bit bitter to the taste.  I guess all stuff that are good for your body always never tasted good.  The only good thing that we enjoyed for this lunch is the pig’s trotters. 

Next time we’re here, we’ll just stick to the pig’s trotters.  Overall prices at this eating place is a bit on the higher side – S$5 for hor fun/mee goreng, which I can easily get at S$3 elsewhere.  I also spotted a S$20 duck with salted veg soup!  Even egg omelette with tomato will set you back S$5. 

Taste-wise, they do not add MSG but I think the GST and service charges have already been included in the prices.

Bak Kwa from Lim Chee Guan

Lim Chee Guan
Main Branch:
203 New Bridge Road
Tel: 6227 8302
Outlet:
1 Park Road #01-25 People’s Park Complex
Tel: 6535 0927
Website: www.limcheeguan.com.sg (under construction)

If you want to eat bak kwa (barbequed pork), this would be THE place to go to.  If you don’t believe, try queuing for a packet of their bak kwa before Chinese New Year.  Be prepared to wait at least an hour before you can even place your order.

What I like about their bak kwa is that it’s made of minced pork, and not sliced pork.  Although many will argue that sliced pork is the most authentic bak kwa, I take into consideration my parents’ poor teeth when they try to bite into a piece of sliced pork bak kwa. 

Now, what I don’t like about their bak kwa here is that it tends to be a little bit sweeter than the Kim Hock Guan’s one.  Perhaps this helps to make the bak kwa last longer. 

What’s interesting here is that they bother to separate the non-spicy rou sui (mini bak kwa) from the chilli ones.  Most bak kwa stores I know don’t do that, so you get a true mix of everything including the beef ones.  So generally I don’t buy rou sui as mom does not take beef. 

Prices as at 20 January 2008 go for:- S$12 for 300g of non-chilli mini bak kwa, S$28 for 600g of non-chilli minced pork bak kwa and S$29 for chilli minced pork bak kwa.  Be warned – prices here do go up as it draws closer to Chinese New Year.

  • If you pay using your UOB credit card, you get a complimentary voucher for a 150g pack of fish or chicken floss with every S$300 spent.  Valid from 8 January to 21 February 2008.

Bak Kwa from Kim Hock Guan

Kim Hock Guan packaging Kim Hock Guan Bak Kwa from Kim Hock Guan
Kim Hock Guan
Main Branch:
#01-02 Fook Hai Building Tel: 6535 2536
Outlet 1:
455 Geylang Road Tel: 6743 4577
Outlet 2:
#01-25 The Bencoolen Tel: 6835 7118
Factory:
Blk 3017 Bedok North Street 5 #04-03 Tel: 6243 9394

Last Chinese New year (2007), they had the longest queue that we’ve ever seen coz they were nominated the best bak kwa (barbequed dried pork) in Singapore in the “Bak Kwa Index” by The Straits Times.  Unfortunately, that was the only time we saw them having long queues coz they seemed to disappear after CNY.  This was at the main branch in Fook Hai Building.

Their bak kwa is a bit tougher than the ones from Lim Chee Guan or Bee Chun Hiang coz they used sliced pork instead of minced pork (they don’t have minced pork available).  A kg of this today costs S$45 (or S$27 for 600g – picture above shows 600g of bak kwa).  I’m not too sure if the price will increase closer to the CNY this year.

What I love about their packaging is that it comes in a resealable bag instead of the simply vacuumed ones (see picture above).  This means I can recycle the bag instead of disposing after I’ve opened up the package.  Must applaud this company for going green in this way.

The bak kwa can keep for 2 weeks in room temperature.  If you want to keep it longer, put it in the fridge and it’ll last 3 weeks.

I expect that the queue will start from next week onwards, so if you want to beat the queue, go today!  There’s literally 1 or 2 persons in front of me when I purchased it during lunch time today (17 Jan 2008).

Note:
This review can also be found on TheLocalKing.

Bread from Bread Pitt

Bread from Bread Pitt Cookies from Bread Pitt
Bread Pitt
Stall No. (am not sure what’s the stall no.; will check and let you know soon)
Maxwell Road Food Centre

With no nice smell of the buns baking in the oven, the only thing that caught my eye was the stall’s name.

I bought 3 pieces of bread (see 1st picture above: from L-R: hot dog bun, cheese and curry) for S$2.20 and a packet of chocolate cookies for S$1.80.  Buns were still warm when I bought it but I only ate it the next morning.

The buns tasted really ordinary, something that I can get from any bakery shops.  Only thing I love is the price that I paid for the buns.

The chocolate cookies were so-so too.  Not very chocolatey in taste and a bit dry.  You might say you get for what you pay, but I’ve tasted better ones for about the same price.  But of course the better ones were home-made by a friend. 😀

Maybe I’ll try to eat the buns warm next time, probably I’ll enjoy them better. Then again, it’s a maybe only.

 

Rosie’s Nasi Padang @ Maxwell

Rosie’s Nasi Padang @ Maxwell
Stall No 100, Maxwell Road Food Centre
Tel: 9238 9305 (for catering and other enquiries)
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat: 7.30am-8pm; open on Public Holidays; Closed on Sundays

A new nasi padang stall at Maxwell Food Centre is fast gaining popularity among the working crowd there. Being the only nasi padang stall in the area, and offering a wide variety of dishes at reasonable prices, Rosie’s Nasi Padang @ Maxwell has acquired a loyal following since it opened earlier this month.

Rosie’s Nasi Padang @ Maxwell was set up by Eric and Rosie Gohres. Eric, who is Dutch, and Rosie, a Singaporean, were unsatisfied with the limited and expensive dishes offered by many nasi padang eateries. When a stall at Maxwell Food Centre became available, the couple jumped at the chance to open their own nasi padang stall and roped in Rosie’s parents to manage it. Rosie’s mother Mdm Hajjah Rafiah has over 10 years of experience in cooking Malay food at food centres and factory canteens, and is the head cook of the stall.

One of the draws of Rosie’s Nasi Padang is its wide variety. With over 20 different dishes to choose from, one is spoilt for choice. Looking at the variety of meat, seafood, vegetables and side dishes, I wasn’t sure which I should try first.

I started off with the Ayam Masak Merah (sweet and sour chicken). This dish, with its dark red colour, looked appetising, and the chicken meat was tender. Unfortunately, it was too sour for my liking.

However, I wasn’t disappointed when I tried the most popular item on the menu – Beef Rendang. The beef is really tender and juicy, and is just irresistible when it is enveloped in the thick and spicy coconut gravy. Another dish that you should try is the Chicken Curry. The meat is tender and the flavourful dish is full of different spices and curry. The Sambal Goreng, consisting of tofu and mixed vegetables stewed in coconut-based sauce, is another must-try. It is also rich in flavour and the long beans are really crunchy.

And who can miss the belacan? I was blown away by the first spoonful of this humble chilli dish which was cooked to perfection. Its spiciness immediately made my scalp perspire, while the judicious blend of ingredients gave a balance between the sweet and sour flavours. It also looks appetising with its fresh orangey-red colour. I was told that there was a customer who liked the belacan so much that she bought a tub of it home.

My meal was a pleasant one in spite of the rather dry white rice, as the Sayur Lodeh helped to moisten it a bit. This vegetable dish, which is a mix of crunchy vegetables such as long beans and cabbage, and fried tofu, all in creamy coconut gravy, has just the right amount of saltiness for balance.

You can also find other dishes in their menu which is changed every day for variety. They include fish curry, ayam lemak cili padi (chicken in coconut gravy with chilli pepper), chilli prawns, sotong masak hitam (black ink squid), sambal telur burung (chilli quail eggs), ikan assam pedas (spicy tamarind fish), sambal sotong (chilli squid), sambal kupang (chilli mussels), begedel (potato balls), and more.

A Nasi Padang set with one meat and two vegetables dishes costs only $3.50. Although the food is cheap, quality is not compromised as Rosie believes in using the best ingredients she can get.

If choosing your own dishes seems like a big hassle, Rosie also sells a Nasi Lemak set (above, first picture) with chicken wing, egg and anchovies ($2) and Nasi Ayam Penyet (Indonesian Crispy Chicken Rice, $3). On Fridays, you can appease your craving for Nasi Briyani Dam that comes with beef ($3) or chicken ($3.50).

The best time to go to Rosie’s Nasi Padang@Maxwell is during lunchtime when the food is still hot and a wider variety of dishes is available for you to choose from.

Rosie’s Nasi Padang is cheap and value-for-money, and its beef rendang (and belacan) is worth queuing up for.

Note: This review was extracted from AsiaOne.
Post-Makan Note:

I tried the Nasi Ayam Penyet (Indonesian Crispy Chicken Rice) set on 19 November 2007 and I must say I was very disappointed with the food.

The chicken was served cold and it was not crispy at all. The chicken was pretty tasteless and the chilli, although given very generously, was not spicy at all.  Doesn’t taste like sambal belachan.  The rice tasted very ordinary… perhaps a bit oiler than the usual plain rice.

Although the review said there were 20 different dishes for its Nasi Padang, I counted less than that. And most didn’t look appetizing at all.

Overall, I will still stick to my Nasi Padang Stall at River Valley.

Ah Fatt Fishball Noodles

Ah Fatt Fishball Noodles
Ah Fatt Fishball Noodles
Blk 531A Upper Cross Street #02-10
Hong Lim Food Centre
Tel: 9100 1413 (Jean)
Opening Hours: 7.30am to 9.00pm, closed on Sun & Public Holidays

Founded in 1989, Ah Fatt Fish Ball Noodles has been serving handmade fish cake, fish ball and meat balls for close to 2 decades.  At this store, even the chilli sauce is home made.  The handmade fish balls, fish cakes and chilli sauce really made this stall’s fishball noodles delicious and adds an edge to its competitiveness.

A bowl of noodles costs you min. S$2 and you’ll be given a sampling of their fish cake and fish balls.  Ask for S$3 and you’ll get a whole piece of fish cake plus some fish balls.  Else, you can also just order the fish cake for S$1 each.

Ji Ji Wanton Noodle Specialist

Ji Ji Wanton Noodle Specialist
Ji Ji Wanton Noodle Specialist
Blk 531A Upper Cross Street #02-49
Hong Lim Food Centre
Tel: 6532 2886
Opening Hours: 9.30am to 8.00pm, closed on Sat, Sun & Public Holidays

Other than wanton noodles, they also got curry chicken noodle, chicken feet noodle, ipoh horfan etc. It also got some very tempting chicken chops hanging in it’s stall, looks real good.

But as its name suggests, you should order their wan ton noodles.  A plate with 3 wantons and mushrooms will set you back S$2.50.  The thing about this stall is that the chilli sauce is DIY (do-it-yourself).

Post-Makan Note:

I hate to do this but I really don’t like the noodles here.  Somehow, the noodles is not palatable to me.  I much prefer the noodles at Kok Kee.  But of course this stall has its fans.

Erich’s Wuerstelstand

The Last Sausage Kiosk Pork Sausages Mini Combo
Erich’s Wuestelstand
3 Trengganu Street
Tel: 9627 4882

Opening Hours: 3pm to 11pm, daily; opens till 1am on Saturday, Sunday and Eve of Public Holidays

Website: http://wuerstelstand.blogspot.com/

You can’t miss Erich’s Wuerstelstand when you traverse the winding alleys of Chinatown. He sticks out like a sore thumb amid the scores of local hawkers lined up in Trengganu Street, where his small kiosk is decked out with clippings he has amassed from various publications depicting his unique sausage stand. Erich Sollbock is not here to provoke, rather he feels right at home in the crowded streets cooped up in a small space, since he says that sausage kiosks are de rigueur in Austria and Germany.  

Opening shop in the midst of Chinatown is not a ploy to garner attention. Sollbock heard that the Singapore Tourism Board was allocating a space for a Western stall when it was planning the night market in 2004. He thought it would be an opportune time to offer a unique and colourful flavour to the attraction by setting up shop in an area chockfull of local food.

“Having an ang moh (ang moh is local vernacular for Caucasion) in Chinatown is something Singaporeans are not used to, I am indeed the first ang moh to set-up a hawker stall here.”

Sollbock went on to elaborate that tourists from Germany and Austria are often intrigued to see him there, since it is the last thing they expect to see in Asia, lest in Chinatown. He says that they often get a culture shock, and are reminded of home. “Of course I get stared at; people are very curious. But what I am doing is to provide something that is available to everyone, they don’t have to step into a restaurant and pay exorbitant prices.”

He explains that donning a chef’s uniform – because he is one – ultimately puts people at ease; it makes them feel secure that what they eat is authentic. Sollbock has been in Asia for 16 years; his first stop in the Far East was China where he was stationed in a five-star establishment. He spent the next eight years moving around the region as a chef under the hotel group. Right before he started his stint in Chinatown, he was briefly chef de cuisine at the German Club in Singapore.

His special sausages run the gamut from traditional bratwurst to an uncanny made-in-Germany curry wurst. His most popular pickings include his special boiled bockwurst served in a crispy roll topped with mustard and the käsekrainer – the smoked sausage with cheese (which goes S$3.50 each).

Sollbock says he has no plans to venture into a restaurant business just yet. He feels that right now he is doing a community service by providing a cuisine still unfamiliar withmost locals.“I am happy to offer something unique, the scene is always changing and I enjoy interacting with people from all walks of life.” He goes on to say that opening a restaurant is a very big step as you have to stay on top of diners’ constantly changing tastes.

“Customers are always looking for something more exciting, they often go ‘So what? What is so special about this restaurant?’ What I offer is something no one has ever seen. And the location allows more people to discover my food, so I don’t have to keep changing what I believe is great food.”

Note: This review was extracted from AsiaCuisine.
Post-Makan Note:

I went to this stall on Saturday, 27 October 2007.  I ordered 2 mini combos (I was given 3 small sausages – each is the length of my finger).  Each mini combo costs me S$3.  I also tried the käsekrainer – the smoked sausage with cheese and this costs me S$3.50.  I also managed to get a set of the onion bread (1 set = 3 pcs) for S$2/set.

Sampling all the food – the smoked sausage with cheese was the best but if it’s your first time tasting the sausages here, go for the mini combo so you will find out which sausage you like.  I must say that he is very generous with the mustard, chilli sauce & tomato sauce.

The onion bread was so-so.  You don’t get the sharp, tangy taste of onions.  My friends had a hard time figuring out what kind of bread it was until I told them what it was.

Overall, go for the cheese sausage – you can’t go wrong with that, unless you don’t like cheese.  And don’t expect a single sausage to fill your empty stomach; treat it like a snack and you’ll enjoy it thoroughly.

Erich Imbiss & Backstube

Erich’s Imbiss & Backstube Onion Bread Erich’s Muffins
Erich Imbiss & Backstube
40 Sago Street
Tel: 6224 4420
Opening Hours: 10.00am – 8.00pm, daily

Many may already have heard about the lanky European guy that sells grilled sausages from a pushcart in Chinatown, but have you heard that he now has another stall selling breads and snacks nearby? Just a few metres away from the Erich’s Wuerstelstand pushcart at Chinatown’s Sago Street, Erich, a native Austrian, has set up a bakery specialising in bakes from his homeland, inside a nondescript coffeeshop.As with the fashion of “gourmet hawkers” nowadays, Erich’s Backstube stands out amidst neighbours more familiar with selling kopi-o and chicken rice.But business has been brisk since Erich’s Backstube’s official opening on 30 April 2007. “Backstube”, pronounced “Back-stew-bay“, means “a room where bread is baked, i.e. bakery” in German.Each day, fresh loaves of traditional country breads like rye and multigrain loaves are baked by Erich and his baker. For $5.20, you’ll get a good long loaf of rye bread which is almost double the size of what you’d get at some other popular gourmet delis in town.

I couldn’t resist their onion bread ($2 for 3 small buns), which looked so tempting with it’s shiny glazed crust. Bite into the fluffy bread and enjoy the subtle taste of onions. Even for one who doesn’t drink, I can imagine it perfect, washed down by an icy-cold German lager.

The bakery also sells muffins and cakes. Erich also told me that besides the “Backstube”, customers can also take their pick from the “Imbiss”, which refers to a “German snack place”. Here, Erich sells light eats like meat balls, potato soup and green salads.

German meat balls? Will the Chinatown crowd, more familiar with Singaporean fish balls, bite? Laughs Erich: “The response has been very good so far. They (the Chinatown uncles and aunties) are coming, but they come too late and find that everything is sold out!”