Monday, October 27, 2008

Sun Moon Kelong Restaurant: Great Food @ Bintan!

I just came back from a 3D2N trip at Bintan Agro Beach Resort with four of my buddies, enjoyed its unpolluted sea, great weather and spectacular view. There were only two restaurants available at the resort. One of which is a cafe where we had our daily buffet breakfast, the other being a seafood kelong restaurant.

Sun Moon had an open-air concept that provided a 360 degree view of the sea. The staff spoke and understood adequate English and their menu were all in English and Chinese. Service were friendly and better than most of the restaurants in Singapore, with speedy refilling of ice water and attentive to your needs.

Hotplate Tofu (Small) (IDR54000 ~ SGD8.30)

Very home-like dish, served sizzling hot with the sauce still bubbling. The egg tofu was topped with slices of yam, vegetables, fish ball and prawns, with omelette at the bottom.

KangKong Belacan (Small) (IDR23000 ~ SGD3.50)

The chilli was not as spicy as our version, but still have that belacan flavour lingering in your mouth. In fact, their other types of stir fry vegetables were rather to our liking. After all, many of their customers are from Singapore.

Butter Oatmeal Squid (Medium) (IDR63000 ~ SGD9.70)

This was unanimously our favourite dish of the trip! The fragrance and appeal of the squid already made it mouthwatering. In your mouth, the intense buttery and oatmeal flavour is unleashed and you just couldn't have enough of it. The oatmeal and egg bits were also a hot item. The only place I knew that had similar standard in Singapore is ThaiPan @ Mandarin Gardens. Incredibly, we also had this for the other 3 meals we ate at Sun Moon. Sinful!

Dried Chilli Chicken (small) (IDR45000 ~ SGD6.90)

The tender chicken pieces was stewed in a peanut sauce with cashew nuts and fiery dried chilli. Nice!

Tom Yam Soup (small) (IDR52000 ~ SGD8.00)

One of the dinner we had a seafood tom yam soup. It was rather tasty with a slight sweet aftertaste. We realised that sliced fish balls were very generously used in all the seafood dishes. Maybe to make up for other more expensive ingredients?

Chilli Crab (5 Ounces) (IDR95000 ~ SGD14.60)

We were not very big fans of crab, but still had two small ones for a try. The live crabs were chosen by us in a tank and we selected chilli sauce as cooking method. The crabs were expectedly fresh with delicious sauce that goes really well with our rice. We almost licked clean the plate!

Though a tourist spot, we were not outragously charged for food and drinks. A meal of 4 to 5 dishes with accompanying fruit juices cost us about SGD10 to 15 dollars per head. There's a 21% taxes but we have 10% discount vouchers for most of our meals. If only we could have such quality and price back at home!
Sunday, October 19, 2008

Swee Choon: Dim Sum Culture!

Singapore has a unique dim sum scene. When you normally speak of dim sum, the first thing that comes to your mind are the cantonese restaurants that has push carts (extinct already) delivering steaming hot bamboo cages of snacks and pastries.

But over here, you also have eateries serving up dim sums that are not purely of the canto type, some of which are unheard of in Hong Kong (Yes I do know) and originated from other places. Swee Choon @ Jalan Besar Road is an example of such eatery.

The air-conditioned interior is kept clean and simple with their food menu pasted on the wall. It boasts a menu of 50+ Cantonese and Shanghainese snacks that are mostly popular and known among the locals. Been there twice, not all the chosen items were to my liking and thus posted only those worth mentioning.

Yu Jiao

The yam pastry had a crispy coating and was piping hot on the inside. The yam was soft and thick with the the filling of just nice flavour. Not the best yu jiao I had but was above average.

Hand shredded Pancake

This strikes a great resemblence to our Roti Prata, but was less rubbery/chewy and more flaky due to its shredded and thin nature. Its also more intense in flavour, with a buttery aroma and bits of spring onions. Nice!

Lo Mai Kai

This was a better one compared to the mass produced versions you get at coffeeshops and canteens. Its very much less oily and the glutinous rice were evenly steamed, soft and rich in taste. The chicken was not the harden minced type but thigh meat and topped with juicy mushrooms. The size is rather small but good enought to be shared by two.

Mee Sua Kweh

Now this is the highlight dish. I have not seen this snack elsewhere before and never thought that rice vermicilli can be cooked this way. Deep fried to a golden brown, the surface was crunchy and reminded me of the MaMe Monster snack that you eat as a kid. The inside was soft and chewy with every strands of vermicilli easily distinguishable in your mouth. Thumbs up!

Pumpkin Bao

IF you are craving for something sweet, this would be a more interesting one. The outer layer is steamed using pumpkin-flavoured flour and inside filled with custard cream. Not particularly tasty but plus point for its cute look!

The things that I don't like about the place are the century egg porridage (way too plain), portugese egg tarts (not enough of the burned coating on top) and the Har Kow (skin too thick, shrimp dropped out before I picked it up). Well, maybe its just that day, and every restuarant has their pros and cons.

Dining here is rather cheap with prices ranging from 70cents per piece to about $3 for a bowl of noodles. We had two soya bean milk and about 7 dishes, with the bill totalling to less than $20. They also have a take-away counter at the side of the eatery. The Mee Sua Kweh is a must-try if you happen to drop by!
Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happy Chef: Hawker Cordon Bleu!

There are plenty of hawkers around selling western food, yet many aren't really up to standard. Sometimes its not because of the quality used, but more of whether the chefs put in effort to create something better with normal goods.

Happy Chef near ICA building is a good example. The stuff they used are quite the frozen types, but with some extra heart and soul, it became a class apart from the other hawker westerns. As for why I always wrote on places around Lavander, well, maybe you all can make a guess?

Chicken Cordon Bleu ($6.50)

Its not very often you can find Cordon Bleu in hawkers, maybe due to the streneous time required to prepare. But you have it here in Happy Chef! A tender chicken fillet filled with ham and cheese, coated in bread crumbs and deep fried. Tasty! The cheese turns hard quite fast but hey, at this price, don't complain so much la!

They also had a pork version at the same price, but i feel that it didn't go so well with deep frying as the meat became rather tough.

Mixed Grill ($7.50)

Great for big eaters. Came in generous portion of lamb chop, chicken chop and pork chop, all tenderly grilled and flavourful with different sauces. The dishes all came with a piece of garlic bread, fries and stir-fried vegetables, which was a nice change from coleslaw.

Grilled Fish ($6.50)

This one for you if not in the mood for meat. Topped with a healthy dose of sliced mushrooms.

Deep fried Mushrooms ($2.50)

You can tell that its the canned mushrooms type, but well, its served piping hot and crunchy with juices exploding after the first bite. Western food rarely has dishes that can be shared but here's one!

My friend had been telling me that I should list the exact addresses of all these places that I went, so that it wouldn't be so troublesome to come ask me every now and then. Maybe will spend some time soon to amend all the entries!
Monday, October 06, 2008

109 Yong Tau Foo: Teochew style!

There are many different types of yong tau foo around. The ones that comes dry with sweet sauce/soup/laksa, served with noodles or yam rice. The types with meat instead of fish paste, and my personal favourite, the Koo Kee type (dried noodles with ingredients in soup). And now, my first time trying the teochew ones!

This one is located at a shophouse along Syed Alwi Road, nearest MRT station being Lavender. The interior is kinda reminiscence of old style hawker with blockish wooden tables/chairs and simple decor. There's a chilled counter at a corner with many ingredients on display. We picked our items and passed it to the friendly auntie who cooked them on the spot.

Dried Noodles (60cents/serving)

I guess its this thick stock that differentiate teochew yong tau foo from others. Rather like Lor Mee, the gravy is gooey and dark brown in colour. Together with the gravy, the noodles simply slipped into your mouth with a smooth savoury flavour. Too bad they only served yellow mee, others being beehoon and kway teow.

Dried Yong Tau Foo (40cents/piece)

This came in the same brown gravy as the noodles. The fish paste in the items were rather fresh with a chewy taste, the vegetables and meat were also good with the sweet potato tasting particularly sweet and powdery. Beancurd skin was crispy and not smelling of re-used oil. Their sweet sauce was just nice and not overwhelmingly heavy or sweet. My girlfriend said that the chilli sauce was rather good too.

Salad Prawn Ball ($10.00)

The prawns were really huge, crunchy and deliciously battered. The acommpanying fruit salad goes well with it with a refreshing taste. At $10 for 6 pieces, its a bit expensive but well, the quality kind of made up for it and will satisfy prawn lovers. There were also other dishes such as mongolian pork ribs and sambal kangkong that would be good for group sharing too.

It was rather empty when I had dinner there but I heard its a hit with the lunch crowd at the nearby office buildings. I don't know whether it was the effect of the soup that made me really thristy after a few hours, or myabe I just tok too much. Anyway, good try for a healthy meal and their main dishes!