Sunday, 29 April 2012

Just some background knowledge before I introduce its cuisine. In the Peranakan culture, females are called 'Nonyas' and the males are called 'Babas'. These families are usually English educated and wealthy. The females, however, were preferred to be less educated as it was assumed that if the women were more educated, they would be more independent and because of their education, it would make them difficult to get along with their mother-in-laws when they get married. However, among the duties that a female had to assume, one important duty was cooking. Their Peranakan cuisine, which is very complicated and to actually make extremely good and authentic Nonya food, one must undergo years of training in order to learn and master the art of this cuisine.

Peranakan cuisine is a cuisine that we are all familiar with. From the number of trips that Singaporeans make to Malacca, one can simply understand how much we appreciate its culture and cuisine. Peranakan cuisine is also known as Nonya cuisine, and it has Chinese, Malay and other influences that shapes its unique taste. Nonya food is usually aromatic, tangy and spicy at the same due to the use of Chinese ingredients together with Malay spices and its method is usually Malay or Indonesian.

Familiar to us are well known dishes such as Ayam Buah Keluak, Penang Assam Laksa and Sayur Lemak Keledak.

So today, I will post about this eatery tucked behind a row of shops in the heart of Toa Payoh.

 My quest today is to check out how good this place is based on the following criteria:
  • Food taste
  • Food presentation
  • Menu variety
  • Pricing
First, looking at the menu, I realised that their menu features several well-known Peranakan dishes. Though the variety is not what I would term as 'being spoilt for choice', I would say that one will still take time to decide what you would want to eat.

So we decided to choose four dishes, a soup, a vegetable, a meat and a fish dish. The first dish that came was the soup.

Bakwan Kepeting Soup - $4.20
This Bakwan Kepeting Soup is actually meatballs, which is made from minced pork and crabmeat, and bamboo shoots soup. The presentation was not bad. The meatballs were of a generous size, the texture not too dry and the soup was tasty. The only slight drawback was that the meatball was a bit bland but maybe it is to contrast the tasty soup. The portion is good for two if you have ordered  a main course and you are sharing this soup. They have another soup on the menu which is the Hee Peow Soup, which is fish maw, fish ball, meatball and cabbage soup. It is also on sale for $4.20. My take on the Bakwan Kepeting Soup is that it is not bad. Something that I may consider re-ordering again on my next visit.

Did you know? Bawan Kepeting is a traditional Peranakan soup that is served at weddings. The main ingredients used in this soup usually consists of minced pork, minced fish meat, crab meat and bamboo shoots.

Next up on the table is the vegetable dish...

Nonya Chap Chye - $4.20
This is the vegetable dish that we ordered. This is a braised dish of cabbage, black fungus and beancurd sticks in soybean and prawn stock. Also, you may find bits of glass noodles or tang hoon in this dish. This is very different from the typical chap chye or mixed vegetables that you eat the the mixed rice stalls. This stock is tasty and thick and goes well with white rice. So, for taste, I say this is nice. Presentation, good. My pick is that you should try unless you want something spicy. For me, next round I will try a vegetable dish that is spicy, the Sambal Longbeans Titek, on the menu for $4.50.

Other variations of this dish may include ingredients such as small prawns, belly pork, lily flowers, black fungus, dried Chinese mushrooms, bean curd sheet, thin rice vermicelli, cabbage and salted soybeans.

Next, is the meat dish...

Soybean Pork Stew - $5.80
Soybean Pork Stew is traditionally and affectionately known as Babi Pong Tay. This dish is slighly on the oily side but I must say that the pork has been braised to close perfection. The taste is just right, not too bland but not too overpowering either. The meat is tender and the pork that they use contains the soft bones which has a good portion of meat and fats. I suppose this is why the meat is not dry and tough even though it is braised. For me, the taste is good and the presentation is ok. I suppose on my next visit, I will try their Nasi Lemak Ayam Rendang which sells at $3.50 on their menu. My take is that you MUST try this lah... and it is this that is drawing me back there. FYI, I am not a fan of this dish and even the ones in Malacca does not appeal to me.

Last but not least, our final dish... the fish.

Seafood Assam Pedas - $5.60
Just before I talk about this dish, I have to let you all know. This dish contains seafood. What you see in the picture only has fish as we specifically told them not to put the prawns. The original dish contains dory fillet and prawns with lady fiingers in spicy assam gravy. This is quite a well known dish and one of my personal favourites. For me, I felt that this dish was a bit bland. There was no 'oomph' unfortunately. Personally I have tasted better ones such as the ones in Malacca. No biggie to me but you may give it a try if you have not tasted this before. For me, taste is ok and presentation is ok.

In conclusion, my dining experience was good. The food in general is not bad, i.e. worth travelling there to give it a try and the service is good. My rating for this place is
  • Food Taste: 7.5 / 10
  • Food Presentation: 7.0 / 10
  • Menu Variety: 6.5 / 10
  • Pricing: 8.5 / 10 
There is also the Keluak Toast that is one of their signature appetitizers so I may try that on my next visit too. My wish is to see my other favourites on the menu in the future. Dishes such as Itek Tim, Curry Devil, Tempe Goreng, Opor Ayam, etc.  Either way, I will definitely visit them again!


Blk 190, Lorong 6 Toa Payoh #01-528, Singapore 310190   Tel: 8288 0189
(Closed on Tuesday. If you are planning to visit them on Sunday, go after 12 noon)

For those who don't know where this is at, here are some directions to ease the pain of finding this place..
  1. Coming out of the bus interchange you will see a row of shops in front of you. Walk towards it.
  2. You will also be able to see Watsons. Walking down from Watsons, you will pass a shop selling handphone accessories and other hair accessories. You will see a passage on your left where you will see an eatery selling roasted meats. Turn into the passage and then walk straight, passing the porridge shop and YOU HAVE REACHED! Congrats!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Finally I managed to have a chance to visit the new shopping mall in Katong. I have never been there but judging from the crowd I see when the bus passes by, I figured it might be good if I had the opportunity to visit it. So the time came and I was there for dinner.

Initially, we wanted to have a Japanese Shabu Shabu buffet but the queue was long and the service was seriously terrible. Feeling frustrated, we decided to move on to another restaurant which was several doors down... We settled at a Korean restuarant, Nolboo.

As we were being led through the dining area, I was actually feeling quite skeptical about Korean food. For one, Korean restaurants are not as popular as Japanese restaurants and I suppose I have never eaten from one that was good. Nonetheless, I decided to leave these skeptical attitude behind and just wait to see how well this restaurant does. I must say that the decor of this restaurant appeals to me. Simplicity with style.

As we settled at the table, we looked through the menu and was surprised at the wide variety of meats and seafood available for barbeque. There were also a wide variety of main dishes for us to choose from. We decided to leave the barbeque for our next visit if the whole dining experience was good so we ordered four main dishes. While we were waiting...

And here comes something interesting. I have never eaten it before and wondered what the taste would be like.

Alright, this is was what was served first. Pumpkin porridge. The texture is thick and kinda sticky and it tastes sweet. I didn't really like it not because it was not nice but because I do not really know how to appreciate pumpkins, except for the grilled ones. My mum actually enjoyed it and said it was good. So yeah, the verdict depends on your preference.

As we waited for the food, we were served barley tea. It is refillable and costs $0.90. It was actually quite an interesting drink. I was afraid that it would taste really wierd but it was nice. Mild and light.

So here are the sides that is complimentary. Just ask them for a refill when you have finished. Since we were not having the barbeque, we were given six complimentary sides. From the top left clockwise, there were radish kimchi, peanut with anchovies, beansprouts, cabbage kimchi, pickled vegetables and the last side is below... fishcake kimchi.

The sides were ok though I really enjoyed the peanut and anchovies one. I must say that the sides were really appetizing. The fishcake above is mild in tast and I felt the texture of the paste was not smooth. So the overall texture of this side was just ok for me. An overall pic of the sides served.

Here comes our Leek Pancake that we ordered.

Generous serving of leeks mixed with a pamcake mixture and pan-fried. The sliced chillies actually gives the pancake a refreshing spicy taste and the prawns gives the pancake a nice texture when you eat it. A sauce is served with the pancake and use it to lightly drizzle your slice before munching on it.

Here comes the first main dish served. Cod Fish Bibimbap. The serving was of a good portion. Two thick slices of cod fish served in this dish. Coming along with the dish was the spicy pepper paste for mixing in as you mix the ingredients with the rice. The cod fish is not only very tasty, it is not overcooked. It's smooth and flaky texture of the fish brings out the flavour of this dish. Furthermore, I was quite impressed that the stone bowl was still very warm as we left the restaurant. Although I have never been keen about Bibimbap, this one has really made me change my opinion. My verdict for this is MUST TRY!

Next up, one of my favourite Korean dish. Korean spicy stew with pork. It is not as spicy as its appearance and I must say that the portion of meat in it is quite generous. Tender pieces of pork belly was served in the soup or stew. The stew is tasty and perfect for the rainy weather. MUST TRY! I don't know if you can ask them to change the meat in it so if you are not a pork belly lover, then you may want to check with the service staff before ordering.

Another Bibimbap dish. The slices of beef is tasty and tender. Not chewy or overcooked. As with the cod fish one, the rice is tasty though they do not have the same ingredients in them. My personal preference is that the cod fish one is nicer though.

Last but not least, the Beef Short Ribs in Ginseng Soup. The soup carries a distinct yet not overpowering taste of Ginseng. In the soup, you will find dangmyeon which is glass noodles made from sweet potato starch, tender slices of beef, greens and shredded egg. For those who are not aware, beef short ribs is one of the most popular cut of beef. This is because it is between the chuck and short loin, which explains why the meat is tender and a good mix of lean meat, fat and muscle. My verdict is MUST TRY! Really good.

The overall dining experience was good. On a scale of 10, the food rates at 8.0, service at 7.0 and ambience at 7.0 so do try this place out at 112 Katong if you are in the area. One thing I can definitely be sure of is that I will be back to try their BBQ!


181 Orchard Road #08-04, Orchard Central, S238896        Tel: 6884 9151

391A Orchard Road #05-29, Ngee Ann City, S238873        Tel: 6733 9151

112 East Coast Road #03-06, 112 Katong, S428802           Tel: 6636 3119
This week's post is on one of my favourite eating places.

It is one of the restaurants under Creative Eateries and they have outlets at both Raffles City Shopping Centre and ION Orchard. I have visited both outlets and seriously, I prefer the one at Raffles City. Although booth seats can only be found at the ION outlet, personally, I feel that the service and ambience at Raffles City is much better.

Looking through the menu, I was spoilt for choice... Should I have teppanyaki? nabe? or yakimeshi? after much thought, I chose to have Shabu Shabu. They have a three choices of soup base namely, Sukiyaki, Shabu Shabu and Kimuchi-miso. You could choose between having Seafood, Black Angus, Wagyu Beef, Marbled Pork, Kurobuta Pork, Salmon, Chicken or Scallop for your choice of Nabe.

My choice is ... I shall tell you in a while. Meanwhile, it is time to start preparing for the meal. Let me check out the condiments.

They usually serve peanut sauce when you order the Nabe but I prefer to have my Shabu Shabu dipped in the Teppanyaki sauce.

This is the Teppanyaki sauce that I mentioned. The taste of this dip is one that is richly flavoured. I have no idea what is in it but it seems to me that there is some bean paste in it. Anyway, what matters most to me is that it really really tastes good.
Kurobuta Pork Shabu Shabu @ $16.90++

Here comes my Shabu Shabu!! Yummy... I love Kurobuta Pork! So Kurobuta pork comes from Berkshires, which originated from England. They are now bred in a few countries in the world including Japan. Also, their meat are juicy, flavourful, tender and heavily marbled. So I guess you would have figured out by now that I ordered a Kurobuta Pork Shabu Shabu. My take on this is MUST TRY!!

My firiend ordered the Chicken Yakimeshi. It is actually Japanese-styled fried rice, they have shredded carrots in there, together with small slices of Shitake mushrooms and generous amount of chicken in there. The taste? Bursting with flavour. GOOD TO TRY! Personally, I like it but as compared to Teppanyaki, I prefer the latter. I can't remember the price but I believe it is probably between $9.90 & $12.90.

* Note: The Chicken Yakimeshi does not have crab sticks in them. We had them because we ordered a side order of crab sticks @ $1.90++ and added them in.

Here, we ordered an additional portion of Marbled Pork @ $5.90++ to share. Green tea can be ordered hot or iced @ $1.90++ and is free flow. It was indeed a good meal. We all deserve a good meal after a long day's work.

This is one of my favourite dinner places to date. My dining experiences there have always been pleasant except once at ION. I was really quite pissed off at that time. Overall, I think that the ambience is cozy, food is GOOD and service is dependable. So yeah... go check it out if you haven't done so.


ION Orchard
2 Orchard Turn, #B3-19, ION Orchard, Singapore 238801, Tel: 6509 9969

Raffles City Shopping Centre
252 North Bridge Road #B1-44B, Singapore 179103, Tel: 6336 8268

Operating Hours: 11.30am to 9.30pm

Sunday, 8 April 2012

A Sunday dinner out and we landed at this place that is neatly tucked inside Paya Lebar Kovan Community Club. I felt the place was a tad too small but it sure did a great job of catering to the group of us, almost sixteen in number.

Hence looking at the specials that is not on the menu...

Spoilt for choice.. so I decided to order a main and topped it up to complete it with a set.

So the drinks were served first. That mine... Haa.. Its Cookies & Cream Shake topped with whipped cream. Well, I must say that for the price I paid for this drink, I felt it was a little disappointing. First, it looked kinda 'solid' so I was expecting sort of like a milkshake textured drink. Well, it wasn't. In fact, it was very watery. Furthermore, I would have preferred if they were not so generous on the sugar syrup. Hmm... my take on this. Poor. Try it at your own risk.

So next up comes the soup. Simple and ordinary tasting mushroom soup though it was very much better than the drink.

Hmm.. lovely. Golden crispy wedges deep fried to perfection. Yums, just ask them for a serving of mayonnaise as a dip to go along with this. Good if you are having a craving for extra carbs...

The main course finally arrived. Black pepper chicken served with side salad and a serving of spaghetti. I thought that the black pepper sauce that topped the chicken was not bad. It is much better than those black pepper sauce which has an overpowering black pepper taste. The spaghetti was ok, normal but don't expect a well done al-dente spaghetti.

Some more food that we ordered...

Ham Spaghetti
Fish & Chips
Some dessert before we call it a day and head home... First up, the waffle with ice cream.

It was not bad just that the portion is a little small. Generous serving of ice cream atop the little crispy waffle.

All time favourites. A scoop of chocolate ice cream. I felt that the overall dining experience was alright. The bill came up to an average of $12 per person so I thought it was reasonably cheap. The food was acceptable given the price but the service could be improved.

From my observation during dinner, the place should be manned by a young Filipino couple. The man does the cooking in the kitchen while the lady serves. The service was slow and inattentive. there were no serviettes on the table and we had to ask for it, the fish n chips was served without the lemon, etc.

No doubt, you may try this place if you are on a budget or if you stay around the area and are interested to check out this place.

White Tangerine Cafe
Blk 207 Hougang Street 21
Paya Lebar Kovan CC
Singapore 530207
Tel: 6284 6817

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Here I am on a weekday after work, thinking of a place to chill out whilst satisfying my sweet tooth after dinner. After a long thought, it was either a Hong Kong dessert place or this. So I decided that since it has been a while since I last step into Fruit Paradise, we should just settle for it.

So here we are outside the cafe...

And what greets us at the door while waiting for the service staff to lead us in...

Yupz.. so after a little while, we were led into the cafe and since it was not very crowded at about 8pm, the service staff settled us in a cozy comfortable corner and handed us the menu. Oh well, I am a huge fan of dessert. Well, not only desserts but anything sweet actually. From chocolates to pastry stuff to well traditional Chinese desserts. My point here is this, I was definitely spoilt for choice. I mean if it was like $2 per slice, I would have like ordered a slice of everything off the menu.

After taking a while to decide, we decided to order the tart set. Just in case if you haven't visited this place before, the tart set consists of 1 tart + 1 tea blend. The cost? $9.80++. We ordered a tart that had nuts and I suppose contains caramel and a mango tart.

Well, the tea came first, served in a small tea pot. I do not have issues with tea pots but I definitely do with white ones. I am not being anal here but my personal opinion is that there's usually only 2 ways to maintain a tea pot. First, the tea pot with little old tea stains in certain 'difficult to wash' areas. Second, a nice and clean looking white tea pot. Well, if it is the latter, I seriously wonder how often they actually soak it in bleach to remove the stains to maintain it in such perfect condition. Anyway, I try to distract the thought as I started to take in the familiar fragrant of the Earl Grey tea.

So my tart came first. Look at the nuts at the edge of the tart. Nice brown caramelized nuts which seems to me like hazelnuts.

The base of the tart is made of somewhat like a custard textured cake with loads of cream cemented between layers of cake and topped with more cream, fresh fruits and nuts. Perfect. My take is YOU MUST TRY THIS!

Next came the all time favourite. Mango Tart is served. The base of the tart is actually made of cream cheese i suppose, with loads of cream in the middle together with chunky sweet pieces of mango fruit and topped with even more layers of mango slices. The mango was not sour as expected but the overall tast of the tart was good. The sugar level was well balanced. Mango Lovers will definitely love this.

Alright, perhaps we may have been a little too anxious to finish our tart but I feel that the slice was a tad too small. So here we are, sipping our tea. I was looking around at the interior decor of the place and thought that the decor was quite unique.

Yup, fruit display lined the walls which probably separates the dining hall and the back end kitchen. I thought that it was really innovative. Relevant yet cost saving. As we finished our tea and thought it was a perfect time to head home since it was already half past nine, we settled the bill and on my way out, something caught my eye..

It was sitting there in the display case. So yeah, I smiled lightly and remembered telling my friend that I will come back for it again.


Fruit Paradise @ Vivocity
1 Harbour Front Walk #01-59   Tel: 6376 9978

Fruit Paradise Cafe @ Raffles City
252 North Bridge Road #B1-44F Raffles City Shopping Centre   Tel: 6333 4849

Fruit Paradise @ Orchard Central
181 Orchard Road #05-51/52 Orchard Central   Tel: 6509 9920

Tokyo Walker Fruit Paradise Dining @ Plaza Singapura
68 Orchard Road #04-01 Plaza Singapura   Tel: 6333 9286