Food Mission 2017: Fishball Story

Finally catching up to some of the interesting / exciting food that I have been checking out in year 2017 so far.

Heard much about Fishball Story of this young hawker who went into the business of selling handmade fishall noodles – which arose out of a passion for food. I did not manage to check out the stall from their initial humble beginnings at Golden Mile Food Centre, and subsequently their move to NUS UTown and their 2nd outlet at Timbre+. However, recently I read online that they have moved to a coffee shop at Geylang Lor 28, and is now open from 10 am all the way to 2am. Moreover Lor 28 is within vicinity of Yoga Inc Guillemard. Which means I had to go!

And so one rainy day after Sunday morning Yin yoga, I made my way down to Lor 28 for this ‘legendary’ fishball noodles.

The stall located right inside the Hungry Bee coffeeshop.

Very extensive menu that includes the original fishball noodle that they first started off with, and a premium fishball noodle with more ingredients (additional fried fish skin and fried beancurd in fish paste).

Since I walked all the way in the heavy rain to try this, might as well go for the Premium Fishball Noodle – which is still affordable at $6 per bowl.

Pretty decent portion-ed, 4 fishballs, fishcakes, plus the fried fish skin and fried beancurd you see inside the big plate. Didn’t not take any more videos/pictures after that as I was very hungry after all that walking in the rain.  Just like what majority of the reviews online commented, the fishballs are 100% handmade with yellow tail fish meat – which is bouncy and great on the bite without having the flour-like taste that is common for machine made fishballs.

While the fried fish skin and dumpling further enhances the entire presentation of the noodles, however the main differentiator between good and great fishball noodles would be the sambal chilli. The sambal chilli, which I believe is handmade from scratch as well, is very fragrant and gives the noodles a real punch.

This was definitely so good that they were awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand in year 2016, although they were not in for year 2017. Not that it really matters that much to me – Michelin or No Michelin, it is still one of the best fishball noodles I have ever tasted.

Furthermore, I find it really inspiring that Douglas Ng as a young hawker rose to the challenge and has made a success story out of himself, and at the same time, contributed to continuing the legacy of Singapore’s unique hawker culture – check out this fantastic Vulcan Post write-up. Food outlets like Fishball Story deserve our support definitely!

Details:

Fishball Story

Hungry Bee Coffeeshop, Lor 28 Geylang                                                                                                    Opening Hours: 1000 Hrs to 0200 Hrs (next morning)

Timbre+ #01-14                                                                                                                                           Opening Hours: 0800 Hrs to 1800 Hrs, Monday To Friday

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/fishballstory/

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Two-Thirds Of The Long Weekend So Far ……

Another long weekend beckons ……

And a much needed one as well after running pretty much at full steam end May / June. Of course some pretty unpleasant stuff / minor setbacks occurred over the past week – putting a brake to the ‘momentum’ I have been building up, to my discontentment.

Which means its time to take a step back, take stock for a bit and do some necessary ‘re-charge’ to get back to a more ‘optimal’ state of mind again.

Long weekend started early for me as Friday was my usual-out-of-office day. However couldn’t shake off my restless state of mind (must been the angst I have been carrying out throughout the week). Meditation …… heart opening yoga sequence (only to end up struggling on the balancing poses) did not help much. Guess I need more time to get over this ‘bump’ ……

Yesterday (Saturday) – went back to office as planned to do my monthly scanning/clearing/decluttering/archiving. Somehow, at the half-way point of the year, I feel that my progress on the scanning/clearing/decluttering/archiving front has been rather slow. I’m still working on older stuff (pre-2013 materials) before even getting to the newer records (year 2013 onwards) that I will need to start extracting from the common data folder provided by company. Not sure if just 1 Sat afternoon per month (which I started only in April proper) is sufficient to finish up by end of this year …… but just like yoga/life, have to keep going …… and going! Perhaps for the next round in July, I shall try to reach office earlier (around 11) to give myself a better headstart.

Of course, the highlight of going back to work on a Saturday is always filling myself up with a nice lunch. Initially planned to have pasta at Everton Park, only to realise said restaurant is closed on Saturdays. So walked to Amoy Street Food Centre …… saw that not many stalls were open.  Ended up walking further down right to the end of Amoy Street, and settled for Korean lunch @ Wang Dae Bak – one of my ‘more regular’ favourites that serve tasty and value for money Korean set lunches.

Had a seafood soup + seafood pancake …… and together with side dishes, it made for a pretty appetizing and filling lunch. Moreover, I had a pretty light breakfast and was kinda hungry as well 😛

Packed up and left office a little after 6 …… and came home just in time for dinner. Decided to take a break / day off from yoga practice / stretching (have learnt not to guilt trip myself for taking breaks) …… and sat down to finally think about and start jotting down some ideas/things to do/destinations for my next holiday!

Nothing firmed yet. The only thing I know right now is it will be 90% a solo trip as I desire to have some space & quiet this time round. I hope I can make it happen, at the time period that I’m looking at (Q4 2017). Being in the last lap of the banding year, there are also work considerations to think about. It will also mean $$$ spent (versus saving it) …… but let’s think abundance 🙂

Rather than wasting away my Sunday, got up nice and early to go for my once-a-month YIN yoga class @ Yoga Inc Gulliemard – as a ‘treat’ to myself for the long weekend. Probably my ‘longest’ break from YIN class – 6 weeks to be exact as my focus was on rebuilding strength and flexibility post Bali and post food poisoning (a.k.a Bali Belly). As one would describe YIN class, it is about feeling 1% uncomfortable (in the form of holding poses for longer periods – up to 5 mins) to be 99% comfortable (i.e. to allow the muscles to relax). And the tightness in my hips is apparent …… and it does feel slightly uncomfortable and getting used to be holding poses for long periods again after all the ‘yang’ workouts that I have been doing.

The bonus was the rain, and it was really chill and calming to have the cool air coming into the studio. Just like the saying from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow goes – The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain. 

And enjoy the moment!

The theme of ‘courage’ floated in my thoughts throughout the 1 hr 15 min class – it will be something I will think about/reflect/meditate upon in the next couple of days.

Preferred to have local food for lunch post class, and so braved the rain (with umbrella in hand) and walked over to Lor 28 Geylang to check out Fishball Story as originally planned. The noodles did not disappoint and I am very happy with my lunch. Realised there are many coffeeshops within Geylang itself and wondered why didn’t I venture out earlier (the default choice is always to walk to Old Airport Road FC after class for a meal). Gonna google some food bloggers’ Geylang recommended eats as I type now 😛

Took a bus down to Bugis after lunch – specifically to Sephora at Bugis+ to get a new shampoo to try. Starting to feel the YIN in my legs, and so headed back home, lazed a bit and writing this blog entry.

Probably gonna play catch-up on some work and my journalling (super back-log dating back April *gasp*) after dinner. Was deliberating between doing 9am class @ Yoga Lab CBD for another early start tomorrow versus a longer self practice …… but since the 9am class is waitlisted (it was still book-able during lunch), it seems like self practice will be the plan for the last part of my long weekend!

Food Mission 2016: Noodle Bar by Tokyo Latte

Another hidden gem in Western Singapore!

Walked past this cute cafe a couple of times in JCube and finally decided to pop in for dinner on a non-crowded Monday evening.

The food here is actually a mix of Asian (mainly Japanese/Korean) and Western Fusion. A snippet of their restaurant description from their official Facebook page:

Here at Noodle Bar by Tokyo Latte, we seek to make casual dining a gastronomic experience. Our menu combines the quality and innovation of the Japanese (Tokyo), with the comfort of old-fashioned European cuisine (Latte). Come make yourselves at home at our humble space in JCube, and let us serve you quality dishes made with heart.

The menu is predominantly noodles. There were other main courses as well – as such Seafood Baked Rice, Tenderloin Steak, Fish & Chips etc.

Decided to have their signature Classic Grilled Seafood Tomato with ramen noodles**

** There was a choice of noodles, ranging from ramen, udon, cha soba & even nissin noodles.

Tomato soup brewed with herbs and spices and mixed together with an assortment of seafood (grilled sea prawns, white claims, squid) and vegetables that was very very flavorful. Most important, it was REAL tomato soup (as versus to canned tomato soup). Was also glad I chose the ramen noodles to go with this soup base as the texture of the ramen noodles goes best with tomato soup as compared to cha soba and udon.

The portion was not that huge though, but for $6.90 – it made for a pretty decent dinner. Most recently when I walked past, I noted that prices have since been adjusted slightly upwards. Nevertheless, the next time I go back again, would like to check out the Kimchi Beef combo.

 

Details:

Noodle Bar by Tokyo Latte

#02-03 JCube, 2 Jurong East Central 1                                                                                                         Singapore 609731

Tel: +65 6262 6803                                                       Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/noodlebarbytokyolatte Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/noodlebarbytokyolatte/

Opening Hours:

1130 Hrs to 2200 Hrs (Last Order At 2130 Hrs)

Food Mission 2016: nahm

Using the 1st day of the new year (year 2017) to play blog catch-up.

While I had quite a few foodie adventures in year 2016 itself, one of the highlights was definitely dining at Nahm while I was in Bangkok in April 2016. Incidentally, this is also my one and only overseas trip/holiday for year 2016.

More specifically, the reason why we ended up at nahm was because it was meant to be a birthday treat for Z – who really really wanted to check out nahm!

Apart from the many awards and accoldales nahm has received, notably being ranked in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants (No. 7 in Year 2015 and No. 8 in Year 2016),  nahm is also notable as a set-up by David Thompson – an Australian chef specialized in Thai cuisine. Also noted from Z that Nahm is the ‘parent’ of Long Chim @ Marina Bay Sands that also serves similar styled thai cuisine.

Location-wise, Nahm is not difficult to find as it is situated right at the ground level of the COMO Metropolitian Bangkok Hotel in the Sathorn district. Which in turn was just 10 to 15 min away by cab from Pratunam (where we were staying).

No pictures of the restaurant though as we were busy getting ourselves settled down and relaxed at our corner table, and was a bit tired to be snapping away at the restaurant interior after our early morning flight into Bangkok.

We went for the 1,600 baht (before taxes) set lunch that works out to be around SGD 75 to 76. Rather than ala-carte, I decided the set lunch would be better for the complete dining experience + it was intended also to be brithday treat for Z.

And so, how does Thai cuisine cooked by an Australian fare in a smart casual setting?

The set lunch consists of 8 courses – which I combined into a collage and posted it on my personal instagram.

In the order from left to right to downwards (and sideways and downwards again) – our meal kicked off with a complementary Amuse Bouche ‘Ma Hor’. This is essentially minced chicken, pork and prawn (which lumped together felt like ba kwa) covered with palm sugar topped with fried shallots on a pineapple. At 1st bite, it was refreshing, and the combination of sweet (i.e. the pineapple) and savoury (i.e. the pork) was perfect!

Next up, a canape (or rather appetizer) – Thai satay + egg nets with prawns, wild almonds and kaffir line, which made for another sweet and savoury combination as well.

Followed by the mains – Scallop salad with coconut & lemongrass …. Steamed coral trout fish with Bang rak yellow beans & prickled garlic (understand this was a signature David Thomson creation where the recipe can be found here) …. Beef rendang curry …. Hot and Sour Shop with chicken, prawns and wild mushrooms.

From the pictures, food wise and presentation wise, it looks like home cooked thai fare. The beef rendang curry was really fragrant, and while the hot and sour soup (aka tom yum soup David Thompson style) was not really that hot (in temperature), but was definitely spicy (although it looked otherwise). I personally liked the steam fish as there was a light lemongrass and garlic aftertaste that went well with the sweet soy sauce.

Thank god for the dessert – which was tropical fruits in scented syrup that took some of the spiciness from the soup off. And we were given a complimentary fruit as well.

Not a cheap meal by all means (as many Singaporeans travel to Bangkok with the expectation that food/dinning in Bangkok is cheap), but good experience to check out thai-style fine dining (as versus to thai-style street food) for a change. What I liked was that the food felt clean (as versus to street-like greasy), while retaining the basic thai sensibility of sweet and savoury flavours by using spices and condiments such as lemongrass.

Apart from the set lunch, Nahm also serves set dinner priced at 2,500 baht per pax – which is a full tasting menu which consists of a canapes, 1 dish from every individual main course section and desserts. We almost went for that, but it was impossible to get reservations for dinner as it was booked out 2-3 weeks in advance. Will love to go back for that next time!

Details:

nahm

COMO Metropolitian Bangkok                                                                                                                         27 South Sathorn Road                                                                                                                       Tungmahamek Sathorn,
Bangkok 10120, Thailand

Tel:  +66 2 625 3388
Email:  nahm.met.bkk@comohotels.com                                                                                                         Website:  http://www.comohotels.com/metropolitanbangkok/dining/nahm

Opening Hours:

Lunch – Monday to Friday
12pm to 2pm

Dinner – Daily
7pm to 10.30pm (last order)

 

Food Mission 2016: Kohaku Tempura

Getting more up to speed with my foodie adventures before year 2016 comes to an end in a little more than a months time ……

Authentically tasty Tendon – in short for Tempura Donburi (exactly, or close to what I had eaten before in Japan) is not so easily to come by in Singapore. Until the Keisuke Group opened up Tendon Ginza Itsuki at a Tanjong Pagar shophouse corner. Never had the opportunity to eat at Tendon Ginza Itsuki proper due to its snaking quenes (both at lunchtime and at dinnertime).

Until Kohaku Tempura came along (as part of Suntec City’s Eat At Seven Dining Belt that houses various Japanese dining concepts under one roof) …… only then I finally get to have a proper Japanese style Tendon!

Kohaku is another tendon eatery that has been getting rave reviews online. Walked passed the place once when I happened to be in Suntec and saw the snaking quenes for dinner service (there’s about 15 people in the quene and that will probably take a good 1/2 hour to 45 min to clear). And so decided that if I were ever to try it, I have to do it slightly off-peak i.e. before the main dinner crowd streams in from 630pm onwards. Managed to schedule it a evening to do so – that was around end September when I was back again in Suntec to collect my Note7 replacement.

Eat At Seven is a new Japanese dining belt (in the revamped Suntec City Mall) that houses 7 different Japanese dining establishments under one roof. Kohaku is located right after the tonkatsu restaurant (which I have also read good reviews on), with a huge cloth banner right beside the entrance.

Didn’t manage to take pictures of the interior as my phone (was still using my old Note 4) was low on battery. Fortunately, there was a power point beside my seat 🙂 …… thus still able to take pictures of the tendon that I have been anticipating ……

Ordered their signature Kohaku Tendon ($15) that comes with fried vegetables, prawn, seafood (crab stick, squid) and chicken on top of hokkaido rice drizzed in a special sauce. As per my picture above, the portion looked really big until I had to segregate out some of the ingredients in order to eat and enjoy my meal properly (see below picture).

Despite all the items being FRIED (major diet killer) …… I must say it is worth killing your diet for 😛

The individual items were well fried, without being overly oily/greasy. From the pictures, it does not look as crispy …… but in my opinion, this is subjective. As with all fried food,  what is more important (for myself at least) is that I can still get to taste the freshness of the ingredients (particularly the tempura prawn, chicken breast, baby corn and pumpkin) …… and at the end of meal, feeling satisfied and not hot/dry at the throat. And the rice was fluffy and easy to the taste, and went well with the ingredients and sauce.

For $15 (before GST) – considering the huge amount of ingredients (the tempura I had at Teppei for lunch didn’t even have this much stuff, Kohaku is definitely a value eat and worth the queue!

Details:

Tempura Kohaku 天丼琥珀

3 Temasek Boulevard
#03-311 Eat At Seven, Suntec City
Singapore 038983

Tel: +65 6333 4386
Opening hours: 1100 Hrs to 2200 Hrs

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kohaku.tempura/

Food Mission 2016: Ah Bong’s Italian

Finally a 1st food review entry for year 2016 after more than half the year has already gone by!

In the midst of daily life and the ups and downs experienced in year 2016 so far, new food and culinary experiences has been a bright spark that has brought some cheer into my life. And finally, I got to tick off Ah Bong’s Italian as one of the must-try on my list 🙂

Its not easy to find tasty pasta that is at the same time inexpensive, and this is where Ah Bong’s Italian comes in to fill the void. Ah Bong’s started off as a small coffeeshop stall @ 56 Eng Hoon Street (it was the original Two Face coffeeshop with a day and night concept before being replaced by Two Face – another set of owners).

In the daytime though, the place itself is a coffeeshop where a famous Yong Tau Foo store resides (as you can see from the huge lunchtime crowd). While Ah Bong’s takes its place at the other corner of the coffeeshop.

Overall, I would say both stalls have their own set of loyal customers.

The reason why I ended up at Tiong Bahru / Eng Hoon Street on a hot Monday afternoon for lunch was due to a craving for creamy-based pasta. Thanks to their regularly updated facebook page, I knew Crabby Mac and Cheese was on their menu …… and this fitted my intention perfectly 🙂

Unlike the typical Mac and Cheese which is usually very cheesy (i.e. has lots of thick cheese sauce) …… Ah Bong’s version differs quite a fair bit as they use a cheese sauce that is a lot less thicker, tinged with a mushroom taste. A note on the mushrooms – Ah Bong’s uses fresh mushrooms that come with a very earthly flavour. Thus overall, the lighter sauce will find flavor with some who prefer their sauces (and food) with a less heavy after-taste.

And yes, another important part of the dish is the crab meat. Unlike the foodcourt/coffeshop/hawker centre and even cafe pastas, this one comes with REAL crab meat (from crab legs) and not the manufactured crabs. For $12 at a decent portion, this made for a delicious and flavorful lunch!

I see that they have done well enough for themselves building up a loyal following amongst Singaporean food lovers (and on social media itself) to proceed on further expansion. This time to a eatery unit at Tan Quee Lan Street occupying the former GastroSmiths.

Just like their Tiong Bahru coffeeshop outlet, this cafe outlet is very simple (and almost no frills) in terms of interior …. which gives off a homely and rustic vibe. In that sense, Ah Bong’s has always been about serving good, unpretentious delicious pasta using fresh ingredients anyway.

This is what I had at Tan Quee Lan – Escaargot Pomodoro. Decided to try this at the waiter’s suggestion as it was late lunch post workout, and there were not many choices/ingredients left before the last order at 2pm. Besides, its pretty rare to have escargots together with pasta, hence something different for once.

Not only it was tasty, the escargots went perfect with the tomato sauce (freshly made and not from a can), with the taste further enhanced with fresh basil leaves. So once again, it does not feel overly heavy on the palate.

In case you are wondering where did the escargots go, they were hidden underneath.

Another reason why you MUST dine at Ah Bong’s – their everchanging menu that allow for experimentation and creativity. In addition, their Tan Quee Lan outlet offers starters and desserts to further enhance the dining experience …… which I will be back to check them out in the future.

Details:

Ah Bong’s Italian – Tiong Bahru                                                                                                             56 Eng Hoon Street #01-46                                                                                                           Singapore 160056

Opening Hours                                                                                                                                              1000 Hrs to 1430 Hrs, Monday To Saturday

Ah Bong’s Italian – Tan Quee Lan Street                                                                                                103 Beach Road #01-02 (Below Marrison Hotel)                                                                                 Singapore 189704

Opening Hours                                                                                                                                                Lunch: 1200 Hrs to 1400 Hrs                                                                                                               Dinner: 1800 Hrs to 2100Hrs                                                                                                                         Daily

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abitalian

 

 

 

Michelin Half Star

One of the major news in July was the publication of Singapore’s first ever Michelin Guide.

https://guide.michelin.sg/

And one unique feature of Singapore’s Michelin Guide would be its Bib Gourmand section which includes more hawker stalls and restaurants that offer good value for money (capped at SGD45 max).

Co-incidentally in the week that the Michelin Guide raitngs were annouced (Week 3 July), I happened to have tasted 2 dishes in the guide itself.

One being my usual Ba Chor Mee (Minced Pork Noodle) at Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle, and the other being my usual Fried Hokkien Mee whenever I lunch at Tiong Bahru Market (Hong Heng Fried Sotong Prawn Mee).

Only slight catch was that the Bar Chor Mee that I had was from a relative-run offshoot of the original Tai Hwa located at Hong Lim Food Centre. Thus this explains the blog title – Michelin Half-Star 😛

There has also been a fair bit of discussion online on why this particular hokkien mee stall in Tiong Bahru Market was given the Bib Gourmand market made it to the list …… as versus to much more well-known & better rated Hokkien Mee from the likes of Nam Sing (Old Airport Road), Ah Hock (Chomp Chomp), Hainan (Beach Road), Geylang Lor 29. Well I would say its a decent plate of hokkien mee, where you can feel the wok hei, plus it is really reasonably priced with decent portions (starting from $3). Of course, having tried Ah Hock and Hainan, I have to say these 2 stalls are better in my personal opinion and are the ‘gold standard’ of hokkien mee in Singapore.