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Kin by Us, Macquarie Park

My goodness, it seems forever since we were in Sydney! At the rate I am going, I will be back from my Sydney trip in June and I am still writing about my last visit! Whoopsie! Now, Kin By Us, is run by My Kitchen Rules 2014 couple – Uel and Shannelle – I have heard wonderful things about this place, especially the menu which has a Chinese and Korean influence. But best of all, it was in my old hood where I grew up!

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The place was incredibly busy when we rocked up at 11, we waited for a good 35 mins before finally seated but it was worth it! We started with this cool fretting water-my-melon drink. It had a combination of watermelon and all the different types of melon in it. It was definitely refreshing and Dragon couldn’t help but drink most of it – there is no sharing in her vocabulary!

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I couldn’t go past the Snap Crackle Plop (AUD10) – only available after 11.30. Chicken rice, chicken skin and a slow cooked onsen egg! My goodness, this was AMAZING – and who doesn’t like chicken skin right? My only gripe, wish there was more chicken skins!!! The chicken rice was definitely legit, Dragon demolished this and I am pretty sure I only had one piece whilst Dragon had the rest!

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The congee (AUD17) was beautifully presented. There was way too much shallots for my liking, but I did enjoy the pork floss and not to mention the fried bread dough. There was mix reviews on this congee, one absolutely enjoyed it, the other wasn’t a big fan of pork floss. I thought it was nice, but I am not much of a congees person, except for when I am sick, and I would definitely eat this if i was sick!

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Another favourite of mine is the Waffle Belly (AUD17) – delicious succulent pork belly and onsen egg on top of potato waffle! My goodness, that pork belly was just too die for and the perfect gooey onsen egg was a wonderful complement. This was definitely my favourite!

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Oh and those who likes Durian, they have durian affogato and my goodness – this was excellent. I would come back just to have the waffle belly and durian affogato!

Service was excellent and friendly. Come early, as it does get extremely busy. Also, parking around the hood is NOT easy. I went here twice and the first time I drove and ended up parking in Macquarie Shopping Centre, the second walked! Definitely a good addition to Macquarie Park and can’t wait to go back and try it!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Kin By Us

2 Saunders Close

Macquarie Park, Sydney, Australia

KIN By Us on Urbanspoon

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Work in Progress, Sydney

Sorry for the lack of post. Things in the GAs household has been chaotic. Dragon and I have been sick 6 times in the past 10 – 12 weeks, yes that’s every fortnight that we were sick! It was crazy, my body needed some rest and a reboot!!! Work has been chaotic also, and I was in Sydney for a fortnight to visit family and work! It has been a crazy couple of months, hopefully it will die down soon and I can focus on the more important stuff in life, like health, food and Dragon!

This post is quite late, and there’s only a week or so left of the pop up, Work in Progress, which is head by Patrick Friesen of Papi Chulo and on the menu is fried chicken, noodles and many more!

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The menu is split into three sections, snacks and vegetables, noodles and FRIED CHICKEN! There are three types of fried chicken, and can be ordered by the half serve of the whole chook.

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We started with the agedashi’ish tofu (AUD14) and OMG, this was absolutely amazing! Silken tofu cubes which was have a crisp batter was covered with dried bonito flakes, sweet mayo and BBQ sauce. I could definitely have eaten the whole plate myself! Probably my favourite on the menu

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We ordered the sichuan duck and tofu lo mien (AUD16) – the noodles are al dente (i prefer it a little more soft) which was served with generous servings of duck and cubes of tofu. The sauce is a tad spicy, and garlicky which was a wonderful complement.

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Lastly, the reason why we were here, fried chicken ginger nuoc cham (AUD16) – the batter deliciously crunchy and meat succulent (except for the breast which I thought was a little dry but I am never a big fan of chicken breast!)

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Everything on the menu sounded delicious, the wonton noodles also looked great, it’s a shame that I didn’t get a chance to come back and try their other dishes. If you haven’t been, definitely worth going for a visit before it finishes. I do hope that it does become permanent, I wouldn’t mind some of that agedashi’ish tofu now!!

There’s no reservation, we came at about 12pm and it was quiet, but by the time we left about 1pm the restaurant was quite busy!

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Work in Progress

50 King Street

Sydney

Work in Progress on Urbanspoon

North Island, New Zealand Part II

So Part I was all about Lake Taupo, and Napier. Now the second part is about driving back from Napier to Auckland and stopping at Rotatua, spending a few days in Auckland and a few days in Bays of Island.

After Napier, we drove all the way to Auckland, it was about a 6 hour drive but we did stop in Roturua – we had originally going to stay overnight here but ‘The Mother’ decided against it and went straight to Napier. We sent to Polynesian Spa which I loved, however, Dragon, not so much! The water was WAY too hot for her and she said that it smelt like ‘poo poo’ LOL. We even got a private pool (only 30 mins) and we stayed at the Lake Spa for a bit. I would definitely have loved a massage, but ‘The Mother’ was eager to stop by a park (I can’t for the life remember the name) before Auckland. There were SO MUCH SPACE and GRASS!!!! LOVE!

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Where we stayed: a 4 bedroom house (found on air bnb by ‘The Mother’s aunt) which was nice and spacious. Only problem was the walls were so thin, we could hear a pin drop!

What we did: nothing much, we had a wedding at Abbeville Estate – it was a beautiful place for a wedding and Dragon again wore her favourite and BEST outfit for the day!

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What we ate – for breakfast we ate at home, and obviously a wonderful meal for the wedding and dim sum (yum cha) for the day after wedding. I did have a pretty good meal with one of my oldest and dearest friend in Auckland – Blue Breeze inn which serves a delicious Modern Chinese food.

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Chef Che Barrington is the chef behind Blue Breeze Inn and in 2011, he opened MooChowChow, Auckland’s first modern Thai restaurant. There were so many options on the menu. We started with the steamed bun of roasted pork belly and pickled cucumber (NZD10 each) – that crackle, it was sublime and the bun itself was soft and pillowy which was excellent.

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We also couldn’t go past the steamed bun of five-spiced tofu, kimchi, and coriander (NZD9 each) – I have to say, this was pretty good. I may have preferred this over the pork belly one and that says a lot!

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The bang bang chili chicken with black vinegar, sesame-chilli dressing (NZD18) was ‘bang bang’. The chili really gave it a nice kick! It was a little spicy for Dragon unfortunately but she definitely enjoyed my pork belly more.

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The beef unfortunately wasn’t as tender as I had hoped. It was a little on the tough side.

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For dessert, we ordered a couple of things to share. Mango, tapioca and lemon sorbet was refreshingly light and was a great palate cleanser!

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The taro dumplings were more on the heavier side but it’s not something I have eaten before. It was good but I definitely prefer the mango, tapioca and so did Dragon!

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Service was good and food was pretty good, especially the pork buns, shame about the beef though, as I was craving beef!

Before we left Auckland we had a quick lunch at Toru Café which is located in Ponsoby – I am really loving that area. It’s a little like Paddington, if you live in Sydney.

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‘The Mother’ couldn’t go past the beef cheek, tomato, kasundi, carrot pie which was served with crinkle chips (NZD16.50) – oh how I fell in love with the crinkle chips! My my! It was crinkle potato chips, slightly fried, it was delicious. The pie itself wasn’t too bad either.

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I couldn’t go past the spiced chicken, halloumi, cous cous, raisin, harissa, date (NZD22.50) – I love cous cous, and not to mention squeaky cheese! Unfortunately Dragon wasn’t a huge fan of cous cous, nor the squeaky cheese, she did however, eat all my chicken.

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Service was polite and friendly, it’s a pretty cool little café, it was in the middle of a shopping arcade and was very relaxed. Food was good and everything on the menu sounded great! Those chips though – worth coming back for just a bowl of crinkle cut chips!

We were in Auckland for about 3 days, and then we drove up to Bays of Island. It was about a 2-3 hour drive, very scenic but lets be honest here, I spent most of it sleeping! Every opportunity I had, I was sleeping, I was SO TIRED and besides, cars and I – sleep! Who doesn’t? Come on?

Where we stayed: Waterfront Suite Paihia – Herritage Boutique Collection, 100 Marsden Road, Paihia, Bay of Islands, Paihia, New Zealand. We got the 2 bedroom apartments – don’t ask why but we definitely enjoyed the space! LOTS OF SPACE! And had a view of the ocean, which was beautiful!

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What we did: if it was summer or if Dragon was a little older, we could have gone swimming with the dolphins, go kayaking etc. But alas, our little Dragon is still 2.5 years old. We hung around town, there was a lovely grass area, and a piano where Dragon could not stop playing! I believe she has musical blood in her, just like her mama!

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What we ate:

We arrived early afternoon, and thought we would have an early dinner at Alongside which is situated over the water in the stunning bay of islands. It’s a very laid back place, very casual, we sat there drinking and eating whilst watching the sunset. It was a tad cold but it was still quite pleasant.

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I couldn’t go past the braised beef croquette – 4 generous size croquette with lots and lots of beef. The outside was slightly burnt but the inside, my my my… it was absolutely amazing!

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‘The Mother’ couldn’t go past the soft shell fish tacos with our local catch, apple and mango salsa. He demolished this before I could even take a photo of it.

We also ordered a side of chunky street fries with rosemary salt and smoked aioli – they were demolished by the three of us! So good!

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They even had a kids menu for Dragon. Not pictured but for NZD10 – a bowl of Bolognese pasta and juice. She loves pasta so had no problems demolishing it.

It is really a nice way to spend the afternoon / evening. I can envisage many Sunday lazy afternoons sitting here, drinking and catching up with friends. It was really a very nice and pleasant area.

The next morning we had breakfast at Upper Deck, which was next door to our apartment. I ordered the big breakfast to share with Dragon – 2 fried eggs, bacon, sausage, mushroom and hash browns which was served with some brown toast. Pretty large serving, Dragon isn’t really a toast kind of girl for breakfast, she usually eats rice and leftovers for dinner. She loved the sausage and mushroom though, the toast she thought was a little hard.

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‘The Mother’ had something more simple – he was a little over big breakfasts (HOW COULD HE?) and opt for muesli, yogurt and fruit which was surprisingly good! Fresh fruit and the yogurt was surprisingly good!

We had dinner at one of the local pizza place near our apartments. The pizza wasn’t too bad, very big but it was for four of us. We ordered two of it and managed to finish it all!

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Overall, it was a great trip I love New Zealand, it’s such a beautiful place. However, the driving – the driving with Dragon almost killed me! Never again I think. We did have a good time, and would be keen to go to the South Island at some point.

Blue Breeze Inn

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

146 Ponsoby Road

Auckland, New Zealand, 1011

Ph: +64 9 360 0303

Toru

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

16 – 138 Ponsoby Road

Auckland, New Zealand, 1011

Ph: +64 9 555 1229

Alongside

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

69 Marsden Road,

Paihia, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Ph: +64 9 402 6220

Upper Deck

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

76 Marsden Road

Paihia, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Ph: +64 9402 8147

Mott 32, Central, Hong Kong

Mott 32, part of the Maximal Concepts Group which can be located in the basement of Standard Chartered Bank. The restaurant is quite spacious and the name is after New York’s first Chinese convenience store, which is on 32 Mott Street opened in 1851. I was rather impressed by the bold spiral staircase and the semi-open kitchen inside and the space! I haven’t really seen such a spacious restaurant in Hong Kong, well not as spacious as this anyways.

The menu includes traditional Cantonese, Sichuan, and Beijing dishes. We were here for lunch, which meant dim sum but you can also order from the dinner menu which looked absolutely fantastic and will bring ‘The Mother’ for dinner! It’s always hard having dim sum with just two people, you can never order that many food. However, what we had was tasty and definitely keen to come back for more!

We started with wild mushroom, water chestnut dumplings. These babies were fantastic, the pastry was silky smooth and you can’t go wrong with wild mushroom and water chestnut

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I couldn’t go past the kurobuta pork, soft quail egg, black truffle siu mai. These babies were incredible! Inside was a soft quail egg, and it was just amazing!

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I really wanted the signature crispy bbq pork bun but considering we were ordering the bbq pork cheung fun, we thought we would go for the Australian Wagyu beef puff. These were good but I think the crispy bbq pork would have been a winner for me!

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The honey glazed bq spanish teruel pork cheung fun was good. The bbq pork delicious and the cheung fun itself was so silky smooth.

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Last but not least, the pan fried turnip cake, dried scallops, prawns, dong guan sausage (which I forgot to take a photo off). Probably one of the best turnip cakes I have eaten (and at a price higher than norm!).

Service was excellent, and food was good I thought. I was rather disappointed that I didn’t get the char siu but this is definitely a reason to come back and try the dinner menu, hopefully with more people so that we can eat more food.

*apologies for the dark photos, forgot my camera and only had my iphone. The place was rather dark unfortunately :(*

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Mott 32

4-4a Des Voeux Road,

Central, Hong Kong.

Ph: +852 2885 8688

Shanghai Lo, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

I was catching up with the auditor, M, for lunch and she suggested Shanghai Lo, which is located on 1/F of a building called Tonno at Tonnochy Road. It is apparently the sister of the upmarket cha chaan teng, Loyal Dining on Wellington Street (which believe it or not I have not yet been!).

I left all the ordering to M, and she definitely ordered well – as always! We started with these little babies, xiao long bao (had to order 2 servings) which Dragon absolutely loved! She finished 4 (or was it 5) by herself.

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I absolutely loved these smoked tea eggs – very smokey and the yolk was deliciously soft.

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M knows Dragon well – she loves chicken and opt for the deep fried chicken topped with scallion soya sauce and this was superb. Skin was deliciously crispy and chicken tender. Dragon definitely ate her share of portion!!!

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We couldn’t go past the tender braised pork with preserved vegetables with Shanghainese buns. Definitely the highlight of lunch! The pork had the right amount of fat to meat ratio and the bun was delicious – definitely a winner!

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The menu is definitely vast and we didn’t even order half the menu! Definitely keen for dinner to try their other dishes. We were too full for dessert, next time will have to remind myself to save room!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Shanghai Lo

1/F, 5 Tonnochy Road

Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 3125 3232

Singapore Part II – Tiong Shian Porridge and an interesting soup

Wow, its certainly been a very long time since I last blogged! Things in the household has been quite busy actually. Work, Dragon, work, Dragon and getting sick, hence, there hasn’t been any time for much else. Thought I would go back to the Singapore post, My bro, F was craving some good congee. He took us to Tiong Shian Porridge which specialises in serving porridge / congee and clay pot frogs leg! I didn’t even know this place existed until he brought us there. Apparently one of his friends who lives in Singapore brought him here and he has been coming back ever since!

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The specialty is congee and we ordered 3 large bowls of congee – 2 fish and 1 chicken. To be honest, I am no expert in congee and I am not a huge fan as I only eat it when I am sick. I have to admit though, Dragon really enjoyed the chicken congee, it had the right consistency, not too watery like most places I have eaten.

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We noticed that a lot of people was ordering the braised bean curd. It was definitely tasty, silky smooth and soft. The sauce was a very wonderful complement to the dish and especially when eaten with congee, it even got the approval from Dragon! We also ordered a side of chicken wings, however, it wasn’t as tasty as from Chomp Chomp.

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The dried chili frog leg clay pot was delicious. The sauce had the right amount of sweetness and spiciness and it was surprisingly meaty! We also ordered the clay pot fish and this was everyone’s favourite. The fish had a slightly crisp to it and was extremely tender.

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I have to admit, I really enjoyed the congee, even Dragon couldn’t say no!

On a separate day, my dad was craving for some turtle soup. Now I was a little skeptical about turtle soup but I am always up for trying new things. Dad was craving it and F have heard about this place in Singapore called – Ser Seng Herbs Turtle Restaurant. I know what you might think, these turtles are endangered species, but I asked and these turtles are farmed just like cows and chickens.

The menu is quite limited, just steam turtle or mix turtle internal organ soup and steam black chicken soup. I ordered the smallest portion of the turtle soup and steam black chicken soup. I have to say, I wasn’t a huge fan, not something I would order again. The soup was quite herby and the meat, well I wasn’t sure what I was eating. I do enjoy the innards of chicken and what not, but this was a little weird for my liking.

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The rest of the crew definitely enjoyed it, and the steam black chicken soup – well, the soup was tasty but black chicken, I ate it after I gave birth to Dragon and till today, I still can not eat it!

One can not go to Singapore without eating an ice cream sandwich – I can’t remember if it’s the same dude, but he is on Orchard Road and he has been there for as long as I can remember. We had the durian one, and my my… BEST!

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Tiong Shian Porride

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

265 New Bridge Road, Ann Kway Building

Tlp: 6221 1596 / 6222 3911

Opening Hours: Daily 8am to 4am

Ser Seng Herbs Turtle Restaurant

GA’s ratings: 6 / 10

29 Lorong Bachok, Singapore 387791

Tlp:+65 6748 3953

 

Singapore Eats Part I – Tian Tian Chicken Rice and Chomp Chomp Food Centre

Sorry for the lack of post, it has been a crazy few weeks and I had the pleasure of going to Singapore for a few days for a wedding and see the family again which was really really nice! Dragon got to see her cousin again, and my goodness, I love how affectionate she is, she would kiss her niece every time she saw her! Sometimes too much that C would be scared of her, look at the expression on her face below – poor C!

Emma 28 Months

I haven’t been to Singapore for a very long time now, 6 – 7 years ago, ‘The Mother’ and I stayed in Singapore for 3 months to find a job, we both didn’t love Singapore and so decided to go back home to Sydney which was one of the best decisions we made! We had fun though in Singapore but I don’t think it is a city for us.

We were in Singapore for about 5 days, managed to stay at Marina Bay Sands for a couple of nights which was uber nice. We didn’t leave Marina Bay at all, even ate at the food court and Din Tai Fung. When the family came, we moved into a serviced apartment and that’s when all the eating started. My dad LOVES Hainan Chicken rice, so a visit to Tian Tian was a must!

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Tian Tian is located in Maxwell Road Hawker stall and they even have a restaurant at Joo Chiat Road. The hawker stall was packed when we arrived at 12.30, it took us a good 20 minutes to find a table, and even then it was shared but well worth it! Tian Tian Chicken Rice is one of the most famous chicken rice stalls and surprisingly my parents who come to Singapore frequently has not been. The queue for the chicken rice was horrendously long. We ordered a whole chicken and it was cooked to perfection – tender and succulent, even Dragon wanted more.

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The chicken rice was fragrant – it was indeed wonderful and satisfied my cravings. We also ordered a side of vegetables which was good but nothing special, the chicken is definitely my favourite!

Can you believe that I have never been to Chomp Chomp food centre which is located at Kensington Park Road, Serangoon Gardens (nearest MRT station is Serangoon and it is a 10-15 minutes bus ride to reach the food centre). We took a cab and it was only SGD12 if it’s not peak hour. There were so many stalls, we didn’t know where to start!

I ordered some chicken wings from Daily Fresh BBQ Chicken Wings. Each piece of chicken wings is about SGD1.2 and cooked to order. The chicken wings itself was tender and succulent, but felt that the aroma was not strong enough.

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I couldn’t go past the pork and chicken satay, minimum order of 10 and my goodness, they definitely satisfied the cravings. The meat was flavourful and tender and definitely one of the best satay I’ve had in a while.

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F wanted the bbq stingray, I loved the banana leaf’s fragrance, the skin was crispy and the meat itself was tender and succulent. Dad however thought it tasted like sardines and not sure if he liked it that much.

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Oyster omelette is a definite must and a favourite amongst the diners. Eggs, oysters, what’s there not to like?

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And also vegetables – the chili really gave it a nice kick!

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We enjoyed the meal at Chomp Chomp Food Centre, not sure if we would trek all the way there again though? Especially if Dad thought the stingray tasted like sardines! HAHAHA! They did go to Newtown Circus a few days later and thought the food was better there, I know it is more tourist-y but it was definitely easier to get too.

There’s definitely good food in Singapore and we certainly ate well! I would definitely go back to Tian Tian for that awesome chicken rice.

GA’s ratings Tian Tian Chicken: 8 / 10

Tian Tian Chicken Rice

Maxwell Road

#01-10/11 Maxwell Food Centre

Tel: +65 9691 4852

Tue to Sun: 11am – 8pm

GA’s ratings Chomp Chomp Food Centre: 7.5 / 10

Daily Fresh BBQ Chicken Wings 鲜烧烤鸡翅膀 (Chomp Chomp Food Centre)

#01-03 Chomp Chomp Food Centre

20 Kensington Park Road, Serangoon

Singapore 557269

Ang Sa Lee Satay (Chomp Chomp Food Centre)

Stall 32, Chomp Chomp Food Centre

20 Kensington Park Road, Serangoon

Singapore 557269

Ang Sa Lee Fried Oyster (Chomp Chomp Food Centre)

Stall 26, Chomp Chomp Food Centre

20 Kensington Park Road, Serangoon

Singapore 557269

Lucy BBQ Seafood

Stall 5/6 Chomp Chomp Food Centre

20 Kensington Park Road, Serangoon

Singapore 557269