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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

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No Signboard Restaurant, Causeway bay, Hong Kong

I first heard of No Signboard Restaurant was when I was in Singapore which started as a hawker stall. Everyone who has been to Singapore has either eaten at No Signboard or has heard of it. They are famous for their white pepper crab and my other favourite the salted egg yolk crab. I was shopping in Causeway Bay with the family one day and stumbled across this restaurant. They suggested we go check it out as we haven’t been to Singapore and they wanted to eat crabs.

No Signboard Hong Kong can be found on Patterson Street in Causeway Bay. It has a very minimalistic look, plastic chairs, white walls and the menu is very simplified to include only the top 30 or so signature dish. I left all the ordering to my parents but requested that we get the sweet and sour pork!

To be honest, I find eating crab very annoying – little satisfaction for a lot of effort! Hands get dirty and for what? A little chunk of meat? I don’t enjoy eating crab outside the comfort of my own home and with Dragon… well it’s just too much of an effort!

We started with the thousand year old egg – not everyone’s cup of tea but I love these! Creamy and delicious.

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They ordered the Chili Singaporean crab – it looked quite decent but my parents thought that the one in Singapore was infinitely better. This lacked something, it wasn’t bad but they’ve definitely had better. I didn’t have any as I am still not eating shellfish due to breastfeeding and what I mentioned above.

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You can’t have crab without these fried man tau (bread) – they glistened with oil (there goes my diet!) but seriously good. They are crunchy on the outside and deliciously soft and fluffy on the inside. You scrape the crab sauce with these delicious man tau, or like me, dip them in condense milk! YUM!!!!

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The mushroom stuffed with minced pork and vegetables was good but nothing special I thought.

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I don’t know why I always order sweet and sour pork but I am on the hunt for the BEST sweet and sour pork in Hong Kong. These weren’t too bad, the pork was tender and the batter thin. My aunt and I were fighting for every single last piece!

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The mix hot pot was good but again nothing special. I do like tofu but this was a little on the salty side for me.

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We also ordered a serve of vegetables which wasn’t too bad.

Service was a tad slow at times. Even though there were only 4 or 5 tables it was relatively slow. It wasn’t cheap either, I think the one in Singapore is slightly cheaper. Would I go back? Probably not but will definitely go to the one in Singapore when I am there next.

GA’s rating: 5.5 / 10.

No Signboard Restaurant

66-72 Paterson Street,

Causeway Bay

Ph: +852 2398 9959

Singapore Shiok, Haymarket

I have eaten at Eating World food court in Chinatown many times now and have walked straight past Shiok to go to either Gumshara, or Kimama Kitchen. Usually, ‘The Mother’s’ theory is to find the busiest place and go there. Everytime we have walked past Shiok, it has been relatively quiet, hence the walkby.

Shiok offers diners an ‘authentic’ taste of Singaporean / Malaysian style hawker food and the most talked about dish is their Hainan Chicken!

I have heard wonderful things about the Hainese chicken rice. It is available as a single meal ($8.80), as half chicken ($16.80) or whole chicken ($28.80).

The poached chicken is incredibly tender and delicate. The chicken is de-boned so it is easier to eat. The chicken is served with chilli and sweet soy sauce, not how I like to eat my hainan chicken, I do prefer it with crushed ginger and chili.

The rice, cooked in chicken stock is extremely fragrant and full of flavour. It was hard not to demolish the whole thing on a cold night. The soup, however, was too peppery and had too much MSG for my liking.

‘The Mother’ opted for the kwetiau siram. Kwetiau meaning rice noodles and siram pour because the sauce is poured on top of the fried noodles just before serving.

‘The Mother’ opted for the seafood kwetiau and I love the wok aroma. The seafood was fresh and the kwetiau cooked just the way we like it. The sauce I loved!

The Hainan chicken is probably one of the nicest I have tried in Sydney, however, I still do prefer Mum’s. It’s been a while since I went to Temasek so to make a comparison would not be fair.

I have also heard that the hor fun, char kway teow and har mee are worth trying. No doubt I will be back to try their other dishes. Get there early, the food court does get extremely busy during lunch and dinner peak hours.

After dinner, we braved the cold (thankfully, it didn’t rain!) and walked to circular quay to check out Vivid Sydney 2011. Here are a couple of photos….

Vivid Sydney started on 27th May and ended on 13th June 2011. The Sydney Opera House sails and the custom house were lit with bright colours, and there were performances from local and international musicians and free outdoor exhibition of interactive light sculptures. Looking forward to Vivid Sydney next year!

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Singapore Shiok

Shop 213, 25-29 Dixon St

Haymarket 2000

Singapore Shiok!* on Urbanspoon

Abell’s Kopi Tiam, Manuka

Not to be confused with the Kopitiam Cafe in Ultimo Sydney. A couple of friends at work have recommended that I come here for dinner. I was supposed to be heading home to Sydney, however, due to ‘unexpected maintenance’, my flight was cancelled and hence another night in Canberra. I didn’t feel like anything too fancy, and was exhausted so thought I would give Kopi Tiam ago.

Located in Manuka, Abell’s Kopi Tiam (coffee shop in Malay) serves different type of Asian food, ranging from Indonesian to Malaysian, Singaporean and Nyonya food. I thought it was a tad weird that they also had Western food and did not even look what was on offer. The Indonesian dishes were more appealing as I was craving for it.

It is so much harder to eat alone when ordering Asian food. You want variety but afraid you won’t be able to finish everything. I started with the grilled chicken satay with cucumber pineapple with peanut sauce ($12.90). Four skewers of grilled chicken, the meat was a tender, however, on the thin side. It didn’t have that wonderful barbeque aroma that I had hoped it had. The peanut sauce was exceptionally good, peanut-y, not so creamy with a hint of chilli.

It has been a while since I had dinner at Mum’s and was craving Indonesian food. Ordered the bali chicken simmered in a tamarind and coconut cream curry sauce with aubergine and French beans ($19.90). For some strange reason I had thought this was going to be fried, however, it was poached chicken in a pool of tamarind and coconut curry sauce. The sauce was rich, coconut-y and spicy which I loved. The chicken, tender and the aubergine was a wonderful complement. I am not usually a fan of coconut curry sauce but this was nice, the coconut was not overpowering and it was very Indonesian and very Balinese – I have had something similar like this in Bali and loved it.

I didn’t want rice, so the lady suggested I get some roti – YUM! Two generous fluffy and pillow-y roti. It was no mamak, but it certainly satisfied the cravings and eaten with the tamarind sauce, it was scrumptiously good.

For dessert, I wanted the pisang goreng (banana fritters) but they weren’t making them due to the high cost of bananas. One of the owners (I think) did say that he was happy to make me some provided I bring my own bananas! I may have to take his offer on that and bring some next time.

The owner and chef is from Malaysia, Abell Ong. I spoke to one of the owners briefly, the place was BUSY, the service helpful and friendly, they knew their product which was good. The wine list is extensive and lots to choose from by the glass. Meals are to be shared of course and reservation is highly recommended. It was a very yummy meal and it satisfied my Indonesian cravings, although, I can really do with some more.

GA’s ratings: 7 / 10

Abell’s Kopi Tiam

Shop 7 Furneaux St

Manuka 2603

Abell's Kopi Tiam on Urbanspoon

Sh!ok… quite ‘sh!ocking’

I have been craving for some Indonesian / Singaporean / Malaysian food lately, and I have realized that ‘good’ Indonesian / Singaporean / Malaysian food is hard to find in Hong Kong. I have yet to find a ‘good’ and ‘authentic’ Indonesian restaurant and when I saw Sh!ok – which is supposedly Singaporean / Malaysian cuisine, I was keen to try it. I have walked past this place a couple of times, and have heard mix reviews about it – some good and some bad. So called the ‘crew’ to see if they were keen.

I started off with teh tarik, served in a huge jam like jar with handles. The teh tarik was milky and very different to the teh tarik from Malaysia. It wasn’t as sweet as they didn’t use condensed milk. I quite like it, however, S thought it was a little tasteless and had to add more sugar!

We thought we would share a couple of dishes, so started off with the gado-gado. I am not sure why I keep ordering gado-gado whenever I see it on the menu. I have been disappointed time after time, and in this case it was no exception. The gado-gado was disappointing, and even though I didn’t expect much, I was still disappointed. It was worse than I expected! None of the veggies where blanched, it was hard and raw and it had pineapple! I love pineapple but I have never seen anyone serve gado-gado with a pineapple! It was just too weird! The sauce was bland and tasteless.

Beef rendang was surprisingly ok. The beef was tender, however, still not as great as mum’s though.

Next came the chicken satay. The chicken was not tender or succulent, it was a little hard for my liking. Unfortunately the satay sauce was similar to that of gado-gado – bland and tasteless.

I love a good nasi lemak. The nasi lemak which consisted of fried chicken, sambal (chili), anchovies, fish and fried egg was also disappointing. The fried chicken was dry and hard. The good things about the nasi lemak were the fried egg, sambal and anchovies, which you can’t really get wrong!

We ordered a serve of the mie goreng – this was ok, but still not great. I thought it was a little tasteless – I guess you can’t compare it to those hawkers mie goreng (in either Singapore, Indonesia or Malaysia) – lots of oil and msg and full of flavour!

S ordered the prawn laksa. I didn’t have any of this, but S said that it wasn’t great. The soup was heavy and noodles soaked up all the soup. It didn’t look appetizing at all, and it wasn’t!

Sh!ok was seriously ‘sh!oking’. It was seriously below par. The beef rendang was ok, but even that wasn’t fantastic. It was such a disappointing lunch. I may have to visit Singapore / Malaysia for the authentic food. I am going back to Indonesia soon, so am looking forward to stuffing my face with Indonesian goodness!

GA’s rating:  4.5 / 10

Sh!ok

G/F, 66 Peel Street

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2899 2001