Good but not so Cheap – Gyu Nami

Amoy Street Food Centre is fast becoming a start up for young food hawkers. The latest to join the line up is Gyu Nami, a Japanese Donburi stall set up by 2 cousins or that what I was told.

They served only 1 item – Wagyu Beef Donburi. At $10.00 a bowl, it is not cheap by hawker food standard. The rice serving portion is also rather small as evidenced from the small bowl. But what does not lack for is slice and slice of Wagyu Beef cooked medium well. There is also an Onsen egg and a bit of vegetables. The whole thing is topped with a rather interesting tasting sauce which I figured got mayo and some other stuff which I cannot identified.

Once again, not cheap for a food centre lunch but definitely value for money!

Tian Lai Seafood Garden @ Gelang Patah

Gelang Patah has a few nice dining place. One of them is Star Chef Restaurant. The other is Tian Lai Seafood Garden. I been to Tian Lai twice and so far I been pretty impressed by the quality and quantity of the food served and at Malaysian prices too. Not inflated tourist price.

Their house special is the Pork Rib Curry. This is like a cross between Japanese curry and rendang. It come served is a claypot and the pork ribs are stewed until so tender that they are almost like mutton rendang.

I understand their fish are very fresh but we have made it a habit not to order fish for dinner as they are usually overpriced. Instead we have everyone’s favourite, crab! Black pepper crab.

Not very nice looking but taste is real good. Almost like the Still Road black pepper crab.

Other items that are real good are their hotplate tofu and sambal kangkong. These basic zhi zhar staples are well executed and is a must have side dish.

Prices are very reasonable despite the quality and quantity. Service is good depite the place being packed or at least it was the last 2 time I was there. 

Cheap and Good – Taste Affair at Amoy

A few months ago, a new stall opened on the 2nd floor of the Amoy Food Centre.It was next to Han Kee Fish Soup and the stall front was permanently blocked by the long queue for the fish soup. It didn’t help that the stall facade was a bit boring and didn’t inspire anyone to patronise the stall. Which was  a pity. I noticed it only because I am a regular at Han Kee.

So one day I had a try. Business was slow and the 2 young men manning the stall came out to have a chat with me and asked about the food. Taste Affair sells “European cuisine” which is actually our usual pasta and grilled chicken but with a twist. I remembered I ordered some angel hair pasta, the chicken and this came with some side of vegetables and a nice poached egg. Unfortunately it also came on a disposable box and they have only plastic cutlery. The food was actually pretty good and when queried about the disposables, the 2 young men explained that the paper box tray was actually made from recycled sugar cane pulp. They have to use disposable as otherwise they will not be able to manage the washing. Which was a great shame as the food was seriously good.

The next round I had the favoured rice which was actually saffron rice. I still prefer the angel hair pasta though.

Every time I queued up for the fish soup, I could see the 2 young men standing around. Not many customers. Poor thing.  And then somewhere in mid March, a string of reviews from food blogger came out and wham, business seems to pick up overnight. Sometime at 1.45 pm, they had already sold out for the day! And if not, there was invariably a short queue.

When I finally got a chance to eat it, I discovered that fame has brought about some changes. For one, they no longer use disposable! Yay! And there seems to be more option now.Business according to one of the young man, had picked out 4 folds since the reviews came out and humble man that they are, they did not unlike other stalls paste them all over the facade. Instead I think they rather let the food speaks for itself.

And at between $5.00 to $8.00, it is a steal. Pity about the heat though… now if only they can change that as well:)

K Tower @ Amoy Street

Seems like the latest food fad to hit us or at least relatively new fad to me is the Korean seafood tower. Ever since Captain K opened, I was like waiting for a good occasion to gather a few people to go but somehow that never came. Finally K-Tower opened just 2 streets behind my office and I knew I have to go and try and see what the excitement is about. So 8 of us gathered one night and off we went.

The Korean Food Tower is like our Dim Sum just that instead of bamboo steamer trays, they have big metal steamers. And instead of dainty little dim sum, there were seafood and more seafood. Typically one can order different tower “height” of food depending on the number of diners. With 8 of us, we ordered the $298.00 9-tier Towers set which look like this.

The food came together pre-cooked and the steamers are just for show actually. But still we had a blast with the tower. First item on the tower was the steamed prawn.

All of us were unanimous in our verdict. The prawns were so fresh and sweet!

Next up was a tray of sea cucumber and dumplings. 

The sea cucumber looks weird. Maybe not the typical type we find here but the Korean version.

Next was clams and mussels in one tray.

Followed by a big fish

Then came the highlight of the night. 2 big lobsters which the server very helpfully cut it up into smaller pieces for us.

After the lobster, 2 big crabs.

The last tray is actually a soup base. There is a choice of different type of soup and the server recommended the Army Stew. The whole idea about the Korean Tower is that the juices from the top tray will flow down onto the bottom and eventually to the soup base making it very sweet. Which it was. However, the soup base doesn’t come with any ingredients and we had to order a tray of the usual steamboat stuff.

In addition, we also had a side dish of chicken wings and oyster

Everything was great and that include the kimchi which was one of the best I ever tasted.

All of us left very full and satisfied. Service was great too.And considering the amount of food we had, it still work out to an affordable $60 per person. 

 

KinMoo The Thai Noodle House

I like my Thai Wanton Mee. Unfortunately I don’t go Thailand often enough to eat those there. But luckily there are a number of outlets now in Singapore like the super long queue impersonator Soi 19 at Ang Mo Kio and my favourite little stall at Old Airport Road. Most of them are sited in either a food centre or a coffeeshop and with the long queue, waiting for the noodles is a very hot tiring affair.

So I am happy that there is now a little cafe right smack in the middle of town that serves Thai Boat noodles including the Wanton Mee. And of course the place is air conditioned! Welcome to KinMoo, the smallest little eatery I seen with just a handful of tables. But what it lacks in tables, it make up for in a full size menu. But I was there for the wanton mee only so that what I ordered:

At $7.50 a bowl it is not exactly cheap but hey, for the air con, it is worth it! And it comes with 3 dumpling, 3 slices of finely cut char siew, half an egg and lots of pork lard! M ordered their Tom Yum Noodles

and we also had the Tom Yum soup.

I swear this has got to be one of the best wanton mee I ever tasted. M loves her Tom Yum noodle too. My only complain – not enough. I can easily polish off 1 more bowl – maybe their signature BaaMee Haeng Cha Kang Rao. Next trip then!

Imitation is the best form of Flattery – Soi 19 Thai Wanton Mee

There is this place in Bangkok where there is a famous wanton mee outlet. The place as I understand it, is jam packed with tourists and locals. It sells Thai style wanton mee and some other side dishes like pork knuckle, fried wanton and vegetables. The stall name is SabX2 Pratunam Wanton Noodles and it is at Soi Petchburi 19 in Pratunam Bangkok.

Over in Ang Mo Kio in a tiny HDB coffeeshop, there is a stall which sells a mean wanton mee. The queue is so long I swear I almost faint from hunger the one time I was there. This stall sells a version of a Thai style wanton mee and some other side dishes like pork knuckle, fried wanton and vegetables. The stall name is SOI 19 Wanton Mee.

So we have 1 stall at Soi Petchburi 19 and one stall named Soi 19 in 2 different countries. Coincidence or a case of passing off? When I first heard about this stall in Ang Mo Kio, I thought maybe the Thai owner had some sort of franchise and opened up outlets in other countries. That was until a friend posted photos on her FB showing these signs all over the place at the Bangkok outlet.

So now we know this is a blatant case of passing off by name association. Just like there is only one famous prata stall in Jalan Kayu but there are many stalls elsewhere in Singapore proclaiming to be “Jalan Kayu” prata. Or Jalan Tua Kong fishball noodles. Or Katong Laksa. Trying to cash in on the reputation of another more famous stall by associating with its locality is something seen very often here. But these wannabes will soon be caught out if the food doesn’t live out to the standard of the more famous counterpart.

So back to Soi 19 in Ang Mo Kio. Because I have not tried the version in Bangkok, I cannot do a comparison. The group of us ordered these:

Thai Wanton Mee

Dumpling

Pork Trotters

Pork Intestines

But perhaps because we had to wait nearly an hour for it, we gulped down everything in double quick time. Was it good? My buddies didn’t really think it was that great. The only one among us who had tried the Bangkok’s stall also didn’t think very highly of this local copy. So perhaps it is more hype than substance and it was smart to cash in on the Thai’s “connection”.

Can someone who has tried both put a comment here and tell me which is better?