Food @ Annapurna Circuit Trek

I am not a big fan of Indian food so I was initially apprehensive about the type of food I will be getting in Nepal. So to be sure that I don’t have to consume Indian or pure Nepalese food everyday, we brought along instant noodles, instant soup and instant porridge. But I was delightfully surprised when our very first day, we saw the menu at the tea house. There was of course Nepalese food but there were also very familiar food like fried rice, fried noodles, pizza, pasta, all sort of soup and bread. Our guide told us this was the typical menu for all the tea houses and we could pick any items from the menu at all the meals. Hooray!

Throughout the 11 days of trekking, our staple for lunch was mainly fried rice or fried noodle. These was because it was the easiest food for the tea house to prepare and the more easily digestible for us being familiar food. They were a hit and miss. Some places, it was well prepared and taste almost like those back home but some places it simply taste weird, especially the way the noodles were cooked.

For dinner when we have more time to wait for our food, we generally ordered more varied variety – like pizza which is just a base of dough with tomato on top and whatever toppings available which is either egg, tuna or vegetable, mushroom or cheese or a mixture..  Not great but still when one is hungry, it tasted really good!

Fried Pasta

One of my favourite was this spring roll – actually looks like chappati with whatever fillings like egg, tuna or vegetable or a mixture. Some places served it deep fried as well.

For breakfast, there was the usual toast with butter and jam spread but there were also other options like Tibetan bread which tasted really great, chappati which comes with egg or plain; pancake and corn bread among others.

This is chappati with fried egg which was real good as the chappati was freshly baked. 

The pancake was not the usual small pieces we get in Singapore but this full plate size giant and it comes with butter and honey. 

However, for us the single most requested food especially at the higher grounds was this simple instant noodles which they cooked in a garlic based broth. The hot soup and the noodles goes down so well in the cold and we have it for a number of breakfast and dinner!

Of course, when in Nepal we have to have Nepalese food and the most popular item was definitely the Dal Bhat, a rice dish served with lentil vegetables and curry and some assorted side dishes. 

My own favourite is the Mo Mo which is similar to our dumpling and comes with either tuna, cheese, potato or vegetable filling and is served either steamed or fried. However, of all the items available, this is the only one that is in my opinion too small a portion for me and I only had it twice although I think it was really great. I even tried to find them in Kathmandu to bring back to Singapore but was unfortunately unsuccessful.

Out in the circuit, they don’t have much fresh meat so our guide generally tell us not to order the meat item but on our way to Manang, we actually had our first taste of Yak meat in the form of a Yak burger! Yak meat is almost similar to beef but I thought they were a bit dry but it was good to have meat for a change.

At Manang, there were bakery and good real coffee – not those black water that pass off for coffee in the tea housesSo despite my initial apprehension, I didn’t starve or had to eat Nepalese or Indian food throughout and because of that, my original target to lose 5 kg for this trip did not materialise despite trekking for so many days!

Cheap and Good – Sumo Prawn Noodle

Have heard much about this place at Ang Mo Kio and its prawn noodle that comes with lobster. Finally managed to find time to go there and try it out. There was a short queue when we arrived around 8 pm. Fortunately, the service was fast and the queue moved swiftly.

The four of us ordered 2 bowl of prawn noodles that come with 4 big prawns and 2 bowl of noodles that come with 2 crayfish.

This is the $8.00 prawn noodle. Beside the prawn, there is also clams.

This is the crayfish noodle which also comes with clams and cost $13.00 each.

We didn’t order the Lobster noodle as we felt it doesn’t the cost of dinner at such a place. It is however rather reasonably priced at either $18.90 for Asian Lobster or $24.90 for Columbia Lobster depending on the stock availability.

Regardless of prawn, crayfish or lobster, the stock is the same. Not overwhelmingly sweet but just nice that it will not cause one to get jeilat after drinking it all down. While the prices may seem pricey compared to other prawn noodles out there, considering the quality of the ingredients, I will think that it is cheap and good!

 

Kway Teow Soup at Restoran Xing Ho, Gelang Patah

Singapore has a lot of good food. Our noodles are world famous and everybody loves a good bowl of bak kut teh. But I think the hawker food in Singapore doesn’t even come close to what is available in Malaysia where not only is it cheap, but the hawkers think nothing of throwing in all sort of ingredients. Just compare our bak kut teh with the Malaysian version. Or our minced meat/fishball noodles with this version:

This bowl of kway teow soup comes with generous amount of pork liver, stomach, meat ball, fish cake, prawn, sotong, minced and sliced pork. I don’t think there is anything comparable here in Singapore. And this cost just RM8. There is a smaller serving at RM6 although it certainly isn’t actually small. It is still a pretty solid portion. There is also a seafood version which comes with a slice of abalone and some small oysters!

This kway teow soup is popular with the locals in Gelang Patah, Johore Malaysia and is located in a coffeeshop Restaurant Xing Ho, at 24, Jalan Medan Nusa Perintis 8, Taman Nusa Pertinis 2, 81550, Gelang Patah, .

Some of us Singaporean will baulk at the way they do the cooking. An open stall next to the road and very messy.

I think if this is in Singapore, it won’t even get a D from NEA. But since this is Malaysia, who cares about the grade. Got good food just whack. And that what this little stall have.

Cheap and Good – Foon’s Thai Wanton Mee

One of the hottest food fad in Singapore is Thai Boat Mee. Apart from the famous Soi 19 Wanton Mee, there are now many noodle bar/cafe/restaurant selling Thai Boat Noodle at atas prices. Which seem so ridiculous considering that the original Thai noodles are street food meant to be cheap and good.

Fortunately, tucked in an obscure corner of Old Airport Food Centre, there is a little stall that is sticking faithfully to its origin and selling cheap Thai Wanton Mee at a mere $4 per bowl.

The noodle is dished out by a Thai lady. Not too sure whether Foon is her name though. And unlike all the other atas places, she only sells Wanton Mee. There is a sign that said they also sell Ice Blended Coconut although the few times I went, I have not been able to get that as it is always unavailable. 

Back to the Wanton Mee. I ate there a few times. Tapao a few times. And it taste great either way.

It not a very big portion but you can upsize up to $6.00 and apparently they have it in dry or soup version. Never tried the latter though. To me wanton mee has to be eaten dried. And with chilli. And their chilli is one of the best around. The stall opens about 9 am and most time it sells out by the early afternoon. Do I need to say more about it?

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!

Hill Street Char Kway Teow vs Hill Street Char Kway Teow

Most of us who loves Char Kway Teow will know about Hill Street Char Kway Teow at Bedok South. But how many know that there is another Hill Char Kway Teow in the Smith Street Food Centre in Chinatown?

And unlike my previous piece on copycat stalls cashing in on a famous name, the latter is not a copy cat. In fact, it is as original as the Hill Street Char Kway Teow at Bedok South (HSCKT@BS). Both stalls originated from the old Hill Street Food Centre which is now a vacant plot of land between the Hill Street Fire Station and the MICA building. In those days, there were 2 char kway teow stall there. One facing the road next to the famous Sng Buay drink stall and the other tucked away on the inside. I don’t know which is which now but only that both serves great char kway teow.

HSCKT@BS is now helmed by the son and another lady (presumably the wife) but Hill Street Char Kway Teow at Chinatown (HSCKT@CT) is still helmed by the original stall owner. This is a simple comparison of both.

HSCKT@CT. Short queue even during weekday lunch time. The stall is neat and simple with a display of some giant cockles. Unfortunately they were just for display only and not for adding to the CKT. Each plate cost $3 – $4. CKT is fried individually. This is the drier version but is still full of wok hei.

HSCKT@BS. Perpetually long queue. The lady can be fierce and downright rude at times. Fortunately the son has managed to inherit the father’s cooking skill and the CKT is still as robust and good. It is slightly wet and oily the way I like it.

Hill Street CKT

Question is which is the best? Personally I still like HSCKT@BS. But if in the Chinatown area and hungry for a bit, I will rather have HSCKT@CT rather than join the queue at Hong Lim for the Outram Park Char Kway Teow.