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 – 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:)

Cheap and Good – With a Pinch of Salt

Now one of the jokes among ourselves is that every time we visit a nice new food outlet, it will have close down by the time we go back there for a second visit. But happily this was not the case with this little pasta place with a cute little name “With a Pinch of Salt” at Tanjong Katong. The last time I was there must have been something like 5 years ago?

Anyway I was in the mood for pasta but it has to be cheap and the place should be air con, what with the sizzling heat that we have here. So after some thoughts, we decided to head down to Tanjong Katong to try our luck and happily, it was still there. Same old place. Same old girly decor and like the previous visit, some people were having a birthday celebration there.dsc_1795

The thing about this place is that beside the cheap and good food, the owner seems to doesn’t want to take things too seriously with all these cute little messages everywhere.dsc_1798

Beside pasta and pizza and other nice stuff, the Chef also whips out mean cookies. We were given some to sample and much as I want to buy them, I knew I will finish the whole lot in double quick time so I had to regretfully pass. Perhaps nearer to Chinese New Year.dsc_1793

And since I was only craving for pasta, I had a seafood aglio olio pasta. The price of each plate of very decently sized pasta cost only between $9.90 to $12.90. Really good value for money.dsc_1796

We also had a plate of mussels in white wine to sharedsc_1797

The food are not fantastically great. But at the prices they at and with such portion, I can’t complain. And service was excellent too.

I found out later that they have some really good stuff which we did not order so I think I will be heading back soon instead of waiting another few years.

The food @ Bedok Marketplace

Went back to Bedok Marketplace again. This time with 3 of us we were able to sample more of the food. That plus the food we took on the last visit will be the subject of this post.

First the miss starting off with wanton mee. Last time we were there, it was Seng’s Wanton Noodles. I didn’t order this than which was a pity since I could have been able to make a comparison.DSC_0600

I didn’t realise it was a different stall at first.DSC_0049

I ordered, got my noodles. It was prepared by a PRC chef which immediately triggered alarms.  And as expected, it was not good at all.   That all I will say about this wanton mee. DSC_0050

On our previous visit, we ordered the pasta from the Chop Chop Selection. We had the mee goreng pasta and M had the seafood pasta.IMG-20160213-WA0018 IMG-20160213-WA0017

We also had the buffalo wings.IMG-20160213-WA0019On both occasions there were many people patronizing the stall so perhaps the food was good but we ordered the wrong thing? Maybe pasta is not their strength because it wasn’t really that great. The wings were better but maybe we should have gone for the meat items which seems to be what they are good at. Next time.

And now the hit. Ballistic – a stall that specialise in meatball items. DSC_0059But of course at that time I didn’t realise that and ordered the pizza.DSC_0055

Now I love pizza and this was as good as it comes. But M was smarter and she ordered this.DSC_0052 (1)Meatball Kungbak bao. This was heavenly. The mantou was lightly toasted and the meatball was real soft and chewy.  We looked at other people’s order and we decided that there was more to try so next round again.

For dessert we ordered the pancake or is it waffles  from Hot Pans.DSC_0062

We had 2. These 2.  Just 1 word to describe. Yummy!DSC_0073 DSC_0075

Cheap and Good – Mdm Wong Fusion

There is this fairly new stall in Amoy Street’s Food Centre. And it sells “fusion” food. Its definition of fusion food is the usual steak, salmon and salad with something different. Like this Salmon with Angel Hair pasta in cream sauce.DSC_0421

The set comes with a fairly large piece of salmon, angel hair and 2 sides which a customer can choose from a selection. For this meal, I choose the vegetables and mushrooms. And all this for just $6.90.

The portion is fairly decent and the food is good. How good is good? Come try it yourself.

Mdm Wong Fusion, Amoy Street Food Centre, Ground Floor

Pietro Ristorante Italiano

With a name like that, one will expect a restaurant helmed by an authentic Italian. But no, instead there is a home grown Chinese chef behind the kitchen and not just an ordinary Chinese chef but a celebrity Chef at that!

Chef Neo must be so confident of his cooking that not only did he choose to do Italian dishes but he set up the place in the most ulu of places at a teeny weeny little road in Yio Chu Kang that is so off the beaten track that I had to use my gps to get to the place. And his confidence show in some of the unusual items he has on his menu.

For starter,  we ordered the Funghi Portobello which is fresh portobello mushroom baked with crab meat, ebiko and prawn finished with rich gorgonzola sauce.

M wasn’t really that hungy so she ordered the Zuppa di Mare which is actually a Seafood Soup concocted with prawn, clams, mussels, squids in spicy tomato sauce, white wine, basil leaves. She said it tasted like tom yam soup.
I had the Spaghetti alle Vongole which came with lots and lots of fresh clams. I must admit that this is one of the best spaghetti I tasted.
The kid ordered something that looks like a cross between the Hakka abacus seed and Chinese la-mian. Didn’t get the name and can’t find the item on the online menu.
We found out later that the chef made everything ie the pasta and dough from scratch. I enjoyed the meal especially the Spaghetti alle Vongole although I felt the price was a bit on the high side because of the portion size but then again that is the way most Italian food place priced themselves.
Overall, this is a nice place to go to for a quiet dinner. There is live music, nice decor in a rather romantic setting with a picture of a Venice canal.  Very suitable for impressing a date.