Author: Alex Chua
While you might not think much when you pass by Ho Fook Hei Soy Sauce Chicken 好福气豉油鸡, think again. Located at Great World City, this unassuming eatery serves a medley of authentic Cantonese specialties prepared with time-honoured recipes passed down from generations.
If you’re wondering what does ‘ho fook hei means’, it means prosperity and good fortune in Cantonese, and that’s what you can expect when you order the Specialty Rose Wine Soy Sauce Chicken 招牌玫瑰露酱油鸡. Juicy and tender, the chicken has that distinct floral fragrance imparted from the rose wine. Understand that two batches of chickens are prepared daily to ensure freshness. To elevate the braising liquid flavour, the same pot of braising liquid is kept and topped up each day, and the chef will taste the liquid each time to make necessary adjustments. Such attention to detail is admirable, and the soy sauce chicken gains the depth of flavour over time.
If you want just a simple yet utterly satisfying one dish meal, there’s the Specialty Rose Wine Soy Sauce Chicken Noodles 酱油鸡面. The springy Hong Kong-style egg noodles and the moreish homemade Crunchy Chilli Sauce paired perfectly well with the shimmery chicken.
My personal favourite dish is the robust Honey-Glazed Black Barbeque Pork Belly 吊烧黑金叉烧. Not discounting the fatty portion of the meat, it renders the luscious meat with a perfect balance of sweet and savoury flavour in each bite.
The Deep-Fried Prawn Rolls (Hei Chor) are crispy, flavoursome and not too oily. Generous with the fillings you can see the chunks of prawn meat inside each piece.
The hand-wrapped Shrimp Dumpling is HUGE in this bowl. Again, pretty generous with the filling, and the prawn is plump and juicy. With the soup its quite a comfort dish for a rainy day.
The Cod with Old Ginger Sauce has that comforting and familiar flavour, and the fish is steamed to perfection, rendering the flesh pretty much melt-in-the-mouth.
This Sea Bass with signature Nonya Assam sauce is so delicious, it is wiped out at our table very quickly. Fresh and sweet, the fish paired well with the very appetising sweet-sour-spicy Nonya Assam sauce.
Ho Fook Hei
1 Kim Seng Promenade, #01-141 Great World City, Singapore 237994
Tel: 6219 2262
Author: Alex Chua
Kazbar, known to serve authentic Middle Eastern cuisine in Singapore over the last 16 years, has recently launched the Lebanese beer Almaza along with a food and beer pairing event. Stands for ‘Diamond’ in Arabic, Almaza is born in 1933 and still remains as Lebanon’s leading beer till date. This is a match-make in heaven, since Kazbar patrons can enjoy the full Lebanese cultural experience with the incorporation of their national beer.
‘With Almaza, we want our customers to be able to enjoy a wholesome experience, from the spices, the food and drinks to the ambience and the attentive service’ said Angeles, owner of Kazbar.
During the launch event on 9 May 2019, beer sommelier Charles GuErrier showcased how some of the crowd favourites from Kazabar can be paired with Almaza beer to bring out the flavours of the dishes. He also gave a little background of its history, the brand’s DNA (Almaza is a beer for people who take fun seriously!), and a lesson of how to correctly taste beer.
Our first dish is a light Middle Eastern appetizer served fashionably on a cocktail glass. The Cold Mezze is a fine ground chickpeas (hummus) with tahini sauce, garlic and lemon juice, accompanied with a stem of sliced vegetables as dips. The pairing of the light and crisp Almaza helps compliments the subtle flavours of the hummus without dominating it.
Our last dish is a crowd pleaser, the Grilled Meat platter, featuring 1 lamb chop, 1 lamb kofta and grilled minced lamb flavoured with middle eastern spices. The umami is strong in this hot main, not to mention the oiliness. This is where the Almaza beer helps to cuts through the oils of the dish, and cleanses the pallet so that you don’t feel the heaviness. I personally fine this beer quite suitable for meal with many courses, as it helps reset the pallet without the lingering taste of other beer.
All in all, it was a pretty gratifying experience and a learning opportunity from a IBD Certified Beer Sommelier who had over 20 year experience in the food and beverage industry. Moreover, I had found a perfect spot if I had a sudden craving for Middle Eastern food in CBD area.
25 Church St, Singapore 049482
Phone: 6438 2975
Author: Alexis Chua
Indonesian kueh specialist OLLELLA and Ah Mah Homemade Cake, the purveyor of castella cakes, joins hands for the first time to bring their delicious traditional offerings under 1 roof. The products in this new concept store are handmade and prepared daily on-site, ensuring the products are fresh and in its best quality. For me, who am not a fan of kueh, I am pleasantly surprised that I took more than my fair share of kuehs and cakes. In fact, I had these kuehs for dinner and am not complaining!
The new partnership wrought OLLELLA to introduce 4 new products, the D24 Durian Dadar, Kueh Bugis, Kueh Salat and Kueh Wajik. We absolutely adore the D24 Durian Dadar ($2.50). Made with pure D24 durian flesh and freshly grated coconut, the filling is flavourful and rich while not overpoweringly so. One thing to note – the pandan crepe is prepared fresh on the spot and pairs with the filling very well.
Shaped like a fruit, the Kueh Bugis ($1.50) has a chewy texture; its moist coconut gula Melaka filling is aromatic and tasty. While the Kueh Salat ($1.50) features a kaya custard layer with a glutinous rice base infused with freshly extracted blue pea flower water and santan, giving the kueh a green, blue and white hue. It’s good for breakfast. Last is the Kueh Wajik ($1.50), which uses premium gula Melaka and rich santan glutinous rice, possesses that ultra-chewy texture.
Ah Ma Homemade Cake created the Pandan Brown Cake ($11) so the castella-cake lovers can enjoy the best of both pandan and gula Melaka worlds. The interplay of the pandan leaves aroma and sweetness of the gula Melaka, coupled with its soft texture and slightly crunchy surface (sprinkle of crushed gula Melaka and shredded coconut on top), you can be sure that I will be queuing for it next time.
Other than the new items above, the new concept stores also offers popular kuehs such as Rempah Udang, Rempah Ayam and Kueh Dadar, and a medley of castella cakes (from chocolate to pandan and marble). Among the 3 kuehs, Rempah Ayam ($2) is my personal favourite. Featuring shredded chicken braised in herbs and a medley of spices, the Rempah Ayam tastes akin to Lo Mai Gai – satisfying and filling at the same time.
OLLELLA X Ah Ma Homemade Cake
Outlet 1: VivoCity, 1 Harbourfront Walk, #B2-K7 Vivocity, Singapore 098585
Outlet 2: Tiong Bahru Plaza, 302 Tiong Bahru Road, #B1-K4 Tiong Bahru Plaza, Singapore 168732
Author: Alex Chua
Home-grown cafe Strangers’ Reunion, located at Kampong Bahru Road just 5 minutes’ walk from Outram Park MRT, is set to redefine and elevate café dining experience with a new all-day brunch menu.
Best-known for serving some of the best coffee and all-day brunches in town, this time the new brunch menu features inventive cooking method with a conscience. Using fresh, seasonal and upcycled ingredients and sauces homemade from scratch, the resulting dishes reveals a level of sophistication more often associated with fine dining establishments. Now that’s more than a cuppa in a café scene.
Take the Salmon Skin Chips ($11.90) for instance. This moreish appetiser utilises salmon offcuts and trimmings from the café’s homemade coffee smoked salmon and deep-fried it to become a dish by itself. Studded with goma, avocado coulis and coffee-smoked salmon puree, it presents a juxtaposition of nutty, salty, sweet and sour flavours without being too overwhelming or oily.
The Snapper Ceviche ($13.90) contain a combination of snapper chunks cured in lime juice, avocado, cilantro and red onions. Light and refreshing, it is the perfect starter dish for a brunch date.
For the vegans and cauliflower fans, the Roasted Cauliflower Salad ($14.50) is the choice pick. It comes in 2 ways – charred to yield caramelised florets with deep hazelnut notes, and pickled in rice wine vinegar infused with black pepper and bay leaves. We had the caramelised ones and it is crunchy and irresistible. It’s just so good I am almost a vegan-convert by this dish.
Coming to the mains, the hearty Pork and Broccoli ($21.90) satisfies me thoroughly. Taking a leaf from the upcycling philosophy, the tender roasted meat uses the under-utilized pork collar ends and broccoli stems as accompanying greens. Complemented with 3 sauces – broccoli puree, coffee shoyu and burnt onion jus to give an extra depth of flavour. Simple, straightforward and in your face delicious.
Here’s the savoury protein – Pan Roasted Chicken Breast ($21.90). Chicken breast cloaked in a house-made jerk sauce and accompanying succotash of greens. I like how the sauce compliments and further accentuates the succulent meat.
Here’s a dish common in the café scene, Strangers’ Coffee Smoked Salmon on Toast ($18.90). Well, not quite so. The house-cured salmon is cold-smoked with spent coffee grounds and hickory wood to give the aromatic coffee-smoked salmon, while an espresso-infused crème fraiche is slathered on toasted sourdough bread. Sounds too caffeinated? It is not, the coffee is used just to give that light coffee aroma.
Undoubtedly one of THE go-to cafes for its quality coffee, now the café – in its cool tones of greys, whites and wood – can include inventiveness and upcycling to its name with the introduction of the all-day brunch menu.
33/35 Kampong Bahru Road, Singapore 169355
Operating Hours: 9am – 6pm daily
Author: Alex Chua
Now I don’t have to travel all the way to Bangkok just to indulge Baan Ying.
Launched on 26 Jan 2019, the Thai specialty restaurant opens its first ever Singapore outlet in Royal Square, conveniently located near Novena mrt. In conjunction with its opening is the introduction of The Great Baan Ying Brunch (#TGBYB) – a weekend semi-buffet consisting of 1 main course along with a buffet spread of 12 to 15 delectable appetisers, sides and desserts on rotation every week.
Affordably priced at $38.80++ per adult and $19.40++ per child (four to ten years old; kids under three dine free; child price includes complimentary fruit juice), this is enough to draw me in, being a big fan of Baan Ying’s ala carte omelette rice and fried fish dishes. As for semi-buffet, this is something new for me.
The main brunch attractions, the 6 mains are the Bone-in Iberico Pork Chop, Angus Beef Steak, Grilled Large River Prawns, Pan-fried Salmon Steak, Junior Omelette Fried Rice and Junior Omelette Fried Noodles. Me and my friend tried the Iberico Pork Chop and Grilled Salmon, both were well-proportioned and plating wise rather straight forward. The moist and tender salmon is served with homemade Thai seafood sauce to give it an umami edge, while the juicy pork chop is perfectly marinated with Aunty Ying’s secret blend of Thai spices. Do note that you have to top up an additional $9.80 for the pork chop, but its definately worth it.
The Great Baan Ying Brunch features a plethora spread of Thai-riffic appetisers, sides and desserts. To keep up with the healthy, I started my meal at the DIY Thai Salad station, mixing and matching ingredients like peanuts, dried shrimp, cherry tomatoes, long beans and either tangy green papaya or green mango. The end result is a refreshing and colourful salad. Nothing beats some physical DIY activity, especially when it comes to buffet.
A traditional house-made rice cracker with a rich and luscious coconut, pork and shrimp dip, the Kao Tung Na Tung (Crispy Rice with Pork and Shrimp Dip) is easily one of my favourites. The crunchiness of the crackers and the savoury, meaty dip goes very well with beer.
Not to forget the Mini Larb Moo Tod (Deep Fried Spicy Meat Balls mixed with toasted ground rice). Can’t go any closer as these succulent balls are just too easy to down.
For desserts there are Rainbow Ruby, Sweet Potato in Coconut Milk and Coconut Jelly. Shaped like a delicate flower petal, the Coconut Jelly are just so refreshing and delightful to pop into the mouth.
My verdict? The Great Baan Ying Brunch is value-for-money with lots of quality, tasty buffet spread and a mains to boot.
103 Irrawaddy Road, Royal Square @ Novena, $02-07 S329566
Author: Alex Chua
When you’ve got warm company and unagi what more do you need. Opened by one of Tokyo’s most well-known unagi restaurants with a stellar 125-year history, Unagi Ichinoji surely can satiates your unagi wants with ease. Located at EAT At Seven at Suntec City and Riverside Village Residences, the premise looks like an izakaya with traditional wood panelling, superb customer service and authentic Japanese vibe. It is probably the next best place to dine and unwind if you don’t have the luxury of time to fly to Japan.
One can’t say they have stepped into Unagi Ichinoji without tasting unagi – that’s what they are specialized for. The Unagi Kaisen Hitsumabushi Set (small S$25.80 and Medium $33.80) comes with a slab of freshly grilled unagi fenced by a chirashi-style array of fresh sashimi including salmon, tuna, squid and octopus, all air flown from Japan. It is absolutely a gratifying experience chopping down the luscious piece of fish. Even the fluffy rice is well taken care of. The Japanese Hokkaido rice is coated with a special in-house marinade to give off that exquisite flavour.
The Unagi Wagyu Set (S$36.80) uses A5-grade wagyu imported fr Kagoshima Japan & restaurant’s signature freshly grilled unagi. Accompanied with unagi chawamushi and Japanese pickles. Tender charcoal grilled beef & umami unagi, a bowl I would surely grab when I am feeling indulgent.
For the non-unagi lovers (is there any really?), there is the Chicken Hitsumabushi Set ($26.80). Fresh organic chicken (Sakura Chicken) is used to give it a more succulent texture. Charcoal grilled elevates the palate with a smoky note. For me, however, it would be unagi anytime.
Now, if you don’t know what is Hitsumabushi, there are actually 3 special ways of eating it to experience different flavour profiles. First, divide the bowl into four portions. Enjoy the first portion on its own and relish the depth of flavour of the eel. Then, for the second portion, add nori (seaweed), wasabi and green onions to the Hokkaido rice and eel. For the third portion, add the clear dashi to the abovementioned mix. The final portion can be enjoyed however you fancy. Personally, I very much prefer to enjoy by its original form without any condiments.
Address: 01-05 Riverside Village Residences, Robertson Quay Singapore 238251
Operating Hours: daily 11.30am to 3pm; 5.30pm to 10pm
I just came back from a media trip to Getting Highlands recently and to my surprise, there were a lot of changes from my last trip 2-3 years ago.
So here are some stuffs which you should keep a lookout for!
1) Good Food
There are so many good food at Getting Highlands, so much so that we were so well fed.
Here are my top 2 picks from the entire trip – Wanhoi Yamcha and High Line Roof Top Market.
Just when I thought cute food doesn’t really taste very good, Wanhoi Yamcha proved me wrong! The cute baos taste as good as they look!
Other than dim sum, their main courses and side dishes were delectable too! I don’t mind eating all the food in this restaurant everyday. This restaurant has just become my top favourite in the entire Genting Highlands!
My second favourite would be the Prawn Noodles from High Land. Instead of the usual prawns, the dish is served with a lobster. The soup was also nicely cooked and you can taste prawn in every sip. Even though the portion is big enough for 2 person to share, I finished the entire bowl myself!
The seafood in a bucket is also one that shouldn’t miss! Good for 2 pax to share too.
2) The VOID
While you are at getting, be sure to visit The VOID at Resorts World Genting. We were separated into groups of 4 and played 2 rounds of games. One of which, the Star Wars experience. James is a Star Wars fan so he was very excited about the game. We were gunned down as Stormtroopers in the VR game and it was quite realistic!
It was so realistic that I could not bring myself to finish the Haunted VR Game (I can’t remember the exact name). Some of the buddies on the trip stopped the game halfway because it was too scary. Think you got the guts to try them out? Go on!
3) Skytropolis Funland and Adventureland
Just enjoy yourself thoroughly when you are there – from their indoor theme parks to the different adventure lands. I felt as though I went back in time and all I had to do for that day was PLAY.
The indoor theme park did not disappoint me. I was expecting kiddy rides but there were some really thrilling rides. I did not have the balls to ride on some of the rides too. Can’t wait for their outdoor theme park to open!
I even went up the zipline and flew from one end of the mall to the other! That feeling was super shiok! I could smell the scent of freedom as I fly~
Also, how blessed was I to have met my favourite Lee Kwang Soo at their 4D Tricked Eye Museum too?!
4) Empire by Zouk
I was never a party or late night person but I must say that it is quite nice to hangout at RedTail for games & Karaoke. Friends who enjoys partying or drinking would pick Zouk Getting any time 😛
However, I realized that the crowd seemed to disperse by 1am, which was quite a rare sight as the Zouk in Singapore is only empty after 3-4am.
5) Plenty of choices for your stay.
There are a few hotels there – Awana Hotel, First World Hotel, Resort Hotel and many more. We stayed in the Theme Park Hotel, which was designed to be fun and quirky. I was expecting the rooms to be small but they were spacious enough for me to lay my luggages around!
We did more than just these activities but I will leave it for you guys to experience it for yourself when you are there.
Thank you Resorts World Genting for the hospitality. We certainly had a good getaway from the hustle and bustle of Singapore!
Author: Alex Chua
Pig out this New Year at Butcher’s Kitchen to welcome the Year of the Pig. Known for using fresh, safe and healthy ingredients, Butcher’s Kitchen team of experienced chefs unveiled their latest CNY menu for all to ogle, salivate and go oink oink. The restaurant’s latest cutesy 3 Treasures Porky Yusheng comes in the shape of a pig, fashioned with roast pork belly, pork lard and char siew. The Instagram-able lo hei is generously lashed with a tangy house-made plum sauce to toss for a sweet new year. Also, freshly-made chips – Butcher’s Kitchen very own creation – is topped on the pig as the alternative to the traditional golden crackers. The generous portion of the yusheng is suitable for 8 to 10 pax.
Besides the yusheng, The Butcher’s Kitchen has also introduced two pork-based pasta – Char Siew Pasta with Truffle, and Mala Pasta with Roast Pork Belly. I particularly fancy the Mala Pasta Pork Belly dish, which has that savoury roast pork belly with perfect meat-to-fat ratio which I can easily over-indulged! The crunchy crackling is not too hard with a heavenly mouthfeel to it.
But for my personal favourite is the Herbi Hiam Pizza. Cormprising of cheese, fried crispy pork lard marinated with prawn chili, and heaped with snow of dried sambal prawn, it is sinful beyond the nth degree yet understandably delicious. To give that powerful spicy punch, prawn chili is drizzled on top. Great for dinner with friends or for supper, which I am still mesmerizing it as I was typing about it.
Beyond the pork dishes, the restaurant has also launched the Original Fresh Chips. Fried daily, these all-natural, freshly made and highly addictive chips come in beautiful designed bottles for you to share and gift the goodies to your loved ones for a perfect CNY crunch. Better keep this away from me or else my new year resolution dissolves in bubbles.
The Butcher’s Kitchen
#02-472 Suntec City, North Wing, 3 Temasek Boulevard
Operating Hour: Tuesday to February 19, 10am to 10pm daily. Closed from February 4 to 6
Seating Capacity: 120 pax
Author: Alex Chua
Tucked on the 10th floor of YOTEL is KOMYUNITI, a venue where people connect over nice food and drinks. It is a bar, restaurant, alfresco terrace and a co-working space combined together. KOMYUNITI means ‘community’ and this is evident in the furnishings and layout that invites guests to network, socialise, co-work, eat and drink. Helmed by Head Chef Mark Tai and F&B Manager, As’ad Isnin, expect yummy modern Jap creations crafted via their very own culinary and mixologist experiences and interpretations.
Being just recently launched on 1st November, I love the feel of having mod-Jap cuisines in these sleek, stunning surrounds.
To start, we had the Salmon Poke – marinated cubes of salmon served with crispy fried onion crackers on the side. Very Hawaiian-vibe, very refreshing with a hint of spiciness (house-made Chili Sauce), the salmon has to be really fresh to be served as poke.
Next, we had the Curry Corn Soup and Mama’s Tomato Soup. I particularly love the cream of corn, with its curry spices for a surprising touch without being too overwhelming. Comes in plate of 3 cups, these small plates are perfect for those having a small intimate gathering.
It is so easy to pop this plate of Buttermilk Fried Chicken. I love the mouthfeels when bite into the cornmeal crusted skin, it is not oily at all yet so juicy and tender. Would be good if the sweet potato mash can be a heap too!
Obviously, the high-quality proteins take the lead here. The pinkish Slow Roasted Duck Breast packs that meaty, flavourful punch even though they are thinly sliced, while the Roasted Pork Belly possessed a full-bodied taste, it is thankfully not salty but savoury. The meat-fat ratio is evenly distributed and the crispy crackling skin is a clear winner.
If you don’t drink you haven’t been to KOMYUNITI. Just kidding, but the bar does mix pretty interesting cocktails that suits the style of refined, contemporary Jap. KOMpliment, KOMYUNITI’s signature cocktail, is fruity and fragrant, and made with butterfly pea flower-infused gin for that delicate touch of iridescent purple. We’ve also tried tropical cocktails like the vanilla-infused gin Tiki Chin Chin, sours like vodka-based Chaussettes, and bittersweet Benjamin Button. The one kicker for me is Fat Roger. Perhaps I overindulged so the fat-washed bourbon suits that occasion. To drink you will need to first roll the smoked ham with dried cranberries, eat it and then wash it down with whisky.
To sum up, KOMYUNITI hosts quite an extensive selection of delectable dishes and fancy cocktails with a welcoming, feel-good environment.
Level 10, 366 Orchard Road, Singapore 238904
Breakfast 6:30am – 10:30am (11am on Sat, Sun, Public Holidays)
Lunch & Dinner: 12pm – 12am (1am on Fri, Sat, Eve of Public Holidays)
Author: Alex Chua
Pig out this Chinese New Year at Ginger, Park Royal on Beach Road as Executive Chef Vincent Aw serves up extensive auspicious culinary delights. The all-day dining restaurant features an array of delicious dishes up for kiap-ping like Braised Pig Ear Terrine with Chinese Herbs at the Salad station, Baby Lobster with Abalone Sauce, Abalone Fried Rice, and Braised Dried Oyster with Sea Moss on the Hot Food isle. What is special is the D.I.Y Yu Sheng station. Perhaps the first in Singapore, you can create your own Prosperity Yu Sheng at the Yu Sheng counter to toss up a good fortune.
Here are a few dishes that I’ve kiap-ed (or grabbed) and enjoyed thoroughly, so if you’re here for the CNY buffet you can go straight to hog these yummies out.
As an unrepentant carnivore more often than not I will just fly towards the meat station, but the pot of Broccoli with Dried Oyster is just visually desirable. The green broccoli possessed that nice crunch, soaked in a rich oyster broth to give off that distinct umami taste; very flavorful and back of my mind patting myself for being a healthy picker for a change.
Priding themselves on serving consistently good quality crabs throughout the year, this Baby Lobster with Rich Abalone Broth is a dish I will indulge over again and again. Cooked a la minute at the live station, the lobster meat is fresh with a good springy bite, and pretty easy to peel off the fresh from the shell. Just remember to drink it hot as the taste will be slightly off when it’s cold.
Other Chinese favorites I raved includes the very tender, very juicy Braised Pig Trotters, Abalone Fried Rice (wok-hei power strong in this one), as well as the Pineapple Salad with Sliced Bak Kwa and Braised Pig Ear Terrine with Chinese Herbs at the Salad station.
Besides these yummy CNY specials, also available at the hot isle are the surefire hit Baked Salmon topped with deep-fried fish skin – a good source of protein and omega 3 which I have many helpings.
Chinese New Year is never complete without stuffing yourself aplenty with decadent treats and delicacies. Make Ginger the go-to restaurant for your CNY indulgence and book today!
Park Royal on Beach Road – Ginger Resataurant
7500 Beach Rd, Singapore 199591
Available from 21 January to 19 February 2019
Lunch: 12pm to 2.30pm, from $48 – $68 (for adults) | from $22 – $34 (for child)
Dinner: 6pm to 10pm, from $68 – $108 (for adults) | from $34 – $54 (for child)
Dining reservations at Ginger can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at +65 6505 5710