Sunday, April 27, 2014

,
I was sourcing for a venue for my grandmother's birthday celebration and thought of trying a different cuisine this year. We usually celebrated at Chinese and Cantonese cuisines. I heard that Ban Heng has a long history of delectable cuisine and I decided to try this restaurant for this year. 

My friend and I made a table reservation at Orchard Central, one of its four outlets, and ordered a variety of food for sampling. The restaurant located at the penultimate floor was surrounded by a roof-top sky garden. The tranquil, yet serene environment combined with beautiful scenic view along the Orchard Road shopping belt was invaluable and breathtaking. The restaurant was crowded that day. At that time, it also offered ala carte buffet dinner.

We spent a total of $191.00 for two persons just to test some of the dishes for birthday celebration. The dishes in general were affordable.



Three-head Australian Abalone with braised sauce (澳洲原只三头鲍鱼came to me as a great surprise. I do not like abalone as I find it rubbery. I gave the abalone a chance as I might want to order a abalone dish at my grandmother's birthday celebration. When it was served, I tried the braised sauce and it was delicious. The thick oyster sauce was just nice in taste - neither too salty nor sweet. As for the abalone, it was tender and soft. For once, I thought I was eating fish or something. I could not find a food to describe the texture of the abalone. However, it changed my perception of the texture of the abalone. (Food rating: 3.5/5)



The Shark Fins soup is generally a popular soup dish of Chinese cuisine, usually served at special occasions. For this special occasion, we ordered a Shark's Fin in Shark's Cartilage (鲨鱼骨汤鲍翅) for sampling. The shark cartilage is known for its rich collagen. Without a doubt, the broth was rich in collagen. How do you know if the soup contains sticky collagen? The easiest test is to smack your lips. The sticky, lip smacking soup was one of the highlights throughout my meal at Ban Heng. The soup was delicious. More importantly, the shark fins came in one whole piece. The tender soft fins tasted delicious as well. (Food rating: 4/5)


For some time, I was crazy for steamed minced pork. Without fail, I ordered a Steamed Minced Pork with Salted Egg (咸蛋蒸肉饼). The steamed minced pork was absolutely delicious. I think it was better than the other restaurants I have tried. Well, I guess that there will always have a restaurant to outdo each other. The minced pork was so tender and the flavourful. The sauce was sweet and there was a tint of sesame oil. The pork and sauce together were simply heavenly. (Food rating: 4/5)


We were very particular about scallops. We tried many restaurants but were always disappointed. The scallops were limp. Over here, we too ordered a scallop dish - Steamed Tofu with Scallops (鼓汁带子蒸豆腐). The tofu in cylindrical shape was very soft and the scallops placed on top of the tofu were soft. However, the sauce tasted bland and interesting. I could not make out what it was. It was neither spicy nor sour nor sweet. More importantly, I tasted charred. We did not enjoy this dish. (Food rating: 2.5/5)

Location



Without fail, we ordered a plate of Ban Heng Signature Fried Rice (万兴富豪炒饭). The aromatic fragrance of the wok and generous ingredients made me feel as if I were in seventh heaven. The white rice was very fragrant that we could not stop eating more. (Food rating: 4/5)




Address: 181 Orchard Road #11-01/02, Orchard Central, Singapore 238896
Price$$
Rating4/5

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

,

If you are looking for a good Chinese food, why not try Din Tai Fung?

Din Tai Fung is one of the popular Chinese restaurants in Singapore. It is always crowded and you have to take a queue number. I frequently go to Marina Bay Link Mall and I always see many people crowding outside the restaurant waiting for their queue number to be called. When their number is called, they will then be ushered to their table.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

,


The weather has been rather erratic lately. It is very hot and humid at one moment and a heavy thunderstorm the next. I was out to run some errands and had a dinner appointment. The sun was blazing hot and very soon, I was drenched with sweat. Just a couple of hours later, the sky became dark and then, suddenly there was a thunderstorm. This time, I was cold and drenched with rain.

Feeling cold and drenched, my friend and I decided to have something hot like a hotpot or steamboat for dinner. We found a hotpot restaurant - Chicken Hot Pot (鸡公煲) within Serangoon Nex Shopping Centre. This restaurant seemed to be very popular as there was a fairly long queue line formed at the entrance of the restaurant. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

,

You would miss the delicious snack foods sold at the night markets such as sausage wrapped in glutinous rice (大腸包小腸), braised 'mee sua' with oysters (蚵仔面线), Taiwan-style rice with soy sauce lean pork (卤肉饭), if you have ever visited Taiwan. 

Fret not, you can also eat the authentic Taiwanese cuisine in Singapore. In 2008, Taiwan's Shin Yeh and Singapore's Tung Lok (同乐)Group formed a joint venture to bring Shin Yeh restaurant to Singapore. There are currently two restaurants of different concepts in Singapore. If you are looking for fine Taiwanese Cuisine, you may dine at the Shin Yeh restaurant located at Liang Court. Otherwise, there is a casual dining restaurant called Shin Yeh bistro that also sells authentic Taiwanese cuisines. 

Recently, my family and I were brainstorming to select a good Chinese restaurant to organise a birthday celebration. Shin Yeh was one of the restaurants that come to mind. We had tried many Chinese restaurants but not a Taiwan-style restaurant. This would be an unique and refreshing idea to have the celebration. 

We decided to go for a food sampling session at Shin Yeh at Liang Court Shopping Centre. We were greeted by friendly staff and were ushered to our table. It was a beautiful setting and I regretted for not taking a picture of the restaurant. The restaurant was overlooking the Singapore River. 

We ordered a variety of foods and were looking forward to try the Taiwanese snack foods. Disappointed, we were told that the snack foods were no longer available at this restaurant. I just realised that there was another bistro outlet at Square 2 when I searched more about the restaurant prior to publishing this post. 

So, how much did we spend at this fine Taiwanese cuisine restaurant? We had a 8-course dinner, excluding the fruit juices and appetiser that amounted to about SGD170 for two persons. Perhaps I was more looking forward for the local snacks than fine dining, I find the food was normal. They were either localised or no different from any other Chinese foods around the world. They tasted so much the same. Do share if I am wrong. 

Pan-fried Chay-Po Egg Omelette (正宗菜脯蛋), my favourite. Just like the ones I ate at Oasis Restaurant and Paradise Inn, the egg omelette was fragrant and uniquely puffy. For a moment, I thought it was a sponge cake with preserved radish (chay po). It is interesting how the chef was able to pan fry the omelette to the extent that it remained puffy when served. Usually, my puffy omelette will become flat as soon as I removed it from the pan. I presume that it would require skills and technique to have this puffy omelette. (Food rating: 3/5)

We ordered a vegetable dish, French Beans with Minced Meat (四季豆炒肉丝). The minced meat and chopped mushrooms were extremely fragrant. The french beans was crunchy too. Eating them together gave me both the fragrance and crunch, leaving me fascinated. You can either eat it on its own or with rice. This dish is commendable. (Food rating: 3/5)

Taiwan-style rice with soy sauce lean pork (卤肉饭) tasted normal. The fragrance of the soy sauce lean pork was incomparable to the ones in Taipei such as Zheng Pork Knuckle 鄭記豬腳飯 or Kingwueng Pork (金园排骨). There were still some fragrance in the lean pork and egg. And the rice was grainy just the way I liked it. The portion of rice was left of a normal bowl of rice. It was just nice especially when we ordered a list of other dishes. This rice can still satisfy your craving for Taiwanese food. (Food rating: 3/5)

I could not understand why people love abalone. For me, I am neutral to this seafood. My friend ordered a Braised Fresh Whole Abalone (鲜卤鲍鱼) for sampling. The texture of the abalone was just nice. It was not overly chewy. The braised sauce was delicious. The big shitake mushroom was moist and juicy. It was not bad for a person who does not know how to appreciate abalone. (Food rating: 3/5)

Hmmm... Buddha jumps over the wall (佛跳墙)... In its original taste, it was a simple broth with many seafood like sea cucumber, shark fins, abalone, and fish maw and meat like pig's stomach, chicken and pork. The fish soup was fragrant and soothing. Both of us were tasting for collagen in the soup, but there was none. We expected the soup to contain some collagen because of the many ingredients in the soup. Next we did another test. We added pepper into the soup. Suddenly the soup become more fragrant and flavourful. The added spice made the soup more palatable. For a moment, I immediately thought of the white pepper pig's stomach soup that my mother used to make for me. It brought back many memories when I was younger. (Food rating: 3/5)

Scallops in XO sauce (干贝炒XO酱) at Shin Yeh were the same as any other Chinese restaurants. The taste was the same. It was disappointing when we expected that the dish would taste differently if cooked in Taiwan-style. Like most scallops dishes, their presentations were the same - broccoli at the bottom and scallops over the vegetables. It was nothing special about this dish. The scallops were freshly cooked. But we felt that the scallops could taste better if they were seared to give a little charred taste. Otherwise, the texture was like eating fish balls. (Food rating: 2.5/5)

Apart from the omelette, French beans and rice, having the Mango Shaved Ice was a happy moment to end our dinner. The milk shaved ice covered with mango puree and mango cubes were heavenly. The sweetness was just nice and I could not stop eating. I ended up finishing the entire dessert. I have a lot of calories to burn later. (Food rating: 3/5)

Address: Liang Court Shopping Centre, 177 River Valley Road #02-19 Singapore 179030
Rating: 3/5
Price: $

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

,
Have you ever eaten frog legs before? If you have not, This is THE place to go. Located at the outskirts of Singapore's famous Geylang area and near Kallang MRT station, you will notice a brightly lit restaurant signage at night. The restaurant opens till wee hours in the night, so you can enjoy a delectable supper.

I remembered how I was introduced to frog legs when I was very young. My relatives told me that they were chicken wings. Truthfully, these frog legs really did taste like a cross between chicken and fish and have similar texture. When I grew up, I became more knowledgeable. I learnt how they were butchered and saw their ugly appearance in person. Both the butchery and the appearance made me stopped eating frog legs entirely.

Many see frog legs as a low-cholesterol, high protein alternative of meat. It is rich in potassium which is essential in reducing the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. Hence, it is a great alternative for people with high cholesterol. Frog leg dishes are commonly known in the French and Cantonese cuisines. In the Chinese cuisine, frog legs are usually stir-friend, stewed, fried or made into congee.

Recently, I was reintroduced to frog legs. A friend of mine introduced me to Sin Ma Live Seafood Restaurant. He recommended to me the frog legs and persuaded me to give it another shot. After the meal at the restaurant, I began to accept the amphibian gradually. You can see why by reading my reviews below.

We ordered a sumptuous meal that night and spent a total amount of SGD66.15 for two persons.




The frog legs were cooked in the Kung po style (辣椒田鸡) similar to the Kung Pao Chicken. The use of dried chilli and dark soy sauce were mixed very well with the frog legs. The sauce enhanced the taste of the porridge. The porridge was savoury and gluey. The rice was less grainy. The frog legs were tender. This dish changed my perception of frog legs as I have mentioned earlier. I don't mind eating it again. :P (Food rating: 3/5)


As appetisers, we were served with braised peanuts and fried crispy anchovies. I loved the braised peanuts. The texture was just nice - neither too soft nor too crunchy. You could still have a little crunch when you chew the nuts. The soy sauce was light and fragrant. It was extremely enjoyable to eat while waiting for our main dishes.



Barbecue Chicken Wings with Marmite (妈蜜鸡) was savoury. The chicken wings were tender and juicy. The marmite gave a little boost to the savoury. Because of the strong in taste, the porridge was a perfect complement. (Food rating: 3/5)


G7 豆腐 (小) House Special was actually hot plate tofu with egg. The ingredients included carrot bits, baby corn, shrimps, tofu, button mushroom and minced meat. When the hot plate arrived, it was sizzling. The egg was still cooking and steam was gushing upwards. The tofu was very soft on the interior and slightly crispy on the exterior. The shrimps were very fresh and crunchy. The tofu dish could just be your main dish with a bowl of white rice. (Food rating: 3.5/5)


Recently, I have cravings for Fried Omelette with preserved radish (菜脯蛋). This dish reminisced the days when I was a child. My mother used to cook the delicious fried omelette with preserved radish. The nice fragrance was very addictive. The preserved radish was savoury and added that crunch to the egg. The genesis of this craving started when I ate it again at Oasis Taiwanese Porridge after a long time. At Sin Ma, the omelette was fluffy and big. The portion of preserved radish was generous. It was heavenly when eaten with porridge. You even eat many bowls of white plain porridge with this delicious dish. Mum, please start cooking this omelette for me again. (Food rating: 4/5)








Address: 163 Geylang Lorong 3 #01-01/02 Singapore 389239
Price: $
Rating: 3/5

Friday, April 04, 2014

,

Thai Express, including Absolute Thai, is one of my favourite Thai restaurants. I always love their spicy tom yam soup, pineapple rice and other Thai favourites. 

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

,


Recently, I watched a food programme, promoting the Korean Army Stew or Budae Jjigae. The Korean Army Stew was originated after the Korean War where food was scarce. People made use of the food surplus like sausages, ham or spam (luncheon meat) from the US Forces Korean base camps to create this sumptuous dish. It is still a popular dish today. The stew in the programme gave me a lasting impression and craved to try the supposedly delicious hot pot.

We were supposed to go to another Korean restaurant at the shopping mall but it was closed. Luckily we managed to find Nolboo Hangari Galbi in the same mall. At that time, the restaurant was introducing their new menu which included the Army Stew. Without much thought, I asked for a table and ordered the food.

Nolboo is a popular Korean chain with close to 680 restaurants in Korea and across Asia in China, Japan and Singapore. Nolboo Hangari Galbi at Orchard Central is the first of Nolboo's BBQ outlets in Singapore.

The total dining experience cost us (2 pax) around SGD70.00 which was too pricey for what it was worth. The experience was unforgettably poor and we skipped the dessert.



The Korean Army Stew or Budae Jjigae was served in a big broad shallow pot. The ingredients included firm beancurd, elbow macaroni, rice cakes, hot dogs, spam, ham and spicy paste. The hot pot was then garnished with big spring onions or leeks. Then, the server helped to pour the stock into the pot and turn on the fire to boil. There was a dry ramen (instant noodle) to put into the pot later.  We dug in as soon as the pot began to boil. Our first impression of the hot pot was it was too expensive of what it is worth. The cost of the hot pot was around SGD39.00. Then, the ingredients and taste did not justify the cost of the pot. It was flavourless except spicy. Rather, the Shin Ram-yun (a South Korean brand of instant noodle) tasted better than the hot pot. A popular food chain like Nolboo Hangari Galbi would have done better. (Food rating: 1.5/5)


Tofu is a commonly dish in the Korean cuisine. However, the tofu pancake, which should be their traditional Korean food, was inferior. The tofu pancake when served on a hot plate was cold. The egg crust covering the brick-like tofu was soggy. Though it was sizzled with their homemade sauce and garnished with sesame seeds and spring onions, the tofu was both bland and salty. The tofu was bland and the sauce was very salty. We stopped eating after our first piece. This dish was around SGD14.00. I would rather ordered myself a hot plate tofu from a local zi char (煮炒) or chinese cooked food stall. (Food rating: 1.5/5)

Apart from the two main dishes we ordered, the meal includes the six sides dishes. These side dishes were more delectably delicious than the main dishes.



Side Dish #1: Marinated Bean Sprouts with carrot strips


Side Dish #2: Lettuce kimchi


Side Dish #3: Radish kimchi


Side Dish #4: Mashed potato


Side Dish #5: Anchovies with peanuts


Side Dish #6: This taste like congee




Address: 181 Orchard Road, #08-04/05 Orchard Central, Singapore 623889
Price: $
Rating: 1.5/5

Follow Us @soratemplates