Sunday, October 30, 2016


The Zagat 2017 New York City Restaurants Guidebook is being published on Wednesday with a combination of spanking new and same old. What’s new, in addition to a brighter cover, is the scoring system.

After more than 37 years, the original format for rating restaurants, based on a scale of 1 to 30 as devised by the founders, Tim and Nina Zagat, is gone. In its place are rankings that go from 1.0 to 5.0, with decimals. The change was made, said a spokeswoman for the survey, now owned by Google, because the Zagat audience preferred a simpler system.

In the 2017 guide, Le Bernardin, which has received the top rating for food every year since 2010 (that’s what is not news), gets a 4.9 out of 5.0 instead of a 29 out of a possible 30. Le Bernardin also came in tops for service. Best for décor was Asiate.

Among the restaurants that made the list of the top 20 for food, there are newcomers: Gabriel Kreuther, Tocqueville, Tanoreen, Scalini Fedeli and Sushi Nakazawa. Per Se, which was rated best for food in 2009 and has been in the top 20 for the last 11 years, is missing from the 2017 ranking. Graffiti, Estiatorio Milos, L’Artusi and Annisa were also dropped from the top 20.
Also significant this year are a few newcomers that did not waste time rising to the top in their categories: Kingsley held the No. 1 spot for American restaurants, Indian Accent for Indian, and Llama Inn for South American.

Along with restaurant rankings, the survey includes questions about dining habits, likes and dislikes. Among respondents, 41 percent said they approved of eliminating tipping.

This year, there will also be a pop-up Zagat restaurant stand, called Tiny Cafe, where miniature portions of some signature dishes from restaurants like Los Tacos No. 1, Pizza Loves Emily and Jacques Torres will be served free. The cafe will be at the corner of Astor Place and Cooper Square from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

The 2017 book will go on sale on Wednesday for $16.95,

Source: New York Times, 26 Oct 2016
By Florence Fabricant

Credit Devin Yalkin for The New York Times

This article is part of a series aimed at helping you navigate life’s opportunities and challenges. What else should we write about? Contact us:

Their Instagram photos are a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes, and yours are dark and grainy. Theirs elicit pangs of hunger, and sometimes envy. And they almost always leave you wondering, “How did they shoot that?”

Well, the pros do things a little differently than you do. Here are a few simple tips that will immediately improve your Instagram food photos.

Focus on the Food 

We mean that literally. It may sound like basic advice, but there are more fuzzy photos of In-N-Out Burgers on Instagram than there should be. Steady the phone to avoid shaking the camera, and focus on a point near the center of the dish or its most enticing detail, like the interior of a sliced layer cake.

Compose the Photo

While Instagram now supports vertical and horizontal photos, the medium is still very much square. Take a moment to frame the image. Try the rule of thirds.

Start thinking like a food stylist. Wait a minute for the ice cream to drip. Take a scoop out of the cobbler or lasagna and leave the full fork on the plate. Ruffle the cloth napkin near the dish. Experiment with utensil placement.

Fill the Frame

Get close to your subject, so the photo brims with food.

Shoot in Natural Light

Natural light allows for nuances in a photo that a phone flash does not. If you’re shooting your big baking success, take it to the window in your home that provides the most light. If that light is harsh, consider hanging gauzy curtains to filter the bright light. You can illuminate the shadowed portion of your dish with white poster board. To do that, have someone else hold the board so that the dish sits between it and the window, which will reflect more of the light onto the dish.

Use Your Friends’ Phones, Too

There are moments when you will be compelled to try to shoot your dinner in a candlelit dining room. You will most likely fail. The light cast by the flash on your phone will not flatter the food. But if you’re dining with friends, you can have them turn on the lights of their phones and point them toward the dish while you take the picture without turning on the flash. They can even diffuse or reflect their phone lights with lightweight white napkins. That said, be considerate. No one wants to dine next to the party that turns on the floodlights for every single dish. Use this trick sparingly.

Try a Different Angle
Stand up and take an overhead shot of your food, or duck down to meet your plate at a 30- to 45-degree angle from the table.

Don’t Be Afraid to Move the Plate Around

Follow the light. Sometimes you need to put that platter on the floor to make the best picture. (Don’t do this in a restaurant.)

Shoot With a Camera

Many of the best photos on Instagram are shot with cameras, not phones. Cameras with manual settings offer better control in low light, which describes just about any restaurant after dark. You will have to use your desktop computer to crop the photos to size (1080 pixels by 1080 pixels). Email the photo to yourself and save the image to your phone. You can upload it from there.

Use a Postproduction App

Color-correct photos on the fly using an app like Snapseed or Afterlight. These photo editing programs give you some of the benefits of Photoshop. You can tweak the image’s brightness, warmth and color saturation, but you don’t want to change them much — just enough to make the image pop. Don’t go overboard with the postproduction changes. The food should look edible, and not like a product of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

Develop a Style

Pay attention to the kinds of images you like, and your favorite photos of the ones you’ve taken. Try to continue in that vein as you hone your style. Some people live to like supersaturated, high-contrast close-ups, while others desire the cool, blue hues of a Kinfolk table. The followers of our NYT Food account are partial to the eye-popping, the drool-inducing, the unfathomable mash-up.

If you’re keeping a daily diary of everything you eat, you may want to reconsider shooting every photo on the only orange plate in your kitchen. If the process of cooking is your thing, turn off the stove before snapping an aerial shot of your mussels lest your phone fog up with steam. If this is a brag book of your restaurant meals, by all means pepper your feed with It-list dishes.

Keep Shooting

If you’re serious about becoming a better photographer, you need practice. Take three or four or even a dozen photos of the same dish. Review them and pick the one you’re happiest with to post on Instagram.

As you take more photos, you’ll become more comfortable with your phone’s camera features, learning the benefits and limitations of the camera. You’ll also come to understand which foods are photogenic and which ones are not, how to adjust your framing or stylistic approach on the fly, and the time of day when your home gets the best light. Those are the details that will help you make beautiful images. 
Source: New York Times, 18 Oct 2016
By Sara Bonisteel
Peter and Maria Hoey

The New York City restaurateur’s perennial lament — that staying afloat is tougher here than anywhere else in the country — grows louder each time another restaurant closes. Rents are astronomical, the complaint goes; wages are rising, regulations are byzantine, and don’t even talk about the price of fresh produce.

But is it true? Is New York any less hospitable to independently owned restaurants than other big cities?

Recent figures suggest that it may be: The number of independent restaurants in the city fell 3 percent from March 2015 to March 2016, slightly more than the 2.7 percent drop nationwide, according to the NPD Group, a market research firm that tracks consumer spending.

Finding more conclusive evidence, though, isn’t easy. Privately owned restaurants don’t have to divulge what they spend. Lease terms are guarded like the contents of national security briefings.

One thing we do know: There is a rigid formula for survival. Whether a restaurant opens in hypercompetitive Manhattan or in California’s gold-rush dining scene, it has to make the same equation work: The costs of real estate, labor and food should add up to about 75 percent of its projected sales, leaving a profit margin of roughly 10 percent once smaller expenses are figured in.

A large restaurant group or chain may be able to skate below 10 percent because its volume is so high, but a chef who opens a starter full-service restaurant can end up in trouble if profits dip below that threshold.

To further break down the formula, a healthy restaurant aims to spend about 10 percent of its sales revenue on rent, utilities and other occupancy costs; 30 to 40 percent on labor, including payroll taxes and benefits; and 30 percent on food and beverages.

Because those three expenses account for most of a restaurant’s costs, we sought the best numbers we could find and compared them for three vibrant dining cities: New York, which has the nation’s largest roster of independent restaurants; Los Angeles, where the number of independents is growing; and San Francisco, a smaller, volatile market that has responded to restaurant closings with a real estate plan that enables start-ups to hedge their bets.

Here’s how the cities stack up, cost by cost.

Real Estate

Space in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn can cost twice as much as in Los Angeles or San Francisco.

CoStar, the nation’s largest source of commercial real estate data, tracks more than 980,000 listings. Though they are not broken down by use, Joseph Sollazzo, an economist with the firm, created a rough category of “restaurant friendly” spaces for us: listings from 2,000 to 5,000 square feet, a popular range for independent full-service restaurants, that met criteria like “available for all uses” and “ventilation.”

At the end of June, the average asking price for such a space in Manhattan and a handful of Brooklyn neighborhoods was $120 a square foot, a 6 percent increase over March 2008. In West Los Angeles, that city’s priciest area, the average was $52, an 11 percent increase in the same period. The average rent in San Francisco’s central business district was only $45, despite a 19 percent increase since 2008.

William Wheaton, an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said restaurants are battling for a share of a limited consumer budget. CreditGretchen Ertl for The New York Times

“We’ve seen stronger rent growth over the cycle outside of Manhattan,” Mr. Sollazzo said. “Yet rents here are more than double what they are in the other markets, indicating that there’s still a long way to go before it is as expensive to rent restaurant space as it is in Manhattan.”

Garrick Brown, vice president for retail research at the commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, produced restaurant-space listings that confirm the price gap: The company’s asking prices currently run from $120 to $180 a square foot in Manhattan, from $60 to $80 in Los Angeles, and from $60 to $100 in San Francisco.

Some San Francisco landlords offer promising but unproven tenants a bit of help known as a percentage deal. If a restaurant performs below an agreed-upon level of sales, the tenant pays only the base rent. If it takes in more than the stipulated amount, the landlord collects an additional percentage, which can double the monthly rent.

Mr. Brown says he sees signs that the Manhattan market is starting to soften, as landlords begin to lower asking prices and become more willing to negotiate; he expects the trend to continue through the end of 2017.

He is less certain that they will embrace percentage rents, which are not widely available in New York, but could become more popular if long-term vacancies make landlords, as he put it, “feel the heat.”

Most of them don’t, yet. He has heard of New York tenants paying as much as 13 percent for occupancy costs, which he considers a danger zone. “You get past 15 percent and you get into trouble,” he said.


It’s cheaper to staff a restaurant in Los Angeles than in New York or San Francisco, though New York still benefits from a tipped minimum wage.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that annual mean restaurant wages in New York City in 2015 were about $49,000 for a head chef, $28,580 for a cook and $29,290 for a server. In San Francisco’s much smaller labor force, pay was about the same for a head chef, $31,120 for a cook and $32,040 for a server. Wages were lower in Los Angeles: $40,740 for a head chef, $25,300 for a cook and $27,570 for a server.

In all three cities, restaurants pay more than the federally mandated minimum hourly wage of $7.25, and each city plans an increase to $15 over the next few years. New York businesses with more than 10 employees will reach $15 in December 2018, up from the current $9; smaller businesses, a year later. San Francisco will increase its minimum wage from the current $13 in July 2018, but Los Angeles will not reach $15 an hour until 2020 or 2021, depending on staff size.

New York State allows employers to pay a lower minimum wage for tipped front-of-house employees, while California is one of seven states that have abandoned the so-called tipped minimum wage — so a New York restaurateur pays those staff members less than a California owner does.

But New York State’s tipped minimum wage is going up as well, from a current rate of $7.50 an hour to $9 or $10 by the end of 2018, depending on the number of employees.

A small number of New York restaurants have abolished tipping and raised menu prices to absorb their added labor costs; an alternative, tacking a service charge onto bills, has run into legal challenges. Whether this new approach will raise or lower labor costs in the long run is still a matter of debate; advocates argue that higher pay will be offset to some extent by lower hiring and retraining costs.

Whichever path restaurateurs take, labor costs are on the rise. Overtime expenses around the country will increase on Dec. 1, when new federal Department of Labor guidelines make more salaried employees eligible if they work over 40 hours a week. And while individual restaurateurs may endorse higher wages in a traditionally underpaid field, they must still make the basic math work to survive.

The payroll increases are “a punch in the gut” for owners, because they mean more money out of pocket, said Richard Coraine, a 35-year industry veteran and the chief development officer of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, which is gradually rolling out a no-tipping system at its restaurants.

While an established group like his may seem immune to cost concerns, Mr. Coraine said that everyone worries about increased outlay. The single-unit owners simply risk “backing up against the wall” more rapidly, he said, because there are fewer dollars in their 10 percent profit margin.


Ingredients cost more on the East Coast than on the West Coast, and the gap grows when California produce is in season.

Baldor Specialty Foods is a major restaurant supplier for the East Coast, and West Central Produce is a major source on the West Coast. Their prices fluctuate on seasonal produce, and they give a price break to restaurants that buy across multiple categories like dairy, produce, dry goods and protein.

We asked West Central to price an order for fruits and vegetables from a 65-seat Manhattan restaurant that uses Baldor as a major supplier. A week’s produce order of 30 items cost $543 from Baldor and $423 from West Central, a difference of just over $6,200 a year.

Doing business in an agricultural wonderland further lowers costs. Michael McCarty, the owner of Michael’s in Midtown Manhattan and its older sibling in Santa Monica, Calif., pays $29.90 for a flat of farmers’ market tomatoes in Manhattan, while a double flat costs only $6.10 more in Santa Monica. Market strawberries are $65 a flat in New York and $36 out West.

Even red meat, chicken and some fish are cheaper in the West. Mr. McCarty said a dry-aged strip steak costs almost twice as much in Manhattan as in Los Angeles; a six-ounce portion of lamb rack is $24.95 in Midtown and $8.85 in Los Angeles.

The price difference, combined with lower rents in Los Angeles and San Francisco, helps offset labor cost increases and eases the pressure to raise menu prices.

The Bottom Line

It’s harder for an independent restaurant to thrive in New York, and harder everywhere than it used to be.

Traffic growth for all types of restaurants has flatlined at 1 percent since March, according to the NPD Group, which considers the number of visits a more reliable indicator of industry health than sales figures. The group’s projections through 2022 anticipate only a half-percent increase per year; before the Great Recession, from the 1990s until December 2007, normal growth was 2 to 3 percent.

Credit: Peter and Maria Hoey

William Wheaton, an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says restaurants are fighting for a share of a finite consumer budget. Americans, he said, exhibit “an incredible regularity in what they spend on eating out: $1,200 to $1,400 per person” annually. And they tend to visit restaurants of any type, from fast food to fine dining, about 190 times a year, said Bonnie Riggs, a restaurant-industry analyst for NPD’s food service division.

If restaurants raise menu prices to reflect higher costs, they risk losing customers who still want to dine out as often without spending more than they’re used to — and fewer people at higher prices isn’t progress.

The customer base for full-service restaurants across the country started to shrink in 2007, Ms. Riggs said, as the recession led defecting customers to look for faster, cheaper food. Visits to quick-service restaurants — a catchall category that runs from markets with prepared foods to fast food and chains like Sweetgreen — grew to 80 percent of all restaurant visits by June 2016.

Less expensive options like those “have to be stealing from someone,” Ms. Riggs said. “Chains are growing and independents are closing, with the steepest decline in New York City,” where margins are so tight.

It’s culinary Darwinism: In what Mr. Wheaton calls an “intensely dynamic and competitive industry,” there’s one more sobering New York number. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have more restaurants than anywhere else in the country — 16.9 per 10,000 people as of spring 2016. (The greater Los Angeles area runs second, with 12.1 restaurants per 10,000 people.)

In a saturated market like New York’s, a chain’s advantage — greater financial resources — can spell the difference between survival and failure

“Let’s say you’re in some part of Manhattan that has 50 restaurants,” Mr. Wheaton said. “As costs rise, the guys with deep pockets hang in there for a while, and the others close up. If you’re a total go-it-alone-er without a patron to back you, you’re one of the first to go.”

Mr. Wheaton refers to the “exits and entries” cycle, an economic phenomenon that pertains to any competitive business: “The worse things are, the more casualties,” he said. “The more casualties, the better things get for the survivors, at which point competitors feel encouraged to open more restaurants. They whittle the sales volume of the existing restaurants down lower, to the point where they’re having trouble covering fixed costs, and too much competition leads to another cycle of closures.”

New York restaurateurs bemoan other enduring frustrations, including a complicated permit process and a two-tiered liquor license system that can take months to navigate. The city’s Department of Small Business Services recently announced the creation of the NYC Food & Beverage Hospitality Council, a group of over 30 industry representatives committed to improving the industry’s long-term health.

West Coast restaurateurs have their own set of complaints, including caps on the number of liquor licenses, which can drive up the price of acquiring one in a busy neighborhood, and the same skilled-labor shortage that New York faces.

None of it matters unless the basic numbers work.

Mr. Coraine says that in New York, they don’t. He believes the city has already forfeited its culinary supremacy, a casualty of costs. “People are leaving to find their dreams elsewhere,” he said.

When ambitious young chefs come to him for advice, his answer is terse: “Los Angeles,” is what he tells them. “And I’m not kidding.”

By Karen Stabliner
A version of this article appears in print on October 26, 2016, on page D1 of the New York edition with the headline: If You Can Make It Here. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe

Friday, October 28, 2016

Enclave in the busy Central Business District (CBD) stood a food centre that attracts both locals and foreigners for a good meal. In places like in the CBD, you can also find delicious and affordable food items.

I update this page as I continue to try the stalls at Lau Pat Sat.

Sunny Viet Vietnamese Cuisine

The big bowl of Vietnamese Beef Noodles cost SGD6. The beef broth was clear and light, yet flavourful. The noodles were chewy and beef slices tender. What I loved most of about this bowl of noodles was the huge portion of vegetables, especially bean sprouts. I loved to eat the noodles with the crunchy sprouts and delicious broth together. (Food rating: 4/5)

Thirypathi Ayya (Stall No. 59)

At SGD7, the set includes two vegetable side dishes, two chicken pieces, two slices of naans and a bowl of curry sauce. The naans, though served hot, was mildly sour. The curry on the other hand was very spicy. The tandoori chicken was tender but lacked something, which I could not point it out. The other chicken piece was a little tender but it had a lot of spices in it. What I liked most was the vegetable dishes. I love the masala potatoes and long beans. Both side dishes were freshly prepared.

Naan Set came with two meat - both tender but lacked something, which I was not able to point out. Two vegetable sides were freshly prepared. I loved the masala potatoes best. The naans, however, had a mild sour taste. I am not sure if the original naan is supposed to be sour. (Food rating: 2.5/5)

Anjappar Stall

Anjappar offers naan set which comes with Tandoori Chicken. Priced at SGD8, you will get two pieces of plain naan and the chicken.

The naans had lightly charred corners with nice aromatic fragrance. The set came with curry gravy, which was spicy and aromatic. The tandoori chicken was delicious, though it was a little scrawny in size.

When I compared with Usman Restaurant, which I had eaten the last time at Little India, I think it was slightly better than Anjappar. You make a judge on that. (Food rating: 3/5)

Bak Kut Teh (Pork Ribs Soup)

Bak Kut Teh or Pork Rib Soup is one of Singapore's local food. When you are in Singapore, you may find it almost everywhere in the city. At Lau Pat Sat Festival Market, you will also find at least one stall selling Bak Kut Teh.

At SGD5.50, you can have a bowl with steamed white rice. The soup was a little spicy because of the white pepper. What I did not like about the soup was that it was not fragrant enough. It lacked something in the soup. The pork rib was tough and it was very difficult to bite the meat, making the meal very inconvenient. I will definitely not coming back again.

Alternatively, you may also try Ah Seng Bak Kut Teh or Founder Bak Kut Teh. Or do recommend us your favourite stall or restaurant? (Food rating: 3.5/5)

Turkish Cuisine

Tucked within the Lau Pat Sat Festival Market, you will find a nice stall - Turkish Cuisine. This stall also have restaurants at Suntec City and Upper East Coast Road. Priced less than SGD7, you can enjoy a generous serving of Chicken Kebab wrapped with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, drizzled with white sauce and hot sauce.

What I like about the wrap was that it was very filling and the kebab was tender and flavourful.

Japanese Teppanyaki

The Japanese Teppanyaki stall offers a variety of food items such as ramen, beef teppanyaki, chicken teppanyaki and curry rice.

Similar to Pepper Lunch, the Chicken Teppanyaki had the same preparation. . They put the pre-cooked chicken cubes into the hot plate glazed with oil. Then, they added some seasoning, put steamed white rice onto the hot plate and finally topped with corn. The dish was then drizzled with spring onions as garnish. I must say that the Chicken Teppanyaki was nothing special. It was a little salty but it was tasteful. The chicken cubes were cooked just nice - tender and moist. I think I will come back again to try their other dishes. This dish cost me SGD5.90 - a rather reasonable amount in the Central Business District. (Food rating: 3/5)

Address: Lau Pat Sat Festival Market, 18 Raffles Quay, Singapore 048582
Price: $ (You may get as cheaply as SGD10 at CBD area)
Enclave in Hougang Street 21, Kovan Hougang Market and Food Centre offers a wide variety of delectable food. Well-connected with public transportation, you can even get there via the North-East Line at Kovan MRT station. Kovan is an amalgamation of  traditional  shops and modern shopping mall - Heartland Mall. At the food centre, there are numerous food stalls with long queues, from duck rice to economical rice to Singaporean salad.

Here I will update periodically the food stalls I tried at Kovan Food Centre. You may also share or recommend your favourite stalls. 

A1 (#01-15) Kway Chap and Duck Rice
Kway Chap (果汁) is a Teochew cuisine that serves broad, flat rice sheet in a soup made with dark soy sauce. The flat broad sheet is served with pig offal (skin, pork belly, intestines, etc), firm beancurd, fried beancurd, preserved salted vegetables, braised boiled eggs, fish cakes and many others.

There are two stalls of A1 - Duck Rice and Kway Chap, and Hainanese Chicken Rice. There are various set menu combinations for both dishes. I ordered ala carte Kway Chap dishes like fried beancurd, intestines and braised boiled eggs. 

We ordered a set meal for two, which included the pig's innards, braised egg, fried beancurd and duck meat. The skin was chewy and full of collagen. The innards, particularly the intestines, were very well cleaned and did not leave a smelly and bitter aftertaste. The fried beancurd was soaked in the delicious broth for hours, which its aromatic fragrance had infused the beancurd. The duck meat was surprisingly delicious - tender, fragrant and appetising. The highlight of the entire meal was the chilli sauce mixed with lime juice, which was both spicy and sour, giving the food the extra oomph. (Food rating: 4.5/5)

The flat broad noodles were firm and chewy in the dark soy broth. The bowl of noodles were then garnished with fried shallots and Chinese coriander. The portion was just nice to accompany the side dishes. 

Kovan Rojak (#01-39)
Rojak (囉喏) is a Singaporean-style salad that comprise of fruits and vegetables. Rojak means 'mixture' in Malay. The rojak is commonly comprise of bean spouts, pineapple, cucumber, fried fritters, fried beancurd, which are then tossed into the spicy fermented prawn paste and then drizzled with finely chopped roasted peanuts.

I ordered a take out and the fried fritters (a long crispy strip of fried fritters) were still crispy when I reached home. The rojak sauce was very rice and it was neither too dry nor too wet. The aroma was richer with the roasted peanuts. After a couple of hours, the rojak tasted as good as it was eaten immediately after it was prepared. It was very addictive and I could not stop eating it. I ordered myself a serving of fried fritters only rojak at SGD3.00. (Food rating: 4/5)

Jin Ding Xiang Herbal Soup • Mutton Soup

I bought these goodness home.

The pork ball soup was a simple dish but the broth was rich with goodness. The pork essence was rich and peppery. (Food rating: 3/5)

I was totally surprised by the mutton consomme or mutton soup. The soup was rich and sweet. The mutton ribs were tender and were so good that I regretted for not buying more. (Food rating: 4/5)

How about having a collagen boost by having braised pork trotters? The pork trotters were cooked for long hours that they were tender. It exuded a very nice fragrance which made it so enjoyable. This dish went well with a bowl of steamed white rice. (Food rating: 4/5)

Nothing beats sweet preserved mustard vegetables. This side dish went very well with steamed rice. (Food rating: 4/5)

Address: Kovan Hougang Market and Food Centre, Blk 209, Hougang Street 21, Singapore 530209
Price: $ (You can get them at less than SGD10)
Stuffness Level (How full you are): 4.5/5 (Hearty Meal)
There are a few distinct things when one thinks of Singapore is its unique hawker fare. The food was delicious, affordable and accessible. Located in most neighbourhoods in Singapore, hawker food is one of the popular and source for residents living in the area. More popular hawker centres or food centres include, but not exhaustive, Clementi Food Centre, Kovan Food Centre, People's Park Food Centre, Old Airport Road Food Centre, and many more.

The Clementi Central Wet Market and Food Centre lies at the heart of Clementi Central neighbourhood. The hawker centre or food centre has developed over the years. Some stalls remains since its beginning and there were new interesting stalls.

I cannot wait to try all the delicious foods at the Clementi Food Centre. Do keep a lookout for more postings.

Kee Hock
This stall, unlike other zi char (cooked food) stalls, offers limited dishes. Their portions were huge and the food were delicious.

Sliced Fish Hor Fun is served with broad flat noodles cooked with soy sauce, fresh fish slices, green vegetables and thick egg drop gravy. This gravy is unique as it is rich with egg. The fish slices are very fresh. The most important thing is the noodles. The flat noodles are fried with dark soy sauce for colour and taste. I could taste the nicely charred noodles. (Food rating: 3.5/5)

Beef Hor Fun is similar to the sliced fish hor fun. It is served with fried broad flat noodle cooked with beef and vegetables, topped with thick egg gravy. The beef was perfectly cooked and it was tender. Despite the delicious hor fun, it slowly became heavy. It was best to share with someone else. (Food rating: 3.5/5)

Four Seasons Ching Teng

Cheng Tng is a healthy Asian dessert or drink that has 'cooling' benefits. The soup usually contains white fungus, black fungus, lotus seeds, dried longans, barley cooked with rock sugar.

Cheng Tng from Four Seasons sells at a flat price of $2.00. The stall is manned by an auntie who sells only Cheng Tng. Cheng Tng is known as a light refreshing drink with longan, white fungus, black fungus moss, barley, lotus seeds, sweet syrup liquid and ice cubes. The ingredients were very freshly prepared and the liquid sugar was just nice. (Food rating: 3/5)

Fong's Rojak

If you love salads, why not try the Asian-Style salad called Rojak. You may order either a normal set of salad with fruits, vegetables and fried fritters or customise your order. 

Rojak is known as a Singaporean-style salad served with beansprouts, cucumber, tau pok (fried beancurd), pineapple, and at times with fruits with peanuts tossed with prawn paste. There are different variations of Rojak and we ordered rojak with purely you tiao.  

I ordered a plate of fried dough fritters (油条) rojak. The wait was long but it was definitely worth it. The toasted fried dough fritters had a mouthwater aroma - lightly charred and crispy. Mixed with the prawn paste, sugar and drizzled with lime, water and ginger flower shreds, the entire salad dish came alive. I was awestruck. (Food rating: 4/5)

Yong Fa Hainanese Curry Rice & Curry Fish Head

The Hainanese styled Curry Rice is defined by four key elements - Pork Chop, Curry Chicken, Chap Chye (or mixed vegetable stew) and Kong Bak (or Braised Pork).

A very popular stall with long queues expected.

The Kong Bak (or braised pork) was tender and fragrant. The long bean omelette, braised egg and tofu were equally awesome! The Braised Tau Pok (Fried Tofu) were absolutely amazing. All these dishes on this plate of rice cost SGD5.20, which was best shared with another. The portion was huge. As for the queue, I think it was definitely worth it. (Food rating: 4.5/5)

Fried Kway Teow • Fried Carrot Cake • Fried Oyster

The oyster omelette was fried to crisp. However, the tapioca flour mixture was added a little much. There were more flour mixture than the egg and oysters. The chilli was very good and went very well with the omelette. (Food rating: 3/5)

Carrot Cake is not made from the carrot but radish. The radish was made into a cake and fried with garlic, oil, Chinese-style preserved turnips and sweet dark sauce. The carrot cake was dry and the carrot lacked the fragrance. It could taste better. (Food rating: 2.5/5)

Similar to the Fried Carrot Cake, flat white noodles and yellow egg noodles were cooked with beansprouts, cockles (optional), Chinese waxed sausage and sweet dark sauce. The Fried Kway Teow was palatable but I wished it could be better. (Food rating: 2.5/5)

Soon Huat Cooked Food #01-08

If you love mutton stew, you will love Soon Huat Cooked Food. The cooking tasted so much like my mother's cooking aka home cooked food. The mutton was tender and flavoursome. The black sauce was thick and flavourful. The portion was generous and you will definitely have a hearty meal. I cannot wait to try out the other popular dish - Sesame Chicken.

Address: Clementi Central Wet Marketing & Food Centre, 448 Clementi Ave 3, Singapore 120448
Price: $ (You could get these food under SGD7!)
Stuffness Level (How full you are): 4.5/5

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