Dim Sum, Beef Hor Fun & More!

HEAR:
Click to listen/ download podcast of this week’s steamy, smoky supper episode!

SEE:

Our Makan Kaki, Chef Anthony Yeoh of Summer Hill French Bistro is back to share another late night discovery near his restaurant at Sunset Way. Just a short drive in the direction of Beauty World, you’ll find Mong Kok Dim Sum at Cheong Chin Nam Road, the famous stretch of eateries that open late. There, you’ll find decent dim sum and other zichar favourites available till 1.30am.

A branch of the 24-hour Geylang restaurant, Mong Kok Dim Sum opposite Beauty World serves up a mean “Geylang Lorong 9 style” beef hor fun that’s savoury, umami and full of legit smoky wok hei.

The sauce is glossy, not goopy; intensely flavoured with red chillies and fermented black beans; and the flat rice noodles have a delicious char from being tossed in a searingly hot wok. Large slices of tender beef and a few stalks of leafy green bok choy complete the dish, along with tangy pickled green chilli to cut through all the richness.

Chef Tony was also pleasantly surprised by the dim sum, which turned out to be pretty good, especially the fried shrimp dumplings. He imagined they would be a bit limp and soggy 20 minutes after takeaway, but when he opened up the packaging when he got home, they were still hot and had maintained their crispy outer crust.

Inside, the fat dumplings were packed with a generous amount of creamy shrimp filling, made even creamier with the accompanying mayonnaise dip. Needless to say, he was impressed with how well the dim sum had held up to travel. These just might be worth ordering again for pick-up or delivery.

Another good choice would be their chee cheong fun (steamed rice flour rolls), which are made fresh to order, right before your very eyes.

Swipe to see chee cheong fun in the making!

The rice flour rolls are thin enough and slippery-smooth, just holding back your choice of fillings – char siew, prawn or crispy you tiao.

char siew chee cheong fun
prawn chee cheong fun
crispy you tiao chee cheong fun

Then the hot and steamy rolls are served doused in a light savoury-sweet sauce for extra moisture and flavour. For takeaways, they separate the rolls from the sauce to prevent sogginess.

Chef Tony appreciates that Mong Kok Dim Sum has a branch near his restaurant and is open late, so he gets a decent meal after dinner service is done at Summer Hill. So next time you get a case of the late-night munchies, you can’t go wrong with great dim sum, beef hor fun and the rest of the extensive menu at Mong Kok Dim Sum!

TASTE:
MONG KOK DIM SUM
8 Cheong Chin Nam Road S(599733)
Open daily: 11am – 1.30am
Tel: +65 8686 8829

Branches also at 214 Geylang Road & 197 East Coast Road.

Available for home delivery – order online via Grab

Sweet Treats in the East

Our beloved Makan Kaki, Chef Shen Tan of Ownself Make Chef & Thank Goodness It’s is back! And this week, she reveals a sweet discovery in the East she was super excited to have stumbled across at Siglap Centre. She was headed there for a massage one weekend when she noticed this little dessert cafe in the basement. Always eager to try something new, she sat down to try a few dishes that caught her eye…

HEAR:
Click to listen/ download podcast of this week’s deliciously desserty episode!

SEE:

Tang Yuan photo courtesy of Chef Shen Tan

Chef Shen recommends Ren Ren Desserts’ peanut tang yuan (or ah balling), which were very smooth, well-formed and with just the right amount of bite. The nutty spheres were served in a clear, sweet ginger broth that reminded her of the sweet potato & ginger soup her grandma used to make. Any time you get that nostalgia factor, it’s a bonus! She also found it fantastic that the dessert wasn’t too sweet, well-balanced and very clean-tasting.

Orh Nee photo courtesy of Chef Shen Tan

Another must-try dessert is that traditional Teochew delicacy Orh Nee (or yam paste). Describing it as “other level”, Chef Shen found the smashed yam smooth and creamy, mixed with pumpkin and ginko nuts. It was a dish she thoroughly enjoyed.

Easties, do pop in for a sweet fix and try the other goodies on their menu. Meanwhile, Westies like Chef Shen will still willingly make that cross-country journey for more!

TASTE:
REN REN DESSERTS

55 Siglap Rd, #B1-23, S(455871)
Open: Tues – Sun 12.30 – 6.30pm (closed Mondays)
Tel: +65 9117 8228

BEST OF 2020 – MAKAN KAKIS TOP 10 LIST

In our usual year-end special, we look back at 2020’s most popular makan recommendations according to your online response. Most were part of my circuit breaker special, featuring affordable meals for $20 or less, enough to feed 2-4 people. We stayed home, ordered in far more than usual and also tried to support our hawkers through various online platforms – truly a reflection of the pandemic year we’ve experienced.

The following list features a great variety of hawker stalls and dishes that grabbed the most views on our blog. Click on each for details & enjoy! You can also download the full version of our podcast (we give you more than what you hear on-air!) here.

2020’s TOP 10 Favourite Makan Recommendations:

10. TOP LOCAL EATS – KATONG, SUNGEI ROAD AND YISHUN LAKSA

9. TOP LOCAL EATS – TIONG BAHRU HAINANESE BONELESS, POW SING & HWA KEE CHICKEN RICE

8. BEE KEE WANTON NOODLE DIY KIT

7. TIONG BAHRU YI SHENG HOKKIEN PRAWN MEE

6. TOP LOCAL EATS – COME DAILY & SINGAPORE FRIED HOKKIEN MEE

5. AH TAN WINGS

4. OUTRAM PARK FRIED KWAY TEOW MEE (CHAR KWAY TEOW)

3. YUAN AUTHENTIC THAI STEWED BEEF NOODLE

2. DA JIE NIANG DOU FU (HALAL YONG TAU FOO)

1. RV ROASTED DELIGHTS

Thank you so much for your support of our tasty little segment on Gold 905! I’m especially grateful to have been able to collaborate with CNA Lifestyle for an upsized video version of Makan Kakis and look forward to a bigger and better outlook for our F&B community in the New Year.

Ending our year on a brighter note, Singapore’s hawker culture has officially been added to the Unesco list of intangible cultural heritage! So let’s continue to support local F&B and champion our street food heritage. Hawkers, we salute you and thank you for filling our stomachs and lifting our spirits! Here’s to a hearty, hopeful 2021 full of delicious things to eat! Season’s Eatings & HAPPY NEW YEAR!

xoxo Denise


Big, Bouncy Hakka Beef Balls

Generally, unless it’s homemade, I find beef balls sold frozen at supermarkets or served at most hawker stalls unsatisfactorily small and unpleasantly floury, filled with more binder than real meat. Then I discovered The Beef House’s Hakka beef balls, recommended by my Makan Kaki, Lyn Lee of Awfully Chocolate and Sinpopo Brand.

The family behind said beef balls might sound familiar, especially if you recall their handmade yong tau foo I introduced in an earlier story. Noting the steady stream of customers at their sister stall, I just had to return to the always busy Gar Lok Eating House for a taste of their Hakka beef balls.

Chin is the man in charge of beef ball production and the supplier of the distinctive beef balls Mr Chia has been serving up with noodles and in soup for the last twenty years. Since Gar Lok Eating House became their new home in 2000, Chin has been making beef balls and Mr Chia has been cooking them for their growing customer base.

Brenda, the wife of Chin, who herself comes from an F&B family (her grandfather used to sell soybean milk at nearby Sungei Road), revealed, “My husband has a 3am start everyday. He waits for the cartons of Australian beef to arrive in the morning, then beef ball production begins.”

Most of the fat is removed from the beef, which is then minced, seasoned and mixed according to an old family recipe. In fact, Chin and his father even travelled back to China to re-learn the art of making beef balls the time-honoured Hakka way.

 

Continue reading “Big, Bouncy Hakka Beef Balls”

MAKAN KAKIS SALUTES HAWKERS FOR UNESCO RECOGNITION

CONGRATULATIONS, SINGAPORE!

Our hawker culture has officially been added to the Unesco list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity! In celebration, let’s go back and explore some of our best-loved hawker dishes, as voted by GOLD 905 listeners earlier this year. Simply scroll through & click on the list I’ve conveniently compiled for you below.

With sincere thanks to all the hawkers past, present and future, for all your hard work, expertise and contributions to Singapore’s unique food heritage. We salute you!

For more, come back often and explore my entire archive of delicious Makan Kakis recommendations!

x denise

  1. Click the pic below for Chicken Rice options:

2. Click the pic below for Laksa options:

3. Click the pic below for Chilli Crab options:

4. Click the pic below for Hokkien Mee options:

5. Click the pic below for Rojak options:

Legendary Little India Chapati & Keema

A conversation the other day at family lunch had the table divided over Indian flatbreads. I love the full-on flavours of prata and thosai, but some older relatives swore their allegiance to chapati, saying nothing beats a freshly-made, unadulterated roti hot off the griddle.

Not having a lot of chapati experience to go on, I decided to make it my next makan mission to hunt down some of the best in Singapore. I needed to understand the appeal of something I had always thought was a bit plain, compared to its more flavourful cousins.

After several urgent text messages, a night of googling and an intense discussion with a foodie friend, I had narrowed my search down to just one place. Said friend had admitted, on days her family may be too tired or pressed for time to make their own from scratch, a quick drive-by and pick-up at Azmi Restaurant was truly the next best thing for excellent unleavened flatbread.

Continue reading “Legendary Little India Chapati & Keema”

Authentic, Hand-made Hakka Yong Tau Foo

The last thing I expected to find in the Little India area was authentic, hand-made Hakka delicacies, but following a hot tip from my Makan Kaki Lyn Lee of Awfully Chocolate & Sinpopo Brand, I went looking for a stall that’s been run by one family for more than three decades, located in a coffee shop along Syed Alwi Road.

One of two side-by-side stalls run by the Chia family, customers have been flocking there for a taste of authentic Hakka yong tau foo since 1984. I met Mr Chia Teck Kwang who was busy serving up his few remaining bowls to straggling lunchtime customers. It was a little past 2pm and I was thankful he had enough for my maiden taste of his famed dish.

First started by Mr Chia’s late father who was still making yong tau foo up to the ripe old age of ninety-one, the business has operated out of their current coffee shop for over twenty years. Mr Chia told me that together with their father, his four brothers and two sisters have always sold their yong tau foo in and around the same area. Quite the chatty, gregarious character, he encouraged me to have more drinks while I waited for him to prepare my $3 set of yong tau foo in soup, with an accompanying side of dry minced meat noodles ($4 and $5 sets also available).

Click below for all the details on those nourishing bowls of yong tau foo, featuring favourites along with a few other delicious surprises:

Continue reading “Authentic, Hand-made Hakka Yong Tau Foo”

Mee Soto made of Heritage, Hype & Hope

If you’re looking for something nourishing and comforting, there’s nothing quite like a bowl of chicken noodle soup, especially if a local version beckons – one that’s rich, luxurious and packed full of spicy flavour. I knew I was on to a winner after my first try of the mee soto from Yunos N Family.

A foodie friend kindly had some delivered to me during the circuit breaker and even having withstood a long journey, it still bowled me over. So I went searching for the source of my soupy isolation consolation.

Ang Mo Kio Central Market & Food Centre was where I found the popular stall, which first made its name selling decadent, customizable mee rebus (mee soto came later). The business began six decades ago with the story of third generation hawker Afiq Rezza’s late grandfather (the eponymous Yunos), who travelled alone from the Solo, on the Indonesian island of Java, to Singapore as an enterprising young man.

It was 1960 when he started selling mee rebus from a pushcart at Hastings Road in Little India. By 1979, Mr Yunos relocated to a stall in Ang Mo Kio Ave 6 and there Yunos N Family has remained ever since. Afiq’s father took over running the stall around the same time as the move and believed in training the children to work hard for things they wanted, so during school holidays, they always helped out at the stall.

A valuable life lesson, yet no formal cooking lessons have taken place, to pass down grandpa’s legacy through the generations. Afiq explained, “We try to preserve the old recipes as much as possible, but my father has never taught me to cook any of the dishes. He’s not the manja (pampering or babying) kind. And my late grandfather was also not the kind to manja and teach either.”

Despite that, the family has still managed to preserve the authenticity of the food, which Afiq said sets them apart from others. Besides Grandpa’s original mee rebus, Yunos N Family’s culinary repertoire has expanded to include satay, gado-gado and mee soto. According to him, there are many different versions of the latter, “The Javanese, in particular, like things sweet. So we follow that style. As a matter of fact, everything we serve is quite sweet and we try to stay as authentic as possible.”

Rest assured though, even if you don’t have a sweet tooth, there were a whole lot of other flavours going on to give their mee soto lots of depth.

For more on Yunos N Family’s mee soto, click the links below:

Continue reading “Mee Soto made of Heritage, Hype & Hope”