CDC Voucher Best Eats – Restaurant-Quality Handmade Ban Mian Noodles

Hi Makan Kakis! Welcome to Part 3 of our Makan Kakis x CNA Lifestyle series featuring some of the best eats to spend your CDC vouchers on. Our Foodie Friend, Business Director of Preparazzi (luxury catering & culinary concepts) and Strategic Partner of The Dempsey Project / All-Day Dining & Gourmet Grocery on Dempsey Hill – Chef Jeremy Nguee loves Telok Blangah Food Centre and recommends new kid on the block Yanan Ban Mian Noodles for their outstanding handmade bowls of quality ingredients.

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There’s regular ban mian and then there’s ban mian distilled through the creative minds of professional chefs with decades of experience between them. The result? Loaded handmade noodles from new kid on the block Yanan Ban Mian Noodle at Telok Blangah Food Centre. Opened little over a year ago by Mr John Yeo Eng Woon and Ms Na Yanan, what they lack in hawker experience, they more than make up for in professional culinary experience, having cut their teeth in five-star hotel kitchens over the last two decades.

Continue reading “CDC Voucher Best Eats – Restaurant-Quality Handmade Ban Mian Noodles”

Spice Queen Recommends Awesome Appam!

Rempapa_National Day 2022_Vasun and DamianThis National Day season, Chef Damian D’Silva collaborates with local culinary talents to present a series of exciting ‘4-hand’ experiences marking Singapore’s birthday. At his restaurant, Rempapa, he showcases local food traditions through what he calls Singapore Heritage cuisine and in his first multi-cultural collaboration, we met guest chef Marvas Ng (Executive Chef of Path) last week. Continuing Rempapa’s Cultural Celebration Series, today, we meet new Foodie Friend Vasunthara Ramasamy (Vasun), MasterChef Singapore Season 2 contestant, passionate home cook and the Spice Queen behind private dining experience Cutlery Optional. Scroll down for her awesome appam recommendation, or read on for what’s cooking in her collab with Chef Damian!

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When Damian was a judge on MasterChef Singapore Season 2, Vasun was a contestant whose thosai he became a big fan of. Vasun’s made-from-scratch thosai stand out because of her years spent perfecting the recipe and studying the science of fermentation. She has developed a time-honoured method, involving a long and slow fermentation period of up to 16 hours, which captures the deep and complex nuances of the thosai she grew up enjoying. Now, we get to enjoy her labour of love on 13 August, when Vasun and the Rempapa team will present a heritage South Indian set lunch featuring a spread of thosai, chutneys and sides, as well as an assortment of kuehs for dessert.

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Here are some highlights of the menu, starting with this unique appetiser. Kuzhi Paniyaram with Chutney & Podi is a well-known snack in the Chettinad region.

The ball-shaped crisp dumplings, studded with ginger, coriander, and green chilli, are made with a fermented batter of ponni raw rice and topped with green coconut chutney.

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Offered on the side is peanut podi – this specialty from Andhra Pradesh is made with two types of chillies, white sesame seeds, roasted peanuts, jaggery, asafoetida, and toasted dried coconut meat. Each Indian household has its preferred podi variation; Vasun has fond recollections of her grandmother preparing the condiment, which lends distinctive aromas, textures, and flavours to dishes.

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The golden brown Masala Thosai is made with parboiled rice and Vasun’s personal blend of dried lentils, then stuffed with a flavoursome potato palya. The spiced filling is made with waxy potato, onion, green chilli, coriander, turmeric, curry leaves and mustard seeds cooked in coconut oil, then finished with a touch of ghee.

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The Egg Podi Thosai is served as an accompaniment to Rempapa’s Sri Lankan Chicken Curry. Made with the same batter as masala thosai, this thosai variation is served with egg, minced onions, green chillies, coriander, and peanut podi. The curry is prepared with dry spices such as cloves, cinnamon, and star anise tempered in ghee, followed by a wet spice paste of Bombay onions, Bentong ginger, and garlic. Kampong chicken thigh and meat curry powder are added, then a touch of coconut milk is poured in just before the chicken is cooked through and fresh calamansi juice is added to finish.

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Vasun presents three chutneys – Green Coconut Chutney, Tomato Thokku, and Kaara Chutney – that offer layers of texture and flavour to accompany the thosai. Mildly spicy, the Green Coconut Chutney highlights the refreshing profiles of coriander and green chillies, while the Tomato Thokku features tangy notes from fresh tomatoes and tamarind, along with a myriad of spices and herbs. Smoky and spicy, the vibrant Kaara Chutney is a Tamil Nadu-style chutney made with dry red chillies, garlic, and shallots.

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This Indian set lunch by Rempapa and Vasun is priced at $68++per pax for a minimum of 4 diners. Served communal style, it comprises 3 thosai, 3 chutneys, 3 sides, and 1 dessert. Available only on 13 August, Saturday, for 2 seatings – 11am to 1pm and 1.15pm to 3pm.
Online Reservation here.
Tel: +65 9459 1603
Email: papa@rempapa.sg

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Vasun often spends her early mornings shopping in the Tekka area for her Private Dining groceries and recently, she reconnected with Little India tiffin stalwart, Madras New Woodlands Restaurant. In particular, she really enjoys their appam, which she describes as “how it should be”.

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These cute, curved UFO-shaped fermented batter “pancakes” are thick and spongey in the middle, yet light and springy, with a pleasing tang you can really taste, thanks to the gentle fermentation of the rice flour, yeast and coconut milk.

Continue reading “Spice Queen Recommends Awesome Appam!”

Best Chapati Found in Geylang Serai!

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Click to listen/ download podcast of Chef Damian D’Silva’s Go-to Chapati place!

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This week, our foodie friend Chef-Partner of Rempapa, Damian D’Silva is back to tell us about this excellent stall for a late lunch. In his line of work, it’s only after his last customer has left and his restaurant’s lunch service is over that he gets to have his own lunch, and he often finds himself wandering over to Geylang Serai Market & Food Centre for a bite to eat.

There on the second floor, you’ll find Muhabbat Setia Hati, a stall operated by a mother-and-son team, selling chapati that’s to die for. It’s so good, that Chef Damian is willing to put his money on this claim: it’s even better than at any restaurants or in the Tekka area he’s been to!

IMG_0809You can watch your chapati being made then & there. Which means, you always get fresh, piping-hot flat breads to order (yes, there’s usually a queue, but soooo worth the wait!).

Continue reading “Best Chapati Found in Geylang Serai!”

MasterChef SG Judge Damian D’Silva’s Go-to “Lepak” Place

Hello Makan Kakis! The trio of MasterChef Singapore Judges is complete, with Chef Damian D’Silva, who joins us this week to share his insights from the MasterChef Kitchen, updates from his own restaurant Kin (scroll down for Denise’s visit there) and a personal makan recommendation.

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As a champion of Singapore heritage food, traditional and local favourites, you’re most likely to find Chef Damian at a hawker centre enjoying zichar or porridge. But when he wants a little change of scene, this is his current favourite go-to spot.

Above all, Chef wants an environment that is very relaxed and unpretentious, a place where you can just unwind and be yourself. He’s found that at Le Bon Funk on Club Street, a charming little bar/ restaurant, where he says he can go and simply “lepak” and “I can just sit down and talk to whoever for four hours and I’m happy. Because you can say whatever you want and they accept you for whoever you are.”

And that is also exactly how Chef likes his food. No bells and whistles necessary, he’s always on the lookout for simple food that is done well.  He enjoys Le Bon Funk for all those reasons – it’s relaxed, they have great drinks including an excellent wine list and really good food too.

One of Chef Damian’s favourite things to eat is Le Bon Funk’s  Beef Tongue & Gribiche Sandwich ($26, see above). Another recommendation is their Cedar Jelly & Foie Gras Toast ($18 for 2) and if you want a hearty meal, you can’t go wrong with their steak. On their menu is a Livingstone Farm Wagyu Striploin with Buttermilk Salad ($175) worth sinking your teeth into.


Photos via Le Bon Funk’s Facebook & Instagram.

What Chef appreciates is their food that’s meant for sharing – there’s nothing quite like communal dining. His advice is to go with 4 – 6 people, then you can order more dishes to enjoy together. So next time, if you’re looking for a chill-out place to have a little drink and nibble, pop by Le Bon Funk.

TASTE:
LE BON FUNK

29 Club Street S(069414)
Open: 5 – 10.30pm (Tue-Thu); 12 – 10.30pm (Fri-Sat All-Day); extended bar menu between 2.30 – 5pm; Closed Sun & Mon.
Tel: +65 62241490

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CHEF DAMIAN’S KIN @STRAITS CLAN

Located at the lobby of Straits Clan, Kin is helmed by MasterChef SG Judge and “Grandfather of Heritage Cuisine” Chef Damian D’Silva. It was a joy to catch our Makan Kaki in his element, presenting us with a veritable Easter feast of complex and diverse Singaporean dishes. The sights and smells – from a quick pre-dinner snack of keropok and sambal dips, to enormous bowls of curry and piles of steaming white rice –  were all familiar and nostalgic. Since 1 March 2021, Chef Damian has added “new” heritage recipes to the Kin menu – here are some highlights and some of my favourites:

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Awesome Abacus Seeds for the Festive Season

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Click to listen/ download podcast of this week’s QQ, springy and festive episode – support local F&B!

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Happy Chinese New Year! This week, I have something deliciously festive to recommend – suan pan zi (算盘子), or Abacus seeds, which get their name from the ancient calculating tool, the abacus (also called a counting frame). This traditional Hakka dish is a labour-intensive, time-consuming delicacy whose main ingredient is yam. It’s usually eaten during special occasions (like Chinese New Year) because its signature shape signifies wealth and prosperity.
 

Yam and tapioca flour are kneaded well together to form a dough which is then divided and rolled into little balls. Little indents in the middle of the dough balls are made from pressing them between thumb and forefinger, which give it its distinctive abacus bead shape.

Scrolling through instagram, I recently discovered a local home-based business whose specialty is handmade abacus seeds. Madam Yam is available for delivery or pickup and ordered via instagram or facebook. It looked so good, I just had to give it a try.

Continue reading “Awesome Abacus Seeds for the Festive Season”

Ice Cream Café with a Savoury Noodle Secret

You might have heard of a now defunct stall at Tanglin Halt Food Centre called Aw’s Signature Minced Pork Noodles, which made a name for itself with delicious, ingredient-laden bak chor mee. But almost as quickly as it rose in popularity, it closed down, much to the disappointment of customers in the know. One of them was my Makan Kaki, Chef Shen Tan of private dining experience, Ownself Make Chef and Gastrogig’s Thank-Goodness-It’s home delivery concept.

So imagine my delight when she revealed it had re-opened, albeit in a surprisingly different set-up, just a stone’s throw from its former location. She recommended that I head down to The Milky Way Homemade Ice-Cream And Coffee cafe for my bak chor mee fix, but with the added bonus of dessert.

The man behind the noodles (and now, ice cream) is Terence Aw, a self-taught cook and former police officer who left a decade-long career in law enforcement to pursue his passion for cooking. After a lot of practice and pointers from fellow hawkers at Tanglin Halt Food Centre, Terence’s bak chor mee, with its unique taste and plentiful ingredients, really took off and gained a loyal fan following.

He credits Chef Shen for helping to get the word out and helping to jump start his business. In fact, she’s still doing so, now that he’s added custom gourmet ice creams to the menu at his new location. But more on that later.

First, I was hungry for a taste of the noodles I had been hearing so much about. My order for the best-selling dry kway teow (flat rice noodles) cost $5.80 and came served in a bowl piled with meaty, golden-brown ingredients. Beside it was a separate bowl of soup swimming with greens and more meaty ingredients. No wonder it used to be called Aw’s signature minced pork noodles – Terence had created a noodle dish that was entirely his own – it didn’t look like the typical hawker centre variety and was unlike any other I’ve tasted.

Find out why by clicking the links below:

Delicious Dim Sum!

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photo via kai garden facebook

This week our Makan Kaki, Chef Shen Tan of Ownself Make Chef returns to catch up with us & share her latest discovery, which actually comes at the recommendation of a foodie friend of hers via Instagram. And she was happy to report, this discovery did not disappoint! Now, when it comes to a whole menu of delicious delicacies, there’s hardly anyone who doesn’t like dim sum, right? And some of the best Chef Shen has had to date, comes from Kai Garden.

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Kueh-Kueh & Gelato

Yes, Denise is wearing a kueh-print dress for this interview!

HAPPY NEW YEAR MAKAN KAKIS!!!

New year, new Foodie Friend! Please meet Christopher Tan, an award-winning writer, co oking instructor and photographer, who recently launched a fantastic new book, The Way of Kueh: Savouring & Saving Singapore’s Heritage Desserts.

Essentially, this is his love letter to kueh (pun fully intended!), our collective Singaporean varieties both sweet & savoury, with a hope that people will return to making kueh at home to preserve this waning food heritage. Packed with useful recipes & cooking tips, fascinating interviews with Singapore’s kueh-makers and beautiful colour pictures, Foodies, this is a one book to add to your collection!

The Way of Kueh is the first book to explore and celebrate Singapore’s diverse kueh heritage across all major communities. It aims to inspire and encourage Singaporeans to make and enjoy kueh together with their families and friends, and to celebrate, preserve and progress this rich and meaningful part of our national food heritage. The Way of Kueh is a project supported by the National Heritage Board.

You can get it all good book stores (choose from 2 covers!) and for more, do follow Christopher on his instagram @thewayofkueh.

In our chat today, we talk about the conception of The Way of Kueh, our local kueh culture, heritage, traditions and kueh-makers and what recipes you can expect from the book.

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photo: Christopher Tan

Christopher’s first recommendation of the year is a proudly Singaporean gelato shop called Tom’s Palette, known for their superb quality ingredients and unusual flavours. What really appealed to Christopher was the fact that owner Chronos Chan uses no emulsifiers, stabilizers or artificial additives in the making of his mouth-watering gelato. Ingredients are carefully sourced and kept as natural as possible, but what they produce is mind-blowingly good.

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