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.
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.
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.
He’s back! Chef Daniel Tay, who was last here in 2015 during Chinese New Year, returns with more goodies to share. His family bakery, Old Seng Choong, has a newly-opened store at Clarke Quay Central (Eu Tong Sen St), where you can try before you buy! Some of the yummy things on offer include Hae Bee Hiam Pineapple Tarts and cookies in a myriad of local flavours, ranging from Putu Mayam & Gula Melaka to Satay & Cereal Prawn. Take home some delicious Nian Gao, Red Date & Yam Cakes, all in time for Chinese New Year! But for his first recommendation in 3 years, Chef Daniel wants to share his favourite place for Japanese breaded pork dish, Tonkatsu.
2017 saw a whole host of new foodie friends joining our rolling panel of Makan Kakis and along with them came a stupendous slew of new & delicious food recommendations. So as we begin 2018, let’s take a look back at some of the most popular makan places that really caught your attention in 2017. Click on each for details & enjoy!
Thank you so much for your support of our tasty little segment on Gold 905 and for helping it grow bigger and better. If you like what you hear on air and what you see here on the blog, do share share share! Here’s to yet another year of yum – may your 2018 be overflowing with the best things to eat and drink – Season’s Eatings!
There’s a new place that our Makan Kaki, Chef-Owner of Morsels, Petrina Loh has just tried along Hong Kong Street. Located conveniently for Chef Petrina, she often runs errands along that stretch, picking up her traditional chinese herbs for her own restaurant from just across the street. If there’s parking, she always takes advantage to hop out in search for something good to eat. And boy, is Amò GOOD! It’s a pizza-pasta place started by Italian restaurateur Beppe De Vito, of Il Lido fame and also, the man behind Baci, a recent 1 Michelin Star awardee. So, one would have high hopes for this casual eatery, no? And apparently, recent discovery Amò does not disappoint. Highly recommended by her other chef friends, how can you resist comfort food like Italian pizzas and pastas done exceedingly well?
For Chef Petrina, the home-made pasta with spicy young cuttlefish with squid ink on the side was outstanding. So tasty & deeply umami, the tender squid pairs perfectly with the al dente Tagliolini, which she says delightedly, is like a cross between mee pok and mee kia! What’s brilliant is that you can ask for extra spice and the staff very obligingly bring out the fiery good stuff for you to add. The kitchen is aware of how some Singaporeans like their meals spicy and have concocted an insane chilli paste, made from chilli padi, garlic, salt and olive oil, all whizzed up fresh in a blender. It’s got tremendous kick and a freshness that balances the searingly hot burn, but use sparingly – you’ve been warned!
Another lovely touch is the wooden bowls of yummy stuffed olives you get served with every meal (perfect with a refreshing Aperol Spritz – cocktail of Prosecco & Aperol). Chef Petrina can’t get enough of these briny spheres of deliciousness! Sourced from from Beppe’s family’s olive farm, these are plump little green morsels, stuffed with peppers and exploding with appetite-whetting flavour.
If you’re looking for a yummy starter, try their zucinni flowers, unusually stufffed with a fluffy, creamy, light-as-air Mortadella filling, along with pistachio & lemon honey.
As for the pizzas, Denise (who also has been) recommends two excellent ones. Made meticulously with a starter that is lovingly tended daily, this mother dough births pizza bases full of flavor and texture. They are at once crisp, wonderfully blistered and charred on the edges, as well as delightfully tender and chewy in the centre. Taking an average of only 5-10 minutes to cook in their wood-fired oven, the toppings elevate the simple pizza to a whole other stratosphere!
The Bone Marrow Pizza with fresh radish, wild garlic pesto and anchovy salsa verde, is rich and luscious from the marrow, yet fresh, zingy and astringent from the greens and pesto. This is a beautiful foil for the very decadent, very savoury Truffle Pizza, which is pretty much THE BEST in Singapore at the moment.
Loaded with layer upon layer of aromatic fungi flavour, the Truffle Mushroom Pizza boasts a creamy truffle-marscapone base, wild mushrooms, Tuscan pecorino, a scattering of microgreens and is finished with fresh truffles shaved very liberally all over the top. So delicious, so addictive, so fragrant, you may want to finish the entire pizza yourself!
Amò lives up to its name – you can really feel the love here – from the lovingly prepared, on point, super-delicious food, to the casual, lively atmosphere, to the wonderfully attentive staff (Hi Jody!) – this is one Italian restaurant that’s far from run-of-the-mill & should not be missed!
TASTE: AMÒ – CASUAL ITALIAN RESTAURANT
33 Hong Kong Street Singapore 059672
Open for Lunch: 12 – 3pm (Monday – Friday) / Dinner: 6 – 11pm (Monday – Saturday)
Tel: +65 67237733
This week, our Makan Kaki, writer, homecook and founder of private dining experience FatFuku, Annette Tan returns with another delicious recommendation from her home turf in the East of Singapore. Firebake – Woodfired Bakehouse & Restaurant is an awesome casual dining establishment that has seen packed houses and lots of return regulars since it opened earlier this year.
What’s unique about Firebake is how they cook their food – they are the proud owners of 2 wood-fired ovens built from scratch using fire bricks & volcanic lava, amongst other exotic materials, the better to withstand the searingly hot temperatures of the burning wood within. They also have a beautiful cast iron stove that dates back to the 1880s, sourced from Europe, painstakingly restored, shipped to Singapore and now fueled by charcoal or wood, to produce gorgeous, smoke-tinged dishes.
From the wood-fired ovens come wonderfully dense loaves, churned out daily. Sourdough is a house speciality not to be missed. Only organic flour imported from Western Australia is used. Even the wood for the ovens is specially imported!
Another absolute must-try is the fruit and nut bread, which is perfect with their mind-blowing chicken liver pate. Annette love, love, LOVES the pate, which is made from equal parts butter and chicken liver, so you can imagine how decadent it is. Funny thing is, while sinfully buttery, the pate is light as air and supremely silky. Apart from luscious, no other adjectives can describe just how tasty, rich and fresh this chicken liver pate tastes! Slather the earthy pate thickly over the sweet fruit and nut bread, and you’ve got a perfect pairing.
In fact, everything on the menu has been created with their house-made, fire-baked breads in mind. All dishes are designed to pair well with the breads, including the thick, perfectly medium rare steaks served with Jerusalem artichokes & Chimmichurri sauce, as well as the mussels & chorizo served in a cast iron pot.
In Firebake, you get an honset-to-God hard working bakery, whose staff return daily, even on off-days to feed the starters (mother dough) & the fires, so that everything runs smoothly and their customers get their freshly baked goods day in, day out. Rejoice! Their famous sourdoughs and fruit and nut loaves are available for takeaway.
Firebake stands out because everything from its people to the equipment has been passionately invested and it really shows in the food. So next time you’re looking for excellent baked breads and hearty meals made from quality ingredients, all cooked to fired perfection, you’ve got to head Eastside to Firebake!
Hi Hungry People! Have you heard? My Makan Kakis radio show on the Lunchtime Jukebox is now an online series! This month, it’s all about everybody’s favourite spicy, crispy snacks – CURRY PUFFS! Watch all the delicious, deep-fried foodie action unfold on Gold 905’s FB, or visit 8Days.sg, as I take you from East to West for some of the best! With thanks to my Foodie Friends Chef Willin Low & Actor Fir Rahman for their recommendations.
This week, our Makan Kaki Violet Oon (have you tried her latest Satay Bar & Grill yet?) wants to take us on a gastronomic experience to end all experiences – if you have a very special occasion coming up or looking for an extraordinary treat or if you only try fine dining once in your life, you might want to dine at one of the very best in Singapore, 3 Michelin starred Joël Robuchon Restaurant. Violet calls this place “THE WORKS”, a flight of fancy into delights of the palate and in fact, all your senses. Dining here reminded Violet of the heady days of fine dining and entertainment in Paris back in the 80s and 90s, but make no mistake, the food here is not stuck in the past. What you’ll get is sheer perfection – French haute cuisine served in the form of inventive and delicious French classics, premium wines, impeccable service and attention to every detail.
Violet recommends the $298++ degustation menu, which is exquisite but not too heavy on the stomach. And from a chef and restaurateur’s point of view, she believes that the price tag is truly great value for the entirety of the experience, from the luxe interors, ambiance, service, wines and needless to say, sublime quality of food.
First of all, you’ll be dazzled by Robuchon’s famed bread basket, brimming with up to 10 different kinds of bread, from classic baguette, to sour dough, to bacon & onion and more. You’ll have to discipline yourself here, limit your bread intake despite the temptation to sample everything, because there is so much more to come…
Different Amuse Bouche follow – for example, chilled sweet corn veloute with imperial caviar and golden croutons and then you get a choice of a hot and a cold starter, like the hot seafood bouillabaisse that just sings of the South of France and the chilled king crab avocado cannelloni.
For the main course, Violet was particularly taken by the line-caught crispy fish, or generous whole lobster. But if you prefer a red meat, their baby lamb rack and saddle was a masterpiece.
You can then finish off your meal with a choice of dessert from their ala carte menu, but Violet recommends going for the cheese trolley, where the sheer variety and carefully curated selection is simply jaw-dropping and delicious, to say the least. Follow up your cheese course with the dessert caravan, a multi-tiered wonderland of sweet treats and ice-cream just there for the sampling. But that’s not the end – coffee or tea, done to your liking, round things off, along with more delicate, perfectly formed petit fours.
Keeping in mind that the menus (degustation & ala carte) change regularly according to the seasons, you can be assured of a meal that as been described as “magic” – every dish is painstakingly created and different from the next in flavour and texture. The skill with which every dish is handled and prepared is unparalleled.This is a meal that you simply cannot recreate at home by yourself (unless you’re a 3 Michelin starred chef!) and that’s why Joël Robuchon Restaurant is an excellent choice when you want a luxurious experience that’s worth the money you pay. Violet was most impressed and thinks the 3 stars award by Michelin was well deserved.
TASTE: Joël Robuchon Restaurant
Resorts World Sentosa
Hotel Michael, Level 1
Open for Dinner: 6 – 10.30pm (Tue – Sat), closed Sunday & Monday, except Public Holidays
Tel: +65 65777888