Hello Makan Kakis, we’re back to Phase 2 Heightened Alert in Singapore, so while we go about getting ourselves something good to eat, remember to stay safe and spare a thought as well for hawkers who need our support through yet another hurdle in our fight against COVID-19.
No dine-ins are allowed, but we can still pop out for a quick takeaway, so here’s a good one to consider. Get ready to indulge this week with our foodie friend, Gelato Chef & owner of Momolato, Sharon Tay. For something spicy, creamy & deeply satisfying, you’ve got to try her favourite Chinese-style Fish Head Curry! Take it from Chef Sharon, who grew up in the area enjoying the signature dish of this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it stall at Old Airport Road Food Centre. Tucked away in a corner at one far end of the renowned hawker heaven, you’ll find Yi Lu Fa.
The best thing about running a fish farm is the access to the freshest produce possible for your own eatery. Case in point, popular-amongst-chefs-and-foodies-alike, Ah Hua Kelong. This week, our Makan Kaki, Ownself Make Chef Shen Tan recommends the restaurant by her regular suppliers to her Sinfully Seafood private dining dinners.
Located in a quiet corner of the Jalan Besar area, Scaled by Ah Hua Kelong is the only fish farm owned restaurant in Singapore. this means all the fish dishes on the menu come direct from the farm to the kitchen to your table. 90% of all their other ingredients are also locally sourced, so it’s worth giving this unique restaurant your support.
While Scaled doesn’t have a large menu, but it’s been carefully curated into a handful of tried and tested sides and mains that bring freshness and flavour to the fore. This is seafood done right, with special Singapore freshness and flair.
Hi Makan Kakis, Talking Point’s Steven Chia is back with another recommendation and this time it’s where he’s been enjoying the delights of zi char staple, fried hor fun. This place may be all about specialising in one noodle dish, but it’s also all about variety, so whether you like surf or turf or both, Hin Fried Hor Fun delivers! Theirs is the “dry” version, blanketed in a thick gravy for maximum coverage. The starchy sauce clings lovingly to every curled, broad flat noodle piece that has first been tossed in a screamingly hot wok, for that distinct breath of smoke (wok hei).
Hey Makan Kakis, this episode is a little different but no less delicious, and we have a new foodie friend! A week ago, Fly Entertainment CEO, entrepreneur & entertainer best known for her role as Rosie in TV’s Phua Chu Kang, Irene Ang joined me for a virtual mukbang lunch party, with food delivered from her latest F&B venture, Soi Candy Thai Noodle and Seafood Bar. Scroll down for more, or watch & listen next!
Click to listen/ download podcast, in which Irene dishes on the delicious Thai food from her restaurant Soi Candy and why she opened it even when business was bad due to last year’s circuit breaker. She also dishes up advice & encouragement for fellow business owners who’ve had to weather countless storms during the pandemic, plus shares on her current pet project reaching out to the homeless.
Modeled after Thai kopitiams, complete with little wooden stools & tables and a bar where the Chang beer freely flows (Thai milk teas and other yummy beverages also available!), Soi Candy is a casual eatery in Tanjong Pagar serves up traditional Northern Thai cuisine with a fun twist, prepared by Chef Candy from Chiang Rai.
The Boss Lady behind bakery & bistro Little House of Dreams and Easy Food SG is back! Audrey Lee really enjoys her carrot cake, also known as Chye Tow Kway in Singapore. It really needs no explanation for locals, but just in case, the savoury carrot cake in this story is not really made from carrots (sorry, Bugs Bunny!), but from radish or daikon that has been grated, mixed into a paste with rice flour (recipes vary but cornstarch and tapioca flour are also used), then steamed to create a moist, jiggly “cake” which is then cubed and fried with other ingredients for a tasty snack.
Audrey particularly loves the carrot cake from a stall within the Let’s Eat mini foodcourt at The Grandstand (the former Turf Club off Dunearn Road). Admittedly one of her favourite comfort foods, Audrey is partial to the “white” version (sans sweet dark soya sauce) of chye tow kway and usually wolfs her share down in less than 10 minutes.
Please meet our new Foodie Friend, investment-banker-turned-award-winning-gelato-chef & founder of Momolato (cafe & gelato brand) Sharon Tay!
Momolato is short for “more and more gelato” and believe me, Sharon has dreamt up an extensive menu of unique and delicious gelato & sorbets that are eco-friendly and halal, with keto, vegan, dairy-free and no-sugar added options.
This week, get to know more about the brand, the cafe and the lady boss behind Momolato (she supplies lots of others places in Singapore too!) – do have a listen to our podcasts! And do scroll down for highlights from Momolato’s unique menu.
Gelato Chef Sharon Tay absolutely adores curry rice, specifically the classic Hainanese type, which features rice & a choice of accompanying dishes, all drenched in a bath of Chinese-style curry gravy. Her hands-down favourite has got to be Tiong Bahru stalwart, Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice, a stall that has a 75-year history and a painstaking curry recipe that allegedly takes 3 days to create. Operating out of its humble Seng Poh Road coffeeshop, Loo’s continues to delight hungry diners looking for the home-cooked comforts coupled with their signature curry.
Chef Sharon describes said curry as “creamy” and “aromatic” and indeed, when Denise popped by to do a quick takeaway, the intensity of flavour was distinct, even after sitting wrapped in takeaway wax paper for a good 30 minutes. What it lacked in temperature heat, the curry gravy more than made up for its kick and taste. It had soaked into the rice and dishes, imbuing everything with a delicious spiciness that was rich, yet not cloying.
Fresh out of the fryer, Chef Sharon cannot resist Loo’s famous pork chop, which is “amazing” and “crispy”. Coated with Khong Guan biscuits that have been pulverised to a fine powder then seasoned and fried, the pork chop boasts a golden-crunchy crumb crust and tender meat, enhanced by the classic sweet & sour Hainanese tomato sauce. Denise, however preferred to enjoy the porkchop sans tomato sauce, to really bump up the pure curry flavour from the gravy slathered all over the dish.
In true “point-point” rice style, lots of other dishes are on offer at Loo’s, presented in metal containers you can choose from. Denise got there near closing time, but managed to snag some braised cabbage with glass vermicelli, a whole squid and a fried egg which was squirted with sticky-sweet dark soy sauce (hence the deep brown colour of the sauce above).
All-in-all, Loo’s is really one of the best in Singapore, serving up consistently good curry rice and dishes since 1946 – seven decades of experience is testament to the quality of their food! Hainanese Curry Rice really is one of those quintessential “Ugly-Delicious” dishes – it’s pretty much a brown gloopy mess, but with the very special curry holding everything together, it just tastes wonderful. Hearty, satisfying and comforting!
*** BONUS *** Some highlights of halal, eco-friendly Momolato‘s menu – these look good and taste great, who would guess they are keto, vegan, dairy-free or no-sugar-added? Denise loves the combination of pandan waffle with coconut gelato. Other stand-out flavours were the unusual 1000 Days Gouda Cheese Keto gelato (delightfully savoury-sweet), Triple Blend Chocolate sorbet, Red Watermelon Soursop sobet and Oolong Kyoto Hojicha. Order your gelato, sorbet, frozen yogurt, popsicles and fruite lattes here now!
Hi Makan Kakis! This week, we welcome a new Foodie Friend, whose Modern European restaurant on Dempsey Hill features lots of Asian touches and beautiful ceramics designed and created by the chef himself, Heman Tan. The co-owner and chef of Moonbow has an interesting story to tell, in the beautiful plates of food he creates and also on a personal level. His is a story of overcoming dyslexia and other obstacles in life to get where he is today – doting family man, triathlete, ceramics artist, celebrated chef and mentor to his team in the Moonbow kitchen. He shares a little bit of that story in our 2-part podcast and also recommends a delicious hawker favourite of his.
Chef Heman’s recommendation is part nostalgia, part pragmatic and AAAALL delicious! He loves prawn noodles, especially if there’s the added bonus of pork ribs. His go-to place for his bakut hae mee fix? A stall he’s been patronising since his younger days spent hanging out in the Tiong Bahru & Redhill areas.
Located in the now-famous Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre, Min Nan Pork Ribs Prawn Noodle has been there for many years and Chef Heman has seen how they’ve evolved. He recalls buying satay from them back in the day, but now their focus is on prawn noodles, with the very welcome addition of pork ribs. And for Chef Heman, it always has to be the dry version. For one, it’s absolutely delicious but his main reason was of a more pragmatic nature.
Our Foodie Friend Juwanda Hassim returns after a little hiatus to update us on what’s been happening with his cafe The Fabulous Baker Boy. It hasn’t been a walk in the park after closing his cafe during last year’s circuit breaker and finally moving to his new space in Kampong Glam in January; then just as things were picking up, we’re back in Phase 2 (Heightened Alert). Even though we can’t dine in at the cafe, we can still order cakes and delicious savouries online. FREE whole cake deliveries island-wide as well as food orders over $80, plus discounts with self pick-up from the cafe.
Click to listen/ download PART 2 of our podcast with Juwanda Hassim – He narrows it down to one cake and one savoury you absolutely must order online for delivery or pickup. And what other sweet treats he’ll be introducing soon to his menu soon.
It’s a rare pleasure to actually share a meal in a restaurant with a Makan Kaki, so it was wonderful catching up in person with Juwanda at the very restaurant he was recommending. Just to be clear, these pictures were taken before the current Phase 2 Heightened Alert was announced. Fortunately, you can still order everything you see online and enjoy it in the comfort of your own home, so stay safe everyone!
Kailash Parbat is a favourite of Juwanda’s because of their famous chaats, which are deliciously moreish tea-time treats that can also be eaten on the go, hence their popularity as Indian street snacks. The restaurant has lots more to offer on their extensive menu, but Juwanda wanted to really zoom in on the chaats, which are vegetarian, not too heavy on the stomach, yet bursting with flavours, colours and textures. First introduced to him by a vegetarian friend from overseas, Kailash Parbat is now his go-to place when he wants to give friends a surprising treat. So lucky me, I had a whole array of chaats over a chat one lovely afternoon with my Makan Kaki, whose first recommendation off the menu was Pani Puri.
Little puffs of deep fried pastry, crispy and light as a feather, are stuffed with a spiced potato mixture, drizzled in a sticky, sweet and sour tamarind sauce then bathed in a spicy yet refreshingly cool mint water. For $7, you get 7 pani puri plus the sauce and spiced water on the side to pour as you like. According to Juwanda, one bite and you’re hooked – the flavour is just amazing. Small enough to pop whole in your mouth, you’ll get hot, cold, crispy, creamy, spicy, tangy, sweet, savoury all in one. This is one dish that ticks all the boxes for taste and texture. It’s Juwanda must-have when he’s at Kailash Parbat and he needs all 7 to himself – he won’t share! And he loves the pani puri so much, he’ll even eat yours too if you can’t finish your portion!
Next up, for a one-stop intro to chaats, Juwanda recommends the KP Chaat Platter ($17), which presents a whole selection of classics on one very large plate. Described in the menu as “An exciting platter of dahi wada, bhel puri, sev puri & crispy corn basket”, it was an entire meal on its own, capable of feeding 4 people, or 2 greedy people (us!). Quite the intimidating spectacle for the uninitiated (me!), the KP Chaat Platter was made up of different colourful mounds, thrown together with different ingredients, sauces and chutneys. It was like a delectable archaeological dig, unearthing tasty treasures from under the blanket of sauces and crispy, golden sev (small pieces of spiced chickpea flour noodles).
First came the vadai, smothered in a cool, creamy yogurt sauce, studded with glistening jewels of pomegranate. It wasa mellow and mild start, because things were about to get much spicier!
Next, in a riotously wonderful assault on the senses, were deep fried discs of golden crispness (flat puri, pastry balls), chilli chutney, sweet and sour sauces, puffed rice, potatoes, onion, tomatoes, green chilli chutney and tamarind sauce.
Finally, crunchy corn baskets filled with fresh ingredients like sweet corn, diced onion and tomato, along with an innocuous-looking green chilli sauce which turned out to be so formidably spicy, it burned. But it hurt so good, the heat tempered by the raw veggies! Literally a rainbow on a plate and a party on the palate, this platter was an incredible introduction to the world of chaats.
After washing everything down with long cool glasses of Mango & Fennel Lassi ($7), believe it or not we still had room for more, so we rounded off our “light” tea with the Punjabi Samosa.
Two hefty pyramids of pastry packed full of spicy potato were served along with a gorgeous, hot chick pea curry garnished with chopped onion and coriander.
It isn’t hard to see why Juwanda is enthralled with the place – it’s not expensive, the chaat menu is all about sharing food featuring all the familar Asian flavours we love and everything tastes like it’s made with love.