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


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:

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”

Light & Creamy Satay Bee Hoon with History

For someone who prides herself on being an adventurous diner, the latest makan recommendation from my foodie friend, Lyn Lee of Awfully Chocolate & Sinpopo Brand, absolutely confounded me. A hawker dish I had never tried before? How could it be? So sorely in need of a palate readjustment, I was determined to investigate Lyn’s childhood favourite – a particular slice of Bukit Timah nostalgia and the tasty history of Sin Chew Satay Bee Hoon.

Husband-and-wife team, Mr Tay Que Huak & Madam Koh Git Tia, were in action the day I paid the stall a visit. As the story goes, their signature dish was the result of a happy accident. Madam Koh explained, “The family actually used to sell fishball mee but switched to satay bee hoon because one day, my father-in-law brought home satay and there were leftovers. My mother-in-law said not to waste the sauce, so she cooked it with bee hoon and they discovered it was actually very tasty together!”

Born out of frugality and a little bit of culinary creativity, Sin Chew Satay Bee Hoon has roots in Bukit Timah Market & Food Centre that go back more than four decades. They are considered one of the few remaining pioneer heritage hawkers who moved their street food stalls from along Bukit Timah canal into the food centre.

It’s always been a family business, beginning with Mr Tay’s father in 1956, who passed it on to his children. The Tays themselves are semi-retired now, with their daughter shouldering the bulk of duties at their stall. “Our daughter started helping us right after graduating from Ngee Ann poly. She’s taken over for ten years already,” Mr Tay said proudly.

These days, Sin Chew Satay Bee Hoon’s success has afforded them the luxury of scaling back operation hours to just lunch and dinner (with a break in between) four days a week. This has only served to increase customers’ appetite for their saucy signature, with regulars often forming a queue before opening times.

What makes their satay bee hoon so popular? Click below to find out more:

Continue reading “Light & Creamy Satay Bee Hoon with History”

Orchard Road Secret: Nasi Padang with Killer Sambal Belacan!

Say you’re starving but you still want variety – something quick, tasty and wallet-friendly. Say those hunger pangs hit hard whilst you’re in the Orchard Road area. Nasi Padang might not be the most obvious choice to fulfill those criteria – unless your Makan Kakis Farah & Claudinho de Morais (behind Brazilian home business Claudinho’s Kitchen) recommend you try one of their favourite hidden gems, tucked away in a quiet fourth-floor corner of Far East Plaza.

Mansor D’Cafe is a mini makan place that can barely fit more than 12 diners (thanks, safe distancing!) in its compact premises. But what it lacks in space, it makes up in masses of flavour and choices. There, classic Malay lunch plates are served cafeteria-style (just get in line and point at what you want) by a charming couple, Mr Amin Mansor and his wife Jamilah Md. Daud.

“Our Nasi Padang is Singapore style! You really cannot find this in other places. All home recipes,” said Mr Amin, affectionately calling Madam Jamilah the “chief chef” and main pillar of their restaurant. Home and heart were never far from his lips when Mr Amin spoke. Respectfully named for Mr Amin’s father, they’ve been keeping Mansor D’Cafe in the family for more than fifteen years at Far East Plaza.

The whole Mansor D’Cafe experience – from the kampung spirit, through which customers were warmly welcomed and treated as more than friends, to the delicious home-spun recipes using fresh ingredients and celebrating local flavours – was like a home-coming.

Click below for all the sedap details:

Continue reading “Orchard Road Secret: Nasi Padang with Killer Sambal Belacan!”