Excellent Claypot Prawn Noodles

Chef Jeremy Nguee returns this week with a recommendation for excellent prawn noodles by, to quote their website, 

a band of young and passionate individuals determined to keep the Singaporean culture and our heritage alive. Inspired by the flavours of Penang prawn noodles and Japanese ramen broth… One Prawn Noodle is headed by Gwyneth Ang, with more than 10 years under her belt working in established restaurants like Burnt Ends, Tong Le Private Dining and Forlino. Her experience has enabled her to implement great techniques across different cuisines, resulting in every bowl of prawn noodle packed with mouth-watering goodness.

Always the champion of  young hawkerpreneurs, Chef Jeremy really admires the grit and effort Gwyneth and her team have put into each delicious, bubbling claypot of prawn noodles. It’s really difficult to make a good, rich prawn stock but at One Prawn & Co, they do it really well.

WATCH:

LISTEN: 
Click to listen/ download podcast of this week’s bubbling-hot, rich & robust episode!

SEE:

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Once located at Beach Road, the noodle establishment has moved to a shophouse unit along MacPherson Road and it’s a well-organised eatery, with efficient service and helpful, polite staff. These are all the frills you appreciate, but it’s their signature prawn noodles that speak volumes of their dedication to making customers happy and satisfied.

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Wait to be seated, a menu will be brought to you and your order will be taken swiftly. Each table is well set up, with tissues, chopsticks & chilli powder all conveniently displayed, along with a little bin for discarding shells thoughtfully included. The menu is a colourful board with clear instructions on how to order or combine ingredients, which are luxurious and generous options of pork ribs, large & medium prawns, prawn balls, thin slices of pork shabu and lala clams.  

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Chef Jeremy likes ordering the dry version of noodles (choose from yellow noodles, kway teow, thin bee hoon, thick beehoon or a mix of your faves), which comes with an umami sauce enhanced by aromatic fried shallots and crispy lard bits. If you like more kick, ask for more of their spicy, savoury chilli paste. Copious sprinkles of chilli powder (more aromatic than spicy) adds another layer of earthy, citrusy flavour. And be sure to apply cut red chilli in soy sauce liberally!

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I asked the staff for a recommendation and as a first-timer, they suggested the Supreme Prawn Noodles which at $20, comes with EVERYTHING (except the large prawns – regular sized ones were included). Before I knew it, a bubbling claypot of piping-hot soup, packed with ingredients, was served along with my choice of mixed yellow noodles & thick beehoon on the side.
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Tossed up to get every strand of noodle coated in sauce, the noodles looked simple, modest even, but were layered with lots of flavour. Bean sprouts & blanched kang kong brought fresh crunch, whilst crispy lard and fried shallots brought fatty flavour & fragrance. Chef Jeremy recognises the labour that goes into making of each bowl of noodles, saying, “If you process 10kg of shallots or lard, at the end of the day you get just 2 kg ‘cos it shrinks down so much.” In other words, trying to achieve the balance of umami, silkiness of the noodles and the caramelised shallots & crispy lard is no small feat. At One Prawn & Co, they do this really well and they are also considerate as to how much people can eat so the portion of noodles is judicious, yet they are very generous with the sauce and crispy bits. So when you get to the bottom of the bowl,  you still have lots to go round for your last slurp of noodles.

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True to their promise, their take on prawn broth was heady and full-bodied – inspired by Penang prawn noodles and Japanese ramen. Brewed from the shells of  prawns for hours to extract maximum flavour, it was robust and deeply prawny, with a subtle sweetness that came through beautifully. The broth had a viscosity that told of its richness and a pleasant sheen of golden-orange oil that brought loads prawn flavour. Trying not to burn myself, I drank down every drop.

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As you can see, everything is served in one bubbling claypot, packed with generous portions of lala clams (I counted four), which were sweet & briny with a bouncy texture, along with thin slices of shabu pork (I counted at least 8), which were tender and flavoursome from their little slivers of fat.

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Then there were 3 meaty pieces of pork rib, which were extremely tender with a very pleasing fat to meat ratio. Moist and luscious, they also tasted very fresh, without an overpowering porky pungency.

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Three good-sized, firm and crunchy-fresh prawns came conveniently de-shelled where it counts. Tails & heads (hello flavour!) were left on, giving access to their plump and juicy mid-sections.

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As for the tobiko prawn balls, biting into the spheres of flying fish roe gave off little bursts of crunchy tastiness, which made them really fun to eat.

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For groups and big eaters, you can also supplement your prawn noodle meal with a platter of ngoh hiang. I couldn’t resist ordering a taster for 1-2 persons ($8.50). 

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What I liked was how the crispy-fried textures and seafood flavours of the platter really complemented the prawn noodles. I especially enjoyed the deep-fried fritter disc and the handmade fishcake, dipped in the accompanying sweet and spicy chilli sauce.

Do support these young hawkerpreneurs who are dilligently pursuing excellence and serving up their earnest expression of the best prawn mee they can create. That’s why Chef Jeremy admires their dynamism – One Prawn & Co. has evolved from their Beach Road beginnings, changing things up and constantly improving. This is a prawn noodle worth trying, even though it will cost you a little extra. Wholesome and well-executed, the thought and care that goes into each serving is plain to see and taste!

TASTE:
ONE PRAWN & CO.
458 MacPherson Rd, Singapore 368176
Open
Tues – Sun: 11am – 5pm (Closed Mondays)
Tel: +65 98788897

What does Food Vlogger & Globetrotter Mark Wiens Like to Eat When He’s In Singapore?

Welcome to a very special edition of Makan Kakis!

Our new Foodie Friend Mark Wiens is a globetrotter and food vlogger who has 9 million subscribers & 2 billion views on his wildly popular YouTube channel, Migrationology. Fans will be thrilled to know he was recently in Singapore for an exciting project and I got to catch up with him on his new food series with HBO Go – Food Affair with Mark Wiens. We also got to chatting about his favourite local eats, what keeps him motivated, who he’d invite to his dream dinner party and he also recommends some of the best things to try at Dempsey Road institution Samy’s Curry Restaurant.

HEAR:

SEE:
Watch the interview video PLUS Denise challenges Mark to a food trivia game – SWEET, SALTY & SOUR – where every correct answer wins him a local snack prize!

TASTE:

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Following Makan Kaki Mark Wiens’ recommedation, I returned to Samy’s Curry Restaurant to grab a takeaway of his Top 3 dishe to try. On the side of the dining area is a takeout counter where the practiced staff are ready to take your orders and asssemble them briskly (I wasn’t leaving without extra papadums!).  

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The staff scoop your orders from their long display of mouth-watering dishes and as they pack them up, you head to the cashier inside to pay up before returning to collect your takeaway.

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I may have over-ordered, but it was, afterall, for a family meal! Someone else brought roti prata – plain and egg – to add to the pot-luck party, so it turned out to be a massive feast.    

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Besides extra papadum, fish cutlets, crispy spiced cauliflower 65, palak paneer (spinch and cottage cheese), mutton mysore and biryani (comes with free sides of cabbage curry and dry potato curry potato), I dutifully asked for Mark’s must-try Fish Head Curry, Black Squid and Masala Chicken.

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Mark’s absolute favourite at Samy’s Curry is their Fish Head Curry, a spicy, tangy, savoury, meaty behemoth packed with extra veggies like lady’s finger & brinjal. This was a medium order and there was ample fish to feed 5 with leftovers for the next day (the dish tastes even better overnight!). In Mark’s words, you’ll want to drink down every drop of that delectable curry gravy! 

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The Masala Chicken is another good choice, with a lots of heat from chilli and spices, savouriness from the chicken meat and a slight sweetness to balance it all. They were generous with their portions of chicken legs and the thick sauce tasted even better licked off fingers after tearing into the chicken with our bare hands!

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Mark’s third recommendation was the black squid, which really tasted like a uniquely Singaporean, cross-cultural amalgamation of flavours. It was piquant, packed with chillies, whole garlic cloves, curry leaf and other herbs and spices that came together beautifully with a gentle heat and a whole lot of umami. The tender squid brought a ton of buncy texture and umami.

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Assembling the perfect plate for a fully satisfying curry feast from Samy’s…

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Samy’s Curry Restaurant is not a local culinary stalwart for nothing. Its history spans decades from its start at Tank Road in the 1960s to its move to Dempsey in the 1970s, where it has remained ever since. It has certainly played a big part in the food memories of many, including myself, who fondly remember boisterous family feasts there. The flavours are nostalgic, the menu is varied (both Northern & Southern Indian favourites are available) and you really can’t go wrong with Mark’s Top 3 choices, especially the Fish Head Curry! Wanna learn more about its history? Watch out for the episode which features Samy’s Curry in Mark’s new series Food Affair with Mark Wiens, which debuts Friday 18th November 2022 on HBO Go!  

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Samy’s Curry Restaurant
Blk 25 Dempsey Road Singapore 249670
Open: 11am – 3pm (Lunch); 6pm – 10pm (Dinner); closed on Tuesdays.
Tel: +65 6472 2080

Affordable, Quality Cantonese Seafood Collagen Soup by MasterChef SG Alumnus

Greetings, Makan Kakis!

This week, Masterchef Singapore Season 1 Alumnus Sharon Gonzago joins us with an exciting new update on her post-competition journey – she has a new F&B venture in the heart of the CBD! By the way, if you’re also a talented cook & are feeling inspired, why not register for Season 4? Auditions are now open. Details here!

HEAR:

SEE:

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Since being featured in MasterChef SG, Sharon Gonzago has been keeping very busy with culinary projects here in Singapore and in Bali, the most recent of which is Soup Cup – her new “Modern Seafood Soup Kiosk” at the basement of Hong Leong Building. She’s always wanted to do affordable food that doesn’t stint on quality and so far, she’s been able to do this at Soup Cup. Everything is made from fresh ingredients and her seafood is delivered fresh every morning.

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The modern concept comes from the self-order touch screen stations, where you can build your own soup cups. Start off with your choice of fish – batang, black grouper or red snapper, which can be paired with secret-marinade minced pork. You can also choose from an extensive list of add-ons including Japanese scallops, Korean clams, squid, prawns, romaine lettuce and fried beancurd rolls. Fancy a staple to make it a complete meal? There’s also furikake rice, thick beehoon or Japanese konjac noodles.

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At Sharon’s recommendation, I tried the signature soup cup, which includes a whole selection of sustainably-sourced seafood, which is great value-for-money at $13 for fresh Japanese scallops, Korean clams, two large prawns, squid, fish slices, minced pork, tofu and romaine lettuce.

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The star of the large portion was, of course, the Cantonese-style collagen soup made from boiling chicken, pork and tee poh (dried flat fish) for 8 hours daily. It was meaty and rich without being cloying and delicately flavoured, umami coming from the tee poh. The side of rice came wrapped like a little hamburger. Japanese condiment Furikake with seasonings, spices, sesame seeds and seaweed added extra flavour to the hot rice.

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I really enjoyed adding the rice into the fish soup in my second order, the Piccolo soup cup, a petite portion of batang fish soup in a large to-go coffee cup, perfect for a light lunch or snack. Bonus: this month of November, each Piccolo order comes with two free deep fried beancurd rolls for dipping! Don’t forget to dip liberally in Sharon’s spicy, zingy chilli sauce that adds a mouth-wateringly bright, acidic tang to cut through the richness of the bowl.

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So if you work in the area, or fancy a hot bowl of quality seafood comfort with no MSG or extra oil added, do check out Soup Cup at Hong Leong Building, conveniently located near the MRT staion and a little walk from Lau Pa Sat. There, you’ll find Sharon when she’s not busy setting up the next outlet, soon to open at White Sands!

TASTE:
SOUP CUP
Hong Leong Building, 16 Raffles Quay, B1-26, Singapore 048581
Open Mon – Fri: 9am – 3.30pm

Luscious & Lemak x 2 – Laksa & Chicken Curry!

Back with us is MasterChef Singapore judge, Chef Damian D’Silva of Singapore Heritage restaurant Rempapa (check out their Deepavali specials below) . A while back, he took us to one of his favourite stalls for Cantonese-style steamed dishes – Chef Chik at Haig Road Food Centre. We return to the same food centre to visit another stall for “Chinese-style lemak laksa” that Chef Damian really enjoys!

HEAR:
Click to listen/ download podcast of this doubly lusicious & lemak episode!

SEE: 

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At Goody N Jolly, their laksa is prawn based, with a rich coconut broth and a rempah that has Chef Damian’s seal of approval.

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This is the Prawn + Cockle version ($6), which comes with thick vermicelli, taupok, sliced fishcake, hard-boiled egg as well as prawns and cockles, of course!

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Laksa gravy was indeed rich and coconutty, yet light but not cloying. Gentle heat came from the large dollop of sambal on top, which was  unusual and delicious – tangy and full of savoury umami!

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Not a fan of cockles? There are other versions of the laksa to choose from – prawn + taupok ($5.50), shredded chicken + prawn ($6) and shredded chicken + taupok ($5).

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Another must-try at Goody N Jolly is the curry chicken ($7), which you can enjoy with bread (local-style French loaf) or rice. I went for the laksa, but will return for this delectable curry, which turned out to be a complete revelation!

IMG_4982It came served piping hot in a large ceramic bowl filled with generous chunks of chicken that featured fork-tender meat and creamy-soft potatoes.

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And you’re gonna want to drink up ALL the delcious gravy! Robust, deeply savoury & lip-smackingly tasty, the curry was rich in spices but not too hot. Lots of curry leaves added even more depth of flavour.

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If ever you’re craving for a luscious, lemak and spicy meal, double your pleasure with the local delights served up so well at Goody N Jolly. By the way, if the name sounds familiar, they used operate from B1 of Parkway Parade, so if you’ve ever wondered where they went, they relocated 10 years ago to Haig Road Food Centre! Conveniently, they also run the drinks store (of the same name) right next door, which means a thirst quencher right after your hearty meal is literally just a step away.

Just note that they only open for laksa and curry chicken business only 4 times a week – Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday. Also, their curry is often sold out before 3pm so get there early!

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TASTE:
Goody N Jolly (CDC VOUCHERS accepted here)
Haig Road Market & Food Centre
14 Haig Rd, #01-71, Singapore 430014
Open: 9.30am – 6pm (Closed Mondays, Thursdays & Fridays)

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BONUS!
This Deepavali season, Chef Damian D’Silva continues his Cultural Celebration Series at Rempapa with 2 special dishes – one South Indian and one Northern Sri Lankan – which Chef Damian D’Silva learned from his beloved Grandad.

rempapa_deepavali_kool_4Kool ($80++, serves 4), a Northern Sri Lankan specialty follows a recipe belonging to a neighbour of his Grandad. The hearty soup consists of fresh seafood such as fish, crab, prawns, and cuttlefish; as well as vegetables such as long beans, sliced tapioca, and jackfruit seeds. Cooked brown rice and odiyal flour (from a root of the palmyra tree) are added to thicken the soup. Spicy and tangy, this robust stew takes 3 days of preparation, so it be sure to order 3 days in advance!

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Lamb Dhalcha ($60++ serves 4) is Chef Damian’s Eurasian interpretation of a traditional South Indian lentil stew, using his Grandad’s recipe that features smoked bacon bones. Lamb ribs, lentils and potatoes are spiced with cumin, fennel and coriander and cooked in coconut milk and tamarind juice for a rich, hearty, meaty treat to be eaten with chapati.

Only available till Monday 24 Oct – book ahead & get more info:
Tel: +65 9459 1603
Email: papa@rempapa.sg
Online: Click to reserve.

 

Continue reading “Luscious & Lemak x 2 – Laksa & Chicken Curry!”

CDC Voucher Best Eats – Mr Bucket Chocolaterie

It’s a sweet finish to our special feature on some of the best eats to spend your CDC Vouchers on and this final installment is for the chocolate lovers. Bringing a little high-end to the heartland, Mr Bucket Chocolaterie is located at the foot of an HDB block along Sin Ming Road. It stands out from its neighbours, including a paint shop, beauty parlour and kopitiam where pot-bellied uncles drink beer and smoke cigarettes all day. Yet, it doesn’t feel out of place. In nearly two years, Mr Bucket – with its clean, minimalist design, hipster terrazzo counters and shiny glass storefront – has settled comfortably into its surroundings.

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The brand’s exquisite chocolates originate from regional producers including Malaysia, Vietnam, India & The Philippines. Mr Bucket is all about championing Asian growers because even though European chocolates have a reputation for being the best in the world, its source fruit, the cacao, grows best in tropical climes. “It’s the whole belt 20 degrees North & South of the Equator. Popular places include Ivory Coast, Ghana, Central and South America, so why not Asia?” said 35-year-old founder and CEO Jerome Penafort.

Continue reading “CDC Voucher Best Eats – Mr Bucket Chocolaterie”

CDC Voucher Best Eats – Loaded, Lemak Laksa!

Fresh off his win in July, MasterChef Singapore Season 3 winner Johnathan Chew, whose grandmother once sold kway chap & braised meats, suggested that I visit a relative’s stall for laksa that was “a cut above the rest”. Intrigued by the aspiring chef’s deep familial ties to hawker food, I headed for a kopitiam in the Tiong Bahru area to suss things out.

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Lau Jiang Fishball Minced Meat Noodle, Laksa is run by Johnathan’s aunt, Ms Alexandrea Eng, whose her father started their original stall in 1971 at an HDB block along Alexandra Road. After the building went en bloc twenty years ago, they moved to their current location in Jalan Membina. The stall first established itself selling traditional Teochew-style bak chor mee, but they decided to diversify after the move by adding laksa to their menu.

Continue reading “CDC Voucher Best Eats – Loaded, Lemak Laksa!”

CDC Voucher Best Eats – Nostalgic Local Desserts

This is Part 5 of our Makan Kakis x CNA Lifestyle series featuring some of the best eats to spend your CDC vouchers on.

Singaporeans love a food fad. We’ve witnessed the proliferation of insta-worthy cafes offering up rainbow-coloured, glitter-sprinkled, unicorn-inspired confections. We’ve gone gaga over artisanal gelato, made in small batches and rising in rabid popularity. We’ve queued hours for all-manner of baked goods, from cinnamon rolls to cream puffs to donuts to cruffins. We’ve been enthralled by Taiwanese bubble tea, Korean bingsu and Japanese souffle pancakes.

But sometimes, all you want is the sweet relief of something familiar, comforting and local. When it comes to desserts, I’m in agreement with my Makan Kaki, co-owner of Seafood Restaurant Diamond Kitchen & Modern Japanese Izakaya iKO, Lambert Chen. He’s a big fan of the ice jelly at Teck Kee Hot & Cold Dessert, which has been serving residents in the Bukit Timah area for almost thirty areas, myself included. He heads there right after his prawn noodle fix, a cool chaser for a spicy meal. He calls it his “happy meal combo”.

I remember the same stall for treats from Grandpa, quick after-school stopovers and late-night supper sessions with Uni friends. I hadn’t been in a while, so when I was reminded of its charms, I made a beeline for the stalwart stall of my youth. It was also great news to discover that I could use my CDC Vouchers for the sweet treats and childhood comforts…

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Continue reading “CDC Voucher Best Eats – Nostalgic Local Desserts”

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”