Food of the gods – Heavenly Soon Kueh & other Teochew Snacks

Hi Foodie Friends! As we navigate these days of automation, industrialisation and mass production, it feels like we’ve lost something that feels vital and personal. What’s missing is that human touch, a sense of belonging and a connection to a remembered past. In my personal search for culinary authenticity, I found a taste of the past that connects me to the Teochew side of my heritage.

These traditional savoury kuehs were a delight to discover, thanks to the recommendation of my Makan Kaki and author of the cookbook The Way of Kueh, Christopher Tan. Through the course of research for his book, he met Madam Tay Lee Tiong, a formidable woman with an equally formidable skill in creating traditional Teochew snacks like soon kueh, png kueh and koo chye kueh (all of which are variations of steamed rice cakes or dumplings, stuffed with different fillings).

Find out more about this week’s delicious recommendation here:

foreground: Koo Chye Kueh stuffed full of chives. background: png kueh.
SOON KUEH: large, pillowy pockets stuffed with winter bamboo shoots, turnip, carrot, shitake mushroom and hae bee.
Denise with Madam Tay Lee Tiong (Ah Yee) and her son Jeffrey Goh.

TASTE: Ah Yee’s Soon Kueh is located at 124 Tembeling Rd,  Singapore 423623
Open 8am to 5pm, Thursdays to Tuesdays. Closed on Wednesdays. 

Next-Level Mee Rebus & Satay

Noodles make me happy. Swimming in soup, or tossed in a sauce, they’re a comfort food like no other. Especially when they come covered in a rich, spicy sweet potato gravy. Literally “boiled noodles” in Malay, mee rebus is one local dish that transcends its rather plain definition. But what can take already transcendent mee rebus to a whole other level?

Two words. Satay Sauce.

Imagine thick, chunky, peanut sauce cascading over thick, smooth sweet potato gravy, blanketing boiled yellow noodles. These were noodles that took me beyond happy to joy unlimited.

extra special mee rebus 2
Extra Special Mee Rebus with hard boiled egg, whole chicken leg and satay sauce topping

This revelation was all thanks to my Makan Kaki, Juwanda Hassim, chef and owner of The Fabulous Baker Boy Bakery & Café. A childhood favourite he thought he’d lost forever, Rahim Muslim Food was a popular stall amongst Juwanda’s classmates when it was still operating out of an old shophouse near their school in Upper Serangoon. Fortunately, we managed to hunt down its current location in Ang Mo Kio, where I discovered why theirs is next-level mee rebus.

chicken satay 1
Chicken Satay

And their satay is pretty extraordinary too!

with Mr Rahim & his daughter Fida
Mr Rahim & his daughter Fida with Denise


TASTE: Rahim Muslim Food is located at 453A Ang Mo Kio Ave 10, Chong Boon Market, #01-01, Singapore 560453. It’s open Mondays to Fridays 12.30pm to 7.30pm, Saturdays and Sundays 11.30am to 7.30pm.
Tel: +65 97867362

HOKKIEN MEE WITH KILLER SAMBAL

Hello Makan Kakis!

In the labyrinth of stalls at ABC Brickworks Food Centre, one man has been quietly serving up outstanding hokkien mee since the 1980s. Only recently have his noodles been making a bigger noise, thanks to a Michelin Bib Gourmand mention. My Makan Kaki Koh Han Jie, Head Chef of Elfuego and quite the gourmand himself, recommended that I get in line despite the longer queues, to try Mr Toh Seng Wang’s expertly fried noodles. Which got me thinking – what makes this hokkien mee so special that people are willing to queue for a taste of it? You’re about to find out…

Click the links below for more on the perfectly fried hokkien mee from Tiong Bahru Yi Sheng:

TASTE: Tiong Bahru Yi Sheng Hokkien Prawn Mee is located at ABC Brickworks Food Centre, 6 Jalan Bukit Merah, #01-13, Singapore 150006. It’s open Thursdays to Tuesdays, 3pm to 10.45pm. Closed on Wednesdays.
Tel: +65 98629296
*NOTE: ABC Brickworks Food Centre will close for Renovation Works From 16 Mar Till 15 May 2020. So hurry to get your noodle fix by the end of this week, or you’ll have to wait a month!

CRAZY-CRISPY COIN PRATA!

Greetings Greedies! This week’s Makan Kakis x CNA Lifestyle collab takes us to Upper Thomson for a hit of addictive crispy, crunchiness.

It’s one of Singapore’s the most popular hawker treats with roots in India, but has since evolved and been embraced in countries across Southeast Asia. It’s a potent combination of carbs, fat, sugar and spice that’s flipped, fried and dipped, with variations that boggle the mind. From plaster to bomb to tissue and beyond, who can resist Roti Prata?

My Makan Kaki Alexis Toh (travel blogger @alexisjetsets and co-author of local food guide Eat. Muse. Love.) recommended I head over to Sin Ming Road for her favourite roti prata. And there in an unassuming coffee shop, I had a rewarding encounter with something I’d never tried before – COIN PRATA. Forgive the pun, but each delectable disc of fried dough is SO MONEY.

What to eat your coin prata set with. Foreground: Mutton Curry. Background: Chicken Curry

Click the links below for more on Sin Ming Roti Prata’s crazy-crispy coin prata:

(L-R) Denise with Mohamed, Faisal & their father Haj Mohamed (Aziz)

TASTE: Sin Ming Roti Prata is located at 24 Sin Ming Road, Jin Fa Kopitiam, #01-51, Singapore 570024. It’s open 6.30am to 6.30pm (closed on alternate Fridays).

 

Restaurant-Quality Chee Cheong Fun in a Hawker Centre!

Hello Foodies, our Makan Kakis x CNA Lifestyle collab is back! Time to loosen your collars and fix yourself a cold drink – things are about to get hot and steamy. This is a love story 10 years in the making – the meeting of taste and technique, brought together by one family’s quest for the perfect marriage between tradition and technology. If that all sounded a tad too dramatic, it’s only because watching how Pin Wei Hong Kong Style Chee Cheong Fun is made was pure theatre.

char siew chee cheong fun

Recommended by my Makan Kaki, Wendy Foo of Ryan’s Grocery, these steamed rice roll experts serve up plates of perfection six days a week at Pek Kio Market & Food Centre. She says it’s probably the best in Singapore and so good, even Hong Kong superstar Chow Yun Fatt has been spotted there getting his Chee Cheong Fun Fix! Even better for Wendy, as the mum of a gluten-intolerant son, Pin Wei’s freshly made-to-order Chee Cheong Fun are gluten-free (get it plain, without the sauce), so they can dine out as a family and enjoy hawker food together!

centre: prawn chee cheong fun & home made sambal belacan

Click the links below for more on Pin Wei Hong Kong Style Chee Cheong Fun:

Denise (left) with the Tan family behind Pin Wei: Auntie Molly, Uncle Song Beow and son Eddy.

TASTE:  Pin Wei Hong Kong Style Chee Cheong Fun is located at 41A Cambridge Rd, #01-25, Singapore 211041.
It’s open Thursdays to Tuesdays, 6.30am to 2pm (closed on Wednesdays).
Tel: +65 63650501

 

Best of Zichar Techniques with Restaurant Quality Ingredients!

HEAR:
Click here to listen/ download the podcast of this week’s tasty episode!

SEE:

This week, our Makan Kaki Cheng Hsin Yao (owner of Picnic Food Park, creator of Omakase Burger, Seizan Uni Ramen & Supergreek grain bowls) recommends the king of comfort food – zichar! And when he wants his zichar fix, he heads to an unlikely place – mainly because from the exterior, it looks like a proper air-conditioned Chinese Banqueting Restaurant, and not the space that usually occupies a kopitiam. But trust him, therein lies the beauty of the food at Gim Tim Restaurant – you get the best of zichar cooking techniques with restaurant quality ingredients in one tasty, happy marriage!

Continue reading “Best of Zichar Techniques with Restaurant Quality Ingredients!”

What Gin Goes with Peranakan Food?

Greetings Makan Kakis! Back with more yumminess is our Foodie Friend, award-winning cookbook author Shermay Lee of Shermay’s Singapore Fine Food. It’s been a while, so here are 2 main things to catch up on:

Shermay’s wildly popular The New Mrs Lee Cookbook Vol.1 & 2 (first published in 2003) have finally been reprinted and you can purchase this pair of instant classics now at most good bookstore, Amazon, Redmart and shermay.com (for autographed copies). These cookbooks are her updated take on her Grandmother’s (Mrs Lee Chin Koon) original recipes from Mrs Lee’s Cookbook, pain-stakingly taste-tested and broken down into easy-to-follow steps for the modern cook.

She’s teamed up with buffet restaurant The Line at Shangri-La Hotel for a sedap Peranakan collaboration called Grandma’s Kitchen. Basically, she’s taken over their entire Asian section and filled it with a mouth-watering array of classic Nyonya dishes created from her Grandma’s recipes. Best of all, your Grandma dines for free in a limited-time promotion – use the code below when booking! By the way, the rest of the buffet is also at your disposal, from the cold seafood station, to cold cuts, pasta, carving station, Laksa station, desserts, free-flow coffee, local drinks and teh tarik (from a dispenser!), with Shermay’s Peranakan dishes taking centrestage. $80++ is great value for all that! Also, you can go home after seeing & tasting to recreate the makan with their complimentary recipe cards!

HEAR:

  • Click here to listen/ download podcast of Part 1 – Shermay has reprinted her award-winning cookbooks, The New Mrs Lee’s Cookbook Vol 1 & 2!
  • Click here to listen/ download podcast of Part 2 – Shermay’s collab with Shangri-La’s The Line for Grandma’s Kitchen Peranakan Buffet!
  • Click here to listen/ download podcast of this week’s distinctly Singaporean gin distillery!

SEE:
Are you a gin lover? This cocktail du jour is enjoying a spell in the spotlight and understandably so. It’s a refreshing tipple with so many possibilities. This week, Shermay recommends her favourite gin which also happens to be proudly made in Singapore. It’s well-crafted in small batches, with a nod to Asian flavours.


Brass Lion Gin Distillery was set up by Ms Jamie Koh, someone Shermay calls a hardworking, single-minded capable gin crafter with big dreams. It’s been a long path getting to that place of fruition and as a fellow food crafter & small producer, Shermay finds affinity her neighbour, whose gin distillery is just two blocks from her office. Both are extremely hands-on in their businesses, from hand labelling their products, to overseeing production and flavour profiles. Their products are the embodiment of everything they do.

Continue reading “What Gin Goes with Peranakan Food?”

WHICH WANTAN MEE DO YOU PREFER?

HEAR:
Click here to listen/ download podcast of this week’s double recommendation of wantan mee spiciness!

SEE:
Hello Makan Kakis! If you love Wantan Noodles as much as our Foodie Friend Xin Hui Helder-Eng, then you might already  be familiar with Eng’s Noodles House, of amazing springy noodles, crispy lard & fiery chilli fame. In particular, everybody talks about the extra-spicy chilli sauce that can make you cry and bring you to your knees! Of late though, there’s been some debate over the appearance of TWO Eng’s wantan mee restaurants along the same stretch of Tanjong Katong Road. Are they the same as the original noodles the late chef-owner Mr Ng Ba Eng gave us? Why are there two shops with almost the same name opposite each other? And which one is better?  Xin Hui did a little digging to find out…

Eng’s Wantan Noodle (original location)

Continue reading “WHICH WANTAN MEE DO YOU PREFER?”