National Day Special: Top Local Eats (Chicken Rice)

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Hello Makan Kakis! Welcome to the first installment of our National Day special, featuring the 5 top local eats (worthy of “national dish” status), as voted by our Gold 905 listeners. The clear favourite, coming in head, shoulders and tail feathers above the rest, was chicken rice. Unsurprising, since nobody can resist tender chicken and toothsome rice, all bathed in mouth-watering aromatics. Add condiments of chilli sauce and thick, sticky-sweet black soya sauce, sliced cucumbers and a bowl of soup, chicken rice is a complete, affordable meal that truly reflects our country’s culinary history and development.

Initially brought to Singapore in the late 1800s by early Hainanese immigrants from China, chicken rice has evolved to suit local palates. Cantonese influences have crept into its preparation, from the tangy red chilli dipping sauce, to the traditional way of poaching whole chickens, then plunging them into cold water for that distinctive smooth, tender meat and gelatinous skin. The poaching liquid is also used to cook the fragrant and flavourful oil-coated rice, which some insist is the most important element of the entire dish.

When Gold 905 listeners were asked where they like to go for their favourite chicken rice fix, a few popular players emerged, of course – famous names like Tian Tian, Boon Tong Kee and Wee Nam Kee, as well as stalwarts like Yet Con and Chin Chin. Honestly though, discussions about where to find the best of this beloved national dish won’t reach any satisfactory conclusions. It’s impossible to find the “best”, simply because every self-respecting Singaporean has their own preference when it comes to the fragrance, flavours and textures of chicken rice. That said, here are a few we think are delicious for different reasons.

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STAY HOME & EAT – Charcoal-Roasted Meats

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Click here to listen/ download the podcast of this week’s charcoal roasted episode.

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As we count down to the easing of the circuit breaker, how about a charcoal roasted meat feast? This week, have a gorgeously smokey set meal from RV Roasted Delight delivered straight to your doorstep at a reasonable price! Their meal sets for three to 8 people range from $21.80 to $71.80 and set meals for two range from $18.80 – 20.80, which is the one I chose. Package C for 2 consists of ¼ roast duck (upper quarter – which means I got a lovely juicy leg, breast meat and a little rib meat), plus an extra choice of 2 meats – choose from roast duck, chicken, char siew, roasted crispy pork belly or sausage. I went with the classic combo of roasted pork and char siew. White rice and oyster sauce vegetable with fried shallot rounded off the meal.


The roasted duck, in my opinion was the clear winner – really beautifully seasoned, with quite a refined taste that wasn’t too game-y or overpowering.

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STAY HOME & EAT – Crispy Shrimp Paste Fried Chicken!

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Click to listen to/ download the podcast of this week’s crispy, pungent episode!

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Ah Tan Wings have great what’s app service – very accommodating & prompt! I was able to use my own takeaway containers to reduce waste.

Are you looking for a yummy, affordable circuit breaker meal you can have delivered or pick-up quickly? If you’re craving something deep-fried and delicious, you’ve got to try har cheong gai, or shrimp paste fried chicken – our local version of fast food – from Ah Tan Wings.

2 giant Atas Cutlet sets (enough to feed 4) & 4 extra chicken wings

I have to say, what an excellent find! Their fried chicken is super-tasty, reasonably priced and pre-ordering was easy via WhatsApp for next day pick-up and my meal tuned out to be impressive.I ordered  2 Atas Cutlet Sets at $6.80 each, which came with a massive piece of crispy, golden-brown chicken thigh coated in their signature shrimp paste batter, served on top of a mountain of chicken rice, a fried egg boasting a still slightly runny centre & lots of crunchy-fresh Japanese cucumber slices.

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Alternative Asian-Style Roasts for Christmas

‘Tis the season for roasted turkeys, glazed hams and other festive eats. But why not embrace the flavours of Asia instead and celebrate with Cantonese-style roasted meats?

After hearing about this place from my Gold 905 Makan Kaki Chef Lim Yew Aun of The Cicheti Group, I hurried over to Keong Saik Road for some season’s eatings in the form of char siew (barbequed pork) and siew yoke (crispy pork belly), with some roasted duck thrown in for good measure. One bite and I knew I was going to have myself a tasty, er, merry little Christmas, thanks to Foong Kee Coffee Shop.


With chef-owner Derrick Wong Wai Chiew

TASTE: Foong Kee Traditional Charcoal Roasted is located at
Foong Kee Coffee Shop, 6 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089114.
It’s open Mondays to Saturdays, 11am – 8pm. They close on Sundays and public holidays.

Peranakan Herb Rice Salad Packs a Punch!

Babas and Nyonyas, stop me if you know this one: What do you get when you cross a herb salad with rice? Any true-blue Peranakan will tell you the answer is nasi ulam. The combination of aromatic Asian herbs, rice and, sometimes, seafood, is what makes nasi ulam such a wonderful, cool dish for our Southeast Asian climate.

Found all over southern Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and here in Singapore, recipes for nasi ulam differ from location to location, family to family, but this Peranakan version was recommended to me by KF Seetoh, the founder of renowned food guide Makansutra.

Chendol Melaka at Soy Eu Tua Coffeeshop along Upper East Coast Road is run by the irrepressible Daisy Tan and her husband Colin Yam. Once the regional director of a shipping firm, this self-confessed “200 per cent” bibik is now wholly dedicated to preserving her Peranakan culture through her culinary delights, like delicious chendol, kueh-kueh and her signature dish, nasi ulam.

With Nyonya Daisy Tan & her husband Colin Yam

TASTE: Chendol Melaka is located at Soy Eu Tua Coffeeshop, 15 Upper East Coast Road, Singapore 455207.
It’s open 10am-5pm (Tuesdays to Fridays) and 9am-5pm (Saturdays and Sundays). Closed Mondays.
To “reserve” your nasi ulam, call Colin Yam at 9777 6471.

Taiwan Porridge that Warms the Belly & Heart

As Singapore’s weather gets wetter and cooler, we instinctively start seeking out meals that serve up maximum warmth and comfort. And nothing says, “Hello, monsoon season,” better than a steaming bowl of porridge.


Any excuse, really, for me to try out a porridge place in the East recommended by my Gold 905 Makan Kaki and owner of Awfully Chocolate and Sinpopo Brand, Lyn Lee. This seven-year-old stall in a no-frills Joo Chiat coffee shop delivered on two counts: Warming Taiwanese-style porridge and the comfort of freshly prepared, home-style dishes. Check out their chye poh omelette, mei cai kou rou (pork belly with preserved mustard greens), salted fish bean sprouts and steamed cod with crispy chye poh:

chye poh omelette – wok-fried to crispy gold-brown perfection!

almost like a puff pastry, look at those lovely layers of fluffy, eggy goodness!

fall apart tender pork belly and preserved mustard greens

salted fish bean sprouts

steamed cod with crispy chye poh

TASTE: Old Place Seafood Taiwan Porridge is located at 59 Joo Chiat Place, Singapore 427783. It’s open for lunch 11am – 3pm and for dinner 5pm – 9.45pm. They close fortnightly on Wednesdays.
Tel: +65 84147441

With Chef-Owners Yong Wee Hiang (left) & Chua York Foo (right).

 

Big Prawn Noodles + bonus boozy Hotdogs & Rice Bowls!

Hello Makan Kakis!

Another week, another new Foodie Friend to meet! Xin Hui Helder-Eng is a story-teller, a copy-writer & self-confessed social media nanny who puts her lyrical skills to good use at Tie Fun Wan, her family-run Restaurant-Cafe, that serves delicious rice & noodle bowls from just $8 nett by her brother-in-law, Chef Ken Chia.

She’s also a contributor on Parched Asia, an online lifestyle magazine dedicated to the pleasures and pursuit of drinking – cocktail culture, drinking trends, interviews, great recipes, new bars, reviews, listicles and good advice.

Speaking of which, she shares with us where to go for good eats and drinks, so have a listen below for rice bowls, hotdogs, cocktails and so much more!

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First of all, you should know that Xin Hui loves dining out for food that she can’t make herself and as a die-hard Eastie, she knows her East-side eats well. In fact, she jokes that some say West is Best, people go to the East to Feast! And feast you will, at a stall that has been gaining great popularity – Da Dong Prawn Noodles in Joo Chiat.

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STAND-OUT HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE

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Click here to listen/ download podcast for this week’s POK-POK-POPULAR Chicken Rice!

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It’s Singapore’s Birthday Month! And in our month-long series on home-grown brands, we see the return of Alex Pang, Director of New Ubin Seafood – a truly Singaporean Tze Char restaurant brand known for not just their take on tasty traditional dishes, but also their innovative twist on Western contemporary dishes. Dining out on the tastiest dishes Singapore has to offer is a tradition with the Pang Family and many of Alex’s favourite makan spots are places he’s been frequenting with his parents since he was a child.  Case-in-point, Alex’s favourite Chicken Rice restaurant at Far East Plaza, a place his Mum has been taking him to since he was 5 or 6 years old – and it’s still there! He says you can’t get more Singaporean than  sharing a Chicken Rice meal with your family. And while yes, where to find the best Chicken Rice will remain a highly debatable subject, Alex maintains that amongst the many places he frequents, this place really has the stand out Chicken Rice for him.

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