Brilliant Biryani

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This week, author of Singapore’s first English-Tagalog Cookbook, A Helping Hand and our favourite Changmoh, Frog Michaels joins us to reveal her husband’s family’s favourite Makan place. All five generations have been eating here for years and remains it a firm favourite, particularly with her Singaporean mother-in-law, who has been eating here since she was a little girl. So if you fancy a spicy Biryani done right, look no further than the famous Islamic Restaurant on North Bridge Road.

Frog says there is nothing that compares to how Islamic do theirs and she once tried to trick her mother-in-law with a different Biryani only to be discovered. The taste is that distinctive! In fact, because Frog’s mother-in-law has moved to live in the U.K., Frog very often takes away the Chicken Biryani, freezes it before packing it in her suitcase when she flies over to visit. And guess what? It defrosts and heats up beautifully, retaining its gorgeous flavours! It’s all in the spicy rempah, with which they cook the rice and chicken.

Frog enjoys a chicken breast and Biryani with some refreshing minty-cucumber yogurt on the side. There are lots of other dishes to choose from at Famous Islamic, whether you like yogurt-marinated chicken on skewers or mutton curry, there’s something for everyone!

Read all about it in Frog’s own words:

fullsizerender-4I don’t care if it was ” the first” (see text on sign above) or voted “Singapore’s best”. It’s my favourite! Here am I with the current owner, (third generation no less) Kalil. This place is like a Patek Phillippe watch: you don’t own it, you pass it on to the next generation!

fullsizerender-5 I love the dark green, jewel-like interior. The old restaurant didn’t used to have much air con but this one does (they moved about 10 years ago) and it’s packed at lunchtime. Best time to arrive? 11.30am.

img_3673 Instagram-worthy chicken biryani (below). The rempah is lemak and lovely and one of the defining things about this as a dish.

img_3677 Lunch date: Biryani complete with famous Islamic’s homemade spicy achaar and lamb curry.

img_3698 Obviously I am straight in there! I can’t possibly let a plate of biryani sit in front of me and get cold….

img_3712It’s housed in a beautiful old shophouse. Just make sure you get there before the bus loads of foodies arrive. Ooops – looks like they’re here already!

TASTE:
FAMOUS ISLAMIC RESTAURANT
745 North Bridge Road, Singapore 198713
Open Daily: Mon-Sun 10am– 10pm
TEL: + 65 6298 7563

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Old Armenian St. Char Kway Teow, Prata & More!

HEAR:
Click HERE for a taste of this week’s mouth-watering episode!

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IMG_9475Upper Thomson Road has turned into quite the bustling haven for cafes, restaurants and other eating places, but tucked behind in Sin Ming is an outstanding coffee shop that boasts a variety of excellent food stalls, which deserve a mention in this week’s episode of Makan Kakis. And to tell us all about it is food writer & co-author of food guide Eat. Muse. Love. Toh Mu Qin. Jing Fa Coffeeshop hosts a revelation of hawker favourites and in particular, Mu Qin is partial to the Prata served up here.

These individually made-to-order, made-from-scratch (not mass produced in a factory) pratas are crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside and deliciously aromatic with those buttery-sweet flavours in the dough. Choose from rich and creamy chicken, fish, vegetarian or mutton curries to go with your prata. Their Nasi Briyani is also worth a try, especially if you have it with the killer fried chicken!
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IMG_8696For fans of Char Kway Teow, you might remember the wildly popular Armenian Street stall that has been shut for many years, but what a pleasant discovery that a branch has popped up in Jing Fa Coffee Shop and yes, it’s very good!

IMG_8699Another favourite of Mu Qin’s family is the Economical Rice Stall which always sees long queues especially during lunch time, which means whilst the food is really wonderful, you won’t always get all of what you want, given the high demand. But still, if you have the time and patience, the wait is worth it.

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If it’s just a morning cuppa and a little bite for breakfast, you can’t go wrong with the kaya toast, soft-boiled egg set at Jing Fa.

TASTE:
JING FA COFFEESHOP
Block 24 Sin Ming Road
#01-51
Open daily 6am – 12 midnight (but food stalls close at around 6pm)

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Best of 2015 – Makan Kakis’ Top Ten List!

MAKANKAKISTOPTEN2015Hello Makan Kakis,

2015 has been such a delicious year and as we usher in a brand new year of eating, let’s take a look back at the makan places that really caught your attention & appetites! The following Top 10 list features a great variety of yummy hawker stalls, restaurants and dishes that grabbed the most views on our blog. Click on each for details & enjoy!

10. Tasty Teochew at Lee Kui
9. Luscious Burgers with a Buah Keluak twist!
8. Lor Mee with Crispy Battered Fish
7. Ayam Penyet Obama!
6. Killer Kway Chap
5. Outstanding Roasted Meats – Char Siew & Sio Bak
4. Local & International Buffet at a hidden Oasis
3. Nor’s Nasi Padang
2. Jaggi’s Northern Indian
1. Mee Rebus, Soto Ayam & Satay POWER!

Thank you so much for your support of our tasty little segment on Gold 905 and if you could, do help spread the word about Makan Kakis! Here’s to a hearty 2016 full of delicious things to eat! Season’s Eatings & HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Northern Indian at Jaggi’s

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Click here to listen to this week’s spicy episode!

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A little bit of everything, including Papadum & Naan

This week, The Fabulous Baker Boy Juwanda Hassim recommends the meat & vegetarian heaven that’s called Jaggi’s Northern Indian Cuisine in Serangoon’s Little India. It’s not very big (maybe a 60-seater) or very fancy and when you first enter, it looks a bit disorganised – you order from the counter (there’s usually a crowd), but the staff are knowledgeable and generally polite – when in doubt, just point at what you like.

Choose whatever you like at the counter

They do great kebabs and Tandooris. Oh, the Tandooris – from the verdant green coriander-marinated kind to the spicy bright orange kind, it’s all good. Juicy, not dry, perfectly balanced with smokiness, spices and full-on flavour.

Look at those generous portions of chicken – Tandoori & in the Dum Biriyani
Close up on the Mutton Kebabs, Chicken Dum Biriyani & Tandoori Chicken

Be sure to order the Butter Chicken – Juwanda is not the only one who swears theirs is the best in Singapore! It’s tender, rich, comforting and goes so well with the Rotis or Biriyani.

Close up on the Butter Chicken, Aloo Gobi & Raita

Most of their vegetarian options are delicious, but Juwanda’s all-time favourite is the potato-cauliflower Aloo Gobi.
All in all, Jaggi’s is perfect for a party of both meat-eaters and vegetarians – do not miss this!

Enter for a great meal!

TASTE:
Jaggi’s Northern Indian Cuisine
34/36 Race Course Road
Opening Hours:
Mon – Sat: 11:30 – 15:00
Mon – Sat: 18:00 – 22:30
Sun: 10:30 – 22:30
Phone: +65 62966141

This Biryani is Da Bomb!

HEAR:
Missed this week’s episode on air? Click here for the spicy dum audio!

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When our foodie friend & resident hot dog man Kelly Koh isn’t serving up dangerously delicious dogs at The Rockin’ Diner, he’s out venturing beyond his beloved home turf of Katong for more yummy makan places to try. Surprisingly, his favourite place to chow down on biryani isn’t in Katong and this week, he reveals where to find what, in his opinion, is the best Mutton Dum Biryani in Singapore.

The meat is cooked together with the rice in the same sealed pot till it’s fork-tender – dry, but super-soft. This Dum Biryani is all about texture and how tender mutton can be. And you don’t have to worry about the pungency of the meat – the mutton is decidedly un-gamey after being so skillfully good for hours with the rice & spice. In fact, you get a lovely fragrance from the spices, but it’s not so spicy that it blows your head off. You can get a little extra kick from the curry gravy if you ask for it, but really, all you need is an unadulterated plate of the mutton and rice, with a little fresh salad of cucumber, onion & carrot on the side.

TASTE:
Bollywood Biryani
B1 Cafe
Basement 1
Peninsula Shopping Complex

Tandoori Corner

Happy Lunar New Year of the Goat! Are you looking for something delicious to eat on this first day of the Chinese New Year? First of all, you’ll need to find someplace that’s actually open! Here’s our Makan Kaki Don Mendoza to the rescue with a tasty Tandoori recommendation.

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What you missed on air – audio for this latest episode of Makan Kakis!

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via TANDOORI CORNER

It’s a simple, casual little restaurant at Balestier Plaza, facing Balestier Road, that has made a name for itself with its excellent, value-for-money food, especially Don’s favourite, Dum Briyani – Mutton, of course. For those averse to the gaminess of the meat, don’t worry – it’s not too pungent and fall-off-the-bone tender, as would be expected from meat & rice cooked to perfection in a sealed container. All this, for only $8.50!

Since it opened about 6 years ago, Tandoori Corner has dished out classics like Tandoori Chicken, Rogan Josh, Dal, Paneer Makhni, Naans, of course Briyanis and much more. A testament to its quality of food is their second outlet at Boon Tat Street, but really, on this Public Holiday, go to the original, which is open!

TASTE:
Tandoori Corner North Indian Curry House
400 Balestier Road
#01-12 Balestier Plaza
Open Daily
Lunch: 12 – 2.45pm
Dinner: 6 – 9.45pm
Tel: 62500200

Mighty Murtabak!

Our Makan Kaki, The Fabulous Baker Boy, Juwanda Hassim, recommends a visit to a Singapore institution that really needs no introduction. We all have heard of the famous Zam Zam, just opposite Sultan Mosque – that they’ve been around since 1908 is a testament to their delicious food & whilst their signature Chicken Briyani is a consistent favourite, Juwanda says don’t just stop there. Here are 2 other MUST-TRY dishes on their menu:

MURTABAAAAAK!!!

murtabak
Mutton Murtabak

Juwanda’s love for this local pan-fried meat “sandwich” knows no bounds. Literally. Even being on a different continent did not stop him from enjoying Zam Zam’s mouth-watering Murtabak, so take it from him – if you live abroad, it’s absolutely transportable, freezable and can be reheated to utter crisp deliciousness in a toaster oven. He used to get his family to wrap his beloved frozen Murtabak in newspaper and hand-carry it to Germany and Bangkok, where he used to live!

Why is it so good? First of all, it’s HUGE! And heavy, but only because it’s packed with meat. The pastry itself is light and crisp, not thick and chewy (although all murtabak get a tad chewy if not eaten hot & immediately). That toasty, super tasty flavour from the well-used griddle permeates the Murtabak and it’s not over-poweringly spiced – just a little curry powder, turmeric, coriander and onions for scent and colour does the trick! Best of all, it’s still wrapped in Banana Leaf for extra fragrance.

The other dish you should dig into is their Bee Hoon Goreng Merah – fried rice vermicelli that’s packed with flavour, but not oversaturated with the red food colouring. It’s just a good, solid noodle dish that really hits the spot.

zamzam briyani
Chicken Briyani
zamzam
Zam Zam Restaurant – since 1908!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LISTEN TO THIS MIGHTY MURTABAK EPISODE AGAIN!

Singapore Zam Zam Restaurant
697 North Bridge Road
Daily: 8am – 11pm
Phone: 62986320

Indian Vegetarian

Violet Oon is a true daughter of Singapore with her decidedly local palate and love for not just her own Nyonya cuisine, but for foods that she grew up with, from Nasi Padang to searingly sedap Indian curries. Little India is, of course, one place to visit for curries galore, but rather than the usual fish head banana leaf variety, how bout some Indian Vegetarian? This is Violet’s favourite:
MNWR Entrance
Madras New Woodlands Restaurant is a bit of an institution, having been in Little India for more than 30 years, and they continue to produce consistently tasty vegetarian options at a truly great price.
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Violet loves the lighter, healthier veggie spread served up on a Thali (the large tray), with its array of little bowls full of dhal, yogurt, pappadam, and different curried vegetables. The dishes are healthier and lighter because they really let the natural flavours of the vegetables and spices shine, without being over-seasoned. Don’t forget to order a portion of vegetarian Briyani to soak up all the lovely gravies! IMG_4141

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4 fave veggie curries (clockwise L-R): long beans and carrot, cabbage, panneer (cheese) and brinjal
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Cauliflower, potato & mustard seed
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Dessert – Served on the same tray, not to be confused with the savouries! This is a sweet, cardamom-perfumed soup with strands of noodle and sago.

If you like, there are other tasty morsels on offer from the extensive menu. Check out the apom being cooked ala minute in bespoke mini kwalis before the diners’ eyes:
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Apom your heart to me, baby!

Also available are Chaat (in Violet’s words, a “snacky afternoon tea affair” with munchies that blend the hot, sweet, sour tastes beautifully). This is just one of many on the menu, called Samosa Chaat, which is literally crispy potato samosas chopped up and smothered in a sweet & sour sauce with chickpeas, cilantro, onion and muruku:
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Indian Vegetarian
Dosa, Vadai and Bhaji

Enticing you after your meal as you make your exit are these sweets for dine-in or takeaway, which go great with a hot cup of Masala Chai:
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After all that eating, the best thing is discovering that your bill comes in at under $10! So really, a visit to Madras New Woodlands is an all-day affair with really delicious options that give you serious value-for-money. If you haven’t tried it already, go! And to all our Hindu listeners, Happy Deepavali!

LISTEN TO THIS WEEK’S EPISODE OF MAKAN KAKIS AGAIN!

Madras New Woodlands Restaurant
14 Upper Dickson Road
Open Daily: 7.30am – 11:30pm
Phone: 62971594