Crackin’ Good Brunch!

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This week, it’s our foodie friend, Chef Anthony Yeoh‘s turn to recommend some yummy eats and as the weekend approaches, brace yourselves for BRUNCH! If you’re looking for something yum in the city/ CBD area, do check out this multi-concept restaurant/ bar on the corner of Tanjong Pagar Road & Tras Street, Crackerjack. There you’ll find a coffee counter brewing till late afternoon, a beautiful cocktail bar that opens later in the evening and then there’s the restaurant that serves delicious new-American food. Chef Tony recently tried their weekend brunch and recommends these stand-out dishes:
The super-comforting Bone Broth, featuring egg stracciatella (like an egg drop they stir in), kale & barley. But truly, the star is broth, which is really flavourful, made in-house and so restorative, especially if you’re at brunch nursing the effects of the night before!

Another great hangover antidote is their Funnel Cake. Why? Well, this is typical American carnival food – batter funneled into hot oil and deep fried to light, doughy, crispy perfection. And we all know fat means flavour and a good way to soak up the sins of the night before! But make no mistake, these are next level funnel cakes – adult funnel cakes smothered with (hair of the dog!) a boozy whipped cream made from Amaretto (almond liqueur), along with candied bacon and bananas. This is a delicious, high-brow / low-brow play on an American classic.

The play doesn’t stop at Funnel Cakes – try Crackerjacks’s play on corned beef hash, their Sweet Potato Hash! This hearty plate featured house-made breakfast sausage crumbled on sweet potato, along with sauteed capsicum, kale, caramelised onions and an egg. Stick-to-your-ribs good!

Finally, Chef Tony recommends the QFC – Quinoa Fried Chicken. It’s a boneless chicken thigh encrusted with quinoa, which is a super food, a grain that’s high in antioxidants and protein. So could this possibly be healthy in an, er, deep-fried way? Haha. Jicama (Bangkwang, which we use in Popiah) slaw and homemade spicy banana ketchup complete the crunchy chicken dish. With this weird & wonderful banana ketchup, you get a distinct caramelised banana flavour, and a pleasing sauce that’s tangy and spicy at the same time.

TASTE:
CRACKERJACK
43 Tanjong Pagar Rd, Singapore 088464
Open Daily: 9am – 12 midnight (mon – fri), 10am – 12 midnight (sat) & 10am – 4pm (sun)
Tel: +65 81211462

Balestier’s Best #2: Craving Coffee?

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This week, in Part 2 of Shermay Lee‘s guide to the Balestier area, she recommends taking a stroll along Balestier Road after a hearty Chicken Rice meal at Loy Kee to discover a slice of Singapore history within a charming shophouse that has been purveying coffee beans and powder for more than half a century. When you step in, you literally enter a bygone era and can almost imagine rickshaws, not cars zipping by outside. Lam Yeo Coffee Powder Factory has been around since 1959 and till this day, remains a family business. They take pride in what they do and they keep their old, but classic interiors (original mosaic floor intact) neat and tidy. Cross Lam Yeo’s threshold and you’ll see rows of shiny tins of different coffee varieties.

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Yes, you’ll see gourmet beans, like from Jamaican and Guatamala, but be sure to pick up a bag or two of the local coffee, as in authentic Nanyang-style Kopi, to take home instead. The difference with our local kopi is in the roasting. Historically, coffee beans used locally were considered inferior and thus needed the addition of sugar and butter or margarine in the roasting process to elevate the taste. Connoisseurs may scoff, especially at hydrogenated fat-laden margarine, but Shermay sees the beauty in this tradition that has made the formula, aroma and flavour so distinct to our part of the world. So why buy local? For obvious reasons, to support and preserve a Singapore brand that has stood the test of time. These days, there are so many hipster coffee places, but those serve a very different type of coffee. Lam Yeo sells really traditional kopi and is not a franchise nor part of a big chain. The Uncle and Auntie who operate the shop are very friendly and helpful, so when faced with the many local varieties, just ask for advice to make a choice that’s right for you!

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Denise did, and walked away with a strong powder recommended by Auntie. Shermay, however, prefers buying the beans whole and grinding them herself at home for a fresh brew.

lamyeo6However you like your coffee, keep in mind next time you’re in Balestier, visit Lam Yeo, take a deep breath, step back in time and inhale those potent, toasty coffee aromas! But don’t just breathe, buy! 😉 lamyeo5

TASTE:
LAM YEO COFFEE POWDER FACTORY
328 Balestier Road
Open: Mon – Fri 9am – 7pm; Sat 9am – 5pm (Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays)
Tel: 6256 2239

Run to Ronin

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French Toast
French Toast

This week, our Makan Kaki Aun Koh is going out on a limb to share with you his favourite cafe, because this will upset a lot of his friends, who love this hidden gem with a passion. Ronin Cafe is also a favourite of Aun’s wife and 3-year-old son, who insists on a visit every weekend as a family. Aun himself can be found there 5 times a week minimum, having a quick coffee or lingering over a work meeting. Ronin is your typical hipster coffee joint in that it embodies that interesting, bohemian spirit, but let’s be clear that it’s not all style and no substance. The coffees are phenomenal, but definitely try their food, which is far from an after-thought – their menu is small, but really well-executed. Besides a selection of sandwiches, Aun really recommends you try their 2 breakfast items (which are available all day): French Toast & Scrambled Eggs, both of which he believes are the best in Singapore! These scrambled eggs are amazing – so fluffy and rich, thanks to lots of butter and cream, but not overcooked. If you’re a fan of the undercooked Aussie style of Scrambled Eggs King Bill Granger, these are the eggs for you! And you can order them with sides like avocado, bacon or sausage (the one below is lamb).

Scrambled eggs, lamb sausage
Fluffy, Buttery, Creamy – Best Scrambled Eggs in Town!

Then there’s lunch. Japanese Curry Rice fans, be warned this special is limited to only 12 portions per day and they go really fast. In fact, for all the time Aun spends at Ronin, he’s only been able to enjoy the Curry Rice ONCE! He tells a funny story of when he arrived one day, delighted to think he was just in time for a tasty portion, only to be told his wife had ordered the very last plate just before him! It really is delicious stuff, strictly first-come-first-served, no special treatment! Although if you start showing up often enough, the staff remember what you like without you having to tell them!

Japanese Curry Rice
Japanese Curry Rice – Only 12 Portions per day!

This is what Aun likes: Ronin’s signature coffee drink, Wicked, a decadent, addictive Mocha Mint drink you can have hot or iced.

Wicked (Mocha Mint)
Signature Drink – Wicked (Mocha Mint)

Want more? Aun waxes lyrical about Ronin Cafe, amongst other Singapore faves, for The Guardian here!

TASTE:
RONIN
17 Hong Kong Street
Open Daily: 8am – 8pm
(be warned, this place is so hip, it has no signboard & no phone!)

Kopi & Kueh – Old Meets New in Everton


After all the feasting and over-indulging during the holiday season, how ’bout something simple, comforting and local (but with a little twist)? This week, Makan Kaki, Fabulous Baker Boy Juwanda Hassim recommends checking out the charming and surprising HDB Housing Estate at Everton Park, which in recent times, has seen the springing up of little hipster cafes and bakeries. However, the estate still has a good mix of old and new that come together nicely, just like Kopi & Kueh!


Case in point, one of the first “new” coffee joints to open in Everton Park has got to be Nylon Coffee Roasters, who by now have made a real name for themselves as excellent purveyors of smooth, aromatic brews. To Juwanda, Nylon produce and supply the best coffees. In fact, this was a discovery by the barista from Juwanda’s cafe, The Fabulous Baker Boy, so it’s not just a hipster cafe, but truly a coffee lover’s coffee place. Nylon’s brews are not too bitter or over-roasted, come in great blends, are not chemically-treated, are roasted on-site and carefully sourced. Juwanda’s usual practice is to order 4 coffees at once – a long black, a couple of lattes and an espresso to finish things off. He swears that you don’t get the expected caffeine shakes from Nylon’s coffee!


And then just across the road in the facing block, you’ll find a famous institution that specialises in Ang Ku Kueh, the traditional turtle-shaped, stuffed Chinese confection. At Ji Xiang Confectionary, you’ll see aunties hard at work, hand-rolling and shaping the kueh in the traditional wooden molds and filling them with different delicious ingredients. The most popular clearly are the less traditional fillings of sweet corn, yam and coconut, seeing as these were sold out when we visited!

Sadly, Denise didn’t get to try Juwanda’s ultimate recommendation, which is coconut Ang Ku Kueh, a heavenly combination of sugar and shredded coconut encased in a skin that is not sticky, just smooth and pleasingly soft, yet chewy.

Shiny-smooth turtle pastries all in a row!

However, his second favourite was available and it was wolfed down in mere seconds – that’s how good the peanut Ang Ku Kueh is – finely crushed peanuts provide a great crunchy texture and a fragrant savoury-sweet flavour.

Peanut Ang Ku Kueh

The more traditional sweet mung bean and salty mung bean fillings were delicious too, very finely textured, without that thick, chalky texture that gums up your mouth and blocks your throat some other Ang Ku Kuehs are prone to have.

Sweet
Salty

Maybe you can do what Juwanda does – get a variety box of Ang Ku Kueh from Block 1, then hop across to Nylon at Block 4 to enjoy coffee with your kueh – It’s the perfect meeting of old & new! 🙂

LISTEN TO THIS WEEK’S EPISODE AGAIN!

Nylon Coffee Roasters
4 Everton Park
#01-40
Weekdays: 8.30am – 5.30pm
Weekends: 9am – 6pm
Closed on Tuesdays
(+65) 62202330

Ji Xiang Confectionary (Ang Ku Kueh)
1 Everton Park
#01-33
Mon – Sat: 8 am – 5pm
Closed on Sunday & Public holidays
(+65) 62231631