Crackin’ Good Brunch!

HEAR:
CLICK TO HEAR this week’s beautiful brunch episode!

SEE:

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

Advertisements

VIDEO: NASI LEMAK FOR NATIONAL DAY!

CLICK TO WATCH FULL VIDEO!

Hello Makan Kakis! In recent weeks, our nation and its netizens have been all abuzz with opinions about MacDonald’s NASI LEMAK BURGERS, which, to the disappointment of many, sold out in 2 weeks. Personally, I think a nasi lemak burger should at least contain nasi (rice) so come with me as we follow the coconut-fragranced trail of one other worthy nasi lemak burger, that could fill that empty space left by said fast food restaurant! But if it’s the un-burgered, original form of Nasi Lemak you prefer though, then I have another recommendation for the purists.

Click the on the picture above to WATCH this latest video episode of Gold 905’s feel good food guide, in which I recommend two Nasi Lemak options – one hipster burger, one hearty tradition – on offer.

HEAR:
Click here to LISTEN to our aromatic on-air episode!

SEE:

TRY THIS: With National Day on the horizon, a little tasty competition seems to have emerged amongst several makan places which have come up with their own versions of the new-fangled Nasi Lemak Burger. From the fray emerged one that stood out – in description, that is. I was delighted to hear that my Makan Guru KF Seetoh had persuaded the folks at HK St Old Chun Kee (Gluttons Bay branch) to bring back their Nasi Lemak Burger all this month of August. It sounded like an improvement on the fast food restaurant version, so I made it my mission to try it the very day it launched.

Caution: Sensory overload! Make no mistake, this is one dirty, decadent, minyak and lemak creation, featuring coconut rice mixed with otah (for extra umami and colour), shaped into “buns” using a ring form, then wok-fried till crispy and toasty brown on the outside, tender and fluffy on the inside.

These rice “buns” sandwich a breaded fish fillet, fried egg and a mellow-sweet smear of sambal scattered with crunchy ikan billis and peanuts. This Nasi Lemak Burger is delicious and definitely gives you all the taste and aroma of the rice dish. This is a novel re-imagining of a Singapore classic, with lots of punchy flavours and contrasting textures, but be warned though, you’ll probably find it hard to finish even one on your own.

It may be small in size, but this $7.50 Nasi Lemak Burger is hefty on your tastebuds and stomach. Bring a friend to share, or a takeaway container. If you’re looking for a uniquely Singaporean dish to feast on this National Day, you could do much worse than enjoying alfresco dining by Marina Bay, soaking in the views as you soak up the greasy goodness of the Nasi Lemak Burger here.

TASTE:
HK St Old Chun Kee (Gluttons Bay Branch)
Makansutra Gluttons Bay
8 Raffles Avenue, #01-15H,
Esplanade Mall, Singapore 039802.
Open Daily 3pm – 1am.

OR THAT: If you’re thinking why go to the trouble of turning Nasi Lemak into burgers when you can have it the old-fashioned, traditional way, then you’ve got to try Nasi Lemak Kukus.

Kukus literally means “Steam” in Malay and this is the really old school, traditional way to cook the coconut rice. To save time and effort these days, most Nasi Lemak restaurants will just use a rice cooker to boil the rice and cook it. But steaming is what sets Nasi Lemak Kukus apart from others. A lot of care is taken to steam the rice, which means you get a more springy product, with a light coconut fragrance that permeates each and every grain. What you don’t get is an overpoweringly coconutty, sticky mush. This one has great texture that’s firm to the bite and beautifully flavoured with coconut milk, pandan leaves and salt. Honestly, it’s so good, you can eat the rice all on its own. Best of all, servings are unlimited!

Help yourself to as much of it from the large steamer they have set up at the buffet-style counter, along with the unlimited helpings of  sambal tumis. Nasi Lemak Kukus has two types – a sweet and mild one and then there’s the “power” one – super spicy, but with just a touch of sweet to balance out the fire.

All-you-can-eat rice and sambal aside, another star item on their menu is the deep-fried chicken wing. Delicately seasoned with spices like turmeric that gives it its golden yellow hue, these are fried in small batches for maximum freshness and crispiness.

As an introduction to what’s on offer, try the Nasi Lemak Kukus standard meal set, which gets you unlimited rice and sambal, along with 1 chicken wing, 1 piece of egg omelet, 1 whole ikan kuning and a scoop of crunchy ikan billis and peanut mix. For just $4, this is one satisfying, value-for-money meal.

But with so many other dishes on display, you’ll be hard-pressed to resist naughty tidbits like the super-tasty deep-fried chicken skin and otah-otah.

You can also get other add-ons from their special pots bubbling away on burners, including lip-smackingly lemak sayur lodeh…

…savoury-sweet beef paru (lung) and the rich, tender mutton rendang.

Depending on your mood, wash down your hearty meal with a strong and sweet Vietnamese drip coffee, or a freshly squeezed home-made calamansi lime drink.

Nasi Lemak Kukus is a great stop for a quick lunch at its sun-drenched premises, but also pretty special at night in their courtyard complete with twinkling lights, hanging wall creepers and a gorgeous distressed spiral staircase.

What you get here is unpretentious quality food, friendly staff and a relaxed self-serve atmosphere in a charming old Selegie shophouse, its interiors charmingly adorned with the colourful scribbles and artwork of customers (a lot of who are Lasalle students). TASTE:
Nasi Lemak Kukus
229 Selegie Road, Singapore 188344
Open Monday – Saturday 12pm – 10.30pm. Closed Sunday.
Tel: 8222-9517/ 91443764

Where Chefs Eat: John Kunkel of The Bird Southern Table & Bar

Denise with CEO & Founder of The Bird, John Kunkel
On a recent work trip to Miami, a friend from Houston recommended I try Yardbird, a restaurant renowned for its signature Southern-fried chicken and waffles. I was not disappointed by my visit there as a solo diner. Great food, cocktails and service got me all excited when I discovered upon return to Singapore, that they were opening a branch here at Marina Bay Sands! Even better, I got to meet the man behind the brand and pick his award-winning brains about everything from food, to creativity and music. The affable John Kunkel was recently in town for the official launch of The Bird, but made a little time to discuss with me his favourite things on the menu and also to recommend some makan places he’s enjoyed in Singapore.

First of all, the Yardbird restaurants in different locations are not cookie-cutter – while the classics like their fried chicken with cheese waffles, Bourbon-maple syrup & house-made hot sauce and minty watermelon salad remain the same, Chef Kunkel has taken time with his staff to come up with new cocktails and dishes that are specifically designed for the Singapore palate. Take their Low Country Laksa – a South US meets Singapore dish that gets inspiration from New Orleans Creole-style cooking, featuring seared Snapper in a ginger-coconut broth. There’s also the Black Pepper Crab Cakes, where Maryland meets Singapore. Don’t miss their deviled eggs, given a little umami twist with smoked trout roe topping. Wash everything down with a yummy Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade – dangerously refreshing & fruity, with an alcoholic kick.

HEAR:
Click here & here for more of my interview with John Kunkel
Click here for a few of his favourite places to eat at whilst here in Singapore

SEE:
Highlights from THE BIRD’S Menu:

Bourbon Blackberry Lemonade

Deviled Eggs

Preacher’s Ham & Cheese Biscuits

Bone-in Beef Short-Ribs

Chicken ‘n’ Watermelon ‘n’ Waffles
THE BIRD
B1-07, Galleria Level
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
OPEN DAILY:
LUNCH Daily 11:00am – 4:00pm
DINNER Daily 4:00pm – 11:00pm
DRINKS & LIGHT SNACKS Daily 11:00pm – 2:00am
WEEKEND BRUNCH SAT & SUN 10:00am – 4:00pm
TEL: +65 6688 9959

Some Local Places John Kunkel recommends:

1. Burnt Ends
Modern Australian Barbeque for that open fire-style of cooking. Try their signature Sanger – made from pulled pork shoulder, homemade cole slaw & chipotle aioli sandwiched in a brioche bun.
BURNT ENDS
20 Teck Lim Road
Open Tues-Sat
Lunch: Wednesday – Saturday 11:45am – 2pm
Dinner: Tuesday – Saturday 6:00pm to Late
Tel: +65 6224 3933

2. FOC for excellent Catalan-style Spanish Tapas, including their grilled octopus, croquetas, patatas bravas & squid ink paella.
FOC
40 Hong Kong Street
Singapore
Open Mon – Sat 12 – 2pm, 6 – 10:30pm
Tel: +65 6100 4040

3. Atlas Bar for great cocktails in a gorgeous Art Deco environment.
ATLAS BAR
Parkview Square
600 North Bridge Road
Singapore, 188778
Open Mon – Sat (Closed Sun)
Mon – Thu: 10am – 1am
Fri: 10am – 2am
Sat: 3pm – 2am
Telephone: +65 6396 4466

4. Roti Prata from Lau Pa Sat – for that perfect balance between crispy, fluffy pastry and mellow, spiced curry.

Lau Pa Sat (Telok Ayer Market)
18 Raffles Quay, Singapore 048582
Open 24 hours Daily
Tel: +65 6220 2138

Nasi Lemak to the Max!

HEAR:

SEE:
This week, we introduce you to TWO new foodie friends who are avid and prolific cooks, soon to be seen in the Singapore International Arts Festival’s O.P.E.N. Kitchens, a series of interactive and delicious culinary performances, in which you get to prepare a meal with them, whilst enjoying stories and perhaps even songs! Please meet Asha Adnan of Asha & Co. and Oniatta Effendi of Baju by Oniatta, both with wonderful stories and dishes to share (Listen to the audio of them sharing above)! For today’s episode of Makan Kakis, we begin with self-confessed “Nasi Girl” Oniatta recommending a restaurant that ruined her for ordinary Nasi Lemak. She says this place turned her into a Nasi Lemak snob and no other will do. Nestled in a cosy part of Ann Siang Hill, Coconut Club has made waves with their instagrammable environment and food, but aesthetics aside, this is really a solid, outstanding plate of coconut rice and dishes. The brainchild of 3 friends who went to a Nasi Lemak convention in Malaysia, Coconut Club was opened with the best quality in mind.
Nasi Lemak in itself is a basic comfort food, but Coconut Club really elevates the humble home dish with their expert handling of quality ingredients – from the otak-otak to the fried chicken, everything is truly sedap, says Oniatta. And on days their sambal lala is available, be sure to get your order in ASAP – soooo good!
Be sure to leave room for their array of coconutty desserts, traditional kueh-kueh, from Kueh Salat to Kueh Bingka Ubi.
Coconut Club lives up to its name with their Kueh Ko Swee or Kuih Kosui, absolutely smothered with grated coconut!
Oniatta has since discovered that the intense coconut flavours that pervade all their dishes come from special coconuts they source at a secret plantation in Malaysia…
Finally, wash all that coconutty goodness down with a excellent teh tarik or kopi, from Master Desmond, who usually plies his trade outside Changi Prison but was lured over to Coconut Club to serve up his fantastic drinks. All in all, Oniatta says whilst there has been a lot of hype about Coconut Club and their “atas” Nasi Lemak, the $12.80 price per plate is more than worth it!

TASTE:
COCONUT CLUB
6, Ann Siang Hill, Singapore 069787
Open for lunch: 11am – 3pm (Tuesday – Sunday)
Open for dinner: 6 – 9.30pm (Tuesday – Saturday)
Tel: +65 6635 2999

Deli Sarnies Done Right

HEAR:
Click here to listen to this week’s fresh-baked sandwich extravaganza!

SEE:
Hey Hey, Makan Kakis! Are you looking for great Deli-style sandwiches that are chock-a-block with decadent ingredients? This is one place that we’ve mentioned before but bears repeating because it really is that good! This week, our foodie friend Chef Tim Ross-Watson of PIXIEMOSS recommends chef-favourite, Park Bench Deli, for a Europrean-American sandwich in which you get more filling than bread, about 70% filling : 30% bread – talk about more bang for your buck! These guys don’t skimp at all. in fact, they sometimes cut out some of the bread so they can cram more luscious filling in! And what do they do with the excess bread? Cleverly make croutons for other dishes, of course!
So what’s good to eat? Just about everyone recommends the sinfully-delicious PBJ Sandwich, a massive sweet treat featuring 3 layers of overindulgence – picture this: 2 slices of bread flanking thick slatherings of peanut butter and jelly, with a centre layer of sweet corn bread, all of which is battered in cornflakes and pan-fried in butter! Crunchy, oozy, ridiculously delicious – this is a must-try!
If you want a savoury, main course type of sandwich, Chef Tim recommends the fried chicken katsu sandwich, which is juicy and crispy. You get a panko-crumbed chicken thigh, tonkatsu sauce, japanese cucumber, shredded cabbage and lashings of Japanese mayo – MMMM!  Try also the Vietnamese-inspired Bahn Mi sandwich, which is full of this porky goodness:
You get slabs of melt-in-your-mouth slow-braised pork belly in a pillowy French Baguette, along with lots of pickled julienned veg and coriander. Perfectly balanced flavours of fatty, piggy richness and crisp, tangy pickle. Soooo good!

TASTE:
PARK BENCH DELI
179 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore, 068627
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 10.30am – 10pm; closed 4  – 5pm;  Sat 10.30am – 4pm
Tel: +65 68154600

Best of Boon Lay!

HEAR:
Click this to hear all about the best eats in Boon Lay!

SEE:
This week, co-author of local food guide Eat. Muse. Love. Toh Mu Qin wants us to check out the many delicious things on offer at Boon Lay Food Village. There, you get all-day dining at its very best. You’ll be spoilt for choice from breakfast, to lunch, to dinner, to every other meal in between! Here are a few highlights of Mu Qin’s favourite things to eat there:

img_9154

First of all, no Westie worth their salt wouldn’t be aware of Power Nasi Lemak (some say the best in all of Singapore), so let’s start here. This is one stall that takes pride in the quality of their food – freshly prepared ingredients, yummy flavours and everything kept piping hot. The deep-fried chicken is particularly good here – well-marinated, juicy and tender on the inside, shatteringly crisp and golden on the outside. The otak-otak (fish paste) is also a must-try, since it comes with a separate coconut milk sauce to drizzle over, cutting through the spice & adding to the creamy richness of the fish. The fried ikan billis & roasted peanuts are also worth mentioning, as is the sensational sambal chilli, which balances a mild sweetness with the heat of the chilli. Power Nasi Lemak is open till late, making it a perfect stop for dinner/ supper. In fact it’s usually open from 6.30am – 3.30am!!! Find it at #01-106.

And if you’re looking for something else to satisfy those dinner cravings, you might also want to try the stall serving up sizzling seafood on hotplates! Be warned – spicy to the max, but oh-so-good! Try the BBQ sting ray, sotong, lala and chilli kang kong at Sin Chew Huat Mei Xiang Hotplate Stingray #01-117.

img_9467

If you happen to be at Boon Lay Food Village earlier in the day, Mu Qin also recommends the carrot cake or Wanton Mee for breakfast. The latter also comes with the option of stewed chicken feet and shitake mushrooms – yum! Check out Lian Yi Wanton Noodle at #01-161.

img_9161

Final recommendation: Bak Kut Teh Bee Hoon in a claypot – simple, flavourful and comforting! Kam Hiang Food Stall is at #01-118.
img_9167

TASTE:
BOON LAY PLACE FOOD VILLAGE
221A/B Boon Lay Place
S641221

Save

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

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

SEE:
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!
IMG_8703

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.

IMG_8705

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)

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Palace of Thai Chicken!

$13 lunch set

HEAR:

  • Chef Anthony Yeoh of Restaurant Cocotte is back to tell us about Grass Fed Steak, Duck Fat Fries, Big Pots of Mussels and Weekend Brunches at Cocotte: Click here to listen!
  • For Chef Tony’s recommedation of Fried Chicken, click here!

SEE:
Today, Chef Anthony takes us to his buddy Bjorn Shen’s (of Middle-eastern “Dude Food” restaurant, Artichoke, fame) other restaurant, the awesomely named BIRD BIRD PALACE OF THAI CHICKEN! This is THE place to be for all things chicken, done of course, Thai-style. This joint has a relaxed, fun, mouthwatering “dude” vibe, where ice-cold beers, decadent desserts and sinful snacks are served with a side of attitude. You will not be able to resist the lure of deep-fried chicken, whether it’s for a pre-party meal or a post-night-out drunken supper. They are. however, also open for lunch and their sets go for an impressive $13.

But why stop at a set lunch when you can have more? Here are Chef Tony’s recomendations…

1. Start off with their “Cock Scratchings”, which are essentially deep fried chicken skins – crunchy, salty snacks that go down a treat with icy beers.

2. Gai Tod – Southern Thai Fried Chicken that comes with a shower of crispy garlic and caramalised chilli jam. This is Tony’s favourite – the spice mix, the marinade, the crispy skin and juicy meat make for a sinfully delicious lunch:

gaotod

3. If you’re not into deep fried, you can also try the equally good Gai Yang – Isaan Province BBQ chicken with a lemongrass marinade, and smoked chilli nam jim:

esan grilled

4. To feel a little more virtuous, try the lovely, fresh Summer Noodle Salad served in a coconut milk dressing. The crispy seafood nuggets balance out all the healthy stuff going on in your plate!

summer salad

5. To finish off your meal, why not have the ridiculous, mind-blowing Bird Bird Sundae? It’s a crazy concoction of coconut ice cream, palm sugar caramel, sweet corn and FRIED CHICKEN SKINS!!!
chicken skin sundae

Be sure to go with friends, because the food here is served in big platters, perfect for lip-smacking, finger-licking sharing!

TASTE:
BIRD BIRD PALACE OF THAI CHICKEN
18 Ann Siang Road, #01-01, Singapore 069698

OPEN TUES – SAT

LUNCH
Tuesday – Saturday 11.30am – 2.30pm

DINNER
Tuesday – Thursday 6.30 – 10pm
Friday & Saturday 6.30 – 11pm

CLOSED ON SUNDAY & MONDAY