GOLD 905 DJ Denise kicks off a brand new Makan Kakis series with CNA Lifestyle to find the yummiest local food in Singapore. This week: Absolutely divine appam!
If you live in the West, chances are you’re already familiar with Ghim Moh Market. It’s a veritable treasure trove of all things delicious, including chwee kueh, Hokkien mee and roasted meats. But there’s one breakfast option that has come highly recommended by our GOLD 905 Makan Kaki, The Fabulous Baker Boy co-owner and chef Juwanda Hassim. He swears by the appam found at a stall called Heavens, which has garnered a steady following since it opened back in the ’90s.
Hello Makan Kakis! What do you like for breakfast? For our foodie friend Lyn Lee of Awfully Chocolate & Sinpopo Brand, this is where she heads when she’s craving Indian Vegetarian! Go visit the famous Anada Bhavan in the morning and you can choose from 8 different sets of vegetarian breakfasts. Lyn says go with Set #1, which turned out to be entirely delicious. It comprises idly, uppumar, kesari, vadai, coffee or tea and a whole host of chutneys and dips, served on a banana leaf.
Hello Makan Kakis! Meet our new Foodie Friend S. Mahenthiran, Honorary Secretary of Indian Restaurants Association Singapore, organizers of The Great Indian Food Fest (from July 19-28 ), to celebrate the rich history, culture and evolution of Little India and its diverse cuisine.
Sixteen food carts have been set up along Campbell Lane for the public to indulge in little seen or heard of Indian, as well as Chinese and Malay, dishes from the 1960s, like Putu Bola and Kuli Paniyaram (which you can have savoury & spicy, or as a sweet dessert). Visitors can also take part in a guided heritage food trail through Tekka Centre involving food tasting and interaction with hawkers. Free activities like the parrot fortune teller, snake charmer and henna art have also been brought in to enhance the experience. Look out also for Singapore’s only authentic kacang puteh man, who usually can be seen at Peace Centre – he makes his appearance at the Great Indian Food Festival too! So if you’re hankering after a cherished taste of flavours from the past, or looking for a fun, tasty & educational experience for the younger ones in your family, this is the place to be! You still have time to head on over to the Great Indian Food Fest on Campbell Lane. It’s on daily till Sunday, 10am – 10pm.
Mahen also happens to come from a proud culinary heritage – his family owns & runs Gayatri Restaurants, which was started by his father 23 years ago in 1996. From the age of 14, after starting to help out at the restaurant and really getting involved in the nitty gritty – washing dishes & scrubbing pots in the kitchen – his passion for food and the family business was sparked. Today, Mahen is the Director of Gayatri Restaurant and when he’s got a Sunday off from his busy job, he usually ends up at a place he’s been eating at with his parents since he was a kid.
Hello Makan Kakis, meet your new Foodie Friends, a Father & Son duo who are wildly passionate about food, especially since they are the team behind Truly Singaporean Tze Char restaurant brand, New Ubin Seafood, known for not just their take on tasty traditional dishes, but also their innovative twist on Western contemporary dishes – perfect beef and heart attack fried rice, anyone?
SM Pang and his son Alex popped by the Gold 905 studio recently to talk about all things food, working together in a family-run F&B business and of course, share with us some of their personal favourites when it comes to eating out here in Singapore.
By the way, they’ve just opened their newest branch at the Ramada Hotel (Zhongshan Park), serving up the same awesome signatures you know and love. Check it out here.
Our Makan Kaki Pastry Chef Janice Wong is back this week to tell us about another one of her favourite places to eat at. When she’s craving excellent Indian food, Little India Institution, Jaggi’s is where she heads.
This week, we meet a new Makan Kaki, head chef of Modern Australian Restaurant, Cheek By Jowl at 21 Boon Tat Street. Rishi Naleendra was born in Sri Lanka, but moved to Australia to study and work. He cut his culinary teeth at renowned restaurants like Tetsuya and Taxi, before moving to Singapore to start his open kitchen restaurant with his wife Manuela. He handles everything in the kitchen and in his words, Manuela handles “everything else”, including the wines!
Click here to hear our chat about Cheek by Jowl and his approach to cooking for diners.
Click here for where this chef likes to eat locally when he’s not cooking at his restaurant!
OK, Foodie Friends, time for an oldie but a goodie – Easties will be familiar with this Joo Chiat favourite and it’s no surprise that Chef Rishi has chosen this simple, Mom-and-Pop shop as one of his go-to places for local Indian food. In Sri Lanka, they have something similar but more doughy and chewy, so Singapore-style Roti Prata was a revelation to him. First of all, this is a prata that absolutely lives up to its name – it really is SUPER CRISPY! Crisp & flaky on the outside, yet fluffy on the inside, Chef Rishi says this one is a winner on all counts – flavour, texture are all on point. Dipped into the fish curry that is substantial, tasty and redolent with that seafoody aroma, the prata is really an addictive dish.
Chef Rishi’s been trying to cut down, but when he first moved to Singapore, he couldn’t get enough of this prata – he would usually order up 2 plain pratas, one egg and one plaster. In particular, the plaster is something he’s never seen anywhere else besides Singapore & Malaysia and it reminds him of that typically western breakfast of egg on toast. Prata Plaster is the Singapore version and when you cut into it, that runny yolk, combined with the crispy fried pastry, is in his opinion, ‘perfection”!
Prata Plaster in the making by Mr Moghan & his assistant:
Look at that egg!
The beauteous result:
Mr & Mrs Mohgan, together with their helpers, have a great little business going and see a steady stream of customers everyday. Be prepared for a bit of a wait, but Mr Mohgan does his fastest best. The whole set-up is efficient, and to keep track, orders (both dine-in & takeaway) are handwritten on Mrs Mohgan’s clipboard. Mrs Mohgan is a cute, friendly lady who’s so used to food “tourists”, she amiably moves aside and waits for you to take photos and when your order is ready, she calls you sister or brother with a gentle smile. You gotta go try the Mr & Mrs Mohgan experience!
Mr and Mrs Mohgan’s Super Crispy Roti Prata
Poh Ho Restaurant
7 Crane Road, S429356
Open: 6.30am – 1.30pm (closed on Tues/Wed 3rd week of the month)
This week, we continue our guide to good eats in Balestier with our Makan Kaki Shermay Lee. If you’re in need of a Northern Indian spice fix, look no further than a little corner in Balestier Plaza for excellent Tandoori, hence it’s name – Tandoori Corner! Owned & run by the affable Mr Satish, this is a wonderful hidden gem of a family restaurant which serves up well-priced and delicious Northern Indian classics.
Shermay’s must try list includes:
Garlic Naan (plain is good too) to soak up all the lovely gravies
Lassi (plain & mango)
Affordability is really the factor here at Tandoori Corner, but flavours are never compromised, so you’ll always get a meal of great taste and value!
TASTE: TANDOORI CORNER
400 Balestier Road
Open daily for lunch 12-2.45pm & dinner 6-9.45pm
This week, our intrepid Makan Kaki Juwanda Hassim, The Fabulous Baker Boy, wants to share a recent discovery Vegetarians will love. Non-vegetarians will love it too, because taste-wise, the satisfying array of dishes never disappoint. This Indian Vegetarian restaurant, which started almost 100 years ago in Bangalore India, has been getting rave reviews since it opened here in Singapore 3 years ago and was recommended by a couple of friends originally from Chennai, who are definitely in the know when it comes to what’s good and what’s not! So what’s the big fuss over MTR 1924? First of all, Mavalli Tiffin Rooms, better known as MTR, takes the purity of their vegetarian food very seriously – even the restaurant is spotless. The open kitchen sees dish after dish of South Indian Vegetarian delicacies being served daily, but here are some of Juwanda’s favourites.
Their Masala Dosa is served as a folded triangle, smaller than the usual, but it’s so crusty, crispy and manages to maintain that irresistible crispness. Extra flavour is brushed on in the form of magic butter – ghee and everything blends together perfectly – the condiments, the potato filling that’s perfectly cooked and never mushy.
Rava Idli is another must-try. It’s a steamed semolina cake with yoghurt, coriander, cashews, curry leaves, mustard seeds and ghee, served with potato sagu and chutney. Also look out for their sweet version.
They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, with a special set menu that changes daily, so you can literally eat there everyday and taste something different and delicious! And be sure to order a cup of their filter coffee to go along with dessert.
Last word from Juwanda. Dining at MTR is such a joyous expereince. Pure happiness is knowing that the owners take such pride in the food they serve and what you’re eating is healthy, pure and light.