Famous, Fantastic Fishballs & More!

HEAR:
Click here for audio of this week’s episode!

SEE:   This week brings a famous fishball joint that really needs no introduction, but is always worth a mention. Our Makan Kaki Chef Daniel Tay reminds us again how delicious Song Kee’s fishball noodles are. It is an institution that plied its trade in Upper Serangoon till it shut unexpectedly, much to loyal customers’ disappointment. Thankfully, they re-opened in the Joo Chiat area last year to much fanfare. For good reason too. Their fishball and fish dumpling (herh keow) noodles are still as good as ever – it’s the perfect balance between great seasoning sauces (especially the chilli), noodle texture and fishy ingredients.

Continue reading “Famous, Fantastic Fishballs & More!”

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VIDEO: FISHBALL/ HERH KEOW MEE

File_000 (1)You heard it first on radio, now catch Gold 905’s popular good food guide on video! We’ve upsized your Makan Kakis experience with this new series featuring themed episodes in which Denise from the Lunchtime Jukebox gives you two choices for a specific local favourite. In this first episode, she takes you from Little India to Newton and offers up two delicious options for Teochew Fish Ball/ Her Keow (fish dumpling) Noodles in Singapore, as recommended by her Makan Kakis Chef Anthony Yeoh & KF Seetoh

CLICK to watch the full video!

You can also read more about these two stalls:
Try THIS: Ah Ho Teochew Kway Teow Mee
Or THAT: Soon Wah Fish Ball Noodle

Die-Die Must Try Fishball & Her Keow

HEAR:
Click here to listen to this week’s big, bold bouncing ball of fishy goodness!

SEE:
Our dude with the food, Makan Guru KF Seetoh is back with a recent rediscovery of a fishball noodle stall that has been around forever – hawker legends that hail back to the original Orchard Carpark Hawkers (opposite Centrepoint) in the 1960s. They’ve been plying their trade for decades, doing things old school, the traditional Teochew way. On a recent jaunt to, of all places, Newton Hawker Centre (yes, a bit of a tourist trap, but admit it – there are still a handful of excellent stalls selling excellent food there!), Seetoh decided to try a bowl of fish ball kway teow soup at this stall he’d long forgotten about.

From a pail in which hundreds of dimply golf-ball-sized fishballs floated, the Teochew Ah Hia (big brother) scooped out a few, dumped it into the soup along with a few other choice ingredients and seasonings and served up a piping hot bowl of comfort to Seetoh. First things first, the soup – redolent with the heady aroma of fish bones, which have been roasted, blitzed and added to the stock along with seasonings, this soup is clear, not cloudy and is made even more delicious with a dollop of crispy fried lard bits, a sprinkling of spring onions and tang cai (savoury, pickled vegetable). Next, come the fishballs…

You know a fishball is good when it’s, in Seetoh’s words, “PIMPLY!” The dimply, dappled surface of each enormous fishball is testament to its handmade quality. No machines here! That’s why no fishball looks the same, each is slightly misshapen and yes, “pimply”! Pure fish meat is folded and shaped and kneaded so much so that lots of air (for bounce) and juices get trapped in – the flavour is locked in tight. On first bite, Seetoh noticed just how traditional these fishballs are – fishbones are blended into the fish paste so you get that added fine fishy powder and tiny crunchy bits of extra texture and taste.

And then, as if that’s not enough, next come the Her Keow (or fish dumplings or fish ravioli!). These fat, bulbous dumplings are folded expertly to encase a yummy morsel of meat within – no diet-sized, insipid, flat, all-flour-no-substance factory-made imitations here! These are slippery little nuggets of pure Teochew tradition – hand folded with a “skin” made from actual fish paste and a little bit of flour for resilience (in other words, it’s made from the same stuff as the fishballs!), with a minced pork and tee por stuffing. Tee por is a wonderfully umami ingredient – sundried, smoked sole fish bones that are either roasted or deep-fried, then pulverised into a magic dust that’s sprinkled everywhere for extra deep, smoky fish flavour.

And that, Makan Kakis, is why these guys are still legends. Don’t ever forget them. Seetoh says, “DIE-DIE MUST TRY!”, so head over this evening to Newton and rediscover Soon Wah Fishballs and Her Keow! Seetoh loves the kway teow soup, but for Denise, it’s got to be a bowl of mee pok tah (dry with lots of vinegar and chilli), and a bowl of fishballs, her keow and fishcake on the side. Heaven!

P.S. Read more about these fishballs and her keow on Makansutra.com!

TASTE:
Soon Wah Fish Ball Noodle
Newton Circus Hawker Centre
#01-69
500 Clemenceau Ave North
Open 5.30pm-11.30pm, closed on Wednesdays and Sundays

Perfect for You and MEE

chinsindeniseHello, Makan Kakis! We have a brand new foodie friend joining our rolling panel of gourmands – Lee Chin Sin, who is not only a chef (he was behind Le Bistrot for about 10 years) and a restaurant owner (Lolla & Lollapalooza), he also recently won MediaCorp’s SG50 Gift of Song Songwriting Competition. So you could say, he marries music with makan in the most successful way!

HEAR:
Click here to hear more about Lee Chin Sin.
Click here to hear this week’s episode again!

SEE:
meepok

For his maiden makan recommendation, we talk about our favourite noodle dish, Mee Pok Tah – it always has to be dry, because “half of the experience is in the chilli sauce”! In Chin Sin’s opinion this place serves up the most perfectly balanced bowl of noodles – the seasoning is judicious, the noodles are expertly cooked and to use technical terminology, the fishballs are “doiing-doiing” (bouncy yet firm)! So delicious are the noodles, that Chin Sin happily rotates between mee pok, mee kia, kway teow and bee hoon – all are great – the seasoning, the sauce, the ingredients remain top-notch. You get bak chor (minced pork), fish balls, fish cake, her keow (fish dumplings), prawn and bean sprouts for a full-blown, earthy, wholesome, ideal bowl of noodles.

TASTE:
Katong (Jago ) Teochew Mee Pok Kway Teow Mee
Marine Parade Central Food Centre

Best of Both Worlds!

HEAR:
Click here to hear this week’s episode again!

SEE:
ytf

When it comes to Mee Pok, there’s your usual bak chor mee or fishball mee, but have you ever experienced the joy of mee pok tah with yong tau fu? This week, our Makan Kaki & Dim Sum Dolly, Selena Tan reveals where you can enjoy the best of both worlds in one glorious bowl!

Selena’s favourite haunt is undoubtedly Tiong Bahru Market and of the many foodie gems there, this one stands out for its awesome combination of fishball noodles AND yong tau fu. Mee Pok Tah (dry) is the gold standard as far as Selena is concerned and the noodles here are served up with just the right amount of bounce & bite (QQ-ness!), along with your choice of the usual yong tau fu ingredients like fishballs, stuffed tau pok (bean curd), stuffed bittergourd and crunchy kang kong. If you’re like Selena, you’ll ask for extra chilli and vinegar for a flavour punch to your mee pok!

yongtaufu

TASTE:
Hui Ji Fishball Noodles and Yong Tau Fu
Tiong Bahru Market Food Centre
#02-44
Open Thursday-Tuesday, 7am-2pm
Closed on Wednesdays

WSF CONGRESS ROUNDUP + ULTIMATE COMFORT FOOD!

A quick roundup is in order for the inaugural World Street Food Congress and Seetoh says:

Above and beyond the meeting of foodies the world over, the networking and the eating, the most important issue to have emerged from the WSF Congress is that street food has the power to fight poverty and create social change! With the right skills, training and passion AND the support of governments, running a street food stall can help the displaced or marginalised create a means of supporting themselves.

And,  here are some of Denise’s favourite moments from the WSF Congress:

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Claus Meyer of Denmark’s Noma & Nam Nam fame http://www.clausmeyer.dk/en/ sharing with us his passion of food at the dialogue session – that’s his creation on the right, the porc sandwich which you can try at the World Street Food Jamboree – Stall 1! The adorable fellas behind Abishek Chicken 65 who travelled for ages to get here to share their delicious fried chicken with us.
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Talking about how #gold90fm connects with listeners through street food culture at the #worldstreetfoodcongress dialogue, then eating my way through 10 countries at the jamboree! Stall 14 from Indonesia – best! Try their banana fritters with smoked fish sambal.
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Denise’s Faves, clockwise from top left: Stall 14 – Tamba’la Manado’s Pisang Roa (battered banana & smoked fish sambal!), Stall 4 – Hoy Tord Chao Lay’s Hoy Tord (crispy seafood omelette), Stall 25 – Abishek’s Chicken 65 (spicy deep-fried chicken), Stall 1 Meyer’s Kokken’s Porc Sandwich (char-grilled pork belly, cider-marinated red cabbage, crunchy apple slices, crackling) and Stall 27 – Swamp Shack’s Shrimp & Grits (crunchy corn meal battered prawns served with a fresh tomato sauce and creamy grits which look a lot like mashed potatoes!).
Hill-Street-Bak-Chor-Mee
After all the stress & craziness of the WSF Congress, this is what Seetoh turns to for comfort – a perfectly balanced bowl of dry Bak Chor Mee from…
Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodles
Blk 466 Crawford Lane #01-12
Tai Hwa Eating House
Open 9.30am – 9.30pm, closed on first and third Mondays of the month

LISTEN to this week’s episode!

A little bonus for our Makan Kakis – Seetoh shows you how to make your own Bak Chor Mee at home! Click the pic below for all the shiokness:

bcmseetoh

BEST BAK CHOR MEE (SOUP)

58 Minced Meat Mee

If you think Bak Chor Mee (minced meat noodles) is best served dry with sambal, think again!

This week, our makan kaki Seetoh challenged Denise’s preconception that mee pok tah is best, by introducing her to the classic, authentic Teo Chew SOUP version of Bak Chor Mee.

This is a dish that as Seetoh puts it, “afficionado Ah Peks” will queue an hour for, because it is so simple, so comforting and so delicious. The cloudy broth is rich with cartilage-and-fat-covered minced meat for extra texture and flavour, and the silky-soft dumplings are packed with meat and the piece de resistance, TEE POR. That’s deep fried, crunchy-crisp salted flat fish. Ground into a fine dust, this smoky, earthy, salty delicacy  gives the bak chor mee soup an additional umaminess that’s hard to beat!

You’ve got to try it if you haven’t already!

58 MINCED MEAT MEE
Blk 58 New Upper Changi Road Food Centre
#01-151
Open from 5.30am, but expect to wait even that early in the morning!

LISTEN TO YOUR MAKAN KAKIS AGAIN!