Click to listen/ download podcast of this week’s East-West Seafood episode!
Father and son team behind the New Ubin Seafood brand are back! SM Pang (Senior) and Alex Pang (Junior) have such a passion for creating truly Singaporean Zichar that brings together traditional seafood with Western Contemporary dishes, so it is interesting to note that while they agree on many things concerning the palate, they still chose different places to recommend the last time! So how will it turn out this time?
Let’s start with Pang Senior, who breaks away from his traditional Zichar background once again to recommend acclaimed Spanish Tapas restaurant FOC on Hong Kong Street. FOC means fire and their food is imbued with smokiness of their special grills. According to SM Pang, when Chef Jordi is around, their tapas out of this world! But what really stands out is their excellent seafood paella. A crispy crust that sticks to the bottom of the pan is what you want and FOC absolutely delivers in this respect. With the rich, deep flavours of the ocean and the almost creamy rice that has just enough al dente bite, it’s not hard to see why paella would appeal to the Asian palate – something Pang Senior concurs with. He says it’s like the Spanish version of Cantonese Sar Po Fan (瓦煲饭 – Claypot Rice), so hes really not straying too far from his roots with this choice!
FOC by Nandu Jubany
40 HongKong Street S(059679)
Open Daily: 12 – 3pm & 6pm – 12 midnight (Mon – Sat); 6 – 11pm (Sun)
Tel: +65 61004040
As for Alex, he also sticks to what he knows – just like last time, he recommends a stall that his father has bringing him to since he was 4 or 5 years old. You may be familiar with this famous stall – Wah Kee Big Prawn Noodles at Pek Kio. The queues already start forming before the stall opens, with hungry diners waiting for their fix of the incredible noodles, especially the broth. Alex says says the prawn stock is easily the best in Singapore, hands down! It’s all in the way they slice their garlic – very thin, until it virtually melts into the soup. Most Prawn Noodles start off with a stock that is pork and prawn based, but here at Wah Kee, theirs is slanted toward an intense prawn flavour, which makes for a soup that is sharp and umami. Shiok!
Their prawns are indeed big, enormous, in fact, so be warned, a bowl can easily go for up to $20-$25, depending on what and how many you order. But rest assured there is also a more reasonable, regular bowl price which is no less delicious. Pang Senior prefers this cheaper version with the small prawns. He gets a standard $5 bowl with dry Mee Kia noodles and leaves the big prawn action for his son Alex! For him, it’s really all about the soup. As for Alex, his go-to is a large bowl of dry noodles with big prawns, plenty of extra crispy pork lard and a side order of the Kang Kong. Alex has observed that hardly anyone goes for this humble vegetable side, which is a shame, as it is done exceedingly well. Fresh, crunchy and really flavourful, the Kang Kong is braised in prawn stock and slathered another tasty sauce, but overall, there’s a definite prawn flavour that comes through beautifully.
WAH KEE BIG PRAWN NOODLES
Pek Kio Market & Food Centre
41A Cambridge Road, #01-15, S( 210041)
Open Wed – Sun: 8:30am–2pm (Closed Mon & Tues)
So there you have it, Makan Kakis, the New Ubin guys have done it again – despite recommending 2 different makan places, both dishes are seafood based, which goes to show that when it comes to this father and son team, they are really same-same but different! 🙂