Best of 2017 – Makan Kakis’ Top Ten List

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Gluttonous Greetings Everyone & Happy New Year!

2017 saw a whole host of new foodie friends joining our rolling panel of Makan Kakis and along with them came a stupendous slew of new & delicious food recommendations. So as we begin 2018, let’s take a look back at some of the most popular makan places that really caught your attention in 2017. Click on each for details & enjoy!

10. Another Best Contender for Bak Chor Mee?
9. Curry Rice that’s a CUT Above!
8. Firebaked Excellence
7. Geylang Hokkien Mee NOT in Geylang
6. Super Crispy Prata
5. Raw Egg Bak Chor Mee?!
4. Nuts about Pistachio Grill
3. Magnificent Mee Pok
2. Karried Away by Kway Chap
1. Die-Die-Must-Try Fishball & Herh Keow

Just wanna listen to the audio? Click here!

Thank you so much for your support of our tasty little segment on Gold 905 and for helping it grow bigger and better. If you like what you hear on air and what you see here on the blog, do share share share! Here’s to yet another year of yum – may your 2018 be overflowing with the best things to eat and drink – Season’s Eatings!

P.S.

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Oodles of Noodles for Lunch

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PORK JOWL CHAR SIEW WONTON MEE

This week, our Makan Kaki Chef Anthony Yeoh returns to recommend a lunchtime noodle treat that will surely satisfy. Morsels is known for their small plates and Omakase, but did you know they open for lunch with special noodle sets inspired by self-confessed Noodle Queen, chef-owner Petrina Loh‘s travels across Asia and her own culinary upbringing? There are 4 noodle specials on rotation currently, one per week, which cycles through – be sure you pop by to try a different one every week! Each bowl of noodles comes with an appetiser & condiments.

Check out what’s on offer this week: Pork kimchi wonton noodles with Primrose Farms Pork jowl char siew in a special Herb-Infused Soya Sauce & jalapeno green chili sauce (see picture above). Luxurious, tasty and zingy from the jalepeno, this is a must-try and is available this week! Continue reading “Oodles of Noodles for Lunch”

Another Contender for Best Bak Chor Mee?

Today we have a pair of very interesting and talented studio guests who are doing their part to promote culinary & cultural exchange between Germany and Singapore! They are 1-Michelin Starred Chef Oliver Röder from Bembergs Häuschen, famous for putting a modern spin on traditional German & Eifel cuisines, as well as Singapore’s emerging hawker, Kai of Roast Paradise at Old Airport Road Food Centre. Scroll all the way down for his Bak Chor Mee recommendation!

On-air, we had a great chat about their own personal culinary backgrounds, their food philosophies, what they like to cook at home for friends and family when they aren’t cooking for work, and also more about Chef Oliver’s first-time visit to Singapore. Besides experiencing Kai’s pork roasting techniques and sampling his deliciously charred delicacies, Chef Oliver had a wet market visit and a joint cooking collaboration with Kai at the German Ambassador’s residence (see photos below).

Char Siew, dripping with marinade, being roasted over a charcoal fire
Creating sparks with roasted meats!
They actually removed the whole bespoke oven from their stall in Old Airport Road Food Centre, hired a lorry & transported it to the German Ambassador’s home!
Kai and their makeshift meat rack!
Gloriously charred pork, burnished a deep caramel.

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Kai’s roast meat stall is at the famous Old Airport Road Food Centre, so it’s only natural he gravitates towards makan places close by. Case in point, a nondescript stall in a coffee shop a little way down the road, at Block 21. But it is here that he believes he has found his personal favourite bak chor mee. It’s really the perfect place for really late-nightbirds, or really early breakfasters, since it opens only from 4-10am. What makes the noodles here good (be sure to order them dry with chilli), is the perfect balance that we look for, between the meatiness, the fishiness, the al dente noodle texture, the combination of lard (ask the uncle for lots – it’s extra crispy!), oil and sauces. This is a good, honest bowl of mee pok that really hits the spot.

TASTE:
Handmade Fishball & Minced Meat Noodles
Choon Guan Eating House
Block 21 Old Airport Road, Singapore 390021
Open Daily 4am – 10am (but may sell-out even before 10am, so get there early!)

Geylang Hokkien Mee NOT in Geylang

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We’re on our final episode in the month of August and as we conclude our Nation’s birthday celebrations, our foodie friend Chef Anthony Yeoh, now Group Executive Chef of Bird Bird & Artichoke, returns with more delectable recommendations, starting with one of his go-to stalls when he’s East-side. One thing that can be said of Singapore, you can’t get more unique than a stall with Geylang in its name that’s not actually in Geylang! The same can be said of many other stalls across our island, and as Chef Tony observes, it’s a quirk to preserve the brand & the reputation through the (albeit geographically incorrect) name!

So back to the stall in the spotlight this week, if you love Hokkien Mee, you’ve got to get yourself to East Coast Road for Geylang Lorong 29’s delicious version. In a word, this Hokkien Mee is AWESOME, especially if you prefer yours “wet”. Chef Tony loves it with a coating of viscous sauce, thick and gelatinous from the liberal use of pork and prawn stock.

And it is indeed the stock that’s the very foundation of a good Hokkien Mee. A well-seasoned wok and a heaping of noodles to soak up the deep, rich flavours of said stock are all you need! And here, they leave just enough gravy for the noodles to swim around in. What you get is a lip-smackingly collagen-y, juicy plate of yellow mee, bee hoon, pork belly, fresh prawn & sotong redolent with that distinctive fire-breathed wok fragrance.

There are different plates of different sizes and different prices – the one shown costs $10 and while gigantic, is good for 2-4 to share, or for one very large appetite! Regardless, you’ll inhale the lot – it’s that good!  You can also upgrade your Hokkien Mee with extra oysters or big prawns, which are both good choices when you feel like spoiling yourself. The stall also sells oyster omelette and Chye Tow Kway (Carrot Cake), which are pretty good too, but Tony finds himself returning again and again for their excellent signature Hokkien Mee. You should too!

TASTE:
Geylang Lor 29 Fried Hokkien Mee
396 East Coast Road, Singapore 428994
Open 11.30am – 9.30pm (Closed Mondays)
Tel: +65 97331388

Dive into this Kacang Pool!

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This week, our foodie friend and cook-performer in Singapore Festival of the Arts’ forthcoming O.P.E.N. KITCHENS, Asha Adnan, introduces us to a retro restaurant that’s a throwback to the 70s/ 80s. Mukmin Restaurant features several established stalls serving up really delicious home comforts. Case in point, Kacang Pool, which Asha describes as a Malay take on hummus. Asha loves the texture and taste of this dish, which comes with chopped green chillies, red onion and a fried egg on top. Better yet, you can ask for a runny centre (Asha recommends you do) and sop up all the eggy, kacang goodness with the toasted French bread served on the side!

If you’re early enough and lucky enough to be there on Fridays, be sure to get in line to grab the freshly fried Goreng Pisang (batter-fried banana)  – sweet, savoury and so irresistible – BEFORE 2pm. They sell out really quickly, a testament to how good they are!  And don’t forget to ask for the crumbs – you know, those crunchy bits of excess batter? Other must-tries at Mukmin include their Lontong Goreng, Mee Soto & Laksa. It’s really a restaurant that has everything tasty under one roof! 

TASTE:
MUKMIN RESTAURANT
Block 129 Bedok North Street 2, #01-26, Singapore 460129
Tel: 64434724
Open Daily: 7am – 10pm

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

Laksa To Swear By

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Click here to listen to this week’s spicy-coconut flavoured episode!

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This week, join our Makan Kaki Frog Michaels, Chang Moh & authour of A Helping Hand, as she shares where she likes to go for Nyonya Laksa. Her husband’s family are Baba, and after years of “training” Frog stands in good stead to distinguish good from bad when it comes to those Peranakan flavours! Now, truth be told, when it comes to Katong Laksa, there are many who profess to be THE original, so we’ll just leapfrog over that argument and go straight to Frog’s favourite place. She believes they are authentic and serve up a good, rich, tasty bowl of spicy, coconutty goodness!

This Katong Laksa is run by the affable George, so Frog usually refers to this as George’s Laksa and it’s been in his family for 2-3 generations. Frog was introduced to this by a family friend who’s been eating there since George’s father has been making it. George now runs the show with his wife, churning out bowl after bowl of Frog’s favourite local dish.

Frog swears by this laksa, which she describes as having “a real richness to it”. The spiciness is just right and in fact she asks for extra sambal for that fiery kick. Check out George’s cauldron of goodness!

Frog doesn’t live near the East at all, but she says it’s worth the trip and each time she goes, she not only dines in, but will take away as well, to make that trip East count! What she appreciates about George’s Laksa is his care in preparation – even the laksa you take away is lovingly placed into separate containers – noodles and ingredients in one, gravy in another – so the dish doesn’t get all claggy or soggy. Frog loves to go early in the morning to beat the crowd and often brings out-of-town visitors there for breakfast, just to test them! She doesn’t tell them what it is, she just tells them to have a go and so far, reactions have been good! One typically kiasu but necessary Singaporean tip, because she’s “kancheong” that he will have run out, Frog always SMSes George before she heads down, to make sure he’s got what she craves!

TASTE:
KATONG LAKSA
1 Telok Kurau Road, SINGAPORE 423756 (in the coffeeshop on the corner of Telok Kurau & Changi Roads, opposite the SPC petrol station)
Open: 8am – 3.30pm (closed alternate tuesdays)
Tel: 98559401 / 64404585

Read more about Laksa George on Frog’s blog, Changmoh.com!

Die-Die Must Try Fishball & Her Keow

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

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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