MasterChef SG’s Mel Lim – Fave Dark Soy Sauce Wanton Mee

Hi Makan Kakis!

This week, we welcome Hotel Operator Melissa Lim, who most recently exited the MasterChef Singapore competition. She tells us about that fateful episode, gives us insights into the MasterChef experience and also recommends her favourite wanton mee in Singapore.

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Passionate about French Patisserie & Japanese Cuisine, Melissa is usually based in Manila (The Philippines), where she is a hotel manager. But when she’s back in Singapore, it’s all about all the local hawker favourites she misses when she’s away. She loves this East-side stall for their unique wanton noodles.    

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photo via bei-ing wanton noodles facebook.

Mel swears by Bei-Ing Wanton Noodles at Roxy Square, which offers up delicious and affordable options like Chicken Katsu noodles, Katong Otah and more. But the most outstanding of all is their insta-worthy, artistically-presented wanton mee. Each serving is presented with a stylish swoosh of dark sauce painted on the side of the bowl. Such flair, Mel observes, is worthy of a Michelin-starred restaurant.

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Notice the artistic brush swoosh of sauce on the plate rim! Photo courtesy of Melissa Lim.

Continue reading “MasterChef SG’s Mel Lim – Fave Dark Soy Sauce Wanton Mee”

Succulent, Smoky, Charcoal-grilled Pork Belly Satay

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Click here to listen/ download podcast of this week’s charcoal grilled episode!

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Hey Makan Kakis! Our foodie friend Lyn Lee of Awfully Chocolate & Sinpopo Brand joins us to recommend an incredible accompaniament to awesome Fried Hokkien Mee – SATAY. Not just your regular grilled meats on a stick, but luscious, decadent, chargoal-grilled PORK BELLY SATAY! Served side-by-side to the folks behind the famous Geylang Lorong 29 Hokkien Mee, which we’ve previously featured here.

Said Hokkien Mee is charcoal-fried for that deliciously smoky wok hei and the same charcoal-smokiness is front and centre in the pork belly satay, which comes with gorgeous charred marks seared in stripes across the succulent meat.

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Dim Sum, Beef Hor Fun & More!

HEAR:
Click to listen/ download podcast of this week’s steamy, smoky supper episode!

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Our Makan Kaki, Chef Anthony Yeoh of Summer Hill French Bistro is back to share another late night discovery near his restaurant at Sunset Way. Just a short drive in the direction of Beauty World, you’ll find Mong Kok Dim Sum at Cheong Chin Nam Road, the famous stretch of eateries that open late. There, you’ll find decent dim sum and other zichar favourites available till 1.30am.

A branch of the 24-hour Geylang restaurant, Mong Kok Dim Sum opposite Beauty World serves up a mean “Geylang Lorong 9 style” beef hor fun that’s savoury, umami and full of legit smoky wok hei.

The sauce is glossy, not goopy; intensely flavoured with red chillies and fermented black beans; and the flat rice noodles have a delicious char from being tossed in a searingly hot wok. Large slices of tender beef and a few stalks of leafy green bok choy complete the dish, along with tangy pickled green chilli to cut through all the richness.

Continue reading “Dim Sum, Beef Hor Fun & More!”

MAKAN KAKIS SALUTES HAWKERS FOR UNESCO RECOGNITION

CONGRATULATIONS, SINGAPORE!

Our hawker culture has officially been added to the Unesco list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity! In celebration, let’s go back and explore some of our best-loved hawker dishes, as voted by GOLD 905 listeners earlier this year. Simply scroll through & click on the list I’ve conveniently compiled for you below.

With sincere thanks to all the hawkers past, present and future, for all your hard work, expertise and contributions to Singapore’s unique food heritage. We salute you!

For more, come back often and explore my entire archive of delicious Makan Kakis recommendations!

x denise

  1. Click the pic below for Chicken Rice options:

2. Click the pic below for Laksa options:

3. Click the pic below for Chilli Crab options:

4. Click the pic below for Hokkien Mee options:

5. Click the pic below for Rojak options:

Authentic, Hand-made Hakka Yong Tau Foo

The last thing I expected to find in the Little India area was authentic, hand-made Hakka delicacies, but following a hot tip from my Makan Kaki Lyn Lee of Awfully Chocolate & Sinpopo Brand, I went looking for a stall that’s been run by one family for more than three decades, located in a coffee shop along Syed Alwi Road.

One of two side-by-side stalls run by the Chia family, customers have been flocking there for a taste of authentic Hakka yong tau foo since 1984. I met Mr Chia Teck Kwang who was busy serving up his few remaining bowls to straggling lunchtime customers. It was a little past 2pm and I was thankful he had enough for my maiden taste of his famed dish.

First started by Mr Chia’s late father who was still making yong tau foo up to the ripe old age of ninety-one, the business has operated out of their current coffee shop for over twenty years. Mr Chia told me that together with their father, his four brothers and two sisters have always sold their yong tau foo in and around the same area. Quite the chatty, gregarious character, he encouraged me to have more drinks while I waited for him to prepare my $3 set of yong tau foo in soup, with an accompanying side of dry minced meat noodles ($4 and $5 sets also available).

Click below for all the details on those nourishing bowls of yong tau foo, featuring favourites along with a few other delicious surprises:

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Mee Soto made of Heritage, Hype & Hope

If you’re looking for something nourishing and comforting, there’s nothing quite like a bowl of chicken noodle soup, especially if a local version beckons – one that’s rich, luxurious and packed full of spicy flavour. I knew I was on to a winner after my first try of the mee soto from Yunos N Family.

A foodie friend kindly had some delivered to me during the circuit breaker and even having withstood a long journey, it still bowled me over. So I went searching for the source of my soupy isolation consolation.

Ang Mo Kio Central Market & Food Centre was where I found the popular stall, which first made its name selling decadent, customizable mee rebus (mee soto came later). The business began six decades ago with the story of third generation hawker Afiq Rezza’s late grandfather (the eponymous Yunos), who travelled alone from the Solo, on the Indonesian island of Java, to Singapore as an enterprising young man.

It was 1960 when he started selling mee rebus from a pushcart at Hastings Road in Little India. By 1979, Mr Yunos relocated to a stall in Ang Mo Kio Ave 6 and there Yunos N Family has remained ever since. Afiq’s father took over running the stall around the same time as the move and believed in training the children to work hard for things they wanted, so during school holidays, they always helped out at the stall.

A valuable life lesson, yet no formal cooking lessons have taken place, to pass down grandpa’s legacy through the generations. Afiq explained, “We try to preserve the old recipes as much as possible, but my father has never taught me to cook any of the dishes. He’s not the manja (pampering or babying) kind. And my late grandfather was also not the kind to manja and teach either.”

Despite that, the family has still managed to preserve the authenticity of the food, which Afiq said sets them apart from others. Besides Grandpa’s original mee rebus, Yunos N Family’s culinary repertoire has expanded to include satay, gado-gado and mee soto. According to him, there are many different versions of the latter, “The Javanese, in particular, like things sweet. So we follow that style. As a matter of fact, everything we serve is quite sweet and we try to stay as authentic as possible.”

Rest assured though, even if you don’t have a sweet tooth, there were a whole lot of other flavours going on to give their mee soto lots of depth.

For more on Yunos N Family’s mee soto, click the links below:

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Light & Creamy Satay Bee Hoon with History

For someone who prides herself on being an adventurous diner, the latest makan recommendation from my foodie friend, Lyn Lee of Awfully Chocolate & Sinpopo Brand, absolutely confounded me. A hawker dish I had never tried before? How could it be? So sorely in need of a palate readjustment, I was determined to investigate Lyn’s childhood favourite – a particular slice of Bukit Timah nostalgia and the tasty history of Sin Chew Satay Bee Hoon.

Husband-and-wife team, Mr Tay Que Huak & Madam Koh Git Tia, were in action the day I paid the stall a visit. As the story goes, their signature dish was the result of a happy accident. Madam Koh explained, “The family actually used to sell fishball mee but switched to satay bee hoon because one day, my father-in-law brought home satay and there were leftovers. My mother-in-law said not to waste the sauce, so she cooked it with bee hoon and they discovered it was actually very tasty together!”

Born out of frugality and a little bit of culinary creativity, Sin Chew Satay Bee Hoon has roots in Bukit Timah Market & Food Centre that go back more than four decades. They are considered one of the few remaining pioneer heritage hawkers who moved their street food stalls from along Bukit Timah canal into the food centre.

It’s always been a family business, beginning with Mr Tay’s father in 1956, who passed it on to his children. The Tays themselves are semi-retired now, with their daughter shouldering the bulk of duties at their stall. “Our daughter started helping us right after graduating from Ngee Ann poly. She’s taken over for ten years already,” Mr Tay said proudly.

These days, Sin Chew Satay Bee Hoon’s success has afforded them the luxury of scaling back operation hours to just lunch and dinner (with a break in between) four days a week. This has only served to increase customers’ appetite for their saucy signature, with regulars often forming a queue before opening times.

What makes their satay bee hoon so popular? Click below to find out more:

Continue reading “Light & Creamy Satay Bee Hoon with History”

Ice Cream Café with a Savoury Noodle Secret

You might have heard of a now defunct stall at Tanglin Halt Food Centre called Aw’s Signature Minced Pork Noodles, which made a name for itself with delicious, ingredient-laden bak chor mee. But almost as quickly as it rose in popularity, it closed down, much to the disappointment of customers in the know. One of them was my Makan Kaki, Chef Shen Tan of private dining experience, Ownself Make Chef and Gastrogig’s Thank-Goodness-It’s home delivery concept.

So imagine my delight when she revealed it had re-opened, albeit in a surprisingly different set-up, just a stone’s throw from its former location. She recommended that I head down to The Milky Way Homemade Ice-Cream And Coffee cafe for my bak chor mee fix, but with the added bonus of dessert.

The man behind the noodles (and now, ice cream) is Terence Aw, a self-taught cook and former police officer who left a decade-long career in law enforcement to pursue his passion for cooking. After a lot of practice and pointers from fellow hawkers at Tanglin Halt Food Centre, Terence’s bak chor mee, with its unique taste and plentiful ingredients, really took off and gained a loyal fan following.

He credits Chef Shen for helping to get the word out and helping to jump start his business. In fact, she’s still doing so, now that he’s added custom gourmet ice creams to the menu at his new location. But more on that later.

First, I was hungry for a taste of the noodles I had been hearing so much about. My order for the best-selling dry kway teow (flat rice noodles) cost $5.80 and came served in a bowl piled with meaty, golden-brown ingredients. Beside it was a separate bowl of soup swimming with greens and more meaty ingredients. No wonder it used to be called Aw’s signature minced pork noodles – Terence had created a noodle dish that was entirely his own – it didn’t look like the typical hawker centre variety and was unlike any other I’ve tasted.

Find out why by clicking the links below: