This week, as we continue to celebrate females in the F&B industry, I catch up with a Foodie Friend whom you might already know.
Chef-Owner of Morsels, Petrina Loh first appeared on my show back in 2016 and as she celebrates the 10th Birthday of her restaurant this year, let’s find out what she’s up to, what she’s learnt along the way and future plans for Morsels.
Chef Petrina also dishes advice for aspiring F&B entrepreneurs and for the ladies, why self-care and solo time is so important.
She also shares who she’d invite, what she’d serve and what song she’d play at her fantasy dinner party. A French chef made good in the USA, lots of vegetables and U2 just might be on the menu!
Also, if you love a comforting bowl of prawn noodle soup, Chef Petrina recommends one that gives her old-school vibes – it tastes just like the kind she enjoyed as a child. Have a listen to our podcasts below for all the details!
I ended the year 2022 with every foodie’s nightmare – a frightful bout of stomach flu that left me unable to enjoy the festivities & feasting. Hope your holiday celebrations were much more successful & delicious! Post-festivity overindulgence behind us, here’s the perfect calming way to start the new year – a tummy-soothing bowl of hot, soupy mee hoon kueh comfort! With many thanks to our Foodie Friend & Super Farmer Cynthea Lam for this serendipitous makan recommendation. It’s just what the doctor ordered!
This is Cynthea’s favourite mee hoon kueh soup, found at the popular food centre in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4. For her, it’s the broth that is unforgettable – rich, robust yet not too cloyingly thick, it’s packed with flavour, thanks to the careful simmering of ikan bilis and pork bones to create the perfect surf and turf balance of lip-smacking umami.
You have your choice of noodles, from kway teow to bee hoon, but Cynthea’s go-to is mee hoon kueh, rustic, hand-torn, flat pieces of dough. Another good choice is springy Koka instant noodles which are a great combination with the broth and also available in a “dry” version.
However, for Cynthea, it always has to be the soup version because of the broth that gets absorbed so beautifully, flavours penetrating each chewy, bouncy piece of mee hoon kueh completely! Each lusicous bowl comes with a generous amount of spinach and soft, tender minced pork balls. An egg cracked into the piping hot soup adds more body and flavour to the bowl and is especially enjoyable if you catch it when the yolk is still gooey and runny!
I went all in and added a side of fresh fish slices for $1.50, bringing my order of mee hoon kueh soup to $5.50. By the way, they accept CDC Vouchers here! Crispy ikan bilis and fried shallots garnish the soupy bowl and you can add a little sliced red chilli for extra kick.
Altogether a very satisfying, filling yet soothing meal, Cynthea was right – you’ll find yourself cleaning your bowl and drinking down every drop of the tasty broth!
TASTE: Li Xiang Fish Soup Noodle 628 Ang Mo Kio Ave 4, #01-55, Singapore 560628 Open Daily: 11am – 9pm
Chef Jeremy Ngueereturns this week with a recommendation for excellent prawn noodles by, to quote their website,
a band of young and passionate individuals determined to keep the Singaporean culture and our heritage alive. Inspired by the flavours of Penang prawn noodles and Japanese ramen broth… One Prawn Noodle is headed by Gwyneth Ang, with more than 10 years under her belt working in established restaurants like Burnt Ends, Tong Le Private Dining and Forlino. Her experience has enabled her to implement great techniques across different cuisines, resulting in every bowl of prawn noodle packed with mouth-watering goodness.
Always the champion of young hawkerpreneurs, Chef Jeremy really admires the grit and effort Gwyneth and her team have put into each delicious, bubbling claypot of prawn noodles. It’s really difficult to make a good, rich prawn stock but at One Prawn & Co, they do it really well.
Once located at Beach Road, the noodle establishment has moved to a shophouse unit along MacPherson Road and it’s a well-organised eatery, with efficient service and helpful, polite staff. These are all the frills you appreciate, but it’s their signature prawn noodles that speak volumes of their dedication to making customers happy and satisfied.
Wait to be seated, a menu will be brought to you and your order will be taken swiftly. Each table is well set up, with tissues, chopsticks & chilli powder all conveniently displayed, along with a little bin for discarding shells thoughtfully included. The menu is a colourful board with clear instructions on how to order or combine ingredients, which are luxurious and generous options of pork ribs, large & medium prawns, prawn balls, thin slices of pork shabu and lala clams.
Chef Jeremy likes ordering the dry version of noodles (choose from yellow noodles, kway teow, thin bee hoon, thick beehoon or a mix of your faves), which comes with an umami sauce enhanced by aromatic fried shallots and crispy lard bits. If you like more kick, ask for more of their spicy, savoury chilli paste. Copious sprinkles of chilli powder (more aromatic than spicy) adds another layer of earthy, citrusy flavour. And be sure to apply cut red chilli in soy sauce liberally!
I asked the staff for a recommendation and as a first-timer, they suggested the Supreme Prawn Noodles which at $20, comes with EVERYTHING (except the large prawns – regular sized ones were included). Before I knew it, a bubbling claypot of piping-hot soup, packed with ingredients, was served along with my choice of mixed yellow noodles & thick beehoon on the side.
Tossed up to get every strand of noodle coated in sauce, the noodles looked simple, modest even, but were layered with lots of flavour. Bean sprouts & blanched kang kong brought fresh crunch, whilst crispy lard and fried shallots brought fatty flavour & fragrance. Chef Jeremy recognises the labour that goes into making of each bowl of noodles, saying, “If you process 10kg of shallots or lard, at the end of the day you get just 2 kg ‘cos it shrinks down so much.” In other words, trying to achieve the balance of umami, silkiness of the noodles and the caramelised shallots & crispy lard is no small feat. At One Prawn & Co, they do this really well and they are also considerate as to how much people can eat so the portion of noodles is judicious, yet they are very generous with the sauce and crispy bits. So when you get to the bottom of the bowl, you still have lots to go round for your last slurp of noodles.
True to their promise, their take on prawn broth was heady and full-bodied – inspired by Penang prawn noodles and Japanese ramen. Brewed from the shells of prawns for hours to extract maximum flavour, it was robust and deeply prawny, with a subtle sweetness that came through beautifully. The broth had a viscosity that told of its richness and a pleasant sheen of golden-orange oil that brought loads prawn flavour. Trying not to burn myself, I drank down every drop.
As you can see, everything is served in one bubbling claypot, packed with generous portions of lala clams (I counted four), which were sweet & briny with a bouncy texture, along with thin slices of shabu pork (I counted at least 8), which were tender and flavoursome from their little slivers of fat.
Then there were 3 meaty pieces of pork rib, which were extremely tender with a very pleasing fat to meat ratio. Moist and luscious, they also tasted very fresh, without an overpowering porky pungency.
Three good-sized, firm and crunchy-fresh prawns came conveniently de-shelled where it counts. Tails & heads (hello flavour!) were left on, giving access to their plump and juicy mid-sections.
As for the tobiko prawn balls, biting into the spheres of flying fish roe gave off little bursts of crunchy tastiness, which made them really fun to eat.
For groups and big eaters, you can also supplement your prawn noodle meal with a platter of ngoh hiang. I couldn’t resist ordering a taster for 1-2 persons ($8.50).
What I liked was how the crispy-fried textures and seafood flavours of the platter really complemented the prawn noodles. I especially enjoyed the deep-fried fritter disc and the handmade fishcake, dipped in the accompanying sweet and spicy chilli sauce.
Do support these young hawkerpreneurs who are dilligently pursuing excellence and serving up their earnest expression of the best prawn mee they can create. That’s why Chef Jeremy admires their dynamism – One Prawn & Co. has evolved from their Beach Road beginnings, changing things up and constantly improving. This is a prawn noodle worth trying, even though it will cost you a little extra. Wholesome and well-executed, the thought and care that goes into each serving is plain to see and taste!
Our Makan Kaki, The Fabulous Baker Boy Fabulous Baker Boy, Juwanda Hassim returns with a recommendation straight from his growing-up years – a stall that sells his father’s favourite mee rebus at Haig Road Food Centre.
Juwanda’s maternal grandparents were once mee rebus street hawkers, so his family really appreciates quality when they taste it. At Afandi Hawa and Family, their mee rebus is the real stuff, made from a good meaty stock thickened with sweet potatoes.
Back with us is MasterChef Singapore judge, Chef Damian D’Silva of Singapore Heritage restaurant Rempapa (check out their Deepavali specials below) . A while back, he took us to one of his favourite stalls for Cantonese-style steamed dishes – Chef Chik at Haig Road Food Centre. We return to the same food centre to visit another stall for “Chinese-style lemak laksa” that Chef Damian really enjoys!
At Goody N Jolly, their laksa is prawn based, with a rich coconut broth and a rempah that has Chef Damian’s seal of approval.
This is the Prawn + Cockle version ($6), which comes with thick vermicelli, taupok, sliced fishcake, hard-boiled egg as well as prawns and cockles, of course!
Laksa gravy was indeed rich and coconutty, yet light but not cloying. Gentle heat came from the large dollop of sambal on top, which was unusual and delicious – tangy and full of savoury umami!
Not a fan of cockles? There are other versions of the laksa to choose from – prawn + taupok ($5.50), shredded chicken + prawn ($6) and shredded chicken + taupok ($5).
Another must-try at Goody N Jolly is the curry chicken ($7), which you can enjoy with bread (local-style French loaf) or rice. I went for the laksa, but will return for this delectable curry, which turned out to be a complete revelation!
It came served piping hot in a large ceramic bowl filled with generous chunks of chicken that featured fork-tender meat and creamy-soft potatoes.
And you’re gonna want to drink up ALL the delcious gravy! Robust, deeply savoury & lip-smackingly tasty, the curry was rich in spices but not too hot. Lots of curry leaves added even more depth of flavour.
If ever you’re craving for a luscious, lemak and spicy meal, double your pleasure with the local delights served up so well at Goody N Jolly. By the way, if the name sounds familiar, they used operate from B1 of Parkway Parade, so if you’ve ever wondered where they went, they relocated 10 years ago to Haig Road Food Centre! Conveniently, they also run the drinks store (of the same name) right next door, which means a thirst quencher right after your hearty meal is literally just a step away.
Just note that they only open for laksa and curry chicken business only 4 times a week – Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday. Also, their curry is often sold out before 3pm so get there early!
This Deepavali season, Chef Damian D’Silva continues his Cultural Celebration Series at Rempapa with 2 special dishes – one South Indian and one Northern Sri Lankan – which Chef Damian D’Silva learned from his beloved Grandad.
Kool ($80++, serves 4), a Northern Sri Lankan specialty follows a recipe belonging to a neighbour of his Grandad. The hearty soup consists of fresh seafood such as fish, crab, prawns, and cuttlefish; as well as vegetables such as long beans, sliced tapioca, and jackfruit seeds. Cooked brown rice and odiyal flour (from a root of the palmyra tree) are added to thicken the soup. Spicy and tangy, this robust stew takes 3 days of preparation, so it be sure to order 3 days in advance!
Lamb Dhalcha ($60++ serves 4) is Chef Damian’s Eurasian interpretation of a traditional South Indian lentil stew, using his Grandad’s recipe that features smoked bacon bones. Lamb ribs, lentils and potatoes are spiced with cumin, fennel and coriander and cooked in coconut milk and tamarind juice for a rich, hearty, meaty treat to be eaten with chapati.
Only available till Monday 24 Oct – book ahead & get more info:
Tel: +65 9459 1603
Online: Click to reserve.
Fresh off his win in July, MasterChef Singapore Season 3 winner Johnathan Chew, whose grandmother once sold kway chap & braised meats, suggested that I visit a relative’s stall for laksa that was “a cut above the rest”. Intrigued by the aspiring chef’s deep familial ties to hawker food, I headed for a kopitiam in the Tiong Bahru area to suss things out.
Lau Jiang Fishball Minced Meat Noodle, Laksa is run by Johnathan’s aunt, Ms Alexandrea Eng, whose her father started their original stall in 1971 at an HDB block along Alexandra Road. After the building went en bloc twenty years ago, they moved to their current location in Jalan Membina. The stall first established itself selling traditional Teochew-style bak chor mee, but they decided to diversify after the move by adding laksa to their menu.
Hi Makan Kakis! Welcome to Part 3 of our Makan Kakis x CNA Lifestyle series featuring some of the best eats to spend your CDC vouchers on. Our Foodie Friend, Business Director of Preparazzi (luxury catering & culinary concepts) and Strategic Partner of The Dempsey Project / All-Day Dining & Gourmet Grocery on Dempsey Hill – Chef Jeremy Nguee loves Telok Blangah Food Centre and recommends new kid on the block Yanan Ban Mian Noodles for their outstanding handmade bowls of quality ingredients.
There’s regular ban mian and then there’s ban mian distilled through the creative minds of professional chefs with decades of experience between them. The result? Loaded handmade noodles from new kid on the block Yanan Ban Mian Noodle at Telok Blangah Food Centre. Opened little over a year ago by Mr John Yeo Eng Woon and Ms Na Yanan, what they lack in hawker experience, they more than make up for in professional culinary experience, having cut their teeth in five-star hotel kitchens over the last two decades.
The second $100 tranche of Community Development Council (CDC) vouchers were distributed to all Singaporean households in May 2022 and can be used at thousands of heartland merchants and hawkers. For the next eight weeks, follow this Makan Kakis x CNA Lifestyle series for some of the best eats to spend those vouchers on, starting with this delicious curry chicken!