Jin Hock is Jin Ho (So Good!)

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Our Makan Kaki Annette Tan of FatFuku private dining is back to tell us about one of her Regular Zichar haunts in the East – a place that offers up rather unique dishes, alongside the usual classic Zichar staples like sambal seafood, rice & noodles. Jin Hock Seafood is a very humble stall at the bottom of a block of flats in Chai Chee, but flavour-wise, everything is punchy, full of wok hei, smoky and really delicious. One of the things she likes to order is their Crispy Salted Egg Bitter Gourd (see above). Now, she doesn’t usually eat bitter gourd, but theirs is so good she’ll make an exception at Jin Hock. The key is in the treatment and preparation of the bitter gourd, which is sliced really thin then allowed to dry out a little. They then coat the bitter gourd slices with salted egg and deep fry them till they resemble crisps – SO addictive! Bonus is the curry leaves, red chillis and crunchy ikan billis scattered throughout this dish.

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Dempsey Delights, New Ubin Insights

Hello Makan Kakis, meet your new Foodie Friends, a Father & Son duo who are wildly passionate about food, especially since they are the team behind Truly Singaporean Tze Char restaurant brand, New Ubin Seafood, known for not just their take on tasty traditional dishes, but also their innovative twist on Western contemporary dishes – perfect beef and heart attack fried rice, anyone?

SM Pang and his son Alex popped by the Gold 905 studio recently to talk about all things food, working together in a family-run F&B business and of course, share with us some of their personal favourites when it comes to eating out here in Singapore.

By the way, they’ve just opened their newest branch at the Ramada Hotel (Zhongshan Park), serving up the same awesome signatures you know and love. Check it out here.

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Excellent Zichar Favourites in the East

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Hello Makan Kakis, if you’re looking for comfort cooking that hits the spot and wok-breathed delicacies created with punchy flavour & flair, then you’ve got to try this casual Zichar place in the East, where you can bring your own wines or whiskeys. So says our Foodie Friend, co-owner of Asian Tapas Bar, The Wine & Gourmet Friends, William Seah. Wee’s Family Coffee Shop in Bedok Reservoir has been getting rave reviews for their signature Salted Egg Crab, which William has a weakness for. Very rich, very savoury, very tasty sauce paired with succulent and sweet crab meat – what’s not to love? This Zichar restaurant is the family business of another wine consultant friend of William’s, Milton. That’s why if you love to pair your local dishes with alcohol, this is the perfect setting. Wee’s Family Coffee Shop encourages BYOB, no corkage!

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Heart Attack Fried Rice

Greetings Greedies! Please meet our new Makan Kaki, Jeremmy Chiam! He’s the Chef-Owner of Le Binchotan at Amoy Street, a unique restaurant that combines classical French techniques with fresh Japanese produce and the art of Japanese charcoal grilling. This is a place you can go to for excellent lunches or better yet, unwind after work with a cocktail, sake or whiskey and a really delicious dinner in a super-cool space featuring domed ceilings, wood panelling & looks like an underground bunker.

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So where does a chef like Jeremmy go after a long hard week of service at his restaurant? Our new Makan Kaki is all about creature comforts, kicking back at a down-to-earth, fuss-free eating place with his family. That’s why on Sundays, he heads to New Ubin Seafood for Cze Char – it’s casual and has a varied menu with something for everyone from his parents to his son.

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Johor Bahru Found in Geylang!

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Greetings Greedies, get your guts ready for a veritable Cze Char FEAST at a Geylang institution that is far from unfamiliar. In fact, we’ve covered it before here on the Makan Kakis blog. However it’s SOOO GOOOD that its virtues bear repeating, so here goes…

Michelin Bib Gourmand-mentioned JB Ah Meng is a long-time favourite of chefs not just because it’s conveniently open late (perfect for after-service suppers), but also the food is legitly tasty. Our Makan Kaki Petrina Loh of Morsels, like so many other chefs (including our other foodie friends KF Seetoh, Rishi Naleendra & Chef Daniel Tay), makes a beeline for JB Ah Meng whenever she can with colleagues and friends when she’s in need of her JB Cze Char fix.

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So Good, it Feels Like a SIN (Hoi Sai)!

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This week, our Makan Kaki, Lucha Loco’s Chef Jason Jones returns to tell us where lots of chefs go for dinner. This is usually a very late dinner, in the wee hours, after 1 or 2am, when service at their own restaurants is over, clean-up is complete and they can finally emerge from their kitchens for a bite to eat. Chef Jason’s favourite is local Tiong Bahru seafood zichar institution because it opens from 5pm – 5am (perfect timing!) and of course, the food is up to scratch for professional chefs’ palates.

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Fat, Lucky & Quintessentially Singaporean

Hi Makan Kakis,

All this month we’re celebrating Singapore’s 52nd Birthday by asking our rolling panel of foodie friends what they consider some of the most unique Singaporean food, so you can really look forward to a very sedap and patriotic August 2017!

This week, I’m thrilled to welcome yet another Makan Kaki, who’s long been an avid cook and entertainer, besides holding down her career as a food writer and award-winning book author. Please meet Annette Tan, who’s been making headlines after her private dining concept took off in a big way! She’s the brains, beauty and brawn behind FatFuku, which offers you the experience of dining at her home as she whips up a menu from her childhood memories. From her family’s Chinese New Year staple of Mee Siam fried into a crispy pancake, to Curry Devil Pie inspired by her Eurasian friends to her Bak Kwa Jam Baklava, Annette is all about re-imagining local favourites that are hearty, witty and delicious. Today, she kicks off our run-up to National Day with her recommendation of a quinessentially Singaporean-style restaurant in the East Coast…

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Annette grew up and still lives in the East, so trust her as she takes us for a deliciously retro feast at Hua Yu Wee, a very traditional, Singaporean Seafood restaurant, which has been serving hungry Singaporeans classic zichar dishes since the 1970s. Annette has been eating there since she was a child and she remembers her cousin’s Grandma living just next door, so they literally used to bang on the Hua Yu Wee’s fence, calling out, “Auntie, chao fan (fried rice)!”. Hua Yu Wee remains a neighbourhood stalwart, operating out of the very same house it began in, one of the last structures of its kind along East Coast Road. It exudes the charm and culinary bustle of a bygone era and its retro, nostalgic atmosphere is probably also what keeps diners flocking back again and again. That, and the undeniably yummy food, of course!

There are a handful of dishes that Annette always orders when she visits Hua Yu Wee and we recommend you do too! Definitely get the Chilli Crab, which Annette says is, in her opinion, one of the best in Singapore.

On balmy evenings, bring your own booze, sit outside in the backyard at one of their stone tables and get your hands dirty digging into this awesome Chilli Crab.

Indulge in crisp-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside deep-fried Man Tou, succulent fresh crab with a thick eggy gravy that’s sweet, but with enough spice to balance things out. This is truly a taste of old Singapore!

Be sure to add the classic Cantonese Har Lok (fresh prawns wok-fried in a sweet caramelised soy gravy with ginger and spring onion) to your order and get that sauce all over some fluffy white rice.

Hua Yu Wee is known for their traditional dishes, but it doesn’t mean they haven’t kept up with times, bringing together classic cooking with little modern twists. For example, try their Lala Clam Hor Fun, which is soft and silky but topped with a crispy garnish of deep-fried noodles for texture. The Feng Sha Chicken is also a wonderful rift on Ayam Penyet.

This is the Chinese version of flattened chicken – roasted to a mouth-watering golden-brown, this chicken is indeed flat (in fact, if you order it as takeaway, it comes in what looks like a pizza box tied with pink rafia string!), juicy and boasts a crispy skin to die for!  Add their sambal or the addictive spring onion, garlic, ginger dipping sauce and fireworks will go off in your mouth!

Hua Yu Wee remains a charming throwback to old Singapore, from the chatty staff still dressed in their “SQ” batik-print shirts & kebayas, to the colonial house it still occupies, to the open courtyard for al fresco dining (although back in the day, it used to be much closer to the beach and the sea!). If you prefer dining in air-conditioned comfort, sit inside the house and also watch out for the “show” – the long kitchen is housed separately and the line of cooks juggle live seafood, roaring flames and hot woks is indeed a sight to behold!


TASTE:
HUA YU WEE
462 Upper East Coast Rd, Singapore 466508
Open Daily: 4 – 11.30pm
Tel: +65 6442 9313

 

3 Crabs, 3 Places

CRABS GALORE!

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This week, Cheek by Jowl‘s Head Chef Rishi Naleendra is back to share with us his favourite places for all things crab! As a Sri Lankan – Australian expat in Singapore, he’s had the chance (thanks to fellow local chef’s recommendations) to try A LOT of local crab delicacies and here’s his verdict on where to get the best Chilli, Black Pepper & White Pepper Crab in Singapore. If you’re serious about crab, you’re going to have to go to 3 SEPARATE restaurants for the 3 different types!

White Pepper Crab from JB Ah Meng
San Lou Bee Hoon from JB Ah Meng

Luckily, for White Pepper Crab & Chilli Crab, all you have to do is head over to Geylang Road, starting off with White Pepper Crab at Cze Char institution, JB Ah Meng. Small, but sweet, these crabs pack a unique white pepper punch with a lot of briny flavour. While you’re there, be sure to order Chef Rishi’s other favourites like the famous San Lou Bee Hoon (crispy, crusty vermicelli, almost like a charred pancake!) and the fried eggplant.

For Chef Rishi’s favourite Chilli Crab, it’s got to be a little ways down the road to No Signboard Seafood for arguably one of Singapore’s national dishes. Drenched in a rich, spicy, eggy chilli-tomato gravy, No Signboard’s Chilli Crab is the best because of the careful balance of sweet, salty, spicy and tang.

Chill Crab from No SignBoard
Black Pepper Crab from Sin Hoi Sai

Finally, for the Black Pepper Crab, Chef Rishi heads to Tiong Bahru’s Sin Hoi Sai. Not too sweet, yet sticky, spicy and earthy, these onyx-glazed crabs are pricey, but the best in his opinion.

Notice that these 3 restaurants are all late night eateries, perfect for hungry supper-goers, or famished chefs looking for good food after they finish their own kitchen service and close up shop for the day!

TASTE:
NO SIGNBOARD SEAFOOD
414 Geylang, Singapore 389392
Open Daily: 11am – 1am
Tel: +65 68423415

SIN HOI SAI SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Block 55, Tiong Bahru Road #01-59, Singapore 160055
Open Daily: 5pm – 5am
Tel: +65 62230810 / +65 62243905

JB AH MENG
534 Geylang Rd, Singapore 389490
Open Daily: 5.30pm – 2.30am
Tel: +65 67412418