Most Affordable, Mind-Blowing Fine-Dining

Jazz Hands with Chefs Bjorn Shen & Jason Jones!

We’re having lots of fun chatting with our new Makan Kakis from Taco Libre: The All-Star Taco Showdown happening at Lucha Loco on Duxton Hill. Chef Jason Jones is the Culinary Director of The Loco Group and host, if you will, of the Michelin-starred & celebrity chefs who’ve been invited to create their ultimate tacos in this Taco-Off!

Chef Bjorn Shen (of restaurants Artichoke & Bird Bird) was the first chef to kick off Taco Libre back in August, with his insane surf & turf Bacon & Crab taco. Since then, Chef Andrew Walsh of Cure, Chef Dave Pynt of Burnt Ends, Chef Rishi Naleendra of Cheek by Jowl, Chef Sam Aisbett of Whitegrass and Chef Clayton Wells of Blackwattle (his tacos are currently being served up at Lucha Loco) have also contributed their creative taco genius.

But don’t worry if you missed Chef Bjorn’s taco, you can head on over to Lucha Loco on 14th November for the Grand Finale Event and all SIX tacos will be on the menu! Best of all, part of the proceeds from this campaign will be donated to the Singapore’s Children Society.

Listen to our studio guests talk food and about the Taco Showdown by clicking the links below. Also, be sure to scroll down for Chef Jason’s recommendation for affordable, mind-blowing fine-dining you shouldn’t miss!

HEAR:

    • Click here for more about their restaurants, food philosophies and the Taco Showdown!
    • Click for a quick-fire round of random questions & what music these chefs listen to when they cook.

Click to watch Bjorn describe his surf & turf taco creation!

SEE:All it took was the humble frog for Chef Jason to fall head over heels for the food at Bistro November and he makes this week’s recommendation with the utmost urgency because this is one amazing restaurant with an expiry date. So named for when it closes, Bistro November occupies the former space taken by Restaurant Ember at Hotel 1929 on Keong Saik. The hotel is closing for major refurbishment come end November, that’s why you need to get over to the bistro while you still can!

So. FROG. From legs, to livers (see above) to blood, Chef JP is one of the most underrated chefs in Singapore and an innovative genius in the kitchen, passionate about using every part of his ingredients and squeezing every last drop of flavour from them to create mind-blowingly inventive dishes that not only look amazing but also taste fantastic. Even better, the prices are so reasonable, you might need to do a double take! Chef to Chef, Jason Jones finds himself challenged in delightful ways every time he returns for JP’s food. Chef JP goes to the market himself everyday, so his food is super fresh and super creative. He has such an interesting take on cooking and dining at Bistro November is never a dull affair.

Fromage de tête (frog head cheese). $12.

One dish that has stayed with Chef Jason long after the eating is Chef JP’s take on Boudin Noir. Traditionally, it’s a French-style blood sausage, or black pudding that is completely unavailable in Singapore because it’s illegal to import or sell blood sausage made from pig’s blood. That’s where the frogs come in. Chef JP uses frog blood to make his own version of Boudin Noir, something Chef Jason wasn’t keen on trying at first. After a little coaxing and a little taste, he was asking for more!

Dessert made from ingredients you’d might otherwise throw out: Potato skin ice cream with Shiitake mushroom stalk bits infused in honey & roasted malt flour, made from barley ferment leftovers. $16.

Bistro November needs to be put on the top of your must-try list, not just because it’s closing soon, but also because you’re going to get the freshest, best quality, most innovative dishes at unbelievable prices. The full JP Dinner is well worth your time and money, but he does lunches and also a wonderful Sunday Brunch as well. GO GO GO!

TASTE:
BISTRO NOVEMBER
50 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089154
Open Daily: Breakfast 7:30 – 10:30am
Lunch by Chef JP Tuesday to Saturday 12 – 3pm, Dinner 6pm – late
Sunday Brunch 11am – 3pm
Cheese, Wine and Charcuterie all day.
Tel: +65 63471928

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East Meets West: Burgers & Rice Bowls

Wagyu Burger meets Ayam Masak Merah Rice Bowl!

HEAR:
Listen to this week’s mouthwatering East-Meets-West episode!

SEE:

Kampung Rice Bowls

This week, our Makan Kaki, Fatfuku’s Annette Tan, brings us the best of East meets West in one stall that started in the East Coast-Katong area, but has since moved to Beach Road. But the Katong-Kampung community spirit continues at its new venue, where its two owners, Silas & Desmond are passionate about supporting & fostering relationships with their fellow tenants and focused on serving up excellent comfort food made with fresh ingredients and a lot of heart. At Kampung Corner, we get Corner Burger & Kampung Bowl combined, serving up superb, yet affordable burgers, along with hearty rice bowls that are rich in South-east Asian flavours.

Beautifully burnished, crisp-on-the-outside, pillowy-on-the-inside Brioche Buns

Let’s start with the value-for-money burgers, which feature beautiful, buttery golden Brioche buns which are nice and toasty round the edges.

Annette’s favourite: Luncheon Meat Fried Egg burger!

In particular, Annette loves the Luncheon Meat & Egg Burger. You get a pair of crisp, fluffy buns, a slab of griddled luncheon meat, a fried egg with a jiggly centre and (honestly, negligible – come on, this is a fried luncheon meat and egg burger! Haha.) some lettuce and tomato. When you bite into this decadent burger, you get a mouthful of that salty, rich meat and the runny yolk, all combined for one of the most enjoyable things to eat for very little money!

Their Wagyu Burger, comprising an Australian Wagyu, Chuck & Sirloin patty, slicked with lemon mayo and melted Cheddar, is pretty awesome too – it’s as good as any burger you could get at any high-end joint and at only $13!

Tonkatsu Burger

You could also try their unusual Tonkatsu Burger seasoned with fermented Tofu (Fuyu) – it’s breaded, deep-fried, pungent, porky perfection!

As for their comforting rice bowls, these are packed with an array of South-east Asian ingredients and flavours. With the ubiquity of Japanese Rice Bowls and Poke Bowls, why not go local, right? Desmond uses some modern techniques like sous vide, which gives a luscious quality to the meats.

Beef Adobo in the making!

While their Ayam Masak Merah Rice Bowl is one impressive whole chicken leg drowning in rich red sauce, Annette is especially partial to the Beef Adobo Rice Bowl. She cannot recommend it enough!

The sticky-salty-sweet, decadent Beef Adobo Rice Bowl

Resting on a bed of rice, is meltingly soft meat, lacquered with this beautiful, shiny, sweet, salty gravy. And while Adobo is Filipino by culinary heritage, Singaporeans will find the flavours familar because of the soya sauce, cinnamon sticks and star anise used. It’s like an atas version of Tau You Bak (braised soy sauce pork belly), elevated by fresh corn & carrots, as well as a runny egg!

Pop by Shaw Towers for a taste of Kampung Corner, where not only do you get really delicious East-West dishes, but also, an encounter with a couple of guys who are truly passionate about what they do – stay a while, chat with them, ask them questions – they’ll be happy to tell you the stories behind their food.

TASTE:
KAMPUNG CORNER (Burgers & Rice Bowls)
100 Beach Road
#01-40 Shaw Towers
Singapore 189702
Open Daily: 12-8pm
Tel: +65 98274562

VIDEO: PRATA CRISPY & SPICY

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Click above to watch our crispy & spicy video!

HAPPY DEEPAVALI, Makan Kakis! In this month’s feel-good food video, Denise is hot on the trail of unique Roti Prata, as recommended by her foodie friends, Group Executive Chef Anthony Yeoh (of Bird Bird & Artichoke) and One-Michelin-Star Chef Rishi Naleendra (of Cheek by Jowl).

It’s amazing how the simplest of ingredients – water, oil, flour, egg – can produce one of the tastiest breakfast (or supper) staples in Singapore. South Indian migrants brought the recipe for Roti Prata to Singapore from Chennai (that’s why it’s also known as Roti Canai in Malaysia), and we’ve been enjoying these crispy, yet fluffy discs of griddled dough ever since.

And while the ingredients are simple, the skills are in the kneading, folding and the flipping of the dough till you get layer upon layer of prata perfection. Add curries of varying meats, vegetables and spices, you’ll find a textural & flavour combination that’s hard to beat. Here are two options if you’re looking for prata that’s extra crispy, or extra spicy:

img_6109-1TRY THIS: Mr & Mrs Mohgan’s Super Crispy Prata 

OR THAT: Prata Saga Sambal Berlada 

Home-Style Nasi Lemak 

Greetings, Makan Kakis! This week, we welcome a new foodie friend to our rolling panel of culinary personalities and she is someone you might remember from her Maxwell Market, Wok & Barrel or Ujong days – she is Mod-Sin Chef Shen Tan, who’s also Culinary Directory & creator of bespoke gastronomic experiences with Gastrogig.

She’s currently serving up a menu of her “greatest hit” dishes at Revolution Coffee over at Infinite Studios – in particular, her fantastic Nasi Lemak with decadent toppings! Do scroll all the way down for more.

In the mean time though, we’re talking about her first foray into cooking, childhood culinary memories, Grandma’s cooking, her approach to food, what her perfect meal would be (hint: it’s spiky, pungent and absolutely fruitiluscious!) and where this Nasi Lemak aficionado goes for her own Nasi Lemak fix (promise, it’s not her own kitchen – haha).

HEAR:

  • Click for Part 1 – we talk about her own Nasi Lemak and taking that leap from Events Management to Cooking.
  • Click for Part 2 – Chef Shen’s memories of Grandma’s cooking, her food philosophy & what her perfect meal would be.
  • Click for Part 3 – the Friends of Mitzo collaboration!
  • Click to hear all about one of Chef Shen’s favourite Nasi Lemak stalls.

SEE:

Photo of Maria’s Nasi Lemak courtesy of Chef Shen Tan

Ok, so we’ve established that Chef Shen is well-known for her Nasi Lemak and it’s no surprise she likes to eat Nasi Lemak too, but not necessarily her own! That’s because when it comes to Nasi Lemak, everyone has a different style, so there’s no real need for comparison. When the mood strikes for a super-comforting Nasi Lemak meal strikes, Chef Shen heads to one of her favourite places in Tanglin Halt. Located in a charming, retro coffeeshop, Maria’s Corner is a quaint little stall run by a cute Makcik, where you get rustic, good old home-style cooking. It’s so good, she sells out very out very quickly. You get a heap of her fragrant coconut rice, then you choose from the array of delicious dishes to pair with your rice. Chef Shen particularly likes these:

  • Urap – spicy wing bean salad with grated, toasted coconut with lime & beansprouts, all tossed with Tempeh chips.
  • Paru (beef lung)
  • Sambal Telur (egg)
  • Sambal Goreng – spicy-fried tau kwa, tempeh and veggies
  • Dollop Sambal Belachan all over and you have a satisfying, truly tasty meal!

TASTE:
Maria’s Corner Nasi Lemak
Guan Kim Coffeeshop
47 Tanglin Halt Rd, Singapore 141047
Only open for breakfast & lunch, or till she sells out

___________________________

CHEF SHEN’S NASI LEMAK

Chef Shen Tan’s Nasi Lemak at Revolution Coffee

In the picture above, you see twice-steamed coconut rice that’s been seasoned with 8 different herbs and ingredients, crunchy Ikan Billis, fried egg and a sinfully crisp deep-fried pork chop. The 2 types of chilli takes thing over the top – one is fresh and tangy, the other is a super-umami coffee sambal! Also must try: her rich beef rendang! Also available, deep-fried chicken chop and chicken rendang.

Coffee Pork Confit!
There’s an extra bowl of Beef Rendang on the table with my name on it!

Get Chef Shen’s Nasi Lemak here:
REVOLUTION COFFEE
Infinte Studios
21 Media Circle, #01-03A, Singapore 138562
Tel: +65 67772110
Open Daily: 9am -6pm

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.

HEAR:

SEE:

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!)

Nasi Jenganan & Rawon!  


HEAR:
Click to listen to this week’s gravy-laden rice episode!

SEE:

This week sees the return of our Makan Kaki, Batik Fashion fashion designer, avid home cook & rice-mad “Nasi Girl”, Oniatta Effendi. There’s not a day that she doesn’t eat rice, so really, you should trust her when she says this makan place that specializes in two unusual rice dishes is SO GOOD! Have you heard of Nasi Jenganan or Nasi Rawon? Frequent customers to Bedok Corner Food Centre may be familiar with these complete plate meals, but Denise confesses to never having heard of them till now. And after a trek to the East to try Oniatta’s recommendation, you have a convert in Denise.

Here’s why:

Both dishes come with the same ingredients – steaming hot rice, Paru (fried beef lung), Begedil & Sambal Sotong. The difference is in the wonderfully aromatic and tasty gravies poured over each rice dish.

For Nasi Jenganan (which is only available on Sundays), the gravy is a thick, peanut sauce with a spicy chilli kick that’s not too sweet. So deliciously rich and nutty, it smothers a serving of boiled kang kong, bean sprouts and fried bean curd. Everything mixed together is a wonderful experience of textures and spicy-savoury-sweet flavours.

The Paru is delightfully crisp & springy, yet tender, with a hint of that beefy, metallic offal flavour (but not unpleasantly so). The squid is soft and yielding having been simmered in a sweet and spicy sambal.

The Begedil is outstanding here, as it is cooked to order and arrives on your plate fresh out of the kwali, hot and crispy on the outside, meltingly soft and creamy on the inside.

As for the Nasi Rawon, the gravy is an earthy sauce made from Buah Keluak! The bitter-sweet, pleasingly muddy flavour of this nut is cooked with beef shin, seasoned & sweetened, then poured liberally over the rice plate, till every ingredient is bathed in the liquid black gold!

Chunks of meaty beef shin soaked in the Rawon sauce dot the plate & with the addition of a mind-blowing sambal chilli that’s salty & tangy, you have the perfect balance for the sweet, earthy Rawon gravy.

The rice is topped off with crispy, sweet and spicy Serunding, which takes the entire plate just over the top!

Satay Solo also serves classics like Satay, Ayam Penyet as well as Mee Soto, but truly, it’s their Nasi Jenganan & Rawon you should try. Just remember the Nasi Jenganan is served exclusively on Sundays only and Satay Solo sees long queues from as early as 8am. But thankfully when we went on Sunday at 12.30pm, we still managed to get 2 plates of Nasi Jenganan despite the queue! While you’re at Bedok Corner Food Centre, Oniatta also recommends the Chang Tng stall for an icy dessert to complete your meal!

TASTE:
SATAY SOLO
1 Bedok Road, Bedok Corner Food Centre (opposite Bedok Army Camp)
Stall No. 9, Singapore 469572
Open 7am – 10pm (Tues – Sun, closed Mon)
Tel: +65 97110116

Crackin’ Good Brunch!

HEAR:
CLICK TO HEAR this week’s beautiful brunch episode!

SEE:

This week, it’s our foodie friend, Chef Anthony Yeoh‘s turn to recommend some yummy eats and as the weekend approaches, brace yourselves for BRUNCH! If you’re looking for something yum in the city/ CBD area, do check out this multi-concept restaurant/ bar on the corner of Tanjong Pagar Road & Tras Street, Crackerjack. There you’ll find a coffee counter brewing till late afternoon, a beautiful cocktail bar that opens later in the evening and then there’s the restaurant that serves delicious new-American food. Chef Tony recently tried their weekend brunch and recommends these stand-out dishes:
The super-comforting Bone Broth, featuring egg stracciatella (like an egg drop they stir in), kale & barley. But truly, the star is broth, which is really flavourful, made in-house and so restorative, especially if you’re at brunch nursing the effects of the night before!

Another great hangover antidote is their Funnel Cake. Why? Well, this is typical American carnival food – batter funneled into hot oil and deep fried to light, doughy, crispy perfection. And we all know fat means flavour and a good way to soak up the sins of the night before! But make no mistake, these are next level funnel cakes – adult funnel cakes smothered with (hair of the dog!) a boozy whipped cream made from Amaretto (almond liqueur), along with candied bacon and bananas. This is a delicious, high-brow / low-brow play on an American classic.

The play doesn’t stop at Funnel Cakes – try Crackerjacks’s play on corned beef hash, their Sweet Potato Hash! This hearty plate featured house-made breakfast sausage crumbled on sweet potato, along with sauteed capsicum, kale, caramelised onions and an egg. Stick-to-your-ribs good!

Finally, Chef Tony recommends the QFC – Quinoa Fried Chicken. It’s a boneless chicken thigh encrusted with quinoa, which is a super food, a grain that’s high in antioxidants and protein. So could this possibly be healthy in an, er, deep-fried way? Haha. Jicama (Bangkwang, which we use in Popiah) slaw and homemade spicy banana ketchup complete the crunchy chicken dish. With this weird & wonderful banana ketchup, you get a distinct caramelised banana flavour, and a pleasing sauce that’s tangy and spicy at the same time.

TASTE:
CRACKERJACK
43 Tanjong Pagar Rd, Singapore 088464
Open Daily: 9am – 12 midnight (mon – fri), 10am – 12 midnight (sat) & 10am – 4pm (sun)
Tel: +65 81211462

You’ll AMÒ these Pizzas & Pastas! 

HEAR:
Click to hear this week’s incredibly Italian episode!

SEE:

Spaghettoni with whole boston lobster & tarragon for two!

There’s a new place that our Makan Kaki, Chef-Owner of Morsels, Petrina Loh has just tried along Hong Kong Street. Located conveniently for Chef Petrina, she often runs errands along that stretch, picking up her traditional chinese herbs for her own restaurant from just across the street. If there’s parking, she always takes advantage to hop out in search for something good to eat. And boy, is Amò GOOD! It’s a pizza-pasta place started by Italian restaurateur Beppe De Vito, of Il Lido fame and also, the man behind Baci, a recent 1 Michelin Star awardee. So, one would have high hopes for this casual eatery, no? And apparently, recent discovery Amò does not disappoint. Highly recommended by her other chef friends, how can you resist comfort food like Italian pizzas and pastas done exceedingly well?

Tagliolini with spicy young cuttlefish & squid ink

For Chef Petrina, the home-made pasta with spicy young cuttlefish with squid ink on the side was outstanding. So tasty & deeply umami, the tender squid pairs perfectly with the al dente Tagliolini, which she says delightedly, is like a cross between mee pok and mee kia! What’s brilliant is that you can ask for extra spice and the staff very obligingly bring out the fiery good stuff for you to add. The kitchen is aware of how some Singaporeans like their meals spicy and have concocted an insane chilli paste, made from chilli padi, garlic, salt and olive oil, all whizzed up fresh in a blender. It’s got tremendous kick and a freshness that balances the searingly hot burn, but use sparingly – you’ve been warned!

Olive you! ❤

Another lovely touch is the wooden bowls of yummy stuffed olives you get served with every meal (perfect with a refreshing Aperol Spritz – cocktail of Prosecco & Aperol). Chef Petrina can’t get enough of these briny spheres of deliciousness! Sourced from from Beppe’s family’s olive farm, these are plump little green morsels, stuffed with peppers and exploding with appetite-whetting flavour.

Stuffed Zucchini Flowers

If you’re looking for a yummy starter, try their zucinni flowers, unusually stufffed with a fluffy, creamy, light-as-air Mortadella filling, along with pistachio & lemon honey.

As for the pizzas, Denise (who also has been) recommends two excellent ones. Made meticulously with a starter that is lovingly tended daily, this mother dough births pizza bases full of flavor and texture. They are at once crisp, wonderfully blistered and charred on the edges, as well as delightfully tender and chewy in the centre. Taking an average of only 5-10 minutes to cook in their wood-fired oven, the toppings elevate the simple pizza to a whole other stratosphere!

Try these:

Bone Marrow Pizza

The Bone Marrow Pizza with fresh radish, wild garlic pesto and anchovy salsa verde, is rich and luscious from the marrow, yet fresh, zingy and astringent from the greens and pesto. This is a beautiful foil for the very decadent, very savoury Truffle Pizza, which is pretty much THE BEST in Singapore at the moment.

Truffle Mushroom Pizza

Loaded with layer upon layer of aromatic fungi flavour, the Truffle Mushroom Pizza boasts a creamy truffle-marscapone base, wild mushrooms, Tuscan pecorino, a scattering of microgreens and is finished with fresh truffles shaved very liberally all over the top. So delicious, so addictive, so fragrant, you may want to finish the entire pizza yourself!

Amò lives up to its name – you can really feel the love here – from the lovingly prepared, on point, super-delicious food, to the casual, lively atmosphere, to the wonderfully attentive staff (Hi Jody!) – this is one Italian restaurant that’s far from run-of-the-mill & should not be missed!

TASTE:
AMÒ – CASUAL ITALIAN RESTAURANT
33 Hong Kong Street Singapore 059672
Open for Lunch: 12 – 3pm (Monday – Friday) / Dinner: 6 – 11pm (Monday – Saturday)
Tel: +65 67237733