Lemak, Loaded Laksa & Bak Chor Mee

MasterChef Singapore Season Three winner Johnathan Chew 3 copyHello Makan Kakis,

Meet our new Foodie Friend, Winner of Masterchef Singapore Season 3, Jonathan Chew! We caught up on what he’s been up to since his win and he also recommends some of his favourite makan places in Singapore.

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  • Click to listen/ download podcast of Part 1 – Denise’s catch up with Johnathan Chew, the winner of MasterChef Singapore Season 3! We discuss his growth throughout the season & future plans for this dentist-in-training, who has just won over $100,000 in cash and prizes, including a cookbook deal!
  • Click to listen/ download podcast of Part 2 – Denise’s catch up with Johnathan Chew, the winner of MasterChef Singapore Season 3! He answers fun questions like if he was a song, what would he be & describes his fantasy dinner party scenario – it involves optical illusion bakes and invisible cats! 😸
  • Click to listen/ download podcast of Jonathan’s recommendation – a lemak, loaded laksa that he thinks is a cut above the rest! Listen now for the rich, indulgent noodle treat and if you prefer something lighter, this stall also serves up a lovely, light Bak Chor Mee soup!

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This week, our new Foodie Friend Jonathan, whose grandmother once sold Kwap Chap & braised meats, further demonstrates that the culinary arts run deep in his family, by recommending a stall run by his aunt. If ever the craving for bak chor mee or laksa strikes, you’ll want to check out Lau Jiang Fishball Minced Meat Laksa Noodles in Tiong Bahru. Alexandrea Eng is the affable, hard-working owner and cook of the family stall first started by her father in 1971. According to Ms Eng, the original stall was located at the HDB blocks behind the current Redhill MRT station. After they went en bloc, Lau Jiang moved to Jalan Membina, where it has been ever since.

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As you can see, this stall gives you lots of variety – choose from traditional Teochew-style bak chor mee, or a newer addition to their menu, laksa! Better yet, get the best of both worlds – as Jonathan puts it, laksa for an indulgent treat, chased by a palate cleanser of soupy mee tai mak (Jonathan’s go-to BCM choice!).

Continue reading “Lemak, Loaded Laksa & Bak Chor Mee”

Secret, Silky & Spicy Off-Menu Dry Mee Koon Kueh

It’s not often I’m up early, nor is it often I’m in the East side of the island, but if I am, it’s usually for just one thing: breakfast after a workout at East Coast Park. One of the go-to places for my all-time favourite noodle dish is Ah Lim (Jalan Tua Kong) Mee Pok Kway Teow Soup in Joo Chiat Place, where I’ve breakfasted on mee pok tah on many a sweaty occasion.

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I believed I was familiar with all the stall had to offer, until some foodie friends from Ice Ke Lim Asian Specialty Gelato (they used to occupy the same coffee shop, along with the previously mentioned Lim Bo Fresh Fruits Rojak) whispered three little words to me – OFF-MENU ITEM.

Dry mee hoon kueh, to be exact. A secret dish of hand-torn noodles in a sauce, not soup, served only at dinnertime. To clarify, mee hoon kueh is on the menu, but only the soup version. The dry version is off-menu.

If the name of the stall rings some bells, it’s because they have six outlets in various locations across Singapore, including Bugis, Tampines, Simpang Bedok and the one that started it all over twenty years ago in Siglap, on the corner of East Coast Road & Jalan Tua Kong. According to Mr Bronson Lim, the noodle business is all in the family – his uncle runs the stall in Siglap and his father, Mr Lim Teck Seng, operates the one at Joo Chiat Place. I considered it quite the culinary coup when the younger Mr Lim informed me that of all the six outlets, the dry mee hoon kueh could only be found at their Joo Chiat branch.

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“Only regulars know we make it after 5.30pm. At first my dad didn’t want to do it because it’s very troublesome. There are extra steps because of the sauce,” Mr Lim explained, gesturing to the layout of the stall. The sauces are mixed in a different area from where the mee hoon kueh is cooked, which tends to slow down the entire process during peak periods, especially earlier in the day and on weekends.

Continue reading “Secret, Silky & Spicy Off-Menu Dry Mee Koon Kueh”

Good Fishball Mee Made by Indian Hawker!

I’m always on the hunt for a satisfying bowl of fishball noodles, especially if it includes quality, handmade her giao (fish dumplings), which are notoriously hard to find. Call it destiny, but it was the song Sunny by Boney M that brought me to this stall. For months, I had been playing the requests of a couple who would text me on occasion from their workplace. I was delighted to discover that they actually made and sold my favourite hawker food for a living. I was doubly delighted to realise that their stall was already on my “to-try” list.

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Excellent taste in music and food aside, the owners of Lina Fishball Noodle had already created quite an online stir because these hawkers of traditional Chinese noodles are young, attractive and surprise-surprise, not Chinese. Meet newly-weds May & Jeevan Ananthan – she’s in charge of business development and makes a mean fishball, he’s in charge of operations and the main bulk of cooking.  But what does a young Indian man know about making bak chor mee and fishball noodles? Indeed, 30-year-old Jeevan Ananthan, who looks more at home in a gym or the corporate world of Trading and Investments (his previous job), is the last person you’d expect to see in a Toa Payoh kopitiam, putting together your order of bak chor mee. In the words of his equally youthful wife, May Leena (the stall is named for her, using the Mandarin version of her middle name) Krishnan, their start really wasn’t easy and they had to overcome a lot of odds to get where they are today.

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Despite having zero F&B experience, the couple took the plunge and opened a stall selling their favourite hawker food, so they could spend more time together. And just like that, Lina Fishball Noodle was born. When they first started, they hired someone with experience to pass on some basic culinary skills, but after the first couple of weeks, May and Jeevan were on their own. For everything else they didn’t know, they taught themselves from internet videos and their own kitchen experiments. Their youthful gamble seems to have paid off and after almost two years and one move (just down the road from their original stall), Lina Fishball Noodle has gained a loyal and regular customer base, along with the expected gawkers, still surprised by the sight of Jeevan manning the stall.

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May initially leveraged on that surprise factor and a video she posted on Instagram of Jeevan cooking his signature noodles went viral. Her digital marketing background in full play, May hashtagged the video #TheIndianFishballMeeExperience and with the subsequent online buzz came the media attention. It was exactly what they needed to give their business a boost. But what about naysayers who think the couple are just getting by on their good looks and internet fame? May’s immediate reply was, “Come and try.” Jeevan added, “We’ve heard that before, but look, our food does the talking, not us. Just come, try and see if you want to come back or not.”

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And that is exactly what I did…

For the full story, to download the podcast and to watch the video, click the links below:

Continue reading “Good Fishball Mee Made by Indian Hawker!”

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:

MAKAN KAKIS BEST OF 2019!

Gluttonous Greetings Makan Kakis!

As we hurtle towards 2020 and a brand new year of feasting, let’s take a little look back at the best of 2019 – here are the most popular makan places that really caught your attention. Click on each for details & enjoy!


1. Indian Fish Head Curry Expert Recommends Chinese Assam Fish Head Curry


2. Charming Italian in Serangoon Gardens


3. Pasta Expert Recommends Best Bak Chor Mee

Just wanna listen to the TOP 3 audio/ download podcast? Click here!

BONUS:
Here’s the rest of the TOP 10 BEST MAKAN PLACES! Looks like 2019 was the year of Bak Chor Mee, Kway Chap & Char Kway Teow – you couldn’t get enough of these local faves, Makan Kakis!

4. FANCY Bak Chor Mee
5. Excellent Zichar Faves in the East
6. Kway Chap to Celebrate the Year of the Pig with Duck Thrown In!
7. Kway Chap & Ramen with a Michellin Connection
8. Makan Kakis’ Fave Char Kway Teow?
9. Putting the CHAR in Char Kway Teow
10. Flawless Flying Wanton Mee

If you like what you hear on air and what you see here, do share the good food with your good friends and tell them about Makan Kakis on Gold 905! Cheers to another year of yumminess – may your 2020 be bursting with the best things to eat and drink – Season’s Eatings!

P.S.

 

Fab (& Fit) Bak Chor Mee!

Hi Foodie Friends, our new Makan Kaki is the founder-owner of Taiwanese rice bowl & street food inspired communal dining restaurant, The Salted Plum, as well as pasta pop-up, Pasta Supremo.

Shawn Kishore tells us about his humble beginnings in F&B as an 8-year-old “kopi kia” in Tampines, helping out at his Grandma’s noodle stall and filling in for the drinks stall uncle when he was on break.

An F&B Consultant by training, Shawn became a restaurateur with the opportunity to start a pop-up called FIVE TEN (because everything on the menu was $5 or $10!). It went viral and was such a culinary hit, that after the 11-month lease was up, they decided to look for a permanent space and voila, The Salted Plum was born! This is an affordable, fuss-free, communal dining concept that serves dishes inspired Taiwanese Street Food. They now have 2 outlets, one at Circular Road, and another at Suntec City, which just opened a few months ago. Coincidentally, they also decided to start another pop-up at Suntec called Pasta Supremo, which serves fresh, handmade pasta paired with novel sauces. Do scroll down for some droolsome pictures of the delicious dishes served at both dining concepts!

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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for Shawn and it’s the only time he has for himself, so that’s why he’s obsessive about a hearty meal to start his day. Enter excellent Bak Chor Mee  –  in one bowl, you have a complete, fuss-free, affordable meal with the perfect balance of flavour, carbs, fat & protein. So where does a guy who ate it everyday day for breakfast 7 years in a row go for his Teochew Fishball Noodle fix? Shawn’s current favourite is just a one minute walk from his restaurant The Salted Plum on Circular road, which makes both convenient and comforting!

Continue reading “Fab (& Fit) Bak Chor Mee!”

National Day Cake, Sinpopo Coffee & Bak Chor Mee!

All this month of August, in celebration of our Nation’s birthday, we shine the spotlight on homegrown brands and their success stories. We talk to some of the people working behind-the-scenes who work hard to make things tick and of course, get them to recommend their favourite makan places! This week, we warmly welcome back our Makan Kaki, Lyn Lee, one of the owners of local confectionery Awfully Chocolate & heritage-centric Sinpopo Brand. It’s been 3 years since she was last on-air with us, so we have a lot to catch up on, including the latest offerings from Awfully Chocolate and developments with Sinpopo Brand, which has expanded from a cute restaurant in Katong to a coffee bar and a grocer (Scroll all the way down for pictures & more)!

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Lyn says she was never a fan of Bak Chor Mee until she tried the one from a humble stall in the Tiong Bahru coffee shop at the corner of Seng Poh Road (Block 71). This coffee shop is already famous for Loos’ Curry Scissor Rice and the Vegetarian Bee Hoon, but you’ve also got to try the Bak Chor Mee there, with one caveat – it HAS to be prepared by the Uncle. He made a convert out of Lyn. If the Uncle is cooking it, you’ll see a long queue, but if it’s not prepared by him, there’s something not quite right about the flavours & textures – he really does have the magic touch. Both times in the last month that Lyn has been, Uncle hasn’t been there, so she’s been forced to find another Bak Chor Mee which is more central. She was delighted to discover that an excellent stall from Maxwell Market has popped up at Capitol Piazza.

Guan’s Mee Pok is what Lyn calls “fancy”- you can get add-ons like an onsen egg, yaitori on a stick, dumplings, abalone and other luxe ingredients.

Continue reading “National Day Cake, Sinpopo Coffee & Bak Chor Mee!”

Pasta Expert Recommends Best Bak Chor Mee!

Chef Aun of Bar Cicheti, an intimate Pasta & Wine Bar in Chinatown, is our new Makan Kaki and this down-to-earth, self-confessed heartland guy says while he’s trained extensively in Italian cooking, especially with wood-fired pizzas and pastas, his personal tastes remain firmly in Asia. He loves Chinese food, especially dishes with a good smoky wok hei (breath of the wok). He popped by the Gold 905 studio this morning to chat about the two kitchens he’s in charge of (Cicheti in Arab Street & Bar Cicheti in Jiak Chuan Road) and also to tell us more about his favourite MEE POK!

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Chef Aun keeps returning to this stall in Opal Crescent for his Bak Chor Mee fix because he says their noodle texture is different and outstanding. They know how to cook them just right. Whether it’s Mee Pok (broad flat noodles) or Mee Kia (thin noodles), MacPherson Bak Chor Mee never serves noodles that are under or overcooked. Take it from a chef who makes pasta from scratch every single day – Chef Aun knows his noodles and these are al dente perfection!

Continue reading “Pasta Expert Recommends Best Bak Chor Mee!”