All this month, as we celebrate Singapore’s birthday, we also highlight homegrown brands, like Collin’s, which had humble beginnings as a single hawker stall in Geylang run by Chef Collin, but has since expanded into a veritable Western Food empire, with 21 outlets and counting, both here in Singapore & the region (including Indonesia, Cambodia and China). However, this Singapore success story remains committed to providing quality, affordable Western cuisine for everyone. The latest venture is Elfuego, a months-old Halal brand by Collin’s, located at Jewel, Changi Airport. Elfuego means “The Fire” in Spanish and for good reason, much of their modern European cuisine is prepared in their Spanish Mibrasa charcoal oven, for beautifully charred, smoky flavours.
Elfuego also features in an open kitchen concept that gives guests a glimpse of the local team of young chefs in action. And it just so happens that one of those young chefs is our newest Makan Kaki. Meet Koh Han Jie – Head Chef of Elfuego, leading his team of 12 (average age: 25 years!) and an award-winning chef to boot! In fact, Chef Han Jie has worked at establishments like Maison Pic with 3 Michelin-starred Chef Anne-Sophie Pic (she just opened Le Dame de Pic at the Raffles Hotle) as well as 2 Michelin-starred Les Amis. Have a listen to our interview, as we find out more about Elfuego and also this passionate young Head Chef who, just like his boss Collin, started small, worked hard and achieved big – truly embodying a proudly Singaporean Success story.
Working long hours leaves Chef Koh Han Jie looking for supper after restaurant service without fail. And like any true blue Singaporean, he knows a good thing when he sees a long queue. The proof is in the eating though and this is his favourite Bak Kut Teh, a place he finds himself returning to again and again…
It’s time once again for Season’s Eatings and as we celebrate the end of another delicious year, welcome back to our Makan Kakis special – we’re looking back at 2018’s most popular makan recommendations!
We continue the festive feasting with these next contenders:
This week, our Makan Kaki is Executive Chef of Singaporean Heritage Restaurant Folklore & Masterchef Singapore Judge Damian D’Silva! A self-professed true blue Singaporean, he loves slurping soup, and eating with his hands, that’s why he’s recommending we try his favourite Klang-Style Bak Kut Teh. Generally, you’ll find two kinds – the dark, herbal kind and the lighter, peppery kind. What’s wonderful about this particular stall in Upper Changi, is that their Bak Kut Teh is a unique combination of both the herbal and peppery, giving you a beautifully balanced dish that is not too herbal nor in-your-face-spicy!
Vernetta Lopez from early mornings on Gold 905 is our next Makan Kaki and she takes us to try one of her favourite places for Bak Kut Teh, or pork rib soup. We are well aware that everyone has their preferred regular place, especially along Balestier Road, but we can probably say this is one of the lesser-known BKT places that deserves a mention and a visit.
Ah Hak Bak Kut Teh has around for 30 years and you can tell the history when you walk in. You’ll be transported back in time, within a retro-tiled shophouse space that probably hasn’t changed in their three-decade history.
Click this to hear all about the best eats in Boon Lay!
This week, co-author of local food guide Eat. Muse. Love. Toh Mu Qin wants us to check out the many delicious things on offer at Boon Lay Food Village. There, you get all-day dining at its very best. You’ll be spoilt for choice from breakfast, to lunch, to dinner, to every other meal in between! Here are a few highlights of Mu Qin’s favourite things to eat there:
First of all, no Westie worth their salt wouldn’t be aware of Power Nasi Lemak (some say the best in all of Singapore), so let’s start here. This is one stall that takes pride in the quality of their food – freshly prepared ingredients, yummy flavours and everything kept piping hot. The deep-fried chicken is particularly good here – well-marinated, juicy and tender on the inside, shatteringly crisp and golden on the outside. The otak-otak (fish paste) is also a must-try, since it comes with a separate coconut milk sauce to drizzle over, cutting through the spice & adding to the creamy richness of the fish. The fried ikan billis & roasted peanuts are also worth mentioning, as is the sensational sambal chilli, which balances a mild sweetness with the heat of the chilli. Power Nasi Lemak is open till late, making it a perfect stop for dinner/ supper. In fact it’s usually open from 6.30am – 3.30am!!! Find it at #01-106.
And if you’re looking for something else to satisfy those dinner cravings, you might also want to try the stall serving up sizzling seafood on hotplates! Be warned – spicy to the max, but oh-so-good! Try the BBQ sting ray, sotong, lala and chilli kang kong at Sin Chew Huat Mei Xiang Hotplate Stingray #01-117.
If you happen to be at Boon Lay Food Village earlier in the day, Mu Qin also recommends the carrot cake or Wanton Mee for breakfast. The latter also comes with the option of stewed chicken feet and shitake mushrooms – yum! Check out Lian Yi Wanton Noodle at #01-161.
Final recommendation: Bak Kut Teh Bee Hoon in a claypot – simple, flavourful and comforting! Kam Hiang Food Stall is at #01-118.
TASTE: BOON LAY PLACE FOOD VILLAGE
221A/B Boon Lay Place