li bai cantonese restaurant, sheraton singapore

average-ish cantonese fine dining at the basement of the sheraton – which is to say, it fulfills at least the baseline for the sort of eating you expect at this sort of establishment.

very traditional, quite heavy, not really inspiring. we had high hopes for this place: it’s an institution in its own right, and you’ll notice from its clientele that it draws many old-school regulars. but while I have a care for tradition, our tastes run to the lighter flavours associated with modern cuisine – and we found this place a little too conservative, and might I say, a little stifling.

this post is a little late – but the flurry of CNY (chinese new year) celebrations and the closing of the financial does not make for punctual blogging.

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majestic bay seafood restaurant, gardens by the bay

really rather good dimsum in this quite stunning restaurant set in the idyllic compounds of the gardens by the bay (one of my favorite places).

I had rather a far-too-much spree of dimsum a couple years ago, and so I very gingerly tread my way into dimsum restaurants these days, because of the very one-ness of their characteristics – they really only differ in quality. but at least this one was pretty much worth the calories (and repetition of flavors), and that view out the window is nothing to laugh about.

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ampang yong tau foo, katong

good ampang yong tau foo at this old joint in the totally chill neighborhood that is katong – the ampang designation indicates that the soya beancurd is here stuffed with a seasoned minced meat paste, instead of the typical fish paste.

the store serves only rice and the yong tau foo, which comes in a soup that is too salty for drinking but just nice for flavoring – you can pick from the available selection, or just more easily, just ask for a 1-2-3-4-person (you get the idea) portion of mixed items.

the combination comes with a couple of fish- and meatballs, tofu beancurd and meat-stuffed vegetables pieces (appreciating the stuffed chilli is truly an indication of adulthood), and a bowl of rice to go with.

but always ask for additional pieces of the deep-fried beancurd skin – and eat it the way the british eat biscuits with tea: give it enough time for the soup to get absorbed, but not so much that it loses all its crispiness.

it’s been a family go-to for many years now, and there aren’t many places where you can get your fix of proper yong tau foo, much less the ampang-style. this place is run by chinese malaysians, which seems to indicate that it might serve up something pretty authentic (ampang is also a place in malaysia’s capital) – but regardless, the endless crowds at mealtimes is more than testament to the quality of the simple offerings here.

Ampang Yong Tau Foo
225 East Coast Road
Singapore 428922
tel +65 6345 3289
$.5: 10-ish

kong chow wui koon, or how to be a tourist

make it an awesome sunday by playing tourist about your town – as we did while traipsing about chinatown after lunch.

we happened by the kong chow chui koon, founded in 1840 (though the centre’s only been around since 2013), and it’s a restored, well-maintained building with quite a few treasures. the caretakers on the ground floor are happy to pass out pamphlets and share information, and you can go upstairs to the other cultural halls.


there’s quite a bit of lion dancing paraphenalia, and a dance studio type space on the second floor where we pretty much made monkeys of ourselves.

very, very cool.

x

Kong Chow Wui Koon
321 New Bridge Road
Singapore 088758
tel +65 62239806
http://www.sfcca.sg/en/node/1225

p.s. lion dancing is this ceremonial performance held during important chinese festivals/ milestones, such as the opening of a business of during our very festive new year celebrations. you can usually catch it at your local chinatown!

imperial treasure teochew cuisine, ngee ann city


this place remains a favorite (oh, hey look!, photog improvement). we eat at an imperial treasure outlet every couple of weeks or so, returning for the consistently good chinese food and the still-reasonable prices.

this place has the best of both modern and traditional chinese restaurant-ing – chefs that know how to do a serve-up of well-timed (both cooking and dishing), well-seasoned dishes that taste traditional enough to be familiar (nostalgia is that little x-factor in flavor) but are dished up in modern, minimalistic ways by wait staff that can banter like the best of your solicitous (but eccentric) aunts.

I genuinely cannot remember any dishes I didn’t like here (knock on wood!), though are some particularly stellar choices amid the above-average menu.

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people’s park food centre, chinatown


sometimes, it’s back to the traditionals: noodles, half a soy-sauce chicken and bits of roast pork, and a plate of vegetables for two.

have a great weekend!

x

p.s. the perimeter of the food court is now taken up by mainland chinese offering a wide range of indigenous foods (which I like, but haven’t had the chance to try), while the inside has a smattering of more local offerings. it’s an experience!

People’s Park Food Centre (just outside OG People’s Park)
32 New Market Road
Singapore 050032
$: less than ten per person (unless you’re greedy like me)

lijiang eats, china

lijiang had the best eating we did in this yunnanese trip – we arrived armed with low-to-no expectations and were met not only with interesting options, but good ones as well. there was a good mix of restaurants and small-store options that helped bridge the gap between meals, and that helped engender this town even more to our affections.

sometimes, it’s good to be a tourist in a touristy town.

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putien restaurant, vivocity

indubitably one of my favorite restaurants in singapore.

my nomination of best dish definitely goes to the song shu yu, or filleted fish deep-fried and slathered with a not-gloppy tangy sauce, cucumber cubes, pine nuts and other bits of crunchy greens.


the complimentary (or is it not) fried seaweed and peanuts do great for starting the appetite – as do the slightly chilli-oiled jelly fish.

my recent discovery: a dish of chicken and chestnuts, which was very good, and especially so with rice. chestnuts are plenty awesome, both cooked and straight from the packet.

but it’s not just the food – the service is pretty good too, and food comes in decent time. AND I recently realised that if you celebrate birthdays here, they do that whole polaroid-and-card thing for you (and some outlets have a twisted bubble crown)! how awesome.

as rave a review as my normally-pessimistic nature allows.

Putien Restaurant
#02-131/132 Vivocity
1 HarbourFront Walk
Singapore 098585
tel +65 6376 9358
$$.5: twenty to thirty a head

2014 mooncakes from hua ting, orchard hotel

it’s mooncake season! for all you non-chinese out there – and I can’t imagine there are many of you, considering how quickly that nation is expanding – mooncakes are an annual confection that appear this time of year, to celebrate the mid-autumn festival (and its full, round moon).

traditionally, these were rounds of lotus paste surrounded by and baked brown with an outer pastry. like a meat pie, but with a sweet filling (the closest western reference being frangipane) and a sweet crust (reminiscent of fig newtons).

at most, there were nuts or salted egg yolks for interest.

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