fleeaway cafe, little india

uhm, meh. this is going to be short; I’ve held this one back, in the hope that time would smooth away the disappointment, but it hasn’t worked, and one must move on.

the cafe decor was more impressive than its food. full of kitschy, nostalgia-inducing knick-knacks of your (just me?) childhood, this place is a collection of hipster-style collectibles that serve both as merchandise and decor. set against a rather aesthetically-pleasing turquoise backdrop, the place makes for fantastic photography.

I tasted two items here as part of an event: a sweet potato salad, and their oh-so-famous laksa-in-dough-fritter (or more colloquially, youtiao).

the salad was pretty enjoyable – the sweet potatoes were of the japanese purple-skinned, white-fleshed variety, and were rather a balm to the sweet tooth. tossed atop a mixed salad of young leaves and halved cherry tomatoes, it was refreshing and substantial, though with quite a bit more mayo than was required.

but I took issue with the laksa-in-fritter. just to break it down – laksa is a rich, coconutty noodle dish redolent with chilli oil and not at all something I would stuff between deep-fried dough halves.

but I give it its due for novelty, and perhaps my lack of appreciation of it could be due to a personal bias for lighter, more balanced food.

not quite my sort of thing.

Flee Away Cafe
70 Dunlop Street
Singapore 209398
tel +65 6291 6778
$$: 20 per person

wanhelou chinese restaurant, maude road

upmarket good home-style cooking at this small, but nicely-furnished restaurant in maude road. this place is located just next to ming chung restaurant, but seems more out of place than the latter: the neighborhood is pretty old – and shall we say, slightly run down – but wanhelou is air-conditioned, done up in a modern chinese style, and rather classy in a homely sort of way.

the kitchen churns out a good mix of dishes that are best described as classics done right (and with a twist), and is famous for lobster porridge, flavored with that crustacean you see peeking out there above.

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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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yan palace restaurant, chinatown

such a gruesome shot, and yet, so delicious. just had to put it out there.

really, really surprisingly good chinese food at this dodgy-looking, super old-school restaurant in chinatown. the place definitely seems to have had better days – the exterior is just as worn and outdated as the interior, the servers are cantankerous and grouchy, but the food – the food is good.

and – I meant surprising in the sense that I didn’t actually expect the food to be good, with expectations further tempered when I saw the restaurant, and it all turned out to be decent – with some dishes actually much better than average (objectively, all other things aside).

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imperial treasure teochew cuisine, ngee ann city

long before we discovered imperial treasure shanghai, we had already learnt to love this place here. the dishes are different, but the accolades are the same.

while the previous restaurant was rather exotic, this place does it for us when we want truly good, refined cantonese food – which is all at once classy and nostalgic at the same time. gorgeous space, fantastic food; I’m really just repeating myself here, aren’t I?

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yuanxing chaozhou restaurant, whampoa

alright-ish teochew food at this old-school place in the old neighborhood of whampoa. I’m predicting that this neighborhood is bound to be the next frontier for the hipsters in town – it’s got the old blocks with space below for shops, a major demographic of old people who are likely to be confused by all these retro-copycat teenagers, and is just about remote enough.

that aside, this place is serious old school. it feels of the same sort of age-quality as fatty weng, but where your grandparents might have headed there for birthday celebrations and the like, they might have come here for those banquet-style digs.

the food though, is pretty alright. nothing spectacular or particularly interesting, but decent all the same.

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teochew city seafood restaurant, town

(surprisingly) rather good cantonese-teochew-chinese food in the slightly-abandoned centrepoint shopping mall. this isn’t a real review, since I was here for my partner’s sister’s wedding dinner – so this is more useful as a guide to a chinese wedding dinner (if you’re new to this sort of thing), if you’re considering venues for your own celebration dinner, and as a reference to the skills of the kitchen.

they fared really well, actually. reasonably priced, generous portions of food that we couldn’t finish, and really rather impressive cooking – especially at such volumes.

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peng restaurant catering services, hougang

good chinese food in hougang. my parents drove here on a sunday night for dinner, and I didn’t know what to expect since it was relatively deep in – and seemed largely to be a housing estate. didn’t have to worry though, it was good comforting teochew – one of many chinese clans in singapore – food, and reasonably-priced to boot.

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