Friday, September 30, 2011

Dinner at Boon Tong Kee

Singapore Day 2
Boon Tong Kee Balestier Road

Boon Tong Kee is the place to be if you're looking to enjoy Singaporean cuisine at an air-conditioned, more sanitized environment. It serves a mean version of chicken rice as well as other favorites the Lion City is known for.

There are several branches of Boon Tong Kee but we chose to dine at the original branch in Balestier Road upon the recommendation of locals.

The Famous Chicken

The Balestier branch was still full of diners even late at night so we were relegated to the "al fresco" dining area. I didn't mind the on the street eating as it somehow made the experience more authentic. haha

On the Street Eating

Deep Fried Crispy Beancurd
I hate anything soy related but miraculously got convinced to try this chicken nugget looking dish. I'm glad I did because it tasted heavenly! Every bite was smooth as silk and I'm sure the touch of mayo helped in making me enjoy the dish.

Crispy Cereal Prawns
Sweet, spicy, salty, and everything nice. This is one example why I love Singaporean cuisine! The huge prawns were also perfectly cooked.

Chicken, Salted Fish, and Chinese Sausage Claypot Rice
They didn't scrimp with the ingredients and it was seasoned well (read: not salty).

Signature Boiled Chicken
Though not as splendid as I remembered it to be, Boon Tong Kee's chicken still deserves to be considered as one of the best chickens in all of Singapore. Head to a branch near you to discover why...

Boon Tong Kee has 6 locations in Singapore. For more information, click here.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

One Dollah Ice Cream

Singapore Day 2
Orchard Road
6:46 p.m.

At least for me, no trip in Singapore is complete without having one dollar ice creams!

Carts like this are all over Orchard Road. Just choose the cart that catches your fancy.

Lots of flavor options but not all are always available

One can elect to have the ice cream be eaten with bread.

But I prefer mine to be sandwiched between two crispy wafers.

While the one dollar ice creams won't win any awards, it's the perfect companion when braving the humid Singapore weather while strolling along Orchard Road.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Fine Meal at Gunther's

Singapore Day 2
Gunther's Modern French Cuisine
12:53 p.m.

Singapore is truly a food lover's paradise. 

Aside from the cheap but delicious meals available in hawker centers, Singapore also boasts of several notable fine dining establishments.

The Miele Guide, a body that ranks the top restaurants in Asia, in fact, included 5 restaurants from Singapore for its annual Top 20 Restaurants in Asia list. 

Our party of four decided to dine at Gunther's Modern French Cuisine, the 13th best restaurant in Asia, if you happen to believe the 2010/2011 edition of the publication.

 Here's the write-up on Gunther's from The Miele Guide:

"Three years after its opening, Gunther’s Modern French Cuisine has steadily built and developed itself from just another food and beverage establishment along Singapore’s Purvis Street to an inductee into this year’s San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants list, at 84th spot. The appeal of Gunther’s is in its steadfast commitment to simplicity, without forsaking taste or quality. Diners shell out top dollar for an experience that excites but doesn’t overwhelm. Chef-owner Gunther Hubrechsen’s food is always light, clean and refined, with little embellishment but plenty of flavour. To put it simply, his brand of food is stamped by his delicate, knowing touch, which invariably appeals to lighter, more sophisticated palates."

Gunther's Modern French Cuisine is situated along a quiet and charming street, a location perfect for a leisurely gastronomic experience. 

Given Gunther's compact but tastefully decorated space, it is also ideal for intimate gatherings or small celebrations.

Lunch started with the head waiter showing and describing the specials of the day. I wasn't paying too much attention though as I was too busy scanning the menu.

Service was also superb with our warm Filipino waiter making sure that we were comfortable and had everything we needed. He was also very patient and helpful in answering our questions.

Complimentary Bread
Hot and soft because it was fresh from the oven. They were generous with this bread and I managed to eat two pieces of bread even before the actual meal started.

Complimentary Chicken Rice
Our waiter surprised us with a bowl of complimentary chicken rice when we asked him where to find the best chicken rice in Singapore. I have to say that I was impressed by the authenticity of the flavors though I'm not sure why they have this in their kitchen.

Cold angel hair pasta, Oscietra caviar
One of Gunther's signature dish is this cold pasta. I have to admit that it took a few bites before I started to enjoy the cold aspect of this dish but the exquisite flavors eventually won me over with the truffle oil and caviar combination simply too good and delicate to resist. Uniquely tasty!

Grilled Bamboo Clam, Provencale Style
One of the specials of the day. Perfectly cooked with a sweet, clean, and fresh taste. I wish we ordered more!

Sunny side up, Portbello mushroom
My favorite of the appetizers! This is saying something for I usually loathe mushrooms. The portbello mushroom was so juicy that I could have been fooled into thinking that I was actually eating meat.

Coquille of pasta, grilled Kurobuta pork shoulder,  Truffle Juice, Parmesan cheese
Another yummy dish! Wonderful play of textures with the tender beef and al dente pasta creating fireworks in my mouth. Creamy to boot.

Gunther's creation
We ordered a lunch set and the entree we chose is this piece of meat. Such value for money as the meat was not bad at all. Comparable with some of the better steaks I've had here in Manila.

Oven roasted "Cote de Boeuf", flambe
And finally, the star of the show.

Close-up look

The head waiter flambed the meat in front of us.

It was then returned to the kitchen to be plated. It was a beautiful piece of meat that didn't need the bearnaise sauce it was paired with. It was also perfectly cooked and I simply adored my portion of fat. It was the perfect way to cap the fine meal we had at Gunther's.

Loved that they served this as well.

Desserts are not my calories of choice but I remember enjoying the two desserts presented to us:

Raspberry Flan

Petit Four

Gunther's didn't disappoint and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to have a fine meal in Singapore without completely breaking the bank. 

Gunther's is located at 36 Purvis Street, #01-03, Singapore. For more information, click here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mr. Prata & Its Curry

Singapore Day 2
The Food Place at Raffles City Shopping Centre
11:30 a.m.

During our second day in Singapore, we had roti to start our day. 

Mr. Prata is a popular 24 hour roti outlet located near the Botanical Gardens but we were pleasantly surprised to have spotted a Mr. Prata stall at The Food Place in Raffles City Shopping Centre.

Mr. Prata Menu Board

Folded to Order

We just ordered two pieces of roti since we were heading straight to lunch after the excursion.

Close-up Look

Plain and Cheese Roti Prata
The roti itself was not as flaky and crunchy as I would have liked it to be but I enjoyed the sweet  flavor of the roti without the curry. The roti, of course, was still much tastier once dipped in curry with the thick curry giving the roti a rich,deep mildly spicy flavor profile.  It was yummy and such a comforting eat that we wished we ordered more. 

Roti is a popular breakfast option for most Singaporeans and if one doesn't have time to visit authentic but out of the way roti places, dropping by Mr. Prata at Raffles City's The Food Place is recommended.

Mr. Prata is located at The Food Place, Raffles City Shopping Centre. Its main branch is located at 26 Evans Road, Singapore.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Yum Yum Chomp Chomp

Singapore Day 1
Chomp Chomp Food Centre
10:25 p.m.

A food trip in Singapore isn't complete without visiting a hawker center. Hawker centers are open air complexes housing different food stalls that showcase authentic Singaporean cuisine at affordable price points. 

We couldn't let our first day in Singapore pass without stepping foot on a hawker center so we headed to Chomp Chomp Food Centre for some late night food debauchery.

Chomp Chomp Food Centre was voted third best hawker center in Singapore so we knew we were in good hands.

At 10 in the evening, Chomp Chomp was still full of hungry diners and we had to wait for an available table given the compact size of the food center. Good thing turnover was fast and we made use of the idle time to scout the stalls. 

I have to admit that Chomp Chomp Food Centre will not win any awards in the hygiene department but all was forgotten as soon as our orders arrived. By the way, I included photos of the stalls where we ordered our food for reference.

Lychee Juice
More water than lychee. At least it was ice cold, perfect for the humid weather.

Our Carrot Cake Stall of Choice

Chai Tow Kueh or Carrot Cake
For those who are confused, carrot cake doesn't contain the orange vegetable rabbits love to eat. It's actually made of white radish mixed with rice flour fried with fish sauce, eggs, garlic, and spring onions. There were a lot of stalls offering carrot cake but I had no regrets with the stall we chose as this is one dish that haunts me still.  The addicting flavors have had me craving for carrot cake ever since I got back, making me want to book a return ticket to Singapore a.s.a.p. The carrot cake had a clean mild taste with bursts of pepper, chili, and crunchy egg taking turns in delighting my taste buds.

Char Kway Teow
Sadly, I failed to take a picture of the stall where we ordered our char kway teow which is flat rice noodles stir fried with lard. Yes, LARD! Lard is used to highlight and bring out the flavors of the noodles which also have Chinese sausage,  chili, bean sprouts, and chives in the mix. The salty/sweet/oily combination was to die for that it took a lot of restraint on my part not to finish the entire plate knowing how unhealthy it was. This proves the point that delicious food is usually not good for us. 

 Beware of this Stall

Spicy Clams

We ordered the spicy clams from Boon Tat, a stall famous for its stingray. The clams were not so fresh but what I remember about this dish is that we got more empty shells than clams with actual meat. Such a ripoff!

BBQ Stingray
I liked the salty and spicy flavors of the Boon Tat stingray but did not appreciate the rubbery consistency of the fish. I'm glad to have tried stingray but I'm not a fan.

Wing Factory

Chicken Wings
The wings took a long time to arrive on our table but it was worth the wait.  Perfectly cooked which made the wings so tender and juicy. The wings actually tasted plain on its own but became something else once dipped in the red spicy sauce provided. A healthy alternative to bonchon chicken.

Porridge Land

I wasn't able to take note of the kind of congee we ordered but I remember this as having a very thick and creamy consistency. One can never go wrong with congee as this is comfort food.

Convenient Rojak Stall

Since a rojak stall was conveniently located opposite our table, we ordered a plate not knowing what rojak was. The prawn paste sauce was interesting with a tangy, sweet blend but I gave up on rojak as soon as I bit into a cucumber. I later learned that rojak does have an odd pairing of ingredients with fruits, vegetables, dried tofu, dough fritters, and cured cuttlefish making the cut. Hmmm....

In hindsight, this meal was one of my favorite memories of our trip because we not only ate simple, delicious food, but we also had an authentic Singapore experience by mixing and eating with the locals at Chomp Chomp.

I wish I could say that Chomp Chomp was our last stop during our first day in Singapore but we actually went to Helipad in Clarke Quay for a nightcap. Helipad offered good views of Clarke Quay but it was too dark there so I didn't bother taking pictures.

Next post will be the start of Day 2.


Chomp Chomp Food Centre is located at 20 Kensington Park Road, Serangoon Garden Estate, Singapore. It is open from 6 p.m. until 12 midnight.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wings & Takoyaki at Food Opera

Singapore Day 1
Ion Orchard's Food Opera
7:03 p.m

Three hours after having dimsum at Din Tai Fung, we found ourselves exploring Food Opera at Ion Orchard. Food Opera is an upgraded version of a regular food court with its swanky design and choice food stalls.

Naturally, we were unable to resist the lure of Food Opera so we decided to try two of its more popular outlets even though we were nowhere near hungry.  

First stop was 4 Fingers Crispy Chicken. 4 Fingers claims to have Korean themed cuisine inspired by the streets of New York City. 

Cute Compact Store

4 Fingers Crispy Chicken
Similar to what I have been accustomed to, the wings and drummettes of 4 Fingers are hand-painted in soy garlic or hot sauce. I thought this would be an upgrade from what I've been having in the Philippines, but aside from being juicier, the crispness of the skin and the flavors were the same. To be fair, I think I would have been blow away if it were my first time eating bonchon chicken.

Our second stop was Gindaco which had long lines. Gindaco is an import from Japan, popular for its takoyaki balls.

A Fraction of the Long Line

Takoyaki Making as an Art Form

Leek with Cold Tempura Sauce
The balls were moist and huge with a generous amount of real octopus bits. I was not feeling the unconventional sauce though.

Gindaco Original Sauce
This was more like it! Tangy Gindaco original sauce topped with Kewpie mayonnaise and bonito flakes made for one heck of a takoyaki! I enjoyed every bite tremendously. My friends who lined up for this for more than 10 minutes were left unimpressed though. HAHA

Food Opera is located at Basement 4, ION Orchard 2 Orchard Turn, Singapore. For more information on 4 Fingers Crispy Chicken and Gindaco, click here and here
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