SPICEGASM.COM My travel tales and food hunting

October 30, 2011

Taiwanese Porridge at ABC Market Food Court

Filed under: Food,Singapore — Alex @ 12:00 am

For most Asian, whenever we decide to take porridge for dinner or lunch, the reason is because we want to eat something really light. Most of the time, with so many choices of dishes to go along with the plain porridge, we ended up eating heavy meal rather than light. As you continue to scroll down and see the pictures of the dishes that I ordered, you will see that having porridge in Singapore can be a glutinous affair.

I was invited to dinner by a friend who brought along the wife. We went to the food court in ABC Market near Jalan Bukit Merah and decided to have Taiwanese Porridge for dinner as they feel like eating something light. This is not the first time for me but is my first time to blog about it. I don’t think any of the cooks are from Taiwan and the dishes tasted local for me. I don’t really care for the name but as long as the food is good, they can name their stall whatever they like.

This is how the plain porridge looks like. Is just basically rice cook with more water. This stall added some sweet potatoes into the porridge. Not sure if it really makes the difference.

Is so easy to over order as the dishes comes in small portions. They have the menu ready and also provide you with a list whereby you tick or check on any dishes that you fancy. When it comes to ticking the list ( pencil provided by the store ), I am pretty fast at it as I know what dishes I like. It reminded me of my early school days when I did not study for my exam and I would be doing the same for my multiple choice answers papers.

This is a must have for me. Fatty pork cooked with preserved vegetables. The flavor is really good and the meat is really soft and tasty. The saltiness of the preserved vegetables blends really well with the plain porridge.

Bean sprout stir fried with salted fish. Also a must on my list whenever having porridge.

My friend like this sizzling beef in hot plate. The beef is tender but I think is because they used tenderizer to soften the meat.

Chili clams that tasted a little bit like sweet and sour. Tasted pretty good but I think I would prefer it to be more spicy.

Sambal petai is a Malay dish that is adopted in many Chinese cooking in South East Asia. I still haven’t found the English name for this funky beans. I bet it probably doesn’t have an English name as the taste is bitter and leaves a foul smell in your mouth. Definitely not a white man friendly food. Girls who are fans of petai avoid these beans whenever they want to go out on a hot date. The worst part is these beans has a kind of chemical reaction to make you want to go do number 2 all the time in the toilet. If the ventilation of house is not good, everybody within the vicinity will know that you had the funky petai beans. Really can’t blame the white dudes for making fun of the eating habits of Asian people.

I like this minced pork steam with salted fish. If without the salted fish, I probably won’t like it. I think what makes this dish tasty is the salted fish. Not those really dried salted fish but a special type of salted fish that is slightly wet. If direct Chinese translation to English, this type of salted fish would be known as “Rotten Fragrance”. I have no idea if this makes sense to people who never tasted this type of salted fish. It really does smell like someone who never changes his running socks for 2 weeks. Another type of Asian food that is a big mystery to the white folks. Whenever they make fun of me, I will always counter them with their foul smelling cheese!

It cost us around 50 USD for the meal. Not exactly cheap for Asian food standard but sometimes the taste bud dictates us what to eat. I guess our “light” dinner turned out to be a heavy meal instead. Is not that hard to commit gluttony when you are Singapore.

October 26, 2011

Sin Heng Claypot Bah Kut Teh in Joo Chiat

Filed under: Bars & Resto,Food,Singapore — Alex @ 1:20 am

I was deciding on what to eat on the eve of Deepavali and couldn’t really decide as there are simply just too many choices here in Singapore. At 5.30pm, got a text from a friend, Eric and he asked me if I am up for some claypot Bah Kut Teh in Joo Chiat Road. I replied back in a heartbeat with just a simple text “ON!”. I like it when this happens when you are not sure what to eat and suddenly someone makes the decision for you, what more when that someone offered to come pick you up.

We arrived at Joo Chiat at around 7.30pm and there’s no parking available. We kept circling and driving to look for parking but still couldn’t manage to find one. We almost gave up and wanted to go eat something else. As we circled back again near to the restaurant, we noticed there’s a carpark in a building call Katong Junction. The building was just next to the restaurant and we never knew this car park even existed. We drove in and there’s one more slot available. Awesome!

As we approach the entrance of Sin Heng Bah Kut Teh, there’s no seat available and also a lot of people are waiting for available tables. We waited for around 10 minutes and finally got our seat for two. We ordered right away and didn’t the service was really fast. I think our dishes came less in 10 minutes.

We ordered a small pot of “Sin Heng Special Bah Kut Teh” which cost 8 SGD. Singaporean and Malaysian are especially proud of this dish. Reason being, this dish was invented by migrant Chinese workers who came from China to Singapore in the early 1900’s. It is a herbal soup dish which contains pork ribs, innards, vegetables, dried tofu skin and mushroom. Back in the days, this dish is meant for only poor migrant workers who needs the extra energy as they work as laborers. No time to stir fry or make fancy dishes, just throw everything in a big pot of boiling water and you get Bah Kut Teh with all the nutrition in it.

I didn’t even know that Bah Kut Teh wasn’t available in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong till I have friends from those countries visited me. They told me is almost impossible to find good Bah Kut Teh in their countries.

Next on our order list is another claypot dish. Not a soup but a dish with pig innards cooked in thick black sauce most likely with dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, ginger and I bet a whole lot more stuff and some secret ingredients. In Sing Heng Bah Kut Teh, I love this dish the most as opposed to what they are famous for, the claypot Bah Kut Teh. The sauce is just simply AMAZING and if you are a rice lover, I bet you will have a field day eating few bowls of rice.

Most Bah Kut Teh restaurant will have chopped bird eye’s chili, big red chili and fine chopped garlic available at your disposal. However in Sin Heng, the fine chopped garlic is not available for free. You have to order and it cost around 0.50 SGD for just a tiny bit. Since I love to mixed the chili and garlic with soya sauce as the dipping sauce for my meat, I have no choice but to pay for the garlic. Next time I will bring my own chopped garlic. Not that I am a cheap skate but I am used to the fact that I get it for free in all the Bah Kut Teh joint!

We also ordered some fried dough call “Yow Char Kway” and a small plate of salty preserved vegetables. It is kind of a MUST condiments for me when eating Bah Kut Teh. Among Eric and I, we whallop 3 bowls of rice. The dinner cost us 25 SGD with 2 can drinks. I think the pricing is pretty standard when dinning in places like these but I would be happier if the garlic was given for free. I think I prefer them not telling me about the garlic and just secretly put it in the bill.

Sin Heng Bak Koot Teh
439 Joo Chiat Road
Tel: +65 6345 8754

Open 24 hours
Closed Mondays

October 21, 2011

Eng Seng Restaurant’s Famous Black Pepper Crab

Filed under: Bars & Resto,Food,Singapore — Alex @ 9:31 pm

Sometimes I think Singaporean loves to hype up certain reputations of various restaurants serving their signature dishes. Tales of long lines of customers waiting to be serve is one of the most popular ones. Sometimes I think is just like an urban legend. It makes a normal story more sensational and in this context, the dining experience more interesting. You get tell your office buddies the next day about how you managed to get a seat and ate the “legendary” dishes just to make them envy.

Eng Seng Restaurant has it own tale when it comes to long cue of customers waiting to order their famous black pepper crab dish. I have been told that people start lining up as early as 4pm just to order the famous Singapore crab dish. By 7pm it will be completely sold out. Finally a friend who is a captain with Singapore Airlines invited me to go have dinner in Eng Seng Restaurant.

Over the phone, he cautioned me not to be late when he comes pick me up. He too, I guess have heard about the long cue tales of this restaurant. We arrived at 6.30pm and he asked me to get down from his car and go order the food while he goes look for parking. As I got down from his car, I do not see long cues. I however do like the look of the restaurant and I quickly snap a picture of the restaurant entrance. Restaurant without air conditioning and plastic chair is a good sign of a good place to dine. I can imagine my friend being mad if someone ordered the last black pepper crab because I took few seconds to took the picture of the restaurant.

There were still quite a few tables available and I was glad when the waitress told me that the black pepper crab is available. I ordered black pepper crab, mee goreng ( fried noodles with sea food ) and a vegetable dish sauteed with garlic. The service is pretty fast as within minutes our food arrived.

The black pepper crab tasted pretty good. It does not taste like the usual black pepper crab as it is not too spicy and it has some sweet flavor in it. My taste buds tells me that they might be adding some marmite into it. The crab is kinda small compared to some crab that I have eaten before. I also have no clue if it is Sri Lankan crab or other type of species.

The mee goreng is not spicy and tasted a little bit sweet too. I prefer my mee goreng spicy and my favorite versions are the ones cooked by Mamaks from Malaysia. I guess this is the Chinese version of mee goreng. Can’t beat the Mamak’s version as they are the inventor of this noodle dish.

The vegetable dish is good. Kailan ( not sure what it is called in English ) sauteed with garlic. The kailan is still crunchy and didn’t taste over or under cook. The amount of soy sauce, oyster sauce and garlic used are just right.

I was pretty happy with the meal, especially when they is no long que and the black pepper crab was still available despite we arrived at 6.30pm. I wanted to ask the lady boss whether the stories about long ques and have to phone early to book your seat were true. When she came to give us her bill, I just decided not to ask as she could tell me anything. I do know that they close by 8pm though.

I am not sure if I got lucky or what on that day, but some how I got the feeling that the stories were hyped rather than it is the norm. So to those of you who were intimidated with the stories of long cues but dying to taste the black pepper crab, now is the time to go.

Eng Seng Restaurant
247 Joo Chiat Place
(Jn Joo Chiat Place and Still Rd)
Tel : 64405560



October 17, 2011

Singapore food court with live entertainments

Filed under: Food,Singapore — Alex @ 4:30 am

Slept a lot of Sunday, most likely still feeling tired after my Mount Faber exploration. Did not eat lunch and finally at 1am, felt hungry and craving for some food. When I am hungry, is so hard to make decisions especially when there are so many choices. Once I set my mind on eating certain dishes at a certain stall, my saliva will get ready to process those dishes. I hate it when the dish from that certain stall that I wanted is closed. Having to choose other dish will basically screw up my meal. No matter how hungry I am, my appetite is not as great when I have to get an alternative dish.

Yesterday night was awesome as I finally decided to get some BBQ stingray and it was available. I have set my mind to eat in this food court known as Food Court Republic which is located just outside of St James Power Station. I love the food court scene a lot. Is open air and the atmosphere is just right. I feel more comfortable in open space area compared to those posh restaurants.

The food court right outside of St James used to be a parking lot. Now it is a food court with live entertainments where there’s a stage where singers performs easy listening tunes. Yesterday night was a singing duo comprised of a father and daughter team from China. So I decided to snap some pictures of this food court before ordering my BBQ stingray. My friend Joey suggested what we should order some beer. I like the idea too as eating BBQ stingray with beer out in the open air is like a MUST DO.

I have to say the price of the beer in this food court is not that cheap. A jug of beer ( 4 mugs ) cost us SGD26 while in a kopitiam a bottle of big Tiger beer is just SGD5.40. I guess this food court is slightly higher class than other food court as it has live entertainments.

Don’t you just love the atmosphere of the food court scene at 1am. Looks really vibrant and “alive” even though the seats looks cheapish. Many bright little stalls with their signboards offering various dishes. If this is Europe, everyone would be sleeping by now. But in Singapore, you can basically find any food you fancies round the clock.

Father and daughter singing duo from China

Still decent crowd even at 1.30am

This is the stall where we ordered our BBQ stingray

Satay stall - Malay BBQ meat on skewers, my favorite but tonight not craving for it.

The famous frog legs in claypot porridge from Lorong 9 Geylang is also available here

BBQ Chicken wings, another dish that is good to pair with beer

There are more stalls that I did not take pictures off. I am still not so comfortable taking pictures in public area. Maybe just afraid to piss somebody who doesn’t like their pictures taken. This Food Court Republic definitely have more than 15 stalls offering various famous Singapore dishes. Finally our food came and as usual, we ordered more than we could actually eat. Enjoy the pictures of the glorious food of Singapore.

BBQ stingray grilled to perfection

Deep fried chicken wings Chinese style

Kangkung belacan, tasted exceptionally good

October 15, 2011

Taking a walk in Mount Faber for the very first time

Filed under: Singapore — Alex @ 6:09 am

I stopped updating my blog for quite a while when I was in the Philippines. Was really busy with some online projects that requires my utmost attentions. Another reason is I just lack the discipline like other bloggers. So now I am back in Singapore and I have been taking some good rest. Been watching the TLC channel most of the time and just got motivated again to make some blog post. So to those few of you who actually bother to read about my blog, hope this will be good news to you all.

A friend suggested to me that I should go to Mount Faber if I were planning on exercising. I occasionally jogs when I am in Singapore because I tend to over eat when I am here. I woke up at 6.00am and the first thing I did was switch on the TV and saw Anthony Bourdain eating some hot pot dishes in Szechuan. TLC tend to broadcast the same segment several times in a day. So I decided to give Mount Faber a try as it is just walking distance from where I am staying right now. With my new Samsung camera model PL 120 that I bought the other day for SGD 269 in Challenger, thought would be cool to snap some pictures for my updates.

As you can see, it is still a bit dark when I stepped out from the house. I am not really a health buff who wakes up very early in the morning and goes for run on a daily basis. I am far from that to be honest. My hours has always been irregular when it comes to waking up in the morning. Since my job as a webmaster allows me to sleep and wake up anytime I see fit, most of the time I wake up pretty late.

As age is catching up, I do feel the need to stay healthy and try my very best to do some exercise every once in a while. During my younger days, the only time I see the early morning lights after the sun rise is when I come back from partying and drinking. Is pretty nice to see the morning light today in a sober manner.

It just took me eight minutes to reach the steps to go up to Mount Faber from my place. I haven’t been exercising for a long time but I was still determine to go all the way up and I have no idea what is in store for me.

This is how the steps looks like to Mount Faber from Telok Blangah Rise. My friend told me that it was worth the walk to the top and has some cool bridges. For the sake of getting contents for my blog, I will endure the pain in my legs.

Reach the top of Mount Faber in less than 15 minutes. I thought the walk would be tough but it was a piece of cake even for an unfit guy like me. Picture above is known as the Jewel Box where there’s cable cars to transport passengers to Sentosa Island. A lot of people were on top of the hill, some were exercising and some were biking. I just followed the signs and explore Mount Faber and try to enjoy the nature. I have to admit that I am not really into all these kind of activities, but I don’t mind learning to make it part of my life from now on. I just smile, nod and say hello to whomever cross my path. Is my way of make believe to myself that I belong to the group of people with healthy lifestyle, at least for today.

For more information on Mount Faber, click on this link and

click on this link to see some of the pictures I have taken with my new Samsung Camera.

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