Friday, November 17, 2017

Calypso Mangoes from Australia

Calypso Mangoes

Cold Storage had this huge pile of mangoes the other day. They looked, felt, and smelled promising, so I picked up a couple to give them a try. It's too bad then that they were disappointingly mild in taste, reminding me a bit of other meaty but mild varieties like Taiwanese Kings. Then again, I suppose one can't exactly expect a nice Pakistani mango in mid-November.

Kagoshima's Satsuma Shimuja Has Opened in Singapore

Kagoshima Special

This ramen shop from Kagoshima has opened an outlet on the former grounds of Bratworks at Icon Village Altez in Tanjong Pagar (16 Enggor Street #01-01, 9066-9448). It's a tonkotsu broth but with a bit of earthiness to it. Also rather uniquely, the chashu is paper thin and seared almost to the point of it being slightly crispy. Now, the curly noodles and cabbage aren't really my thing, but the broth and chashu were unique enough that I wouldn't complain if I found myself here again. It's a refreshing addition to all of the ramen shops around here either way.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Thai Food at Folks Collective in Singapore

Lunch Set A

Folks Collective hardly sounds like a Thai restaurant, nor does it really look like one. At a quick glance, the AXA Tower location (8 Shenton Way #01-08, 6227-3487) looked like any other patio bar that you would hit up before going home from the office. So when this place was selected for lunch today, I shrugged my shoulders and figured that there was no way that it could be any good.

I was wrong, and was surprised at how much I liked it. The food wasn't watered down like I thought it would be; instead, it was punchy, and our server was endearingly amusing as well. Granted, all I had was "Set A" on the very first page of their menu, so I don't know how the rest of their items fare. But I liked it enough that I'm willing to come back a second time to find out.

Friday, November 10, 2017

DOCO at International Plaza, Singapore

Sh-nack Don

There are a bazillion rice bowl places in the city these days. And at a quick glance, it wasn't obvious how this place was going to be any different. But their name actually stands for donburi-coconut, meaning that they also have some kind of coconut shakes and ice cream to go along with their bowls. That made me curious enough to try it out (10 Anson Road #01-16, 9049-9926).

I was surprised by how much I liked that beef bowl above, mainly because they seasoned it just right. They even spiked it with some kind of salty crushed fish skin, which seemed to be coated in a garlic powder mixture or something. Either way, I wolfed it all down and forgot all about how slow they were behind the counter in assembling it.

Note though that the coconut "shake" wasn't a milkshake, but rather just coconut water and pulp. I was more impressed with the soft serve that they had. It seemed more like a sorbet than an ice cream, but there was some kind of powdered gula melaka sprinkled on top that made it wonderful. Plus, it's a nice way to cool off before stepping into the equatorial humidity outside on the way back to the office.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

The Kamo Abura Soba from Tsuta Singapore

Wonton Ajitama Kamo Abura Soba

I was near Tsuta today and figured that I'd finally go try their miso ramen. But when I got there, I noticed something new on the menu: duck ramen, and in a dry option as well. If that meant that I wouldn't have to go back to the office in a sweaty mess, then I'll take it (and it ended up being a lot cheaper than their other bowls too!). And yes, I liked it, in particular the noodles, which were laced in a deliciously savory clear oil, making me wish that they gave an option for an extra portion. Thumbs up!

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Pho.VN near Boat Quay in Singapore

Bánh Khọt

I'm not sure when this shop opened (20 Lorong Telok #01-01, 6535-0065), but I've tried most of the requisite items here, and they were generally better than most other places in the city. Still, I could nitpick, like the phở broth being a bit sweet and the bánh mì being surprisingly garlicky. In that sense, it still can't beat places out in Joo Chiat. But I was happy with those bánh khọt above, so much that if I come back, I'd order multiple sets of it. It's too bad that these guys aren't open in the morning for breakfast.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Owen Seafood at Turf City in Singapore

Steamed Korean Pomfret

I'm not sure what took me so long to come back here, but I was at the Grandstand today and figured that I'd go check out those big tanks of live seafood up on the third floor again. The fishmonger, Unique Seafood, has a process set up where they can haul your selections into one of the neighboring restaurants for cooking, kinda like the Seafood Market in Bangkok or Noryangjin Market in Seoul. I'd been to Ah Yat many years ago, so I opted for the other one, Owen, today (200 Turf Club Road #03-03, 6875-1895).

I grabbed that nice-looking Korean turbot above, as well as some white Vietnamese clams. I should've done a better job of estimating the size of my fish though, as that thing was a whopping S$60 (US$45). Sure, I got value out of it, as it was deliciously fresh and tender, flapping away just minutes before heading into the kitchen (and seriously, Cantonese steaming is just one of the best ways to appreciate fish). But had I known that I was going to leave this place with such a big hole in my wallet, I would have picked a cheaper fish.

Friday, November 03, 2017

"Savory Chef Services at Haneda ANA Lounge"

Mentai Ochazuke

I put that in quotes above because that's literally what was written on the sign for this ochazuke station at the ANA Lounge in Haneda Airport. More importantly, this was exactly the thin savory hot soup that I wanted after a night of drinking, making me glad that I didn't get something at the food court outside earlier. They only run this station from 9 AM - 10:30 AM though, which is a puzzlingly narrow time frame; here's to hoping that the ANA folks make it a more permanent fixture.

A Post-Drinking Pitstop at Ichiran Ramen in Tokyo

Ichiran Ramen

After number of drinks tonight, I needed some food. More specifically, I wanted some salty ramen broth. Fortunately, there were quite a few ramen shops nearby, one of which happened to be an outlet of Ichiran. My immediate instinct was to run and try one of the other ones instead, especially given the absolutely horrible experience that I had at one of Ichiran's outlets in Hong Kong a few months ago. But a recent comment suggested that the TST branch was inconsistent with what one gets in Japan. So I figured that I might as well see what the real deal is, especially since I could finally try one of those cool isolation booths here.

I got their standard bowl. And in an effort to ditch all of those annoying coins in my pocket, I opted for all sorts of extras on the side, like onions, seaweed, garlic and even some kind of vinegar of theirs called "osukaran." Fortunately, the bowl was indeed much better than the one in Hong Kong. The red sauce was still a bit sweet, but was also a lot spicier when I went one notch up, helping me to wolf this bowl down pretty quickly. OK, I may very well be going back to Ichiran again one day...just as long as it's not in Hong Kong.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Sushi Bar Yon in Roppongi, Tokyo


A new sushi place has opened up near Roppongi station (3-13-14 Roppongi, 03-6447-0427). It looked to be rather high-end: the ingredients were all of very good quality, including that very sweet and creamy sea urchin above. The service was engaging too.

But a high-end sushi spot in my experience is usually rather particular about little things like an errant drop of soy sauce lingering on your plate, as well as making sure that things like pickles and wasabi are kept replenished. These guys didn't really seem to care that much.

Then again, maybe that's because this place isn't really *that* high-end. The price was less than half of what Mizutani charges (and that included alcohol!). Granted, that's still not exactly everyday-cheap, but it was a pleasant surprise at the end of the meal.

Station Soba at Shimbashi Station in Tokyo, Japan

Zaru Soba

I just finished a meeting and needed to quickly get back to work. But I also realized that dinner was still a few hours away, and that I'd probably get hungry before then. I figured then what better than to get out of the train station and quickly get a plate of "station soba" as a refreshing pick-me-up. For just 340 yen (US$3), this thing came out in less than a minute, and I was able to wolf it down in less than five. The funny thing is that I only realized afterwards that I was getting this at Shimbashi I guess that literally makes it "Shimbashi soba."

A Double Unadon Near Shimbashi Station, Tokyo

Double Unadon

I needed to refuel before going to my next meeting, so I headed into some rather beat up-looking alleyways near Shimbashi station that looked kind of interesting (at night, they house a lot of those little three-seater bars that salarymen hang out at). At lunchtime, there were a couple of shops doing unagi: one was more of a restaurant with tables, so I went for the other one, which was just a little 8-person counter manned by a (presumably) husband and wife team. I got a double portion and loved that it wasn't that sweet, all while being a bit crispy, and even a bit thin. These kinds of narrow counter-type places are really cool, but if my waistline were any bigger, I honestly wouldn't be able to fit in here!