April 29, 2017

31
PSI
CONNECT WITH US
 
 

by Lim Qiu Ping

AS 2016 draws to a close, we bring you the lowdown on what has gotten people in Singapore salivating and queuing up during the year. These are 13 food items, ingredients, and ideas that had customers ooh-ing and food establishments jumping on the bandwagon to offer the same or something related.

 

1. Korean fried chicken

korean-fc

Image Crisp Korean Fried Chicken by Flickr user Edsel Little (CC By-SA 2.0)

Yes, the other sort of ‘KFC’ which has been available in Singapore for a few years now but only exploded in popularity in 2015. In 2016, popular food blogs are still listing where to find the best Korean fried chicken in town. Looks like the siren call of crispy skin and meaty goodness slathered with viscous sweet and savoury sauce is here to stay.

 

2. Churros

churros

Image #churros! by Flickr user Lim Ashley (CC By 2.0)

First, we saw churros as a dessert item in cafes. And then, churros chain shops such as Churros Factory and Churros 101 started cropping up in the F&B scene in 2015. They are available even in our pasar malams, accompanied by local dips such as gula melaka. To date, the queue for this sugared fried dough remains.

 

3. Bingsu

bingsu

Image by Flickr user Lim Ashley (CC BY 2.0)

Shaved ice will always be appreciated in sunny Singapore. Throw in the Korean wave, the variety in flavours, fantastic designs and a bowl big enough to share; the popularity of bingsu has yet to abate after a year.

 

4. Light bulb drink

light-bulb-bub-tea

Image by Instagram User/ mr_mrs_p0tat0

Drinking from a light bulb is a new gimmick that has appeared this year. Bubbs, a Taiwanese bubble tea franchise which packages its drinks in a light bulb, opened a store in May. Then the Chicken Up Korean restaurant had a one-for-one light bulb drink promotion in August. There are now cafes providing their drinks in this adorable, Instagram-worthy container.

You, our readers, are the reason we exist. Your contributions allow us to bring fair and balanced news to everyone, regardless of the ability to donate. Support us by being our patron.

5. Seafood white bee hoon

white-bee-hoon

Image White Bee Hoon by Flickr user Zhao! (CC BY 2.0)

Take pan-fried bee hoon and simmer it in flavourful seafood broth – this is the basics of the seafood white bee hoon. Years back, seafood white bee hoon first appeared in Sembawang and today, there are a restaurants and stalls offering their version of the dish.

 

6. Buttercream flower cake

buttercream-flower-cake

Image 버터플라워3 by Flickr user D Story (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The baking community is wowing over beautiful cake designs using buttercream flowers. The concept might be old, but this current trend originates from Korea, where baking enthusiasts and professionals re-created the Wilton buttercream flower techniques and equipment to startling effect. Just check out one such YouTube how-to video showing off the craft:

7. More cheese

cheese-fries

Image Curry Cheese Fries by Flickr user Chun Yip So (CC BY 2.0)

Swiss cheese fondue was once considered the fanciest cheese dish around. Today, cheese fries can be found even in your neighbourhood bubble tea shops. Currently, Korean and Thai barbeque restaurants are upping the ante by offering melted cheese to dip your slightly charred meats in. And let’s not forget the cheese tarts from Bake that are still commanding queues.

In the upmarket scene, the cheese wheel rolled into town this September. No longer is it enough to sprinkle cheese on your pasta – toss your noodles in it!

 

8. Re-inventions of toast

toast

Image French toast @ Wired Cafe @ Harakuju by Flickr user Gullhem Vellut (CC BY 2.0)

Ice-cream melting over the thick Shibuya toasts caught our attention in 2015, and this year, the gooey-centred richness of Lava toast takes its turn to wow us. Meanwhile, kaya toasts are perennially favoured, whether through the chain shops or the hidden gems. One principle is evident: toasted bread is in, whatever the form.

 

9. Rainbow foods

rainbow-dumplings

Image Rainbow bites by Flickr user kitty chirapongse (CC BY 2.0)

The rainbow cake had its turn in the spotlight in 2014, and some say the fad has cooled by now. The colour idea, however, persisted. Currently, rainbow creations include the kueh lapis, pudding cake, pancake, cake in a bottle, liqueur shots, bagel… And there is also a rainbow cheese toast. It is hard to imagine rainbow foods ever going away completely, especially when they are so Instagram-worthy.

 

10. Foods with salted egg yolk

liu-sha-bao

Image by Flickr user Felix Chia (CC BY 2.0)

If even McDonald’s is jumping on the bandwagon, things are serious. They tried to woo taste buds with their salted egg yolk burger but the bar had been set too high by June this year. Since the Golden Lava custard buns came into Singaporean’s consciousness a few years ago, products infused with this ingredient have expanded to include meats and seafood (other than crab), cakes, croissant, jams, dips, chips and many more.

Related: 5 must-try salted egg yolk foods

11. Hong Kong confectioneries

egg-tarts

Image Crispy Egg Tart by Flickr user Azchael (CC BY 2.0)

Conversations of Hong Kong foods no longer revolve around dim sum or teahouses. It is their big-name confectioneries that are garnering raves. The Jenny Bakery brand with its famed butter cookies got the first foot in late last year. Hot on its heel is Mr Rich Bakery brand. Then this year, Honolulu Café opened and their egg tarts are often sold out quickly.

The most recent player is Tai Cheong Bakery, and their egg tarts also command long queues.

 

12. Superfoods

acai

Image G by Flickr user André Schirm (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Eating food, more than just about the items consumed, is a mentality and behaviour. The movement towards a healthier lifestyle continues and the market for health products is growing.

Known superfoods such as kale and rocket leaves are now found in our supermarkets and the aisles for health foods are getting longer and more plentiful. The 2016 superfood buzzword is acai and there are now eateries dedicated to whipping up menu items of this berry-goodness.

Related: Will acai bowls help you lose weight?

13. Omakase

jap-chef

Image Itame by Flickr user Japanexperterna.se (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Local customers have become more discerning. Today, having a Japanese meal involves more than scoffing down as much cheap sushi as possible or hunting down the best-tasting ramen.

It is now about the exploration of the cuisine. “Omakase” means “I’ll leave it to you” and it will be up to the chef to surprise and delight you with exquisitely crafted items made from seasonal products. Establishments that have managed to balance between quality and budget – such as the Teppei Japanese Restaurant, with their meal sets priced from $40 to $60 – could have a waiting list that is months or, if the customer is fortunate, weeks long.

 

What else do you think qualifies as a food trend in 2016?

 

Featured image Cooking by Flickr user WorldSkills UK. (CC BY 2.0) 

If you like this article, Like The Middle Ground‘s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

by Michelin Guide Singapore

.
Buah Keluak Fried Rice from Candlenut ($28)
Who says Michelin-starred fare has to be fussy? One-starred Candlenut – the world’s first Peranakan restaurant to be consecrated by Michelin – has uprooted to a lofty new space within the Como Dempsey complex, but in keeping with head chef Malcolm Lee’s down-to-earth attitude, the food stays as earnest as ever, seen in new creations such as the Buah Keluak Fried Rice. Don’t let the dish’s blackened appearance turn you off: each mouthful packs in multi-dimensional layers of robust flavour, from the chocolatey tang of the buah keluak, to piquant hints from the chilli flakes, and the crackling crispy edges of a sunny side up served atop.

.

Location: 17A Dempsey Rd

Tel: 1800 304 2288

 

Soya Sauce Chicken Noodles from Hawker Chan ($12 for half a chicken)
Chan Hon Meng, the hawker behind one of Singapore’s Michelin-starred street food stall’s has partnered with Hersing Culinary (the same folks behind the regional expansion of Hong Kong dim sum chain, Tim Ho Wan), to launch a quick service restaurant, Hawker Chan, just a street away from Chan’s original Chinatown Complex Food Centre digs. Unlike the hawker stall, Hawker Chan is staffed by a team of line cooks and stays open even when Chan is off or travelling, the 80-seater restaurant serves up the same, affordable Hong Kong-style soya sauce braised chicken with your choice of noodles, flat rice noodles or rice in much more presentable plates and in fully air-conditioned surrounds. Come prepared to queue.

.

Location: 78 Smith Street

 

Seaweed Omelette from Putien ($9.90)
An omelette as a recommended dish to have this month? If it’s from one-Michelin-starred restaurant Putien, be rest assured that this is no ordinary version. It’s made with first harvest seaweed – or young ‘baby’ seaweed from Wheat Island that’s only available in the first seven days of its life cycle. This is prized produce from the isolated island 50 kilometres out from Putian City where the seawaters are pristine. It’s also shipped fresh unlike other types that are first dried. The result? A seaweed that is softer and far more delicate than the usual harvest. Its briny quality truly shines when it flavours fluffy beaten eggs, then cooked over a strong fire and eaten with a hot steaming bowl of plain rice.

.

Location: 127 Kitchener Road

Tel: 6295 6358

The Middle Ground needs your support to continue serving up credible, balanced and independent news. Help us make a difference by being our patron! Thanks!

Red Bean Dessert with Aged Orange Peel from Kam’s Roast Goose ($5.80)
They’re known for their roasts meats but did you know that the people behind one-Michelin-starred Hong Kong roast meat specialists Kam’s Roast Goose also serve up a mean dessert? At their month-old Singapore outlet, Kam’s Roast – the restaurant’s first overseas expansion – the red bean soup is a must-order and the perfect way to end a satisfying meal on a sweet note. The Cantonese classic sweet soup is brewed with 12-year aged tangerine peel for an extra flavour dimension, in accordance with a hand-me-down recipe from current owner Hardy Kam’s grandfather, the founder of Hong Kong’s legendary Yung Kee restaurant.
.

Location: 9 Scotts Road, #01-04

Tel: 6836 7788

 

Corn with Prawn Head Butter and Burnt Cocoa from Thirteen Duxton Hill ($22)
Ever since it quietly opened atop Duxton Hill in November, breezy modern Australian eatery Thirteen Duxton has been quickly getting the thumbs up among in-the-know industry folk. The food-loving couple who run the show are both co-founders of Melbourne’s celebrated Lume restaurant: John-Paul Fiechtner spent time at top-tier establishments such as Le Chateaubriand in Paris, and Hong Kong’s Bo Innovation, while the very affable sommelier and maître’d Sally Humble is an alumnus Vue de Monde restaurant and was a head sommelier managing wine lists in Melbourne restaurants such as Cutler & Co, Circa, and the Prince. Their daily menu of 13 dishes changes according to what chef Fiechtner hauls back from the local markets every morning. From the list, don’t miss the lightly grilled baby corn swathed in a luscious prawn head butter and topped with burnt cocoa to bring out that subtle, smoky flavours on the plate.

.

Location: 13 Duxton Hill

Tel: 9054 1435

 

Spiced Yellowtail with Roasted Squash Cream and Italian Sausage from Gattopardo ($34)
Popular Italian haunt Gattopardo has undergone a makeover, swapping its previously white linen-clad tables with more homely wooden tables on the ground floor (soon to be repeated on the upper floor dining room). The menu meanwhile retains the same seafood centricity, heightened with a touch of head chef Lino Sauro’s fun, spirited Sicilian heritage. From our list of favourites, a standout is the Ricciola, or Spiced Yellowtail with Roasted Squash Cream and Italian Sausage – an Italian surf and turf combining beautifully fatty yellowtail with Italian salsiccia sausage on a bed of gorgeously golden pumpkin puree.

.

Location: 34 Tras Street

Tel: 9325 8843

 

Toothfish Ceviche from Esquina ($26)
Michelin Guide listed Spanish restaurant Esquina turns five this month and chef Carlos Montobbio is teaming up with five different chefs including the likes of Julien Royer from two-Michelin-starred Odette and Nacho Baucells – chef de cuisine from three-michelin-starred El Celler de Can Roca for one off collaborative menus. While these events will be spread out over the next five months, chef Carlos has managed to squeeze in time for a new creation: the toothfish ceviche. Here, the cod is cured in a mixture of lime juice, rhubarb jus, and pureed aji amarillo – a yellow pepper that’s one of Peru’s main ingredients. This piquant mix is served with dollops of creamed avocado, crispy slices of sweet potato and toasted corn for a pleasing crunch.

.

Location: 16 Jiak Chuan Road

Tel: 6222 1616

 

Mangalica pork collar from Kite (Kite Experience Menu $90)
Where has chef Dannel Krishnan of Kite hiding? His dishes are well thought out and the flavours of his multi-course menus meld and flow with the seamlessness of a gentle stream. Ask him, and it turns out, he was at one-michelin-starred restaurant Bacchanalia before heading Kite. It seems being behind the stoves of a well-regarded establishment has taught him much as nothing was amiss when we popped in to try the tktk. One course that particularly stood out was the mangalica pork collar served over a you tiao veloute and steeped in a spiced bak kut teh broth. The dish is as deeply comforting as it’s creative in its conception helped along visually by the sprinkling of chrysanthemum petals as garnish.The key to such quality is his respect for produce and interpreting them for the Asian palate. This modus operando is seen in other courses like the ubin red snapper “kinilaw” – the Filipino take on ceviche where red snapper farmed locally is first prepared using the Japanese method of ikejime that preserves the taste and texture of the fish then cured in a zesty mix of coconut calamansi vinegar, chilli and galangal.

.

Location: 53 Craig Road, #01-01

Tel: 6221 5965

 

Golden Crispy BBQ Pork Belly from Lucky 8 ($13.80)
Despite the increasing obsession with Instagram, true foodies – particularly those well versed with Asian dining – will tell you: never judge a dish by its appearance. You’ll be reminded of the truth in this as you bite into the roast pork belly, a signature of newly opened Chinese restaurant, Lucky 8. The layers of fat on the pork belly cubes are not as thick as those you may find in other Chinese joints, and its crackling is light, crispy and flavourful – without being an oil sponge. Hong Kong-based executive chef Tse Kit, has more than 26 years of experience in Cantonese cooking, including stints in the Marriott Hotel, Capella Hotel and as the founding chef of Hong Kong’s Jin Man Ting restaurant.

.

Location: 1 Scotts Road, Shaw Center, #03-07/11

Tel: 6836 3070

 

Laksa Risotto from Upper Place ($27)
Laksa risotto isn’t an original creation but chef Gregory Lau’s rendition at three-month-old Upper Place gives things a luxe spin with the addition of Boston Lobster and Hokkaido Scallops topped off with coconut foam for a touch of subtle sweetness and a swipe of sambal along the plate’s rims for you to add at will for your preferred level of heat. Don’t miss other mod-Sin creations such as the slow-cooked pork belly tacos and a short rib congee mixed with veal sweetbreads.

.

Location: Wangz Hotel Rooftop, 231 Outram Road

Tel: 6595 1388

 

House-Smoked Mussels on Toast from Plentyfull ($24)
Millenia Walk’s march to appeal to gourmands might well to be bearing fruit as month-old bistro Plentyfull ticks all the right boxes: mushrooms from a local producer, heirloom vegetables and food made entirely from scratch. The house-smoked mussels on toast ($24) is particularly memorable for its smokey depth. Here, yoghurt infused with charred spring onions is slathered on toasted ciabatta topped with live blue mussels which have been shucked and then smoked. The entire creation is offset with the tomatoes seasoned with a kimchi paste for a spicy-sour kick.

.

Location: Millenia Walk, #01-79/80

Tel: 6493 2997

 

.
Haemul Tang from Horangi ($62)
Korean restaurants in Singapore are a dime a dozen but those that serve honest, authentic food are hard to find. That’s because they’re often family-run establishments tucked in the corner of a neighbourhood. Horangi is one such. The restaurant is often packed with Koreans tucking in to steamy stews and grilled meats – which means it’s as real as it gets. The Haemul Tang is a signature featuring plump Hokkaido scallops, prawns, mussels, clams and a whole blue flower crab simmered in a gently spicy stock base made in-house. It’s the perfect dish to have during the December monsoon season, with a portion that’s just enough for two.

.

Location: 165 Thomson Rd

Tel: 6251 0123

This article first appeared on Michelin Guide Singapore. Visit Michelin Guide Singapore on Facebook.

Featured image is taken from Gattopardo’s Facebook page.

If you like this article, Like The Middle Ground‘s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

by Najeer Yusof

 

 

PITA comes from the Hebrew term pat, which means bread. The pita is a staple Israeli food. Many types of street food in Israel include pita. Pita can be eaten as a pocket with fillings, or with toppings which can be sweet or savoury.

In Singapore – we have strong ties with Israel – traditional pita bread can be sampled from Pita Bakery at Bali Lane. The bakery, which was first established in Israel in 1988, launched here in 2014. Mr Yuri Ustaev, 30, the bakery’s general manager, said that it is the only place in Singapore that bakes fresh pita using traditional Israeli methods.

There is more to Israeli cuisine than just pita. The ongoing “Open A Door To Israel” exhibition at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre will feature a wider variety of Israeli food and provide visitors with an interactive experience of the Israeli culture through nine interactive LED panels. The exhibition, which opened on Dec 9, will run until Dec 23.

 

Patrons of The Middle Ground enjoy priority access to our best stories. To become a patron, click here.

 

Featured image by Najeer Yusof.

If you like this article, Like The Middle Ground‘s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

by Michelin Guide Singapore

AFFLUENT Seoul district Gangnam might’ve gotten famous thanks to a K-pop song, but the surroundings are also a gourmet haven. In fact, it’s home to one of the South Korean capital’s three-Michelin-starred restaurants, Gaon – an upscale establishment which serves up traditional Korean dishes, some of which are from the philosophies of ancient literature.

But Korean cuisine is not all Gangnam has to offer. Walk down the narrow street of Dosan-daero 30-gil and you’ll have Asian-Italian fusion fare at Alla Prima. Craving for Japanese? Head over to Kojima at Apgujeong for some sushi. Here’s what else the Michelin inspectors have picked out:

 

The food from Kwon Sook Soo. Credit: kwonsooksoo.com
The food from Kwon Sook Soo. Image taken from Kwon Sook Soo’s website.

 

Gaon
Cuisine: Korean
Operated by GwangJuYo Group, maker of fine Korean ceramics, food and liquor, Gaon is a traditional Korean restaurant committed to promoting a better understanding of Korean food and food culture globally. The restaurant takes pride in serving high-end, elegant cuisine in a space that honours Korean aesthetic values. The meticulously-prepared dishes, made with fresh seasonal ingredients are served in custom-designed GwangJuYo ceramic vessels. Private rooms only.

 

Kwon Sook Soo
The name of the restaurant is derived from an archaic Korean word ‘sooksoo’ which means “professional cook”. Chef Kwon Woo Joong interprets traditional Korean cuisine with a decidedly modern flair, using both rare and readily-available seasonal ingredients to create unconventional flavours. All cooking oils, preserved seafood, fermented condiments and vinegar are made in house. For a glimpse of the chefs in action, reserve a seat at the counter.

Location: 2F, 27 Eonju-ro 170-gil, Gangnam-gu

 

You, our readers, are the reason we exist. Your contributions allow us to bring fair and balanced news coverage to everyone, regardless of the ability to donate. Support us by being our patron

Alla Prima
Cuisine: Innovative
Meaning “first try” in Italian, Alla Prima features Asian-Italian fusion cuisine that demonstrates Chef Kim Jin-hyuk’s creativity with a distinctly Japanese flair. As a chef, what he values the most is the quality of the ingredients he uses and his food clearly demonstrates that. The menu changes often, based on the chef’s inspiration and seasonal ingredients. The completely open kitchen offers the diners a clear view of Chef Kim’s team in action.

Location: 23 Dosan-daero 30-gil, Gangnam-gu

 

Jungsik's Sweet Gujeolpan
Jungsik’s Sweet Gujeolpan

Bo Reum Soei
Cuisine: Barbecue
Beef restaurants are ubiquitous all over Korea, but this relatively new spot which opened in Oct 2015 offers something prized and uncommon: Jeju black cattle. Choose from a wide range of cuts including sirloin, tenderloin, chuck tail flap, outside skirt steak, brisket and two types of raw beef dishes: tartare and sashimi. The prime meat is flown in directly from the family-operated farm. Private rooms are available on the second floor.

Location: 36 Teheran-ro 81-gil, Gangnam-gu

 

Hamo
Meaning “of course” in Gyeongsang province dialect, ‘Hamo’ honors the traditions of authentic Jinju-style cuisine from the old days. Jinju Bibimbap, with a mound of seasoned raw beef on top of vegetables and rice, comes in a brass bowl with a side of beef and turnip soup. The noodle-free Joseon Japchae tossed in a fragrant mustard sauce is popular also. The owner’s family are soybean farmers and make all the fermented condiments from scratch.

Location: 2F, 819 Eonju-ro, Gangnam-gu

 

Jungsik
Touted as a pioneer of modern Korean fine dining, Chef Yim Jungsik’s restaurant offers a feast for the senses with his unique take on Korean cuisine. Jungsik Seoul expanded and relocated to its current three-story Cheongdam location in 2014, complete with a bar floor, restaurant floor and private-room floor. Some of the standout dishes include octopus aioli, spicy green chili cream kalgksu and sea urchin bibimap. Excellent wine list.

Location: 11 Seolleung-ro 158-gil, Gangnam-gu

The food at Mingles. Image credit: restaurant-mingles.com
The food at Mingles. Image taken from Mingles’ website.

 

Kojima
Some of the most exquisite Japanese food in Seoul can be found at Kojima, a modern and sophisticated Japanese restaurant tucked away on the 6th floor of luxury multi-brand boutique Boon the Shop. A number of booths and intimate private rooms are available, while the main dining area is complete with a sushi counter. The freshness of the ingredients is the life of this restaurant and veteran chefs take great care in handling the pristine seafood.

Location: 6F Boon the shop, 21 Apgujeong-ro 60-gil, Gangnam-gu

 

L’Amitie
17 solid years of dedication and passion to preparing consistently fine food with quality local ingredients and skilled precision has made Chef Jang Myoung-sik a reputable name in classic French cuisine in the local dining scene. Located on the second floor of a quiet contemporary building south of the river, L’amitié is the ideal space to enjoy an elegant meal in privacy as it only offers small private rooms. Reservations are a must.

Location: 2F, 7 Eonju-ro 153-gil, Gangnam-gu

 

Mingles
Since 2014, this contemporary fine dining establishment has captured the imagination of even the most discerning palates with Chef Kang Mingoo’s new and bold creations that pay respect to Korea’s culinary heritage. Traditional fermented condiments and vinegar—‘jang’ and ‘cho’—play integral roles in the dishes, even dessert. Traditional liquor pairing is offered in addition to wine pairing.

Location: 1F, 757 Seolleung-ro, Gangnam-gu

 

The food at Twenty Four Seasons. Image credit: Viamichelin
The food at Twenty Four Seasons. Image taken from Viamichelin.

 

Ristorante Eo
Be sure to call in to make a reservation as it is the only way to secure a table at Ristorane Eo. It may also be a bit of a challenge to track down the location as the restaurant does not have a signage. Chef Eo Yun-gwon, who developed his culinary skills in Milan, delivers highly accomplished modern Italian cuisine, through two six-course set menus. Each dish clearly demonstrates his insight on the integrity and simplicity of Italian cooking.

Location: 43 Dosan-daero 81-gil, Gangnam-gu

 

Twenty Four Seasons
Inspired by the 24 seasonal divisions of the year that governed agriculture in ancient times, ’24 Seasons’ is a modern Korean dining space that pays homage to the different seasons of the year. While staying true to the roots of traditional Korean cooking, Chef Tony Yoo experiments boldly with seasonal ingredients, creating distinctly Korean flavors with modern nuances. Enjoy the elegant simplicity of seasonal Korean food in a minimalist yet sophisticated décor.

Location: 13 Dosan-daero 37-gill, Gangnam-gu

 

Votre Maison
Chef min-jae Park has some interesting parkour of his career – he owned his Korean restaurant for five years and it was working great, but he changed to French cuisine because he felt that French cuisine can show his philosophy of creation in kitchen with method of cooking. This passionate, and caring chef’s cuisine is reflecting his personality as well. We hope that you will feel the same happiness from him with his cuisine.

Location: B1F, 16 Eonju-ro 168-gil, Gangnam-gu

 

 

This article first appeared on Michelin Guide Singapore. Visit Michelin Guide Singapore on Facebook.

Featured image Rainy night in Seoul by Flickr use rjareed. (CC BY 2.0)

If you like this article, Like The Middle Ground‘s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

by Suhaile Md

WHICH has the better mutton murtabak, Zam Zam or Victory? Well, it depends on you. No, it’s not a cop-out. If you prefer it thick and crispy, go with Victory. If you prefer your meat to be savoury and like a more chewy dough, go with Zam Zam. It’s a matter of personal taste, really.

Prices for the mutton murtabak range from $6 to $17 depending on the portion size. The $6 dish is sufficient for most people, but if you’re feeling peckish, go ahead with the $8 portion like TMG did when it visited the shops last week. Be warned though, you can forget about supper if you have the larger portion for dinner.

The Middle Ground needs your support to continue serving up credible, balanced and independent news. Help us make a difference by being our patron! Thanks!

Here’s the low down on the murtabaks: Which do you prefer?

Zam Zam Restaurant

Murtabak from Singapore Zam Zam! Photo by Md Suhaile.
 Mutton murtabak ($8) and Teh Tarik ($1.20) from Singapore Zam Zam! Photo by Suhaile Md.

Cost: $6, $8, $9,  $12, $14, $17 for mutton Murtabak, depending on portion size. Teh tarik for $1.20. Curry and cucumber slices come with the dish.

Flavour: More savoury, stronger taste of spices.

Texture: Chewy dough with relatively juicy meat. Not crispy.

Variety: Chicken murtabak from $6 to $15, sardine murtabak from $5 to $12, and beef murtabak from $5 to $16.

The $8 murtabak at Zam Zam is actually folded to fit on the plate. So while it’s thinner than the Victory version, it makes up for it in width. Juicy meat with chewy dough ensures that the taste of spice lingers in your mouth.

 

Victory Restaurant

Murtabak from Victory! Photo by Md Suhaile.
Mutton murtabak ($8) and Teh Tarik ($1.20) from Victory! Photo by Md Suhaile.

Cost: $6, $8, $9,  $12, $14, $17 for mutton Murtabak, depending on portion size. Teh tarik for $1.20. Curry and cucumber slices come with the dish.

Flavour: Less savoury, tastes of spices slightly muted.

Texture: Both dough and meat are dry and crispy.

Variety: Chicken murtabak from $6 to $16, sardine murtabak from $5 to $11, and beef murtabak from $5 to $16.

Both the meat and dough are crisp and dry. So the taste of spices, while distinct, is still muted when compared to the Zam Zam version.

 

Read our other piece on the restaurant battle: The two kings of murtabak in Kampong Glam

 

 

Featured image Singapore Zam Zam by Flickr user Jnzl’s PhotosCC BY-SA 2.0

If you like this article, Like The Middle Ground‘s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

SONY DSC

by Wan Ting Koh

IT IS known by several names.

The more ang moh among us will call it rice vermicelli. Those who speak piao chun hua yu will call it mee fen.

But all Singaporeans alike will know it as bee hoon.

A staple food in Singaporean cuisine bee hoon is. Its fried form is often sold from economical rice stalls to go with your cai fan, or side dishes.

Who knew the humble bee hoon would one day be elevated to the status of a Singaporean foodie trend, the likes of salted egg dishes, and baked cheese tarts.

But that is exactly what is happening to the White Bee Hoon dish – it is stir fried bee hoon that is served in a broth, usually accompanied with seafood such as crayfish, clams, and sliced fish.

 

Here are five dishes of white bee hoon that we think may be worth your time:

1. Sembawang White Restaurant 

Plate of white bee hoon
White Restaurant’s Original White Bee Hoon. Image by White Restaurant.

This is possibly the one that started it all. Now with four outlets to its name, White Restaurant had its humble beginnings in a hawker stall in the old Chongpang Market in 1998. It only moved to its popularly-known location at 22 Jalan Tampang, Sembawang, in 2000.

Originally known as You Huak, the restaurant went through a revamp in late 2014 and emerged with the new brand name, White Restaurant. White Restaurant currently has three other outlets, in Toa Payoh, Sun Plaza and Punggol.

While White Restaurant is a tse char place, offering stir fried dishes such as vegetables and chicken wings, its signature dish is still its white bee hoon, which comes in two choices – the original white bee hoon, and the crab white bee hoon.

The original white bee hoon dish comes in three portions, according to its menu – small, which goes for $6, medium, which goes for $10 and large, which is priced at $15. The crab white bee hoon only comes in large, at $65. While the small portions are for individuals, the medium portion can be shared between two and three people, while the large can feed four to five.

The original white bee hoon comes in a mix of vegetables, egg, prawn, and squid in a broth while the crab version has egg, ginger, and, of course, crab.

The original outlet in Sembawang is opened from 11.30am to 10.30pm daily, except on Wednesdays, when it is closed.

 

2. East Seafood 

behoon
Crayfish white bee hoon. Image taken from East Seafood’s website.

East Seafood White Bee Hoon is a humble hawker centre stall at Toa Payoh Central food market which has four selections of white bee hoon dishes. Savour its la la (clams) white bee hoon or prawn bee hoon which each come in $5, $8 and $12 portions. The cray fish white bee hoon comes in $15, $20 or $25 portions. The stall also offers crab white bee hoon at seasonal prices.

Located at Block 210, Toa Payoh Lorong 8, East Seafood White Bee Hoon is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from 4pm to 9pm.

 

3. Joyous Seafood

Dish of prawn lala white bee hoon
Joyous Seafood’s prawn white bee hoon. Image taken from Joyous’ Facebook page.

This stall opened earlier this year in a corner of an Ang Mo Kio hawker centre. It has the usual options of seafood white bee hoon with la la, crayfish, crab or sliced fish. If you visit the stall on weekday and weekend nights though, be prepared to join the queue.

The la la sliced fish white bee hoon comes in $5, $8 and $12 portions while la la with prawn white bee hoon comes in $6, $9 and $12 portions. The crayfish white bee hoon comes in portions of $15, $20, $25, while the flower crab white bee hoon costs either $18, $28 or $38.

If you want to try Joyous’ white bee hoon dishes, the stall is at Block 724 Ang Mo Kio Central, #01-30 (The stall will move to #1-41 from Dec 1). It opens from Tuesdays to Sundays, 11am to 8.30pm.

 

4. Chi Jia Kitchen 

0v9a1207
Chi Jia’s la la white bee hoon. Image by Najeer Yusof.

Chi Jia Kitchen, which is a tse char stall, also sells white bee hoon, from its corner of the KopiWu coffeeshop. The stall started selling white bee hoon from the start of this year due to its popularity. Even though the white bee hoon dish on the menu only lists la la, customers are free to request other ingredients, subject to availability.

Apart from a generous portion of la la, the dish also has vegetables and bits of fried lard. An individual portion goes for $6.

To find Chi Jia Kitchen, visit Block 420A Clementi Avenue 1, #01-07 between 11am and 11pm daily. Note that the stall is closed on the first and third Tuesdays of the month. 

 

5. Sunny Seafood 

0v9a1280
Sunny’s white bee hoon. Image by Najeer Yusof.

Sunny Seafood’s white bee hoon comes with a variety of ingredients, including generous servings of egg, squid, fish, fried fish pieces and vegetables. It comes in portions of $3.50, $4.50 and $5.50.

The owner opened the stall specialising in white bee hoon at Redhill Food Centre in 2009. Those who want some side dishes to go with the white bee hoon can order fishmeat taupok for 90 cents or three fishballs for $1.

Sunny Seafood White Bee Hoon is located at Block 85 Redhill Lane, Redhill Food Centre, #01-69, and is open from 11am to 9pm daily.

 

Featured image Vermicelli by Flickr user Judit Klein (CC BY-ND 2.0)

If you like this article, Like The Middle Ground‘s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

by Li Shan Teo 

FARM-TO-TABLE dining isn’t new here, but what about farm-in-diner?

While a number of local restaurants and F&B establishments have long started their own edible gardens, or have commissioned farms to produce edibles for them – Fairmont Singapore has had its own private edible garden since 2008 – the presence of vegetables or herbs indoors, or very close to an eatery’s premises, is fast becoming popular.

Just last year, Open Farm Community, a restaurant in the Dempsey area with an urban farm on its premises, was launched. And recently in June this year, Open Door Policy at Tiong Bahru underwent a facelift to include – inside its dining area – an edible garden running the length of the restaurant.

“Diners seem to like knowing – and seeing with their own eyes – where their food comes from and how it is grown,” said Ms Natalia Tan, a spokesman for urban gardening specialists Edible Garden City. Having an edible garden nearby also “marks out a chef or restaurant as having a stronger commitment to the bigger picture of food”, she added.

Mr Calvin Soh, 49, of One Kind House, a cafe, agreed that “people want to be connected to nature”. And with edible gardens nearby, “it’s a marketing angle for them (the restaurants)”.

If you want to feel closer to nature while you dine, here are some places to check out:

 

One Kind House

Dubbed as a “21st century kampung” by Mr Soh, One Kind House is an eclectic mix of a cafe, art hub, garden, kitchen and restaurant. The elements combine into a friendly kampung-like environment, where people chat over cups of coffee or tea.

While the place is still a house for some members of the Soh family, anyone can walk in for coffee or tea, as One Kind House has a section reserved for a barista. 

If you’re lucky, you’ll get to taste some of “Mommy Soh’s” home-cooked lunches and dinners that are made with ingredients from the garden. The 74-year-old is the matriarch of the house and enjoys gardening and cooking. Invites for home-cooked meals are usually posted on Facebook and seats are limited (around 10 people usually), so remember to check the cafe’s page.

One Kind House doesn’t have a fixed price for their food and events – you tip to pay. But there are recommended tipping prices for you to consider.

It also offers classes on gardening and cooking.

Image by Calvin Soh. 

 

Location: 136B Lorong J Telok Kurau, Singapore 425966 (opposite the Telok Kurau Park)

Opening hours:

Tues – Sun: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

.

Open Door Policy (ODP) 

Just recently renovated, ODP offers customers a the experience of dining in the company of fresh produce as an edible garden is placed along the length of the restaurant. Some of the produce grown in the restaurant include arugula, Russian kale and local lettuce.

odp-edible-garden

Image from ODP’s Facebook page.

The restaurant also boasts a rustic feel with its use of a brick and wood combination for its interior design. And its menu, which was created by head chef Daniele Sperindio who took over from chef Ryan Clift in 2014, is a nod to a diverse group of cultural influences – from Latin America, Europe, and Australia.

Some of the dishes include guacamole risotto ($20), kangaroo fillet ($34), braised beef cheek ($32) and pan seared sea bass with artichoke, potatoes and rocket salad ($27), which uses the produce from the edible garden.

odp

Image from ODP’s Facebook page

.

Location: 19 Yong Siak Street, Singapore 168650

Tel: +65 6221 9307

Opening hours:
Mon, Wed – Friday: 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm

Sat: 11am – 4pm, 6pm – 11pm

.

Open Farm Community (OFC)

The restaurant has an urban farm on its premises, boasting a “first-of-its-kind” dining concept in Singapore. The farm at OFC has a mix of herbs, vegetables and fruit trees, including greens such as basil and okra. The produce is used in the kitchen and the menu is seasonal, changing every four months.

As the farm is so close to the restaurant, customers can see the produce as they dine and walk among the different herbs and vegetables during their visit to OFC.

Some of the dishes on the menu right now include the watercress soup with soft poached hen’s egg, crispy kale, and olive oil caviar ($19), as well as braised lamb shank with homemade couscous, olives, capers and green peas ($45). You can check out the menu here.

OFC organises an Open Farmers’ Market on selected weekends, where people get to showcase and sell their fresh produce. The place also has farming workshops and activities such as a pasta masterclass to encourage an understanding of food and its origins.

ofc

Image from Open Farm Community’s website. 

.

Location: 130E Minden Road, Singapore 248819

Tel: +65 6471 0306

Opening hours (restaurant):
Mon – Fri: 12pm – 4pm, 6pm – 10pm
Weekends and public holidays: 11am – 4pm, 6pm – 10pm
Opening hours (cafe): 8am – 9pm

.

Artichoke

Farm-to-table eateries aren’t always found at ulu locations. Artichoke sits on the edge of Bugis street, making the cafe an accessible place to dine at. A few stacks of crates full of herbs and greens are found at the courtyard of the cafe, providing easy access for chefs to get some of their vegetables and herbs. Examples of the produce grown there include red peppers and tomatoes.

The cafe specialises in Moorish-Middle Eastern cuisine with a focus on using locally farmed ingredients as much as possible. Some of its dishes include feta burrata ($24), lamb shakshouka ($26) and cauliflower sabbich ($23).

artichoke

Image from Artichoke’s website. 

Location: 161 Middle Road, Singapore 188978

Tel: +65 6336 6949

Opening hours:
Tues – Sat: 6.30pm – 10.30pm
Sat: 11.30am – 3.30pm

.

Featured image 20110610 garden by Flickr user Lake Lou (CC BY 2.0)

If you like this article, Like The Middle Ground‘s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

by Michelin Guide Singapore

HOT on the heels of one-star openings like Tsuta and Hawker Chan’s comes Kam’s Roast – the first global offshoot of one-Michelin-starred roast meat restaurant Kam’s Roast Goose that hails from Hong Kong.

On Nov 19, the eatery will be raising its shutters at Pacific Plaza serving up its signature dishes like roast duck and suckling pig. In this Michelin Guide Singapore exclusive video, we go behind the scenes with founder Hardy Kam to take a look at what it takes to run the well-loved household name, the brand’s three-generation-old legacy and how the owners are preserving the essence of Cantonese cuisine.

 

Kams Roast
#01-04/05/06/07, Pacific Plaza
Follow Kam’s roast Facebook page.
.
Special promotion: Get an exclusive, pre-launch taste of Kam’s Roast.
Featured image a screenshot of 记得,一份味道 video.

If you like this article, Like The Middle Ground‘s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

by Jonathan Leong

THE craze for spicy food challenges, which for many people started with the Korean spicy noodle challenge last year, doesn’t seem to have abated.

Singapore foodies – or perhaps, just daredevils – certainly love their spice. The Korean challenge – in which consumers had to eat a whole packet of the tongue numbingly hot Samyang Flaming Chicken instant noodles in the shortest time possible – was certainly partly responsible for the increase in sales of the noodles. Sales of the noodle at NTUC supermarket, for instance, doubled from January to July last year.

Many eateries here also have their own challenges, or just mega-spicy offerings on the menu. Here are four options if you’re looking to challenge your taste buds:

 

Jerry’s Insanity Buffalo Wings (Level 6)

Spicy buffalo wings originated from United States, New York, and are basically fried chicken wings coated in a spicy pepper sauce.

At Jerry’s BBQ and Grill, there are six levels of spiciness for diners to pit their taste buds against – ranging from Level 1 (Smokin’) to Level 6 (Jerry’s Insanity).

At Level 6, the buffalo wings come with a hazard warning that says: “Order Level 5 and 6 at your own risk”. The fact that the Trinidad Scorpion pepper is used in the sauce might have something to do with that, seeing as it is one of the spiciest pepper known to man.

The wings are served at four pieces for $15.95 or six pieces for $19.95

untitled

Image is a screenshot from the Jerry’s BBQ and Grill restaurant’s webpage.

 

Location: 92 Club St, Singapore 069460

Tel: 6323 4550

Opening hours:

Mon – Sat: 12:00pm – 12:30am

Sun: 12:00pm – 12:00am

 

Magma ramen

This time-limited offer is currently on at Ramen Champion’s Great World City outlet, from now till Dec 31. Claiming to be the spiciest ramen in Singapore, it comes in four levels of spice.

The more cautious diners can try the normal level of spiciness. Others can choose to up the ante by five, 10 or 20 times the normal levels of spiciness.

The Magma Ramen is priced at $12.80 a bowl. The restaurant warns though, that level 20 is “not for the faint hearted”.

Image from Ramen Champion Singapore restaurant’s Facebook page.

 

Location: Ramen Champion, 1 Kim Seng Promenade, Great World City #01-22, Singapore 237994

Tel: 6235 1295

Opening hours: 11:30am – 10:30pm daily

.
Spaghetti from Hell (Level 18)

With a sauce made from the Trinidad Scorpion and Bhut Jolokia peppers, which are two of the hottest peppers in the world, this gastronomical challenge is not one to be taken lightly. You even have to sign an indemnity form before you start.

The challenge, at Southwest Tavern, is to finish a plate of the extremely spicy spaghetti within 10 minutes without drinking water the entire time. Whoever can complete the challenge is entered into the restaurant’s wall of fame and gets to chose either a $100 voucher or two towers of Heineken beer to help put out the fire that will likely be raging in the mouth. 

Read how our contributor Ryan Ong survived this dish during a recent visit.

A plate of this hellish delicacy goes for $26 a plate. In case you are wondering, there are no other levels of spiciness – Southwest Tavern’s owner said that Level 18 was in reference to the deepest level of hell in Chinese beliefs. You have been warned.

Image from Southwest Tavern restaurant’s Facebook page.

 

Location: 8 Boon Lay Way, Tradehub 21, #01-33, Singapore 609964

Tel: 6515 4303

Opening hours: 11:00am – 12:00am daily

 

Coco Ichibanya curry (Level 5)

The curry house’s main offering is Japanese curry, which has a slight sweetness to it. But there are customisation options and this is where it gets interesting: diners can choose among seven levels of spiciness for their curries. These are mild, original, medium hot (Level 1), hot (Level 2), extra hot (Level 3), super hot (Level 4) and crazy hot (Level 5).

Prices range from $12 to $16.

 

14753430_1178041125615023_982257976366152580_o

Image from Coco Ichibanya restaurant’s Facebook page.

 

Check out Coco Ichibanya’s six outlets here.

Opening hours:

Sun – Thur: 10:00am to 10:00pm
Fri – Sat: 10:00am to 11:00pm

 

Featured image Kings of the Hot Pepper World by Flickr user Richard Elzey. (CC BY 2.0)

If you like this article, Like The Middle Ground‘s Facebook Page as well!

For breaking news, you can talk to us via email.

by Ryan Ong

LAST week, at The Middle Ground, someone pointed out that Southwest Tavern at Boon Lay had a Spaghetti From Hell challenge. If you can eat the whole plate of spicy spaghetti in 10 minutes without a drink, you win two beer towers or a $100 voucher. Now this is the wrong way around: usually you need the two beer towers first, in order to agree to a challenge like that. But because I was born with a deficient sense of self-preservation, I decided to try it anyway.