Tuesday, March 28, 2017

WTF (What's That Food) - Real Beef Shabu Burger @ Yishun Pasar Malam [Singapore] #WTFoodSG

Living within 5 minutes' walk from the train station has its perks and one of them is that temporary pasar malams (night markets) outside the Yishun station would take place once every few months! 

While most people would go for the many ramly burger stalls, i hesitated one evening as i am honestly famished and there's no way my tummy can accept any waiting in a queue. That's when i chanced upon the above stall.

WTF (literally) - i actually remember this particular stall as it was one of a few hundred at the Chinatown Festive Street Bazaar this year that had an unforgettable name! 

Back then, i wanted to try but with so many guaranteed-good food options at Chinatown (teriyaki chicken don, yong tau foo, soy sauce chicken, seafood dumplings etc etc); i had to give it a miss despite the irresistible waft of freshly grilled shabu meat! 

Anyway, i am adamant to try it this time, especially when there's no queue! Why no queue? I can think of three causes; firstly, the price which, at S$5 for the beef, was slightly higher than a ramly burger; secondly, the novelty of shabu burger and lastly (thanks to a conversation i had with fellow colleagues today), some people do feel that a burger must come with a patty.

I am shallow when it comes to burgers then as anything you can put in between a burger bun can be considered a burger; even if it is just a slice of tomato, a smattering of lettuce and a splash of chilli mayonnaise. 

Of course i wouldn't pay S$5 for the aforementioned burger with meagre ingredients but for the above, with a generous amount of thinly sliced 100% rib-eye, my only wish then was to grab the top bun, place it on top and gobble up the entire thing!


Patience, patience; if not you would miss out on more important ingredients like the caramelised onions that's bound to up the palatability! I should seriously make it a point to find the recipe for this amazing stuff.


According to an informative panel in front of the stall, i gathered that the burger included crunchy lettuce, sauce maison, beef shabu shabu, caramelised onions and cheese sauce. It's like a flow chart that gave me an accurate prediction that my burger was about to be ready! 

Simply wrapped with a WTF sticker to hold the wrapper in place, this was taken at the comfort of my home where i can take hundred of pictures without drawing any attention. 

Burger was already flattened at this time but fear not, it's still the taste that matters and it was as delicious as it smelt with the juicy meat juice oozing from the well seasoned shabu beef. I am swallowing my saliva now as i recalled the flavour that swam together with the sweetness of caramelised onions and cheese sauce! 

Nothing's perfect though; i would prefer more caramelised onions and the burger bun can be grilled longer with a bigger slab of butter. If only there's also an option to add on a fried egg....; darn, i am getting greedy! 

Nevertheless, i cleaned up everything; save for the wrapper. 

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Location
At the Pasar Malam outside Yishun MRT Station which would end on Wednesday, 29 March 2017. Miss it? No worries; check out WTF Facebook page below for their latest location!

Facebook Page

Pricing
Real Beef Shabu Burger - S$5.00 for one
Real Beef Shabu Burger - S$9.00 for two

Monday, March 27, 2017

Amanda - The Healthier Steamed Brownies from Bandung [Indonesia]

The only Amanda i know is a person but in Bandung, it's a famous brand with products that foreigners like myself would buy back for friends and family in Singapore. 

We purposely took a cab to one of the branches at Dago that's about 2.6 kilometers from Best Western Premier La Grande hotel and in case you are wondering what products Amanda are famed for; look for the clue in the above photo.

Brownies and to think that i would travel all the way to Bandung to purchase brownies when i am not even a big fan! Well, the steamed version from the city is a popular "souvenir" to bring back and the fact that i am there means i might as well get some.

Its popularity can be attest by two observations; one, there wasn't any sampling in the store and second, the brownies were readily packed and displayed for customers to grab and pay! 

I am afraid i didn't manage to take pictures of the "real" thing but my verdict of the 'original' and 'pandan' is that i prefer the baked version which had a more satisfying texture and contained many walnuts. The steamed ones were healthier, softer and lighter yet didn't quite appeal to me. 

There were other products for sale; however, as there wasn't any sampling and i didn't know how good it might be, i hauled back like 10 boxes and one box was like 750 grams! 

There's another advantage for Amanda's steamed brownies; pricing! The cheapest 'original' brownies cost only 36,000 Indonesia rupiah a box while the most expensive 'cream cheese' brownies could even be cheaper than a slice of cake here in Singapore! 

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Website


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Soon Lee Heng Satay in ST 31 Coffee House @ Ang Mo Kio Block 347 [Singapore]

This particular coffee shop very near to AMK Hub is famous for the fish head steamboat and i wouldn't have thought of ordering anything else from another stall in usual circumstances.  

Our visit was nothing unusual but my elder sister and brother in law decided to order satay from this little stall anyway. According to them, many tables had a plate of satay when they last patronised the fish head steamboat and it's a fact that my family love satay! 

10 sticks of pork, 10 sticks of chicken sitting on a bed of fresh cucumber and onions! Do note that it's self service here; hence, please prepare to have someone standing by to order AND collect the satay. Just another note - uncle manning the stall was said to be fierce yet with a kind tenderness towards children. 

At S$0.70 a stick, they might appear pricier than normal but look closer; the pieces of meat and fats also seem bigger to justify for the higher per-stick price. Nevertheless, satay pricing had indeed spiked over the past ten years; i remember it was only about 40 to 50 cents a stick then. 

Coming back, the satay from the fierce uncle was fantastic and testament to his overall control over fire and movement of the satay sticks. Despite emitting a strong aroma of addictive charcoal grill, the pieces of meat and fats weren't badly charred and in actual fact, remained juicy! 

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Location
Block 347, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3,
#01-2142, ST 31 Coffee House,
Singapore 560347

Map

As above.

Pricing
Chicken Satay - S$0.70 a stick
Pork Satay - S$0.70 a stick
(Minimum 10 Sticks)

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Lam's Signatures; Lam's Abalone Noodle & Salt Baked Kampong Whole Chicken @ Marina Square [Singapore]

To be honest, i didn't know what to expect from Lam's Signatures since it's my first time hearing about this eatery and the only famous "lam" i know is hock lam beef noodle. However, i was brought there by the Great Kon; a most sought-after food connoisseur among friends! 

I did some research about this lam's signatures and i am darn surprised to hear that the owner, Ah Lam, is a creator for the mini work noodle (小碗面) concept in 1997. This innovative concept has since been replicated by many noodle stalls in the industry and i am one of those happy customers who love it! p.s. above picture was taken at the end of the day as we were the last customers.

Before i start with the signatures, i would like to recommend the ice blended drinks; the above which i had was wolfberry and fruits ice blended; it would definitely appeal to those who love Chinese wolfberries! Kon's vegetable and fruits ice blended was even better with a strong dosage of vegetables that tasted utterly delicious! 

Salt Baked Kampong Whole Chicken - wasn't as salty as i thought with a herbal aftertaste; frankly, although it was refreshing to have salt baked chicken every now and then, it isn't my cup of tea and i would prefer fried chicken anytime. 

Abalone Noodle -   At S$7.00 a bowl, it was indeed pricey but i figured topping up the S$2 for that extra skewer of abalone pieces and scallop would be more worth it than paying S$5.00 for a bowl of "original" noodle. 

It's the vinegarish, minced pork noodle style and even though i am quite happy with the amount of vinegar in the bowl, the Great Kon felt otherwise! 

Noodles wise, they were al-dente and covered with an aromatic layer of appealing pork lard oil. On one hand, i was quite sad that the portion was quite little. On the other hand, we didn't get that overwhelming carbohydrate intake which would have been disastrous given that i would be having the rare heavy meal quite late at night! 

Saving the best for the last! 

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Location
Balloon themed exhibition at Marina Square atrium.
Already ended on 19 March 2017.
6 Raffles Boulevard, #04-102C, 
Marina Square, Singapore 039594 

Website

Menu
As above. To zoom in, right-click and save the picture as i have provided the photograph with original resolution. 

Pricing
Wolfberry and Fuits Ice Blended - S$3.50
Salt Baked Kampong Whole Chicken - S$23.80
Abalone Noodle - S$7.00
(Inclusive of GST)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Day Four of The 5 Days, 4 Nights Trip to Bandung - Paris Van Java, Care Free Day & Dining at the Roadside! @ Indonesia



It was a nice morning to sweat it out in the hotel's gym but the pain from my swollen finger (thanks to the hornet sting) made it impossible for me to do any weights! I languished in bed for almost an hour before joining my family for breakfast.

As expected, we took our time to enjoy the sumptuous spread and by the time we officially stepped out of Best Western Premier La Grande hotel, it was already 9am!

Day four was a Sunday and we heard from Mr Askan and even from the hotel staff that it's car free day in Bandung with a few roads closed just for pedestrians to walk without danger! You can even roll on the road if you want. The hotel staff mentioned a few roads that would be closed and from the map, the one known as Jl Asia Afrika would be the most direct for us since it's a straight road going south from outside the hotel. 

One good thing about walking was that there were ample photo opportunities with the mobile street vendors!

Another advantage was we can take it slowly to catch sights not commonly seen in our home country; for example, working at height without any safety harness! In Singapore, this seemingly lack of safety for workers would have been reported to the Ministry of Manpower.

Would you dare to buy from mobile food carts? There were many we chanced upon and i didn't dare to try in case it were to result in an upset tummy. Things would have been different if i am with the Great Kon; he WILL buy and if it's delicious, he WILL INSIST to share.

Majelis Jemaat GPIB Bethel Bandung - a Christian church.

With gantries pulled down to prevent any one / vehicle to cross, this was one scene that young Singaporeans would never get to see at home since year 2011.

Traffic came to a total standstill while everyone waited for a lumbering giant to have its right of way. Pedestrians can dash across if they want to but i am unsure if there would be any fine for making this move.

The racket the locomotive generated would piss off those living near the railway track although for a Singaporean, it's a piece of colonial industrial music that the younger generation would never get to hear for real unless they travel overseas.

Put it this way, we don't even have stretches of railway tracks that we can trek along unless the electric MRT train breaks down in between stations and commuters are required to disembark and walk back to the nearest train station.

A smaller and shorter dilapidated centre point that's a total opposite to the recently expanded one we have in the little red dot.

Jl Braga - a famous street known for art deco buildings and said to be reason Bandung was nicknamed as the paris of java! Even though i was excited enough to slow down my pace, the ladies in my group was adamant to reach the car-free Jl Asia Afrika!

A few buildings for your viewing pleasure; nothing quite interesting in my opinion although i was quite impressed by the display of patriotism!

There was a Starbucks store and i strolled in as a friend is a Starbucks card collector; p.s. i don't quite get the fascination but since i am there, might as well check if my friend needs any.

Continuing my journey after cooling myself in the air-conditioned Starbucks. The humidity in Bandung was definitely much more manageable compared to Singapore; however, walking for long distance can still work out a sweat! 

Caught a group of young school children going down a side lane and i was so tempted to follow! Would have done so if i am with Alex though; not with the irritable ladies who were started to complain about the walk. 

As we reached towards the end of Jl Braga, i did notice a massive display of art paintings on both sides of the street! They should be for sale as some had put up a sign for no-photography.

Bandros Bistro - one of the more interesting shop facades that's designed to be the side view of a bus! 

Bakso can be found anywhere and everywhere in the city; unfortunately, i didn't have a liking for the soupy dish even though i have to admit i am not exactly a soup person.

From the map, we were just one street away from Jl Asia Afrika! 

Please a take a selfie here - an attention seeking tagline that arouses curiosity! And who is this Darso the legend? According to google, he seemed to be a singer who passed away in 2011. 

Finally -  Jl Asia Afrika!

Museum of the Asian Africa Conference - i was wondering why would anyone name a museum after a conference?! Turned out it was a super important event back in 1955 and if you are interested to find out more, click here

A group having a go at the mannequin challenge! 

Gedung Merdeka - a heritage building designed in 1926 that currently housed "a museum displaying collections and photographs of the Asian–African Conference". Yes, the conference again! Its importance can be also felt when the entire road was renamed Asia Afrika. 

Cosplayers of the horror realm; my favourite was the demon nun from the Insidious film series! To have a look, check out the posting here

For more child-friendly characters, get your kids to hug Olaf and take photographs with the transformers instead. 

There was in fact nothing much that caught the fancy of my female travellers; their intent was on shopping and their eyes lighted up only when they saw lines of gazebo tents right ahead! 

Okay, i can see the disappointment on their faces and it didn't help that the sun was out in full force. The ladies in my family love air-conditioned malls and heat makes them irritated.

I was all ready to hail a cab to our next destination when i saw the above; a canvas of a Japanese character dragging a long knife with blood on the tip! 

Thinking it might be a haunted house, i was looking around for a ticket seller and couldn't find any. I secretly stepped in to find an empty shell! Guess it's more a stage for storytelling. Sad.

Lucky to hop onto a blue bird cab to an air-conditioned mall said to be the biggest in Bandung and the starting fare was only 8,500 rupiah!

A metallic t-rex appeared out of nowhere! As i age, i realise my sense of navigation is getting to be really bad! In the past, i was able to pull out the map and roughly make out the route that the car was travelling...

A common sight in Indonesia - peddlers on the road when cars and motorcycles stopped at traffic lights or were stuck in traffic jams. I didn't face much jams in Bandung although i have heard of legendary ones at the capital that's only about a few hours' drive away.

Arrived at Paris van Java! To read my review on the shopping centre, click here. My executive summary is that i would prefer to spend my time on outlet shopping!

Traffic at Paris van Java was terrible and it's hard to find a cab! I actually use the grab / uber app for private hire service but i had two cancellations as the drivers couldn't even get onto this road!

We didn't go back to the hotel. Instead, we proceeded to the nearby Rumah Mode; said to the mother of factory outlet shopping in Bandung! I had a really satisfying loot when i was done. :)

Took another cab and this back to the hotel as we needed to unload the purchases! This time, the journey cost us close to S$7 although there was a traffic jam and a slight drizzle.

Time for dinner and the choice was Rumah Sate (which means Satay House)! Sadly, the entire place was enveloped in cigarette smoke and stench and this was a no-no for my family members. I am devastated as the satay that were grilled outside smelt heavenly! 

Nevertheless, we absolutely didn't regret our second choice; the roadside stalls near our hotel. Hygiene condition may not be optimal but the food was amazing and the pricing was cheap in comparison to what we were charged for back in Singapore! For review, check out the post here

My younger sister and mum had a massage appointment, leaving Joyce and i to make our own plans! And you want to guess what we did? We decided to walk from the hotel to a famous local snack store that's about 1.4 kilometers away!

This stretch actually had quite a few factory outlets and improvement work was ongoing for a wider pedestrian walkway. It's a good move yet i think it would be safer to barricade areas or at least have a warning sign to caution pedestrians against the hole along the pavement.

For Men factory outlet - i couldn't resist and step in for a while to buy more clothes! I was in luck too as Joyce had a better fashion eye and i didn't have to share her with my mum and Louise.

The rare traffic light with pedestrian crossing! Most people jaywalk anyway so i can understand why there are so few pedestrian crossing with the green and red man. 

Got to Kartikasari in one piece despite the lack of street lights illuminating the road we were on! 

Our purpose wasn't to buy anything as it's merely to ascertain if the distance would be okay for my mom to walk the next day. And since Joyce and i would be going back again on foot, there's no way i would want extra burden! 

Why didn't we opt for a cab on our way back? For a simple reason that both Joyce and i are misers and it's always good to burn off the fattening food we eat with a walk. 

The iconic Holland bakery! 

Since the night was still early, we popped in to see what's available; well, a bakery shall be a bakery and given we have so many reputable bakeries in Singapore, i didn't see much difference in their offerings except for one. 

Bika Ambon and i knew i had to grab a slice at 4,500 rupiah! It wasn't as good as the one i had at Batam Island even though it did help to satisfy some of my craving for the cake our family known as bee hive! 

Joyce is a shopaholic and since she doesn't sleep much, we went back to the hypermarket at Bandung Indah Plaza; yes, the shopping centre opposite Best Western hotel

Have i ever mentioned that i can spend hours in a supermarket and i especially love to visit the hypermarkets when i am overseas; there's so much to see although i wouldn't venture into the stationery section. 

As Joyce appeared to have more on her shopping list while i am more or less done with the sleeping bug slowly gnawing on me, we arranged to meet at JCo Donuts where i got a hot chocolate at 29,000 Rupiah! It came with a original glazed donut which i returned as i didn't want to fill my tummy with such sinful stuff before bedtime! 

Joyce left me there for more than an hour and i was actually getting worried! My phone calls to her were unanswered and i was about to search for her when she slowly, i repeat, slowly, strolled towards me! Anyway, just a random photo of a bin tied to the railing at the overhead bridge. 

Before i end this post, a picture on my injured finger a day after the hornet attacked me without any provocation at Kawah Rengganis; red and swollen! 

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Posts linked to Day Four
(click to find out more) 
  1. Cosplayers of the Horror Realm
  2. Paris van Java - Biggest Mall in Bandung
  3. Dinner at Roadside Stalls



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