Sunday, May 30, 2010

Grill Manna: our kind of chicken

A kopitiam  post....

HTs are not very fond of putting ketchup on burgers and fries. But there is this type of ket-chup that is close to our heart. When we visited Manado, Indonesia, we just love all the dishes they served us. And their main ingredient was the KETJAP or KECAP MANIS (thanks Ice!).

Ketjap is known to the Dutch (Indonesian influence) cuisine. You can get this Indonesian soy sauce from sweet to slightly sweet or even the salty ones in the Netherlands grocery. We love the dark, sweet version of it. We don't cook at home so we're also regulars in several kopitiams in Singapore. And if you want to have a headstart of sweetness in your dinner, I would recommend one of the stalls in Food Junction, Bugis.

Grill Manna is one of the corner stalls in this food place. You can see how your fish or chicken is being grilled. What made it special is when uncle dips the meat in the hot, piping, ketjap, we just can't wait for our cheap but delicious meal.

Grilled Chicken Set - you can opt for boneless chicken but we prefer with the bones.  The chicken leg is always huge so you get a lot of white meat with it.  It goes with a pandan rice but you can advise uncle for plain rice and a thin slice of omelette.  Soup goes with this plate and is way better than the usual salt water you get in kopitiams. 

Most of the time, the chicken were still being grilled to perfection so I don't mind waiting for 5-10 minutes.  The meat was never overcooked or undercooked and was always tender.  The generous amount of ketjap is overflowing on the plate and look at the inner side of the chicken, how nicely it absorbed the ketjap as an added taste.

For a good chicken dinner that doesn't hurt our wallet , off we go to Grill Manna!

Price Summary (in SGD)
Grilled Chicken Set = $5
no GST no SvcChg

Food Junction
Bugis Junction, Level 3

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Loving Hut: love for food, love for health

This is another post without HT hubby.  We're not separating ways, so no worries :D.  It's just another dinner out with me and my friends.

I'm very thankful to my vegetarian friend, K.  She always introduce nice veggie places and made me appreciate of not having meat as part of my meal (yes, HT couple associates lunch and dinner with meat).  Check out K's previous recommendation:  YES!

This time, K brought me and our friends to this humble place in Suntec.  We were given a back-to-back menu so it was easy to decide what to order.

Spring Rolls (4/5) - this starter was the favorite for the night!  It's crispy skin made this dish such a delight though it was a bit on the oily side.

Rainbow Rice (4/5) - we ordered a plate of this for sharing.  The rice can be eaten alone (without any dishes) as it's tasty enough and you get all kinds of veggies mixed with it.  This was served with a clear soup for ease of eating.

Tofu Claypot (4/5) - this was our first choice.  Being in a veggie place, we prefer those real veggies used in a dish instead of mock meat.  Broccoli, cauliflowers, carrots, was pleasingly healthy and very delicious.  The veggies were simmered in a thick sauce making it tasty and lovely.  It's not mushy or overcooked so we were still able to hear that crunch in our every bite.

Au Lac Pho (3/5) -their vietnamese pho, which had abundant celery and basil leaves, however, the soup was still watery and bland.  The noodle was just ok, and I guess, I prefer my pho with meat.

 Lemongrass Curry (3.5/5) - the curry sauce was a nice partner with the rice.  Though, i was not able to taste the lemongrass at all, it was still tasty.  The bulk of this curry bowl was just potatoes.  It would be great if there would be mixture of other veggies.  I'm sure it would made this dish more satisfying.

Overall, it was a great no-frills and healthy dinner, a perfect night catching up and exchanging laughs with friends. 

Price Summary (SGD)
Spring Roll = $3.80
Au Lac Pho = $4.80
Braised Tofu Claypot = $8.80
Lemongrass Curry = $4.50
Rainbow Rice = $4.80
NO GST and Svc Chg

Loving Hut
#03-016 Suntec
Opens Daily 10 am - 930 pm

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Old Town White Coffee: chicken rendang

HTs weekend routine is to jog around East Coast Park until we reach Playground@Splash for a nice Asian lunch.  And ang moh hubby, really prefers kopi-c than cappuccino.

Old Town has been a favorite of mine when i first had their Ipoh Chicken Hor Fun in Penang 4 years ago.  When they came to Singapore, we learn to love their...
Chicken Rendang (4/5) - small keropek or papadam or chips(however its called), sambal sauce, rendang curry chicken and of course, a cup of rice, all in a plate with brown paper...voila!  A perfect look of an asian dish.  Though we prefer, beef rendition, Old Town still met our expectations.  The spices used in the rendang blended well with the white meat.  It was not too spicy and the coconut milk sweetness counteracted the level of spice.  From the taste, it's well simmered and the chicken meat was very tender.  The sambal sauce was not too fishy and was a great partner with the white rice.

up close and personal with the chicken rendang

This would be our all-time favorite together with a cup of Old Town white coffee but we prefer the ones at East Coast Park than Suntec.

Price Summary (SGD)
Chicken Rendang = about 8 dollars
GST and Svc Chg apply

Old Town White Coffee
Playground@Splash and
Suntec (near Carrefour)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Manpuku Japanese Gourmet Town : affordable meal!

I've been to Manpuku when they were new in town at Tampines 1.  The place was like Marche, where you pay on your way out.  To be honest, with the price and the food, at that time, i've never thought I would be back again.

My close friends, together with us, HT couple, decided to give it another try.  Any place deserves a second chance for HTs.  We were welcomed by a guy in a Japanese uniform and advised us that it's now self-service and pay as you order.  It works just like our usual kopitiams, different stalls, no gst and no service charge but has a more posh interiors and serves mostly Japanese fare. 

I love those faux Sakura blooming on top of the table haha.  Plus, the full windows just made the place looked brighter and more spacious.

I was craving for a bowl of noodle soup but I have to skip their ramen after the last time I had it.  Besides, there's a lot of choices.  So I went to the Don/Udon section.  As an oyako don fan, I ordered...
Chicken and Egg Udon (3/5) - for a little bit over $5, I had this small bowl of udon in miso soup with egg, chicken pieces, green onions to complete that oyako twist.  My first glance, hmm, it looked watery.  I first tried the soup, it's ok, it has the japanese miso taste, soothing for my tummy and way better than the ramen soup I had before.  The noodles were bland and a bit overcooked but still manageable.  I was surprised that  I still got about 3 decent pieces of chicken with the price.  Overall, it's palatable. 

Hubby saw this long queue and decided to try one of their okonomiyakis.

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese style pancakes or pizza, whatever you call it, where anything you want is cooked together into a disc-shaped savoury meal.*

Pork Okos (3.5/5) - anything with bacon is always nice.  Hubby didn't think twice of getting this type of oko.  Cabbage, bacon strips, egg then topped with oozing special sauce and mayo creatively done by the chef, hubby just can't wait to dig in.  It was his first time to try an oko so he liked that tinge of sweet taste of the sauce on his pancake.  It was nothing special but definitely, not bad for a lunch meal.

Moonlight Special Oko (3.75/5) - this was the winner for the day and my friend's favorite.  It's thicker than the pork okos and topped with bonito(fish flakes) and a sunny side up egg.  The same special sauce was used but this has more flavor with the chopped squid, shrimp, pork mixed together in this dish.

looks yummy isn't it?

Overall, I think it was smart of Manpuku to change how they operate the place and made sure that they focus on making sure that the food is satisfying enough and affordable for all groups of people living and working at the east side of Singapore.  Give it another try...

Price Summary (in SGD)
Chicken and Egg Udon $6.50
Pork Okos $6.50
Moonlight Special Okos $13.00
*Drinks vary from $1.50 - $4.00
no GST and no SVC CHG

Manpuku Japanese Gourmet Town
#03-16/19 Tampines 1
Opens daily 11 am - 10 pm

*information are taken from Wikipedia

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Starbucks: healthy snack?

HT couple spends half of our weekend time in a coffee shop, reading newspaper and having our weekend dose of caffeine.  We usually settle in a place where they serve dry cappuccino without even asking for it (that means less milk).  Starbucks wouldn't come into our mind unless we want their refreshing green tea frap or their satisfying blueberry muffin.

One time, we decided to visit Starbucks, after a long time, so hubby queued up and that smart layout of coffee shops, wherein you passed by their sweets section before you can reach the cashier, made him get this sweet-looking pastry together with our supposedly 'just coffee' order for the day.

This crumbly, healthy-looking was very inviting for HT hubby.  It stood out among their pastries for the day so hubby just can't resist of getting one.  Plus, anything with oats sounds good for the body, isn't it? 

Berry Oat Bar - the verdict of my first was so good!  I love those crunchy bits on top with some oats which were chewy and just sent signal to my brain, 'what a delicious healthy snack!'.  The best of all were the whole berries scattered in the middle which were chunky and pops everytime you bite on it.   It was not too sugary but just a delight for our sweet tooth.

After that experience, we had another reason to spend our weekend here...maybe, we'll skip the coffee and just get our share of berries-and-oats-in-one.

Price Summary (SGD)
Berry Oat Bar = $5.30

Friday, May 21, 2010

Confessions of a Food Blogger: to pic or not to pic?

I was in a good mood.  Things were going well for me the whole day.  I have planned for this dinner for almost a week, and made sure I got my camera battery charged, placed it in my bag, and strolled my way to the restaurant with excitement.

I had this gut feeling that I should ask permission to take pictures which I don't normally do otherwise, its stated or posted across the walls. (me and my big mouth) .  And of course, I got a big NO. 

I just enjoyed my dinner with HT hubby but of course, i was a little bit disappointed of not being able to take wonders of the food.  (as i'm really a fan of this place)

When I got home and searched for the restaurant where i was forbidden to take clicks, guess what?  There were a number of pictures posted by bloggers.  So I'm not sure what is really the norms here or maybe, I shouldn't have ask then I have no reason not to take pictures?

My fellow food blogger friends, tell me, which is the proper way?  Do we ask for permission if we can take pictures, or we just take pictures unless there is a sign of no photography?  Let me know your thoughts and experiences so that we amateur bloggers can learn the best way, to protect the reputation of food blogging.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Erich's Wuerstelstand: the true blue sausage!

Who said Chinatown only provides non-authentic items and traps for tourist?  Uh-uh, for HT couple, Wuerstelstand is the only place providing real, genuine sausages, (for our tastebuds, of course) in Singapore.

If we're craving for mighty, meaty sausages, we would stroll our way under the hot sun, to Chinatown to get our favorite, CURRYWURST.

Currywurst (5/5) - I've never really eaten a real currywurst before(wherever it exists), but HT hubby's hometown is near Germany, he said this is the authentic one.  We've been to German restaurants here and ordered their currywurst, and indeed, its not the same.  Curry sauce is usually made up of tomato sauce with a huge amount of curry powder.  I love how sweet and spicy blends together and how unique the sauce is...not your ordinary type of ketchup or chili.  Their tasty and meaty pork sausage will always be our choice (we don't like chicken version). 

With the generous amount of the sauce, HT hubby usually gets...

credits to Wuerstelstand blog

Semmeln Buns - Semmeln is a breakfast roll that is crunchy outside and soft on the inside.* HT couple differs in how we like this bread.  HT hubby likes this and he said it's the same one he gets in Europe (I believe him).  He usually would use this tough-looking bread to polish the curry sauce.  I'm not really a fan because it's too hard for me and usually I would end up with mouth wounds. 

If there's even a drop of the sauce left, i would hear this from hubby, "shame on you" to leave such a nice sauce...(sometimes, he ends up licking the plate hehe...good thing it's disposable).

I was not able to take a lot of pictures as I am very scared of the Austrian guy selling sausages.  No offense, i guess, just his strong features.  Anyway, I am still a regular customer and will always be.

Price Summary (SGD)
Sausages = about $3 - $5

Erich's Wuerstelstand
Trengganu Street
(Chinatown Night Market)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Time-Out: Jogjakarta food trip!

 Why traveling is always special?  For HT couple, the sudden diversion from our day to day lives give us the hype to explore.  We believe traveling broadens our minds and helps us understand how different and unique each society is. 

Last year, we took our time to roam around Jogjakarta (Yogyakarta) aka Jogja.  Jogja is located in the islands of Java Indonesia.  The name Jogjakarta was derived from the language influence of the Dutch, which ones colonized this country.  Jogja is the home of the famous Borubudur, a Buddhist temple which was abandoned during the 14th century as a rejection to their teachings to convert the Java people to Islam*.
And not far from Borubudur, stood, Prambanan, a Hindu temple dedicated to several gods.
Both temples are listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Of course, traveling won't be as fun for us without having a fair share of what the locals put in their tummies.

Herman, our tour guide was nice and we complemented each other, as he knows the best places to eat.

We had a stopover at...

We got the best....

Nasi Gudeg - their own version of chicken rice and a must try, consisting of warm rice, chicken pieces, boiled egg and the interesting portion of young jackfruit pieces.  The items were cooked in a very special thick coconut sauce.  I love the sweetness of the it with a hint of spicy flavor.  The jackfruit was sweet and soft enough which I think would be a good aphrodisiac.  The chicken pieces were cooked so tender that it melts in our mouth and full of taste.  I needed extra rice for this.

Ayam Goreng - the fried chicken of my choice.  I love the unique coating of this chicken.  It was crunchy and broken into small bits.  Despite of its oily state, it was very flavorful with the marinade of bumbu spicy mix.  Even the bones were tasty!

Sayur Lodeh - mixed vegetables in coconut milk stew.  This was pretty spicy for us, but it was delicious.

Next stop...

a MORE self service food court

We got ourselves...

Tempe, Taro leaves and some mixed veggies

take away box (fried pastries)

To wash off our throats...

Rose Syrup Coconut Juice and Chendol

Finally, we brought this back to Singapore so we can share the enjoyment we had at Jogja with our friends.

Bakpia - small, rounded pastry which is similiar to what we called 'hopia' or 'pia'.  Mung Beans, red, black and even chocolate!  You name it, you got it.

It was a lovely trip.  With our several visits in Indonesia, we've realized that their cuisines are always a delight to us, HT couple.

*Some information are taken from Wiki

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Professor Brawn Cafe : eating with a cause

HT couple loves eating.  And it's always a pleasure for us if we're able to enjoy that passion and at the same time, helping others in small ways.

Professor Brawn Cafe was established by not-your-typical-cafe-owners as they went beyond from serving good, affordable food by sharing their  love and faith to people with special needs that they, too, can make a difference in this planet.

HT couple is joining a run (yes, we do other activities aside from eating).  With that, we have to pick up our bibs and race shirts at Novena area.  I've made sure that this time, we would visit this admirable cafe and experience the joy they can offer.

We were greeted by a nice spectacled harry potter-looking guy with a smile.  He brought us to our table, gave us the menu (fairy tale book look-alike)and even recommended dishes we can order.  He was very cheerful and made us feel at home.

love the shelves and the menu

We had...
Sausage with Rosti - we chose spicy italian sausage (yes, you can choose based on your palate) which was very tasty and enough piquancy.  It came with sour cream dip with a hint of lemon which was quite unique.  A good portion of rosti and greens completed this decent meal.

Chicken with truffle sauce - a medium-sized boneless chicken piece on a bed of potato wedges infused with truffle sauce.  I love the scent and flavor of the truffle which I wouldn't mind an overflowing sauce on my plate as the potatoes absorbed it faster than the chicken meat. 

cute glasses - iced lemon tea

We would be regulars here just like how we are with Food for Thought, as HTs are advocates for food places here in Singapore that extend their love for food in helping the needy.

Price Summary (SGD)
Sauage with Rosti -  $13.90
Chicken with Truffle Sauce -$11.90
Iced Lemon Tea - $2.90

Professor Brawn Cafe
2nd floor, Novena Square
(from the escalator, turn left and you'll see this humble cafe)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Tampopo : Black Pig (kurobuta)

They said when you spend most of your time with a person, eventually, you would think the same.  And yes, HT couple has this disease.  Hubby would finish my sentences and I would order the same as hubby after looking into the menu.  We would just look at each other and laugh our hearts out without saying anything. 

One night, I was depressed and he was tired.  We just look at each other's eyes and yes, we just wanted a simple fare...just ramen.

This time we didn't go wrong with...

Black Pig Char Siew (5/5) - for a little bit over $5, with 2 big slices of pork, seasoned and charred nicely, this is one-of-a-heck good deal!  When it was served, it looked a bit dry, but the bite was juicy and flavorful.  It was nicely cut with fats in between (haha just like Wagyu), and contributed to its more pork-y taste.  And just using chopsticks, we were able to cut this tender meat into pieces.

Tonkatsu Ramen (3/5) - my first time here, i saw those crispy-looking tonkatsu on a wired plate with a bowl of ramen on the other table.  This time, its my turn to try it.  I ask the guy to skip the chili, and it made my ramen soup looked dull (hehe my fault).  My bowl came late so I was expecting a much richer broth.  Sadly, it was a bit bland and watery (maybe because of my humble request).  Yet, the noodle
was the same good, not-mushy and thin type that I had before.
Up, close and personal with the tonkatsu

This oily breaded black pig was crusty and crunchy.  Its a smart pick for fat lovers as each slice of this meat had a good portion of fats with it.

Even though hubby is thinking about getting the same, he has to point a different item in the menu so we can try it too!

Delux Miso Ramen (3.5/5) - this ramen bowl used Hokkaido noodle which is the thick, flat ones.  Delux came with 1 whole half-cooked egg which was nicely done and a chunk of butter which hubby didn't see and was wondering of the soup's sweetness.  We both didn't like the idea of adding this calorific cube but could work if you want to add a distinctive flavor in your japanese bowl.  We were not able to taste its miso-ness but hubby manage to finish it with a slurp!

We both agree that our orders during our first visit were better (check it out here).

ADDENDUM: I mentioned before I prefer the Kyushu type, hmm...the second time around, I prefer the Hokkaido.  (taste buds mood-swing hehe)
Kyushu (left), Hokkaido (right)

Price Summary (SGD)
BP Char Siew $5.80
Tonkatsu Ramen $15.80
Miso Delux Ramen $14.80


177 River Valley Road
Liang Court (beside Novotel)
*walking distance from Clarke Quay

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Al Forno East Coast: another favorite!

Where is your Italian comfort zone?

We have explored numerous food places here established by the Italianis and love each and every mouthful of our all-time favorite pizza and pasta.  But we still keep on going back to...Al Forno East Coast which was our first favorite pizzeria in SG. 

Here's why...

Pizza Con Carne (4/5) - love this bread topped with everything carnivorous!  Salami, ham, minced meat, sausages...this is always a choice if hubby and I can't decide which meat we wanted to sink our teeth in.  Each piece of meat had its distinctive taste that gave this pizza its flavor and aroma.  The tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese were just enough to complete this pizze.

Quattro Formaggi (4.5/5) - HT couple's preferred pizza!  Al Forno 4-cheese never fails us.  We would always have the same amount of of gorgonzola (our fave), emmental, parmesan and of course, the mozzarella.  The pizza was delicious, that usually, we eat it plainly without asking for additional topping of cooked ham (as we usually do).   A good pick for vegetarians and cheese lovers!

The pizza crust in Al Forno is neither too thin or too thick.  Just enough for every appetite.

Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina (3/5) - made from their home made potato pasta with tomato and mozzarella sauce.  The sauce was creamy and tasty enough.  The gnocchi was a bit salty for my taste but i've read somewhere that salt plays an important part of making this cute-looking pasta.

Fusili Zucchini e Gamberetti (4.5/5) - do take note that the portion is good enough for 2.  This picture was my first serving on my plate.  (yes i had more *bliss*)   The rich, creamy tomato sauce made this pasta dish impressive.  The zucchinis were cooked just right.  It was not mushy and gave splendid flavor to the fusili.  There were 4 big pieces of prawns which was infused with tasty sauce.  This was the winner dish for the day.

Service was good, the waiters were attentive, kind and best of all, we got 1-for-1 for our pizza/pasta dishes!

Yes, HT couple, might have a different best by now, but we would still keep on coming back from this authentic italian restaurant...where our comfort is.

Do try their Spaghetti Cartoccio (seafood galore!) - their house best seller!

Price Summary (SGD)
Pizza Con Carne = $25
Quattro Formaggi = $23
Gnocchi alla Sorrentina = $23
Fusili Zucchini e Gamberetti = $21
GST and Serv Charge apply
*DBS 1-for-1 pizza/pasta every Mon-Thu (lunch and dinner)

Al Forno East Coast
400 East Coast Road
(intersection of East Coast &
Still Rd)
a few minutes away from Siglap Centre

Monday, May 10, 2010

Nando's: peri peri chicken has landed!

 Guess who's in town?

Hubby and I were one of those who queued up at Bugis, to have our first taste of its chicken in Singapore.  Nando's would be one of the places we won't miss when we go to Malaysia.  Expectations for its first store here was set and hope it won't fail HT couple.

For those who's not familiar, Nando's peri peri chicken originated from South Africa.  This Portuguese-style chicken chain, uses Peri Peri (chilis) to spice up their cocks with other herbs and spices.  They made their menu flexible by offering 4 stages of hot(ness) or their so-called  peri-o-meter.
Extra Hot
Lemon and Herbs
I had...

1/4 chicken with 2 sidelines (4/5) - I don't want to torture myself so i got a MILD peri chicken which was very tasty and indeed, tickled my taste buds.  The herbs and spices were nicely distributed to every piece of this white meat.  There's no single bite without the awesome goodness of peri peri.  The potato lime skewers (you can also order based on their peri-o-meter) were ok but i love the grilled veggies which were crunchy, not overcooked and had lots of flavor.

 Chicken Pita with 1 sideline (4/5) - hubby got the MILD one as well.  It has the same taste as mine but this has more meat.  The chicken fillets were thick but tender and the tomato salsa in this pita gave this dish a zesty and herby twist.

These bottles can be bought for about $4-$5 each. (served on each table too!) HT's choice is the Garlic Peri Peri!

Our expectations were met until...

Hubby and I ordered Redbush Refresher (2/5).  Cold, Rooibos tea, with mint and a stalk of lemongrass which sounded very healthy among their gourmet drinks.  Unfortunately, it was tasteless and the tea was not strong enough.  And look at the inconsistency of both glasses.  The other one was very light in color and no lemongrass stalk. We think the drinks are quite overpriced considering its quality.

Nevertheless, the service was good, they were very attentive to customers.  I guess, they believe that first impression lasts.

Price Summary (SGD)
1/4 chicken with 2 sidelines = $13.90
Chicken Pita with 1 sideline = $12.20
Gourmet Drinks = $3.90 - $4.50
GST and Serv Charge apply
*do take note they don't serve free water.  H2O bottles are sold for $2.50

Nando's Peri Peri Chicken
first floor, Bugis Junction
(beside Ajisen -> same lane as Fish &Co, TCC)
facing Iluma (Victoria Street)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Carl's Jr: is it a healthy burger?

HT couple are not fond of American fast food.  We prefer hawker centres to get chicken rice or hokkien mee rather than burgers and fries. 

But from time to time, we do get our share and taste of it. 

Carl's Jr is HT couple's choice among the American burger joints. They released their range of thickburgers.

I got myself...Low Carb Thickburger

Ta-dah!  Looks pretty healthy, huh?  Veggies, veggies, veggies!

It's the original Carl's Jr burger, with thicker, bigger beef patty and NO BUNS!  The lettuce held my burger and guess what? It was not easy to eat.  (somewhere at the end, my burger became a salad). 

Overall, it was not bad...I wonder how much calories I was able to run away from after gorging into this healthy-looking sandwich?