Yi Zun Beef Noodle at Joo Chiat Road

Yi Zun Beef Noodle
#01-08, 60 Joo Chiat Road
Singapore 427726
Online reservations: Click here
Tel: +65 6909 9287

Opening Hours
Daily: 11am to 10pm

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8/10
Average spend per pax: ~$18
Recommended dishes: Yi Zun Ikan Bakar (S$19.80), Sizzling Hotplate Beef (S$16.80)

Hey guys! My head feels like it’s full of cotton wool because I’m down with the flu today, ugh why is my body failing me. Anyway I’ve been in bed alternating between sleep, eating porridge and watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on Netflix – finally finished watching Season 3 and now onto Season 4 lol. It’s such a great show you guys, you don’t even understand. So ahead of its time. Also, one of the characters that I love, Heather, is portrayed by Vella Lovell who looks totally like she’s ethnically Indian, but is actually mix-raced black and white.

I know it’s crazy and race is a social construct yada yada but it boggles the mind that she’s not even a little bit ethnically Indian haha

Anyway I wanted to quickly post about Yi Zun Beef Noodle‘s new (ish?!) outlet at Joo Chiat Road which is a lot more of a proper family restaurant than their more casual Sam Leong Road outlet near Farrer Park MRT. I actually went there during Ramadan a couple of months ago to break fast with my family.

Yizun_Joo_Chiat
Taken from their Facebook page – you can see it’s a lot more spacious and with bigger tables too

Boy, isn’t dining out during Ramadan always a sh*t show? Like you can’t ever just walk in anywhere because (a) they’re always booked up anyway or (b) the stakes are too high and you just can’t chance it without a reservation because you’d be starving by then. Ugh. But ACTUALLY I realised the best thing to do when you have weekend errands in the Joo Chiat/Geylang area during Ramadan is to buy your raya stuff around 2-4pm and then takeaway lauk (dishes) from Aroma Kampung and be out of there by 430pm before traffic starts getting really crazy.

Before I discovered this life hack though, on one of the weekends when we had to buy some Raya stuff around Geylang bazaar area, we figured we might as well have dinner there. So I picked Yi Zun Beef Noodles since I hadn’t been to their new Joo Chiat outlet then.

Here’s a look at their menu:

Yizun_Menu
Combos, sides and dranks
Yizun_Menu2
So many dishes to choose from gosh.
Yi_Zun_Xiao_Long_Bao
Halal xiao long bao yummm

We ordered the Yizun Ikan Bakar Special (S$19.80) which is a little like those Chong Qing Grilled Fish places featuring a whole fish on a heated platter, bathed in a type of broth and accompanied by other types of veggies:

Yi_Zun_Grilled_Fish
Yizun Ikan Bakar Special (S$19.80) – 8/10

So, i thought this was a decent offering. The fish was pretty tender, if a little skinny but gosh S$19.80 is a great price. There was some cabbage and enoki mushrooms, which are always welcome. The broth wasn’t too spicy, it had a bit of a mala taste to it but overall pretty mild so don’t be scared by the colour. Glad it wasn’t spicier because you know, Ramadan stomach. Never forget that one time my friend and I broke our fast on medium-spicy mala xiang guo at TTSH, and died for the next 24 hours. I did wish they had a lot more broth on the platter, which was a little shallow to begin with. Also I wish they had the option for us to top up for additional ingredients like more enoki mushrooms, maybe some tofu, etc. I’d say just a little shy of 8/10. I def wanna go back and try it again, maybe it’ll be better on the second try.

Of course we also ordered the classic Yi Zun Beef Noodle (S$9.80) which only came in one size unlike the Sam Leong Road branch:

Yi_Zun_Beef_Noodles
Yizun Beef Noodles (S$9.80) – 7/10

I don’t know why but the noodles weren’t great that night. They got a little jelak for me and maybe I should just stick to the minced meat version which usually always hits the spot for me. The beef slices were okay if a little tough, though I love the tender radish always. The broth was decent. And I almost feel bad for saying this but for Lanzhou Lamian I prefer the Tongue Tip noodle version! So so good. Maybe I’ll post about that time I went to the Tiong Bahru branch and ordered the one with the mala soup. Yum. Anyway, 7/10 for this one.

We also ordered the Sizzling Hotplate Beef (S$16.80) which was really very yummy – the beef was tender and the sauce was like some sort of savoury kung pao sauce, but unfortunately I did not take a photo of it because it came a little later and I was already busy eating then. I have to say I wish they served rice?! So you can eat with the dishes, but no they force you to order the noodles lol.  9/10 for the beef.

All in all not a bad dinner and I would def like to come back for the grilled fish and try other things. I might skip the noodles and maybe opt for the Chicken Xiao Long Bao (S$3.80 for 4) and I really wanna try the Mutton Skewers (S$2 a stick) (edited to add: I tried both the chicken xlb and the mutton skewers a week after this post. They were both DELICIOUS. I would def recommend).

Service was friendly but because it was Ramadan when I went, the guys were pretty slammed and they ran out of proper cutlery so we had to eat with wooden chopsticks and plastic spoons UGH very very not ideal, but I’m sure my next visit will be better. TBH writing about this close to midnight I wish I could have some of that fish now although my throat would probably just get even more swollen sigh.

Yi Zun Beef Noodle
#01-08, 60 Joo Chiat Road
Singapore 427726
Online reservations: Click here
Tel: +65 6909 9287

Opening Hours
Daily: 11am to 10pm

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious rating: 8/10
Average spend per pax: ~$18
Recommended dishes: Yi Zun Ikan Bakar (S$19.80), Sizzling Hotplate Beef (S$16.80)

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Kowloon Express at 321 Clementi II (Permanently Closed)

** Unfortunately Kowloon Express has ceased operations!**

Kowloon Express
321 Clementi, #01-01
Eng Wah Cinema Mall
Singapore 129905
Reservations: +65 6250 0833

Opening Hours
Daily: 11am to 10pm

Halal status: 100% muslim-owned, and MUIS certification in process
Halalicious Rating: 10/10 for Dimsum, 8/10 for noodles

Average spend per pax: S$17
Recommended dishes: Charcoal golden sand pau (S$5.20), chilli crab pau (S$5.20), har kow (S$5.20), Salted Egg Fish Skin (S$8.80)

Hey guys! It’s been well over a month since I last posted, yikes. Sorry for the radio absence but I’ve been so caught up with Raya and other things like my week-long work trip right in the middle of Syawal (downright cruel), being stricken with the flu after said trip (I get the flu once every 3 years or something), bingeing on Gilmore Girls on Netflix (again!! GG ruined my social life back in college days lol).

While we’re on the subject of TV, have you guys watched Stranger Things on Netflix? It is just SO good and the perfect combo – it’s part supernatural thriller, part sci-fi, all nostalgia. Set in the 1980s, the series opens with a terrifying scene of a scientist running away from some creature (naturally it gets him in the lift), and progresses to the mysterious disappearance of a boy Will Byers from his small Indiana town. It’s really creepy and if you’re a scaredy cat like me, I would strongly counsel against watching it alone haha. I got my whole family hooked on it and boy am I glad I don’t have to watch it alone now.

OMG anyway I’m so sorry for the novel-length opener to this post, which is supposed to be about my recent visit to Kowloon Express at 321 Clementi!

I realised that my first post on it is woefully outdated as Kowloon Express has a new, more comprehensive menu now and also they raised their prices (boo, but ok. I want them to survive!) Here’s a look:

 

So the last time I was here, they had crispy fish skin on the menu, but this time around, I realised it got majorly upgraded to Salted Egg Fish Skin (S$8.80)!!! Of course, of course, we had to get it.

Kowloon Express - Salted Egg Fish Skin

Salted Egg Fish Skin (S$8.80) – 10/10

You guys. You know like most people I have a weakness for salted egg anything, right? This exceeded my expectations. It comes out piping hot, steam and aroma rising, and the fish skin is delightfully crispy and light, with just enough coating of delicious salted egg sauce. SO DELICIOUS AND SO CRISPY. Yes. Always and forever 10/10.

My friend was also pretty hungry so we got a plate of Beef Hor Fun (S$8.90) to share:

Kowloon Express - Beef Hor Fun

Beef Hor Fun (S$8.90) – 8/10

The beef hor fun was quite good to be honest – I was a little hesitant to get it initially as I just wanted to stuff my face with baskets of dim sum, but the noodles and gravy were very flavourful, with just a hint of that charred taste (wok hei) that makes the Hor Fun less jelak. The serving of beef was also pretty generous. Our only gripe came from my friend who says they used regular kway teow noodles which are a little less broad than regular hor fun noodles. I didn’t quite mind 🙂 8/10

On to the raison d’être of this establishment  – the dim sum! We went with the classics again this time – the Charcoal Golden Sand Pau (S$5.20 for 3), the Chilli Crab pau (S$5.20) and the shrimp Har Kow (S$5.20 for 4):

Kowloon Express - Dim Sum Baskets

Clockwise from L to R: Charcoal Golden Sand Pau (S$5.20), Chilli Crab Pau (S$5.20), Beef Hor Fun (S$8.90), Shrimp Har Kow (S$5.20)

Kowloon Express - Table Spread

Dim sum verdict: 10/10 for all. YUMMMMM 😀

As with my previous review, all 3 were superlative. The Charcoal Golden Sand Paus (S$5.20) are just so fluffy and chewy, while the salted egg custard within is generous and the right balance of sweet and salty. You guys can check out the ooze video on my instagram @halalicioussg if you want to whet your appetites! 10/10

The Chilli Crab Pau (S$5.20) is spicy with the slightest hint of coriander, and super flavourful. And the fluffy white buns are just SO soft 😭. The prawns in the Harkow  (S$5.20) are plump and bursting with flavour! Please don’t forget to try it with the amazing home-made chilli sauce they provide in bottles. That chilli sauce is just heavenly UGH. 10/10 for both.

We were there around 3pm on a Saturday and there was barely anyone there, which meant attentive service and a very relaxed, lazy weekend vibe! Loved it. Will definitely go back here again the next chance I get!

Here are more random pictures of the place:

Kowloon Express - Bite With Caution Wall Poster

The ooze is real, guys.

Kowloon Express - Wall Decor

Kantonis! Cracks me up.

Kowloon Express -

Muslim-owned and halal, yay!

Kowloon Express
321 Clementi, #01-01
Eng Wah Cinema Mall
Singapore 129905
Reservations: +65 6250 0833

Opening Hours
Daily: 11am to 10pm

Halal status: 100% muslim-owned, and MUIS certification in process
Halalicious Rating: 10/10 for Dimsum, 8/10 for noodles

Average spend per pax: S$17
Recommended dishes: Charcoal golden sand pau (S$5.20), chilli crab pau (S$5.20), har kow (S$5.20), Salted Egg Fish Skin (S$8.80)

** Unfortunately Kowloon Express has ceased operations!**

Kaw Kaw SG II

Kaw Kaw SG
28 Aliwal St
Singapore 199918
Reservations (only on Mon-Thu): call  +65 6444 8349 or email makanstate@gmail.com
Remarks: Only cash/credit cards, no NETS. No service charge or GST!

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 12pm to 11pm
Fri-Sun: 3pm to 11pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$31 including drinks!
Recommended dishes: Smokey Beef Bacon burger (S$16.30)

Hey guys! So who is obsessed with Game of Thrones right now? Are you guys up to date? Please go watch if you haven’t, it’s really one of the best things on TV right now (in addition to Veep, It’s Always Sunny and so many others!) Anyway GoT is consuming my life and it’s the only thing that makes me look forward to Mondays LOL.

On to the matter at hand – I’d been jonesing for a good burger lately so I decided to go back to Kaw Kaw SG and give them a second try. If you guys haven’t already read it, click here for my first review of this burger joint from when I first went in Dec 2015!

So I’m glad I went back because the menu had been updated so much, and had so many more items compared to the old menu! Here’s a look at the new menu:

 

The ambience and interior still look mostly the same, although I imagine some pieces of furniture have been updated here and there, since all the furniture in the restaurant is up for sale!

Kaw Kaw SG - Ambience

I love the high ceilings for real

Kaw Kaw SG - Decor

Check out the giant Surat Yasin there on the left lol

Kaw Kaw SG has more starters on the menu now so my 2 friends and I opted to share two of them. The first was the Chilli Cheese Fries (S$11.90), featuring fries drizzled in mildly spicy beef bolognaise and grated parmesan:

Kaw Kaw SG - Chilli Cheese Fries 1

Chilli Cheese Fries (S$11.90) – 7.5/10

Kaw Kaw SG - Chilli Cheese Fries

Mmmm fries meat and cheeeeese the trifecta of a good meal

My first reaction to this starter was to exclaim “Omg why so little sauce?!” to my friends.I think that was the crux of the problem I had with this dish. I’m not looking for *fries* with a meat dip. I want my fries to be bathed in beef bolognaise sauce, I want the whole thing to be sloppy and I want each fry to be coated in sauce. Is that too much to ask?

We ate the fries with our hands, and it was SO difficult to get the bolognaise sauce and cheese onto the fries so what happened was we would just use our fingers to scoop up the beef bolognaise together with the fries and shovel it into our mouths. So as an executive summary, the bolognaise sauce was tasty enough, but there needed to be more of it, and it should have been runnier. The dryness of the sauce was a big part of the problem. 7/10

OK now that you guys know I’m a crazy Chilli Cheese Fries Nazi, let’s take you to the next starter that we had, the Castro Chicken Wings (S$10.90). I’m SO SORRY but the wings came late (after all our burgers!!) so I totally forgot to take a photo and anyway my hands were totally messy from the burger I was having. So here is a photo from their instagram page (@KawKawSG):

Kaw Kaw SG - Castro Wings

Castro Chicken WIngs (S$10.90) – 7.5/10 (photo credit: @KawKawSG’s instagram page)

So these bad boys have been baked in Castro Sauce, which to this day remains a mystery to me. A google search for “Castro Sauce” yields mixed results, none of which come even close to actual sauce (except Carbonara Sauce recipe from someone named Castro). All I can say is it tastes like honey-lemon sauce. My reaction after a couple of bites was “oh ok I think I prefer Pizza Hut’s Sweet and Spicy Drumlets” haha so rude. It’s true though – as far as baked chicken wings go, I think the flavours really need to come through to make up for the nothing-texture. In the case of these Castro wings, I thought the flavour was a little insipid. I can’t resist chicken wings in general though so I think I’d still order them the next time I’m here. 7.5/10  

On to mains! I decided to revisit the Smokey Beef Bacon Burger (S$16.30) which consists of their standard beef burger with slices of beef bacon and their signature smokey sauce:

Kaw Kaw SG - Snokey Beef Bacon Burger 1

Smokey Beef Bacon Burger (S$16.30) – 8/10

Remember in my first review how shocked I was by the absence of fries? Well it’s still viscerally upsetting to me that they would force us to eat these nacho chips with salsa that is served in a tiny cup that would not fit the actual chip unless you broke it in two. Thankfully though we had the chilli cheese fries as our starter so that helped satisfy my fundamental need to have my burgers with a side of fries.

This time around I thought the burger was slightly juicier than the first time, and the beef bacon slices were generous and had good bite, imparting a salty deliciousness to the burger. The patty was thick and generous. Could be a little juicier, but it’s still fairly juicy on its own. I thought the burger could have used more of the smokey sauce too, but oh well. The jalapeños were delightful and refreshing, adding crunch and tang to the mouthful. 8/10

One of my friends had the Permaisuri Burger (S$16.30), which is the classic chicken burger upgraded to include turkey ham, chicken floss and the permaisuri sauce which is basically some sort of yellow gingery sauce.

Kaw Kaw SG - The Permaisuri Burger

The Permaisuri Burger (S$16.30) – 7/10

Once again I thought this was exceedingly dry – if the burger was going to have a fried chicken patty with no sauce on it, then they have to make sure the patty is really juicy. To be fair they did have a small cup of sauce accompanying the burger, but I didn’t really understand if we were supposed to dip the burger into the sauce (logistically impossible, because of size mismatch) or if we were supposed to spread the sauce onto the burger ourselves (too much work, and the sauce is too potent to spread too much of it onto the burger, which then does not help with the dryness issue.) Still disappointing. 7/10

My other friend opted for the Spicy Bolo Burger (S$15.50) which consists of spicy beef bolognese topped with an egg à la McMuffin:

Kaw Kaw SG - Spicy Bolo Burger 1

Spicy Bolo Burger (S$15.50) – 7.10

Kaw Kaw SG - Spicy Bolo Burger

Mmmmm bolognaisssseeee

OK so my friend ordered it fully expecting it to come with a patty, sort of like a regular burger but doused with a healthy ladleful of beef bolognaise sauce, you know? We thought they didn’t mention beef patty in the decription on the menu because it was already going to be on it by default. But NOOOO ~~~, so it’s on us for assuming. (You know what they say when you assume. You make an ass out of u & me LOL that never gets old. So cheesy I love it!)

Anyway so we ordered a S$5 beef patty as an add-on, because we just could not understand how to eat burger with only bolognaise sauce and no real patty. With the additional patty it was ok, especially since the bolognaise sauce was tasty enough. The egg was ok for me – not entirely necessary, but not terrible to have. 7/10

So there you go, my burger ended up being the best of the 3 – I felt so bad for polishing off half of it before offering it to my friends :/ I still think they could majorly majorly improve the burgers by (a) making the patties juicier and more succulent (b) serving actual fries instead of that nacho chips substitute, and lastly (c) having better buns, that are softer and chewier. That being said, I think I would probably still come back and try to stack both the chicken and beef patties together next time and see how THAT goes LOL. I love the build-a-burger concept 🙂 Service is warm and friendly, they accept only cash and credit cards; no NETS. OOH also the prices are nett all-in prices, so no GST and no service charge!

Kaw Kaw SG
28 Aliwal St
Singapore 199918
Reservations (only on Mon-Thu): call  +65 6444 8349 or email makanstate@gmail.com
Remarks: Only cash/credit cards, no NETS. No service charge or GST!

Opening Hours
Mon-Thu: 12pm to 11pm
Fri-Sun: 3pm to 11pm

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 7.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$31 including drinks!
Recommended dishes: Smokey Beef Bacon burger (S$16.30)

Penang Culture At Changi Airport T2 II

Penang Culture 
Changi Airport Terminal 2 Departure
Viewing Mall Level 3,
#036-087-01,
Singapore 819643

Operating Hours
Daily: 10.30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(Last order at 9.30 p.m.)
Tel: +65 6546 7793

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 9/10

Recommended dishes: Premium Crab Meat and Salted Egg Fried Kway Teow (S$15.95), Premium Lobster and Scallop Noodles (S$16.95), Penang Fire Wings (S$6.55)

First things first, how are you guys? Belated Nisfu Syaaban to my fellow Muslims! I cannot believe Ramadan is coming so soon. Second of all, have you guys watched Drake’s guest spot on SNL?! SO FUNNY. I love that he can laugh at himself. Check out the Beef music video, wherein he has a ‘beef’ with everyone at SNL.

Back to reality though – last week I was invited to try Penang Culture’s new menu, which will make its début 1 June 2016. Longtime fans of the casual dining restaurant (yours truly included) will be pleased to know that in addition to most of the old menu items, we will be getting new dishes which consist of all-time classics reinterpreted with a twist.

Penang Culture - Tasting Spread

The table they prepared for us to take photos. Super helpful for super terrible photographers like me! 

We opened the feast with the humble Penang Rojak (S$5.95), which features cubed pineapples, cucumbers and turnips, unlike the thinner slices that feature in the local Singaporean rendition. In addition, the Penang-style rojak has you tiao that is a little soggy and not as crispy as our Singaporean version.

Penang Culture - Penang Rojak

Penang Rojak (S$5.95) – 6.5/10

Verdict: The black sauce was really tasty, and we learned that the fermented prawn paste  was specially imported from Penang, so it’s legit. I have to say I prefer the Singaporean rojak because of the crispy texture of the you tiao, which gives you a satisfying crunch when you bite it. I thought the cubing of the fruits and vegetables did not make a big difference for me.  6.5/10

Next up we had another appetizer, the Penang Curry Fish Balls (S$4.95), which feature fish balls steeped in Penang chicken curry.

Penang Culture - Penang Curry Fish Balls

Penang Curry Fish Balls (S$4.95) – 9/10

I suspect this dish was probably targeted towards kids and other younger diners, but to be frank I really liked it myself. The curry was SO rich and flavourful, with some shreds of chicken if you’re lucky. I could also taste the bits of grated coconut in the curry, which added body and texture to the curry. It isn’t altogether that spicy, although after having all of the curry I did feel a very light buzz on my lips. I think the next time I’m craving some good old curry, I would probably head here.

Verdict: I love curry and I love fishballs, but given a choice, I would probably go with the regular Chicken Curry instead for more protein! Goes very well with plain white rice. 9/10

The Penang Fire Wings (S$6.55) were next in line – the base for this is their signature Belacan Wings (which I LOVE and have reviewed here and here) , which are then further coated with sweet plum and Thai chilli sauce.

Penang Culture - Penang Fire Wings

Penang Fire Wings (S$6.55) – 9.5/10

Verdict: These tasted like Korean fried chicken, with a slightly sweet, slightly spicy sauce. Although the name suggests otherwise, I did not think it was all too fiery. For perspective, this was nothing compared to Badoque’s punishing Kepak Bing Bing devil wings. Loved the slightly crispy chicken skin with the sauce. 9.5/10

Our 4th course was the BBQ Salmon (S$11.95), which features two slices of grilled Norwegian salmon fillet, topped off with Chef’s sweet, spicy sambal paste made from chilli, lemongrass, onions, ginger flower, tamarind and sugar.

Penang Culture - BBQ Salmon

BBQ Salmon (S$11.95) – 8/10

Verdict: You guys. I love the sambal so much, I wish I could order a giant vat of it. This is the exact same sambal from the BBQ Lala dish that I always order at Penang Culture. It’s so unbelievably fragrant and tasty and appetizing, I almost cannot even. The salmon was fresh and exceptionally tender, which was a good thing. However, I did not think the sambal goes well with a fatty fish like salmon, and the whole thing was a little too rich for me. I would have much preferred the sambal with a leaner white fish. 8/10

The next dish was my absolute favourite of the night – the Premium Crab Meat & Salted Egg Fried Kway Teow (S$15.95), which comprises fried kway teow with mashed salted egg (both yolk and whites!), stir fried together with prawns, squid, fish cake and cockles, and topped with chunks of mud crab and salted egg crumbs:

Penang Culture - Premium Crab Meat and Salted Egg Fried Kway Teow

Premium Crab Meat and Salted Egg Fried Kway Teow (S$15.95) – 10/10

Penang Culture - Salted Egg Char Kway Teow

All stirred together! YUM

Now some of you guys might have read my previous review of this item, so this is not a new-new item, but a mid-season item that was experimentally introduced just a few months ago. I LOVE this dish always and forever, I have to break it down into the reasons why.

  1. The amount of salted egg in it is perfectly balanced so it does not overwhelm the dish, and you get subtle waves of salted egg with every bite or two.
  2. Did I mention there are curry leaves peppering the kway teow? YUMMM I love curry leaves in salted egg dishes!!
  3. The entire thing is just bursting with ingredients. BURSTING. It felt like a really opulent char kway teow that done got an upgrade.
  4. There is a great char taste to the noodles which prevents you from getting jelak of it after a while – much R&D and numerous taste tests have gone into making an authentic-tasting but still halal char kway teow, and you can taste the results.

Verdict: Always order this unless you hate Char Kway Teow, or salted egg, or seafood. 10/10

Our penultimate course that night was the Salmon Assam Laksa (S$11.95), which features the regular assam laksa with slices of Norwegian salmon and a drizzling of hae kor, or fermented shrimp paste.

Penang Culture - Salmon Assam Laksa

Salmon Assam Laksa (S$11.95) – 8/10

I honestly loved the fat laksa noodles which were specially imported from Penang. I thought the salmon slices were lovely, but the oil from it did pare down the sourness of the broth which I find a key element in assam laksa. However, the strips of cucumber, pineapple and onions throughout the bowl did compensate for the dialed down sourness, by adding a refreshing twist with every bite.

Verdict: Stick to regular Assam Laksa unless you want a milder assam taste and you need to up your omega 3 fatty acids intake. 8/10

In our last main dish, we were treated to Premium Lobster and Scallop Noodles (S$16.95), which is a pimped up adaptation of their regular Penang Hokkien Prawn Noodles, with scallops, chicken slices, fish cake, kang kong, beansprouts, a hard-boiled egg and a whole slipper lobster (oy vey, what a mouthful literally and textually).

Penang Culture - Lobster and scallop noodles

Premium Lobster and Scallop Noodles (S$16.95) – 9/10

Can I just say, there is just so much ingredients in this bowl of goodness? A common theme running through all the dishes here at Penang Culture is that they are not stingy with their premium ingredients, despite the very reasonable price tags of each dish.

I absolutely loved the broth. The stock was created by slow-boiling a bounty of prawns, crabs and chicken bones for several hours, and this is well-reflected in the flavourful broth. What a delight! The slipper lobster was a little mushy, I wish it could have been a little springier. Otherwise, everything worked beautifully together and fans of Penang hokkien prawn noodles would do well to give this a try.

Verdict: Definitely a must-try, especially at that reasonable price tag. 9/10

All in all I had a great time stuffing my face at Penang Culture. Always have, always will! It’s a great family-friendly place that serves really good quality Penang hawker food in air-conditioned comfort, at prices that won’t break the bank. The menu is really extensive so personally I find that it’s better to try new items a couple of times before determining which ones will be your go-to staples 🙂

I’ll end off with a short note on drinks – please try the Ampla Ice Blended Drink with sour plum! It makes for a refreshing palate-cleanser with all the rich Penang food you’ll be eating! Also the Chempedak Milk Shake is just heavenly, so give it a go!

 

Penang Culture 
Changi Airport Terminal 2 Departure
Viewing Mall Level 3,
#036-087-01,
Singapore 819643

Operating Hours
Daily: 10.30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(Last order at 9.30 p.m.)
Tel: +65 6546 7793

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious Rating: 9/10

Recommended dishes: Premium Crab Meat and Salted Egg Fried Kway Teow (S$15.95), Premium Lobster and Scallop Noodles (S$16.95), Penang Fire Wings (S$6.55)

Flava Bistro at East Coast Road

Flava Contemporary Asia Bistro & Grill
01-03, 907 E Coast Rd
Singapore 459107
Online menu: Click here

Opening Hours
Tue-Thu: 11am to 10pm
Fri-Sat: 11am to 1am
Sun: 9am to 10pm
Closed on Mondays

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 9/10
Average spend per pax: S$40

I’ve been on a mission to introduce my family to more food options outside of our Arab St comfort zone, so yesterday for lunch, I brought them to the newly-halal Flava Bistro at Upper East Coast Road. I’d had some snacks here a few weeks ago when they were in the process of getting their halal cert, and remember being really impressed by what little I had, so I figured I should come back for real real.

Flava Bistro - Ambience 3

Warm lighting and a pleasing aesthetic

Flava Bistro - Ambience 2

Booth seats for 4 pax

For starters, we shared the Prawn Paste Chicken Wings (6 pieces for S$8):

Flava Bistro - Prawn Paste Chicken

Prawn Paste Chicken (S$8) – SO GOOD 9/10

Right from the time the waitress served us this plate of chicken wings, we knew we were in for a treat. The intoxicating smell of the prawn paste was irresistible, and we could already see the accompanying achar on the side, which was really a bonus. I LOVE ACHAR (crying emoji).

The chicken wings tasted as good as they smelled, which is to say they were fantastic and very flavourful. I did find them sliiightly on the oily side, and wish they had been strained a little better. Otherwise, exceptional, and a steal at S$8++. 9/10

For my main I opted for one of the Chef’s specialty, the Seafood Laksa Pesto (S$16), which consisted of linguine, clams and prawns sautéed in a fusion of Peranakan laksa spices and Italian pesto.

Flava Bistro - Seafood Laksa Pesto Pasta 2

Seafood Laksa Pesto (S$16) – 9/10

Flava Bistro - Seafood Laksa Pesto Pasta

YUMMMMMMMM

So to break this down into pros and cons, let me just start with the cons. Firstly, the menu indicated there would be fishcake in this dish, but I didn’t have any, so that was a little disappointing. Secondly, the clams did not taste super fresh, they were a bit dehydrated and tasted of nothing. Thirdly and less importantly, the linguine was JUST a shade overcooked, but I really didn’t mind that, so that’s fine.

The pros lie in the abundant prawns and the delicious, delicious taste of the laksa spice combined with the Italian pesto. It was really flavourful – just spicy enough without being too fiery – and I could taste the dried shrimp in the sauce, which was just heavenly.  I counted about 7 plump prawns in the whole thing, which is great because I love prawns. I wish there had been squid though. 9/10

My mum got another chef’s specialty, the Chili Crab Linguine (S$16), which consisted of linguine tossed in with the FLAVA signature chili crab sauce, and topped with generous chunks of chili crab meat:

Flava Bistro - Chili Crab Linguine

Chili Crab Linguine (S$16) – 7.5/10

My mum really liked it, but personally I found the sauce just a tad sweet, and too tomatoey for my liking. I loved the generous chunks/flakes of white crab meat though. 7.5/10

My sister-in-law went for the Balinese Beef Stew (S$22), also a chef’s special item, consisting of slow-braised Angus beef brisket, potatoes, and other root veggies in a special blend of Balinese herbs and spices, serbied with a choice of country bread or golden turmeric rice:

Flava Bistro - Balinese Beef Stew Closeup

Balinese Beef Stew (S$22) – 8.5/10

Wow, you guys. The beef brisket was SO, so tender and absolutely melted in the mouth! Props for that good beef. The stew was tasty and robust, a little bit like an upgraded mutton soup. The chunks of potato and carrot were soft and delicious. We opted for the bread, which was basically ciabatta, and pretty average. The stew itself was far and away the star of the show. At S$22 though I did think it was just a little pricey given the portion. 8.5/10

My brother got the Bacon Cheeseburger (S$18), essentially 180gms of juicy all-Angus beef patty, beef bacon, swiss cheese and FLAVA beef sauce, with the usual accoutrements like tomato and lettuce with a side of coleslaw and fries.

Flava Bistro - Bacon Cheeseburger

Bacon Cheeseburger (S$18) – 10/10!!

UM YOU GUYS. This burger!!! Was a revelation. No sooner had I taken a bite of it than the taste absolutely exploded in my mouth. Yes, it was a mouth party. The patty was so thick and juicy, with a great consistency that wasn’t too minced or berderai. The Swiss cheese added a slight bitter but delicious taste, while the beef bacon was actually quite moist and salty. LOVED IT ALL. The bun was also soft which a slightly chewy texture, like all perfect burger buns. 10/10

Just a note about the fries – these too were awesome. Very crispy on the outside but mushy on the inside, just how I like my fries. Perffff.

My other brother had the Asian Crusted Lamb Chops (S$26), which comprised turmeric and basil-crusted grilled lamb chops, served with Asian potato croquettes (alah fancy begedil, you know lah):

Flava Bistro - Asian Crusted Lamb Chops

Asian Crusted Lamb Chops (S$26)

Sorry the photo is so blurry! Pretty sure I got grease on my iPhone camera lens :/ Anyway so I’m not a fan of the breading around the lamb chops because that takes away from the flavour and the juiciness of the meat itself, but that’s what the sauce in the middle is for. It tasted rather like satay sauce, which is good and all but I’d rather just have satay then. I had a bite of the lamb and thought it was just a little overdone, and slightly dry. Not my favourite dish of the day, sorry! 7/10

I didn’t have any dessert because by the end of the mains I felt wayyyy full and just could not stuff myself anymore, although my family happily went ahead with an assortment of desserts ugh no.

All in all I had a really great time at Flava bistro. Service was super pleasant, smiley, and accommodating (you know how it gets sometimes with family meals). The food was very impressive and surpassed my expectations. Ambience was lovely, and quiet, what a gem of a place. I will def come back again next time in spite of the distance.

Brunch/Lunch menu:

 

Dinner menu:

 

Flava Contemporary Asia Bistro & Grill
01-03, 907 E Coast Rd
Singapore 459107
Online menu: Click here

Opening Hours
Tue-Thu: 11am to 10pm
Fri-Sat: 11am to 1am
Sun: 9am to 10pm
Closed on Mondays

Halal status: Halal-certified
Halalicious rating: 9/10
Average spend per pax: S$40

Hajah Maimunah at Jalan Pisang

Hajah Maimunah Restaurant
11 & 15 Jalan Pisang
Singapore 199078
Tel : +65 6297 4294

Opening Hours
Mon-Sat: 7am to 8pm
Closed on Sundays
Remarks: No GST and no service charge

Halal status: Halal certified
Halalicious rating: 8.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$15
Recommended dishes: Lemak siput sedut, beef rendang

So as you know, Arab St area is now teeming with hip cafés such as The Lab, I Am…, Krave and the like, which is cause for rejoicing. However, I find myself still going back to stalwart establishments like Victory and Bumbu, which offer more Asian fare.

Another place I wish I frequented more is Hajah Maimunah restaurant, which serves up delectable Nasi Padang and an array of varied dishes. Although the flagship restaurant  is on Joo Chiat Road, I much prefer the Jalan Pisang outlet because there’s just more things to do in that area – drop by the National Library, go for dessert elsewhere, etc.

On a recent Saturday, my friend and I headed to Hajah Maimunah for lunch and here’s what we had:

Hajah Maimunah Cafe - Flatlay sort of

That’s right; all this for just us 2 :/

Hajah Maimunah Cafe - Smorgasbord

YUMMMMMM

Here’s a breakdown of each of the dishes that we got:

  1. Lemak Siput Sedut (Medium, S$5)

Hajah Maimunah Cafe - Siput Sedut

Lemak Siput Sedut (S$5) – 10/10

Mmm, I love this, but I might be biased. I grew up with my aunt and she cooked this for us a lot when I was younger, but since she passed away I hardly ever get to eat this. Back to the taste though – the lemak is spicy and not too rich, which means you won’t get too jelak of it. 10/10

2. Beef Rendang (S$6 for two persons’ portions)

Hajah Maimunah Cafe - Beef Rendang

Beef Rendang (S$6 for two) – 9/10

The beef rendang is decent – the meat is moist and tender, while the rendang gravy is fragrant and flavourful. A little heavy on the oil (as is visible in the picture), but otherwise a good solid staple. 9/10

3. Ulam & Sambal Belacan (S$2)

Hajah Maimunah Cafe - Ulam Sambal Belacan

Ulam & Sambal Belacan (S$2) – unrated

I don’t even know why we even took this, as we were both not used to eating ulam, a traditional Malay/kampung salad with raw vegetables served with sambal belacan. I guess I liked the idea of it, but after trying a couple of cucumber sticks with the bright red sambal ,I thought “thank you, but never again please”. On the plus side, the vegetables were fresh. I suspect my mum would like this. Unrated.

4. Chicken liver and gizzard/ Hati & mempedal ayam (S$4 for Small)

Hajah Maimunah Cafe - Hati Mempedal

Hati & mempedal (S$4) – 8/10

So this is a classic kampung dish of fried chicken liver and gizzards coated in spices. I know it can be polarizing – some detest the grainy texture of liver while enjoying the chewiness of the gizzards, and others avoid innards altogether. I have fond memories of eating this as a kid and so I didn’t mind it. I like the rempah (or spices) that these gizzards are usually cooked in. 8/10

5. Tempe (S$0.80)

Hajah Maimunah Cafe - Tempeh Goreng

Tempeh (80cts) – 6.5/10

I LOVE TEMPEH, or fermented soybeans. When I was taking arabic classes at Al Markaz, I would always rush down to Kampong Glam Café to get a tempeh as a snack during our 15 min breaks in between class. And the tempeh there was delicious and cost 50cts. So I was a little outraged that Hajah Maimunah charged us 80cts for this sad-looking, lemau (no longer crispy) and skinny strip of tempeh. The taste was normal, but the texture was a letdown. 6.5/10

6. Paru Belado (S$4 for small)

Hajah Maimunah Cafe - Paru Belado

Paru Belado (S$4) – 6.5/10

Paru means lungs, and in this case we’re talkin’ beef lungs. (Gee, so much innards in today’s meal). I love most belado dishes, since the chili paste is delicious! Hajah Maimunah’s paru was a little disappointing though – the paru texture was a little hard. I like my paru in one of two ways – deep fried and crispy, or a little thicker and chewy. The one I had here was neither. 6.5/10

7. Lemak Pucuk Ubi (S$3 for small)

Hajah Maimunah Cafe - Pucuk Ubi

Lemak Pucuk Ubi (S$3) – 9/10

Finally we come to the lemak pucuk ubi, or cassava leaves in coconut stew. I really enjoyed this. It’s got an earthy, kampung taste that is at once familiar and reassuring. The leaves are cooked well, retaining a good bite while still being juicy. If taken in large quantities the leaves can taste the slightest bit bitter, so try to pare it down with the coconut gravy and some rice. 9/10

All in all, I would definitely come back here again with my friends, especially for the lemak siput sedut, and also to try the tahu telor and other dishes! I reckon my friend and I definitely over-ordered, so my advice is to stick to about 2 dishes per person, and skip the ulam if you’re not a fan.

You can eat with your hands since they have a separate handwash station right by the washrooms. The staff are ever ready to clear empty plates once you’re done, and although you can def get like a simple $5 nasi padang from regular coffeeshops, it’s the variety of dishes and the air conditioned comfort that draw me and my friends to this establishment.

Hajah Maimunah Restaurant
11 & 15 Jalan Pisang
Singapore 199078
Tel : +65 6297 4294

Opening Hours
Mon-Sat: 7am to 8pm
Closed on Sundays
Remarks: No GST and no service charge

Halal status: Halal certified
Halalicious rating: 8.5/10
Average spend per pax: S$15
Recommended dishes: Lemak siput sedut, beef rendang

The Malayan Council II

The Malayan Council
22 Dunlop St
Singapore 209350

Opening Hours
Mon to Sat: 11am to 11pm
Sun: 11am to 10pm

Reservations: Facebook message

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious Rating: 9/10

Average spend per pax: ~S$48
Recommended dishes: Roti Kirai Beef Ribs (S$39), Smoked Duck Lemak Cili Padi Linguine (S$28)

So very quickly after my first visit to The Malayan Council (you guys can check out my review here!), I went back again to try out the other items on the menu.

It was a scorching Saturday noon, and I had skipped breakfast in lieu of a tennis session with my coach earlier in the morning. You can imagine just how famished and weak I was by the time I got to The Malayan Council. Although we knew better than to load up on appetisers due to the American-sized portions at the café, I truly could not refrain from ordering the Wild Mushroom Truffle Soup (S$9):

The Malayan Council Wild Mushroom Truffle Soup

Eww the oil looks like slime

I will be honest – I was so hungry, this tasted really good. Objectively though, it really was like a fancy Campbell’s mushroom soup, with better ingredients added. I would not be surprised if they had indeed used Campbell’s as the base. I found this quite problematic. At $9 a bowl, I would expect a from-scratch base, or something more home-made. Not entirely offensive, but definitely a little disappointing. 7/10

My friends and I were unanimous in our mission to try the Roti Kirai Beef Ribs (S$39), which consists of beef short rib glazed in the TMC secret sauce, and roti kirai (net pancake) with lettuce and quail egg salad:

The Malayan Council Roti Kirai Beef Ribs 2

I MEAN…

The Malayan Council Roti Kirai Beef Ribs 4

OMGGGGGGGGGGG

UGH YOU GUYS THIS WAS SO GOOD!!!! I really just could not even, with this. The meat was just falling right off the bone!! So, so tender and so juicy. It wasn’t doused in curry sauce like regular roti kirai – instead, the beef ribs rauce tasted a little like rendang – spicy, and with a hint of coconut. It was seriously so rich and tasty.

The Malayan Council Roti Kirai Beef Ribs 1

LOOK AT HOW SHREDDY AND DELICIOUS

The accompanying roti kirai had the perfect texture – slightly elastic, not too tough and not too soft. I also love quail eggs so having them in the side salad was a bonus. Here’s a final picture of the masterpiece, which I rate 10/10:

The Malayan Council Roti Kirai Beef Ribs 3

The second untested main we ordered was the Kacang Pool with Angus Ribeye Steak (S$37), in the medium doneness we had requested for:

The Malayan Council Kacang Pool Angus Ribeye Steak

Mm all that wholegrain bread!

The Malayan Council Kacang Pool Steak Close Up

Look at that coddled egg sitting pretty atop the steak!

My first reaction was horror – horror at the  tremendous size of the onion chunks crowding around the ribeye 😱. Is that a thing, guys? Does Kacang Pool usually come teeming with just absolute bulbs of onion?! Kacang Pool is not something I eat regularly, but the rare few times I did I don’t recall quite so much onion.

Onion nightmare aside, I quite liked this dish. Sure, the pool was a little subtle and could stand to have been tastier, but boy it was pretty satisfying to dunk pieces of bread in the thick sauce, and following through with a bite of juicy steak.

The Angus ribeye steak had some tough sinewy parts, but the other unaffected parts were really tender! Medium – or medium rare if the cut is of high quality – is really the way to go with red meat you guys! 8/10

Of course, for the third main we just HAD to get the off-menu item, Smoked Duck Lemak Cili Padi Linguine (S$28) again:

The Malayan Council Smoked Duck Lemak Cili Padi Linguine 1

SO MANY SLICES OF SMOKED DUCK YUMMM

The Malayan Council Smoked Duck Lemak Cili Padi Linguine 2

Faint. Look at the sheen on the duck skin, and the pink of the meat. SO DELICIOUS. 

In my first review of The Malayan Council I said that everything was perfect but the portion was too big, and the linguine overcooked. This time around, the portion was just as American, but the linguine was a little more al dente. Perf!!! The lemak chili padi taste is still as delicious, and the duck ever so juicy. slightly sweet, and very tender. I had a friend who tried it recently and did NOT like the odd combination of pasta with the lemak cili padi sauce, so I guess it’s a question of personal preference and expectations. *I* loved it, so I’m giving this a 10/10.

According to the owners they are probably keeping the Smoked Duck Lemak Cili Padi Linguine around for the month of April, although I’m hoping it becomes a permanent menu item.

I’ll leave you guys with some photos of the decor of the cafe, both interior and exterior:

The Malayan Council Interior

Records on the wall, that table with the sewing machine base, and the two school desks on the left!

The Malayan Council Magazines

(Sentiasa Manjaaaa!) – Some newspapers and magazines for you to browse. I hope they stock more publications, although it’s cool that they even offer any at all.

The Malayan Council Games

A smorgasbord of traditional games like Congkak!! And 5 stones, card packs like Snap and Donkey, and capteh feathers. 

The Malayan Council Talk Makan Chill

The outside seating is SO colourful and instagrammable. With all the cushions it’s really a place to talk, makan and chill with your friends. 

The Malayan Council Alfresco

Look at these crazy tables. There are another two tables that are perfectly combinable, making it perfect if you’re going with a larger group of friends.

The Malayan Council
22 Dunlop St
Singapore 209350

Opening Hours
Mon to Sat: 11am to 11pm
Sun: 11am to 10pm

Reservations: Facebook message

Halal status: Muslim-owned
Halalicious Rating: 8/10

Average spend per pax: ~S$48
Recommended dishes: Malayan Wings, The Ultimate Lopez Cake