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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Quest For Briyani Part 2: Azizah Hydrabadi Dhumnd Briyani

After awhile, I finally got a chance to do the 2nd installment of my Quest for Briyani series.
And trust me, it's been way too long since Part 1.

We went back to Geylang Serai Market to try out another Briyani stall there.
Unfortunately, it being Monday, most of the stalls were already closed by afternoon when we arrived there (including Haji Mohd Yussof Warung Nasi Baryani from Part 1).

Luckily for us, there was one stall still open.

I've heard that Azizah Hydrabadi Dhumnd Briyani also has regular long snaking queues at its stall and was even featured on TV once. Must have been on Suria or something.

Mutton Briyani ($5.50)

They serve their Briyani on this giant plate with a bowl of dalcha and some fruit acar.
Quite a large serving I'd have to say which is probably why it's comparably pricier than the other stall at Geylang Market offering briyani.

I got a nice T-Bone of mutton which was completely covered in spicy masala.
But compared to Haji Mohd Yussof Warung Nasi Baryani, this was definitely not as spicy but still quite tasty if you ask me.

The dalcha was equally tasty as was the fruit acar. Definitely complimented the dish overall.

Okay here's the one problem my darling wife and I both had a slight issue with.

The rice was nice and fluffy. Surely a great grade of Basmati was used.
And I didn't let the lack of colour in the rice bother me because some of the best briyani do not resort to using colouring in their rice.

But, unfortunately, the rice was not tasty. In fact, I didn't taste anything.
I thought it was just me. And then my darling wife confirmed it. In fact, she pointed something else out.
The rice was TOO fragrant probably the result of using too much rose water maybe?
Well whatever the reason, this was quite a put-off. I mean, fragrant rice is definitely a plus but this was....

Well at least the meat was tender and tasty.

But in all fairness, when you put the meat, rice, dalcha and acar all together and take a great big mouthful, this actually makes up a pretty good plate of briyani. Maybe the individual elements have their own ups and downs but the sum of its parts makes this briyani pretty delicious.

Adam's Verdict:
Mutton Briyani 3.5/5

Maryah's Briyani:
Mutton Briyani 2.5

We ordered the Mutton Briyani this time but they also offer a Chicken and a Fried Chicken Briyani.
We might try it next time or if anyone else has tried it, please let us know what you thought of it.

Azizah Hydrabadi Dhumnd Briyani

Geylang Serai Market
1, Geylang Serai #02-127

Tel: 9181 5862 (Md Noshad Khan)


Operating Hours:  10.00am til 4.00pm (Closed on Wednesday)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Nasi Lemak Kukus - Clarification on Halal Certification

So you guys remember the post about Nasi Lemak Kukus right?
It turned out to be one of the most popular posts on the blog for a very long time.

Well anyways, someone raised concerns that Nasi Lemak Kukus was "NOT certified Halal".

My first instinct was to say "It's call The Halal Food Blog and not The Certified Halal Restaurants Blog" but of course I'm not gonna say that right. After all, it's my responsibility to research and justify any post on my blog so that's exactly what I wanted to do.

When we went to Nasi Lemak Kukus to makan, we didn't see any Halal certificate being displayed but we asked the workers there (who were all makciks wearing tudung mind you) and they said indeed that Nasi Lemak Kukus was Halal.

So I emailed Nasi Lemak Kukus to clarify the matter once and for all.

So all I wanted to know is whether or not Nasi Lemak Kukus was officially certified Halal by MUIS.
And if so, why no certificate was being displayed on premises.

And a few days later, a gentlemen named Lester (Operations Manager) replied to my email.

So Lester puts forth the facts that 1)all the food and ingredients are from Halal-certified suppliers and 2)it's prepared and served by his staff who are "all Muslim".

So it is my duty to inform the loyal readers of my blog that Nasi Lemak Kukus claims that they serve Halal food BUT they are NOT certified Halal by MUIS. And I know it's technically a big deal that a makan place does not have a Halal certificate but I'm sure some may not think much of it and I am in no position to judge.

So I leave it to you, my readers, to make your own decisions for I am here to provide only the facts which were provided to me by the proprietors of Nasi Lemak Kukus.

Hope I managed to clear any doubts. :)

PS you can read the review on Nasi Lemak Kukus HERE

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dough Culture

You know what is my favourite part of eating Rojak?
The You Tiao.

In fact, some times I just skip the Rojak and just order the You Tiao on it's own.
Maybe a little Tau Pok thrown in but I'm sure you will agree with me - The You Tiao rocks the most.
How many of you are guilty of leaving the other pieces like the turnip, pineapple and cucumbers alone and attack the You Tiao first and before long it's all gone.

I'm willing to say at least 9 out of 10 people do that!!!

Well anyways I've misled you long enough.
This post actually is not about Rojak at all. It's about You Tiao.

You Tiao ($1.20 each)

I remember when we were kids, we used to get You Tiao (or Yu Char Kway) for breakfast most of the time on weekends. We stayed at Eunos and our maid would go down to the market on weekends and buy You Tiao and soya bean milk. And we learned from our parents to soak the You Tiao in our mug of coffee and let it soak up the liquid before taking a big wet chomp. Works well with soya bean milk too! Good memories.

Well the humble You Tiao is basically just fried dough sticks.
I used to watch them make it at the Bedok South Food Centre in the early hours of Sunday mornings when I went to buy breakfast for my family.

It's not just about rolling out the dough and then cutting it out. It's also about the actual frying of the dough and how it puffs up to form the finished product.

Well, you may not be able to see them make it up close at Dough Culture, but they do make some pretty good You Tiao I can tell you that much.

The dough was puffy and had a good bite to it. The outside was very crisp and it was overall a very delicious piece of dough. It's also obvious from the picture above that they're actually longer than the normal ones you might see around. (No, it's not just the camera angle)

But the one thing I simply must mention is that the You Tiao was really oily.
Maybe it's because we got it literally fresh out of the fryer but I'm not sure if leaving it to rest would make any much more of a difference than having it quickly after frying.

Butterfly Buns ($0.90 each)

Dough Culture also sells other fried goodies like Butterfly Buns (above), Salty Buns etc.
Unfortunately we decided to try the other pastries another time.

But... the one thing I had initially decided to pass on, I finally bought at the last minute.
And this was simply because everyone in the line seemed to be ordering it. So it must be damn good right??

Tow Suan ($2.00)

I actually have quite a soft spot for Tow Suan. I think I got it from my Dad who also loves the stuff.
The problem we find with a lot of Tow Suan is the consistency. Some places, it's too thick. Other places, it's too watery. But Dough Culture seems to make it just right.

Very fluid consistency without being too watery.
With some You Tiao on top, this was definitely a good bowl of Tow Suan!!

Adam's Verdict:
You Tiao 3/5 -- Tow Suan 4/5

Maryah's Verdict:
You Tiao 3.5/5 

Ratings above are for the You Tiao on its own.
If added to Rojak, please add 1 point to the rating :P

So the humble You Tiao has so many functions.
But whether it's on your Tow Suan or soaking up the goodness in your Rojak, I think it's safe to say that we all love these simple fried sticks of dough.

Dough Culture has a few outlets located at Causeway Point, City Square, Changi City Point, Nex Mall and also Northpoint.

Dough Culture

Causeway Point
1 Woodlands Square #01-K08


Operating Hours: 9.00am-8.30pm daily

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mayson's Bakery - Egg Tarts

So if remember awhile back my darling wife and I visited Jurong Point because I had to go for a reservist thing in the area. I posted earlier about having dinner. Well, this is what we had for dessert.

I'll be honest right off the bat and say I've never actually ever been a big fan of egg tarts. I mean, I love eggs and I love custard. And I'll eat the egg tarts but I wouldn't necessarily run out just to buy a few y'know what I mean?

And another thing is the so-called difference between 'Egg Tarts' and 'Portugese Egg Tarts'. Aren't they the same thing???

Well the main difference that I can tell is that the 'Portugese' version has a nice brûlée on top. This literally means that the custard is scorched or 'burnt' to give it a nice caramel layer for the sweet touch. I also found out that Egg Tarts apparently come from Macau/Hong Kong and are even considered as Dim Sum.

Well, go figure.
I'm just here to tell you if the ones I bought tasted good

 Portuguese Egg Tart ($1.30)

The only reason I happened to chance upon this joint was because I had to go back to camp for some reservist nonsense and that's all the way in the west. My darling wife came to fetch me and after some dinner, we decided to grab some egg tarts.

Mayson's Bakery offers quite a wide variety of baked good but we were just interested in the egg tarts this time and they also had quite a few varieties of that.

The egg tart itself was actually quite reasonable sized. Just about an average palm-size.
Nice brûlée action going on there and the custard below was creamy and tasty. The one problem I did have though was the pastry. I found it to be a little of on the dry and tough side. I expected it to be a little bit more flaky than what I got.

Chocolate Egg Tart / Durian Egg Tart / Blueberry Egg Tart
($1.60 each)

We also tried 3 of their flavoured egg tarts.
I have to say the best was the Chocolate only because, well, it was chocolate.
I thought I'd enjoy the Blueberry one the most because I love blueberry jam (especially on my pancakes) but the sweetness of the jam doesn't really go well with the egg custard in my opinion.

The absolute worst was the Durian. Because - it's durian kaya and NOT durian. Total fail.
My darling wife didn't even want to try the thing!

They also actually offer a Cheese Egg Tart which happened to be sold out.
A sign that it rocks maybe?

Adam's Verdict:
Portuguese Egg Tart 2.5/5 -- Chocolate Egg Tart 3/5 -- Durian Egg Tart 0.5/5 --
Blueberry Egg Tart 2/5

Maryah's Verdict:
Portuguese Egg Tart 3/5 -- Chocolate Egg Tart 3.5/5 --Blueberry Egg Tart 4/5

Well this experience definitely has not changed my opinion of egg tarts at all.
If you happen to be in the west side for whatever reason, maybe go check it out. And if you're buying me some please don't buy the Durian one.

Mayson's Bakery

Jurong Point Shopping Centre
63 Jurong West Central 3 #01-66/75


Operating Hours
06.00am – 10.30pm (Mon-Sat)
07.00am – 11.00pm (Sun)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Banquet (Jurong Point)

I'm sure almost all of us have been to Banquet at some point or rather.
When I was a kid, I remember the big hoo-hah that there was an 'All Halal Food Court in Jurong"!! And believe you me that was a very exciting prospect back then. It was not as easy then as it is today to find things like Chinese or Korean cuisine being Halal back then.

Today, Banquet has at least 8 outlets all over Singapore and they stretch in all directions of our island.
They apparently also have subs like Ah Mei Cafe, Bagus and even a Banquet Signature but I'll check them out some other time I reckon.

We actually decided to eat there because we received some information that there was a stall there offering Bak Kut Teh. But unfortunately we could not locate the stall for some reason. So we settled on some alternatives instead.

Korean Combo Set ($8.50)

So my darling wife had the Korean Combo Set which consist of Chicken Bulgoggi and Saba Fish.
This actually gets cooked then simmered on the hotplate on a bed of cabbage and onions.
You also get a side of rice, soup and kimchi plus fried anchovies.

Well I know it looks yummy and also looks super spicy right?
Errrr... well....

My darling wife says "Everything is bad about it". It's too watery and everything was too bland. It looks like its got a lot of flavour but unfortunately it's all a ruse. And she's pretty particular about her Korean food so she's also quick to point out that even the rice served was not like the normal starchy Korean rice which should be served. She really disliked this dish.

I know a lot of you might be saying "Of course lah.. food court only mah!"
Well, we've actually had better and it was also in a food court. Plus if you're gonna pay $8.50 for a dish you'd expect to at least be of a certain level right?

Well as for me, they put enough MSG in there to make me keep scooping it off the hotplate!
And it's really not as spicy as it looks. In fact it's not spicy at all.

Chicken Rice Executive Set ($6)

Well I was decidedly more hungry and decided to have something a bit more filling.
I saw some dude having the chicken rice and thought to myself "well that looks good".
And you have to admit - it DOES look good doesn't it?

So what exactly is the difference between the Chicken Rice Set and the Chicken Rice Executive Set besides $2 in the price?

 Well apparently you get an extra half-serving of chicken and some stalks of kai lan.
Yep. That's it.

And the looks are about as good as it gets apparently.
There was truly nothing spectacular about this dish at all. The chicken was nothing special. The kai lan was tough (and didn't even have the obligatory drizzle of oyster sauce) and worst of all - the chicken rice chilli sucked!

Was there no end to this mediocrity?

Fried Carrot Cake (Black) $4

Well here's another dish that looked damn appetizing lah.
I prefer my carrot cake to have kinda like the sloppy wet look instead of the ones that are completely dry and this passes with flying colours. But how did it fare in the taste department?

Well let's just say that between the 3 dishes, this one was the best.

I guess that Fried Carrot Cake is one of those dishes where everyone will have their own preference.
I prefer mine a little on the wet side with the 'cake' itself broken down to smaller pieces while I know some may prefer bigger chunks and maybe a drier version. Some prefer the White version altogether.

For me this carrot cake was not too bad. Not too oily but a bit too chunky for my liking.
Taste-wise was excellent though. Or maybe I was making up for the earlier disappointments.

Adam's Verdict:
Korean Combo Set 2.5/5 -- Chicken Rice Executive Set 2/5 -- Fried Carrot Cake 3.5/5

Maryah's Verdict:
Korean Combo Set 0/5 -- Fried Carrot Cake 3.5/5

So has Banquet become just like other food courts? A mere place where people go to eat for convenience? Where the food is moderately priced but the food may not be that good? (This food wasn't moderately priced anyways but was still not that good).

Well maybe we have to try a few more stalls at a few more Banquet outlets before we give a final decision on whether it was just THIS outlet or it's all of them.

Banquet (Jurong Point)

Jurong Point Shopping Centre
1 Jurong West Central 2 #B1-42 to 44


Operating Hours:
10.00am to 10.00pm

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sri Kamala Vilas Restaurant - Ghee Masala Paper Thosai

I love Thosai.
To be more precise, I love Ghee Masala Paper Thosai.
(I know somone is saying "It's DOSAI lah!)

Many many many years ago, one of my best buddies and I were in the vicinity of Serangoon Road one afternoon and we decided to have lunch. He brought me to the famous Komala Villas (the old one at Buffalo Road and not the newer one along Serangood Road itself) and treated to me to thosai.
But not just any thosai.

My buddy, Raffiq, ordered for me a Ghee Masala Paper Thosai.
I'd always ordered just normal Masala Thosai in the past and it definitely used to be my favourite.
But - my life was changed forever that day.

And I know the extra ghee gives it the unhealthy edge so we should definitely enjoy it in moderation. But, I tell you, the few times that I DO have it, it's the bomb!

Now every time I have thosai, it has to be Ghee Masala Paper Thosai.
And I always went back to the Komala Villas at Buffalo Road because I knew I was guaranteed a delicious meal.

But recently, my darling wife told me that one of HER best buddies, Marina, recommended a new place to try some thosai. And it was just a stone's throw from Komala Villas.

Sri Kamala Vilas is just at the block opposite Tekka Market. It seems like a humble enough place but the food inside is waiting to take you for a delicious and sinful trip.

 Ghee Masala Paper Thosai ($4.80)

Okay first things first - what's the difference between a normal Thosai and a Paper Thosai.
Well, as the name implies, in the latter the thosai is 'paper thin' (just like the difference between a normal prate and a paper prata). A layer of the dough batter is scraped off while on the pan resulting in a thin crusty pancake known as the Paper Thosai. 

Now for those of you who have had Paper Thosai before, you will also know that it is very obviously bigger in size as compared to a normal thosai.

That picture seems like it's small right? Well that's just the camera angle so I could fit the whole thing in the frame. That Paper Thosai there is as long as my arm!

The thosai itself was very crispy and despite being 'paper thin', make no mistake - it will fill you up.
And the ghee which is drizzled on the batter as it cooks definitely gives it the extra 'kick' that many of us enjoy albeit a very unhealthy one.

Another important factor is the filling.
And this was one part that had me pondering quite a bit.

The masala filling at Sri Kamalas was different from most other places where I've had Masala Thosai.
It was a little more 'mashed-up' to put it one way. Most other places I went to had a more chunky texture to their masala where you can see the chunks of potato and carrots etc.

Make no mistake the masala was super tasty but it had more of a 'creamy' texture if I could put it that way.
And because I was so used to a more 'chunky' masala, my initial reaction was one of surprise.
But the more I think about it, maybe it wasn't so bad after all.

I guess one of the main advantages of having it this mashed-up is that it's not too dry!

Coconut Chutney, Spicy Coconut Chutney & Sambar

Of course you'll the usual assorted accompaniments all of which were tasty.
In fact, my darling wife seldom has the coconut chutneys but even she was going for it!
Wash it down with a nice cool Lassi to finish off the meal!

Adam's Verdict:
Ghee Masala Paper Thosai 4.5/5

Maryah's Verdict:
Ghee Masala Paper Thosai 4/5

Well after years upon years of going to Komala Villas, I finally have another place to go.
And to be perfectly honest, it's been quite a long time since I went to Komala Villas for a meal so it would not be fair to compare the 2 right now.
Maybe I sense a Food Battle on the way yes? :)

Well whatever your taste may be - normal or paper, ghee or masala, egg or plain - I seriously recommend you try out this place if you have not yet done so.

But I'm sure you thosai lovers will agree with me on the next statement...

 If it doesn't have one of these... it ain't a thosai joint!

Sri Kamala Vilas Restaurant

Blk 662 Buffalo Road
#01-16 (Opposite Tekka Market)

Operating Hours: 8.30am til 9.00pm daily

Updated 7 May 2013

Well it's looks like Sri Kamala Vilas has undergone a slight makeover!

They have renamed themselves to a simpler 'Kamala Restaurant'.
Not to worry, it's still at the same location. They've just done some minor renovations to clean up the place and make it a little more roomy.

And in case you were wondering, it's still Halal and the prices are still the same :)
In fact, I had another Ghee Masala Paper Thosai today and it seemed a little bigger! An absolute monster!

So head down soon and don't be shocked to see the new decor!