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Friday, December 28, 2012

Abdul Basith - Mutton Steak

Okay so here's one that might home with some people.
And by some people I mean those of you that work with me!!

So there used to be this stall selling Indian food at this coffeeshop where I work.
This coffeeshop is affectionately referred to as 'T1'. The 'mamak' there was a really nice guy and could even call me by name and there was nothing wrong about the food. But there wasn't anything spectacular about it either to be perfectly honest. And most of us ate there because, well, there were not many choices.

But recently, a new mamak has taken over!
I had tried the Mee Goreng when they first opened and I thought it wasn't bad.
And then one day, Gwen tells me they have "Mutton Steak' which is apparently the bomb.
I love Mutton Steak but I normally have to go all the way to Beach Road to eat it. So it's set then.

Mutton Steak ($5.00)

Sorry about the picture quality but my iPhone 3GS is all I have with me at lunch.

And some may think that looks like nothing but a mess.
But some may agree with me that it's one HOT mess I tell you. And it is!

So Mutton Steak is basically pieces of mutton stir-fried with cabbage, potatoes, tomatoes, eggs and onions along with whatever magical sambal and seasoning the mamak uses. Seems like something simple but believe you me I've had some really mediocre Mutton Steak in the past. But this one is good. Really good.

Apparently the cook is from Hyderabad so he must know a thing or two about cooking right?
Plus this stall claims to be from 'Shenton Way' and 'West Coast'...
The mutton is really tender and all the ingredients really burst with deliciousness in your mouth.
Well, they did in my mouth anyways.

Unfortunately the down side with this stall so far is consistency.
I've eaten the same thing there a few times and sometimes it doesn't turn out the same.

Okay so it's still not #1 though. That honour remains with the stall at Beach Road for now.
But since this is in the area, it'll definitely suffice.

Adam's Verdict:
Mutton Steak 4/5

Gwen recommends me the best food lah I tell you.
And the new mamak - I refer to him as Mamak Mullet (obviously because of his hair).
And he doesn't know me by name yet. But he will soon at the rate I keep going back there.
Look out for more reviews of this stall!

Abdul Basith

FOODHUB @ Chai Chee aka T1
Blk 26A Chai Chee Road

Operating Hours:
5.30am - 10pm Daily

Monday, December 17, 2012

Ayam Penyet Ria

My wife brought me to this place back when we were dating.
Even then she already knew that the way to my heart was through my stomach!

And since that day, it seems that Ayam Penyet Ria has vastly expanded.
Besides the original store in Lucky Plaza, they now have a total of 5 branches! Wow they must be good!

Well how about some appetizers first?

Emping ($1.50)

This is really going to get your taste buds prepared for the full meal ahead.
A mix of Kerupuk Belinjau and Kerupuk Udang is a winner especially when you have it with the sambal that accompanies it. Good price for a good start!

And while we were looking over the menu, we saw the waiter carrying this basket of fried stuff.
No not the kerupuk lah. It was something that seemed very stringy. And then we saw the promo poster.
Automatically we knew we had to order it.

Fried Enoki Mushrooms (3.90)
And for the record, that looks absolutely NOTHING like the poster lah.

This is apparently a new item on the menu that I have no doubts will definitely appeal to a lot of people because, well, most people love Enoki mushrooms. And even though it would be considered a little pricey, it's still a must-try right?

Well let me save you all the trouble. Don't buy it. And if you do, hope you get a better batch.
I think we may have gotten the bottom of the mushroom barrel on that order.
When I say Enoki mushrooms, I'm thinking long stalks all bunched together and coated nicely with batter and just frying it long enough to get a crisp. As you can see from the picture above, nothing is bunched together and the mushrooms were fried for too long.

And I personally think they look like fried tadpoles.

Sayur Asam ($3.90)
I love Sayur Asam and it's becoming increasingly difficult to find a good bowl of it nowadays.
The best I've ever had was long ago at Pondok Gurame (when they were still in Katong) but I have to say the Sayur Asam at Ria is actually damn nice.

At least I know where to go if I need my Sayur Asam fix.

And now on to the real food eh.

Nasi Ayam Penyet ($6.90)
My darling wife had the 'original' Nasi Ayam Penyet.
And staying true to tradition, it's served with a bowl of plain white rice and not the 'chicken rice' type deal.

Besides that, you also get fried tempeh, cucumber, cabbage and also some blanched kangkong.

And don't forget a nice big dollop of the famous Ria Sambal.
(which is free flow by the way)

As you can see, the chicken is still very tender while having a very nice and crispy exterior. Tasty and not at all dried out.

My darling wife is such a big fan of this place and it's very easy to see why. So far it's never failed to disappoint her and that means that they have a good consistent product which is a very good thing which is tough to come by nowadays especially with food chains that are expanding.

I mean come on, how may times have you gone to a different brand of your favourite makan place and you felt that the food seemed a little bit off-standard compared to your usual haunt?

Empal Penyet ($6.90)
Well, as usual, you know I've gots to have me some beef.
So I had the Empal Penyet which is basically one big piece of beef which has been fried and smashed (or should I say penyet-ed) for some yummy good times.

And I can safely say the words "big piece of beef" this time and I would be telling the truth.
We all remember the time we had 'Dapur Penyet' right?

Well this was nice and tender and well worth the money I tell you. Super!

And I know I mentioned it just now but I think it's only fair that I speak a little more about the sambal.

Do. Not. Mess. With. This. Sambal.

Okay so maybe you die-hard hantu chili will be able to take it with no issues. I'm actually not too bad myself and this was a really really tasty sambal but after awhile... HELP ME HELP ME MY MOUTH IS ON FIREEEEEEEE okay so maybe I'm exaggerating a little.

My wife keeps pairs it with the sweet soy sauce which they have and she keeps topping it up so you know it's got to be damn good right.

Adam's Verdict:
Empal Penyet 5/5 -- Emping 3/5 -- Enoki Mushrooms 1/5 -- Sayur Asam 4/5

Maryah's Verdict:
Ayam Penyet 5/5 -- Emping 5/5 -- Enoki Mushrooms 0/5

Oh and before I forget to mention... try the Soda Gembira (literally Happy Soda).
It's just Bandung with 7-Up. And it rocks.

Soda Gembira ($2.10)
And I know I said my darling wife and I have always gotten 100% satisfaction from Ria everytime we went.
But everytime we went, it was to the Lucky Plaza (4th floor) outlet.

They have another outlet on the 1st floor, one at Bedok Point, one at Far East Plaza and another at Jurong Point. I cannot vouch for all the other outlets I must say. But if they are as good at the Lucky Plaza one then you're gonna have a damn good meal.

Ayam Penyet Ria

Lucky Plaza
304 Orchard Road

Operating Hours:
12.00pm til 9.00pm Daily

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tang Tea House - HK Stewed Beef Noodles & HK Beef Kway Teow (No. 400)

I love Tang Tea House.

It has 2 things which I can confirm rock to the max.

  1. The Roasted Chicken (which I will review another time)
  2. Super Cooler (Don't ask. Just order.)

But you all know I'm a sucker for some beef when I see it.
So I decided to have a go at something on the menu that always catches my eye.

HK Stewed Beef Noodles ($6.00)

When I see this kind of noodle dish with a dark gravy like that, I'm immediately going to think of this Stewed Chicken Feet dish my dad makes at home. It's stewed with these herbs til the meat (or in our case, chicken feet) is so tender it's literally falling apart.

And in this case, the gravy is pretty close to what I had in mind.
It was very tasty (if you like the Chinese Herb Stew kind of taste) and this goes very well with the noodles.

But when you see the word 'Stewed' you're going to expect whatever it is being 'stewed' to be soft and tender because, well, stewing takes a longer time so the meat has enough time to break down.

Well the gravy may have been good but that's about all that was good.

Now I know you can't tell from the picture but trust me - that's one tough piece of meat.

And I'm quite surprised at how tough the beef actually was!
I'm talking about literally having to use a considerable amount of effort to tear apart that piece of meat with my teeth. I mean, it's fine if we're talking about a roast or a steak but this is supposed to be a piece of meat that was supposedly 'stewed'.

My sister-in-law, Yana, says that she's had this before and apparently it's improved since the last time.
I'd hate to have had it before the improvement lah like that.

Well FYI, that dumpling you see on the plate is nothing special either.
So you're paying quite a high price for some noodles and tough pieces of meat. And 2 dumplings.

Well  my brother had something else with 'HK' and 'Beef' in the name.

HK Beef Kway Teow (No. 400) ($5.00)

So my brother say this is the bomb.
The dish is tasty. The beef is super tender (No, it was not stewed) and he apparently loves it so much that even the bean sprouts are crunchy.

I personally think it looks a little dry (I prefer my kway teow a little on the wet side) but I tasted a few mouthfuls and it's not bad taste-wise. This was the 'Dry' version by the way. Maybe I'll try the other version next time just for comparison.

And yes - the beef was tender-er.

Adam's Verdict:
HK Stewed Beef Noodles 1.5/5

Yana's Verdict:
HK Stewed Beef Noodles 1.5/5

Azlan's Verdict:
HK Beef Kway Teow (No. 400) 5/5

Well did I get a bad batch of stewed beef? Maybe it's not always that tough?
Well I'll probably never find out unless someone else orders it next time.

So many choices at Tang Tea House. Look out for more reviews for this place in future!

Tang Tea House

359 Bedok Road

Operating Hours:
11.00am til 4.00am Daily

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Quest For Briyani Part 3: Mami Midah Briyani

So the Quest for Briyani continues on this food blog.
So many recommendations came in for where people think should be the next place I try.
But I decided to go somewhere recommended by my dear ol' Dad.

Mami Midah Briyani is a stall located in my old neighbourhood - Eunos Crescent.
It wasn't around when the market and food centre were at its old location before the fire a few years ago but despite that it seems this stall has made quite a reputation for itself in just a few years.

When you think of a good briyani, 'healthy' is not really the first word that comes to your mind I reckon. I mean, how many times have you heard your elders tell you not to eat too much too often right?

Well I saw this article displayed at the stall.
It was featured in the 'Mind Your Body' quite awhile back and was toute as a 'healthy' version of Nasi Briyani but apparently still didn't lose any of the flavour or deliciousness that you'd expect from a serving of Briyani.

Evaporated Milk? Vegetable Oil? Low Sodium Salt?
This doesn't seem like it's going to go well... But you'll see a lot of this at a lot of the stall here under the Healthy Eating campaign.

Okay so my Dad tells me we have o go really early because this place seems to sell out really fast (especially the Mutton Briyani) especially on Fridays. Well, we were not going on a Friday so you'd think it'd be safe to arrive there at around noon right?

Well we arrived at 12.15pm and guess what? The Mutton was sold out!!
Apparently someone had a funeral wake and pre-ordered like this whole order of the Mutton Briyani. And since we couldn't call ahead to pre-order 2 plates of it, I guess we were out of luck.
And the worst thing was that my Dad had let me taste some the last time he brought some back and it was quite good so I was pretty bummed I didn't get a chance to try it out properly.

Oh well.

Chicken Briyani ($4.50)

So we decided to have the Chicken Briyani (purely out of lack of choice).

The chicken itself was not bad. The masala which literally swamps the chicken was actually really good!
It's not really on the spicy side though. If it was, my Dad wouldn't be able to handle it very well. But the rempah briyani taste was very strong but very tasty. Not overpowering like I expected.

The acar is actually worth a mention. It really complimented the briyani well.
I'm saying this because I've had Briyani where the acar is just absolutely doing nothing for the overall dish but they really put some effort here to make sure it makes a difference.

As always, the rice itself is going to play a big part in Briyani and the rice here is pretty steady.
It was fluffy and I guess it was pretty tasty. But I doubt I enjoyed it as much as my Dad does.
My Dad says that the rice is the reason he loves this Briyani so much. And trust me, it's not often you find something that he will say is nice.

As for me? It was actually the Dalcha believe it or not.
It was damn tasty and really packed a tasty punch to the rice. In fact, the Dalcha seems to be quite a favourite with a lot of people. How do I know? I've seen people come to the stall and order just the Dalcha on its own. Like $2 a packet. They probably eat it with bread or something. And I don't blame them cos it's damn nice lah actually.

And if you stir the bowl, you'll find out why. The secret - lamb fat (tetelan).
It's an old school way of ensuring your Dalcha is the bomb and they sure as hell do it well here.

Adam's Verdict:
Chicken Briyani 3/5

Zain's Verdict:
Chicken Briyani 4/5

So remember, if you wanna try the Mutton Briyani - go early.
Hopefully I'll be able to add in a Mutton Briyani review here soon okay!

Mami Midah Briyani

Eunos Crescent Food Market & Food Centre
Blk 4A Eunos Crescent #01-14

Operating Hours:
10.00am til 8.00pm Daily
(or until they sell out)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Makan vs Makan --- Indian Rojak

When I first started this blog, I had this idea where I would have what I referred to as 'Battles'.
That's right. Say it with me people - BATTLE!!! (Sounds very the Iron Chef right?)

These were just comparison posts where, instead of the usual format where each makan place or dish would have individual posts, 2 makan places would go head-to-head. But how will the winner be decided?
Well, that's where YOU come in!

It's actually very simple. Makan vs Makan. And we see who's the winner is.

The only hard and fast rule is that the makan being compared has got to be the same.
Meaning, if I'm reviewing Nasi Briyani, I'd have to compare the same type, like Mutton Briyani vs Mutton Briyani because it wouldn't be fair to compare Mutton Briyani vs Chicken Briyani you know what I mean?

And so without further ado, I present to you


The weird thing is this was a totally unexpected development.
We had actually gone all the way to Ayer Rajah Food Centre based on some recommendations by some of our readers to try the Mee Kuah there. Bu when we arrived, I remember that @SarinaMohamed had told me about some Indian Rojak which was apparently the bomb.

And so we decided on the spur of the moment to have both. At the same time.

 Resident Reviewers - Maryah & Adam

Guest Reviewers - Azlan & Yana

So we went to place our orders at both stalls. And as per the rules, we chose all the same items from each stall so we could have an even review on the Indian Rojak.

We orders Hotdog, Paru (Beef Lung), Fish Cake, Fish Fillet, Potato, Wadeh, and Dough with Egg.
So that makes 7 items on each plate x 2 plates.

And this is what it looked like what they arrived.

Abdhus Salam Rojak ($11.00)

Habib's Rojak ($10.00)

Okay firstly, the orders were placed at the same time but they arrived separately.
Abdhus delivered the food after 15 minutes and Habib's only arrived another 10 minutes after that.
A sign of inefficiency? Or a sign that Habib had more orders to cope with signalling they were more popular?

And another thing to note - for exactly the same items, Abdhus' plate of rojak costs $1.00 more.
A small amount I know and I surely wouldn't mind paying $1.00 more if the rojak is better.
But was it better?

Well for some of the items (Hotdog, Fish Cake and Dough with Egg) it was even down the middle with 2 votes each. And for some other items, it was a little more clear cut.

Abdhus won the round when it came to the Paru (Beef Lung) and it was obviously down to personal preference. Do you like your Paru thin and crispy or slight thicker cut? Well Abhus sliced their Paru a little thinner so that means it was a little less chewy (rubbery) than Habib's.

Habib seems to have swept most of the remaining items though!
The Potato from Habib was unanimously better than Abdhus.

Maryah was the only one who preferred the Wadeh from Abdhus because she says it didn't have such a "strong prawn-y smell) while the rest of us thought the one from Habib has a better dough.

But when it came to the Fish Fillet, I was the one who went the opposite direction.
I went for the Abdhus one while the rest were obviously smitten with the one from Habib.
And I guess one of the reasons was the batter that they used.

More Batter? Less Batter? Which is Better?

And by the way, Abdhus coated quite a number of their items with that batter you see above.
I guess in most cases, it rocks but some might find it a little bit too much after awhile.

And now, the part that some (or dare I say, most) people would consider an important part of Indian Rojak.
What about the Kuah?!?

Abdhus' Kuah

Habib's Kuah

Yana has no comment on the kuah because she preferred her Indian Rojak au naturel.
But what did the rest of us think? Well, Abdhus seemed to be the favourite.
Azlan liked Habib's better because it was sweeter while Maryah and me agreed that Abdhus' was tastier and I thought it was better because it had a little bit more of a spicy kick to it.

And as you can see, Abdhus' kuah is thicker so perhaps again down to preference?

The Final Verdict:

Adam's Choice - Abdhus Salam Rojak (Presentation plays a part)
Maryah's Choice - Abdhus Salam Rojak (Most steady Kuah)
Azlan's Choice - Habib's Rojak (Conflicted but Habib wins based on Kuah and price)
Yana's Choice - Habib's Rojak (Family always eats at this stall)

OMG! Couldn't the first ever BATTLE end in a draw? Well it sure seems like it.
Looks like I'm going to have to put this to a vote and hopefully the audience will help us decide...

And after a whole week, literally no one voted... Hmm I might to re-think that part.
Well I guess in that case there's only one outcome...


Well these two stalls were so closely matched I think this was a fair result.
It seems to be just minor differences in opinions mostly due to personal preferences.

So which one do you think you'll like better?

Abdhus Salam Rojak (Stall 73)

Blk 73A Ayer Rajah Crescent

Operating Hours:
11.00am til 11.00pm (Closed on Mondays)

Habib's Rojak (Stall 68)

Blk 73A Ayer Rajah Crescent

Operating Hours:
11.30am til 10.30pm Daily

Saturday, December 1, 2012

K.S. Seeni Mohammed - Mee Goreng

So the lot of us (meaning my darling wife, my brother and his darling wife and myself) drove all the way to the other side of the island to try some Indian Rojak. In a surprising twist, we ended up getting our very first 'BATTLE' done (which you will see very soon) but something else came to light...

While doing some recce around the Ayer Rajah Food Centre, Yana ordered some Mee-teow Goreng (Kway Teow + Mee) from this stall which she says is a firm favourite when she and family is in the area.
And we found out why.

Mee Goreng ($3.50)

I'll be honest with you. I haven't had many cases where I can say that the Mee Goreng (Mamak style) is good. In fact, I would normally only swear by the Mee Goreng at Saffron's in Tampines because, quite simply, other places simply cannot cut it. So the "Damn Nice Mee Goreng List" is a pretty short one.

But now I can safely say - there is a new place on the list.

The noodles, the spice, the meat, the potatoes, the egg, the everything.
There's no simpler way for me to put it.

Some places have a problem when it comes to frying noodles. It either tastes horrible or ends up being too dry or even burnt. But they get it just right here! And for the very fair price of $3.50, definitely can see why Yana and family always order it when the go.

This is a simply MUST TRY!!
If you can be bothered to go all the way to Ayer Rajah that is.

Adam's Verdict:
Mee Goreng 4.5/5

Maryah's Verdict:
Mee Goreng 4.5/5 

Azlan's Verdict:
Mee Goreng 5/5 

Azlan's Verdict:
Mee Goreng 5/5

And in case you're wondering. I said earlier Yana ordered Mee-Teow Goreng then how come the picture shows Mee Goreng??? Because - we ordered a second plate. That's how good it is.

K.S. Seeni Mohammed (Stall #70)

Ayer Rajah Food Centre
Blk 73A Ayer Rajah Crescent

Operating Hours:
11.00am til 10.00pm Daily