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Monday, February 25, 2013

Wendy's - Beef Baconator and Chili & Cheese Baked Potato

No beef bacon was harmed in the making of this blog post.
Okay maybe that's not 100% true...

Apparently in the 1990's, Wendy's was a pretty popular joint in Singapore.
I'm guessing it could rival McDonald's and A&W back then when it came to American fast food.
But then again, I'm guessing very few fast food joints were certified Halal.

Well in 2010, Wendy's decided to return to Singapore after about a decade away from the scene. When they first returned however, they were still not certified Halal.

But lo and behold! Suddenly one day a few months - they were Halal!!!

And there are actually quite a number of items on the Wendy's menu that seem like they're worth trying.
But I decided to review the top 2 on my list to official review.

Beef Baconator Combo ($8.05)
Have you guys ever watched that episode of Epic Meal Time where the guy goes an orders "Fifteen Baconators"? Well I've gots to have me a Baconator. Because I loves me some meat.

One of Wendy's trademarks is that its beef patties are square. That's right - square.
I'm guessing this doesn't affect anything other than the fact that it's a uniquely shaped burger patty.

So the Baconator is basically a beef patty with cheese, ketchup and mayo plus some beef bacon strips.
And I guess you can say that they really don't mess around because there are literally no vegetables in the Baconator (unless you count the tomatoes used in the ketchup).

The beef patty itself was actually pretty bland. I'm not sure if they used any seasoning at all on the patty when they cooked it. They do make it clear that they are using a "100% PURE BEEF BURGER" which is very commendable (All Killer No Filler) but I think it might have been nice to have a 95% Beef Burger and 5% Seasoning to give it a little kick. In the end, you're tasting mainly the sauce!

And maybe some veggies (eg lettuce) might have been nice. But then again I do see where they were going with this burger in the sense that it's really a meaty-meat burger.

As for the beef bacon?
Well, as always, I'm going to say that they should have been more. But then again when have I ever said that there's enough beef bacon on anything?

But the beef bacon is not like what you might expect. I'm sure most of you must surely have tried the beef bacon or turkey bacon which is served at Burger King or McDonalds by now right? Well they fry their 'bacon' which makes it very crispy and sometimes even tends to have a slightly burnt taste.

The beef bacon at Wendy's is different. It's not crispy (it's probably grilled not fried) which means it's not going to snap or crunch. I guess this is actually a very nice change and makes the beef bacon very delicious.
But because it doesn't snap or crunch, please make sure you take a nice and proper bite into the burger because if not, you're going to end up sliding out the burger from between the buns.

Not sure what I'm talking about? Just try it.

And as for the fries that come along with the meal? Let me just say that these are monster fries and they give you a monster serving. They sprinkle a little sea salt which is a nice touch but boy were these fries filling.

But if you're not feeling like some fries...

Chili & Cheese Baked Potato ($3.50)
Okay so the Baked Potatoes is something unique to Wendy's. You can't very well go to KFC or McDonald's and have a baked potato can you? Baked potato lovers rejoice!

And they have a wide variety of baked potatoes too!
Click HERE to see the Baked Potatoes Menu!

The one picture above is the Chili & Cheese Baked Potato.
It's basically topped with their signature Chili (beef and beans galore) and some cheddar cheese.
To me personally, the baked potato was nothing special actually. The potato itself was a little dry. I mean, it was okay but it's nothing I would swoon over. But the Chili was not bad.

All-Beef Chili ($3.20)

I guess that okay-okay thing about it was the chilli. We're talking about an All-Beef Chili mixed in with some beans, celery and tomatoes for a nice hearty bowl of yum-yum. So if you think the baked potato is enough then go for it. But if you're greedy like me, get both!

Well most of the things reviewed today were beef products but Wendy's does have quite a number of other items like Chicken/Seafood burgers, Fried Chicken (which is not bad!!) and even a breakfast menu (which I was not very impressed with (Just ask my friend, Andi)

Adam's Verdict:
Beef Baconator 3.5/5 -- Chili and Cheese Baked Potato 2.5/5 -- All-Beef Chili 2.5/5

Maryah's's Verdict:
Chili and Cheese Baked Potato 3/5 -- All-Beef Chili 3/5

So Wendy's is a little hard to get to with their few outlets spread out far and wide but I have to say that if you happen to be in the vicinity of a Wendy's, it might just actually be worth your while to step in and try something. Sure it may cost a little more than your McChicken but it's actually not too bad once in awhile.

Wendy's (Liat Towers)

541 Liat towers #01-01
Orchard Road
Tel: 6737 8036

Operating Hours: 24 Hours

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Manhattan Fish Market

Okay to be honest this review was actually done dammmmnnn long ago.

I'm sure you all have heard the comparisons between The Manhattan Fish Market and Fish and Co.
Well, apparently the story goes that there was this guy who used to worked at Fish and Co and decided to leave at some point. He then opened The Manhattan Fish Market which had some eerily similar items on their menu as Fish and Co... (in fact even their website is so similar lah)

Well the latter eventually brought The Manhattan Fish Market to court and I think they lost the case.
But that doesn't seem to have affected the business and its still going strong now with 11 stores islandwide and also more overseas!

And of course since we're talking about similar places here, there's definitely going to be some comparisons with Fish & Co. along the way okay so don't be surprised.

Let's start at the starting with some starters.
Seafood Chowder ($4.90)
Manhattan serves a clear broth type of chowder with bits of seafood.
You'll get mostly fish and some squid if you dig the bottom of your dish. They do have 2 sizes - the Lite (above) which is served in a tea-cup and the Regular which I guess is in a bowl.

This chowder is a little on the peppery side and I guess it has to be since it's a clear broth style.
This is definitely different from Fish & Co which serves a Cream style chowder.

Caesar Salad with Crispy White Bait ($7.50 + $3.00)
We also had the Caesar Salad which I have to say it quite refreshing.

You have the option of topping it up with Crispy White Bait, Grilled Chicken or Tuna for an additional $3.00.
We have the Crispy White Bait (which is basically fresh ikan bilis) and it was pretty tasty. But even without it, the salad itself was pretty decent with the fresh and crisp greens.

My darling wife thinks the serving is too small though especially for that price.

Fried Calamari ($9.95)
 This is always a must-have when you go to this kind of seafood place am I right?

Well Fish & Co gives you a choice of either fried or grilled with their Calamari but only one choice here.
And I notice that the Manhattan Calamari has more crunch to it but also an extra kick with the seasoning.
It's kind of peppery I think. Does tend to overpower the squid though. But it is served on a bed of more fresh and crisp greens! Serving is a bit small though.

Their menu says that you can choose between Grilled or Fried but... I'm not so sure...
Anyways, we never order the grilled version. Calamari is destined to be fried!

Fried Country Mushroom ($7.95)
Now here's a bit of a worse-type situation.
Anything fried is delicious. Extra delicious if it's mushrooms.

But we were totally fooled by what we saw in the menu!
Anyways the mushrooms themselves were nothing spectacular. The special tangy dip that came along was not bad but didn't do enough to pick the dish up.

Nice try on offering something unique on your menu, Manhattan.
But you might wanna work on your serving and recipe.

And now... the main event!

Manhattan Flaming Seafood Platter for Two ($37.95)
So the Manhattan Flaming Seafood Platter for 2 comes with the following items;
2 Fried Fish Fillets, Calamari, Fried Oysters (which were not available when we went), 4 Flaming Prawns, some vegetables and you can choose if you want fries or rice.

Okay so they are definitely trying to shake things up with the Flaming Prawns. I guess it's probably their signature item which is definitely not offered if you were to go to Fish & Co.

So when they serve you your Platter, the guy comes with this mini-blow torch like he's ready to burn the hell out of your dish right.

The prawns themselves are covered in this creamy mayonnaise-like sauce that will scorch once the torch does its magic.

The prawns at Fish and Co have their deilicious signature Lemon Butter sauce which is definitely a proven favourite especially with the prawns but this flaming-mayo is definitely a new approach that I guess isn't half as bad as you might think...

 Anyways, if you think you might enjoy it, you can order the Flaming Prawns as n individual platter which is a separate item on the menu.

Another thing to note is the difference in serving compared to Fish & Co.

The Fish & Co. Seafood Platter for 2 comes with 10 (!) Tiger Prawns plus Mussels along with (either fried or grilled) Fish and Calamari together with rice AND fries. And the price isn't that far off either.

And sure I guess we could debate about a few things between Manhattan and Fish & Co and I don't think the argument would end...

I guess there's only one clear way to differentiate the 2 platters.
It looks like we need to have a Platter vs Platter one of these days...

Oh and before I forget...

Mediterranean Baked Fish ($15.95)
For all you fish lovers who don't like it fried, here's an alternative.
And for some reason, they state on the menu that this is a "hot favourite for the ladies".
Is that true??

Well it's basically fish baked with some herbs and garlic herb rice and veggies.
Not too bad as far as baked fish goes. My darling wife enjoyed it and says it's tasty but like almost everything else, the serving was too small.

Adam's Verdict
Seafood Platter 2.5/5 -- Seafood Chowder 2/5 -- Caesar Salad 3.5/5 -- Fried Calamari 2.5/5
Fried Country Mushroom 1.5/5 -- Mediterranean Baked Fish 3/5

Maryah's Verdict
Seafood Platter 3/5 -- Caesar Salad 2.5/5 -- Fried Calamari 2.5/5
Fried Country Mushroom 2.5/5 -- Mediterranean Baked Fish 3/5

So is it really fair to say that Manhattan Fish Market is just a "rip-off" of Fish & Co?
I mean, they do have some pretty unique items on their menu you know...
Well, like I said, maybe the only way to truly know is to have a head-to-head between the two rivals.

So look out for a Makan vs Makan soon!

Anyways we ate at the outlet located a The Central.
Check out their website for more locations near you!

The Manhattan Fish Market

The Central
6 Eu Tong Sen Street #02-79/90
Tel: 65347903

Operating Hours: 11.00am til 10.00pm Daily

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Canadian 2 For 1 Pizza

CANADIAN PIZZA! 2.. for.. 1... JENG!!
CANADIAN PIZZA! 2.. for.. 1... JENG!!

Love that commercial.

So we wrote about RITE Pizza before and then we went on to Sarpino's.
And now it's time for one of the originals - Canadian Pizza!

I remember back then you could only get pizza delivered from one place - Pizza Hut.
And then in the late 90s, Canadian 2-for-1 Pizza appeared on the scene and what a massive impact!
Not only another Halal pizza joint with delivery but offering 2 pizzas for the price of 1!

Well they have definitely grown since then and expanded their menu.
Now serving at least 26 different types of pizzas and other items like pasta, lasagna,chicken wings and even Shepard's Pie among other things, Canadian Pizza has definitely cemented its place in Singapore as one of the leaders in pizza delivery.

In fact, they even have expanded to a dine-in set-up as well...
Hmmm maybe it's time to check it out.

Hawaiian Pizza

Meat Lover
Who can resist a nice piping hot pizza?!

So you have a choice of ordering 3 different sizes;
Regular (10") for $23.90, Medium (12") for $31.90 or Extra Large (14") for $37.90.
So for that price, you get TWO pizzas!

And as you can see from the pictures above, they are very generous with the toppings!
Turkey Ham, Pineapple and 2 different types of cheese on the Hawaiian.
Minced Beef, Pepperoni, Salami,Turkey Ham and Italian sausage on the Meat Lovers.
If your mouth is not watering yet, click HERE for the full menu and descriptions.

Adam's Verdict:
Hawaiian Pizza 3/5 -- Meat Lover 4/5

Maryah's Verdict:
Hawaiian Pizza 3.5/5 -- Meat Lover 3.5/5

And it's not always the case, but this time, there was something wrong with the pizzas.
I'm not sure if it was a newbie making the pizzas or they were in a rush but they didn't cook it long enough so the bottom of the pizza didn't crisp up and turned soggy because of the tomato sauce.
This meant lots of dripping when you lift up your pizza slice.

But like I said, seldom happens.
And I hope it never happens again. Ever.

Canadian 2 For 1 Pizza

Delivery Hotline: 6241 0241

Operating Hours: 11.00am til 10.00pm Daily

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Tong Seng Coffeeshop - Wanton Noodles

Now I'm sure many of you have gone to Tong Seng before.
This makan corner just across the road from Bugis Junction has been churning out Halal Chinese-style food for years upon years and people still flock there.

They've got quite a few things to offer actually but the different food items available are basically from different stalls which make up the 'Tong Seng Family' so to speak. From Chicken Rice to Lor Mee to breakfast items like Nasi Lemak and Epok-Epok. Apparently Tong Seng has 'em all.

So my old buddies Joseph & Rita and I frequent Tong Seng for one thing and one thing only.
We fondly refer to it as 'Halal Wanton'. But the truth it... it's something else that draws us back...

Wanton Noodles ($3.50)
Some noodles, some veggies and some Halal Wanton.
Can't get any simpler than that.

But then again, with something so simple I guess you can't really expect much.
Sure there's some flavour but with most noodle dishes, it's the side offerings that are supposed to give you a little bit of kick to keep you coming back for more.

And in this case, I guess it's supposed to be the wantons.

Fried Wanton ($3.00)
So you can also order the wantons as a side dish if you'd like.

They do have a nice crispy crunch to it and the the filling is pretty flavourful.
Everyone loves a nice crackle when you bite into something fried and this wanton definitely dies that.
And don't worry, that white stuff isn't salt. It's probably flour.

Speaking of salt...

This is the soup that comes with your order of noodles.
That's right.

We always joke and call it 'Ajinomoto Soup' because that's what we get.
A nice bowl of teeth-chattering, salty-goodness soup. I remember there was one time when we probably got the last scrapes at the bottom of the pot and that soup was salt-eeeeeeeeee to the max.
Not that I'm complaining.

As Joseph says "That'll put hair on your balls!".
And if you have no balls? Well, then maybe this will grow you some balls!

But I am glad to report that the soup has definitely mellowed down over the years...
It's not salty to a point that it's inedible. In fact, I think it goes very well with the noodled you'll order.
I drop a wanton or 3 to let them soak in the soupy goodness before chomping down.

Adam's Verdict:
Wanton Noodles 2.5/5 -- Fried Wanton 3/5

Joseph's Verdict:
Wanton Noodles 3/5 -- Fried Wanton 3/5

Rita's Verdict:
Wanton Noodles 2/5 -- Fried Wanton 3/5

So if you're in the area and need a place to chomp and chat with friends.
Head down to Tong Seng and have some wanton. And soup.

PS please pardon the shoddy photography in this post..
There must have been a lunar eclipse or something. Better pics next time we go!

Tong Seng Coffeshop

496 North Beach Road
Tel: 6338 0163

Operating Hours: 6.00am til 11.00pm Daily

Monday, February 4, 2013

Streats Hong Kong Cafe

Quite a number of increasing choices for us to get Halal Hong Kong-Chinese cuisine and this of course includes something we all love - Dim Sum!!

So I discovered this place called Streats Hong Kong Cafe at Downtown East.
At first I didn't realize it was Halal but a closer look shows the Halal logo displayed proudly in the front.
And they seem to really be trying to keep to the kind of Hong Kong cafe we see elsewhere BUT this one is Halal of course.

Fried Pumpkin with Salted Egg Yolk ($3.80)
So for appetizers we started with the pumpkin.
We did this for one simple reason - anything with salted egg yolk MUST be good right?

As far as appetizers go, this is a winner.
The pumpkin is light and preps you for the meal ahead and you can taste the salted egg.
But in my opinion, there can never be enough salted egg yolk and this one seemed a little light on the yolk.

And now for the mains!

Famous HK Fried Beef Hor Fun ($8.50)
Firstly, it's not as oily as it looks...

You can have either the gravy version or the dry version. Above is the latter.
But I should also mention that we requested that we asked for it to be "extra black" with the intention of it having extra black sweet sauce added when cooking. And we also asked for it to be "extra spicy" but the server told us that this meant they would give us a side dish of sambal meaning they could not add the sambal when frying. Isn't that weird?

Anyways my darling wife didn't really like the kway teow used. It was kinda extra thin so it didn't really have a texture we were used to. Perhaps this is also the reason why the taste wasn't so strong.
It was as if either the sweet sauce they used wasn't that sweet OR the kway teow didn't really take the flavour in when cooking. In fact, the only specific taste we could identify was saltiness.

But on the plus side - the beef was actually pretty tender.
But I'm kinda questioning the high price though. I mean, it wasn't even that big of a serving...

Nissin Noodles with Chicken Luncheon Meat & Fried Egg ($7.20)
I have this thing about Hong Kong noodles ever since I saw those old Jackie Chan kung-fu movies and also the newer HK mahjong comedies. There would always be this big bowl of noodles with meat and sometimes soup and veggies. Love it.

Even though it's the instant Nissin noodles (which I guess is the HK style) it's actually a pretty decent noodle.
Top it off with chicken luncheon meat (my favourite!!) and we have a winner. I guess it's the salty edge of the luncheon meat which I (and others I suppose) love so much. Finish it off with some kai lan and a fried egg and we're all set. If you're lucky, the yolk of the egg is cooked just nicely that the yolk is fluid enough to mix in with your noodles... YUMMY!

But after all that, I face an obvious fact - you can just make this at home!
PS you can have the dry (above) or the soup version for this as well.

Salty Plum Soda & Iced Honey Lemon ($3.80 each)
In the true HK style, some of the drinks are served in those thick glasses you see above.
This includes the coffees and teas as well.

It's quite a nice touch actually. But unfortunately that's about all that's nice about them...
The sour plum was a little bit TOO sour even though it was just two sour plums in soda water.
And the Iced Honey Lemon? It's just some honey and two slices of lemon in iced water.

Adam's Verdict:
Pumpkin with Salted Egg Yolk 2.5/5 --  Noodles with Chicken Luncheon Meat & Fried Egg 3/5
Iced Honey Lemon 1/5

Maryah's Verdict:
Pumpkin with Salted Egg Yolk 2/5 -- Famous HK Fried Beef Hor Fun 1/5 -- Sour Plum Soda 1/5

I actually like Streats. Most likely because it's so close my house.
You Korea-mania fans will be happy to know that they have a TV playing K-Pop music videos.
I'll probably go back there. For the Dim Sum menu. Not the K-Pop.

Streats Hong Kong Cafe

Downtown East
1 Pasir Ris Close
Tel: 6584 4001

Operating Hours: 11.00am til 10.00pm Daily (Closed on CNY)