22 February 2010
I have always been a big fan of Thai Food; I remember the days back in Metro Manila wherein I would indulge myself in cheap authentic Thai Food after my MBA classes in Rockwell. Things were unfortunately different though when I relocated here in Singapore as so-called Thai Restaurants are either too expensive or are simply not at par with what I was used to then. This was the case until my beautiful girlfriend discovered this cheap and authentic Thai Hawker Stall in Bencoolen Street.
Thai Food is this unassuming stall at this unnamed hawker just in front of Hotel Bencoolen; for reference sake, I shall be naming this hawker as M11 @ Bencoolen since there was a signage within the area with that name printed. I can assume that this is run by Thais judging by the way they talk.
As they cannot speak English very well which was why we just pointed out from the menu what we wanted to eat. We ordered this dish called Moo Tawd Katiem (which is actually just fried sliced pork with garlic) and the very famous Tom Yum Goong (Thai Soup with Seafood) plus two servings of rice. I paid the bill and was surprised that it will only cost us 15 SGD; I remembered paying close to 30 SGD for a similar order in this famous Thai Outlet in the Esplanade several months back.
Service was actually quick and the food was ready in less than 10 minutes. I was happy to note that the serving size is quick large as I was expecting just a miniature dish that is good for only one person. The pork was very good; it was cooked just right, not too crispy and at the same time not too chewy. I would suppose that this would be a very good when paired with a cold glass of Tiger Beer. On the other hand, the Tom Yum Goong was just excellent. The soup was very sour, to the point that I can say that it is really authentic. Apart from the delicious soup, it was served with a very generous amount of fish, squid and prawn. Honestly, I would say that this is worth more than its 6 SGD price.
I ended up very full that Friday, so full I was that we decided to stroll around a bit before I took my bus ride back to my apartment. Since I was so impressed with what we ate, we popped by M11 @ Bencoolen again and had early dinner just before hearing mass – this was after just less than 48 hours since I discovered this place.
22 September 2009
A lot of my friends and relatives from all over the world have been raving about the delicious taste of the Swedish Meatballs served in the restaurant of IKEA stores. One Sunday afternoon, I decided to give this a try.
There are two IKEA outlets here in Singapore; there is one in Tampines, more than an hour away from my apartment, and the store in Alexandra Road, which was just approximately less than 10 minutes away by bus. I decided to go to the outlet in Alexandra for obvious reasons as it was more convenient for me.
It was already lunchtime when I woke up that Sunday; I initially thought that my timing would be perfect, I would be arriving there at around 2 in the afternoon and the lunch crowd would have dispersed by then. Damn, I was wrong!! When we arrived, this is what I saw…
I decided to queue with the crowd, as we were already very hungry at that time. It took me 20 minutes before I was able to get my orders and another 5 minutes before I was able to pay for it. The set-up in this restaurant is like a cafeteria; you queue up, get your food and pay for it.
The waiting was comparable to that time I tried eating Tian Tian Chicken Rice some weeks back. We ordered the 15-pcs Swedish Meatball (SGD 8.00) , 6-pcs Chicken Wings (SGD 7.50), a cup of Java Rice (SGD 2.00) and a refillable cup of cold drinks (SGD 1.50).
The meatballs were topped with gravy and were paired with French fries. It was supposed to be mashed potatoes but I asked the person serving if I can have fries instead as we are not fond of mashed potatoes. The dish also came with a small serving of lingonberry jam (honestly though, I don’t know how this would compliment with meatballs and mashed potatoes). It was a simple meal but it was a good one especially when paired with the java rice I ordered.
The chicken wings were still as good as how I have tasted it last year when I was still visiting as a tourist here in Singapore. Actually it tasted more or less the same as the ones they sell in Lau Pa Sat but the clincher for this dish is the size of the chicken wing – it was really Scandinavian size I should say. Despite its size, the chicken wing still remains juicy and tender. I paired this with ketchup mixed with Tabasco sauce.
We were very full when we finished our food. As a result, in order to melt down what we have just eaten, we decided to stroll around and look at the wonderful displays inside IKEA.
An hour later, we decided to head out and go back to the city. I got a surprise that day when I saw that there was still a long queue in the restaurant counter, this time it was much longer than the one I queued in 90 minutes earlier. It probably just goes to show that the people here in Singapore do really love the food in IKEA.
IKEA Alexandra 317 Alexandra Road Singapore 159965
1 August 2009
It was late in the morning on one hot Saturday when I went out of my apartment to try eating in Maxwell Road Food Center for the very first time. After a brief 15-minute walk, I found myself outside one of the most talked about hawker center here in Singapore.
I didn’t know what to eat at first, and then I remembered that there is this very famous chicken rice stall inside this said hawker center. My only problem was, I did not research firsthand to find out the name of that said stall.
Problem solved; I just went around and in as short as 2 minutes, I saw the stall that I was looking for: Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice. How did I find it? I just went around and looked for the stalls selling chicken rice, which had the most amount of foot traffic. I checked the posters in the stall and I was immediately able to confirm that this was the one I was looking for.
For info, Hainanese chicken rice is a Chinese dish informally known as the “national dish” of Singapore. It consists of boiled chicken meat that served at room temperature and eaten with oily tasty rice that has previously been cooked with herbs and chicken stock. The dish is generally served with three kinds of sauce: soy sauce, ginger sauce and chili sauce. I eat my chicken rice with a combination of soy sauce and chili sauce, 1/3 and 2/3 respectively.
I have noticed here in Singapore that the people do not mind queuing at all, if it is worth it they will really line up for it and will not mind waiting for a long time. Readers, please remember this if you happen to find yourself eating in a hawker center here in Singapore; if you have a hard time deciding what and where to eat, the safest best would be to follow the herd and line up at the stall with the longest queue. As for me, by following the herd, it took me around 30 minutes before I was finally able to sit down and have a taste of the food from one of the 15 hawker legends here in Singapore.
It turned out to be one of the best chicken rice I have ever tasted. The rice was done just right, not too soft nor too hard, not too oily and was very fragrant. The chicken meat was very tender and juicy. The chili sauce is quite different from the one I have tried before as it was spicier than average.
I was not disappointed at all as it lived up to its expectation but to come back for it again and wait for 30 minutes to get my food? Nah, I can let that pass. However, I would gladly bring any tourist friends of mine here to have a taste of what Anthony Bourdain described as a “chicken rice is (sic) so fragrant and delicious that it can be eaten on its own.”
Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice Maxwell Food Centre Stall 10 Operating Hours: 11am to 8pm Closed on Monday