Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hai Nan Xing Zhou Beef Noodle @ Toa Payoh

Located at Block 22, Lorong 7 Toa Payoh. The stall is closed on Mondays though. Was there on a weekday lunch. There was a long queue and we probably stood in line for at least 20 minutes.

stall signboard

When we got nearer to the stall front, the uncle told us that the dry version had all sold out (probably no more sauces to make dry noodles), and only soup version was available. I took a quick glance at the noodles tray, and it looked dangerously low on supply. Was thinking that worse case scenario, we'll only get to drink the beef noodles soup without any rice nor noodles. We can't give up after queueing for this long!

The customer in front of me, has indeed taken the last of the beehoon when one of the stall uncle returned with one more packet of noodles freshly bought from the market. Phew!

A small bowl of beef noodles slices costs $3 while the mixed part costs $4 per bowl.

mixed part beef noodles soup

Liked the mixed bowl because it has generous servings of mixed parts, beef slices and beef balls. 4 beef balls to be exact! Wow! There's preserved salted vege bits heaped onto the noodles, together with chopped spring onions, as condiments. The soup was tasty, and not overly salty. It has a robust beefy flavour. The beef slices were tender without it being overly thinly sliced. Nice. The dipping chili sauce was good too. Its spiciness tingles but not overpowering. Good companion to the meat.

The stall uncle who prepares our order, although busy, was quite genial. And the uncle who cooks all those bowls after bowls after bowls of noodles, remained cool despite the heat from the stove.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Pao Xiang Bak Kut Teh @ Glenmarie, Shah Alam

Had a chance to visit Pao Xiang Bak Kut Teh when I went over to the Shah Alam office. The shop is set up in a more elegant coffeeshop kind of environment but still airconditioned-less. I've heard that this bak kut teh chain is quite popular in West Malaysia and has many outlets, including one in MidValley shopping mall.

Pao Xiang bak kut teh
interior of the shop

The outlet seemed to be popular amongst office workers. Many people were patronising this shop during lunch hour on a Friday. Drinking tea whilst enjoying bak kut teh is a given. Hence, the shop does have a tea basket with an assortment of teas for customers to choose from. However, my colleague prefers to bring his own.

tea basket

BYO tea
teapots and mini cups

The bak kut teh here is served in sizes suitable for 1 pax. Hence, if you are in a group, you can order a variety of the dishes to try. Unlike many other local bak kut tehs in Malaysia, the version served here whilst still retaining the dark herbal soup, the meats are not mixed. Meaning, if you order pork ribs, then that portion shall contain just pork ribs. In many other places, you'll get a claypot of a mixture of meats, intestines and mushrooms all in one pot. Hence, the difference in presentation.

our table of goodies

We ordered pork ribs, lean meat, pork knuckles, intestines, stomach, stir-fried vegetable and many servings of you-tiao (fried dough fritters). The dough fritters here is nice as the dough skin is thin but one minor problem. The meats are served in a bowl so tiny, it was rather difficult to dunk the dough in and to let it absorb the soup! And oh.. the request to add soup. It is rather a norm to request for additional soup but at this shop, this task seemed rather herculean! The waiter will still bring the soup but in a bowl even smaller and add like half a small bowl of soup each time to each bak kut teh serving bowl...

I found the pork ribs and pork meat here rather lean. The pork knuckles looked much more nicer! The intestines were firm and enjoyable. The soup here is tasty but the serving bowl made it rather precarious to sink the spoon into it to get the soup out! (because if press too hard, the bowl will tilt over!)

The experience at Pao Xiang is a novel way of presenting the common bak kut teh in a modernized setting. However, I still prefer the traditional way of one claypot to hold all ingredients.

The prices starts from about RM$10.90 per bowl of pork ribs.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Baits @ Resort World Sentosa

Located at Level 1, the restaurant is easily spotted. There's a huge huge candy store nearby.


Was my first time at RWS and first time dining there. Did not realise at first, but Baits is actually Din Tai Fung. Visited on a Saturday afternoon at about 12.10pm, and there was a short queue. Stood at the queue under the hot sun for a good 10 minutes without anyone coming out to attend. Also noticed that there are still some unoccupied tables inside the restaurant.

We saw the first two groups infront of us moved into the restaurant and were seated, so we followed suit and waited inside the restaurant. Stood there for a minute before a waitress walked past us and straight to the queue outside. So we called out to her and requested for a table. She looked at us and said we need to queue outside. We replied to say that we did, and came in just a little while ago because the group infront of us were already seated. She looked at us rather haughtily and insisted that we must queue outside. Puzzled, we went back to queue outside under the hot sun once more.

A minute later, the same waitress came back and said we can go inside now. Strange practice to shoo your customers out when they are already inside the restaurant and then to ask them to step back in a minute later. I do understand if the policy does not allow queues inside the restaurant but at least have someone come out and attend to the customer and let the customer know that they are visible.

Undaunted, we were still willing to try the food there. Ordered tom yum soup, champagne pork ribs, stewed beef noodles (soup) and pork dumplings (小笼包). We were seated on a table with 4 chairs, so we sat down with the plates to our left. Shortly after we had ordered, a waiter brought out the tom yum soup. I gestured that the tom yum soup was for my dining companion but the waiter still did not place the dish infront of my friend but on the unoccupied space beside him. Semi-service? Hahaa, perhaps we expected too much but it is logical to place the food in front of your diners, right? It's not like our table is full of dishes. Tom yum soup was just the first one!

chinese tea @$1.20++ refillable
Tom yum soup for 1 pax that came with a droplet of soup on the plate. I thought they usually wipe clean the plate prior to serving?

Ingredients in the tom yum soup included 2 medium sized prawns, squids, button mushrooms, mussels, chilies and tomatoes. The soup was thick and sour but not very spicy. Quite appetising.


My friend commented that the prawn and the mussels did not taste that fresh. I did not have any problems with the prawn although certain parts of the meat were slightly soft and stuck to the shell.

Another waiter served us the pork dumplings, and he was very polite. He even warned us to be careful as the dumplings are very hot.

pork dumplings aka xiao long bao
ginger in vinegar to dip pork dumplings
let the soup out so that it won't scald the tongue later when biting into the dumpling

The standard of the pork 小笼包 here is similar to any other Din Tai Fung branches that I've eaten before. Juicy with moist pork meat fillings wrapped by thin dumpling skin. Simple and yummy.

stewed beef noodles (牛腩面)
beef (牛腩)

The stewed beef noodles was disappointing. The meat was chewy and the tendon was not soft. The noodles was not springy at all.

Fortunately, the champagne pork ribs fared better than the noodles and tom yum soup.

champagne pork ribs

delicious pork ribs

Actually, it was hard to discern between champagne pork ribs or the regular pork ribs king (排骨王) taste. The sauce for champagne pork ribs seemed sweeter and less tangy. The meat itself was nicely tender and easy to eat.

The total bill for the meal came up to $50+ for 2 pax.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Yuzuya @ Upper Thomson Road

Located along Upper Thomson Road near Thong Soon Avenue, Yuzuya is a Japanese ala-carte buffet restaurant. We endured massive jam on the SLE on a Friday night in an attempt to dine there. On the night of our visit, the restaurant sees few other diners and it was quiet.

House of Yuzu

The buffet is priced at about $29++ per adult for dinner and drinks are charged separately. The menu includes appetisers, grilled items, sushi, sashimi, tempura items, noodles and rice dishes. Most of the items comes in 1 piece or 1 stick per order. So the friendly waitstaff will ask for the quantity to be served at the point of order. Some of the items such as tori karaage will come in 3 pieces per order. For drinks, my table ordered yuzu citrus and ocha. Note that only ocha (green tea) is refillable. Alcoholic drinks such as sake/beer are available as well. Non alcoholic drinks are priced between $1 ~ $3.50.

The hot yuzu citrus drink was pleasantly sweet with some yuzu bits at the bottom of the mug.

Our strategy in ala-carte buffet seemed to be this: Order small quantity of the items that we wanted to try, and afterwards make a reorder if we liked it. We were there in the restaurant at about 830pm, and left at about 10pm. So we made probably just 3-4 rounds of ordering. Last order was at about 930-940pm.

Ordering of sashimi items in any Japanese ala-carte seemed almost mandatory. I view it as a more cost effective method to enjoy sashimi in quantity. The sashimi available for order were: salmon, red snapper, yellow tail, tuna and octopus.

tai (red snapper), hamachi (yellow tail) and sake (salmon) sashimi


The hamachi and salmon sashimi were sliced in adequate thickness, but the tai sashimi came in really really small pieces. Sashimi quantity was also 1 piece per order, so do indicate to the friendly waitstaff if you'd like to have more in that serving. I noticed that for our last order, the salmon sashimi came in thicker slices. For buffets, it would be better to eat the sashimi right after it was served, as the freshness level dips if left out on the table for longer period of time.

Items that we enjoyed but ordered just once:

hot soba
baby octopus
potato cheese croquette

Items that I didn't try:

mekajiki (swordfish) sushi

garlic rice

fried sweet potato

Items that were not in my reorder list:

ebi tempura
 shitake mushroom wrapped with pork belly (grilled)

The ebi tempura was just ok, with quite a thick coating of tempura batter on somewhat not so big prawns. The gyoza was really thin with little filling, while the grilled pork belly wrapping the mushroom was tough, and has a very hard to bite/chew skin.

Items that we enjoyed and reordered:

chicken yakitori

deep fried tebasaki (chicken wings)

grilled shishamo and mushroom

tori karaage

The chicken yakitori was tender and nicely marinated. The tebasaki although appeared quite flat and thin, was nicely marinated. The grilled mushroom was not much of a looker but it tasted good (if you like mushrooms!) with a heavy funghi scent that's almost as heady as alcohol. Shishamo tends to be heavily salted here, so you might want to just scrape off some of the salt before tucking in.  Tori karaage has a light batter coating, adequately flavored and it was juicy. The grilled chicken balls (tsukune) has a good texture and easy to chew.

Almost all of the grilled/fried items needed to be eaten right after it was served, as it would harden if left too long on the table.

There was a 11% discount for the buffet (excluding drinks) when paid using DBS/POSB card. So the bill came up to about $33 per pax.

Sushi Tei @ Vivocity

Located at Level 2, this outlet seem to be crowded during lunch time almost everytime that I passed by. Decided to drop in for lunch today, and queued for about 10 minutes before getting seated.

Currently it is having an Autumn Promotion where you can get to try fugu fish! However, it was a tad too expensive (and probably luxurious) to have that item for lunch, so we decided to just order a Matsutake Dobinmushi from the autumn promo menu. Also ordered a Kan Buri sushi (coldest season yellow tail sushi) to try from its Kan Buri Promotion menu.

As we were in the mood for sushi, we ordered nama hotate, salmon belly, hon maguro (blue fin tuna), mekajiki and sea welk sushi.

dobinmushi, served with a slice of lime

I've always heard of Matsutake mushrooms when watching Japan Hour, so it piqued my interest in this breed of mushroom. The taste of Matsutake was not as strong as anticipated. Kind of woody and has a nice scent. The soup was clear and light flavoured. Enjoyable.

Matsutake mushroom!

When eating sushi, how can one forget about wasabi and vinegared ginger?


The Kan Buri sushi came out looking quite different from the picture depicted in the menu.

kan buri sushi

Hon maguro was bright red in colour and has nice texture.

hon maguro

The sea whelk sushi was crunchy, so it's a refreshing change from the softer texture of say, salmon.

sea whelk sushi

salmon belly

The Matsutake dobinmushi costs $9++, and the Kan Buri sushi is $5.80++ per 2 pieces.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Old School Delights @ Upper Thomsom Road

Read about this place from a popular local magazine some months back, and we used to pass by it when we were seeking food nearby, so finally decided to drop in recently on a weekday night for dinner.

menu on chalkboard and yummy cakes on display

We ordered mee siam, laksa, nasi lemak and deep fried chicken wings. Top up $3 to get 1 drink (eg. barley, lime juice) and a small basket of fries.

For drinks I had iced lime tea. It looked like regular iced lemon tea due to its colour, but with lime taste. I think I still prefer iced lemon tea, thank you.

iced lime tea

The place exudes old-schoolness in the utensils as well. Check out the container that holds the chopsticks and spoons.

old school container

I had mee siam, and it was pretty decent. Much sweeter than I expected, and not spicy at all! The ingredients were pretty simple, just taupok, tauhu and half an egg.

mee siam
nasi lemak

The fries arrived piping hot, and has curry powder sprinkled on it. Hmmm.. it was a curious taste. But I liked the tartar sauce dip. Goes well, with the fries.

The deep fried chicken winglets (about 6 small winglets per order) were nicely browned, juicy and tasty. Yummy and recommended.

In total, we spent $30+ for the meal and it was enough to feed all three of us, with no room for cakes.
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