Sunday, April 30, 2017

[Media Invite] Yoogane @ Serangoon NEX

Yoogane originated from Busan and I first had a taste of it at its Myeongdong branch. It's a simple shop where one walks in, get a table, order the combination of choice and the staff will bring the necessary and cooks it at your table. The side dishes (banchan) are self-service and the staff usually brings water in the form of a steel water container bottle to the table. Utensils are in the drawer that one slides out at the end of the table.

store front

Similarly, one expects the same at Yoogane Singapore. Personally, I found that the side dishes in Yoogane Singapore tasted better than the version I had in Myeongdong some years ago. There's strawberry sauce or sesame sauce for the salads, the kimchi was nicely marinated and the yellow radish was tasty. Unlimited refills, so take as much as you need.

At Yoogane, the must order would be the dak galbi (닭갈비 - stir fried spicy chicken). For its 3rd Anniversary in May, Yoogane is launching new dishes. For chicken galbi, do order the one with cheese and the staff will bring over the grill with a side rim for the cheesy dips. We tried the cheesy corn and cheesy mushroom. The grill looks familiar to those that can be found at korean bbq stores.
Cheesy Duet  of Cheesy Corn & Cheesy Mushroom Chicken Galbi @$59.90
Various toppings such as ramyeon, rice or dokbokki can be added. The toppings prices ranged from $3.90 to $6.90 per plate. I'd recommend the sweet potato dokbokki. Must try. Looked cute too! The sweet potato dokbokki has mung beans as it fillings so it was like eating spicy ang ku kueh.

sweet potato dokbokki (고구마 떡볶이 ) @$5.90
staff cooks

The cheese was enjoyable and liked that it was so stringy. Had fun trying to pull the longest cheese strings!

yummy cheesy corn

While staff cooks the dak galbi, one could order side dishes to munch on. The seafood pancake (hameul pajeon) is a popular choice, and we had egg roll and Taeyang (from Big Bang?!) salad too.

Korean Style Seafood Pancake @$18.90
Egg Roll @$10.90
Taeyang Salad - Chicken Galbi Salad with sesame dressing @$12.90

The chicken galbi was not very spicy and liked the cheese at the side. The egg rolls were good too, but do eat it while it is still warm. The taeyang (sun) salad is basically fresh lettuces, cherry tomatoes, sweet corn, cucumber slices and julienned carrots with chicken galbi and a poached egg.

let it flow

On a very hot day, one could also opt for naengmyeon which is basically the cold buckwheat noodles. Served with light and refreshing broth and one adds vinegar and mustard according to own's liking.

Naengmyeon (Cold Noodles) @$11.90
cutting the noodles

On 8 May, Yoogane will be launching the Dosirak (도시락) or lunch boxes, where it is prepared in a metal tin box, just like how it's being done in Korea. One could try these dosiraks in May; Chicken Galbi, Chicken Bulgogi and Beef Bulgogi. The items in the dosirak include the main meats (chicken galbi or chicken bulgogi or beef bulgogi), crispy chicken luncheon meat, kimchi, seaweed, korean fishcakes, anchovies and served with a sunny side up. The metal boxes are meant to be shaken before eating. Kind of getting an arm-workout prior to enjoying the carbs.

Dosirak (도시락) @$12.90

Next, we tried an existing item in the menu, which was the Octopus and Chicken Galbi. Last had this while I was at Myeongdong. The Yoogane taste is pretty consistent.

Octopus and Chicken Galbi @$59.90
almost ready

Expect to spend about $30 per pax for a meal here with drinks. The service staff are friendly and they will greet the diners upon entering and leaving their premise.

Special thanks to HGW for the invite and Yoogane Singapore for the hosting the dinner.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

[Media Invite] The Peranakan Set Menu of Yesteryears (13 and 14 May 2017) @ Claymore Connect

Thinking of where to dine during Mother's Day this year? If mom likes peranakan food, then you may want to indulge her at The Peranakan, conveniently located at Claymore Connect near Orchard Hotel. For Mother's Day, Chef Raymond has lovingly put up a menu that consists of favourite dishes in a 9-course menu suitable for 4 pax. We took a sneak peak of what's in this menu. So let's eat!

The course started off with a soup. One could choose Sup Bakwan Kepiting or Itik Tim; both are common in peranakan cuisine. I got the Sup Bakwan Kepiting, a mince pork and crab meatballs soup. The broth is subtle, with a tinge of sweetness and the shredded bamboo shoots added a bit of crunch with each bite.


Sup Bakwan Kepiting
Next up, for Mother's Day only, a heart-shaped nasi ulam will be making its presence known. The nasi ulam requires hours of preparations, resulting in a tasty nutritious dish. All of us enjoyed this.

Nasi Ulam
Next up, was an array of delicious and authentic peranakan dishes served together for communal dining. I was looking forward to the Sambal Pisang Jantung (though more commonly written as Sambal Jantung Pisang) which is actually a salad of banana flower.

Sambal Pisang Jantung

The Sambal Pisang Jantung was served on a plate lined with banana leave, where the salad sits in the middle with prawns adorning its crown and surrounded by crispy emping (crackers). Chef recommends us to pick up a piece of the cracker, scoop a generous amount of the salad onto it and pile it with a piece of prawn. I wasn't sure of what to expect as this was the first time I was having the banana heart salad. It was surprisingly sweet, a tad refreshing, a little piquantness and ended with a slight spicy note.

a bite of freshness

If you are looking to dishes with kuah (gravy), no worries. Coming right up!

Babi Asam
Udang Masak Nanas

Babi Asam, was a dish of no return. One bite, led to another and another. It was so flavourful! The sauce and white rice equated to yums. It had a little bit more spicy kick as compared to the rest of the dishes in this course. Liked the tender pork with a good fats to meat ratio. This ranks up there with the Trotters Babi Pongteh.

If you like it sweet, then the Udang Masak Nanas will tickle your tastebuds. The gravy was more like a soup and it was quite addictive. Just found it troublesome to have to peel off the shell off the prawns.

Bitergourd Asam Busuk
When Chef Raymond came round our table to talk about the Bittergourd Asam Busuk, we were like, "Uh? Say that again?" Yes, the name literally meant 'smelly' asam bittergourd. Even stranger, was the two fried dough fritters that sat at the both sides of the plate. For the life of me, I have never seen nor heard about this dish, have you?

Well, it turned out that the 'busuk' was implied from the salted fish. Alright, salted fish do have a distinct smell. Fortunately for us, this dish didn't smell funky at all. The salted fish was cooked down till its fragrance is extracted into the gravy which then paired well with the bitterness from the gourd and when mixed with asam, everything just harmonizes together. It had a good balance of sweet, salty, and savoury. The 'you tiao' (dough fritters) were good by the way, and we were to break it up and dip (or if you prefer, to soak up) into the gravy before popping it into the mouth. I liked it and, I think this was my favourite way of having the bittergourd asam busuk.

Telor Goreng Chinchalok

As part of the course meal, there was a lighter dish of Telor Goreng Chinchalok. Chinchalok originated from Malacca and is made of fermented shrimps. Chinchalok is one of those things that smells funky but taste so good. You could have it out of the bottle and mix it with chopped red onions with a squeeze of lime and pile some of it onto hot steamed rice. Here, at The Peranakan, chinchalok is mixed into the omelette and for extras, there is a small dish of it for you to add more. The chinchalok omelette makes a good side dish.

Of course, no one shall leave The Peranakan without ever trying its rendition of Ayam Buah Keluak. Again, this dish required steadfastness, as the preparations for the buah keluak is a tedious process. Thoroughly enjoyed the sauce and the chicken. For me, the buah keluak is an acquired taste. It's either you like it or you don't. But I do appreciate the effort that Chef Raymond and his team are putting in, in order to make this dish available at The Peranakan.

Ayam Buah Keluak

The Set Course ends with a dessert. However, the Apom Bokwa Pisang was not available during the tasting so we had kueh dadar instead. Ordered a pot of hot Malacca tea to go along with it.

kueh dadar

The above 9-Course Peranakan Set Menu of Yesteryears is priced at $200 (usual price $233) for 4 pax and is available during Mother's Day on 13 and 14 May 2017.

Thank you Hence for the invitation, Chef Raymond Khoo for hosting the dinner and The Peranakan team for taking care of us.

The Peranakan

Location: 442 Orchard Road, Level 2 Claymore Connect, 238879
Contact: +65 6262 4428
Business Hours
Monday-Sunday (11:00AM – 10:00PM)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Wine Company @ Dempsey

Has been to The Wine Company multiple times but mostly at night and at the alfresco area. Was recently invited for a lunch get-together session with a cosy group of wine aficionados. We were early a few minutes early, and the place opens at 12 noon.

business hours

The indoor dining area was comfortably cosy, and on a weekend, only one service staff was in-store.

no one's here yet
bar counter

Since we were early, it felt like we had the whole restaurant for ourselves. How cool was that! Hahaa. Well, at least for that half hour or so, we enjoyed our privilege.


The design of the menu was somewhat disjointed from the vibe that this place was giving. Nevertheless, never judge a book by its cover!

I had the honour (or stress) of choosing the first bottle. Let's start with something light so naturally, that'll be a white. Since there are three ladies in the group, I'd go with something semi-sweet. So, ended up with a Steigelmann Gimmeldinger Meerspinne Riesling Kabinett Halb-tr 2014.

Steigelmann Riesling Kabinett 2014 @$55.90
It was fruity, and tasted of apples, peaches and honey. Very likeable and thank goodness the rest enjoyed this too.

Ordered some finger food to share while we enjoyed the conversations and the flow of the Riesling. The light bites included seared tuna which was rather good with the generously coated pepper at its sides. The pork belly and squid were well fried and oily food, tasted better with wine.

Pepper Seared Tuna @$9.90
salt & pepper squid @$9.90
deep fried crispy pork belly @$7.90

Also ordered the nam yee chicken wings, which was tasty but unfortunately, the drumlets came with a red center. Meaning that the drumlets were either too frozen or its thicker center actually needed a bit more time in the fryer...

nam yee chicken wings @$9.90

Next up, we also had a bottle of red. Ivan chose the Shiraz. A South African Bushmanspad Shiraz 2015. Surprisingly, the tannicity was alright, full bodied, drinkable and tasted of cherries and dark chocolate.

South African Bushmanspad Shiraz 2015 @$59.90

When foodies gathered, what did we do? We had more food! Quite amazing that we still did main courses! I think the food here is decisively fusion.

Yong Tau Foo Capellini @$8.90
Pig Trotters Bee Hoon @$6.90

The capellini may be a tad salty, but since we were having wine, it balances out rather nicely. The pig trotters bee hoon was a tad too sweet but enjoyable nonetheless. Hot food and wine, yes please.

And then, we did a charchuterie platter. Wow. Am amazed by the amount of food that we could eat (or rather, had eaten!).

Charchuterie Platter @$24.90 (half) or $34.90 (full)

The platter consisted of pickled gherkins, truffle salami, chicken liver pate, pancetta, prosciutto, cheeses; cheddar and morbier, olives, mustard, jam, dried fruits, nuts, crackers & crispy baguettes. Loved the mustard, jam, the pate, the salami and the cheeses. Yums!

Lovely friends to enjoy the good wine and food. Thank you Elle, Cindy and Ivan!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

[Media Invite] Wah! Kungfu 蛙功夫

What comes to mind, when you hear the name "Wah! Kungfu"? Probably thought it's either an exclamation about martial art or manga? In Chinese, its meaning is a tad more apparent as the word '蛙' in 蛙功夫 means kungfu frog? Well, its mascot is literally that!

Located right at the exit of Chinatown MRT, this place was easy to find. Just look out for that brightly lit bullfrog signboard peeking out of a window.


Wah! Kungfu is a contemporary Chinese restaurant that serves up flavourful mouthwatering spicy Hunan-style specialty grill, BBQ and stir-fries, and its interior is pretty much bar-like (夜店风) with neon lights, manga-style graffiti'ed wall-panels and its mascot of butt-kicking kungfu frog. Kitschy? Very. Fun, nonetheless.

guess you know my name
We were invited for a tasting session and got a chance to meet up with the owner of Wah! Kungfu. Young entrepreneur (probably in his late twenties or early thirties) and currently, he has three shops that serves Hunan-specialty food but with different concept and themes.

We were ushered to Level 2 where the lights are a bit more manageable. Service staff wears cutesy frog-ears and they are earnest in their work.

level 2
Its menu is single page and double-sided. We pretty much gotten their signature dishes that night and am happy to report that it was good.

The spice level for its pot/grill items is less spicy, medium spicy and very spicy. However, the very spicy version was still manageable as long as you have a jug of that kumquat lime juice nearby to quench some of those fire.

toy frog on every table
For food, we had the bullfrog with soup, bullfrog on flat grill, BBQ chicken wings, BBQ lamb, BBQ fish, fresh crabs and shrimps in a pot, and some add-ons of stewed intestines and QQ shrimps.

平锅牛蛙 - 怪辣味 (flatgrill bullfrog - special pepper) @$39.80
The Special Pepper flavour bullfrog plate looked fearsome with all those red chilies piled ontop of it. Truth be told, it has a rating of 3 chilies on the menu which is the spiciest level. The meat has been deep fried and then recooked with the spices and hence, more flavourful. Indeed, it was tasty and its spicy level, was manageable. However, it is also more oily as compared to the pot with soup.

泡锅牛蛙 (香辣味) Bullfrog with soup (spicy flavour) @$39.80

My favourite bullfrog dish that night was the spicy flavour in the round pot with soup. Alhough, it similarly had a 3 chilies rating on the menu, it didn't come across as fiery as perhaps the soup helped to balance out the spicy flavours. Also, I liked it as one could taste more of the sweetness from the meat when it was cooked in this manner. Very yummy and goes well with rice.

drinks (left to right) kiwi fruit juice, plum huice, kumquat lime juice and pomegranate juice
外婆酸菜味 (pickled mustard) @$39.80

If you prefer something that is medium spicy and more of a appetising sourish tangy taste, can opt for the pickled mustard flavour. However, this version was not as sourish as we'd prefer and the soup came across as a tad too salty for my liking. This was the least spicy amongst all the pots that we've tasted.

There are side-dishes that one could add-on to the frog pots. For example, the stewed intestine, or the QQ shrimps. For us, we were happy to munch on these on its own as it was already very flavourful as it is.

stewed intestines @$9.80
QQ shrimp @$11.80

Items from the BBQ/grill section were also good. Particularly, I enjoyed the BBQ wings and the lamb skewers. So good! The wings were dry-rubbed with peppercorn salt and it has a bit of that ma-la (麻辣) numbing factor after a while. These are salty so get ready a drink before tucking into these moist and juicy wings.

BBQ mid-wings ( 考鸡翅)@$2.20 per skewer
The lamb skewer were tender and reminiscent of those 新疆烤羊肉串.

lamb skewer @$1.20 per stick

What happens if you don't take bullfrog? No worries, as there's still fish and crabs to choose from.

招牌烤鱼 (barbeque fish) @$35.80
The spicy hot grill fish has a fairly large fish on the plate. Probably 800gms to 1kg of seabass. The fish was fried and then cooked in the spicy broth. The flame will keep it bubbling for a while. Best enjoyed with a friend or two and with a bowl of rice.

Another favourite of mine, was the Crab and shrimps pot. The crab was fresh and the spices actually accentuated the sweetness of the seafood. Very good. Unfortunately, the shrimps were overcooked in this one.

虾蟹一锅 (fresh crab and shrimps in one pot) @$38.80

We have seen two petite ladies sharing a pot, so it is possible to enjoy the food here even though in a smaller group. Just take your time to chat and savour the food slowly. After all, the night is still young.

Food portions at Wah! Kungfu is generous, and expect strong flavours throughout. Recommend the kumquat lime juice to quench thirst (and fire), the spicy flavour (round pot) for bullfrog, the fresh crab pot, the BBQ wings and lamb skewers.

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Thank you to HGW for the invite and Wah! Kungfu for hosting the dinner.

Wah! Kungfu 蛙功夫

Location: 74 Pagoda St, Singapore 059233
Contact:  +65 62255981 
Business Hours:
Daily: 11:30 - 23:30

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