Saturday, January 18, 2020

[Tasting] The Famous Kitchen 名食小厨 Revisited to Usher in the Lunar New Year @ 54 Sembawang Road Hong Heng Mansions

Had a chance to revisit The Famous Kitchen to try out their Lunar New Year menu. Thank you Jennifer (JY Consultancy) for the invite and The Famous Kitchen for hosting the tasting. It was great seeing our host; Jenny and Jeffrey again. Read about previous visit here.

The Famous Kitchen signage

The adjacent bar area for The Famous Kitchen had an updated vibe. "Famous Hangout" serves as an al-fresco area for diners to mingle over beer, wine and dine, or to wind down after a hectic day at work. It was pretty happening on the day of visit, which was a weekday. Imagine delish fried hokkien mee over a glass of iced cold beer, or snacking on prawn paste chicken with a glass of red. The vibe at the alfresco was vibrant with many merry-makers.

Famous Hangout bar

If you don't fancy the alfresco area to have your dinner, fret not as the air-conditioned dining area is just two steps away. Indoor is a welcome respite from the hot humid weather of Singapore.

air-conditioned dining area
CNY Set Menu

Let's start dinner with Prosperity Salmon Yusheng. This is the good 'ol version of yusheng done in the traditional way, nothing fancy but symbolic for Lunar New Year. If you prefer the Prosperity Shun De Yu Sheng 顺德鱼生 version, which is an iconic dish at its sister restaurant Famous Treasure, you can also enjoy it here. Advance reservation is required.

Prosperity Salmon Yusheng 七彩三文鱼捞生

The set was served with Braised Shark's Fin Soup. Loved that black vinegar is available here instead of the red ones. The soup consistency was good and plenty of ingredients. The stock used was tasty and flavourful.

Braised Shark's Fin Soup

having soup with Stella

Next up, we had our quotient of vegetables in the form of braised sea cucumber with beancurd and mushrooms and broccoli. The sea cucumber was well braised that's soft enough yet retained some bouncy-ness in texture.

braised sea cucumber with mushrooms, beancurd and broccoli

Then, there's steamed fish. The Lunar New Year set menu typically serves Steamed Marble Goby in Soya Sauce. For tasting, we tried the Signature Steamed Fish with Preserved Vegetables on Hotplate. The sauce was a combination of tangy, savoury taste that's refreshing on the palate and goes well with a bowl of white rice. 来一碗白饭吧!

Signature Steamed Fish with Preserved Vegetables on Hotplate 招牌铁板酸菜蒸鱼 

steamed fish with preserved vegetables (market price)

For Lunar New Year, one gets the Herbal Chicken in the set menu but we ordered up the signature of Famous Kitchen; The Oven Baked Volcano Chicken. Advance reservation is required to enjoy this dish.

Oven Baked Chicken

The service staff would bring out the oven baked chicken to the table, pour some rum over it before igniting the fire. The chicken would then be brought back to the kitchen to be chopped up. It was delicious! Crisp skin that retained some of the rum flavour and tender, moist meat that was flavourful. No additional salt nor sauce required.

Oven Baked Volcano Chicken @$58++

Prawn is another auspicious dish to have during Lunar New Year as it signifies happiness and laughter. Lovely presentation of the caramel prawns.

Caramel Prawns 雪花焦糖虾
closer view

The caramel prawns were lip-smacking good! It was deep fried to a good degree and the upper part of the head (yes, including the shell) and legs were so good! I've never eaten so much shell before but this one was definitely worth it.

If you are still feeling hungry, let's wrap up with Fried Rice with Waxed Meat Wrapped in Lotus Leaf. Am liking this version at Famous Kitchen. Adequate flavours (though the fried rice could do with more wok-hei) that's balanced between sweet and savoury, and lovely lap cheong that tasted fresh.

Fried Rice with Waxed Meat Wrapped in Lotus Leaf 腊味荷叶饭

For dessert, we had the Soya Bean Gingko Nuts with Snow Fungus. Ooh, they have certainly improved in the dessert department! Sweetened soya bean milk loaded with plenty snow fungus and gingko nuts. What's there not to like? I find that the sweetness level was just right to end a meal. I thought I could eat no more but this warm dessert makes you want to go on and finish it up!

Soya Bean Gingko Nuts with Snow Fungus 豆浆福果雪耳

Set Menus range from S$488++ for 8 diners to S$1388++ for 10 diners and is available from 10 Jan to 10 Feb 2020. The CNY Ala-Carte menu is available from 25 and 26 January 2020. Please call direct to the restaurant to enquire more.

Thank you Jenny and Jeffrey for your hospitality, Famous Kitchen staff for taking care of us and Jennifer for the invite.

Happy New Year and Gong Hei Fatt Choi!

The Famous Kitchen 名食小厨

Address: #01-01, Hong Heng Mansion, 54 Sembawang Road
Opening Hours:
Mon - Sun: 11:30 - 14:30, 17:40 - 22:30
Phone: +65 6636 8333

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

[Tasting] Kyoaji Dining 京味 @ 111 Somerset

Kyoaji Dining is located at Level 2 of Triple One Somerset. Kyoaji means “Taste from Kyoto” and it is a place where one could enjoy the warmth of Japanese culture and cuisine. Chef John Phua, Executive Chef of Kyoaji, has over 30 years of experience in authentic Japanese cuisine and has garnered many regulars over the years. Thank you Kris for the invite and Kyoaji, Chef John for hosting the lunch tasting.

enjoy a taste of Kyoto at Kyoaji

For the upcoming CNY in a few weeks time, Kyoaji has crafted a colourful Yusheng platter to suit the occasion. The yusheng had lots of ingredients including sliced mushrooms, kelp, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, pomelo, pine nuts, sunflower seeds and bonito flakes. By default, the platter is paired with salmon, but one could request to change the fish to another type, subjected to availability. Just need to enquire and make your reservation from the restaurant in advance.

Kyoaji Yu Sheng 京味鱼生 @$48++ (UP. $68++)
colourful yusheng

The Kyoaji Yusheng is by far, the most flavourful one that I had! Lovely textures from the crunchy, nutty bits, wonderful savoury flavours from the bonito flakes and mushrooms plus all the fresh vegetables drizzled with the housemade specialty plum sauce that had just the right amount of sweetness to it. Yums!

all mine

The Kyoaji Yusheng is available from 16 Jan - 8 Feb 2020 for dine-in and takeaway. The platter could easily feed about 4 pax.

We also tried appetisers such as the corn tempura, which was lightly battered and had nice golden hue. Can taste its sweetness from the corn.

Toumorokoshi Kakiage (Corn Tempura) @$15++
Chawan Mushi in XO and Zuwai Kani Tama Mushi
lovely balanced flavours of the Snow Crab Meat Steamed Egg

If your preference is towards stronger flavours, then go for the fully loaded XO chawanmushi. Interesting, as I have not come across anyone who had done any hard liquor chawanmushi before! My favourite though, was the Snow Crab Meat Steamed Egg. So good. Balanced flavours that's light on the palate.

Bento @$35++

For lunch, one could opt for the Bento, which came with a side of small salad, chawan mushi, unagi, tempura, sashimi of salmon and tuna, pickles, rice, miso soup and dessert.

unagi from the Bento
sashimi from the Bento

Other than that, we also sampled the Seared Beef Roll. The beef maki was a palate pleaser. Flavourful beef slice with just enough oil to stand out, wrapping around slices of onions and good mouthful of sushi rice.

Gyuniku Aburi Maki @$30++

All in all, we enjoyed good balanced flavours at Kyoaji and the Yusheng is recommended for its awesome flavours and if you could get it at the promo price, why wait? Make your reservations today.

Lunch with buddies Kris, Ivan and Hence. Special thanks to Chef John Phua for your hospitality.

Kyoaji Dining

Address: 111 Somerset Rd, #02-05/06, Singapore 238164
Contact: 6694 3058
Business Hours:
Mon to Fri: 11:30am–3pm, 5:30–10:30pm
Sat to Sun: 11:30am–10:30pm

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Exploring Ipoh at a Relaxed Pace - Kajang to Ipoh | Ipoh Downtown Hotel | Hua Nam Coffeeshop

Was my first time in Ipoh and my sis booked us a room at Ipoh Downtown Hotel. We travelled from Kajang to Ipoh Station via ETS train. Journey was about 3.5 hours from Kajang Station. Think it was less than SGD30 for a return ticket.

arrived - Ipoh Train Station
ETS Route

Reached Ipoh Station at about 1pm. The station was constructed in 1894 and it has a nice exterior painted in white. From there, one could take a taxi or Grab to downtown. If you intend to get Grab, most of the grab cars are not that big and could possibly fit at most 2 luggages of 23-24" in its boot. We had 7 adults with us, thus it took us 3 vehicles to transport all of us and our bags to the hotel.

Ipoh Train Station

It was just a 10 minutes ride from the train station to Ipoh Downtown Hotel. This hotel is located near "Tong Shui Kai" (糖水街) or also known as "Dessert Street".

Ipoh Downtown Hotel
hotel sign
hotel lobby

We were given rooms at Level 5. There's a small sundry shop at the hotel lobby where you could get instant noodles, chips, bread, or ice-cream but with a higher than market price. Good for rainy days where you don't want to walk out but there's a convenience store just a few steps away from the hotel.

hotel room with 2 double beds
view from room
minibar with complimentary drinks
instant coffee
complimentary bottled water

bathroom supplies

After checking-in, it was about way past lunch time so we decided to try the nearby coffeeshop. We went to Hua Nam Coffeeshop.

Hua Nam @ Jalan Leong Sin Nam
fried noodles stall

char kway teow  with cockles @RM5.50
cockles 螄蚶

The char kway teow was good. Savoury, well-fried and had a hint of wok-hei. The cockles (seahum) was of a decent size. On another day, I tried their "Kap Dai" (及底) noodles and it was essentially just fried noodles. Preferred the char kway teow over that anytime!

Kap Dai" (及底) @RM6

Also tried the curry mee but think there was a mis-commucation. Ordered a bowl with additional roast pork, and when it came, there was no other ingredients in the bowl except roast pork! Hahaa.

roast pork curry mee @RM6
roast pork curry noodles
My dad ordered the "lam mee" (淋面) from the Penang Noodles stall. Hmm, no particular liking for this dish as I still prefer the lor mee back in Singapore.

Lam Mee (淋面)

The iced coffee from this coffeeshop is pretty good. Not too acidic, strong coffee and milk that's not too overpowering. They also have a plum drink which they soak the plum in a large container to steep out the flavours.

iced coffee
housemade preserved plum drink @RM2.60

Also tried fruits rojak at the coffeeshop, and it was good too. Just that the turnip slices was a tad tough. Other than that, the rest were ok. Tasty.


The caramel custard from the coffeeshop was not bad but it wasn't made in-house. They got it via a supplier. First one that I had, it disintegrated rather quickly as the custard had not solidify enough. Informed the lady-boss and she changed another one for me.

caramel egg custard

Kedai Minuman & Makanan Hua Nam 華南白咖啡茶室

Address: 45, Jalan Leong Sin Nam, Kampung Jawa, 30300 Ipoh, Negeri Perak, Malaysia

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