Archive for June, 2010
Remember I mentioned before Kwong Satay serves the best pork satay I ever had in Singapore? I still stand by my statement after going around the island trying the rest. The second best’s taste doesn’t even come close to Kwong Satay to be honest. This would be my top recommendation for pork satay if you’re planning a trip to Singapore soon.
Anyway after giving up hope on finding a better one I returned for it again one day but for their premium pork belly satay instead, priced at $1 a stick.
This is how the premium pork belly looked like, a piece of pork belly meat side by side with a piece of crunchy pork fat on a skewer. The texture of the meat and fat from the pork belly part is indeed different from the rest of the pork cuts – just more tender and succulent.
When I was talking to the Chinese Jawa Mee seller at Kek Seng I asked him about his favorite food. It turned out to be Koay Teow Soup. Then he recommended me to try one of his favorites at a nearby coffee shop called Kim Lee. According to him the stall has a long history and they use duck meat to boil the soup, which makes it really delicious.
“Just look for an old man preparing the noodles”, he said. And little did I know Kim Lee is located just next to Seow Fong Lye, where the delicious Chee Cheong Fun can be found.
Uncle Ah Hai (阿海) started following his father to sell Koay Teow Theng since he was 12. It was during WW2 and Penang was under Japanese occupation then. Their first stall actually started out at the old coffee shop where the Chee Cheong Fun used to be at too.
Later when Hong Leong bank purchased and turned the coffee shop into their branch, they shifted to the five-foot way just across the street. But continuous summons issued by the local council forced Ah Hai to move again five years ago, this time to Kim Lee – his current location.
Ah Hai’s Koay Teow Theng is still done according to the old recipe he inherited from his father and it still produces the same traditional flavor. While pork bones have always been used as the main ingredient to season the broth, chicken or duck can be included to improve the taste. But here both chicken and duck are used by Ah Hai, which makes the soup deliciously sweet despite its clear appearance.
The Char Koay Kak stall at Macalister Lane, currently run by the Eoh sisters has been around for 40 years. Since taking over from their father’s helm 30 years ago only one thing has changed in their Char Koay Kak – oil.
During the old days pure lard was used as the base frying oil to produce perhaps the most aromatic and delicious albeit unhealthy Char Koay Kak. But as time goes by, people have become more health conscious so most of the oil used by them currently is mixed with vegetable oil. Other than oil, the other ingredients crucial enough to affect the Char Koay Kak’s taste are the quality of chai poh (salted radish), carrot cake as well as the dark soya sauce.
Before I left Singapore I had a farewell dinner with my close friends at Mellben Seafood, a seafood restaurant at Ang Mo Kio specializing in crab dishes. Uncle Leong (the brother), another seafood restaurant that has deeply impressed me with their amazing crab specialties is just a stone’s throw away.
Many people maintained that Mellben is the better one, and that they only go to Uncle Leong if the queue at Mellben is too long or unbearable. Not the thing you want to hear as a restaurant owner, really. But ultimately it was the comparison that fueled my interest and made me even more determined to try Mellben Seafood. Simply because if Uncle Leong was mindblowingly awesome enough for me, of course I would want to try a better one – provided if the claims are true lah.
Unfortunately for us, while ordering we were told that the quality of the Sri Lankan crabs on that day was below par because they were not as large and meaty as usual. We were also told that there would be a 45 minutes waiting time. LOL at that moment our mood was at least half gone already. I even anticipated a disappointing meal despite nothing was served yet.
After a painful one hour wait, our food finally came! Firstly, Butter Cream Crab @ $36 (1kg), tasty but the crabs were really not as large as told. Not much meat except in the crab claw.