5 memorable eateries
The people and stories behind a good dish form the framework for our upcoming edition of Makansutra Singapore.
So much has happened since our last book two years ago, there is a lot to share and tell. A new breed of young cooks, chefs and hawkers are giving new twists to our food tales.
Here are five places that will be etched in my mind and palate for a long time.
MI CASA SINGAPORE
It is a smaller-than-usual stall at the top of the hawker centre where chef Micah Jarod Lim, 26, serves his Spanish tapas and meals.
It takes imagination to churn out these stunners in his simple kitchen, like his grilled octopus with citrus pickled daikon and herb aioli. It had just enough bite without being tough.
His crispy pork collar with mash and pickle had a moreish fork-soft interior.
51, Upper Bukit Timah Road, #02-199 (11.30am to 2pm and 5.30pm to 9pm daily)
Chef Malcolm Lee has introduced a ridiculously affordable Nonya omakase meal with up to 14 items for $50.
His little morsels of pleasure include a mini sambal ikan bilis begedil and a stunning BBQ chicken with sambal kicap manis.
He changes this dinner menu but the begedil seems to be a regular feature. He will also be offering a sambal buah keluak mee goreng at his pop-up stall at the TakeOut SG50 event at Tan Quee Lan Street from Nov 27 to Dec 6.
331, New Bridge Road, #01-03, Dorsett Residences (Noon to 2.30pm and 6pm to 10pm from Mondays to Fridays, 6pm to 10pm on Saturdays, closed on Sundays)
JIN JI TEOCHEW BRAISED DUCK & KWAY CHAP
When Mr Melvin Chew took over this stall from his late father, he knew he had to reinvent the offering. So I helped him create his now famous Kway Chap Bento set.
My senses were reignited with his classic braised duck kway teow with a thick sauce and crunchy bean sprouts. Spoon in some of his garlic vinegar sambal for the full experience.
Block 335, Smith Street, #02-156 (10am to 7pm daily, closed on Thursdays)
XIANG JI TEOCHEW POMFRET PORRIDGE
In my opinion, this has to be the best, most traditional Teochew fish porridge in the world.
This humble stall at the edge of Bangkok's Chinatown looks like a roadside shop you see in old Chinese movies. The old and proud Teochew couple have been at it for decades and boast a following of hardcore regulars.
Their pomfret is fresh and comes with a juicy firmness. It sits on a clear fish soup redolent of dried and smoked sole fish bones.
The dish costs 300 baht (S$12), but the chunks of the expensive fish justify the price.
54, Soi Bumrungrad, Yaowarat, Bangkok (6pm to late daily)
Mr Harry Ang left for Vietnam over a decade ago but never lost his makan heritage. He set up a teppanyaki restaurant there and now has eight outlets.
He is back in Singapore and he has roped in an Iron Chef Vietnam winner and a teppanyaki master from Thailand to helm his gig at Tanjong Katong.
Beyond the entertaining flair at the hotplate, they churn out stuff like sambal lobster and oyster. But what I liked was the medium-rare tenderloin covered with crispy garlic bits.
The seafood fried rice, fluffy and intense with eggy and umami flavours, was also a winner.
315, Tanjong Katong (10am to 10pm daily)