Weets Eats: Dishes that made 2018 delicious
Top food moments of the year
The best food moments of 2018 come to me in bits and chunks. From as small as a single mala potato chip, to a table full of home-cooked food inside a Housing Board flat in Tiong Bahru, it was a delicious year.
Here are some experiences, places and dishes that I enjoyed tremendously, and I hope you will try in 2019.
This was the year I discovered the wonders of private kitchens. The concept has been around for a few years, but I finally tried it and emerged a fan. There are a few I can suggest.
Tinoq (Tel: 9338-6439) - run by celebrity make-up artist Tinoq Russell Goh - is probably the kitchen of the moment, and rightfully so.
Dinner at his colourful home in Tiong Bahru is a table full of home-style Peranakan dishes, and you leave with a belly full with laughter. His bakwan kepiting (meatball soup) is sensational, and I can drink pots of his chicken curry.
Other Peranakan private kitchens to try include Lynnette's Kitchen (lynnetteskitchen.com) and Baba Steven's Private Dining (Tel: 9750-6564).
For Malaysian food, The Ampang Kitchen (Tel: 9618-7107) is reliable.
OLD IS GOLD
Good old-fashioned dishes done the good old-fashioned way is always appealing to me, but it is the updates that earn my obsession. This year, several dishes caught my attention.
On top of the list is the pork chop at Violet Oon Singapore (Ion Orchard #03-28/29, Tel: 9834-9935). The Hainanese pork chop ($34) is an elevated version with deep-fried Kurobuta pork loin crusted with a cream cracker batter and house-made tomato reduction (also known as ketchup).
Each element works with the next, and there was enough fat on the meat to keep it interesting.
At Majestic Restaurant (Marina One The Heart, East Tower, #04-01, Tel: 6250-1988), the twist on satay is the pan-fried diced US beef tenderloin in Singapore-style satay sauce. The cubes of beef were tender, served with an aromatic peanut sauce.
A roast chicken is as common and traditional as it gets, so finding a great one was exciting for me. One of my favourite versions is at Summer Hill (106 Clementi Street 12, #01-62, Tel: 6251-5337). Its signature roast chicken ($25) is tender, juicy and flavourful, with a slurp-worthy gravy. The chicken is hormone- and antibiotic-free, which means sweeter breast meat.
EAT YOUR VEGETABLES
As we try to correct the course towards destruction our planet seems headed towards, the act of cutting back on meat has gained popularity.
And with increased awareness comes more restaurants offering great vegetarian options.
One of my favourites of 2018 is from vegetarian restaurant Ganglamedo (40 Craig Road, Tel: 6423-9788). Its nagqu cordyceps double-boiled soup ($68) is about the most comforting and nourishing soup you can try. Just smelling it is fulfilling - the subtle woodiness adds to the experience.
When it comes to pretty food, the roast carrots, ricotta, apricot and rosemary ($10) from Maggie Joan's (110 Amoy Street #01-01, Tel: 6221-5564) is hard to beat. But thank goodness, the taste matches the look. There are other vegetarian options there too.
WHEN MONEY IS NO OBJECT
I was happy that in 2018, I've had really expensive meals and some amazing cheap bites.
At the high end of the scale is Sushi Ayumu (Mandarin Gallery #04-16, Tel: 6733-2114). I was fed well and entertained at the same time. Dinner starts from $280, but if you can afford it, it is worth the splurge.
One of the best and most affordable food moments was when I sat by myself at Chinatown Complex Food Centre, slowly enjoying a bowl of chendol from Old Amoy Chendol (#02-008, Tel: 8748-7590) while the food court chugged along. The brand was launched in 1950, closed in 2004, but was revived this year with the original recipe.
You can dictate how sweet you want it - the original version does not have an insane level of sweetness - and the gula melaka is yummy. It is definitely a mood booster.
This year, people got creative with potato chips.
The mala potato chips ($7) from Ooh is both spicy and numb, and very addictive. The bottom of the pack is really intense, so proceed with caution.
There is also a cassava version at the same price.
You can buy it online (www.ooh.sg), at Plaza Singapura or via websites Shopee or Lazada.
Truffle may have been around forever but the new truffle chips ($9.90) from Aroma Truffle & Co got me excited.
The original version is especially good, while the parmesan version is for those who like bold flavours. You can order these via aromatruffle.com