• The Ultimate Fried Rice Hack!

    We love food (you know that), and so when the opportunity arises, we love talking to cooks and chefs of all kinds of food establishments. When that starts, we sometimes discover new dishes, or dishes done with a little extra something, that make for super-awesome off-menu items! And because they are off-menu, you only know them because you’ve seen them here… Let’s call these… “Food Hacks”. =)

    The Ultimate Fried Rice Hack!

    On the third floor of Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre, you will find this little kitchen (affectionately called “小厨” in Mandarin). In the first place, you might have never heard about this old shopping centre; and then, you might never ever think of venturing up to the third floor–especially if a quick Google search tells you that this place is like a “ghost town”. But, steady your hearts and persevere on, for it will be worth it!

    The other important thing is that you would have to use this “food hack” only after 2:15PM. Why so? Well, simply, because before that time, the auntie/chef has no time for your fun and games. =P During the lunch hours, this kitchen sells many Singaporean noodle dishes (like Lor Mee, Prawn Mee, Wanton Mee, etc.) as well as Mixed Vegetable Rice with a modest range of dishes. These are not too bad, and definitely worth the try if you happen to be in the area.

    But, you aren’t here for those. We are here for something that isn’t listed on their menu–午餐肉炒饭 (Luncheon Meat Fried Rice). And, if you see their fried egg omelette from the Mixed Vegetable Rice selection, it is imperative that you ask the auntie to fry some of that into the dish.

    The Ultimate Fried Rice Hack!

    This is what you will get (there will be more egg if you do ask for it). This fried rice also owes its success to an ingredient that is typically missing in the fried rice of this day and age. Remember when fried rice had small fresh prawns fried into it? Slowly, prawns disappeared and were replaced by mock vegetarian flour substitutes and other stuff of like nature. And we’ve pretty much gotten used to that mediocrity.

    Here, you get large chunks of very fresh and juicy prawns wok-fried into your rice. Why? Because this little kitchen also sells Prawn Mee, and it is must for them to have large, fresh, and juicy prawns. And since they don’t keep the prawns overnight, after lunch hours, all these yummy prawns find their way into your fried rice! YESSsss! =) Finally, the power-ups of luncheon meat and additional eggs just make this fried rice a true knockout winner! Luncheon Meat & Egg Fried Rice = 88 Brownie Points! ($4.00)

    There’s a reason why we keep coming back; “haunt” status for us!


    Yun Nam Kitchen
    756 Upper Serangoon Road
    Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre
    Singapore 534626
    Hack Hours:
    2:15PM to 4:00PM

  • Honest-to-goodness Prawn Mee in Kallang!

    Prawn Mee in Kallang!

    The first thing that caught our eye was the Mandarin sign in thick, bright-red strokes that said “BIG PRAWN MEE” (or “noodles”, if you have a problem with mee–haha…). Well, if you can’t miss the sign, you better not miss the food. We ordered “Dry” because we would be getting the “Soup” separately anyway, and so kill two birds with a stone.

    Prawn Mee in Kallang!

    When we were asked to pay $2.50, we thought the auntie had made a mistake! A bunch of thick yellow noodles, 2 prawns, fish cake slices, and lean pork slices and crispy fat PLUS a bowl of refillable soup… this was already working out even before tucking in. Soup was tried first–oh, the soup… It was dark brown, thick, and brothy; meaty flavour from the pork and sweet natural essence from the prawns. Apparently the soup is that good because it is prepared from some original traditional recipe.

    Prawn Mee in Kallang!

    Next up was the bowl of “Dry” noodles. Tossing it up with their blend of sauces and stuffing as many ingredients as we could into every mouthful, it was yummy. The prawns were fresh; everything was fresh–even the crispy fat which was light-golden in colour seemed to be freshly deep-fried. When it all comes together perfectly, you will understand what those large Mandarin words say. =) “Dry” Prawn Noodles = 83 Brownie Points! ($2.50)

    We will definitely be back here! Does what it says; what else could you ask for?


    Simply Noodles
    Block 66, Kallang Bahru
    Singapore 330066
    Tel: +65 9634 1193
    Opening Hours:
    6:30AM to 4:30PM

  • Flamin’ Good Satay in Kallang!

    Wandering in Kallang, we came across this wonderful little Satay shop.

    Flamin' Good Satay!

    “Est since 1974”–anything older than you, you had better take seriously. =) So we paused for a closer look… and asked the Malay auntie, “What is Satay Kahwin ah?” She started to crane her neck trying to peek around us, “Ohhh, just now that man buy lah… where ah… where is he ah…” Nevermind–if someone just bought it, we’re not getting left behind; so we ordered Satay Kahwin and of course, a few sticks of different Satay.

    Impression forms such a major part of any food experience, and we must say that this shop has got most of their impressions right.

    Flamin' Good Satay!

    A motherly Malay auntie dressed in her traditional baju kurung, diligently fanning the hot charcoal grill; a beautiful flame that crackles and spits every time fat from the meat drips onto the red-hot coals below; glistening sticks of succulent meat caramelising in the intense heat… It is going to be good, is it not?

    Flamin' Good Satay!

    The Satay did not disappoint. Hot from the grill no more than 5 metres from where we were sitting, the tender savoury grilled meat did justice to everything else we had seen. We also noted that the meat on each stick felt full and substantial, unlike some Satays that have more bamboo than meat. Mixed Satay = 79 Brownie Points! ($0.50 per stick)

    The finale was, of course, the Satay Kahwin.

    Flamin' Good Satay!

    Kahwin in Malay means “to get married”. Well, in food, it would have to mean “fusion”, where different things are put together. This was four sticks of Satay, Ketupat, Onions, and Cucumbers tossed together into a dish, and topped generously with Keropok and Peanut Sauce. This is simply brilliant–but do forgive us if we are the last few people who realised this wheel was invented–because the variety of tastes and textures makes this a joy to eat. Better still, as the Keropok soaks up the Peanut Sauce, their tastes combine while a new texture develops… Genius. =)

    Flamin' Good Satay!

    All mixed up, for a better look at Genius. Satay Kahwin = 83 Brownie Points! ($2.50) The Singaporean in us couldn’t help but realise that since there were four sticks of Satay in this, everything else cost $0.50–mindblown.

    This Satay shop sells great Satay; what else could you ask for?


    Warung HJ Morsode
    Block 69 Geylang Bahru
    Geylang Bahru Market & Food Centre
    Singapore 330069
    Tel: +65 9829 7073
    Opening Hours:
    12:00PM to 6:00PM (Satay available)
    8:00AM to 6:00PM (Mee Soto, Mee Rebus, Soto Ayam, etc.)

  • The Most Badass Dim Sum Place in Upper Thomson!

    What’s in a name? WHAt’s in a NAMe? WHA NAMe? HWA NAMe? HWA NAM? HUA NAM?

    You know what, they’re so badass they can’t be bothered. If you are coming from further out, you’d see “HWA NAM RESTAURANT”, and so be it. And if you happened to walk down from along the five-foot-way, you’d see “HUA NAM RESTAURANT”–and that is really your problem.

    If you noticed the main signboard above the shopfront, you would even see the owner’s name right there on a notice in the four major languages of Singapore; “so-and-so is licensed to sell by retail intoxicating liquors for consumption on these premises.” Like a boss; very nice. What were you selling again?!

    The Most Badass Dim Sum Place in Upper Thomson!

    Well, we’ve eaten here for years, and so closer observation in a different light does bring a lot of chuckles. If you notice the eagle-eyed boss staring at you from behind the front counter bastion, don’t be alarmed; he simply suspects you are a cowboy from out of town–he knows very well–badass places attract badass people.

    The Most Badass Dim Sum Place in Upper Thomson!


    Hua Nam sells “Hong Kong” Dim Sum and Pastries, Fish or Chicken Porridge, Roasted Meats with Rice, and an extensive range of Zi Char dishes. They have been around for a long time, and so you will see many regular customers coming in to take away Dim Sum and pastries. It is very important for Dim Sum to have good turnover, so that the delicate wheat starch or rice flour skins do not become soggy and sticky, and the fillings are not overcooked or start to smell of the wooden steamer baskets.

    The Most Badass Dim Sum Place in Upper Thomson!


    The selection we got was fresh and what you would expect to eat when going for Dim Sum. Fillings were succulent and sufficiently distinct in taste to make each dish enjoyable and satisfying. The beautiful thing about Dim Sum is that you are able to eat morsels of foods with different flavours in a few rounds–a “carousel of indulgence”, if you will. And this we had even with the light selection we had.

    The Most Badass Dim Sum Place in Upper Thomson!


    Another favourite here is their fried rice–and more specifically the luncheon meat fried rice. Yes, it isn’t the most healthy… But with the healthy amount of wok hei and the familiar comforting flavour of luncheon meat, this fried rice is one that will surely bring you back to your younger days of such simple pleasures!

    The Most Badass Dim Sum Place in Upper Thomson!

    Hua Nam Restaurant = 82 Brownie Points!

    There’s a reason why we keep coming back; “haunt” status for us!


    Hua Nam Restaurant
    244-F Upper Thomson Road
    Thomson Garden Estate
    Singapore 574369
    Tel: +65 6453 3645
    Opening Hours:
    7:00AM to 11:30PM
    Closed on Mondays

  • KNUCKLES in Kovan!

    Having opened in Kovan since October 2013, walking into this place felt like strolling into our own backyard and finding a bustling carnival operating secretly for years without our knowledge. How did we miss this?!


    The name “KNUCKLES” might give a slight hint about what is sold here, but the décor of the place gives nothing away. Even then, the place–by its smart use of tables and wooden furniture–exudes a simple rustic charm that is open and inviting.

    Being woody isn’t the most interesting thing about this place, what we were most interested to find out was that one of the founders was a Master Butcher in an international chain hotel in Singapore for over a decade up till recently–soon after he started this place. With all that experience, little wonder that the burger patties and sausages are prepared in-house according to their own secret recipes! Well, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so, here we go…


    The first dish we tried was Knuckles’s Beef Burger. It had a homemade beef patty, cheese, runny-side-up egg, and greens trying madly to balance and squeeze themselves in between two sides of a soft buttery bun. With that incredibly juicy and flavourful patty, this is some serious yummy stuff. Cheese always goes well, but enrich the whole experience with a runny yolk, and you’ve got yourself a winner of a burger. It’s so good that it begs a certain regret–if only it was bigger… or maybe just give me two of that! Rawr. One other thing: we wonder why potato chips are the carbs or choice when there are fries available on the menu. Surely hot fries would make this dish a beast! We get carried away by footnotes. Back to the main point, a very satisfying real beef burger that packs a mighty punch! (ooh, another reason for “knuckles”?) Served with simple greens and potato chips. Knuckle’s Beef Burger = 76 Brownie Points! ($10)

    Next up was this whole German pork knuckle that really gives such a wonderful sense of occasion and would be suitable for any gathering whether special or casual.


    It looked really well done; golden-browned nicely with proper crackling in all the right places. If you forget to buy a birthday cake, this knuckle would do just fine with a birthday song. After you’re done, get it cut up and plated for serving.


    On the serving plate, mashed potatoes, Sauerkraut (fermented finely cut cabbage), and a dipping sauce are added. As you can see, the skin of the pork knuckle is crushes under the pressure of the cutting knife. And as you cannot tell from the picture, it’s texture is crisp to perfection when crushed between teeth. The meat itself is good, but dip it into the sauce with each mouthful and you get an irresistible combination. The Sauerkraut’s light acidity cuts through all the fatty goodness that has built up, and pushes the “reset” button of your tastebuds–ready to go at it again! Where else are you going to get such a dish in a simple setting? Definitely worth the try, whether in a single portion or as a whole knuckle. German Pork Knuckle = 80 Brownie Points! ($10 for single portion; $30 for whole knuckle)


    We also tried Knuckles’s Signature Pasta. It was a simple seafood pasta dish in spicy tomato sauce. The sauce was pretty spicy in a good way–Singaporean style, we like! While the mussels, prawns, and squids were in good quantity, we did not find them particularly noteworthy. Probably a good choice if someone feels like not eating knuckles when coming to Knuckles! =P  Knuckles’s Signature Pasta = 68 Brownie Points! ($12)


    Does what it says; what else could you ask for?


    Block 212 Hougang Street 21
    Singapore 530212
    Tel: +65 6285 0549
    Opening Hours:
    12:00PM to 2:30PM (Lunch)
    6:00PM to 11:00PM (Dinner)

  • Delicatessen in Shangri-La

    Shangri-La: a remote, beautiful, imaginary place where life approaches perfection… And, this utopia can be found in Potong Pasir! 😉 Maybe, maybe that is true, especially to residents and the community of Potong Pasir. It is a wonderful estate — peaceful and full of its own charms, and really a place with its own soul–soulful. But more than that, this estate is actually where Shangri-La is located. Not that imaginary land, but the confectionery and, as they call themselves, delicatessen. That is one amazing thing to call yourself (a German word); they must have been super posh back in the day when they decided to adopt the long form of deli in their name.


    And this is particularly eye catching for a bakery this old. Delicatessen would be a shop where delicacies or fine foods were produced and sold, and you must have something really special–something we had to find out about.

    The shop was not desperately filled to its brim with all kinds of products, as most bakeries are today. It had this nonchalant attitude, the kind of quiet confidence that we love. It did not take very long to go through all that they were selling; some noteworthy stuff they had were a baked light cheese cake, decorated birthday cakes (black forest, chocolate, etc.), dessert pies (awesomely interesting for them to be selling that!), indie bread, egg tarts, and curry puffs. And then, they had this:


    You will not easily find this anywhere else. This was like opening a door in the zoo and finding a bunch of unicorns chilling together. What are these? They are bags of meringues! They are basically egg whites beaten to foam, with a sugar of choice beaten in slowly, and finished with some form of heat applied. Only problem is that it isn’t that basic. It requires technique and perfection at various junctures in the preparation process, so that it is a really difficult confection to sell. For example, just a little bit of fat or oil–even residual on the bowls or from egg yolks–can result in very poor foam result for the beaten egg whites. Even the final product is difficult to keep, especially in humid Singapore. Egg whites and sugar tend to attract water and so meringues weep and bead when refrigerated or exposed to humid conditions. We figure that they would only produce and sell meringues because they have another product that uses only eggs yolks… probably their egg tarts. =)


    Their meringues were lovely. Simple and pure, they snapped as meringues should when bitten into. They were not only well made, they were also fresh and well kept–old or poorly kept meringues are probably not worth eating. This pure sweetness and beautiful texture truly justifies their name as a delicatessen. What makes this most special is that it is sold at a fraction of what we would pay for it–but please, don’t tell anyone! A bag of 6 meringues costs $1.20. No, that is not a typo! Meringue = 90 Brownie Points! ($1.20 for 6 meringues)


    We also tried their humble egg tarts. You could say these egg tarts are egg-siblings to the meringues since they were probably made from the same eggs! Their tart pastry was soft, light, and not overly buttery. The custard had a natural texture and pleasant taste without being too tough or eggy. It was an easy and enjoyable eat as neither the tart nor the custard were struggling for centre-stage. Definitely, one of the best egg tarts we have tried in a long while. It comes down to simple things done right–just like the meringue–and Shangri-La has definitely got it right for these two products. Egg tart = 85 Brownie Points! ($0.80 each)

    You need to come back as there is probably nowhere else!


    Shangri-La Confectionery & Delicatessen
    Blk 148 Potong Pasir Ave 1
    Singapore 350148

  • Pau WAO in MacPherson!


    And so, on a lazy afternoon, we crept into this sleepy coffeeshop along MacPherson Road. It wasn’t our first time there, but the way time moves at half the speed over there is still pretty amazing and worth mentioning.


    For sure it was sleepy, because the uncle behind the counter was face down in his hands on the tabletop having a nap–and we were almost shouting at him by the time we decided that maybe someone else had better serve us. Well, he must have been really tired–so no worries–and we got the coffee uncle to serve us instead. We told him that we were going to take some photos, and feature the shop, and it was really nice of him to straighten up his bow-tie and up his customer service factor by a couple of notches–awesome.


    The first thing we tried was Lotus Leaf Rice; you would notice it looks as appetising as a leaf ever would, thanks to good sunlight and great technology… But honestly it looked alright in real life, and we couldn’t wait to open up and tuck in.


    It was EXACTLY how it looks in the picture–WET. It wasn’t oily, but it was surely wet. We suspect that people did not really have the time to wait for their Lotus Leaf Rice to be heat up upon order, and so the uncle had a serving always in the steamer and ready to go. And we just happened to get the one that was ready-to-go since don’t-know-when. It wasn’t a great impression, but we went ahead to taste it anyway–we always give food a chance, however bad it looks (our brownies didn’t have toppings in the early days too, and so many people still gave us a shot!). The glutinous rice was overdone as expected because of the over-steaming, and so it was almost losing its texture as rice and somewhat soggy–but we know some people do like it that way. Another problem from the oversteaming, the insides smelt just a little too grassy–that would probably be the leaves overcooking, causing unwanted notes to show up in addition to the intended Lotus Leaf fragrance. The positive thing was that the package was filled with so much tasty ingredients that rice didn’t really seem that large a factor after awhile; there were pieces of chicken and pork, a chestnut, and a salted egg-yolk.

    However long it was steamed for, the fact was that we finished every last grain of the Lotus Leaf Rice. Reason? It grew on us as we ate more and more of it. There was this rustic quality that comes with home-cooked food and indie hawker stalls–stuff you would not get in shopping malls. Where are you going to find such strong Lotus Leaf flavour anywhere else? And probably only mummy overcooks her rice from time to time and you know you are having something that cannot be found anywhere else. Lotus Leaf Rice = 73 Brownie Points

    “Mr Pau, penny for your thoughts?”


    Next up, we tried the Da Pau. It was great as usual. The pork was delicious and succulent, cooked right in many aspects. The bun that encapsulated the meat was perfect–thin without being flimsy, and firm enough to hold its shape. With just the right amount of gravy soaking into the bun, this was one truly satisfying Pau. Da Pau = 80 Brownie Points


    We were almost done when this Kong Bak Pau caught our attention. Why was it made like that? Typically, there would be a larger bun with just a little meat and fat visible at both ends. This was terribly interesting–but you wonder if it was the taste buds or curiosity asking the questions. In any case, this Braised Pork Belly Pau was summoned to our table for a full inquiry. =) It is difficult to describe how it went, but let’s just say it was over pretty quick and we had only good to say about it. Kong Bak Pau = 80 Brownie Points


    One more thing–okay, okay, three more things–before we left, some Dessert Paus. On hindsight, it wasn’t that good an idea because first, we were beyond full by then, and second, we tend to be really strict on sweets… But oh well, from left to right: Coffee Pau, Pandan Pau, and Corn Pau. They definitely looked fun and interesting, but the buns were too thick relative to the fillings. The flavours could have been represented better and the textures could have been more fine. Probably something for the rare customer who isn’t full even though the rest of the table is; but we still rather recommend having half a Da Pau for dessert any day (we will share with you). Dessert Paus = 55 Brownie Points

    Worth coming back for all the right reasons!


    Lai Ji Handmade Pau & Dimsum
    458 MacPherson Rd
    Singapore 368176
    Telephone: Unknown
    Opening Hours: Random (Whenever uncle is awake.)