Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle (1 Michelin Star)

Hill-Street-Tai-Hwa

I made it my mission to smash one of these famous bowls of pork noodle (bak chor mee) during my recent trip to Singapore. I have heard about the legendary lines which can form here, so I checked Google to see which are the non-peak hours and went with my dad at 3:30 pm on a weekday. They’re the second ever hawker stall in Singapore to be awarded a Michelin star, after Hawker Chan. I have eaten at their competitor High Street Tai Wah Pork Noodle, which has recently won a Bib Gourmand, but should not be confused with the 1 Michelin Star Tai Hwa. It’s run by the nephew of the owner of Tai Hwa though.

Tai-Hwa-Eating-House

Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle is located at a small residential food court. There are a few other stalls besides it and even at this odd hour, there was a queue in front of the stall.

Tai-Hwa-Noodle

However, it moved quite quickly so it wasn’t an issue. The chef-owner Tang Chay Seng was there cooking every single bowl by himself. I managed to take a selfie with him. He must think it odd that the Michelin Guide has elevated him to a somewhat celebrity chef status but I’m sure many people have done this before so he must be used to it. Haha.

Tai-Hwa-Selfie

There’s a large setup of trays beside him which holds raw pork – everything from pig liver to sliced and minced pork. The meat are just sitting in their juices. I admit, I did wonder if this was refrigerated/has ice below the trays or the stall just goes through meat so quickly that it doesn’t have a chance to spoil. I’m not that anal about food safety. I happily eat at random food stalls with questionable hygiene practices all the time. Just curious.

Pork

I have experienced some hits and misses with the Michelin Guide in Singapore and thus braced myself for a mediocre bowl of noodles. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised. The flat noodles have a wonderful bite to them but it’s the sauce that makes it shine. The beautiful concoction it was tossed in has a nice vinegar taste, which helps cut through the richness of the pork. It’s very savory and I can see why people love it. The pork slices and wonton are delicious too, but it’s the soup which stole the limelight. The pork broth is mixed with seaweed and results in a umami explosion. Top notch! There’s also a deep fried piece of fish which adds a nice texture.

Tai-Hwa-Pork-Noodle

There are many Michelin star places which I would never visit a second time. This isn’t one of them. I would come here when I’m in Singapore again coz the pork noodles are really good. I regretted ordering the SGD 8 medium sized bowl. I’ll go for a large next time.

1-Michelin-Star-Noodle

Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle
Blk 466, #01-12, Crawford Lane, Singapore

1 Michelin star Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle (Hawker Chan)

Hawker-Chan

This was the very first street food/hawker stall in the world to ever win a Michelin star. Not Bib Gourmand, a proper star. It’s a common misconception that Michelin rates ambience and decor when giving out stars. They have always maintained that the star is awarded for food only, and that includes things like the chef’s personality coming through clearly. They have a separate icon for comfort/ambience (fork and spoon) which rates how luxurious the restaurant is but star ratings are always based on the quality of food alone.

Liao-Fan-Hong-Kong-Soya-Sauce-Chicken-Rice

I was in Singapore with a mission to try out this much hyped soy chicken rice stall. I made sure to go to the right one. People have the false impression that the Michelin star travels with the chef and applies to all outlets he opens. That’s simply not true. The Michelin star is rated for that restaurant only. The only Hawker Chan with 1 Michelin star is their original shop at Chinatown Complex Food Center. The modern and air-conditioned new premises opposite only has a Bib Gourmand.

Hawker-Chan-Queue

I went early with my dad before they opened and thought I was lucky enough to be first in line. There didn’t seem to be a queue. I confidently walked up to order, only to be told the queue was behind me. It was only then that I spied a long snaking line of people looking displeased at me. Haha. I honestly didn’t see them. The queue starts from beside the opposite stall so they don’t block foot traffic. It even has a velvet rope. Very proper.

Hawker-Chan-Selfie

The wife of Chan Hon Meng manages this stall and she was friendly enough to take a photo with me. Service is quick and the line moves along well so don’t worry about having to queue up.

Hawker-Chan-Menu

I ordered the flagship dish of soy sauce chicken rice. It’s SGD 2.50 for the drum portion. The meat was marinated beautifully, with a sweet soy glaze that permeates the gelatinous skin of the chicken. It’s surprisingly flavorful and robust. I can taste cinnamon and other spices in the marinade. The inside is still soft and juicy. I love this perfectly cooked chicken. 10/10. However, the chicken rice I got was lumpy and mushy. Maybe they were having an off day but I’m not a fan of this rice, which seems to have the fundamental error of having too much water mixed in.

1-Michelin-Star-Chicken-Rice

The soy chicken is delicious though. Would I return? For sure, to try the noodles next time. I hear it’s pretty good too. You need to set your expectations right for Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle. It’s a soy chicken rice stall so don’t expect fireworks and novel molecular gastronomy executions. They’re good at what they do and that’s soy chicken.

Hawker-Chan-Order

Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle (Hawker Chan)
335 Smith Street #02-126, Singapore
(don’t go to the wrong one, this is located inside the Chinatown Complex Food Center)

Hoo Kee Bak Chang (Michelin Singapore Bib Gourmand 2017)

Hoo-Kee-Bak-Zhang

I had a carefully curated list of Michelin 1 Star and Bib Gourmand places to visit in Singapore, with a focus on hawker food. I ended up eating as many as 4 meals in a two hour span for several days, which only sounds fun in concept. I have a huge appetite and a prodigious stomach capacity but I felt stuffed very often and couldn’t enjoy the food to its fullest potential. This was one of those occasions. I went to Bukit Merah to tackle 4 different dishes and Hoo Kee Bak Chang was my 3rd stop. However, I still very much enjoyed the bak zhang they served.

Hoo-Kee

I believe this is the only bak zhang in the Michelin list. The stall is in the packed Amoy Street Food Center. It’s full of office workers during lunch, it’s hard to find a seat and the center is blisteringly hot and humid. I’m not the biggest fan of crowd and I don’t fare well in the heat, but if you can get past all that, you’ll be rewarded by a beautifully crafted bak zhang. The stall is manned by a husband and wife (?) team and the woman is quite attractive! I found her friendly and approachable too, which is always a plus point.

Michelin-Bak-Zhang

They only have four items on the menu: Chestnut/Original Dumpling (SGD 3), Salted Egg w/ Chestnut Dumpling (SGD 4), Mushroom w/ Chestnut Dumpling (SGD 4) and Deluxe All-in (SGD 5). I went for the last option since I could only eat one bak zhang. As the name suggests, it’s a combination of everything into one dumpling. They’ll cut it up for you and serve it on a disposable cardboard tray so you can eat it right there and then.

Hoo-Kee-Me

I loved the flavors in here. I have a soft spot for bak zhang and I have to freely admit that I like most bak zhang that has passed my lips. The one at Hoo Kee is packed with ingredients – there’s mushrooms, salted egg, chestnuts, marinated pork. It’s a beautiful medley of comforting flavors and textures and I thoroughly enjoyed it despite being full. Is it better than other bak zhangs? I don’t know, this was the only bak zhang I’ve eaten in Singapore ever! But it’s a really good bak zhang, and as I’m writing this I have the worst craving for them. I could totally smash 4-5 right about now. 🤤

But then I see my fat face in the photo above and I know I shouldn’t. Back to my diet, then.

Tonka Bean Cafe @ Impiana Hotel Ramadan Buffet 2018

Tonka-Bean-Ramadan-Buffet

There are so many incredible moments in the Tonka Bean Café @ Impiana Hotel’s Ramadan buffet dinner that I can’t say for sure which my favorite one is.

D24-Durian

The delicious D24 durian at the stall outside?

Sup-Tulang

The huge sup tulang gearbox that you suck up with a straw?

Baskin-Robbins

Their renowned Baskin-Robbins ice cream selection? I love all those and more!

Chocolate-Fondue

Their in-house bakery does some really magical pastries too. I may have been tempted to “take away” some of their delicious creations if I were a less scrupulous man. There’s only so much I can stuff into my stomach over the course of several hours.

Seafood-Platter

I always make it a point to eat in a savory-sweet-savory format so I don’t overwhelm my tastebuds at buffets. I started out at their cold seafood section where there’s crabs, mussels, prawns and scallops on offer.

Durian-D24

My friend Joyce told me the durians outside were ready so we headed out. I was pleasantly surprised to find out this was premium D24 durian! Impiana Hotel doesn’t just serve any durian – these babies are actually great quality D24! I was lost in the complex flavors of the D24 and I ended up eating 12 seeds. It was a bit of a mistake coz I was slightly full at this point but I have to say – WORTH IT!!!

Coconut

They also have local delights like whole coconut water and sugarcane for drinks.

Briyani.jpg

I also enjoy eating biryani rice and they have two huge vats with chicken and lamb biryani inside.

Prawns

They also have a wide range of cooked dishes with a focus on lamb and seafood.

Fish-Head

There’s a huge fish head.

Crab

Crab!

Roast

A whole roast.

Fried-Chicken

Fried chicken.

Live-Band

There’s also live entertainment playing, which is great for long dining sessions like this. As a bit of an introvert, you don’t want your awkward conversation or piped muzak to be your only companion. Hehe.

Salmon.jpg

I also managed to help myself to some delicious salmon to end things.

Ulam

They have ulam too so you can break up all those rich flavors with some palate cleansers.

Buffet

I thoroughly enjoyed myself and stuffed myself so hard I feared some of my shirt buttons might pop off. It was worth the 2 hours I took to drive here from Shah Alam during rush hour.

Tulang-Gearbox

Sinar Ramadan Al-Mubarak is a month long dinner buffet at Tonka Bean Cafe @ Impiana KLCC Hotel. It’s RM 148 nett per person from 16th May to 14th June 2018. Children rates are RM 74 nett from 4-12 years old. Kids below 4 eat for free. Dinner starts at 6:30 pm – 10:30 pm daily. There’s an Early Bird promotion where you can buy 10 get 1 free until 15th May 2018.

Sama-Sama Hotels Ramadan Buffet 2018

Sama-Sama-Buffet

I was intrigued when I got an invitation to a Ramadan buffet preview at Sama Sama Hotel in KLIA. It’s actually not very far for me since I live in USJ. Driving to KLIA is closer for me than going to KL city center. Plus, I hear durian is also served in this buffet! I don’t need another reason to go.

Stalls

The Ramadan buffet is setup in themed islands instead of a row of dishes as is the norm in other buffets. There’s a Malaysian food island, an Indonesian food one, another dedicated to ice cream and cendol etc.

Food

This breaks up the line of people queuing into more manageable columns but popular stations like the durian, satay and drinks islands still has a formidable line.

Indoors

They also have indoors seating…

Outdoors

…as well as outdoors. The atas word for this is porte-cochere. Or so I read.

Prawns

I particularly enjoyed the food from this buffet as I’m a huge fan of regional flavours. I had two heaping plates of food! You may be surprised to hear that I liked the different styles of cooked chicken from this region with rice the most.

Lemang

I also had the grilled lamb with mint sauce but I found myself going back to the comforting familiar flavors more.

Durian-Stall

I also took advantage of the durian stall located outside the hall. I must have queued up three times to stuff myself with creamy durian.

Durian

I ate so much durian I was hard pressed to try all the other desserts.

Ice-Kacang

I did have several helpings of ice kacang though. They also have various local flavored ice cream which I found delicious! They even have traditional iced lollies in a tube! Nostalgic.

Dates

They have different types of dates for you to break your fast too.

Band

Live band playing melodic classics. This is perfect at a Ramadan buffet where people wait to break fast and tend to sit longer. Entertainment is always good.

Sugarcane

There’s also a variety of local drinks from freshly squeezed sugarcane to asam boi.

Apam-Balik

I loved the apam balik station too.

Apam

Yum!

Cake

These awesome photos are taken by Joyce. I don’t have the kind of creative eye to pull off shots like this.

Kueh

Sama-Sama Hotel KL International Airport is running this Selera Warisan Nusantara (Malay Archipelago Cuisine) themed Ramadan buffet throughout the puasa month from 6 pm – 10 pm. It’s RM 135 nett per person on weekdays and RM 99 nett per person on weekends. I’m not sure why it’s cheaper on weekends but I know when I’ll go! You can also get a RM 95 nett per person early bird price if you book before 7th May 2018.

Epic Fit Meals Food Review 2018

Epic-Fit-Meals-Menu

I have been going through a bit of a body transformation as of late. I know you guys have noticed but I just want to say it to syiok sendiri k. Let me pat myself on the back sometimes, jeez. Anyway, a lot of these efforts are made in the kitchen. I do hit the weights in a systematic way everyday but to get a leaner body type, diet is very important. That’s why I’ve mostly been cooking myself at home.

Merryn

However, I got an invite from Wick Kee (one of the founders of Epic Fit Meals) to drop by and check out their new, revamped menu. I went with Merryn and Joyce last Sunday. Their meals have friendly macros so it won’t affect my diet. If you didn’t know, Epic Fit Meals does Melbourne inspired meals with an emphasis on healthier options. The calories of their meals are listed on their menu.

Chicken

I’ve actually met Wick Kee a few years ago when I went to their first outlet to see their offerings. I’m also a customer coz I saw their flyer with a free chicken deal when I was living at my previous condo. I’ve always wondered how they managed to get up there since Cascades has really strict security. Haha. It’s a higher end place. Effective marketing though.

Grilled-Chicken

Besides their macro friendly grilled and schnitzel chicken offerings, Epic Fit Meals also has a range of other proteins and menu items. This is perfect for people like Merryn who’s not a huge fan of chicken breast. I think it’s pretty bomb, especially when paired with their delicious range of sauces.

Epic-Sauces

These sauces range from 13 – 89 calories. The most yummy one to me is their Fire S.O.S. which is a sweet sambal sauce. It’s also the 89 calorie one. Figures!

Pollo-Supreme-Pizza

They also have pizza. This is the Pollo Supreme with lean chicken and various vegetables. It’s pretty good.

New-Menu

I enjoyed the Beef Buffy too. It’s a beef burrito with pulled beef and their delicious cilantro lime rice that brings a zingy zest to it. It makes the chubby very refreshing.

Chummy-Burger

The Chummy Burger is another new menu item. This is the Chicken Chummy.

OZ-Strip-Steak

I also liked their OZ strip steak…

Butter-Citrus-Baked-Pollock

…and Butter Citrus Baked Pollock, which are both protein options in their Epic Fit Meals.

Baked-Pollock

But the clear winner for me is the Herb & Lemon Crusted Pollock. It’s baked but tastes fried and I could detect a note of shrimp in the batter. I’m not sure if I’m having taste hallucinations but it’s good.

Epic-Fit-Meals

Epic Fit Meals delivers within 45 minutes to selected areas. You can order online at their website or pop into one of their 3 physical outlets.

Durian appreciation session @ Durian King TTDI

Durian-Sampler

Durian King TTDI partnered up with Fave to do a durian appreciation session last weekend with a flight of different durians. Yes, I’m calling it a flight, an appropriately atas word, like how high end artisanal coffee like to call their samplers “flights”. Hehe. I like the concept though, I believe this is the first time it’s been done in Malaysia.

Fave-Durian

There was a demonstration on how to open durians and how to tell a Musang King apart from the other cultivars. I already know this but I still picked up a few interesting things. Apparently if you hit a durian, it simulates it falling naturally and starts the ripening process. This is supposed to happen in a matter of seconds, so this is why you see some durian sellers smacking the side of a durian with the flat part of their parang before opening it!

D24-Durian-Cendol

The course reminded me of fine dining, and they had nice tablecloths and menus to complete the illusion too. The starter was Durian Cendol, one of the popular items Durian King sells. It’s usually RM 15 for this beauty topped with two D24 durians. I love how they use palm sugar from Sarawak instead of gula Melaka. It’s basically the same thing but we call this “gula apong” back home and it has a nice charred caramelized taste that goes very well with the cendol. Decadent. I’ll be back to eat this again.

Durian-Flight

Then came the selection (flight?) of durians. It’s neatly arranged from mild to intense, so I started out with the Durian Jantung. This is what Chinese call XO durian. It’s pretty good but I was blown away by the next two – one of my favorite cultivars of durian is D2 (Dato Nina) and this was a perfect specimen. Fruity flavors with a fibrous pulp. I also loved the Tekka (what we call chu kiok), it was intensely sweet and creamy. Musang King was the last and the best – very bittersweet and strongly flavored to bring a nice end to things. It’s an excellent way for people to eat a variety of good durian cultivars.

D24-Durian-Ice-Cream

There was also dessert after that, a collaboration between Inside Scoop (who makes ice cream) and Durian King to produce a D24 durian ice cream. It’s delicious! Creamy, cold, with clear notes of the durian shining though. I was actually quite full at this point coz the two girls opposite me couldn’t finish their durians so I helped them wallop it.

Durian-King

Fave is an app which gives you deals and discounts but it also has an epayment option where you can use their FavePay to pay for purchases using your phone. I’ve been using it since I found out about it. They have a wide range of partners but I usually just go to llao llao, Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Impiana KLCC Hotel’s Chinese New Year Buffet Dinner 2018

Yee Sang

I had the opportunity to check out Impiana KLCC Hotel’s Chinese New Year Buffet Dinner and Yee Sang last night. I’ve been in calorie restriction mode for 2 weeks now and I thought a buffet dinner would make the perfect cheat meal. I can eat all I want without worrying about gaining weight. That’s what Chinese New Year is about anyway, right? I might as well start early.

Seafood

I love how they have a wide range of different types of foods. Desserts took up one whole row! There’s also a selection of seafood on ice which I tackled first. There’s scallops, mussels, prawns and also tuna and salmon sashimi to the side (with sushi and maki rolls). I love seafood so this was the ideal appetizer to whet my appetite. Yum.

Lamb

There’s also a lot of cooked foods so I’ll just go over some of my favorites. I liked their roasted lamb, which came with a variety of sauces to choose from. There’s also a station where you can get cooked to order meats and seafoods.

Peking Duck

There was a chef there making sure the Peking Duck has been sliced and wrapped with the thin pancakes (complete with spring onion and sauce) so you don’t have to do it yourself.

Tempoyak Patin

I’m also a huge fan of tempoyak ikan patin, which is a type of fish that’s been stewed in fermented durian. I used to eat a lot of this when I lived in Kota Damansara coz there was an outlet opposite my condo which brought in ikan patin tempoyak from Temerloh. The gravy is super appetizing, spicy, with mild sour notes. This version reminded me of that.

Fried Chilli Crab

The fried chilli crab was awesome too. It’s a different take on chilli crab, which usually comes with a sticky gravy. This is the dry version which keeps the taste but not the mess.

Marmite Prawns

The Marmite Prawns was a huge hit too. It goes very well with the nasi briyani ayam gam they had. Awesome flavor combination. That’s the best part about buffets, you can to create different flavors in your mouth. I love it.

Ulam

In case you were worried about the rich flavors, they also have an ulam (raw vegetable) station to the side. I thought this was a nice touch.

Baskin-Robbins

I was finishing my food when someone told me they also have Baskin-Robbins ice cream. Lo! They have not only one, but two of those ice cream carts filled with various BR flavors. I really love ice cream, especially good ice cream and since this was a buffet, I thought I’ll eat a whole plate of ice cream. Not a small bowl. A stacked dinner plate. I’m just greedy like that. Apparently, this was a lot of ice cream coz my table mates all oohed and aahed and some even took my plate to pose for a photo. I didn’t even think it was a lot! I finished everything you see here AND went back for seconds. Pistachio. Two scoops to finish things off.

Chocolate Fondue

And I still had room after that for dessert. The chocolate fondue had a selection of fruits (including unusual ones like jackfruit) and sweets for you to dip inside the milky chocolate. I liked coating the macarons on a stick and eating several of those.

Kueh

There was also an array of kueh which they’ve created for Chinese New Year.

Pralines

And pralines. You shouldn’t miss these. It’s delicious! The one with the Chinese character is a hazelnut chocolate type praline which I would rate as #1. Coming in a close second is the praline flanking the right, with a beautiful white-red edible cover. It’s a chocolate praline with crunchy bits inside and a hint of orange. Very moorish! I was tempted to tapao a few back.

Chef

We were also treated to a live food preparation by Chef Bustami Osman, the senior sous chef of Impiana KLCC Hotel. He cooked Fried Boneless Chicken with Black Pepper Soy Sauce, one of the signature dishes on the special menu for the CNY buffet in Impiana KLCC Hotel.

Cooking

Impiana KLCC Hotel’s Chinese New Year Reunion Buffet is located at its all-day dining restaurant, Tonka Bean Cafe & Deli featuring special delicacies like Jelly Fish with Szechuan Paste and Sesame Seed, Braised Seafood Soup with Crab Roe, Fried Tiger Prawn with Special Soy Sauce, Fried Chilli Crabs, Deep Fried Lotus Paste Pancake. The buffet dinner will start from 6:30 pm – 10:30 pm on the 15th February 2018 and is priced at RM 148 nett per person.

Macaron Fondue

Their signature Prosperity Yee Sang is also available from Tonka Bean Cafe & Deli starting from 28th January – 11 February. There are a few selections of yee sang such as Jelly Fish, Soft Shell Crab, Salmon, Abalone and Lobster for 5-10 pax. The yee sang is also available for take away from 12 pm – 10 pm daily.

God of Prosperity

If you’re still craving for Chinese New Year food, Yee Sang Hi-Tea is available on the 16th February 2018 from 12:30 pm – 4 pm. Priced at RM 98 nett per person (adult) and RM 48 nett per person (children), the high tea is inclusive of Jelly Fish Yee Sang and Roasted Duck.

Kok Siong Penang Nasi Kandar, Puchong

Nasi Kandar Kok Siong

Kok Siong? A Chinese run and operated nasi kandar place? I thought it was pretty unusual too. This is actually a very famous nasi kandar place in Puchong. It’s always packed with people and there’s a long queue for the star – the nasi kandar stall. The stall is located inside a coffee shop of the same name. I popped by for lunch today coz I’ve been craving nasi kandar for a while now.

Nasi Kandar Puchong

I hear the dishes to try here are the fried chicken and the lamb curry. I got both and also their omelet with rice and half a salted egg. I’m not sure if it should be called an omelet coz it’s fried on the outside and steamed on the inside. It tastes more like a Chinese style steamed egg. There’s lots of onions inside for flavor and it reminded me of something you could get in a chap fan stall.

Kok Siong Puchong

This is my plate of nasi kandar. It costs RM 20 for everything. The basic stuff is the rice and gravy – you can also add their omelet to this. Sides are fried chicken and lamb curry and also a salted egg. It’s not an unreasonable charge, I’ve had more expensive nasi kandar for less in Indian places. However, the proof is in the pudding! Is it good?

Kok Siong

I’ve read a lot of glowing reviews before this and people have told me via word of mouth that it’s delicious too so when I ate it I had high expectations. The large crowd here certainly bolstered my opinion. Unfortunately I found everything to be over-salted and I didn’t really enjoy the food. The fried chicken was quite spiced (as in there are lots of spices, not that it burns your tongue) but nothing spectacular. I much preferred the fried chicken at Wong Soon Kee.

I must admit, I questioned myself multiple times. Everyone says it’s good! Are my taste buds really that out of sync? Is the fact that it’s too salty mar my experience? But I eat 3 packets of Mi Sedaap all the time! I’m used to sodium overload. Did I go when I wasn’t hungry? No, I was famished! I concluded that it’s probably just not my thing. I won’t go again but I ate everything on my plate (mostly coz I don’t like wasting food). However, plenty of people like this so your mileage may vary.

Waffle Platter (RM 48) at MISS with Kapiti ice cream

I have been abstaining from eating candy, chocolates and ice cream for weeks. I haven’t even touched added sugars in a long time – it’s always unsweetened coffee or Chinese tea when I eat out. This is an allocated Cheat Meal (TM) for being so good for so long. Haha. There’s toast, waffles, nuts, sauces, chocolate, fruits (strangest addition was grape tomatoes) in a huge platter. I had already eaten one savory meal prior to this (at the start of the video) so it was a challenge trying to finish this with just 2 pax. I think it’s meant for 4-6 people. Still, we tried! Turn on CC for English subtitles!

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