Michelin Bib Gourmand zi char: Ka Soh (Outram Park)

Ka-Soh

Ka Soh has two outlets in Singapore and even a Malaysian outpost but only the one at Outram Park has received the Bib Gourmand award. They specialize in traditional fish head noodles – no dairy byproducts are added to achieve the color as a shortcut, the milky color comes from boiling the fresh snakehead fish and fish bones for 4 hours. They’re also known for their fried shrimp paste chicken (har cheong kai).

Kok-Sen-Us

I was in Singapore to celebrate my dad’s birthday and this was one of the places we ate at. Unfortunately, we were all exceedingly full due to a late heavy lunch after church, so we could only manage a few dishes. Ka Soh in Outram Park is in a hospital compound – the building belongs to an alumnus of medical professionals.

Prawn-Paste-Chicken

I was told I had to try their Prawn Paste Chicken (SGD 15.50). This is a very Singaporean dish where they fry chicken wings dipped in fermented prawn paste batter. The ones at Ka Soh was exceedingly crunchy with a nice prawn flavor. I love the crispy batter that coats the piping hot chicken.

Signature-Fish-Soup-Noodles

Signature Fish Soup Noodles (SGD 8.50) is what they’re known for so we got a bowl to share. It’s decent but it’s not my favorite thing. I can appreciate the creamy mouthfeel but I’m not a huge fan of the insipid soup. It’s not my favorite thing but I’m glad I tried it.

Signature-Pork-Ribs

Signature Pork Ribs (SGD 18.50) was recommended by the waitress and this turned out to be my favorite dish. It doesn’t look like much but it tastes delicious! The pork chop is marinated in a blend of spices and deep fried. It’s then cut into juicy strips and served with a sweet soy sauce dip. Excellent execution. I was forcibly kidnapped and taken to Flavor Town!

Sliced-Thick-Fish-Vermicelli-Noodles

Sliced Thick Fish Vermicelli Noodles (SGD 8) is the dry version of the above. I did enjoy this more than the soup ones. I may have a slight bias against soup noodles since I prefer stronger flavors to subdued ones. I’m what they call 重口味. 😄

Kangkung-with-Prawn-Paste

Kangkung with Prawn Paste (SGD 12) is the obligatory vegetable. It tastes exactly like what you’ll expect it to taste like. Stir fried well, but nothing exceptional. To be fair it’s hard to wow with a vegetable dish unless you have extraordinary ingredients or unusual cooking techniques.

Fried-Yam

We ended with Fried Yam (SGD 8), which is their signature dessert. It’s nicely done with a crispy exterior and a smooth, warm and creamy yam interior. We all enjoyed this dish but it’s a very rich and cloying Chinese style dessert. It’ll be hard to eat more than a few pieces.

Ka-Soh-Outram-Park

The bill came up to SGD 109.20 (around RM 332) which is quite a standard price for Singapore zi char. I honestly didn’t find Ka Soh exceptional. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but there are many similar quality zi char places in Singapore offering equal, if not better quality cooking. I find the Bib Gourmand listings in the Michelin Guide to be less accurate than the star listings. It’s great as a guide, but it’s certainly not an exhaustive listing.

Michelin Singapore Bib Gourmand roundup: A Noodle Story, Hong Kee Beef Noodle, J2 Famous Crispy Curry Puff

A-Noodle-Story

A Noodle Story was one of the Bib Gourmand destinations I was most excited about. It’s Singaporean style ramen and the chefs are young folks getting into the hawkerpreneur life. It looked really good in photos. A Noodle Story is located at Amoy Street Food Centre, which is a huge building with many stalls. It’s exceedingly hot and packed during lunch time, so be warned! I had to queue for about 30 minutes before I got my bowl of noodles and nearly got heatstroke in that time.

Noodle-Story

The noodles come with lots of toppings like potato prawn (strings of crispy potato wrapped around a juicy prawn), oozing onsen egg, tender char siu made using Spanish pork belly, and Hong Kong style wontons. There’s also strings of what I thought was saffron (which is impossible, considering the price) but turned out to be peppers. It’s a nice touch. I really enjoyed the firm, toothsome and flavorful noodles. Recommended.

Hong-Kee-Beef-Noodle

Hong Kee Beef Noodle is located a few stalls down. They also won a Bib Gourmand for their beef stock that’s cooked for 24 hours. I got a bowl of their beef noodles to share with my dad. There is no queue for this stall. I tasted the noodles and immediately disliked it. I could barely discern any flavor! It’s quite tasteless to me. I thought they forgot to put salt in.

Beef-Noodle-Hong-Kee

It should be noted that my dad is a fan of subtle and simple flavors. He ate the noodles and gave it the thumbs down as well. “Too bland”, he declared. I honestly tell you, if something is too plain for my dad, it’ll be tasteless for 99.9% of the population. The seasoning game is too weak in these noodles. I may like it better if there was more flavor (or sodium) but the dreary broth and noodles taste insipid. Not my thing.

J2-Famous-Crispy-Curry-Puff

J2 Famous Crispy Curry Puff is also located in the same center. I was too full to eat since I gobbled down a dumpling from Hoo Kee Bak Chang after the noodles. Luckily, curry puffs take very well to travelling so I bought some to eat in KL later that night. My sister also asked me to tapau her a few of these. These used to be the only curry puffs to be listed in Michelin Bib Gourmand, but Rolina was also included in the new 2018 guide.

J2-Curry-Puff

It’s quite good! I liked these curry puffs. My favorite was the black pepper chicken but I also enjoyed the sardine one. I usually don’t choose sardines coz I thought they’re something you take straight from the can and stuff it in the pastry. Not so with J2. I hear they only pick the large sardines and season it with their own in-house blend. They only sell 500 curry puffs each day. The crust is nicely flaky and crispy. Worth trying.

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.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...