Tong Ah Restaurant, Chinatown, Singapore

Happy New Year to you! How was your Christmas and New Year celebration? 2011 marked my first time throwing a Christmas Eve dinner – preparations were ok, but it turned out a little bit chaotic when the guests starts arriving but we managed to pull it off.

Last year, I made a resolution to increase my postings but it seems that I failed to achieve that. But anyway, here’s my first posting for 2012, with the new layout.

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Trip to Singapore has becoming more and more frequent for me, thanks to the affordable air fares by Jetstar/Tiger Airways/AirAsia etc. It is a good opportunity for me to meet and catch up with my friends who are working and staying there, as well as exploring what Singapore has to offer on the menu too. Singaporean friends knew that I write about food, so they took great effort to bring me around for a good meal whenever I goes down to the Merlion City. With that in mind, I found myself standing in front of a charming colonial corner shoplot in Chinatown called Tong Ah (not Ah Tong, as I initially thought. Pardon the label on the picture).

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Mr. D insist that I have to try this: Coffee Spare Ribs (again, pardon the label on the picture, I’m just too lazy to re-edit a new one). Now, this is new to me… I’ve heard about Coke Chicken before (rumour has it that it was invented in Hong Kong, anyone can confirm this?) but I have not tried it before. So, how does the Coffee Spare Ribs tastes like? I would say it’s like a cross in between Marmite Chicken and “pai kuat wong” (spare ribs in dark, sticky sauce). The sticky, caramelized coffee sauce has a good coffee aroma and not bitter, but the spare ribs were kinda tough, though. Nevertheless, interesting try.

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In between eggs and green veggie, we succumbed to the temptation of “fu yong dan” (Fu Yong-style omelette). Loaded with small prawns, chopped onions, sliced Chinese mushroom and spring onion, this was rather ordinary, but delectable nonetheless. On the other hand, their deep fried beancurd with minced pork and chilli was good – silky-smooth homemade beancurd brimming with egg-y aroma and topped with loads of chillied-minced pork and in-house special gravy, this was a great accompaniment with white rice.

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And there are more meat for the carnivores! Belacan Fried Chicken smells really good but it lacks the pungent belacan taste to it, perhaps more belacan would make a difference to the dish. And lastly, dry Butter Squid with thin butter/margarine-based batter encasing the squids. A pretty decent dish without the heavy use of butter/margarine – allows you to taste the squid without being overwhelmed by the batter.

All in all, Tong Ah serves some decent Cantonese dai chow fares. Service can be a bit slow especially during peak hour, so if possible, go with a bunch of friends or family members and chat away while waiting, just like we did. No price tags were availabe for each individual dish as it was a treat by my friends ūüôā

Tong Ah Restaurant
36, Keong Saik Road (intersection in between Keong Saik Road and Teck Lim Road),
089143, Singapore.

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328 Katong Laksa, Singapore

The first time I heard of Katong Laksa, it was from KL People KL Food. At that time, I was kinda amazed at the fact that it has to be eaten without chopsticks (no kidding!). Stories had it that this variant of curry laksa, originated from the Katong area of Singapore but there are a lot of proprietors dishing out the same dish all over Singapore (talking about competition) – it is almost impossible for many people out there to really determine which one is authentic. The coconut milk content in Katong laksa is higher than the usual curry laksa, hence the slightly pale orangey-red curry broth.

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Talking about laksa, there are two main types; the curry laksa and assam laksa. Curry laksa, as you might already know, is a coconut-based curry soup with noodles, while the latter is a sour fish soup with noodles. Commonly used noodles is the lai fun or laksa noodle – a white, rounded thick rice noodle (similar to loh shee fun but longer and less thick in shape), but different types of noodles are used in different places, such as Johor, where spaghetti is used instead of lai fun, where else, rice vermicelli (meehoon) is commonly used for Sarawak laksa.

Ops, I think I digress.

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I finally got the chance to try out Katong laksa with Danny’s help. He was courteous enough to wakes up early on a weekend morning to bring us to have laksa for breakfast. But since Danny is not a typical foodie himself, he don’t really know which one is the authentic. Therefore, he brought us to this place, which is the nearest one to where we were staying – 216 East Coast Road. This is supposingly the newer outlet on the same street.

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Coconut milk definitely is higher in this variant of curry laksa. The noodles (SGD 4 for small, SGD 5 for medium and SGD 6 for large) they used is slightly smaller than the usual lai fun and cut up into shorter strands so that the entire dish can be eaten with a spoon alone (yep, no chopsticks, no fork). Normally served with chopped daun kesum, prawns, cockles, sliced fish cake and bean sprouts, we asked them to omit the seafood (me not a selfish shellfish person).

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As the coconut milk ratio is higher than curry paste, the spiciness has been toned down. People who can’t take spicy stuff will be thrilled with this laksa, but not for those who can’t take food heavily laced with fatty acids. The curry broth was flavourful with spices like lemongrass, turmeric, galangal, chillies and belacan but I would suggest to thread with care as you might get nauseous or bloated if you’re sipping too much of the santan-laden broth. If you want it to be more fiery hot, add in the sambal provided.

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328 Katong Laksa,
No. 216, East Coast Road,
Singapore.

For map, click here.
For more stories, hop over to Pureglutton and VKeong.

AFC Studio, Orchard Central, Singapore

A quick post for the weekend.

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Was down to Singapore early December and finally made my way to the AFC Studio at Orchard Central! I’ve always been a fan of AFC (Asian Food Channel) since their debut on Astro Channel 703 and when I heard that they’ve opened up a studio, I’ve been telling myself that I shall drop by whenever I visit the Merlion City. Although it is smaller than I expected (about 700-800 sqft?), it boasts a sales counter for cooking equipments/utensils (such as the Green Pan), AFC merchandises (notebooks, T-shirts), cookbooks, a open concept kitchen for cooking classes and a small cafe. The place is bright and colourful with high ceiling and colourful decor and receives plenty of natural light from the glass windows.

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Got myself some souvenirs here and decided to take a break from all the walking (had Katong laksa few hours before this, will blog about that later on). Since Christmas is around the corner, they have some special items in the store like the Apricot Chocolate Log Cake (SGD 3.50 per slice). Sweetness was spot on, we finished it in a jiffy. The Cream Puffs (SGD 1.50 per pair) has a chewy but light shell and the cream inside was light and not too sweet as well. I should’ve order more!

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As I mentioned earlier, they also conduct cooking classes here and while I was there, they were preparing the ingredients for gingerbread house! That reminds me much of our fun afternoon at the Academy of Pastry Arts, decorating our first gingerbread house. For more info on their class schedules, click HERE. And by the way, the staffs were extremely polite and helpful too.

AFC Studio
181, Orchard Road,
#07-02, Orchard Central,
Singapore 238896.

Tel: +65-6834 4829
Fax: +65-6834 4751
Email: afcstudio@asianfoodchannel.com
Web: http://www.theafcstudio.com