Poh Kee Satay and Penang Kia at Sengkang

Poh Kee Satay and Penang Kia, Good Food at Sengkang Coffee Shop

Address: 205D Compassvale Lane

Poh Kee Opening hours (for satay): Daily 5.00pm to 12.30am, Closed on alternate Thu

Penang Kia Opening hours: Tue to Sun 10am – 8pm (or till sold out), Closed on Mon

Introduction

Both stalls are situated in a Coffee Shop at 205D Compassvale Lane. It’s not easy to find good food at Sengkang but you can find two pretty decent one in the same coffee below a multi-storey carpark.

Poh Kee Chinese-Style Satay

Poh Kee is a very well known Satay stall at the North-East region. It was previously at a coffee shop that is near Nakhon Kitchen and it moved to Sengkang a couple of months ago. During dinner time, a 30 minutes wait for Poh Kee’s satay is a norm, even at such ulu neighbourhood coffee shop. This stall is manage by a Chinese lady, easily identified by her super curly hairstyle. Poh Kee is a Chinese-Style Satay stall that offers Pork, Chicken and Mutton satay. There are two things I really like about this satay – their peanut dipping sauce and pork satay.

The juicy pork belly satay

Poh Kee added grinded pineapple into their dipping sauce that adds on a little tinge of sour and pineapple fragrance to it. The peanut sauce is really smooth, not overly thick or cloying. It doesn’t taste greasy and not overly sweet.

The highlight of the meal is the pork satay. Poh Kee uses Pork Belly cut for their Chinese-Style Satay.  Apart from the well-marinated meat and the skillfully grilled texture, the best part is fatty part of the pork belly.

$7.20 for 6 chicken and 6 pork. Not exactly cheap.

Due to the grilling over Charcoal Fire, the fiber in the fat breaks down resulting in an almost-melt-in-your-mouth texture. Each mouth is filled with the grilled pork fragrance.  Definitely my favourite choice among the three. I consider the Chicken satay as more ordinary comparing to the pork satay. At $0.60 a stick, it is not exactly economical (they are selling $0.50 a stick before they move), but I do visit Poh Kee for their pork satay for occasional sinful indulgence.

Poh Kee Peanut Dip with shredded pineapple

Penang Kia (Penang 仔)

Malaysian-style dishes are becoming more popular in Singapore as they are slowly introduced into our Singapore food community and Penang Kia is one such stall that offers authentic Penang-style dish. Penang Kia serves a kind of prawn noodle that is similar to one of Penang’s most popular dishes,  Penang Hokkien Hay Mee, as their signature dish.  Don’t mix this up with Hokkien Char Hay Mee (Stir Fry Prawn Noodle). The prawn broth plays a critical role for the Penang Style Hokkien Hay Mee.

Penang Kia had changed their menu a couple of times and the most recent addition is the big prawn noodle at $5.50. Their signature dish still remains as the prawn noodle soup at the cheaper $3.50. I actually had this a couple of times and the standard fluctuates. They used to use shrimp instead of prawn and at one point of time the shrimp is kept for an extended period of time until the texture turned powdery. Recently,  they got back the standard and had a constant crowd during meal time.

Penang Kia’s prawn noodle is served with crunchy bean sprouts, peeled prawns with meat laid on top and complete with fried shallot, chilli and chilli oil. The soup is robust and full bodied without an overly strong prawn taste. The sweet tasting broth is definitely the highlight of the dish. If you can take spicy stuff, then go for their chilli version that adds on a shiok factor to the soup.

I think so far the best combi to go with their soup is Kway Teow Noodle with the smooth Kway Teow absorbing the broth with the noodle adding a chewy texture.

Conclusion

Sengkang is still considered a relatively new neighbourhood with little exciting choice for good food. With more youngsters and food lovers moving into Sengkang/Punggol area, i hope business owner can see the potential in it and start moving their business into this new district. Poh Kee Satay and Penang Kia is a good addition for Sengkang food lovers and i hope it’s only the beginning of the revolution.

Kin Kin Chilli Pan Mee (Handmade Noodle) at Macpherson

Kin Kin Chilli Pan Mee

Address (Google Map): 534 MacPherson Road Singapore 368220

Opening hours: 11.00am to 8.00pm

Introduction

Kin Kin Pan Mee (Handmade Noodle) took Singapore by storm a couple of months ago and it was said that people queued up to three hours for their “legendary” noodle. Kin Kin was originally from Kuala Lumpur and had three outlets under the name of Restoran Kin Kin. It was selling at 7rm (S$2.80) a bowl in Malaysia and it’s best known for it’s pan fried chilli and the half boiled runny yolk.

kin kin chilli pan mee

I was here at about 6pm on a weekday and the eatery is quite vacant. It’s actually more of like an air-conditioned coffee shop. There are about sixteen four-seater tables, each with a bottle of their signature fried chilli placed on it.

kin kin chilli pan mee

Kin Kin’s Menu: Click to enlarge

Signature Pan Mee (Handmade Noodle) Dry

A bowl of dry noodle cost S$5 and comes with a generous serving of braised minced meat and fried anchovies, meat balls and a soft-boil egg.

kin kin chilli pan mee

The handmade noodle is not the soft and soggy kind. It’s a little firmer which makes it enjoyable to chew on. Kin Kin also added Pork Lard as part of the recipe, which works out pretty well.

kin kin chilli pan mee

As for their signature chilli, it’s surprising salty, as I was expecting it to be sweeter. If you taste it carefully, it taste like grinded chilli (with seed) pan fried in salt and some kind of chicken seasoning powder ( i thought I tasted Kaka, a kind of old school chicken flavoured tidbits). This chilli therefore enhances the noodle like how a seasoning pack enhances the shaker fries.

kin kin chilli pan mee

The overall taste isn’t exactly mind blowing but is more of like “kind of nice”. Every mouthful comes in a blend of egg yolk, crispy anchovies, sweet minced pork, pork lardy chewy noodles and strong spicy kick from the chilli.

kin kin chilli pan mee

kin kin chilli pan mee

I also ordered their Pork Ball / Fish Ball / Tau Kee Soup. Among the items, their handmade fish ball stood out for it’s unique soft yet springy texture. Unfortunately, i don’t really like the fishy smell of the fish ball (i am a little sensitive to such smell).

Conclusion

I thought Kin Kin Pan Mee is not bad. I like their rather generous topping of fried shallot, minced meat and fried anchovies and the free-flow chilli is a plus. Overall, Kin Kin may not taste exactly “legendary”, like how some claimed it is, it’s still one of the better ones in Singapore.

kin kin chilli pan mee

I thought the highlight of Kin Kin Pan Mee is for their chilli so for those who can’t take spicy stuff, you may want to reconsider about making a trip down.

kin kin chilli pan mee

Although i find Kin Kin noodle not bad, i will probably run off to somewhere else for my meal if i know that the queue takes more than 20 minutes. The nearest MRT to Kin Kin is to alight at Tai Seng MRT and take a short 5 to 7 minutes walk.

kin kin chilli pan mee

Yi Dian Xin, Neighbourhood Dim Sum at Neighbourhood Price

Yi Dian Xin Hong Kong Dim Sum (一点心港式点心)

Address (Google Map): 1012 Upper Serangoon Road

Opening hours: 7.00am to 6.00pm daily and closed on alternate Tuesdays

Introduction

Yi Dian Xin is the fuss-free no frill Dim Sum situated in a coffee shop along Upper Serangoon Road, which is within walking distance from Kovan MRT. The most expensive item on their menu is only $3.50 nett, which is their Rice Roll with Prawn. It was said that the person behind this stall is an ex-chef from Tung Lok Restaurant at East Coast.

Their opening hours is not exactly easy to meet especially for the working class so the only chance i have is to visit on weekends. I visited this place a couple of times and my favourite are their Steamed Carrot Cake and their Signature Salted Egg Custard Bun.

Menu 26 May 2014: Click to enlarge

Signature Salted Egg Custard Bun (S$3.30 for 3 pcs)

At only S$3.30 nett, this should be one of the most value-for-money Custard Bun in Singapore. This bite size Custard Bun really packs a punch in it’s flavour with over-flowing molten custard.

The custard is milky smooth with only a tinge of salted egg yolk taste (for those who like heavy egg yolk taste, you may be a little disappointed). The thing i like about this custard is it’s not overly sweet so there’s always stomach for a second or third serving. This is definitely my must-order.

Steamed Carrot Cake (S$2.20)

Yi Dian Xin’s offers an old-school style(古早味) carrot cake and i love this dish for the small chunks of radish that is added into the soft and melt-in-your-mouth carrot cake. I thought carrot cake with such taste is already not commonly found in Singapore. The dried shrimps that are added to it gives the carrot cake another dimension of taste and the special soy sauce complete the dish with a slight sweet and savoury taste. This is another of my must-order.

Char Siew Bao (S$2.00 for 2 pcs)

I like the fluffy and spongy bun and it’s texture and i thought they can be more generous with their filling and it’s a little dry.

Xiao Long Bao (S$2.80 for 3 pcs)

Their Xiao Long Bao is OK. Skin is a little thick but the soup within the Dumpling is not bad. At S$2.80, chin chai jiak la~

Beancurd Roll in Oyster Sauce (S$2.40)

Although the beancurd skin and oyster sauce is nice, i thought the flavour of the minced meat paste is a little lacking.

Har Gow ($3.30 for 3 pcs) and Siew Mai (S$2.80 for 3 pcs)

There is nothing much to shout about for their Siew Mai and Har Gow that is average despite the “thumbs up” sign on their menu. But one thing that is commendable is the  fresh ingredient used and it is especially evident through the bouncy texture of the prawn.

Rice Roll with Char Siew BBQ Pork (S$2.50)

Yi Dian Xin’s Rice Roll is a fusion of Hong Kong style Chang Fen and our Singapore’s Zhu Chang Fen. This rice roll skin is thicker like our Singapore’s style and it’s served with Hong Kong Style Soy Sauce. I thought i still prefer the soft Hong Kong style rice roll when it comes to Dim Sum.

Conclusion

Yi Dian Xin is clearly one of the most value for money Dim Sum in the North East region. If you ask me whether is it worth it to travel all the way from the west to Yi Dian Xin, my answer will be “not really”. However, if you are nearby, i thought it’s worth the travel for their two items – Steamed Carrot Cake and their Liu Sha Bao. There is a afforable place to satisfy your craving for Dim Sum and Liu Sha Bao.

Apart from that, i think some items were average and the next attraction is for it’s reasonable price. All prices shown in the menu is nett price so if we convert it to a restaurant price format, their Salted Egg Custard Pau is only $2.80++, the steamed carrot cake at $1.88++ and fried prawn dumpling is $2.50++ only.

And why i like this place? The coffee shop is not bursting with crowd even on weekend so it is a rather good place to chill, and to enjoy a piping hot Dim Sum meal while indulging in a cup of Teh-C Kosong.

Crispy Seafood Bee Hoon at Jalan Besar

Yong Kee Seafood Restaurant

Address: 43 Jalan Besar

Operating Hours: 5.00pm to 3.00am (closed on first Wednesday of the month)

Introduction

Johor Bahru has this third storey bee hoon (三楼米粉) that is unique to Malaysia food culture. One side of the bee hoon is intentionally fried till crisp while the underneath of the bee hoon remains moist. While Singapore does not has exactly the same dish to offer, we have a few variations of it. One of them is the crispy chao ta bee hoon at Jalan Besar. Chao ta literally means burnt in hokkien (one of the dialects in Singapore).

Johor’s Third Storey Bee Hoon. Exterior is charred but not yet to the extend of crispy.

Yong Kee Seafood Restaurant is situated in an old school coffee shop along Jalan Besar, diagonally opposite Sim Lim Tower. It is not exactly a restaurant but a Cze Char stall. They offer various signature dishes like Pig Trotter, Egg Yolk Crab, 上汤苋菜 (Chinese Spinach served in soup stock), steamed salted chicken and of course the Crispy Bee Hoon.

Click to see their signature dish.

Cripsy Bee Hoon

Unlike Johor’s version, the charred side is pan fried till really crispy, to the extend of the texture of eating crackers. This also means that it will be slightly dryer. However, the other side of the bee hoon remains moist. The ingredient used is similar to our seafood Hor Fun that includes Prawn, Squid, Fish Cake and slices of Meat. Fried crispy pork lard and bean sprout are scattered onto the Bee Hoon to complete the dish.

I personally think that every Cze Char stall should have a unique signature dish and it’s this Bee Hoon for Yong Kee. This dish didn’t disappoint with it’s flavorful stock infused Bee Hoon. The texture is something new and refreshing. I would enjoyed the Bee Hoon even more if the pricing can be more affordable. A small size cost $6 while a medium and large cost $12 and $18 dollars.

Chinese Spinach serve in Soup Stock

Typically, this dish is served in restaurant.  It’s served in a big bowl with the Chinese Spinach soaked in soup. Yong Kee’s version is served in small pot over a small flame. Fried Ikan Billis (anchovies) are scattered generously over the vegetable.

The soup taste abit like chicken/ikan billis soup stock cubes. But of course, such cubes are actually widely used in hawker food so I think I will give it to them, because I like the soup. The soup is more flavorful than the usual one in restaurants. Vegetable is soft enough and yet remain crunchy. It cost $10 and is good enough to be shared by two.

Steamed Salted Chicken

From the name Salted Chicken, I was expecting something like Salt Baked Chicken but apparently the taste is totally different from what I imagined it to be. In fact the chicken is not at all salty and taste more of chinese herb with a tinge of Danggui (当归).

There is also a layer of jelly-like stuff, which i assume is a layer of starch because it is rather tasteless which the taste only comes from the sauce that it absorbs. I don’t particularly enjoy this dish.

Conclusion

Yong Kee does not offer the comfort that seafood restaurant can offer. The construction work for the new MRT line around this area made the coffee shop looked really run down and unappealing. I took a short walk from Bugis MRT to OG Bugis, cut across Sim Lim Square, then to Sim Lim Tower to reach this place, but i think it’s worth the walk. Maybe not for the steamed salted chicken, but for their Bee Hoon.

This Cze Char stall opens up to 3am in the morning so if you are feeling hungry at Jalan Besar, this stall may just be fix for you. You also can read up on Swee Choon Dim Sum at Jalan Besar that opens up to 6am in the morning.

Frenzlink Cafeteria (S$2.00 Noodles at CBD Area)

Frenzlink Cafeteria

Address: 56 South Bridge Road S(058687)

Operating hours: Not exactly sure, but it was already opened at 7.15am on a weekday until lunch time. I will find out the exact timing and hope to share with everyone soon.

Introduction

I chance upon this small cosy Cafeteria while walking to work from Good Morning Nanyang Cafe. It looks very old school, and the thing that particularly caught my eye was the stall signage – $2.00 for all of their noodles. Frenzlink sells items like Wanton Noodle, Minced Pork Noodle, Mee Rebus, Mee Siam, Laksa, Fishball Noodle, Lor Mee and Prawn Noodle. There is already a good crowd early in the morning and instead of a typical breakfast food – Fried Bee Hoon (they sell fried bee hoon also), almost everyone are having noodles, particularly their Wanton Noodle dry.

So i made it a point to visit this place and try out their $2.00 noodle. I heard that Frenzlink had kept their price low at $2.00 for the past 18 years since. I miss the days where the stall helper will bring your food and drinks to your table instead of “self-service” and Frenzlink is still one of such places. This place is ran by apparent locals and were greeted with a “thank you” or “good bye” after my meal for all of my three visits.

Wanton Noodle ($2.00 or $3.00)

I had tried a couple of their noodles and Wanton Noodle is one of my favorites. Their Wanton Noodle is the sweet black sauce style with lean Char Siew and not the gravy or oil style. Not mentioning about the soup that is a little bland and the mini wanton, i think their noodle is actually quite good for it’s taste and texture. The portion is not very big so i will order the $3.00 noodle if i am feeling a little hungry.

Mee Rebus ($2.00 or $3.00)

Their Mee Rebus is one of the best items in Frenzlink. The gravy is smooth and flavorful and not too sweet and comes with a whole hard-boiled egg. Imagine the egg cost $0.50 so i am actually paying $1.50. for the noodle  The sauce don’t taste starchy and the smooth sauce coats the noodles without being too thick or watery.

Lor Mee ($2.00 or $3.00)

The Lor Mee is not bad. Gravy’s taste is acceptable, just that it’s slightly watery. It comes with two pieces of braised pork belly, half an egg, pieces of deep-fried wanton skin and two pieces of Ngor Hiang (five-spice roll). Quite OK for a $2.00 noodle. I prefer the other noodles compared to this Lor Mee.

Laksa ($2.00 or $3.00)

I think their Laska exceeded my expectation. I was not expecting a lot from a $2 Laksa but it is really decent. The gravy don’t taste “cheap”. It is rich, filled with coconut fragrance and the sweetness from the grinded dried prawn. There are 2-3 pieces of Tau Pok, half an egg and a few slices of fish cake. No cockles (hum) though.

Minced Pork Noodle ($2.00 or $3.00)

I didn’t have the photo of their minced pork noodle, but it’s not like our traditional minced pork noodle with lean meat, minced pork, pork ball and mushroom. Frenzlink version is rather unique with their own braised style of minced pork, and noodle. Not my favourite kind of minced pork noodle or at least not what i was expecting. Sorry, this minced pork noodle will be on my last-to-order list.

Conclusion

Frenzlink is not the kind of place that i will travel all the way from Jurong or from Woodlands to have a meal here. This place is more of a hidden gem within the vicinity and is more of an interesting eat rather than an amazing eat.

I am pleasantly surprised that such a place still exist in the CBD area and i thought i can still pop by in the future to support them whenever i can.

Beo Crescent Hainanese Curry Rice

Beo Crescent Hainanese Curry Rice

Address: 40 Beo Crescent

Operating Hours: Daily: 6:30 till sold out (At about 3 or 4pm). Closed on Wednesday.

Introduction

I had heard people raved about this curry rice that is situated in the neighbourhood of Beo Crescent. You can easily spot this place by looking out for a long queue forming outside a coffee shop. The old school stall has no sign board and everyone calls it the Beo Crescent Curry rice. TheM 67 years old boss opens his stall early in the morning before the sun rises and closes his stall when most of this dishes are sold out at about 3 to 4pm.

Hainanese Pork Chop

Their famous pork chops are on the must-try list of every foodie. Remember to order the Pork Chops separately so that it will not be soaked in the curry sauce. Oh god. This Beo Crescent Curry Rice Pork Chop is indeed crispy! If you prefer your pork chop to be slightly thicker and a little bit more chewy, like Scissors Cut Curry Rice Pork Chops, you may not favour this. But for me, this is what makes their pork chops unique. Beo Crescent Curry Rice pork chop easily found itself into the must-order list for my next visit. I think the secret to the crispiness is the method of preparation. The pork chops were sliced into small and thin slices and coated it with a generous amount of flour mixture and logically, with that amount of flour coating, it should make your pork chops really crispy.

Fried prawn

Basically the marinate and the flour coating taste very similar to the the pork chops and is not difficult to guess the texture too. Yeap. Crispy! Except for the tail, the other parts of the prawn were deshelled which makes it easy for diners to feast on them. The prawn is definitely not overcooked and i can taste the freshness of the prawn.

Braised pork

The pork belly is well braised and the fatty portion comes off easily without much effort, but not to the extend to melt in your mouth. What is a Hainanese Curry Rice without braised pork belly?

Minced Pork Patty

The dish taste rather decent, Ok and probably should be the dish for me if i want to have a healthier meal. The unique thing about the Beo Crescent Curry Rice’s version is the slight difference in texture compared to the ordinary minced meat patty. They minced the meat till it’s really fine that you almost can’t taste the fiber of the meat. Just imagine a giant pork ball but much softer. This dish is a little bit salty for me and I will leave my stomach to try other dishes for my next visit.

Conclusion

Like most of our hawker centres or coffee shop food, apart from cheap and good, it’s still cheap and good! I ordered two plates of rice, one with pork belly and long bean, and the other one with cabbage and fried prawn, and ordered a plate of pork chops and a portion of minced pork patty and it cost me for S$9.50. How good is that?

Despite having 20 people in the queue and waiting for about 20 minutes during lunch time, it was well worth it. This stall was around since 1990 and I heard that the children of the stall owner has no interest to take over the stall so it’s a pity that such a traditional hawker stall will no longer be available in the near future. Be sure to pop by and try it out soon!