Ngee Fou Ampang Yong Tau Foo, the Hidden Gem at Upper Thomson Roada

Ngee Fou Ampang Yong Tau Foo

Address: 928 Upper Thomson Road

Opening hours: 10.00 am to 8.00 pm daily

Introduction

This Yong Tau Foo was recommended by a friend staying nearby and i had been a fan since then. Ngee Fou Ampang Yong Tau Foo has been around in Singapore for about 45 years old. It was said that the first generation owner is a relative of the originator of Ampang Yong Tau Foo in Malaysia. The knowledge on how to prepare a bowl of good and authentic Ampang Yong Tau Foo was then imparted to this family. The recipe is tweaked over the years to what it is today.

Ngee Fou is situated at the far northern part of Upper Thomson at the Springleaf area and it spans over two shops. Apart from Yong Tau Foo, they also sell drinks, chicken and duck rice. Although it’s location is rather ulu, there is still a pretty decent crowd at meal time.

Ampang Yong Tau Foo

Ngee Fou charges their Yong Tau Foo at an affordable $4 per person and you place your order by stating the number of pax and the auntie will take care of the rest. A portion of their Yong Tau Foo comes with fried bean stick, fried wanton, fried quail egg, fish ball, tau kwa, tau pok, tofu, brinjal, lady’s finger, bitter gourd and tonnes of kangkong, drenched in their secret gravy.

The star of the show is undoubtedly the Ampang Sauce. The secret to their recipe is very well kept and the boss is unwilling to disclose them on various media interviews. It was mentioned that this gravy is made with more than 10 kinds of ingredients and spices.

Despite trying hard to analyse what ingredients are used in the sauce, I only manage to figure out garlic and probably flat fish. Their thick sauce is not heavy on the stomach, comes with a slight tinge of sweetness and a decent amount of garlic fragrance, and goes exceptionally well with all the Yong Tau Foo items.

My two favourite items are the fried bean stick and the kangkong. Unlike some bean stick that you find at vegetarian stall which is typically thin and flimsy, this one is well-fried, thick and crunchy. It’s exceptionally good when it’s half soaked with gravy and half crispy. Normally I will sacrifice the bitter gourd and brinjl to exchange for more of these.

As for the kangkong, they are really generous with the portion, considering it’s only for two person. Usually I am not a fan of non-sambal kangkong but this is one exception. Again, credit goes to the gravy for this lovely combination. The gravy coated vegetable is well boiled, soft enough and yet crunchy and gives a good balance over the fried stuff.

Normally it’s a SOP to order the Dumpling Soup together with their Yong Tau Foo. It’s cost $2.00 for five pieces of dumplings. To be honest, the soup has nothing much to shout about and I’m ordering this for their dumplings as an add on to the Yong Tau Foo ingredient. It’s more of a good to have than a must-order.

Conclusion

Ngee Fou Ampang Yong Tau Foo is my choice for one of the unique and best Yong Tau Foo in Singapore. Apart from the great taste, it also comes at a great price. At $4 for ten items plus a big bunch of veggie, i consider this as very affordable. Most food court would have charge much more for a mediocre bowl of Yong Tau Foo. I also like the spacious dining environment despite being a coffee shop. The table is well space from each other without the feeling of being cramp up.

However, due to it’s location, it’s not a place that I will visit frequently, especially for people who don’t own their own transport. But who knows, the story may change when the Springleaf MRT station is completed in the near future.

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Delicious Boneless Chicken Rice at Katong Shopping Centre

Delicious Boneless Chicken Rice at Katong Shopping Centre

Address (Google Map): 865 Mountbatten Road #B1-85/87, Katong Shopping Centre

Opening hours: 10.30 am to 8.00 pm (closed on Monday)

Introduction

Introducing this chicken rice that i had been visiting since my schooling days – Delicious Boneless Chicken Rice at Katong Shopping Centre. There are many things to do at Katong Shopping Centre then – LAN gaming, Billiard and Pool, Bowling and Karaoke and this chicken rice is my must-eat whenever i visit this place.

Price wise, it’s actually a little more pricey than the usual. Be prepare to spend about $6 to $10 per person, depending on what you order. For this meal, it costs me $54 (enough for six pax) and it comes with half roasted chicken, half steamed chicken, braised pork belly (seasonal), bean sprout with sliced abalone and two big bowl of (refillable) soup that are filled with meat and vegetables. Did I mention that it also comes with free flow achar?

Roast / Steamed Chicken Rice

The chicken is well roasted, with the skin slightly crisp, and drenched in a good serving of their unique blend of base sauce that is made from soy sauce and sesame oil. It’s completed by sprinkling fried garlic bit on the chicken, which added a tinge of garlicky fragrance to the chicken. Some may find the sauce a little too salty but i thought it complements the chicken perfectly and made every chunk of chicken enjoyable, including the usually drier breast part.

Their steamed chicken does not stand pale in comparison than it’s roasted counterpart. They manage to retain the natural sweetness of the chicken while ensuring the meat is succulent and juicy. Apart from the chicken, the thick-cut crunchy cucumber slices that are soaked in this sauce is definitely the next best thing that can happen to this plate of chicken.

If there is one thing to improve on, I guess that it’s their rice. Although I don’t find any major problem with their rice and i actually still like it, I have to highlight that their rice is a little to the dryer side, and comparing to some, it’s not as aromatic and fluffy. This may also means that it’s less oily.

Cabbage and Lotus Root Soup

The next unique thing about this chicken rice is gotta be their free flow achar and the (refillable) soup that comes with it. Typically for a portion for four people, it comes with two big bowl of soup – peppery cabbage and pork rib lotus roots. And they are not just soup, but full of vegetables and meat. The cabbage soup is cooked in chicken bones and flavoured with pepper. The cabbage is so soft, that it almost just melt in my mouth.

For the lotus roots soup, it comes with a generous amount of thick crunchy lotus roots, peanut, and even comes with chunks of pork rib in it. I’m quite sure these are one of the best “complimentary” (although i think the cost is already factored into the overall price) chicken rice soup.

Other dishes

They also serve side dishes like Oyster Sauce Vegetable and Bean Sprout with Sliced Abalone. Yeap. Real sliced abalone. I mentioned earlier that the price of the chicken rice can be a little more pricey and this is why.

On this visit, the staff recommended us to try their seasonal dish – braised pork belly a.k.a Dong Po Meat (东坡肉) when we wanted to order their roast meat. I though this dish is not bad. I like the fatty portion (the top part of the pork belly). They manage to break down the fat and made it melty soft instead of a rubbery texture but i thought the fatty part is a little too little as most parts are meaty and it is not soft enough and I sort of struggled trying to dissect it. It’s well braised and flavoured, but probably i still prefer my roast meat to go with my chicken rice.

Conclusion

It’s always a feast whenever i visit Delicious Boneless Chicken Rice at Katong Shopping Centre and having a meal there has always been satisfying. I like this chicken rice for it’s overall package, and not exactly on the individual dish. The meal time crowd has been increasing over the years and sometimes it may require a 45 minutes of waiting time, which i personally think that this one factor made the chicken rice not as attractive as before. For some people, the location of this chicken rice may also be a turn-off as it’s not exactly easily accessible.

Delicious Boneless Chicken Rice has endured the test of time despite for operating in such an inconspicuous location, and maintained their standard throughout the years while maintaining a still-reasonable price. Until it goes the other direction, i will still come back and visit this place whenever i can.

New Station Snack Bar and their Salted Egg Pork Rib

New Station Snack Bar

Address: 14 Scotts Road #05-95 Far East Plaza

Opening hours: 11:00am to 8:45pm (last order) daily

Introduction

As we know, dining at orchard is never cheap and cheaper food at most food courts is mediocre and mostly “meh”. There are actually a few places that offers good food at good price and one of them is the New Station Snack Bar at Far East Plaza.

It’s situated at level 5 beside the well-known chicken rice. This inconspicuous coffee shop offers a good selection of Cze Char items at coffee shop price. They are most famous for a couple of items like Salted Egg Pork Rib, Salted Egg with Deep Fried Fish Skin and Claypot Bee Tai Mak.

Menu 1 of 2. Click to enlarge.

Menu 2 of 2. Click to enlarge.

Salted Egg Pork Rib

Apart from the usual curry leave and chilli, the flavour of the sauce mainly come from butter and salted egg yolk. Unlike most salted egg pork rib that i had, they actually do not add sugar/condense milk into their blend of salted egg yolk sauce. The pork rib is lightly flavoured and is well fried on the outside while it’s tender on the inside. Each piece of boneless rib is generously coated with their buttery egg yolk sauce and goes perfectly with white rice.

The thing that I like most about this Salted Egg Pork Rib is it’s not overly cloying due to the absence of sugar and the whole plate of pork rib was snapped up in no time. A plate of pork rib costs me $11.00 and there’s also option to order their Salted Egg Pork Rib Rice at $6.00.

Claypot Bee Tai Mak

This is another dish that i like – piping hot claypot Bee Tai Mak in black bean sauce with chicken cubes. The best thing I like about having Bee Tai Mak is there’s no worry of mess or splattering as the whole meal can be finished using a soup spoon. There are choices to upgrade to seafood and beef version at an additional $0.50. Some may find the sauce a little salty by itself but it’s good if you have it together with the Mee Tai Mak.

Their black bean sauce is thick and flavourful and the hot claypot ensures that it remains so until the last mouth. The Mee Tai Mak is smooth and the crunchy veggie enhances the overall texture. By stirring in the egg, it balances the salty taste and thickens the sauce further and completes the icing on the cake. Add in a spoon of their Sambal chilli for more kick.

Stir-fried Mee Tai Mak

This dish is a little less exciting than the other two. It’s lightly flavoured and the idea is to enjoy the Bee Tai Mak texture with crunchy bean sprouts and egg, like our fried kway teow. It’s not sweet, and the fragrance of this dish comes almost entirely from the alluring smoky flavour of Wok Hei. I didn’t quite like it at first mouthful, but it gets better and although I didn’t finish the entire dish, i had more than I expected.

Conclusion

I find their food very reasonably priced and my vote goes to their Salted Egg Pork Rib and Claypot Bee Tai Mak. There is not much ambience to mention of but i find this place more peaceful than a typical Orchard Road food court that is bursting with crowd and noise. The food that I had are also of decent quality and overall I had a good experience at New Station Snack Bar.

Hollywood Braised Duck Rice (Lian Kee) at Sims Place

Hollywood Braised Duck Rice (formally known as Lian Kee Braised Duck)

Address: 49 Sims Place, Sims Vista Market and Food Centre, #01-73

Operating hours: 9.30am to 3.30pm daily

Introduction

Hin Hollywood Canteen, a very old school coffee shop situated off Tanjong Katong Road, was once a favourite lunch place for “old-timer” city harvest church goers. It was closed down in August 2011 and many coffee shop stalls were missed dearly and one of them is Lian Kee Braised Duck Rice. As per iEatiShootiPost post, Lian Kee had reopened at Sims Vista Market and Food Centre, and had changed their name to Hollywood Duck Rice on 19 September 2014.

A friend brought me to this braised duck rice stall a few years ago. Although i only vaguely remember the taste, it was quite a pleasant experience then so I specially made the trip down to it’s new location.

Braised Duck Rice

I ordered a braised duck for two with added Tau Pok, Tau Kwa and Eggs with two rice. I was rather surprise that it only cost me about $12 for this quality and portion. The dark brown rice is cooked in braising sauce that gives out a subtle herby fragrance that is delectable by itself. Topping it with the thick and flavourful braised sauce only makes the soft fluffy rice even better.

Braised Duck

The duck meat is tender and succulent as I remembered it (even for the breast meat), while the flavour infused duck skin adds a slight bouncy texture. This duck has zero unpleasant “duck smell” and is enjoyable to the last bit of meat. Not to mention that the braised sauce has just the right level of saltiness and the thick flavourful gravy is something worth visiting for.

Others

Their braised egg, tau pok and tau kwa are all cooked in the same braised sauce. When the gravy is this good, nothing much can go wrong. The sweet herbal duck soup also works well for me.

Conclusion

This is a well worth visit. Although it’s at a very ulu location, it’s within a short walking distance from Aljunied MRT. Apart from the taste, i thought it’s very reasonably priced. A plate of braised duck rice cost only $3.30, considering the effort behind for braising the duck and rice. Apart from rice, they also sell duck porridge, noodle and kway chap.

 

 

Ri Ri Hong Mala Hot Pot at Chinatown People’s Park Food Centre

Ri Ri Hong Mala Hot Pot 日日红麻辣香锅

Address: People’s Park Food Centre, 32 New Market Road #01-1042 & #01-1052

Opening hours: Mon to Sun 11.00am to 9.00pm

Introduction

Mala Hot Pot (麻辣香锅) originates from the Sichuan (四川) / Chongqing (重庆) region. It has a humble background and this everyday-dish is widely enjoyed by their ordinary folks. It has gained tremendous popularity in China and eateries selling Mala Hot Pot also started popping up in Singapore’s food court and hawker centre. In3 Singapore’s context, a hot pot refers to a steamboat kind of dish but this Hot Pot actually means Spicy Pot.

Ri Ri Hong Mala Hot Pot (日日红麻辣香锅) is one of the first Mala Hot Pot eateries in Singapore. It has since gained much popularity and long queues are formed out this hawker stall during dinner hour. The concept of Mala Hot Pot is the diner will choose from a wide variety of ingredients (like our Yong Tau Foo) to be wok-fried in their Mala spicy sauce and to go with white rice. Some common ingredients are pork, chicken, luncheon meat, chinese sausage, veggies, bean stick, mushrooms, lotus root, potato etc.

Order at the stall in front, and collect it from stall behind

Pricing

Ri Ri Hong Mala Hot Pot are well known for the good taste and affordability. Some of us may have seen food court selling Mala Hot Pot and they priced it according to weight (per 100g), which means a moderate size potato can already cost you two to three dollars, which is crazy. Even a piece of luncheon meat can cost three dollars for a thicker slice and you will only know the price after they weigh it. I think those kind of pricing is ridiculous and i never patronise those stalls ever since.

For Ri Ri Hong Mala Hot Pot, you place your order with the stall lady and will be charged by per portion. It’s a dollar for a portion of non-meat ingredient, two dollars for meat and three dollars for seafood, and premium meat like beef, mutton, taiwan sausage and intestine.

The Level of Spiciness

Ri Ri Hong Mala Hot Pot Menu and Price List

You will then decide the spiciness level, from non spicy, mild, moderate, spicy to extra spicy. For people who can take spicy stuff, the moderate (中辣) is pretty bearable. Probably only the spicy (大辣) flavour will give some kick.

The Hot Pot Itself

The hot pot is brought to taste by some basic ingredients like garlic, red chilli, dried chilli flakes, sugar, spring onion, pepper, sesame, chilli oil and their secret Mala spicy sauce. They claimed that their sauce is made up of more than twenty kinds of herbs and spices. The overall taste of the Mala Hot Pot is similar to Kung Pao Chicken but less sweet and much spicier. I personally like it very much.

Their thick vermicelli (濑粉) is a must order. During the process of wok frying, these vermicelli absorbs much of the Mala sauce and made them absolutely delectable. I ordered vermicelli, mushroom, lotus roots, potato, veg, tau pok, tau kee, golden mushroom and luncheon meat and it only cost me $10.00, which is good to be shared by two person. If you had other Mala Hot Pot before, you will know that Ri Ri Hong Mala Hot Pot is definitely affordable and very much worth the price.

Conclusion

To be honest, I was a little sceptical about this Mala Hot Pot initially as the appearance does not look appealing at all. I sort of mix this up with their cold-stir veggie (凉拌菜) and i am not very into cold savoury dishes. It was the queue that convinced me to try and it was definitely a good decision (in you are into spicy stuff like me).

Do note that it’s a little oily so it’s not exactly the healthiest dish. But Ri Ri Hong Mala Hot Pot will always be in my mind if I happen to visit Chinatown. Now i understand why Mala Hot Pot can be so popular back in China. Cheap, good, shiok and spicy!

Bee Kee, The Truffle Oil Wanton Noodle at Serangoon

Bee Kee Wanton Noodle (美记云吞面)

Address (Google Map): Cheun Kee Kopitiam, 2 Lorong Lew Lian

Opening hours: 7.30am to 2.30pm, Closed on mon

Introduction

In recent years, truffle oil dishes are gaining much popularity in Singapore. We have truffle oil fries, truffle oil chicken chop, truffle oil burger patty, truffle oil pasta but truffle oil Wanton Noodle? Seriously? Yes. Bee Kee Wanton Mee is one coffee shop stall that sells truffle oil Wanton Noodle. Bee Kee Wanton Mee is tucked away at an inconspicuous neighbourhood coffee shop that is within walking distance from Serangoon MRT.

Bee Kee has only started operation a couple of months ago in March 2014. This stall mainly offers Wanton Noodle and Braised Soft Bone Pork Ribs Noodle but there is no mention of the Truffle Noodle anywhere on the stall signage. However, if you see closely, there is a small signage stand saying “ask us about our secret truffle oil noodles”.

When asked about the “secrecy” of the Truffle Oil Noodle, the stall holder explained that they are catering to the heartland crowd and therefore keeping their displayed noodle price low at $3 a plate. They do not want to scare away the crowd with a $6 price tag. And for those who are willing to pay a premium price for this premium noodle, feel free to ask them about it.

Menu

Wanton noodle – $3.00, $3.50,  $4.00 ($6.00 for Truffle Oil version)
Braised Pork Rib Soft Bone Noodle (Dry) – $3.50, $4.00, $4.50
Braised Pork Rib Soft Bone Noodle (Soup) – $3.80, $4.30
Braised Pork Rib Rice – $3.50, $4.00
Fried wanton – $3.00

Truffle Oil Wanton Noodle

Their Wanton Noodle is similar to those found in Johor Bahru but at a larger portion. The noodle is thinner than our typical Singapore Wanton Noodle and the texture is really light and springy. Folks that dislike the “noodle taste” will like this as there is isn’t any (or minimal). Even after a period of time (of photo taking), the noodle does not clump together. Thumbs up for their noodle.

This truffle oil noodle taste much lighter than our typical Wanton Noodle. It’s lightly salted with a good drench of truffle oil. They store their truffle oil in spray bottle and applies it at various areas of the noodle to ensure the oil coats the noodle evenly.

The noodle comes with a portion of their “special chilli”. It’s quite nice when added to their regular noodle but it’s a little wasteful when you mix it with the truffle oil noodle cus it will overpower the truffle taste. The truffle oil goes perfectly with the added fried pork lard though.

Their Char Siew consist of mainly lean meat, slightly drier but it did not disappoint. I love the taste of the Char Siew, which the exterior is flame-torched for slightly crispy and charred texture right at the stall.

I don’t think their Truffle Oil Wanton Noodle is a big deal though but it’s a new Wanton Noodle experience if you judge the Truffle Oil Noodle in a class of its own. Else, at the price of $6, i will have their regular Wanton Noodle ($3) anytime.

Braised Pork Rib Soft Bone Noodle

Apart from Wanton Noodle, Bee Kee also offers Pork Rib Noodle. The braising made the meat fell off from the bones effortlessly and the fats became all soft and melty. Even the soft bone of the rib became chewy soft.

The pork rib is well flavoured but overall it’s a little greasy for me. I thought the addition of Bean Sprout didn’t manage to enhance this noodle much. Overall a not bad dish.

Conclusion

As the stall is relatively new, Bee Kee enjoys a constant flow of patrons with minimum queuing time which works for me. I always thought that “why can’t Singapore’s Wanton Noodle adopt the JB style noodle” and now we have Bee Kee.

The regular Wanton Noodle is much worth the $3 price tag. Their noodle and char siew works for me. As for the $6 Truffle Oil Noodle, i thought it’s a little pricey and a little gimmicky. But overall it is still a satisfying and interesting experience so feel free to try it and judge it for yourself.

Note that they are only open from morning to 2.30pm and are close during dinner time.