Food Review: Penang Street

So you’ve read about me travelling to Germany for 2 weeks and might have seen some of my meals via Instagram. Though I don’t mind potatoes and meat, I do miss my Asian fare, in particular my stir-fries and Japanese food!

On Tuesday, after our pre-LASIK tests (yes, I’ve decided to go for the LASIK surgery – more on that later!), we headed down to the basement of the medical centre and got ourselves a table at Penang Street. It’s a no brainer for me as I always get Penang Char Koay Teow (S$8.80) when I go for Penang food. ZH decided on their signature Nasi Lemak (S$9.80) because “grilled chicken thigh” appealed to his palate. Oh my love, we’re going need to cook separate meals in future because I’m not a fan of chicken. LOL

The food arrived very quickly as though it was pre-cooked and zapped in the microwave (but it was definitely cooked to order!!). The fried koay teow noodles had hints of wok hei which I thought was an indication that this was going to be good. However, that impression didn’t last long as the noodles were clumpy as opposed to being separated by strand, and the prawns were obviously frozen before being cooked. I soon got tired of the smoky taste and couldn’t help but did a comparison between Penang Street and Gurney Drive. (I used to like Penang Place at Fusionopolis, but I haven’t been there in ages, so no comparison)
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The nasi lemak, on the other hand, was pretty good. Or at least the rice and the grilled chicken as I only got a mouthful of these 2. The rice was fluffy though not very aromatic/lemak. The chicken was surprisingly good! I believe the chicken was marinated in turmeric, setting it apart from the usual fried chicken. I’m surprised that I liked the chicken because I don’t like turmeric marinated fish (also a common side dish for nasi lemak).
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Food aside, I loved the décor at Penang Street. It reminded me of the 1980’s and 1990’s with the wooden tables and chairs, pastel colours (predominant colour was turquoise!), and the classic Peranakan style tiles on the wall.

Will I go there again? Don’t think so. The location caters more to the medical centre there, and I wouldn’t have a reason to go there!

Red Ring Wanton Mee

Mention “hawker” and an image of an old uncle in a singlet cooking over a hot stove usually comes to mind. Sadly, not many youngsters nowadays are willing to take on the job of being a hawker and slaving over the stove. I can understand why, after all, being in the food industry is tough work.

So when Red Ring Wanton Mee was born in 2013 by a young chemical undergraduate, many food bloggers picked up the story. What was interesting is that the young chap actually used what he learnt in school to apply to creating his own unique wanton mee. For example, he brought in a Japanese machine to cook the noodles to perfection and he used some instruments to analyse and perfect his unique sauce.

Many blog reviews have been giving praise to Red Ring’s sauce and their fried wantons. But it’s either I do not know how to appreciate Red Ring, or that their standards have dropped since those reviews in 2013. I was at the original outlet in Holland Drive together with ZH and my dad, so we purposely ordered 3 different dishes: the original spicy noodles ($3), the original non-spicy noodles ($3) and the prawn dumpling noodles ($4).

IMG_5840 The prawn dumplings (虾角) were freshly fried and filled with juicy prawns, the noodles were nicely cooked without the alkaline taste. The vegetables were, however, cold – I think they should at least blanch it in boiling water again.

IMG_5839 The original wanton noodles was just meh for me. The fried wantons were miserably small! Couldn’t taste the filling at all. The charsiew, touted to be really good, just tasted like normal roast. It didn’t have the signature sweet charsiew taste, and the colour was not appealing too. The “red ring” sauce wasn’t fantastic in OUR opinions. In fact, we had much preferred the non-spicy sauce – it was full of umami goodness, and reminded me of Mee Kolo.

I wonder if I had missed the best of Red Ring because I wanted to like it. Do let me know if you have any recommendations for good wanton mee!

Has Grub lost its charm on us?

ZH and myself decided to try New Ubin Seafood one day after my facial at Upper Thomson and I decided to ask Papa along, since I was feeling guilty for not accompanying him the day before. But unfortunately, NUS was packed at 630pm and they turned us away because we didn’t have a reservation. Not wanting to just go anywhere else (since we have already utilized an hour’s parking coupon), it was decided to go Grub as it was just a 3 min drive away.

We were lucky at Grub because we snagged the last indoor table (my dad insisted on having an indoor table. LOL), and the queue was at least 30-40 mins wait after us. Dad decided to have the steak and fries ($19), ZH had the pork belly ($17) while I tried the new limited edition chili crab burger ($18).

IMG_5834 The steak and fries portion was big but Papa commented that some parts of the steak were a little chewy and tough. When he was about to finish his meal, he asked why have we not visited Angus in a long while. Ok, I get your hint dad!

IMG_5835 It’s been 3 months since we last visited Grub. ZH thought he was being safe and stuck to our old favorite – the pork belly. But unfortunately, Grub seemed to have renewed the dish. The pork belly is now being sous vided and seared, served with sauteed leeks and mashed sweet potato. I think the dish is less enjoyable as we could taste more of the fats (previously made crispy and less obvious that we were eating fats). The mash sweet potato was also quite rich on the palate.

IMG_5836 IMG_5838 I took a gamble and tried the new offering and luckily it paid off. The crab patty was thick and full of crab meat. The chili crab sauce was also quite spot on, being a little sweet and tangy at the same time. The entire burger was quite thick and I couldn’t get it to fit into my mouth, so I ate the burger with the help of a fork and a knife. Weird.

I’m pretty upset that Grub has revamped its menu several times now and each time, they take away/change something that used to be a crowdpleaser. For example, the mussels, the salmon fillet, and now the slow roasted pork belly. Oh and by the way, if Grub management is reading this, please change the name of your Honey Lime juice drink to Honey Lemon!! Twice I ordered, and it was Lemon in it. Lime & lemon has a distinct difference in taste and outlook!

Colbar, a thing of the past?

I really hesitated writing about this place, because I didn’t think much of it despite all the rave reviews I see online. But then, I don’t think I’m the kind who would not speak my mind just because I’m against the flow. So here it is.

IMG_5547 Colbar, according to many other blog reviews, is an eating place with lots of history. You can easily find many other reviews talking about its background so I won’t repeat it here. It is actually located really near to AYE, Normanton exit. I never knew this place existed despite working super close to there a couple of years back! And I’m even more amazed to know that there are actual families living in the blocks behind. It’s like a concrete kampung man! The interior of the place is really old school… it reminded me of those 1980’s TV dramas (I believe MediaCorp was still known as SBS then!), and be being a city girl, I don’t really know how to appreciate it.

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It was still early when we arrived at 11am, and we forgot to withdraw cash (only $20+ on us) so we just ordered food and 2 drinks (a canned ginger ale, and a vanilla milkshake). They had a wide range of ciders and beers though, and I see that that could be the main draw for people to visit. The food… was meh.

He ordered the pork chop with chips and mushrooms. The pork chop was dry and didn’t have much flavor, while the mushrooms were not even heated up. It seems like straight from the can, complete with brine water. The only saving grace was the gravy.IMG_5550

I can’t remember the exact name of this, but I think it was the beehoon with gravy? Anyway, it’s like horfun, but with vermicelli noodles instead. This was really bland. The beehoon didn’t have the charred flavor – it was probably blanched, while the gravy didn’t taste like it was cooked with the rest of the ingredients. It almost felt like the chef had cooked all the ingredients separately and then assembled them upon receiving the orders.
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Would I go there again? Unlikely.