Saturday, October 14, 2017

Japan's Ramen Nagi in Singapore

Butao Ramen

The chain from Japan opened up at Suntec City Tower 2 earlier this week (9 Temasek Boulevard #01-512, 6821-1601). Like Keisuke's Tonkotsu King Four Seasons, these guys had a white, black, red, and green version of tonkotsu. I assume that Keisuke-san was inspired by these guys.

It's only a half menu right now with things like gyoza and chashudon unavailable. I went for the plain butao bowl just to get a taste of the pure broth, and unfortunately that's exactly what I didn't like. It was a bit too sweet and swiney, and wasn't salty enough. I didn't even want to finish it.

Granted, the checklist menu probably would've let me crank up the saltiness, but I couldn't get it to taste good using the tabletop array of condiments. Maybe I'll like it better if I try one of the four flavors and also crank up the chili sauce, but based on this bowl, I'm not going to be rushing to come back to prove myself right.

Epilogue: whoa, whoa, whoa what the heck is this?? I just realized that these guys have the same logo as Butao Ramen in Hong Kong!! I thought Butao was a local shop up there, but the similarities are too close to be a coincidence, including the same impression that I had of their sweet broth. Butao's web page shows different branding now, but I wonder if they were somehow related in the past.

Friday, October 13, 2017

"Spicy Chicken" From United Airlines

Spicy Chicken

I haven't written about airplane food in a while, as it's not really anything that I want to remember. But this surprise from United tonight was good enough that I'd be happy to pay money for it. It's a misleadingly named "spicy chicken," which was not that spicy nor really about the chicken either. Instead, it was the coconut-based curry broth on noodles that I slurped down and even mopped up the remainder with bread. Now to be sure, if it were from a restaurant, I would've expected more from it. And I'm sure that my opinion was influenced by the fact that I was starving earlier. Nonetheless, it's been a long time since I've honestly liked eating something on an airplane.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Halal Guys in New York City

Beef Gyro Platter

I made my way over to 43rd and 6th to try to find the Trini Paki Boys cart today, but for some reason they weren't there this morning (thanks for the tip nonetheless). I thus decided to just walk a few more blocks up to 53rd and 6th to finally give the famous Halal Guys a try.

It was much better than the random cart that I tried the other day, including not just better quality meat, but perhaps more notably, that surprisingly potent red hot sauce, which made this more fun to eat. That said, I still don't know if I'd eat this salt and grease bomb again, not while sober at least.

Barney Greengrass on Manhattan's Upper West Side

Combination of Sturgeon and Nova Scotia Salmon 
Scrambled with Eggs & Onions

Here's another place that I didn't get around to trying last time I was in New York (541 Amsterdam Avenue, 212-724-4707). It's an old school deli specializing in smoked fish. I naturally wanted to get a bagel and lox as a result, but apparently they were good at these scrambled eggs, which I got with both sturgeon and salmon, as well as a bialy on the side. Yeah, it was fine and tasted like it looked, but wasn't anything terribly mind-blowing either. In that sense, I kinda wish I had gotten a smoked fish platter (they have sable!) and maybe tried their chopped liver too.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Peter Luger Steak House in Brooklyn, New York

Last time I was in Brooklyn, I couldn't get into this place because of the huge line (178 Broadway, 718-387-7400). It was largely filled with tourists from what I could see, which made me think twice about coming here today. Still, this is a one Michelin-starred institution bearing praise from the likes of Zagat and the James Beard Foundation, so I had to at least give it a try.

It's definitely a unique place. It's in an old German-style wooden beer hall, it's cash only, and the only cut of beef on their menu is their porterhouse (you only choose the size depending on the number of people you have). They bring it out to you pre-sliced and sizzling in butter.

The good thing was that the fat was tasty and plentiful, with the charred edges being the best. But mine wasn't very evenly cooked, and some parts of the steak were rather difficult to eat too. Really, Michelin? I suppose it does have character, but I won't be going back. Or if I do, it would be for lunch so that I can try their burger or prime rib.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The John Dory Oyster Bar in New York City

Jonah Crab

Shellfish was exactly the top-up that I needed after dinner tonight, so I made my way to this shop, which I noticed on my way to the Breslin last night (1196 Broadway, 212-792-9000). And I was extremely happy with that Jonah crab above. It's the east coast version of a Dungeness, and the flesh was nearly as delicate and sweet too. But the best thing was the tomalley, which was richer and smoother than Dungeness. I liked this much more than when I first tried it in Boston a few years ago, and I nearly ordered another one. I suspect that I'll be back here again soon, especially since this place has great cocktails too.

Adam's Halal Food Cart in New York City

Lamb Over Rice

It's fascinating how "halal carts" have developed into their own thing in New York. Halal Guys is supposed to be one of the most famous ones, but I was in a rush for lunch today and just randomly found this guy at the corner of 35th and 5th. The "lamb over rice" basically turned out to be a deconstructed gyro on a plate, using that same processed meat and a selection of sauces, but on a bed of rice rather than in a pita. And it tasted like you would think it would: salty and greasy, and not in an entirely bad way, but probably something more suitable after a few drinks. Anyway, I ate this pretty quickly, and his firm rice was pretty good. Now I'm kinda curious to see what the difference is with the Halal Guys.

Monday, October 09, 2017

A Random Stop at Joe's Pizza in New York City

Supreme Pizza

I still needed just a little more food after that last meal, and in fact was trying to hunt down one of those honey roasted nut stands on one of the street corners. But then I just happened to walk by an outlet of Joe's Pizza on the way back to the hotel, and I figured that I might as well get that given that it's not often that I get out to New York. The toppings on this supreme were nicely savory, but it ultimately still came down to that chewy yet crispy crust, especially when dusted with the four plastic bottles of parmesan, garlic powder, chili pepper, and oregano, all washed down with a cherry soda.

The Breslin in New York City

Seafood Sausage

If no one had told me this was a one Michelin-starred place, I would have never known given its outside appearances, as it looked like your everyday English pub attached to a hotel (16 West 29th Street, 212-679-1939). But I was floored after my very first bite of that seafood sausage above. Why? Who the heck packs shellfish into a sausage?? That's exactly what it tasted like: the aroma of walking into a raw bar but packed into a sausage!!! And it came with a wonderfully buttery beurre blanc with chives. F*CK YEAH!

I had some other stuff here, including a crispy Scotch egg as well as a beef and Stilton pie, both of which were good, even if I wished that the latter had a little more cheese in it. Either way, that seafood sausage is awesome and is probably one of the best things I've eaten in several years. I'm going to have to come back for that, especially since they have a lot of local beer on tap too, not to mention some potent cocktails available. The guy said that they are known for their lamb burger as well.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Cambodia's Kirum Premium Pepper Sauce

Cambodia's Kirum Premium Pepper Sauce

I was randomly walking through the hot sauce section at Mustafa this morning when I noticed these bottles of hot sauce from Cambodia on sale for just S$1 (US$0.75). Of course the price made it a steal (their expiration date is approaching in a few weeks), but I was more curious to find out what this stuff tasted like. The box said that it was a 1000 year old recipe consisting of local sap vinegar and Kampot peppers, whatever those were.

It ended up tasting like a spicy Worcestershire sauce, especially since it was more sour than it was spicy. Granted, Tabasco sauce is more sour than it is spicy too, but this was earthy like Worcestershire sauce. And actually, it wasn't very spicy; it was at least several notches down from Tabasco. It thus won't be something I'll yearn for again, but one day I'd love to go to Cambodia to see what real Cambodian food is like.

Ghee & Podi Idli from Murugan Idli Shop, Singapore

Ghee & Podi Idli

It's been a while since I've been to Murugan, but this morning I noticed that they have this ghee & podi-coated idli on the menu. It was cheaper than getting the ghee & podi on its own, all the added benefit of them coating it nice and evenly for you already.

And it was delicious: so much that I barely even needed the accompanying chutney surrounding it (but I still ate the chutney given how good it is). The podi wasn't that spicy going down, but it still left a bit of warmth on my lips afterwards.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Golden Nur at Market Street Interim Hawker Centre

Fried Chicken Briyani

I was near Market Street Interim Hawker Centre (8 Cross Street) and needed a quick bite before heading back to the office. I had no idea which stalls were good, so I did a quick search online and this one showed up, and with a reasonably short line when I arrived too.

This "famous crispy fried chicken" was apparently the thing to get, except that it wasn't exactly the fried chicken that one probably assumes it to be. Instead, what made it crispy was this showering of red crunchy bits all over it. And yes, they did make it fun.

The biryani wasn't anywhere as fragrant as say, Bismillah, but I suppose that it didn't really matter when those fried bits and curry were all over it. It's just too bad then that the chicken was so dry that I didn't even bother to eat the rest of it.