Hype or Hit: New food and drinks that got us talking in April

Crab covered in Oreo Powder, LiHo's Brown Sugar Pearl series, a Mother's Day popiah buffet, and more noteworthy foods we tried this month.

Black Gold Crab from Shi Fu Ge ($41)
Black Gold Crab from Shi Fu Ge ($41)
28 Apr 2018

Black Gold Crab from Shi Fu Ge ($41)

The zi char delivery service's latest dish is a doozy: a 600g Sri Lankan Crab sprinkled with Oreo powder, drizzled with nacho cheese and cheddar cheese, and packed with corn. We were a little grossed out when we first heard about it, but our curiosity won, and lo and behold, it actually tasted pretty delicious! The sweetness of the Oreo powder brings out the savouriness of the crab, while the texture of the cheese makes its flesh extra creamy. And the corn adds an unexpected brightness to the overall flavour. 

Hype or hit? HIT 

Dishes from Shi Fu Ge are available to order online islandwide 

The Original Boat Noodle (TOBN)
The Original Boat Noodle (TOBN)
30 Apr 2018

The Original Boat Noodle (TOBN)

Address: 5 Changi Business Park Central 1, Changi City Point, #B1-34A, Singapore 486038

Local singer Ang Junyang fell in love with TOBN when he first tried it in Malaysia so much so that he  decided to franchise it and bring it into Singapore. We were invited to the outlet's grand opening last week where we sampled a variety of dishes. Here's what we liked: 

Boat Noodles ($1.20)

As in the eponymous name of the eatery, they serve two types of glass noodles with the option of having it either with chicken or beef - the Pathumthani (a dark soy sauce broth) and Ayutthaya (a mildly spicy broth). 

Hype or hit? Hit. We preferred the Ayutthaya for its appetising sourish kick. Each serving can be wolfed in three to four mouthfuls which means there’s space for a couple more bowls or a few more side dishes.

Crunchy Thai Popeye’s Tempura ($3.80)

Speaking of side dishes, make sure you order their Crunchy Thai Popeye’s Tempura (ladyfinger’s tempura) that is served with a sweet and sour sauce that tastes like curry sauce more than anything else – in a good way. Dip the battered sticks in copious amount of the sauce and enjoy it with their fried chicken skin ($3.80) which are so addictively good… and bad for us. 

Hype or hit? HIT!

The Original Boat Noodle
The Original Boat Noodle
30 Apr 2018

The Original Boat Noodle

Cha Yen ($3.80)

Finish off the meal with a huge cup of Cha Yen (or Thai iced tea) and opt for the less sweet option to feel less guilty about the feast you just had. We promise it’s worth the calories.

Hype or hit? Hit. 

Verdict: Pocket-friendly prices means you can have more than one serving of noodles without feeling the pinch. Plus, its side dishes are a star too – from its flame grilled chicken (or ayam legend) to their fluffy Bangkok Omelette rice.

BreadTalk’s Messy Buns
BreadTalk’s Messy Buns
27 Apr 2018

BreadTalk’s Messy Buns

Now let’s talk dirty. The dirty bun, which originated in China, is the latest food fad to hit town and BreadTalk is one of several local bakeries to jump on the bandwagon. Its Messy Buns, which comes in four flavours, have been selling like hot cakes since they launched earlier this month.

Dinosaur

Your favourite sinful supper drink Milo dinosaur in the form of a pastry. Filled with sweet malt cream, the sticky, chewy bun is generously coated with chocolate malt powder, which left its mark on our faces and teeth.

Hype or hit? Hit. Even though it got a tad jelak after a few bites, it was nothing a cuppa can’t fix.

Lemon White Chocolate

Not a fan of chocolate? Go for the Lemon White Chocolate, which is stuffed with smooth, creamy lemon custard and dusted with icing sugar.

Hype or hit? Hit. The custard was more sweet than tart but still yummy. We didn’t get our faces dirty eating this one, but the icing sugar left a mess on our desks.

BreadTalk’s Messy Buns
BreadTalk’s Messy Buns
27 Apr 2018

BreadTalk’s Messy Buns

Green Tea

After tearing through the two delish buns, we had high hopes for the Green Tea bun stuffed with matcha cream filling. Unfortunately, this tasted more like a croissant drenched in condensed milk than matcha. The sweetness was overpowering and the distinct bitterness of the matcha was sorely missing.

Hype or hit? Hype. If are a matcha fan, this isn’t going to win you over.

Verdict: Though we wished the fillings were slightly molten, the buns were still enjoyable to eat. Just don’t do it in front of someone you wish to impress.

The Dinosaur Messy Bun and Green Tea Messy Bun are available at $2.20 ($4 for two) and the Lemon White Chocolate bun is $2.50 ($4.50 for two).

Photo: BreadTalk

LiHo’s Brown Sugar Pearl Fresh Milk ($3.60)
LiHo’s Brown Sugar Pearl Fresh Milk ($3.60)
27 Apr 2018

LiHo’s Brown Sugar Pearl Fresh Milk ($3.60)

We are such huge fans of Taiwan’s brown sugar boba milk that when we heard that LiHo launched its very own Brown Sugar Pearl Fresh Milk, our colleague got her mum to da bao it from the Suntec City outlet. We managed to sample the drink thrice. Here’s our verdict:

The strong caramel flavour of the pearls gives a nice contrast when paired with the fresh milk, however they were too soft, squishy even, on our first try. The consistency improved subsequently and was finally perfectly chewy the third time around. Guess third times the charm.

Hype or hit? Hit. Taste-wise, the drink hits the spot, but be prepared for some teething problems especially at outlets where the drink is newly launched.

Magnum Chocolate & Hazelnut Praliné ($3.90 for regular size, $10.90 for a minipack of 6)
Magnum Chocolate & Hazelnut Praliné ($3.90 for regular size, $10.90 for a minipack of 6)
28 Apr 2018

Magnum Chocolate & Hazelnut Praliné ($3.90 for regular size, $10.90 for a minipack of 6)

We never knew how much we needed a Nutella-esque ice cream filling coated by Magnum’s famously rich chocolate candy shell until we bit into this. The hazelnut pieces embedded in the shell give this an extra satisfying crunch.

Hype or hit? MAJOR HIT. It took all of our self-control to not eat half a pack of minis by ourselves.

 

McDonald’s Red Rice Porridge ($3.40, $5.80 for Extra Value Meal)
McDonald’s Red Rice Porridge ($3.40, $5.80 for Extra Value Meal)
27 Apr 2018

McDonald’s Red Rice Porridge ($3.40, $5.80 for Extra Value Meal)

Looks like McDonald’s is on a roll. A month after it launched its hit Chocolate Pie and Fish & Fries, the fast food chain introduced a new breakfast item to entice the health-conscious. Created in collaboration with The Soup Spoon, the hearty Red Rice Porridge is loaded with ingredients such as sweet potato, bean curd, goji berries, and the shiitake mushrooms add a touch of umami to the dish. What blew us away was how tasty the porridge was. We didn’t even have to add salt or soy sauce and that’s a rare occurrence.

Hype or hit? Hit. To be honest, we nearly snubbed this red-stained porridge when we learned that it is made with red rice. Healthy food is not our thing and we wouldn’t touch anything wholegrain with a ten foot pole. So not only were pleasantly surprised by how satisfying the wholesome porridge was, we were made to eat our words at the end of the tasting session. One request though, can we have this throughout the day, please?

Photo: McDonald's

Mentaiko Madness at NEX
Mentaiko Madness at NEX
28 Apr 2018

Mentaiko Madness at NEX

RE&S, creator of concepts such as Kuriya, Tokyo Eater Pop-Up Store, and Kabe No Ana, is celebrating its 30th anniversary with 21 mentaiko dishes at its various restaurants and stores. Here are some of the most noteworthy dishes:

Mentaiko Gnocchi Set ($22.90) at Kabe No Ana

The softness of the dough, combined with the starchiness of the potato filling and the saltiness of cod roe makes this more addictive with every bite.

Hype or hit? HIT

Mentaiko Ice Cream ($3.90) at Tokyo Eater

Despite looking vaguely like an innocuous vanilla ice cream, this umami-packed ice cream is as weird as it sounds, and not easy to finish – not because it tasted bad, per se, but because in the same way you’d be hard-pressed to eat mouthful after mouthful of mentaiko sauce without a carb to accompany it, we couldn’t eat mouthful after mouthful of it in ice cream form. Prepare yourself for a spicy kick at the end!

Hype or hit? Hype. Unlike other spice-laden desserts, such as chocolate chilli ice cream, this one lacks the sweetness and creaminess to temper the effect. But perhaps it’s worth trying for the novelty.

Mentaiko Madness at NEX
Mentaiko Madness at NEX
28 Apr 2018

Mentaiko Madness at NEX

Ishiyaki Mentai Chazuke Wazen ($21.90) at Ichiban Sushi

Hungry? This set comes with stir-fried pork belly, onion pieces, and a fat wedge of mentaiko served over rice in a hot stone bowl. Plus a seaweed-battered dory fish with Japanese tartar sauce, chawanmushi, and the aforementioned mentaiko ice cream.

Hype or hit? Hit! The variety of textures ensured that we never got tired of this dish, even with the generous portion size.

Verdict: There are some creative choices here – the Mentaiko Gnocci and Mentaiko Pizza at Kabe No Ana come to mind, while the more traditional offerings are generally satisfying for their price. Just make sure you share the ice cream with a friend so that you can partake in the novelty (and the jelak-ness) together.

From now until September 30 (Tokyo Eater Pop-Up Store)
From now until June 4  (Men-ichi Japanese Ramen and Ichiban Sushi)
From now until July 2 (Kabe no Ana)

Potato Head’s Under Pressure burger, $22
Potato Head’s Under Pressure burger, $22
27 Apr 2018

Potato Head’s Under Pressure burger, $22

Address: 36 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089143

Three Buns at Potato Head has launched its Tribute Burgers series to pay homage to Hollywood and Music icons. Kicking off the series is the Under Pressure burger, which is inspired by the 1981 hit by Queen and David Bowie and features a sous vide Black Angus beef patty slabbed with shaved fennel, brie de meaux, truffle aioli and tomato, between a toasted demi brioche bun.

Hype or hit? Hit. The moment we bit into the juicy burger, we were hit with the aromatic taste of the truffle. The thick beef patty was cooked to pink perfection and went well with the creamy taste of the brie. Every bite is mouthwatering. We can’t wait to try the next burger when it launches July 1.

Photo: Potato Head

Quayside Isle @ Sentosa’s Mother’s Day Menus
Quayside Isle @ Sentosa’s Mother’s Day Menus
28 Apr 2018

Quayside Isle @ Sentosa’s Mother’s Day Menus

Quayside Isle’s Mother’s Day menus cover a wide range of cuisines, from Chinese, to Spanish, to Mediterranean. Here’s what we had from the various bundles available:

Gambas al Pil Pil ($18), Espárrago (grilled asparagus, Serrano ham, soft egg, paprika, and sherry vinaigrette) ($18), and Paella de Pescado (seafood paella) (Small $29/Large $49) at Sabio By The Sea

We loved everything we tried at the breezy Spanish restaurant, but especially appreciated the Gambas al Pil Pil: sizzling prawns doused in virgin olive oil and garlic. Just make sure you wash it down with a smooth glass of Sangria (psst! There’s a complimentary glass of Sangria for all mums with every order of any sharing platter.)

Hype or hit? Flavour-wise, a major hit, but we do wish the promotion were available for more than one day (especially since that day falls a week before Mother’s Day itself). Still, we can’t complain too much when there’s complimentary Sangria to be had.

Promotion applies on 6 May and 13 May

Quayside Isle @ Sentosa’s Mother’s Day Menus
Quayside Isle @ Sentosa’s Mother’s Day Menus
28 Apr 2018

Quayside Isle @ Sentosa’s Mother’s Day Menus

Green Pea Falafel, Shrimp Gambas (white prawns in spicy sauce), Salmon Avocado Salad, and Stuffed Grilled Squid at Miska Café

With this promo, a three-course meal is just $65++ per person, inclusive of free flow soft drinks, gourmet coffee, or tea. Order the Salmon Avocado Salad if you have an abiding love for lettuce; otherwise, the three other options listed above will make for a satisfying meal. The Green Pea Falafel doesn’t have quite the sameshiok-ness as falafel made of ground chickpeas, but the tomato salsa and beetroot tahini puree give it a necessary punch.

Hype or hit? The succulent Shrimp Gambas and overwhelmingly generous Stuffed Grilled Squid sent us straight to our beds with a food coma.

*Mum dines for free with a minimum of three other paying adults (only applicable for promo, ala carte orders not included)

Promotion period: 11 – 13 May 2018

Popiah Buffet at Blue Lotus ($18++ per person)

When it comes to mum’s comfort food, popiah is one of the first items that comes to mind – so why not recreate the experience of wrapping popiah together by treating her to a popiah buffet? With fluffy steamed popiah skin and fresh turnips, prawns, carrots, and more fun toppings, the spread is not only delicious, but it presents plenty of opportunities for you to serve your mum.

Hype or hit? Definite HIT. We can just imagine Mum lovingly chiding us for our skill, or lack thereof, at wrapping popiah.

Promotion available until 31 May, on Saturdays and Sundays, between 11:30 am – 3 pm.

Verdict: With these deals around, it’s worth the effort to drive into Sentosa to indulge your mum. If you’re feeling really up to it, we’d recommend ordering the Popiah Buffet for lunch at Blue Lotus, and then heading over to Sabio By The Sea for paella and complimentary Sangria for dinner.

The Salted Plum
The Salted Plum
28 Apr 2018

The Salted Plum

Location: 10 Circular Road, Singapore 049366

The Salted Plum formerly known as pop-up Five-Ten, has found a permanent home on Circular Road. Helmed by chefs Shawn Koh and Shawn Kishore, who are passionate about Taiwanese food, but at the same time don’t hesitate to reinterpret it. Like its predecessor, The Salted Plum prices everything at $5, $10, $15, or $25. So are the long queues at this place worth it? We headed down to find out. Here are a few of the hyped-about things we tried:

Fried Chicken with Nori Mayonnaise ($10)

On the outside, this fried chicken might look exactly like what you’d buy in the Taiwanese night market, but one bite reveals otherwise. Marinated in soy and sesame sauce, and accompanied by nori mayonnaise, this dish could use a bit of the original’s peppery kick, but it is tasty nonetheless.

Hype or hit? Hit.

Mussels in Shao Xing Wine ($10)

We’ve only ever had this dish with clams, so this was an unexpected take. Since clams are more absorbent than mussels, this ended up a bit blander than we’re accustomed to, but it’s a good option for those who prefer milder flavours.

Hype or hit? Hype.

The Salted Plum
The Salted Plum
28 Apr 2018

The Salted Plum

Taiwanese Sausage Patties ($10)

We were skeptical when we saw xiang chang presented in patty form, but taste-wise, this transported us right back to the streets of Taiwan.

Hype or hit? Hit!

Lu Rou Fan lunch bowl ($10)

As much as we celebrate innovation, this is not at all what most people have in mind when you mention the words “lu rou fan”. While the braised pork belly itself was fine -- even good in its own right, as it was nice and tender -- the menu's misrepresentation of the dish's actual nature left our craving for the classic Taiwanese staple unsatisfied. 

Hype or hit? Hype. Where’s the minced meat? The lack of adequate sauce also meant that our rice remained half-finished. 

Verdict: Pure Taiwanese food this is not, but that’s not necessarily a problem if you’re simply looking for a tasty, affordable meal. If you’re open to trying Taiwanese dishes with a (slight) twist, then perhaps The Salted Plum is worth a visit.

Photos: The Salted Plum

Somersby Sparkling Rosé ($16.90 for a 4-bottle pack)
Somersby Sparkling Rosé ($16.90 for a 4-bottle pack)
28 Apr 2018

Somersby Sparkling Rosé ($16.90 for a 4-bottle pack)

Somersby has released a new premium cider, inspired by rosé wine, and made of red fleshed apples. With floral notes, and a taste profile and texture similar to rosé, this is a refreshing and tasty alternative to sparkling wine, champagne, and cocktails.

Hype or hit? Hype! Finally, those of us with a low tolerance to alcohol can enjoy something like rosé, without feeling too woozy

Chirashi lunch at Sushi Kimura
Chirashi lunch at Sushi Kimura
28 Apr 2018

Chirashi lunch at Sushi Kimura

Location: Palais Renaissance, 390 Orchard Rd, 01-07, Singapore 238871

This is no ordinary chirashi bowl. While most feature chunks of fish over white rice, Chef Tomoo Kimura serves his with slices of sashimi over atop a bed of chirashi rice. The dish is served in a set of matching Japanese lacquered boxes. The first contains seven varieties of sashimi selected by Chef Kimura according to the season, while the second is comprised of Tsayhime rice seasoned with aged rice vinegar from Kyoto, topped with dried nori, and hefty helpings of of uni and ikura. 

Hype or hit? Hit. According to tradition, chirashi is a “low-class dish” and was invented as a way to use up unwanted parts of fish. Not so at Sushi Kimura. We love how Chef Kimura painstakingly curates premium cuts of fish and Japanese vegetables to produce a bowl that can only be described as a work of art – and that is different, depending on what time of the year you order it. In addition to marinated tuna and fatty tuna, ours featured interesting selections like Kinmedai (splendid alfonsino), Parrot fish, and Karei (marbled Japanese flounder).

Sushi Kimura Chirashi, $85+++ with soup


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