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

Are Mos Burger’s Tako Katsu burger, Tsui Wah’s cha chaan teng fare, and TP Tea’s bubble teas worth the hype?

New food and drinks that got us talking in June
New food and drinks that got us talking in June
25 Jun 2018

New food and drinks that got us talking in June

If you enjoy fast food and bubble tea, you’re in luck. From the new burgers at Mos Burger and Burger King, to the bubble teas at LiHo and soon-to-be-opened TP Tea, and froyo at llaollao, which makes a return to Singapore, we’ve got your fast food and sugar fix covered.

llaollao
llaollao
25 Jun 2018

llaollao

Address: Changi Airport Terminal 2 (Departures Hall)

After an 11-month hiatus, llaollao is BACK. Amidst the familiar Crunchie toppings and sauces, you can find one new sauce – Pistachio – and a new takeaway box shaped like a green apple. Psst -- you can get $1 off your takeaway (priced at $22) when you bring the box with you!

Hype or hit? Hit. llaollao’s ever-so-slight tanginess and flawlessly creamy texture taste ever better after a long respite. We’re also happy to report that it pairs perfectly with the rich, fragrant pistachio sauce. If Changi Airport sounds a little far, not to worry – the brand is already planning on opening another outlet in the east soon.

 

New additions to LiHo’s Brown Sugar Pearl series
New additions to LiHo’s Brown Sugar Pearl series
25 Jun 2018

New additions to LiHo’s Brown Sugar Pearl series

Following the success of its Brown Sugar Pearl Fresh Milk, LiHo introduced three new flavours to their Brown Sugar Pearl series: Matcha, Chocolate and Avocado.

Matcha Brown Sugar Pearl Fresh Milk ($3.90)

What the ad says: Premium matcha powder is blended then added to creamy fresh milk and paired with brown sugar pearls to give it an interesting layer. Sounds like matcha bubble tea latte, which can’t really go wrong, right? Apparently it can.

Hype or hit? Hype. Thick and concentrated matcha + sweet caramelly pearls = sensory overload. And this was after we requested 0 percent sugar. It didn’t help that the drink left a bad taste in the mouth – literally. There was a less than pleasant powdery aftertaste.

Chocolate Brown Sugar Pearl Fresh Milk ($3.90)

Instead of matcha, this is topped with a “rich and luxurious cocoa blend”.

Hype or hit? The chocolate milk, on the other hand, was a little thin and bland at 0 percent sugar. The combination wasn’t bad and would probably taste better if you upped the sugar level, but it isn’t something we’d go back for. Hype.

New additions to LiHo’s Brown Sugar Pearl series
New additions to LiHo’s Brown Sugar Pearl series
25 Jun 2018

New additions to LiHo’s Brown Sugar Pearl series

Avocado Brown Sugar Pearl Fresh Milk ($4.90)

Avocado and brown sugar might be a match made in heaven, but what happens when you throw pearls and fresh milk into the mix? While we’re happy to report that LiHO’s Brown Sugar Pearl Fresh Milk Avocado is addictive at first sip, the avocado itself felt a bit diluted and was easily overpowered by the brown sugar. By the time we got to the bottom of the drink, we could barely discern the avocado at all.

Hype or hit? Hype. Sure, this was more anticlimactic than bad, but you'd be hard-pressed to find us going back for seconds. 

Verdict: Stick to the Brown Sugar Pearl Fresh Milk.

Tsui Wah
Tsui Wah
25 Jun 2018

Tsui Wah

Address: 3A River Valley Road, Clarke Quay, Block A, #01-03, Singapore 179020 

After decades of wishing and waiting, Hong Kong’s most popular cha chaan teng, Tsui Wah, has finally opened its first Southeast Asia outlet in Singapore. Apart from its signature items from the Hong Kong menu, diners can also expect cha chaan teng staples such as pork chop bun, instant noodles and French toast, albeit with a twist. Their menu will also progressively expand in the coming months.

Braised Abalone Rice with Diced Chicken and Kailan ($14)

This dish was a winner, despite the absence of abalone. Instead, you get diced “abalone mushrooms” and abalone sauce, which is slathered all over the rice. The chicken is tender and rice flavourful and served wet, so if you like mui fan and risotto, this will be right up your alley.

Hype or hit? Savoury and carbo-laden, this is comfort food at its best.

Tsui Wah
Tsui Wah
25 Jun 2018

Tsui Wah

Crispy Bun with Condensed Milk ($4)

The Crispy Bun with Condensed Milk lives up to the hype. Toasted to perfect crispiness and drenched in melted butter and condensed milk, these sweet buns make for a great tea time snack or dessert. Best enjoyed with their Hong Kong-style Milk Tea.

Hype or hit? So simple (and sinfully tasty), but oh-so-satisfying. We’ve been trying to replicate this at home but to no avail.

Milk Tea ($3.50, $4 for the iced version)

Smooth, aromatic but not too thick, the milk tea, is served without sugar so you can sweeten to taste. Though a little bitter at first, we recommend that you have it naked as it best complements the taste of the condensed milk bun.

Hype or hit? Hit. We aren’t fans of milk tea but we’ll have this just so we can enjoy it with the bun.

Tsui Wah
Tsui Wah
25 Jun 2018

Tsui Wah

Kagoshima-style Pork Cartilage with Tossed Instant Noodles ($9.50)

What is a cha chaan teng experience without instant noodles? When in Tsui Wah, go for the Kagoshima-style Pork Cartilage with Instant Noodles. Tender and flavourful pork served atop springy instant noodles. There is also a cup of fish soup, which you can drink or drizzle over your noodles for a peppery kick. 

Hype or hit? Hit. Just thinking of the pork cartilage has us salivating. Stewed for several hours, the meat is melt-in-your-mouth tender. We even ate up the soft bone.

Verdict: Not quite your typical cha chaan teng fare but this is precisely why we like it. Our only gripe is its (somewhat) short opening hours from 11am to 11pm. This would be a perfect stop for supper or breakfast otherwise.

Burger King’s Ultimate Striploin Steak Mushroom Swiss ($10.40, $11.90 for the meal)
Burger King’s Ultimate Striploin Steak Mushroom Swiss ($10.40, $11.90 for the meal)
25 Jun 2018

Burger King’s Ultimate Striploin Steak Mushroom Swiss ($10.40, $11.90 for the meal)

We wanted so much to like Burger King’s new limited-edition burger. The idea of a flame-grilled striploin steak topped with Swiss cheese, sautéed mushrooms, and onions, sandwiched between two sourdough buns sounds like match made in burger heaven, but sadly this was not.

Hype or hit? We felt really cheated having forked out $10.40 for this premium burger. The steak, if you can call it that, was dry and overcooked, mushrooms non-existent and bun so soggy that it left a hole in our paper wrapper. Hype.

BreadTalk’s football-themed creations
BreadTalk’s football-themed creations
25 Jun 2018

BreadTalk’s football-themed creations

The only thing better than gathering with your friends and family to watch the World Cup games is snacking while doing just that. To get fans into the football fever, homegrown bakery BreadTalk launched a range of soccer-themed creations including six new croissants ($1.50) which are divided into #TeamSweet (Strawberry, Kaya and Lemon) and #TeamSavoury (Mentaiko, Nacho Cheese and Garlic). Here’s what we liked and didn’t:

The Hits:

The MVP has got to be the humble Garlic. Baked with garlic butter, this baby packed a powerful punch. We recommend popping it in the oven for a few minutes to get the buttery crust crisp and flakey. Coming in a close second is the Lemon, which was the perfect balance of zesty and sweet, followed by the Kaya that was chock full of lemak kaya and oozes aromatic goodness with each bite.

BreadTalk’s football-themed creations
BreadTalk’s football-themed creations
25 Jun 2018

BreadTalk’s football-themed creations

The Hypes:

If only they were this generous with the Mentaiko spread. Though tasty, there was not enough of it to go around. Same for the Jersey-licious ($1.70), which is essentially a tee-shaped bun (we chose jersey #7 ‘cos Cristiano Ronaldo) with a thin layer of lemon cream that gave us flashbacks of Khong Guan lemon cream puffs. Shudder.

The most disappointing of the lot was the Strawberry croissant, which we found out the hard way does not keep well. The croissant was too soft and the strawberries a tad stale when we ate it the next day.

Verdict: Nothing we haven’t tried before, but at $1.50, they make for a quick, affordable breakfast fix.

The croissants are available at all BreadTalk outlets till July 1 at $1.50 a piece, 5 for $6.

Mos Burger’s Tako Katsu Burger ($4.20)
Mos Burger’s Tako Katsu Burger ($4.20)
25 Jun 2018

Mos Burger’s Tako Katsu Burger ($4.20)

After the run of its weird looking pasta burgers (sorry, we couldn’t bring ourselves to try it), we’re glad Mos Burger has rolled out something a little more conventional, the Tako Katsu Burger. Golden brown octopus katsu is topped with fresh shredded cabbage, okonomyaki sauce, mayonnaise and sandwiched between your choice of burger or rice buns ($4.70).

Hype or hit? Hit. The tako katsu was crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside, with nice bites of chewy octopus. We preferred it with the rice buns, which made us feel like we were eating a katsu don, but they got a bit too crumbly and messy towards the end.

Supertea’s Milk Tea with Pearl Goody Bun ($4.80)
Supertea’s Milk Tea with Pearl Goody Bun ($4.80)
25 Jun 2018

Supertea’s Milk Tea with Pearl Goody Bun ($4.80)

Address: 9 Raffles Boulevard, Millenia Walk, #01-75, Singapore 039596

Before you brush off Super Tea as just another bubble tea joint, it isn’t. A new concept from food court chain Koufu, this new café serves up artisanal teas brewed using hand-picked leaves from Taiwan. In addition to the usual fruit and bubble teas, it also offers a selection of premium hand-pressed teas, gourmet buns and sandwiches.

What caught our eye when we walked past their outlet at Millenia Walk was the rather unusual-sounding Milk Tea with Pearls Goody Bun. Smothered with a layer of sugar icing, this bun is a love child between the dirty bread and bubble tea, which comes in the form of a subtle milk tea cream dotted with pearls. Yeah, we thought it was molten salted egg too.

Hype or hit? Why didn’t anyone think of this earlier? While the tea taste could have been stronger and richer, Supertea gets top marks for creativity. The chewy pearls weren’t half bad either. Hit!

Summerlong
Summerlong
25 Jun 2018

Summerlong

Address: 60 Robertson Quay #01-04, Singapore 238252

Eastern Mediterranean eatery Summerlong has launched their latest dining menu inspired by the Mediterranean coast, with new and refreshed dishes that are perfect for sharing. The menu also sees the addition of a Claypot Roasted section where dishes are stone baked for added flavour and smokiness. Here’s what stood out for us:

Israeli Lamb Pita ($17)

Seasoned with spices, minced lamb is stuffed into pocket pitas and cooked over a naked flame so the fat is rendered into the bread. The result is a flavourful, juicy meat pie.

Hype or hit? Hit. The lamb is toothsome and pita toasty, providing contrast to the texture of the filling. It’s meant to be a starter but if you have a small appetite, this would fill you up just fine. 

Roasted Eggplant ($26)

Our pick from the Claypot Roasted section is the Roasted Eggplants, which is cooked with smoothly minced pork, sweet caramelised onions in a tomato and capsicum sauce and topped off with a slightly runny egg. 

Hype or hit? Hit. Flavourful with a homey taste that hits the spot, it’s reminiscent of the braised brinjal dish served at zi char stalls. If only we had rice to go with it.

Summerlong
Summerlong
25 Jun 2018

Summerlong

Persian Fried Chicken ($25)

The Persian Fried Chicken is a crowd-pleaser. The secret lies in the chicken chunks which are brined for 48 hours to retain its texture before they are fried in saffron batter for a nice crunch. You can also jazz it up with dips and sauces like dukkah, tangy chilli or and mint honey, but we think it is great on its own.

Hype or hit? This didn't last long on our table even though we were protesting that we were full.  Savoury, juicy and crispy, this is a great dish to chow down with beer. The dips give it an added dimension, but skip the mint honey that tastes like toothpaste.

Verdict: While the new dishes aren’t anything out-of-the-box, they are tasty and done right and that alone, is enough to keep us coming back. 

Quorn x Barcook Bakery’s meat-free buns
Quorn x Barcook Bakery’s meat-free buns
25 Jun 2018

Quorn x Barcook Bakery’s meat-free buns

To celebrate Meat Free Week earlier this month (June 11-17), popular meat substitute Quorn teamed up with Barcook Bakery to launch six meat-free buns. While we are usually skeptical about vegetarian options, these meat-tasting buns blew us away.

Pasta La Vista ($2.20)

Fans of meatball subs will love this. Slathered with pasta sauce and melted cheddar, the tender Swedish-style meatballs go great with the chewy Pain Brie bun.

Hype or hit? Hit. This is one “meatball sub” we would eat any day.

Curry My Favour ($1.90)

Sprinkled with cheddar and curry-tinged “mince” for a spicy kick, this pizza had no problems, well, currying our favour.

Hype or hit? The curry taste packs a punch, though they could have been more generous with the mince. Hit.

Banger Bun ($2.20)

Quorn sausage encased in a crusty, chewy shio pan and topped with wholegrain mustard and roasted sesame powder, taking the hotdog bun to a new level.

Hype or hit? Hit. This makes the sausage buns we bought at the canteen look basic.

The buns are available at all Barcook Bakery outlets.

TP Tea
TP Tea
25 Jun 2018

TP Tea

Address: Changi Airport Terminal 2 Departures Hall

There’s a new bubble tea franchise in town, and it’s none other than Taiwan’s TP Tea, whose specialties include the best-selling Tie Guan Yin Tea Latte, Pearl Black Tea Latte with Red Beans, and the Pearl Milk Tea Soft Serve Ice Cream. All teas are freshly brewed, and the Tie Guan Yin and premium Green Tea leaves are roasted in Taiwan before being shipped to Singapore. The tapioca pearls are also prepared every three hours to ensure freshness – and if that sounds wasteful, the representative from Taiwan quipped that back at home, the pearls sell out every hour, so they never have to throw any away.

Tie Guan Yin Tea Latte ($4.60)

Fresh, foamy milk is the perfect foil to the Tie Guan Yin tea’s earthy flavour.

Hype or hit? Hit. Thanks to its robust, almost bitter notes, we’d call this a more “mature” alternative to regular black milk tea – a must-try for the discerning tea lover.

TP Tea
TP Tea
25 Jun 2018

TP Tea

Pearl Black Tea Latte with Red Beans ($5.30)

Hot bubble milk tea is a staple during Taiwan’s wintry seasons, and this cosy import is certainly worth a try. Made with ingredients from Wandan, Taiwan, this foamy milk tea contains pearls and red bean in equal measure, giving it a sweet taste reminiscent of red bean stew.

Hype or hit? Hit! Drink this the next time you’re freezing your butt off awaiting your flight (or the arrival of your loved ones).

Pearl Milk Tea Soft Serve Ice Cream ($3.60)

As much as we wanted to like this, we found the soft serve a little too creamy and bland

Hype or hit? Hype. This is something everyone would order #forthegram, but would forget about in a month, unless the recipe gets tweaked so that the tea flavour comes through a little stronger.

Verdict: The market might be oversaturated with bubble tea, but TP Tea provides a tasty, traditional alternative to all the rainbow-coloured drinks dominating the other franchises right now. TP Tea opens June 27 and you can expect to see 20 more stores in the next year or so.

My Melody Café
My Melody Café
25 Jun 2018

My Melody Café

Address: 3 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City Mall #01-361, Singapore

The My Melody Café’s food and interior are undeniably cute. But how do the actual flavours fare? Since character cafes are notorious for serving gross food at high prices, we doubted that My Melody’s pink (!!!) Japanese curry and strawberry desserts would offer more than just Instagram aesthetics.

Princess Bunny ($18.90)

As ready as we were to give this one a hard pass due to the abundance of brussels sprouts and the disconcertingly pink rice, we found it generally inoffensive, almost reminiscent of the instant curry meals that got us through exam season when we were schooling. The beetroot infusion gives the curry a pleasantly sweet taste, while the chicken karaage and decorative pieces of ham keep the sauce from feeling too jelak.

Hype or hit? Against all expectations, hit.

My Melody Café
My Melody Café
25 Jun 2018

My Melody Café

Merry-Donut-Go-Round Milkshake ($12.90)

It’s hard to go wrong with a strawberry milkshake, and this one was neither too creamy nor too cloying. We even appreciated the miniature donut on top. But overall, this milkshake is not novel enough to justify the $12.90 price tag.

Hype or hit? Hype. 

Verdict: While the My Melody Café will certainly satisfy Sanrio fans, the food – while not totally gross – is in the same league as that of the Hello Kitty Café and the Gudetama Café. Take that as you will.

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