Hype or Hit: New foods that got us talking in January

Are Little Caesars’ pizzas, Jumbo Seafood’s dim sum, and KFC’s parmesan truffle chicken worth the hype?

Hype or Hit: New foods that got us talking in January
Hype or Hit: New foods that got us talking in January
29 Jan 2019

Hype or Hit: New foods that got us talking in January

This month, we ate our weight in fast food and sweet treats, digging into everything from pizza and fried chicken to cream puffs and even dim sum - not a good sign for the waistline, we know, especially with Chinese New Year just around the corner. Here’s what we enjoyed and didn’t. 

Old Chang Kee’s Hainanese Chicken Rice’O ($2)
Old Chang Kee’s Hainanese Chicken Rice’O ($2)
29 Jan 2019

Old Chang Kee’s Hainanese Chicken Rice’O ($2)

To commemorate the Singapore Bicentennial, Old Chang Kee has unveiled a series of heritage-inspired treats including sauces and pastes, cookies and a Hainanese chicken rice puff, which combines its signature curry puff with the national delicacy. Unlike its Nasi Lemak Chicken’O last year, this puff actually comes loaded with rice - a plus in our books - chunks of steamed chicken and OCK’s Hainanese chilli sauce.

Hype or hit? Though this tastes more like lo mai gai (steamed glutinous rice with chicken) than chicken rice, we were pretty impressed with the tender and tasty chicken chunks. The garlicky chilli is on point, with the right amount of shiok spiciness without overpowering it. Hit!

Available till Feb 28.

 

Little Caesars Pizza
Little Caesars Pizza
29 Jan 2019

Little Caesars Pizza

Address: Income @ Raffles, 16 Collyer Quay, #01-05, Singapore 049318

The world’s third largest pizza chain Little Caesars has opened its first Southeast Asian outlet in Singapore. The menu’s fuss-free with its Hot-N-Ready pizzas taking centre stage. What this means is that you can walk into the store, order your large 12-inch Classic Pepperoni or Classic Cheese pizza (for just $7.99!) and get it in 30 seconds flat. The other four pizza offerings, Hula Hawaiian, Veggie, Ultimate Supreme and 3 Meat Treat, are available at $13.49. While they don’t do slices, you can purchase their single-serve combos which come with a drink from $6. Here’s what we liked:

Classic Pepperoni pizza ($7.99)
While we prefer our pizza crust crispy thin, Little Caesars’ thick but fluffy crust, which is made freshly in store daily, has it all: chewy, soft on the inside and slightly crusty on the outside. Slathered with tangy-sweet marinara sauce and topped with a generous serving of pepperoni, this pizza definitely hits the spot.

Hype or hit? The sign of a good pizza is when even their simplest ones like the pepperoni and cheese are drool-worthy. From the melty cheese to the slightly crisp pepperoni and crushed tomato sauce, which contains a secret blend of spices, every bite is delish. HIT!

Little Caesars Pizza
Little Caesars Pizza
29 Jan 2019

Little Caesars Pizza

Ultimate Supreme pizza ($13.49 for a large)
The Ultimate Supreme pizza, one of the chain’s bestsellers, comes topped with the usual suspects of pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushroom, onion, and green pepper. Our first thought when we opened the box was it looked a little pale.

Hype or hit? After eating the pepperoni pizza, the Ultimate Supreme tasted a little lacklustre and not as cheesy as we’d like. The stars were the chunks of Italian sausage which were chewy and flavourful. Just wished there was more of it.

Crazy Bread ($2.99 for 4)
Another item that we are crazy for is the freshly baked Crazy Bread. Bread sticks the size of you tiao (dough fritters) are topped with garlic-laced butter and sprinkled with parmesan cheese. Comes with a side of marinara sauce.

Hype or hit? Unlike regular bread sticks which are crispy, these are fluffy, slightly cheesy and garlicky. If you are a butter fiend, we recommend smothering it with garlic butter dipping sauce ($1.50). It’s thick and rich, like eating butter jam. So sinful but oh so good.

Verdict: The pizza’s not only affordable but also worth the carbs. More flavours please!

Naganuma Ice’s cream puffs
Naganuma Ice’s cream puffs
29 Jan 2019

Naganuma Ice’s cream puffs

Address: City Square Mall, 180 Kitchener Rd, Basement 2 (within Don Don Donki), Singapore 208539

New outlet, new treats. In addition to creamy soft serves and gelato, Naganuma Ice has introduced light and airy cream puffs to their menu. Made from scratch at the outlet daily and only available at their new outlet in Don Don Donki at City Square Mall, the puffs come in three flavours: Aomori Apple, Fresh Strawberry and the classic Hokkaido Milk Custard. We hear only 40 puffs are made daily so you have to be quick if you want to get your fix.

Hokkaido Milk Custard Puff ($3.90)
Made of choux pastry, the soft puff was larger than most and came brimming with a rich, flavourful custard. Have some tissue on hand because it can get messy when you bite into it.

Hype or hit? The fragrant cream puff reminded us of custard bo lo bao – smooth, sweet and very eggy, just the way we like it. Hit.

Typhoon Apple Cream Puff ($4.20)
Another highlight is the Typhoon Apple Cream Puff, which uses apples in Aomori that were hit by a typhoon. Instead of disposing the apples, Naganuma Ice contacted the apple farms to put the still-edible apples to good use. Available for a limited period only.

Hype or hit? We really wanted to like the apple puff, but it tasted rather bland after the sweet custard puff. Also it lacked the refreshing apple flavour that was so dominant – and impressed us to no end - in their soft serve.

Verdict: While we liked the custard puff, the apple variant didn’t live up to expectations - they probably just need time to iron out the kinks. We’ll return after a few weeks to give it another try. 

KFC’s Parmesan Truffle Chicken
KFC’s Parmesan Truffle Chicken
29 Jan 2019

KFC’s Parmesan Truffle Chicken

KFC has stepped up its fried chicken game with its new kid on the block that pairs two of our favourite pasta toppings with their signature fried chicken. The Parmesan Truffle Chicken is coated with a generous sprinkling of truffle-infused cheese sauce and topped with a grated Parmesan cheese. Prices start at $8.95 for a 2-piece meal. 

Hype or hit? The moment we opened the box, we were hit with the aromatic smell of the truffle oil. A little too much in fact, that it overwhelmed the cheese. That said, it’s got the holy trinity of fried chicken. It’s flavourful, the skin - where all the gold’s at - is amazingly crispy, and the meat is super tender and juicy, though we felt a bit jelak after one piece. Hit, if you are a truffle lover. For cheese lovers there’s better cheddar out there.

Jumbo Seafood ION Orchard
Jumbo Seafood ION Orchard
29 Jan 2019

Jumbo Seafood ION Orchard

Address: 2 Orchard Turn, #04-09/10, Singapore 238807

Homegrown seafood restaurant Jumbo Seafood has opened a swanky new outlet in the heart of Orchard Road. Located on the fourth level of ION Orchard, here you can enjoy amazing city views while digging into their signature crab dishes and outlet-exclusive dishes like dim sum and pao fan.

Chilli crab dim sums​​​​​​​
No visit to Jumbo is complete without trying their award-winning chilli crab. But if you’re not feeling like a whole crab, or just don’t want to get your hands dirty, you can enjoy it in bite-sized portions in the form of their Baked Jumbo Chilli Crab Puff ($8.80 for 3), Pan Fried Jumbo Chilli Crab Buns ($8.80 for 3), and Chilli Crab Meat Sauce with Sliced Fried Mantou ($16.80), which use the same chilli crab gravy.

Hype or hit? We love Jumbo’s chilli tangy and garlicky crab gravy (who doesn’t?) so these dim sums are ‘hits” in our books. But our favourite has got to be the pan fried bao filled with saucy crab.

Want more gravy? Then go for the Chilli Crab Meat Sauce with Sliced Fried Mantou where there’s more dip and chunks of crab meat to go around. Our only gripe is that the mantou slices were a tad hard.

Jumbo Seafood ION Orchard
Jumbo Seafood ION Orchard
29 Jan 2019

Jumbo Seafood ION Orchard

Steamed Shiitake Mushrooms with Black Pepper Buns ($6.80 for 3)
We squealed with delight when the cute buns resembling mushrooms were placed before our eyes. They even sported realistic streaky ‘caps' which we’re told were decorated using cocoa powder.

Hype or hit? The buns are soft, fluffy and Instagram-worthy, but they won’t blow your mind. The mushroom and onion filling is well seasoned but we were hoping for a more peppery taste.

Cod Fish 'Otah' in Coconut ($16.80)
If you like Muar-style otah, you will love this cod fish otah, which is lighter than your usual mackerel version, and cooked in a lemongrass-lined coconut husk.

Hype or hit? The rempah is sufficiently fragrant and the flavours nicely balanced, though it could be spicier. Despite being grilled, the otah is still notably moist and you can taste the freshness of the chunky cod fish and tinge of lemongrass that’s been infused into the paste. We recommend eating the otah with the coconut flesh for a sweeter taste. Hit.

Jumbo Seafood ION Orchard
Jumbo Seafood ION Orchard
29 Jan 2019

Jumbo Seafood ION Orchard

King Prawn and Fragrant Rice in Rich Seafood Broth (pao fan) ($38)
This seemingly simple “budget dish” has been given a lavish upgrade with the addition of large, succulent king prawns. Rice is steeped in an umami-rich prawn broth rendered by simmering prawn shells for several hours. A nice alternative to the usual fried noodles or rice. Want to live it up? Get the lobster version instead ($78).

Hype or hit? The broth is comforting, robust, and rich in prawn flavour, and the addition of crispy rice grains, which crackle when tossed into the dish, is genius. HIT.

Verdict: The only thing we love more than the food is digging into it while enjoying the spectacular view of the shopping belt.

Photo: Jumbo Seafood

McDonald’s Salted Egg Yolk Loaded Fries (from $4.10)
McDonald’s Salted Egg Yolk Loaded Fries (from $4.10)
29 Jan 2019

McDonald’s Salted Egg Yolk Loaded Fries (from $4.10)

First things first, we love salted egg everything and think McDonald’s serves one of the best fries in the world. Crispy, hearty, salty and addictive, they are great on their own, so when paired with salted egg yolk sauce they should be a match made in heaven, right? We couldn’t be more wrong.

Hype or hit? Where do we even start? The creamy pale yellow sauce that smothered the fries tasted nothing like salted egg yolk. Not only did it remind us of sour mayo, but it also smelt a little funky. And that kind of ruined it for us. This is the first time we didn’t finish our fries and that says a lot. HYPE.

The Salted Egg Yolk Loaded Fries are available at $4.10 (a la carte) or at $1.20 when you upgrade your fries with any meal. While stocks last.

BreadTalk’s festive offerings
BreadTalk’s festive offerings
29 Jan 2019

BreadTalk’s festive offerings

This Chinese New Year, BreadTalk shines the spotlight on its new limited edition strawberry-themed offerings which include “berry” yummy buns, pastries and honey cakes. Available at selected BreadTalk outlets till March 3.

Berry Blossom ($2.80)
A soft open-top bun overflowing with a rich custard cream topped with fresh strawberry slices that mimic the petals of a flower. 

Hype or hit? The rich custard cream was the perfect foil to the tart strawberries. Hit.

Berry Lucky ($1.90)
Instead of fresh Japanese strawberries, you get a bun infused with jam for an added touch of delicate sweetness, and presented in a pretty twist.

Hype or hit? Yay for the chewiness of the bun, nay for the hot pink “jam”, which tasted a little powdery. 

Photo: BreadTalk

Hype or Hit: New foods that got us talking in January
Hype or Hit: New foods that got us talking in January
29 Jan 2019

Hype or Hit: New foods that got us talking in January

Porks-Perity ($2.20)
Loaded with bak kwa, yam paste and mushroom, this little piggy looks too cute to eat. But once you take a bite you won’t be able to stop.

Hype or hit? We were a little skeptical when we read the odd combination of ingredients but the mushrooms add a savoury and earthy twist to the sweet fluffy bun.

Verdict: We prefer savoury buns to sweet treats so we aren’t bowled over.

Photo: BreadTalk

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