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Archive for January, 2009

Singapore is very well known for their Hainanese Chicken/ 海南.  They just call theirs “chicken rice.”  In fact, I’ve heard more about Singapore’s Hainanese chicken than the Hainanese chicken from Hainan.  Singapore has even made chicken rice one of their national dishes.  Chili crab is another, but I can’t eat that.  I originally got wind of this particular place from Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” that I was watching on my way to Hong Kong.  All I remembered was the name of the stall [most of the best food aren’t set up in actual restaurants], but nothing else.  Luckily, I picked up a Singapore guidebook in Hong Kong and what did they suggest?  The chicken rice hawker stand!  And thus, I had an address.

BTW, Chinese guidebooks are the best guidebooks.  I barely read Chinese as it is, but they are plastered with pictures on every page so you’re really looking at visuals to figure out what you want to do.  Prices are a universal language, and addresses are always in the local language anyways, so you can point and ask the concierge how to get to a certain place.  The American guidebooks may be more comprehensive in giving essential information [ex. hotel recommendations, emergency numbers, etc].  Also, it helps to know where and what you want to eat when you’ve seen pictures of your choices.  There are also Chinese guidebooks that are dedicated just to food, which is right up my alley.

Anyways, back to the food.

So, the first day the boy and I landed, we made our way to 天天海南雞飯 (literally: Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice).  We lived in Clarke Quay, which is pretty much the epi-center of all that is Singapore, so we were really close to my chicken rice man (yes, that’s what I call him).  My book told me they close at 6PM, and we got there maybe around 5 or 5:30.  They were already closed!  I was crushed!  They ran out of chicken.  Knowing that they open at 11AM, I camped out the next morning.  We got there a little before opening, and there was already a line forming!  I was neither surprise nor deterred.

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2009-1403hey chikadees, are you ready to go in my tummy?

2009-1402the two man team

One of the other non-food things that I like about Singapore is that Chinese is one of their national languages, so I can speak to anyone.  Sadly, that didn’t help too much.  I ordered two large chicken rices and a small order of kailan (greens).  Instead, I got the opposite: 2 small rices and a large order of greens.

2009-1409chicken rice comes with chicken soup

2009-1411too hungry to get a real close-up

The special thing about the chicken rice here that differs from the chicken rice elsewhere is their flavorful rice.  It’s not the typical special oil rice or coconut rice, instead, the rice is infused with chicken broth.  Before handing the plate to the customer, the chef would ladle and drain scoops of broth onto the whole concoction so there’d be even MORE flavor.  Don’t worry, the rice doesn’t come out too soggy.  The chicken itself is soo tender and moist, it was awesome!  It’s the consistency where you could swear that the chicken may be undercooked, but when you check, it’s not.  It’s a miracle.   can add some chili sauce to your chicken or some thick soy sauce.  I think the soy sauce is something like this.  It’s the only type of soy sauce that I saw served in Singapore.  It’s definitely something I’m not used to.

2009-1401my spot on the line- before they officially opened!
I’m the one looking at the camera

The small chicken and rice dish was $2.50S and a large one is $3S.  The large kailan was about $5S.  The exchange rate when I was there was about $USD to $1.34 SPD.

I tried coming here one last time.  They didn’t appear to be open at 11AM and there was no line.  We thought they were closed.  We came back once more before we had to leave for our flight that day at about 3PM and it looked like they were just closing.  I was devastated!  I had missed it… again!  Woe is me.

Next time, it’ll be a personal goal to eat here more than once.

P.S.  Everyone speaks English here too.

天天海南雞飯
Tian Tian Hainese Chicken Rice
Maxwell Food Center
Stall 10
Singapore
Hrs: 11-6 or until they run out.

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Better than Shanghai’s

Who would think that the best xiao long bao is not in Shanghai, but in Singapore?  On a recent trip to Singapore, I had the best xiao long bao’s I’ve ever had in my life.  The price was also super appealing.

This hawker stall in the Chinatown Complex food center is run by a husband and wife team.  I’m pretty sure they’re transplants from Shanghai.  They’re the cutest couple who kept laughing at me when I kept coming back shamelessly for more.

It may look like any regular xiao long bao on the outside, but it is superior on the inside.  The pork meat is soft and succulent.  They time the steaming perfectly.  The meat produces the perfect soup.  They must have flavored the soup with some miracle ingredient instead of relying on the pork to produce the broth.  It’s much more flavorful than any previous xiao long baos I remember tasting. My mom has always told me that the meat produces its own broth when it cooks, which is how we get the juice.  After reasearching, I just found out that it’s hardened bits of gelatinous broth that gets included with the filling before steaming.  Genius!

I may not have had every xiao long bao in Shanghai, but this beats all the ones I did have, and with less of a wait time.

2009-2702

2009-2700

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2009-2707ginger & vinegar for dipping the xiao long baos.

The boy claims that it would be blasphamous to spoil the original taste with this.  I think it just adds to the goodness.

Additionally, the couple makes their own noodles by hand, and I had their jai jiang mien, but the highlight is definitly the xiao long bao.  The noodles themselves are good, but the sauce was lacking. It was really gelatinous and they didn’t warm it up long enough.

2009-2734contrast of colors are awesome

2009-2735

Info:
10 xiao long baos for $5 SGD
Chinatown Complex, 2nd Fl
Stall 135

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I mentioned the quality of food in Japan before, but I haven’t talked about my love for Japanese barbeque, or as some say, the Japanese version of Korean barbeque, yet.  I could probably have Japanese barbeque as my last meal on Earth and be able to die a bit more easy.  Other people appreciate Japanese barbeque because you don’t come out smelling as badly [read: like a chimney of burnt meat] as with Korean barbeque.  I think it’s got something to do with the vents.  Anyways, for those of you who know me, you know I’m not really a big fan of meat.  However, I think as long as the meat slices are thin or in burger form [for the condiments], or have tons of sauce on them, then I’m okay.  I’m just not too big of the fan of the meat itself.


in chinese, this would be “sky dog”

We couldn’t get into Gyu-Kaku one night, so we went here instead.


no we didn’t get oysters


garlic pork


gyoza


crab fried rice

(more…)

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