Monday, 27 April 2015

Mabongnim Halmeoni Tteokbokki (South Korea, Seoul)

An insta video
Tteokbokki Set For Two 11,000 KRW (S$13.75)
Mabongnim Halmeoni Tteokbokki 마복림할머니떡볶이 is a well known eatery popular for its Tteokbokki  떡볶이. Tteokbokki is a popular street snack in Korea consisting of soft and chewy rice cakes in a combination of sweet and spicy fermented sauce (Gochujang).
Mabongnim Halmeoni Tteokbokki is located next to the arched sign that states“Sindangdong Tteokbokki Town".
It is the restaurant on the left with the photo of the elderly Mabongnim. Mabongnim Halmeoni Tteokbokki was opened in 1953 by Mabongnim. It was so popular that other food establishments joined in and opened along the same stretch selling Tteokbokki. Eventually, the street became known as “Teokbokki Street”.
With its popularity, the elderly Mabongnim had been interviewed by the media.
The interior is simple. No fanciful chairs or tables. Its just wooden tables and stools. Aprons are hung along the sides for customers to wear as the sauce could splatter onto customers clothes.
Set Menu
This is the menu for ordering the Tteokbokki Set. The prices range according to the number of persons in the group. Since there was only two of us, we ordered the 2 person Tteokbokki Set which cost 11,000 KRW (S$13.75)
Menu for additional add ons
For additional add ons, there was a separate menu (for them) displayed on the wall:
Tteokbokki (Rice Cakes) 떡볶이 - 2,500 KRW
Fishcake 오뎅사리 - 2,500 KRW
Jjolmyeon (Korean Noodles) 쫄면사리 - 1,000 KRW
Ramyeon (Ramen / Instant Noodle) 라면사리 1,500 KRW
Mandu (Dumpling) 만두사리 1,000 KRW
Egg 계란사리  - 500 KRW
Beverage 음 료 수 - 1,500 KRW
Ice Cream 아이스크림 - 1,000 KRW
Tteokbokki Set For Two 11,000 KRW (S$13.75) with additional Ramen 1,500 KRW (S$1.90)
This was the Tteokbokki Set For Two 11,000 KRW (S$13.75). Did you noticed the difference between this photo and the first?

Yes, we added an additional Ramen for 1,500 KRW (S$1.90)!

The Tteokbokki Set came in a shallow pan with rice cakes, boiled eggs, instant noodles, dumplings, jjolmyeon, fish cakes, vegetables, seasoning and gochujang sauce.

Give it a good boil, let it simmer and Voilà, its ready! Do keep stirring the pan every now and then to prevent the ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

The sweet and spicy sauce was unique and does not taste like other Tteokbokki sauce in the streets. Towards the end of the meal, the sauce became more and more spicy. Despite that, the ingredients paired off so well with the sauce that we kept going for more!

We particularly like the noodles. Once the noodles were soft, they absorbed the sweet and spicy sauce and was just so addictive. The dumplings were unique as the sauce penetrated into the potatoes in it and it was like their own korean version of our local curry puffs.
Complimentary Pickles were given. Before the meal, I saw no need for this. But during the meal, when the spiciness kicked in, this countered the spiciness and was so refreshing!

This is the Tteokbokki Style Budae jjigae! We both loved this. 

Mabongnim Halmeoni Tteokbokki 마복림할머니떡볶이 (South Korea, Seoul)
5, Dasan-ro 35-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul 
서울특별시 중구 다산로35길 5 (신당동)
Tel: +82-2-2232-8930
Opening Hours: Mon to Fri 7am - 1am
                           Sat to Sun 7am - 2am
                           Closed 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month
Directions: From Sindang Station (subway line 2 or 6) Exit 8, turn left and walk along Toegye-ro 45-gil road. Along this road, there is a fire station at your right. Continue walking about 100 meters, you will see the arched sign “Sindangdong Tteokbokki Town”. The restaurant with the picture of the elderly Mabongnim is at the left hand side of this arched sign. 

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Monday, 20 April 2015

Kway Chap 粿汁 (Blk 93, Toa Payoh)

This Kway Chap 粿汁 stall at Blk 93, Toa Payoh Lor 4 is apparently very famous. From what I was told, there would nearly always be a long queue at this stall. 
This stall opens at 530pm for business. True enough when we got arrived at 730pm on a Friday, there was a queue of around 12 persons. We queue moved extremely slow. We queued for nearly 35 minutes before it was our turn to order. And by then, some of the more popular items such as pig tongue were sold out! 
Kway Chap $11
By the time we collected our food, we were starving! The Kway Chap cost $11 (note that 2 other bowls of kway is not in the above photo).

The bowl of Kway (flat and broad rice sheet) was just average. It was not soaked in the broth long enough an the broth taste more salty than tasty/flavourful.
Braised Pig Intestines (small)
The Braised Pig Intestines (small) were washed so clean that the insides were nearly all washed off and lacked any taste except for the saltiness which came from the braising sauce.
braised egg, tau pok, beancurd, big intestines, fish cakes
As for the rest of ingredients such as the braised egg, tau pok, beancurd and braised pig intestines, they were just average. The fish cake was quite decent.

Needless to say, I am not going to queue so long for this next time.

Kway Chap 粿汁 (Blk 93, Toa Payoh)
#01-40 Blk 93 Hawker Centre
Toa Payoh Lorong 4
Singapore 310093
Opening Hours: Tue, Wed, Fri to Sun 530pm - 11pm
                           Closed on Mon and Thu

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Monday, 13 April 2015

Seng Hiang Bak Chor Mee 成香肉脞面 (85 Fengshan Food Centre)

Minced Pork Noodles $3.00
During this visit to 85 Fengshan Food Centre, we decided to try Seng Hiang Bak Chor Mee 成香肉脞面 Minced Pork Noodles (Bak Chor Mee Soup).
This food centre is famous for their soup version Minced Meat Noodles. There are two stalls (i.e. Xing Ji Rou Cuo Mian and Seng Hiang Bak Chor Mee) selling this side by side, next to each other. Normally, I will just go for Xing Ji Rou Cuo Mian's version.  But since recently, I heard that both stall's standard are on par, I decided to try Seng Hiang Bak Chor Mee 成香肉脞面's version.
While Xing Ji Rou Cuo Mian sells only the soup version of the Minced Meat Noodles, Seng Hiang sells both dry and soup versions.
Minced Meat Noodles $3.00
The Minced Meat Noodles $3 was served with meatballs, minced meat, pork lard and garnished with slices of red chilli and spring onion. Frankly, we were not too satisfied with this hence, we decided to call a similar version from the other stall for comparison.

Both Xing Ji Rou Cuo Mian 兴记肉脞面 and Seng Hiang Bak Chor Mee 成香肉脞面 Minced Pork Noodles (Bak Chor Mee Soup) looks alike. Can you guess which is from which stall?

Well, the left one is from Xing Ji Rou Cuo Mian ($2.50) while the right one is from Seng Hiang Bak Chor Mee ($3.00).

XJ version was soft and more springy whereas SH version was harder and stiff.

XJ version was bouncier, tastier and softer compared to SH version

Minced Meat
XJ version had a good balance of fats and meat, and was tender and fluffy. On the other hand, SH version had just too much fats compared to meat.

XJ version was tasty, and flavourful whereas SH version was on the salty end.

In terms of the overall taste, we all agreed that Xing Ji Rou Cuo Mian (XJ) version beats Seng Hiang Bak Chor Mee (SH) hands down. Well, taste is subjective. One man's meat is another man's poison.

Seng Hiang Bak Chor Mee 成香肉脞面 (85 Fengshan Food Centre)
Blk 85 Bedok North St 4 #01-08 
85 Fengshan Food Centre 
Tel: +65 9018 9846
Opening Hours: Daily 5pm to 1am

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Thursday, 9 April 2015

Ben & Jerry's Singapore: FREE Cone Day (14 Apr 2015)

Source: Ben & Jerry's Singapore
Ben & Jerry's Singapore: FREE Cone Day (14 April 2015)

From 12 to 8pm
- 313@Somerset (313 Orchard Road, #01-25/25A Singapore 238895)
- VivoCity (1 Harbourfront Walk, #02-135/136 Singapore 098585)
- Dempsey (Carpark behind Blk 8 Dempsey Road #01-14 Singapore 247696)

Monday, 6 April 2015

Biya 비야 (South Korea, Seoul)

A instavideo of the food we had at Biya 비야.
Budae jjigae 부대찌개
Biya 비야 is a korean restaurant that specialises in Army Stew (Budae jjigae) 부대찌개.

Budae jjigae when translated, literally means "Army Stew". It was named this way as this dish originated during the Korean War. Back then, the Americans who assisted in the war brought their own food such as spam (canned meat), baked beans, sausages and hot dogs which was not introduced in Korea before. As the Koreans were facing a food shortage, they cooked a spicy stew which consisted of kimchi and gochujang (red chili paste) and mixed the American's surplus food into the stew. This was how the Army Stew / Budae jjigae came about. Today, this dish is popular among the locals and tourist. 
This restaurant is located at Anam. It is 5 minutes walk away from exit 2 of Anam 안암 (subway line 6) station, along the same street as Deungchon Shabu Kalguksu 등촌 샤부 칼국수 and Coffee Bean. Students studying at Korea University would likely have heard of this restaurant as this is the same route where one can get to Korea University's hostel and CJ international house!
Compared to eight years ago, Biya 비야 has opened a new outlet. Which means that they now have two outlets along the same street! I still remember during the good old days, Biya was always full of students as the Army Stew was delicious and cheap.

We visited the new outlet as it was nearer to Anam station. It is easy to spot the outlet with its black and white exterior.
We were the first customers at the restaurant as we went there early (at around 530pm) for dinner. We were there so early as we planned to sleep early and wake up at 3am to proceed to Gwanghwamun Square 광화문광장 where the World Cup Match between Russia and South Korea would be telecast (more about this at the end of the post).
The menu
Hash Browns
Complimentary Pickles and Hash Browns (Tater Tots) with ketchup and honey mustard. Both are refillable.

The Hash Browns were disappointing as they were cold. =( .  In the past, there were served warm and we would polish this off quickly and ask for more. Maybe we were too early, but still that is not an excuse to serve these cold.

Naturally, we ordered the Army Stew (Budae jjigae) 부대찌개 and added Instant Noodle (Ramyeon) 라면 to it.
Army Stew (Budae jjigae) 부대찌개
This is how it would look like when served. Food such as kimchi, spam (canned meat), baked beans, hot dogs, ricecakes, onions, spring onions and cheese are added into the broth. Let it boil and simmer for a while and you are ready to enjoy it! This is not the best and in fact, personally, I feel that the standard has dropped. Its not as good as before. But we just had to go back and visit this place to reminisce the past!

As mentioned earlier, we got up at 3am and proceed to Gwanghwamun Square 광화문광장. The atmosphere there was electrifying. We got there before 4am and the place was already filled to the brim with people! While waiting for the match to start, it was like a concert event. At around 6am, Jaseuk and Haha came over and joined in the pre match 'concert'. I was told that the whole event was already scaled down due to the South Korean Sewol ferry disaster. The scoreline for the match was Russia 1 - South Korea 1.

It was an amazing experience. Some videos and picture below.
Jaseuk's VJ in running man.

Biya 비야 (South Korea, Seoul)
Directions: From Anam Station (subway line 6) Exit 2, turn back and walk down the street. Go straight about 110m, the restaurant is on your right at the small intersection.

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Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Ah Koong Restaurant 亚坤纯正西刀鱼丸 (Malaysia, Johor Bahru)

Mee Pok (dry)
Ah Koong Restaurant 亚坤纯正西刀鱼丸 is apparently a famous eatery chain in Malaysia well-known for their fish ball noodles. Ah Koong Restaurant has five branches and a manufacturing factory in Malaysia, of which, three branches are located in Johor Bahru.

On their website, they claim that their fish balls contain no preservatives.
We visited its outlet near Taman Sentosa at Jalan Sutera.
Their menu was very well organised. They sell mainly fish ball noodles, yong tau foo, fish soup, porridge, oyster soup, abalone soup and laksa.

When we arrived on a Saturday afternoon, the Ah Koong Restaurant was packed! Fill to the brim, luckily the turnover was fast. There was also a long line of people queuing up for takeaways.
Crispy Fish (cakes)
We ordered their Crispy Fish Cakes RM4.2 per piece. This fish cake is a must try here. Springy and crispy. Delicious!
Crispy Prawn (cakes)
We also ordered the Crispy Prawn Cakes RM 5.50 per piece. This was quite good too. But if I was to choose, the fish cakes fared better.
My tea.
Mee Pok (dry)
Another must order at Ah Koong Restaurant, the Fish Ball Noodles (Mee Pok dry) RM 6.20. The bowl of mee pok was tossed in a mixture of black sauce with pork lard and topped with spring onions.
It was served with fish balls, sliced fish cakes, deep fried dumpling, ngoh hiang (five-spice meat roll), seaweed, lettuce. The fish balls were quite good before I knew it, it was all in my stomach! The fish balls were soft and yet not mushy with enough bounciness to provide a good bite.

Simple unpretentious food that is delicious! 

Ah Koong Restaurant 亚坤纯正西刀鱼丸 (Malaysia, Johor Bahru)
No. 266, Jalan Sutera,Taman Sentosa
 80150 Johor Bahru
Tel: 07 331 3621
Opening Hours: Daily 630am to 1130pm

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Kuala Lumpur Branch 
Ground Floor No.172, Jln Changkat Tambi Dollah
Off Jalan Pudu, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03 2143 3477 
Opening Hours: Daily 9am to 9pm

Subang Jaya Branch 
Ground Floor No.47, Jalan USJ 9/5P, Subang 
Business Center, 47620 UEP Subang Jaya
Tel: 03 8024 1554 
Opening Hours: Daily 9am to 9pm

Skudai, Johor Branch
 No.42 & 44, Jalan Jati 1, Tmn Nusa Bestari Jaya
81300 Johor Bahru
Tel: 07 511 2200 
Opening Hours: Daily 830am to 1130pm

Johor Bahru Branch 
City Square Johor Bahru, Lot J2-12, Level2
80000 Johor Bahru
Tel : 07 221 1843
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