Friday, June 24, 2011

Maxwell Food Centre

Maxwell Food Centre
Cnr South Bridge Rd. and Maxwell Road
Maxwell Road  Singapore 06000

Rating: 5/5 
If I've learned anything from my time in Singapore, I've learned that shabby-looking hawker centers = ridiculously amazing food. Even without the extra frills such as nice silverwares, air conditioner, and fancy decor...Maxwell Food Centre is worth every sweat (especially in the 90+ degrees weather) and minute of your time. Besides the great variety of food stalls available, Maxwell is conveniently located in the heart of Chinatown. A wide selection of Chinese goods and touristy gifts are placed around the area; and not to mention, a big Indian temple that is right across the hawker center. The food quality at Maxwell is great, and the service is surprisingly fast and friendly!
Even Bourdain loves his chicken rice!
Hainanese Chicken Rice is a dish of Chinese origin. Immigrants from Hainan Island brought chicken rice to Singapore many decades ago, and over the years it has become a national icon! Silky smooth poached chicken on top of fluffy rice infused with chicken stock -- a Singapore signature. The fragrant rice is cooked in chicken broth with ginger and garlic, accompanied by three different sauces: chili sauce, ginger puree, and dark soy sauce. There's no rule as to which sauce goes with what, dip them however you'd like!

There's noway you can survive an entire meal without some refreshments! We tried the usual: sugar cane w/ lime and lychee drink. Both tasted great, but I would still stick to sugar cane. I definitely reached my sugar cane drink quota that week in SG :-P. The Singaporeans are also quite clever with their packaging - plastic bags are used to their fullest potential! Talk about saving money and the environment.
Bak Kut Teh is a herbal pork-based soup chock full of pork ribs, garlic, and spices. The soup can also be accompanied by you tiao, or deep-fried dough. When you dip the you tiao into the soup, it soaks up the pork-based soup -- giving foodies a different experience / taste. Personally, I like the soup without the you tiao.
 Oyster Omelette (Singaporean Style): Mixed with eggs, small oysters, chopped spring onions and chives, the oyster omelette is slightly crispy, but not too oily. While also a popular dish in Taiwan, the Taiwanese version is a bit more slimy, where starch is mixed into the egg batter, giving the resulting egg wrap a thicker consistency.

Overall, prices are extremely affordable (approximately $3 ~ $4 per dish). The service is quick at most stalls and the cleaning staff are consistently on top of their jobs. Overwhelmed by the amount of decisions at Maxwell? Here's a rule of thumb: head to the stall with the longest line.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Makansutra Gluttons Bay

Makansutra Gluttons Bay Pte. Ltd.
8 Raffles Avanue
#01-15 Esplanade Mall,
Singapore 039802

Rating: 5/5

Somewhere between my stay in Hong Kong and New York, I made a quick detour trip to Singapore aka food heaven. Aside from their strict rules & regulations and insane obsession with cleanliness, Singapore is known to be one of the most diversed places. The diversity of their people also reflect the foods they serve: Singaporean, Indonesian, Japanese, Malaysian, Indian, Chinese.... the list goes on!  Fast food in Singapore is also widely known. I'm not talking about Mickey D's or KFC, but food courts and hawkers (night markets/stalls). Our first hawkers' market stop was at Makansutra Gluttons Bay. So tasty and unforgettable that we spent both lunch and dinner here!
Satay: Succulent strips of beef, mutton, chicken and pork skewered, grilled, and complemented by cubes of rice alongside a spicy peanut sauce. 
Barbecued Stingray: Smothered in sambal (a chili based sauce) and served on banana leaf. Remember to squeeze the lemon to give it that extra tangy taste! This is one of my favorite Singaporean dishes. A bit on the oily side, but extremely flavorful. Goes great with rice!
Singaporean food can be very heavy, especially in a tropical climate like SG. Thus, it is no wonder that drink stalls are always packed. Two of the most common drinks I ordered while there were the coconut juice (straight from fresh coconuts) and fresh sugar cane drink with lemon/lime. Very refreshing.
Singaporean shaved ice w/ durian paste (dessert): What makes this dessert unique is the durian paste. The durian is a unique tropical fruit that can be either deliciously wondrous to some or intensely disgusting to others. Personally, I do not like the smell, taste, or look of this 'king of fruit', but the durian paste mixed with condensed milk, red beans, and other sweet goodies didn't seem so bad! However, I'd still leave the *perfect* shaved ice to Taiwan ;)
Fried Carrot Cake: Little cubes of rice flour and radish rapidly fried to crispy perfection. The black is sweeter than the white variety. Some of the best carrot cake in town can be sampled at Makansutra Gluttons Bay and Newton Food Centre. The dish is also very delicious and great with steamed bun/bread. Dish is not as salty as it looks!
Seafood Fried Rice: With all the sauces and flavors, a plate of seafood fried rice is necessary! Standard seafood fried rice.
Fried Man Tou: Fried steamed buns (originated in China) can be eaten alone or paired with other dishes. Tastes best when dipped in sauces (i.e. crab sauce).
Chili Crab: Crabs cooked in a tangy, spicy sauce of sweet and sour. The black pepper crab is another well-known dish in Singapore. Although I like both styles, the chili crab's sweetness is more flavorful in my opinion. The thickening flour and egg ribbons give the sauce a thick and gooey texture. As mentioned earlier, dip the man tou (toasted buns) in the sauce and I promise you'll be yearning for more!
Chicken Wings: Glazed honey sweetness on the outside and juicy chicken meat on the inside. A plate that was made to serve four people, but we managed to finish everything (along with the other dishes) with only two people. 

I would highly recommend this hawker center. Along with the great food, it is also conveniently located right next to the Esplanade Shopping Mall, a great skyline view of SG, and their newest hotel/architecture - The Marina Bay Sands...this place is great for families, gatherings, and even dates. Best of all, it is open until 2am, which is perfect for those who crave those late night munchies!

More SG adventures to come..Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Macaron Parlour

My personal favorite: Candied Bacon with Maple Cream Cheese
Photo Credits: Macaron Parlour's Website
Summer is here and the flip flops are out, which also means that I've been enjoying myself much more than trying to keep up with this blog. Hence, this is going to be another long overdue entry.

When my cousin visited Hong Kong in March, she brought along a box of French Macarons which were made by her friend, who owns a macaron shop called Macaron Parlour. I've always loved macarons, even the fake ones they sell in Taiwan (will talk more about this next time), but ever since my macaron encounter in Paris, my taste buds have become a bit more picky than they used to be. After trying a few of Macaron Parlour's macarons however, I can say that they make one of the most unique and original macarons I've ever tasted, with each macaron carefully handmade and spread with fillings that are beyond the traditional flavors. The shop makes adventurous flavors such as: Candied Bacon w/ Maple Cream Cheese, Caramel Fleur de Sel, Cinnamon Pistachio with Morello Cherries, Coffee, Sesame, Peanut Butter Cup, S'Mores, Thai Chili...and many many more for the curious taste buds. 

A Macaron Rainbow :)
My ultimate favorite is the Bacon with Maple Cream Cheese - a successful incorporation of something salty and sweet packed into one bite size heaven. The macaron shells are made perfectly, smooth in texture and crispy and chewy when bitten. The fillings are not too sweet either. Another favorite would be the Caramel Fleur de Sel: buttery cream that melts in your mouth just after the first bite. There are some flavors in which I couldn't decipher, though. For instance, the blue colored earl grey macaron that looked & tasted more like blueberries. Perhaps it's the colors, but it can get confusing!

You won't want to miss out on these fun flavored goodies. Visit them at the Hester Street Fair on the lower east side and try them out for yourself! Otherwise, you can order online on their website:
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