Archive for the 'Singaporean' Category

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Susan Feniger’s Street – Los Angeles (Hollywood)

Susan Feniger's Street - Hollywood

I followed the opening of Susan Feniger’s Street with great anticipation during the early months of 2009. I had just moved into town following a year traveling and feasting abroad, so news of a local restaurant specializing in global street food was especially exciting to me. Every minuscule pre-opening detail, from the interior design to menu development, was captured on the restaurant’s “Street Noise” video series. I watched each one and felt like a privileged insider getting a behind-the-scenes look at the restaurant’s impending launch.

Susan Feniger's Street - Hollywood

As stoked as I was to try Street, the lukewarm reviews that came out during the first few months of service changed my mind completely. It seemed that paying premium prices for street eats didn’t sit well with folks (see: $16 bowl of phở), and the hodgepodge menu was something of a minefield. Without glowing reviews all around, the restaurant soon fell off my radar.

It wasn’t until I received a 30% off coupon from Blackboard Eats some months ago that I finally made my way to Street for a meal. Ain’t no better motivator than a hefty discount and promises of kaya toast.

Susan Feniger's Street - Hollywood

The Astronomer and I, along with our friend Laurie, brunched here one Sunday afternoon following a terrific volunteer sesh with Project Angel Food. We’d been up and on our feet since 6:30 AM, so we were hoping that this meal would be a real battery charger.

Brunch began with a plate of spiced Turkish doughnuts simmered in cardamom rose syrup and served with sour cream and rose hip jam ($10.50). The sweet and slightly floral doughnuts were grease-less, pillowy wonders that had all three of us seriously impressed.

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Urvashi & Love Noodle House – Ho Chi Minh City

Even though District 7 is located next door to District 4, The Astronomer and I rarely venture to this part of town because their brand of suburbia isn’t rockin’. District 7 is Saigon’s first-ever planned neighborhood and is full of wide roads and fresh air. I’ve got nothing against order and cleanliness, but the place just feels a bit creepy to me.

District 7 is home to the city’s largest group of expats—the Koreans—and their influence on how the community has developed can be seen at every sterile turn. Often referred to as Little Korea or Singapore of the future, this neighborhood has a distinct flavor all its own (kind of like kimchi).

On assignment for AsiaLIFE, I traveled to District 7 for a feature entitled Street Smart. Although the majority of the establishments in this neck of the woods are generic, boring and a wee distrubing (check out Petite Ange – 5B 21 Park View Building, Nguyen Duc Canh Street), I did encounter two culinary gems—Urvashi and Love Noodle House.

D003 Nguyen Binh Street
After being evicted from their District 1 location, Urvashi relocated to District 7 late last year. Uravashi specializes in south Indian cuisine and is known for their dosas. This suburban outlet is just as good as the original downtown location, and everyone’s favorite Mega Dosa is still a fabulously tasty treat at 35,000 VND. The chilled spicy coconut chutney is unbelievably good paired with the potato and onion stuffed Mega Dosa.

Love Noodle House
D002 Nguyen Binh Street
While this restaurant’s name conjures up images of canoodling couples sharing bowls of steaming hot noodles, the reality is anything but. Love Noodle House is a casual hole in the wall that wouldn’t be out of place in London or New York City. The speciality here is Malaysian and Singapore rice and noodle dishes, and the Malay chef heading the kitchen knows exactly what he’s doing. The classic Malay dish Bak Jut Teh set (57,000 VND), which consists of meaty pork ribs in a complex broth of herbs and spices including with rice or noodles, tastes just like it was made in the streets of Kuala Lampur. Another hit are the stir-fried egg noodles with slices of barbecued pork and pork ribs. The sauce is notches better than classic Chinese oyster sauce. If your favourite Malay or Singaporean dish isn’t on the menu, the talented team in the kitchen will whip it up for you. How that for great service?

The Little Red Dot – Ho Chi Minh City

February 18, 2008
Cuisine: Singaporean

21 Tu Xuong Street
District 3, Ho Chi Minh City

Phone: 9325123
Website: none

Mi Phuc Kien – Singaporean stir fried noodles with egg, pork, squid and chives (38,000 VND)

Heo quay, xa xieu – plain BBQ pork and sweet BBQ pork (40,000 VND)

Hainanese chicken (40,00 VND)

Hainanese rice

Soy sauce, chili paste, ground ginger sauce, chili sauce

I was watching No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain a few weeks back when I learned about a Singaporean sensation by the name of Hainese chicken rice. Chicken has never really appealed to me because I find that regardless of the preparation, the chicken usually just ends up tasting like chicken. Yawn… Pork, on the other hand, takes on flavors well and can be prepared a zillion unique ways—sausage, ham, bacon, loaf, etc. Hence, it is my favorite.

Even with my general lack of enthusiasm for chicken, Bourdain’s segment was so damn convincing that I sought out chicken rice for lunch that very day. Talk about the power of the tube!

The Astronomer had previously read about The Little Red Dot in an expat magazine, which boasted that the Singaporean-Vietnamese owners dished out great chicken rice. With Lush in tow, we headed to the eatery to taste the subtle goodness that is chicken rice.

According to Bourdain, chicken rice is made by boiling a chicken in ginger and other aromatics. Once the bird is thoroughly cooked, it is dunked into a large pot of ice cold water to congeal the fat and keep the meat moist. The rice is made from the resulting chicken broth, along with garlic and sesame oil.

The Little Red Dot’s version of chicken rice was everything Bourdain said it would be, minus the plethora of delectable sauces he had on hand in Singapore. I found all of the condiments available (chili sauce, soy sauce, chili paste and ground ginger sauce) flat and unspectacular; most likely because I didn’t know how to use them properly. The room temperature chicken was better off eaten without adornments on this visit. The Astronomer, Lush and I adored the fluffy rice with its faint notes of ginger and garlic.

The BBQ pork platter came with some rice as well. The heo quay’s crispy skin and centimeter of fat was quite good, while the sweet xa xieu was my favorite of the afternoon—candied pork. The Singaporean noodle dish, which was a touch heavy on the gravy, tasted thick and comforting.

This was a decent initial introduction to Singaporean cuisine and I am excited to delve further. Aside from chicken rice, what are Singapore’s signature dishes?

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