Hougang Six Miles Muah Chee – Toa Payoh

I love to eat muah chee (which sounds a lot like mochi doesn’t it?) for the chewy glutinous rice dough doused with sweet peanuts ever since I was a kid living in HK. We chanced upon this Muah Chee stall eating at the Gourmet Paradise food court at Toa Payoh HDB Hub.

There are two flavours of muah chee, the traditional peanut and black sesame, which comes in 3 sizes – $2.50 (small, one person serve), $3.50 (medium, two people serve) and $5.00 (large, 3 people serve). This plate is the $2.50 portion with peanut. This muah chee is slightly pricier than the regular plate but this is what you get for its heritage of 60 years – more about its history here. The muah chee is hand-made and kept warm in a pot, where the dough is pulled by hand one by one rather than cut with scissors like usual. This made the morsels a bit more of a rustic cute look and rounder edges.

The warm muah chee is soft, slightly chewy and fluffy (the way I like it) with a mild sweetness (no sugar granules in this one) and an aromatic peanut powder. It is flavoured with a fried shallot fragrance, reminiscent of tau sar piah.

Hougang 6 Miles Famous Muah Chee (Stall 21)
Gourmet Paradise Food Court
480 Toa Payoh Lor 6
HDB Hub #B1-01
Opening hours: 12.00pm to 9.30pm daily

Kuvo Restaurant – Orchard, Singapore

KUVO is a new multi-concept restaurant/bar/lounge by TCC located right next to Somerset 313 with a lot less crowd than its neighbour. It was opened recently, with its name KUVO derived from the French term cuvée, which means blended batch of wines. This was clearly evident with the extensive wine chiller at the back of the restaurant and a fusion mix of Asian and Western fare. The ambience of the place is a rather fancy, spacious and sleek look with a sepia colour theme. Even the Athena cutlery exuded elegance. KUVO would be a great date or special events venue.

The KUVO Coffee Hot Wings ($14++) are large, juicy and moist with a sauce that resembled a hybrid of American buffalo wings and Singaporean coffee pork ribs. I actually did not really fancy it much as I thought the chilli kick was too intense and the sauce was too pasty and salty, with not enough of a coffee/sweet essence as I had hoped for, but RX enjoyed this dish and said that “Singaporeans would love this”. They were served with baby carrot crudités and blue cheese dip (which did help to cut the spiciness, but the blue cheese was very pungent; and I ain’t no fan of blue cheese). To be honest I wish I had ordered the new off-menu item Hokkaido scallops instead (make sure you ask for the off-menu items if you’re coming to see if they tickle your interest).

The KUVO Atlantic Cod Meunière ($38++) was the highlight of the evening for me. The cod medallion was succulent and soft, exuding a natural fresh sweetness. It paired so gloriously with the savoury sweet pea crust on top and the relishing sides of the creamy pearl barley and corn fricassee, potato gratin (hands down one of the best ones I’ve tried; how ingenious that they put thin layers of potato and orange sweet potato together?), and a citrus nutty brown butter (and vinegar?) to meld it all together. It was also accompanied with tenderly roasted asparagus, thin green beans, fine green beans, a plump cherry tomato and pickled figs for an extra tang. Props to them for serving on a heated plate too. This is truly one of the better gourmet Western dishes I’ve had in Singapore.

The Croissant Bread Pudding ($14++) is adorably cake-shaped in filo pastry with dried cranberry, salted caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. I loved the juxtaposition of the crunch from the filo and the soft creaminess of the croissant pudding encased within, which went well with the sauce and ice cream combo. You can tell they’re serious about food when they serve good quality vanilla bean gelato and thoughtfully covered the top and base of the saucer with crunchy nutty crumbs so that the ice cream wouldn’t come into direct contact and melt easily with the saucer. Perhaps if the caramel was less salty, and more buttery, it would’ve been perfect.
I also tried their Baileys cheesecake ($7.50++, also available for takeaway from the cheesecake counter if you want to save on the service charge) which was satisfyingly rich in Baileys (actually to my ‘alcoholic’ taste buds, it was lacking a bit, but my ‘non-alcoholic’ boyfriend said it was too much!) but the texture of the cheesecake and biscuit base was a bit too soft and crumbly for my liking (I like my cheesecake firm and cheesy like the NY style baked ones).
Service was friendly and the waiters asked about the meal and topped up water un-intrusively. I enjoyed my time at KUVO and it was surprisingly quiet for a Friday night. I hope that it’ll be a keeper in the brutal F&B scene in Singapore. (I was just looking through my to-do list (which is ever-growing and currently stands at about 100 items) and realised that some of the places are already closed permanently! (Wood Shed Cafe, Parco Cafe, just to name a few)
KUVO Singapore
#02-01, 321 Orchard Road, Orchard Shopping Centre, Singapore 238866
Closest MRT: Somerset (don’t make my mistake and get off at Orchard just because it’s at “Orchard” Shopping Centre!)
Tel: +65 67338272 / email for reservations reservation@KUVO.com.sg
Opening hours:
Sun – Thu: 12:00 – 01:00
Fri – Sat: 12:00 – 02:00
Eve of PH: 12:00 – 02:00
PH: 12:00 – 01:00
Prices are not inclusive of GST and service charge.

Tung Lok Teahouse – Square 2, Novena and Far East Square at Telok Ayer


I saw the cutest baos ever on a Facebook from the Tung Lok Restaurants group: they are shiitake mushroom clones, down to even the stems, but made of steamed bread! Working near Novena, I took the opportunity one lunch hour to check it out.

As its name suggests, Tung Lok Teahouse was designed to echo the retro ambience of an old teahouse in Singapore during the 1950s-1970s, adorned with Peranakan furniture to match. The one at Novena had no windows, with a yellow tinted lighting, so it unfortunately didn’t really replicate that experience, but I could appreciate the concept displayed through its decor. They serve top-notch traditional Teochew/Pernakan-style food with a modern innovative twist; thus prices here are slightly steeper than your typical restaurant. It was a rather quiet day as there weren’t that many other patrons. Service is warmly genuine, and the waiters made an effort to find a comfortable seat for me (yep I was a brave lone diner!) when I expressed the table I was at was too cold, and they proactively offered to refill my warm water cup.


The Wild Mushroom with Black Truffle Baos (S$4.80++) is a triplet of adorable steamed buns that have a soft fluffy interior with a beautiful mottled pattern of a mushroom. The crusty exterior is an ever-so-thin layer that seems to resemble the texture of tiger bread, which is made painting on rice paste and sesame oil, which dries and cracks into a crust during the baking process. I’m not sure if that’s how they made the pattern but doesn’t it look uncannily like the tiger bread: perhaps with some soy sauce to give it the black/brown hues? Nevertheless it’s quite a work of art and Tung Lok reports it took the chefs 6 months to perfect the recipe!


I was a bit let down by the presentation as the other food bloggers (and the display outside the restaurant) had posted gorgeous photos of the buns complete with peanut /fried shallot garnishings on a pretty ceramic plate, but mine came out looking plain in a bamboo steamer. Nevertheless, one bite into the bun and all qualms were set aside; the fillings had king oyster mushrooms, shiitake, tea tree mushrooms, wood ear fungus, black truffle oil, and truffle abalone sauce). It was bursting with umami magical mushroom-y goodness (the abalone sauce gives it a great kick in what would otherwise be too monotonous in fungi); mushroom lovers will love this! Supply is limited to 50 baskets everyday, so the manager suggested that if you want to come back for dinner (yep the dim sum menu is available then, and LOL yes I love them that much) you can always call in to reserve it before you come in so that you can make sure you get your hands on these adorable fungi imposters.


I also had their Steamed Glutinous Rice with Diced Chicken wrapped in Lotus Leaf (S$4.80++). This was very good, as I am usually very picky with lor mai gai and this hit the spot. Well-cooked (but not soggy) grains of rice (with specks of red rice) with morsels of salted egg yolk and succulent lean chicken. I’m glad that unlike many restaurants, Tung Lok did not seem to use fat as fillers for the dumplings.

I’ve always liked the restaurants under the Tung Lok group (did you know Slappy Cakes is under them as well?), and Tung Lok Teahouse definitely hit the mark for good quality dim sum. I will do a re-post here of the second visit I have coming up 😉

The dim sum menu is below. You can find their set menus online though, (including items like the Braised House Special Beancurd with Fried Conpoy, and Fried Assorted Vegetables served in Yam Ring).


TungLok Teahouse
#01-73/79 Square 2, 10 Sinaran Drive, Singapore 307506
Tel: +65 6893 1123
Opening hours: Monday-Sunday, 11:00am – 02:30pm & 6:00pm – 10:00pm
Nearest MRT: Novena
Website: http://www.tunglokteahouse.com


Reprise for second dinner visit on 24/8/15 at the outlet at Far East Square

Far East Square is like a maze of various buildings and the restaurant was not easy to find. This outlet seems to have a slightly more yesteryear ambience than the one at Novena.

They served an appetiser at each table, and these blissful bites of crunchy sesame seed praline walnuts were very addictive; too bad they are a hefty $4.00++.

The Sweet and Sour Chrysanthemum Fish ($26++) was done well with a lighter, crispier batter than the typical economic rice fare combined with some extra pine nuts and capsicum, but I couldn’t really taste the chrysanthemum. Guess what I just realised: the term ‘chrysanthemum fish’ means the fish is cut into the shape of a chrysanthemum flower, not that it has chrysanthemum inside! I can’t help but think it’s similar to the ones you can get at the Tze Char stalls though.

The Fried Assorted Vegetables served in Yam Ring ($24.00++). I didn’t really like the yam ring here: it was too thin (not enough yam), too oily, not crispy enough, and has a ngoh-hiang spice taste that doesn’t match the yam well. The fillings inside though, including the prawns, were fresh and juicy.

The Braised House Special Beancurd with Conpoy Crisps was good, with generous servings of soft tofu within leathery, crispy spinach skin at the top and mushrooms, atop a bed of green spinach. This was the better of the main dishes we ordered, and although the sauce tempered the taste, I felt it was doused in too much oyster sauce and there weren’t many mushrooms.

I also couldn’t help but order a second mushroom bao. They’re that good haha. But this time it looks a bit less realistic (more whites showing) and one of the buns was slightly torn, but still tasted awesome. RX picked up that there was a subtle chocolate flavour in the dark crust too.

Coconut and dessert fans will love the Chilled Snow Lotus Pudding With Ice-Cream Served in Young Coconut ($8++): an ever-so-light, melt-in-mouth, smooth and slippery (my tongue was floating on coconut water cloud nine) snow lotus pudding, vanilla ice cream, mango cubes, drizzle of evaporated milk. The young tender coconut meat was easily scraped off the shell for a highly commendable dessert. I have no idea what snow lotus is and it seems very elusive in my Google search as it looks more like a herb than any kind of pudding ingredient, but they do this pudding so right.

The restaurant was nicely spaced out without much crowd. I’m not sure if it were just the dishes we chose, but I thought the food was a bit hit-and-miss for the price you’re paying, but the coconut dessert is absolutely out of this world.

Prices stated are not inclusive of GST and service charge.

TungLok Teahouse
Far East Square, 9-13 Amoy Street, #01-01, Singapore 049949
Nearest MRT: Telok Ayer
Tel: +65 6877 1123
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 3pm (Mon – Sat), 10am – 2:30pm (Sun & PH), 6pm – 10:30pm (Daily)

Ipoh Lou Yau Bean Sprouts Chicken – Bishan Junction 8

IMG_3029 My parents moved to Ipoh last year after a year in Penang. One of the reasons was because the food there is better. Having visited both places, I have to agree. Actually I’ve been to quite a few places in Malaysia (other than the two cities, I’ve also been to Langkawi, KL, Klang, Kota Kina Balu), and I’ve gotta pass the trophy for the best food to Ipoh. Penang is well-renowned for its food but I didn’t think it was really that amazing; perhaps I found it too oily/strong-flavoured/Peranakan/Hokkien style for my liking? Ipoh cuisine on the other hand is primarily based on the Cantonese cuisine due to its population there, which I feel is a bit more subtle in taste (ok I may be biased…?).

I fell in love with the Ipoh’s food: it was amazing, and so much cheaper than the food in Singapore!!! The Ipoh hor fun in particular is very impressive; the silkiness was not like anything I’ve ever had before (even in HK), and the broth it was in was just perfection in a bowl – rich in umami taste without any MSG aftertaste. I eavesdropped the table next to my family’s because of their very obvious Singlish; they said it was really really good as well! Here are some photos of the original Ipoh hor fun I had (they were at different stalls): IMG_4285 IMG_4417 In Cantonese, it is 河粉 ‘hor fun’, in Teochew/Hokkien it is 粿條 ‘kway teow’; which is why some dishes in Singapore call the same rice noodle with different names depending on whether it is of Cantonese origin (e.g. the Ipoh hor fun or San Lao hor fun) or of Hokkien/Teochew origins (e.g. char kway teow) – at least this is what I think. The ones in Ipoh are cut to a shorter width than normal and has a more tender consistency, which increases the slurp factor. Needless to say, I have high standards for Ipoh hor fun. The ones at the hawker/food courts in Singapore are sorely disappointing: unremarkable kway teow with MSG laden soup / oyster sauce. So I was looking forward to trying the one at Ipoh Lou Yau Bean Sprouts Chicken as their hor fun and beansprouts are claimed to be imported all the way from Ipoh, made with the karst limestone mineral-rich mountain spring water said to impart the smoothness to hor fun and the plumpness to the beansprouts. For those who don’t speak Canto, Lou Yau = 老友 = old friend (not in age, but in friendship!). 

Their Kampong (village) Chicken is a must-try. We ordered it as part of the One Person Hor Fun Set: with Hor Fun, Steamed Chicken and Bean Sprouts ($8.50). They use free-range  chickens (apparently from Malaysia) gently boiled in a broth with herbs and spices to keep the meat tender before being submerged in an ice bath to gelatinise the skin. This method is a must for good chicken rice stalls around Singapore that want to differentiate themselves from people like me who just boil the chicken and are too lazy to do the extra step 😛 (it’s one of the dishes that is my family’s favourite during my weekly cooking duty in Australia; we got the recipe from a Malaysian family we met in Adelaide. I’ll have to put it up here someday…). IMG_3031 I digress. The kampong chicken here is very good, particularly the chicken skin: strong chicken fragrance, having a tinge of yellow, with an almost jelly-like texture; akin to fresh chicken in HK. While living in Australia, none of the chickens had this quality, even the organic/free-range ones. Maybe it’s an Asian chicken thing. The chicken meat was a bit chewy in texture and may not be to some Singaporean’s liking if they prefer the more soft, moister meat in the famous Hainanese-style chicken rice stores. I have a feeling it is more tough because the chickens are free-range and have developed more muscle; as it was similar texture to the chicken I had in Ipoh. I also have to give credit to the ginger spring onion sauce which was awesome and reminded me of the bottle of ginger sauce my grandma would always keep in the fridge (which I’m not sure will be sitting for how long to preserve… hahaha but it never seems to go bad). It was full of salty, oily, gingery goodness grated in big chunks for full-on ginger shiokness. Most Singapore chicken rice stalls only provide chilli and dark sweet sauce. Even when they provide ginger sauce, it doesn’t quite taste right, infusing it with vinegar rather than oil and spring onion like it should be. But the chilli sauce here is a bit too vinegary, a bit too little lime juice.

Here comes the big question: is the ‘hor fun’ as good as the one in Ipoh? I have to say yes, I can’t really tell a difference. The silkiness, smoothness, and slipperiness (without oiliness) of the noodles was just like the one I had there. But there’s a catch; the flavouring of it was nowhere as good as the original. The hor fun was sitting in a bed of what tasted like watered down soy sauce topped with some fried shallots and spring onion, which totally didn’t do justice to the yummy hor fun. In the photo on the poster, the dry hor fun looked nothing like reality; it looked appetising in a reddish brown oily sauce! The bean sprouts are reminiscent of the dish I had in Ipoh, being sweet, juicy and plump, but it didn’t look as fat.  Perhaps it’s because it became a bit less fresh after the transportation to Singapore. I also think it would be nicer with a stronger scent of sesame oil like the one in Ipoh. IMG_3033 The Ipoh hor fun with chicken and prawn (soup) ($6.90) was good, but nothing as nice as compared to the one in Ipoh. The stock is the main thing that was amazing in Ipoh; rich, full of the natural sweetness of crustacean-y taste and chicken and just look at the photo at the top; with oil floating at the top which was an undescribable yumminess. The one in Lou Yau was light with a mild chicken stock fragrance, which was definitely nicer than the MSG-laden ones you find in food courts, but was underwhelming compared to the original, even the colour gave it away (the original one in Ipoh had a slightly reddish hue to it from the prawny goodness I guess?). The shredded chicken breast was a bit dry, and I wish they had given unshelled prawns like they do in Ipoh. Nevertheless the delicious hor fun made up for these shortcomings.

On the menu, there are also other sides like Braised Chicken Feet ($4.50), Cold Tofu with Dried Shrimps ($4.50) and Saito Fishball Soup ($5/6 pieces). There are also Ipoh desserts like Ipoh Herbal Tea ($2.50) or Luo Han Guo Longan Tea ($2.50).

The ingredients are all there (authentic and fresh) to almost replicate the Ipoh experience, but unfortunately it was not executed in the best way in terms of the flavouring. If you like your chicken with the old-town chewy texture, it is a great place to get your fix. For the hor fun; was it worth the extra dollars to get this over food court Ipoh hor fun? Definitely. But is it enough to save you a trip all the way to Ipoh to taste the real thing? Unfortunately not quite there yet.

All prices stated are nett (inclusive of GST and service charge)

Ipoh Lou Yau Bean Sprouts Chicken 怡保老友芽菜鷄
9 Bishan Place, #B1-23 Junction 8 Shopping Centre, Singapore 579837
Tel: 6258 0633
Closest MRT: Bishan
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 10:00pm
Other branches: IMM, Centrepoint, Vivocity, White Sands, Chervon House, Chinatown Point, Century Square, Bedok Mall, One KM
Website: http://www.ipohlouyau.com.sg

Relish by Wild Rocket at Cluny Court

Hello blogosphere!

My boyfriend has been encouraging me to get back into food blogging for a long time… and for some reason or another, I always find excuses not to. I guess it’s the intimidation of knowing that I will have to commit to this as a regular activity from now on, lest my food blog suffer the same fate that it did for the past few years…Since it’s the public holiday tomorrow (Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri!), I have an excuse to stay up a bit later to complete a post. Tonight we had dinner at Relish by Wild Rocket, a cosy specialty burger restaurant with a sophisticated vibe at Cluny Court, a stone’s throw away from the Botanic Gardens MRT. There is another branch at Serangoon Gardens as well. Btw the Botanic Gardens just recently got named the first UNESCO Heritage Site in Singapore. Don’t be alarmed if you see hordes of people there from now on, rendering it not so much of a UNESCO site anymore haha :P.


Being the cheapo (read: frugal person!) I am, I have been getting quite a few groupon deals lately, and Relish was one of them (you can get it before it ends on 2 August Aw it’s sold out!). When we arrived at ~7.45pm, the cafe still had plenty of spaces and I enjoyed the laidback atmosphere away from the crowded malls we had been frequenting! Opened by lawyer-turned chef Willin Low, if there is one main outstanding feature about Wild Rocket, it’s that it serves innovative Western style food with a Singaporean twist. Burgers there are quirky and range from the breakfast burger ($20.80, with a homemade apple pork sausage patty); soft shell chilli crab burger ($19.80, with a black squid ink bun and chilli crab sauce); to the soft bone pork charsiew open burger ($21.40); and the Ram-Lee burger ($21.90, inspired from the famous Malaysian Ramly burgers in pasar malams).


The original classic burger: the Wild Rocket Beef Burger ($19.50) is the star item of what started Relish 8 years ago (according to their Facebook post), is a simple yet well-executed burger. It is made up of a generous 180g beef patty with rocket leaves (true to the joint’s name), Sarawak pepper cream and sun-dried tomato relish with a toasted sesame bun. I do get impressed when the burger joint puts in the extra effort to toast the bun; it really puts it up a notch. The patty was beefy, lean and juicy and well-seasoned with a nice twist. The waiter asked how I wanted the beef done; it is unheard of to have rare minced beef patties in Australia (thyrotoxicosis is one of the concerns!) but I know it is quite common in Singapore, so props to them for asking first.

The sauces were the highlight, and worked really well together with the tangy sundried tomato relish which provided a nice contrast to the creamy, woody notes of the Sarawak pepper sauce. The thick cut fries were crispy, the chilli sauce (the waiter asked us, and there was a choice of ketchup too) had a good spicy kick, and the salad greens were crisp and had a lovely smokey flavour to it; overall it was a nice meal. If there is one thing I can fault, it is that I wish that they were more generous with the fillings (e.g. cheese, other veggies), although I do admit the simplicity did make this dish enjoyable too. I noticed one of our neighbours was having their burger with sweet potato fries: the waiter said you can add extra $3 to upgrade your fries (a better deal than the extra $9.50 to order a separate sweet potato fries!).


We ordered a brunch item (note: this place offers all-day brunch for those who crave breakfast during dinner!), the Pandan French Toast ($17.80), which is basically pandan chiffon cake dipped in egg batter, grilled, topped with gula melaka syrup served with a few rashers of crispy bacon and cream cheese. Good quality pandan chiffon was used (I’m not sure if it’s baked in-house, but we were secretly wondering whether it may have been the famous Bengawan Solo pandan chiffon – which hey, even if they were, I’m not complaining because it tastes awesome!); the egg batter made the cake so fluffy and luscious while the caramelised brown exterior was a delight (although it became a bit soggier under the aircon). I requested for gula melaka on the side, which was good not only because I could control the sweetness level, but secondly I had heard others say they couldn’t really taste it when it was drizzled on top. While it’s a winning combination (clever spin on Canadian bacon and maple syrup), I did feel like I was left wanting for more, perhaps because the dish was a bit too simple and a tad pricey for what it was.


There are other interesting dishes if you’re not into burgers: onion rings with curry mayo, and linguine with shredded crabmeat (you can find more of their menu here)


Reprise for our second visit on 21 July 2015


The Soft Shell Chilli Crab Burger ($19.80) comprises of a squid ink bun, deep-fried soft shell crab, cabbage, tomato and chilli crab sauce. I thought it was a charcoal bun but turns out it’s squid ink (I couldn’t really tell). It was a nice sweet and crispy bun, but the soft shell crab was a bit disappointing, having too much batter. The chilli crab sauce also lacked egg and a chilli kick. It is a nice concept that would taste good if more fine-tuned.


The Polenta with Onsen Egg ($18.60) is a rich and creamy polenta topped with a soft boiled egg surrounded by grilled mushroom, spinach and pancetta, drizzled with truffle oil. It did have a slight truffle taste, the spinach was flavoured well and a good green contrast, and the pancetta and mushroom lent a salty kick. But I wasn’t particularly fond of the cornmeal though; it was a bit like a corny porridge cooked in a mushroom soup with lots of parmesan cheese; RX commented it tasted like cheetos perhaps because of this mix. I just thought it was a bit bland, not creamy enough and too strong in parmesan taste. Perhaps those who love parmesan or cheetos would have more affinity for this dish. The egg was excellent though, being soft and oozy.


The Deconstructed Strawberry Cheesecake ($9.80) here is amazing. For the love of God, get its signature dessert if you are at Relish!!! I am very tempted to re-create it myself, as one other blogger did. I think it tastes so good because they added minimal cream to the cheesecake mix, making it very thick, sticky, gooey and rich in the tangy cream cheese taste. The aesthetics is disappointing, but by golly, looks are deceiving because it tasted fantastic. It came with a thick strawberry compote and melded with the crunchy, buttery biscuit base that is found on the bottom of all cheesecakes, but more crunchy than usual because it was baked separately. Deconstructed sounds like a pretentious dessert but trust me it is so good. But I do wish they had been more generous in giving a bigger portion of the sticky cheesecake goo though.


I was happy with the service here; the waiters were mostly thoughtful, and although I didn’t realise it, the Groupon was not valid on a public holiday eve, yet the cashier endeavoured to redeem it. It’s always nice to have people who value your patronage and are willing to bend the red tape to provide better service. While not cheap, the quaint ambience, the interesting fusion cuisine, their pleasant service, one of the best burgers I’ve had in Singapore (if you choose the right one!), and an amazing signature dessert, I would be happy to visit a second third time for a quiet evening meal.


Relish by Wild Rocket
501 Bukit Timah Road, #02-01 Cluny Court
Tel: 6763 1547
Opening hours: Mon: closed; Tues – Sun: 9am – 10pm (Last order: 9pm)
Website: www.wildrocket.com.sg
Closest MRT: Botanic Gardens

Prices do not include prevailing government tax and service charges.