Food Picks: Pho Street, Shitamachi Tendon Akimitsu, Samjin Amook and Keong Saik Bakery

Rice vermicelli with grilled pork belly and spring roll with pickled carrots and radish at Pho Street. PHOTO: PHO STREET
Mixed tendon at Shitamachi Tendon Akimitsu. PHOTO: SHITAMACHI TENDON AKIMITSU
Amook at Samjin Amook. ST PHOTO: EUNICE QUEK
(Clockwise from far left) “Tak kiu” croissant, fig and cream cheese campagne and the signature “sor hei”, a Danish pastry with chocolate chips at Keong Saik Bakery. ST PHOTO: EUNICE QUEK
Publsihed Sep 29, 2017, 5:00 am SGT
Eunice Quek Food Correspondent recommends

VIETNAMESE STREET SNACKS

For affordable Vietnamese fare, casual restaurant chain Pho Street is right up my alley.

Its new menu offers a dish that is turning out to be my new favourite - spicy pork combination rice vermicelli ($8.90), which is pho with a spicy soup base, sliced pork and pork balls.

The soup is way hotter than it looks and I like that it really packs a punch with its spicy and sour notes.

For those who prefer a dry noodle dish, go for the refreshing rice vermicelli with grilled pork belly and spring roll with pickled carrots and radish ($8.90).

Complete your meal with the eatery's street snacks. These include a rice cracker and cucumber platter with a caramelised dried shrimp dip ($6.90); and its rice vermicelli wrap with pork belly ($6.90), which is crisp and tender.

WHERE (MRT): Pho Street, nine outlets including B1-04 Bedok Mall, 311 New Upper Changi Road (Bedok); B1-05 Ocean Financial Centre, 10 Collyer Quay (Raffles Place); and B2-K6/K7 Westgate, 3 Gateway Drive (Jurong East) INFO: Go to www.phostreet.com.sg for a full list of outlets and opening hours


TENDON OBSESSION

I'm developing an obsession with tendon (tempura on rice) because it is the perfect combination of fried stuff and carbs. My new haunt is Shitamachi Tendon Akimitsu, which hails from Asakusa in Tokyo, Japan.

I go straight for the signature mixed tendon ($14.90) with prawn, fish, egg, seaweed and assorted vegetables such as brinjal, baby corn, pumpkin and mushrooms.

The egg is perfectly runny and coated in the same light and crispy batter as the ingredients.

The fried seaweed is an interesting addition but was unfortunately rather hard. I notice that another diner had taken only one bite of her fried seaweed, too.

While one can choose between the original sauce and spicy sauce, I recommend the original sweet sauce as the spicy sauce lacked heat and did not have a kick.

The menu also offers vegetable tendon ($12.90) and tempura rice sets (from $13.90) where the tempura is served separately from the rice. The sets come with soup and chawanmushi and there is a free flow of pickled cabbage and beansprouts at the table.

Such good value.

WHERE (MRT): Shitamachi Tendon Akimitsu, 04-65 Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Road (Dhoby Ghaut); 01-54/55/56 VivoCity, 1 Harbourfront Walk (HarbourFront); and 02-28 Northpoint, 930 Yishun Avenue 2(Yishun) INFO: www.facebook.com/akimitsu.sg


TASTY KOREAN FISHCAKES

Everything looks delicious at Korean fishcake brand Samjin Amook at Ion Orchard's basement food hall, which sells fishcake-based snacks (amook is Korean for fishcake). The snacks are priced between $1.20 and $5.50 and are displayed like loaves of bread at a bakery.

Start with the popular amook croquettes, which are made with amook instead of potato. The cheese amook croquette ($2.30) is filled with melted mozzarella and cheddar and covered in a crisp layer of breadcrumbs.

Another highlight is the prawn roll hot dog ($3.50) which is made with a skewered whole prawn coated with amook instead of a sausage. I love the combination of amook with the juicy and sweet prawn.

I also try the red shrimp paprika ($2) and crabmeat flower ($2.80) topped with a cube of crabmeat and smelt roe - which pops satisfyingly when I bite into it.

This is one snack shop I'll be visiting frequently.

WHERE: Samjin Amook, B4-34 Ion Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn MRT: Orchard WHEN: 10am to 10pm daily Tel: 6759-0988 INFO: www.facebook.com/samjinamooksg


DELIGHTFUL CONTEMPORARY BAKES

Keong Saik Bakery serves up a dose of tradition with a modern touch. So while you can get kaya toast and soft-boiled eggs, you can also pick from an interesting selection of bread and cakes such as "tak kiu" croissant, fig and cream cheese campagne and the signature "sor hei" ($3.20), a Danish pastry with chocolate chips.

It is named after the traditional hair-combing ceremony held for Ma Jie (women who worked as domestic helpers and took a vow of celibacy) and the layers of flaky pastry certainly resemble hair combed in a bun.

The new "tak kiu" croissant ($4.50) has a lava Milo chocolate filling and is dusted with Milo powder. Local flavours also inspire a selection of cakes. Wash it all down with the kopi susu ($2.80) - local-style kopi brewed like an artisanal cuppa to extract robust flavours.

WHERE: Keong Saik Bakery, 41 Keong Saik Road MRT: Outram Park WHEN: 8am to 8pm daily, closed on first and third Monday of the month TEL: 6909-3199 INFO: www.facebook.com/keongsaikbakery

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2017, with the headline 'Food Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe
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