Eunice Quek Food Correspondent recommends

Food Picks: 25 Degrees, Maki-san's nasi lemak roll, sponge cake from Le Castella, and LiHo's cheese teas

Ultimate Burger at 25 Degrees.
Ultimate Burger at 25 Degrees.PHOTOS: 25 DEGREES SINGAPORE, EUNICE QUEK, LIHO, YIP WAI YEE

BURGER BONANZA

I have a weakness for burgers: the bigger, the better. So the Ultimate Burger at 25 Degrees is right up my alley.

A turkey patty, US Angus beef and deep-fried buttermilk chicken breast are stacked between fluffy brioche buns. There're also bacon, melted cheddar, caramelised onions and avocado. I can't really complain about its $28++ price tag.

My favourite part of the burger stack is the buttermilk chicken breast, which is fried to golden and juicy perfection. The turkey is slightly bland, so I eat it with the onions and bacon.

Unless you are extremely ravenous, the burger is best shared with a friend. I add on truffle fries and curly fries - a steal at $5 for a mix of the two. Individual portions of the fries cost $5 each.

A very satisfying meal indeed.

WHERE: 200 Middle Road MRT: Bugis/Rochor WHEN: Till June 30, 11 - 1am (Sun - Thu), 11 - 3am (Fri & Sat) TEL: 6809-7990 INFO: www.facebook.com/25DegreesSG


NASI LEMAK ON A ROLL

If sushi and nasi lemak had a baby, it would be Maki-San's Maki Lemak. The chain is famous for its maki sushi-style rolls filled with all kinds of delightful ingredients.

 
 
 

And the Maki Lemak ($8.90) is a delicious treat, rolled out specially for the Ramadan season. It is filled with shredded cucumber, boiled egg, and roasted anchovies and peanuts rolled up in an egg crepe wrap.

I enjoy the tempura otak, which adds the right amount of spice and crunch to the roll, as well as the house-made sweet and spicy sambal.

True to Maki-San fashion, the ingredients sit on a base of Japanese white rice. Not very nasi lemak-ish? Well, that's where the roasted desiccated coconut sprinkled throughout the roll fits in perfectly.

WHERE: All Maki-San outlets, including The Cathay, I12 Katong & Hillion Mall, except National University of Singapore WHEN: Till July 31, 11.30am - 9.30pm (Sun - Thu), 11.30am - 10pm (Fri, Sat & eve of public holiday) INFO: www.facebook.com/rollwithmakisan. All outlets are halal-certified except the ones at Junction 8 and Jem


FLUFFY SPONGE CAKES

For the past month, Le Castella, a Taiwanese brand of fluffy sponge cakes, has attracted long queues of up to five hours at Tampines 1 mall.

While I don't recommend wasting that much time queueing, the cakes are still worth a try, but perhaps only when the queues have subsided.

The ordering system has improved, though. Each customer is limited to two whole cakes and orders are taken at three time slots - 11am, 4 and 7pm.

The staff will inform you on the time to collect the cakes. I collected mine on a weekday within 11/2 hours, which I found acceptable.

Between the original (above, $9.90) and cheese (far left, $11.90) cakes, I preferthe former. While the cheese looks tantalisingly molten and gooey on the outside, it is not melted inside and adds little flavour to the cake itself. More layers would work better.

The original one has a more even bake and a lovely light texture with a fragrant aroma of the eggs used in the cake.

WHERE: B1-32 Tampines 1, 10 Tampines Central 1 MRT: Tampines OPEN: 11am - 10pm daily INFO: www.facebook.com/LeCastellaSG


SAY CHEESE TEA

Die-hard bubble tea fans like me were certainly sceptical about the popular Gong Cha brand being replaced by new home-grown brand LiHO, as well as its new cheese tea options.

So I had to try them to see how good (or bad) they were and they turned out to be much better than expected.

The flavour of the creamy cheese topping is surprisingly light and I wouldn't mind it being slightly stronger. To enjoy the drink, slurp some of the cheese on its own - through a special hole in the fancy drink cap - then drink the tea.

My favourite is the Cheese Jing Syuan tea (with 50 per cent sugar, $4.10 or $5.10) - the hot version - which is good for those who like tea lattes. Fans of Gong Cha's alisan tea can go for this, as the jin xuan tea, like alisan, is a variety of oolong tea.

The creamy cheese topping also pairs well in the cheese melon tea ($4.10 or $5.10), as well as the cheese yam smoothie ($6.90) with custard pudding topping. But get the smoothie only if you require a filling drink. For me, the combination of yam, custard and cream is a tad too much to finish.

Don't expect all the drinks to have the same names as before. For example, my usual order of honey green tea at Gong Cha is now known as Busy Bee Green Tea ($2.80 or $3.80) at LiHO. Thankfully, it tastes pretty similar, with a stronger honey flavour.

I can't say the same for the milk-based drinks. I can barely taste the tea in both the LiHO Milk Guan Yin ($3.50 or $4.50) and Classic Milk Tea ($2.80 or $3.80).

While LiHO has some way to go in convincing consumers that it can maintain, let alone surpass, the standard set by Gong Cha, this Gong Cha fan has already been converted.

WHERE: Cheese tea available (50 cups an outlet) at selected LiHO outlets, including Bugis+, Ang Mo Kio Hub and IMM; and at all LiHO outlets from June 5 INFO: www.facebook.com/lihosg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 02, 2017, with the headline 'Food Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe