LU ROU FAN AT GRANDMA BRAISED PORK RICE
Tucked away on the second floor of Tanjong Pagar Plaza is a coffee shop where you can find lovingly made Taiwanese-style lu rou fan. The stall has a surprisingly basic menu of Braised Pork Rice ($5.50), with just a few add-ons. The rice is white rice mixed with red cargo rice, topped with a generous portion of braised pork belly, a large slab of tau kwa, a whole braised egg, boiled peanuts and a garnish of fresh coriander. What lifts the dish is a home-made chilli paste, with an assam tang which helps to keep the fatty meat from getting cloying.
Add-ons include brown rice (80 cents), braised egg (60 cents) and chilli (30 cents a spoon). But the Braised Pork Rice dish is so hefty that I find them unnecessary.
Stall co-owner and head cook, Madam Guan Xiu Ping, 56, originally from Putien and a Singaporean citizen for more than 20 years now, says her braised pork recipe was passed down from her Taiwanese maternal grandmother. Indeed, the five spice powder in the braise evokes the feeling of tucking into a home-cooked heirloom recipe.
WHERE: Stall 5, 02-04, Tanjong Pagar Plaza, 1 Tanjong Pagar Plaza MRT: Tanjong Pagar OPEN: 10am to 5pm (Mondays to Saturdays). Closed on Sundays
PORKCAST PIE AT TIONG BAHRU BAKERY FUNAN
With a name that plays on the word "podcast", Porkcast Pie ($8.90++ for dine-in, $8.90+ for takeaway) is one of two new pastries available exclusively at Tiong Bahru Bakery's newest outlet at Funan until Sep 10. The 90-seater bakery which opened on June 28 is the second Tiong Bahru Bakery outlet to serve its full hot food range.
The Porkcast Pie, made using the bakery's signature French butter croissant dough, has a filling of pork cheek cooked for 12 hours till tender in a mildly spicy rendang paste, which is prepared from scratch in-house.
Pair it with a Sesame Kouign Amann ($5++ for dine-in, $5+ for takeaway, background), inspired by Chinese ham chin peng, which is sweet and savoury at the same time. Five spice butter in the dough and a sprinkling of sesame seeds add to its intrigue.
WHERE: 04-22 to 25, Funan, 107 North Bridge Road MRT: City Hall OPEN: 8am to 10pm daily TEL: 6877-4866 INFO: www.tiongbahrubakery.com
THE GREAT INDIAN FOOD FEST
Have a taste of 1960s hawker culture at The Great Indian Food Fest, an event dedicated to Singapore's Indian culinary heritage. Organised by the Indian Restaurants Association Singapore, the festival features 17 food carts, run by restaurants in Little India, lined up along Campbell Lane.
Tuck into popular classics such as Appam ($2 a piece, above) at the Madras New Woodlands cart. Made from a batter of fermented rice flour, appam is thick and spongy in the centre with crispy edges and is served with red sugar.
At Muthu's Curry cart, reach out for the Kuzhi Paniyaaram ($4 for five pieces). These ball-shaped dumplings are made from a batter of fermented black lentil flour and rice flour.
If you are inspired to whip up your own Indian food at home, head for the cart by Selvi's Store, which features a range of ground spices and curry powders.
There is also a guided food trail through Tekka Centre where you will get to sample food such as mutton soup and Indian rojak. Today is the last day of the food trail ($10 a person) which is conducted at 11am to noon; 2 to 3pm; and 5 to 6pm.