HAKKA-STYLE BAN MIAN AT BOSSI BAN MIAN
If you have a soft spot for back-to-basics old-school food, you might love the Hakka-style ban mian (Chinese noodles) at Bossi Ban Mian.
Stall-owner and head cook Chin Chun Yoong, 36, who is originally from Ipoh, uses his mother's recipe.
I was impressed by the stall's signature dish, Ban Mian Soup ($4). Mr Chin takes his heritage very seriously, using mani cai (sweet leaf), the traditional vegetable of choice in his ban mian.
Mani cai may taste more fibrous than other vegetables, but it adds such sweet flavour and interesting texture to the dish.
The ban mian is served with ikan bilis on the side so that it does not turn soggy in the soup before you start your meal. You also get a house-made dip of green chilli padi, garlic and vinegar.
Mr Chin uses chilled minced pork, which is delightfully clean-tasting.
His soup stock is light but flavoursome. A spoonful of his fried mei cai (preserved Chinese mustard), from a secret recipe, adds a savoury edge.
The prawns in Prawn Ban Mian Dry ($6) are wonderfully fresh but the noodles in the dry version are too sweet and a tad bland, as Mr Chin has modified his seasoning to suit customers who want less salt.
It took him a year to search for a noodle supplier whose factory-made noodles are similar to handmade noodles.
Indeed, the noodles are chewy, springy and so perfectly cooked that they taste good even after soaking in the soup through the photo shoot.
WHERE: 01-18, Serangoon Garden Market and Food Centre, 49A Serangoon Garden Way
MRT: Lorong Chuan
OPEN: 9am to 9pm (Thursdays to Mondays); 9am to 3pm (Tuesdays); Closed on Wednesdays
UNAGI AT UNA UNA
Enjoy grilled eel at new restaurant Una Una, which started operating at Bugis+ early this month and officially launches on Sept 5.
The restaurant specialises in unagi dishes. Hitsumabushi ($14.80++ for regular size set) is Nagoya-style charcoal-grilled eel, where it is grilled until the meat is crispy on the outside. Eat the eel with the rice, then add condiments such as wasabi and spring onion. Finally, add dashi (soup stock) to the rice and eel. The set is served with soup fragranced with yuzu.
Una Una uses rice from Hokkaido which is smaller in grain size, but has a chewy texture.
Also try the chef's pick of Unagi & Salmon Ikura Ju ($26.80++). The eel is grilled Tokyo-style and not meant to be crispy. It should be enjoyed with the unagi sauce that it comes with. The chopped salmon fried with shoyu and mirin is a tad overcooked but there is plenty of salmon roe.
The Hokkaido Grilled Squid ($14.80++), which features imported squid from Hokkaido that is grilled over charcoal, is worth ordering. The squid remains tender even at room temperature.
WHERE: 04-10, Bugis+, 201 Victoria Street
OPEN: 11.30am to 3pm; 5pm to 10pm (Mondays to Fridays); 11.30am to 10pm (Saturdays and Sundays)
PREMIUM BURGERS AT WOLF BURGERS
Quick service burger joint Wolf Burgers is offering a premium selection of burgers.
Wagyu Beef Burger ($14.90) features a juicy wagyu beef patty with melted mature cheese, accented with a secret-recipe in-house sauce and caramelised red onions which are slow-cooked for two hours.
The patty is a little under-salted for my preference but those who like full-on beefy flavours may like this burger.
The Dry-aged Beef Burger ($17.90) is made using Australian beef that is dry-aged for 30 days. The dry-ageing processing allows enzymes in the meat to break down connective tissue in the muscle, resulting in more tenderness and flavour. The patty is topped with homemade chipotle mayo, cheese and pickled onions.
There is also King Salmon Burger ($14.90), where the patty is made from chilled salmon that is chopped and seasoned with ingredients including black pepper and fresh dill.
WHERE: 01-05, Funan, 107 North Bridge Road
MRT: City Hall
OPEN: 8am to 10pm (Mondays to Fridays); 11am to 10pm (Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays)