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eG Food Blog: nikkib (2011)

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#31 Genkinaonna

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 09:57 AM

Wow Nikki! Everything looks incredible. I didn't realize Singapore had such a diverse culinary culture. As much as I love to cook, it would be a lot of fun to eat out for every meal...less clean up that way! But I am a total kitchen hoarder, so I can't imagine having so little food in the house. And don't worry about the typos...hey happen to the best of us...lol...and me too! My husband has chicken and rice like what you had twice a week for lunch, there's a food cart right outside his office building that makes it. It's one of his favorites, and much healthier than eating a giant fried pork sandwich or hamburger with grilled cheese sandwiches as buns...

Do you have a car, or do you use public transport/walking to get to all these wonderful restaurants?
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#32 Hassouni

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 11:01 AM

Nikki, what an awesome start to what looks to be a great blog! I think a lot of us expect many delicious things from Singapore :smile:

Any chance you can document some chili crab? A friend of mine moved there and won't stop talking about it, but I've never had it or even been anywhere that served it.

#33 nikkib

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 05:44 PM

Breakfast this morning was at another regular haunt of mine - Toast Box is a chain that serve tea/coffee and local breakfast specialities throughout the day. As it is based next to the MRT (subway) it is ideally located and the coffee is good. Singaporean Coffee or Kopi as i mentioned before is made in a different way to regular coffee - it is udually served withe condensed milk to serve as both the milk/sugar. Kopi Gau is the same but a stronger, less watered down version of Kopi, Kopi C is a weaker version with more condensed milk and water than coffee. Kopi O is black coffee with sugar (keeping up at the back?!) There are other versions including iced or blended amongst others but these are the ones you see more often than not. I drink regular Kopi, it is sweeter than coffee i usually like but as a first drink of the day my body appreciates the sugary sweetness to shock it awake! Kaya as i also mentioned before is the traditional accompaniment to toast here - a very sweet egg and coconut jam served spread over toast with a slice of chilled butter on the other piece and sandwiched together - they usually use one piece of thick bread cut like melba toast (but not so thin) and then sandwiched together again. Thick toasts are also available along with French toast, various buns, laksa and mee siam (more on these later) Soft boiled eggs are often served too - cracked into a small bowl and eaten with dark soy sauce and pepper and then either spooned up and eaten like that or by dipping the toast into it. They are just too soft for me to enjoy really - i cracked one open and gave up - too slimy!
This morning i had Bolou Yau which is a sweet brioche type pineapple bun and Kopi, it came as part of the meal deal with the eggs for i think $4.50.

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"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#34 nikkib

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 06:15 PM

@Shelby - it's more that the appartments aren't so suited to cooking, they may have a microwave or a single induction heater but that's often it. Other adverts specify "light" cooking only. I gather the main reason is due to the smell of the local food whilst it's being prepared - we aren't talking simple stews or roasts but dried anchovies, curry sauces, preserved eggs etc ( FYI I also saw adverts stating they wouldn't rent to "Indians or Chinese" which really freaked me out and I refused to view any of them on principle which confused my rental agent no end -speaking to people I am led to believe this is for the aforementioned culinary reasons but still made me incredibly uncomfortable)

@hassouni - thanks! I am hoping you will do a blog sooner rather than later and yes, chilli crab will most definitely feature!
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#35 nikkib

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 06:22 PM

@genkinnaona - Singapore is very compact and has a great subway system known as the mrt. Cabs are also not too badly priced ( although I miss my Lebanese service taxis more than you could ever believe!) most of the places I visit are pretty near where I either live or work, on a day off I might head a few extra stops out but so far I am being a bit lazy in that respect.
Prasantrin mentioned Malacca and I did look into a visit but I only have the one day off this week and have an appointment it is proving hard to reschedule, I will do my best to head there in a week or two and do a smaller blog on that trip.
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#36 nikkib

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 08:21 PM

@Heidi yes I really enjoy all the fruit juices, I usually have sour lime juice or melon if available, if I don't go with a tiger beer of course! I was familiar with quite a few of the dishes but many are completely new to me- depending on how I'm feeling I tend to just order something new to see if I like it or not, most of the stalls either have pictures or specialize in one dish so you look for the biggest queues and head in that direction. It doesn't always result in a delicious meal but at a couple of dollars a pop I can always abandon any unsuccessful dishes and try something else, it's all in the name of research afterall! There have been more hits than misses I should add!
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#37 Hassouni

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 09:20 PM

What do all the letters in the coffee stand for? Kopi O, Kopi C, etc....

Given that Singapore is what, 75% Chinese or so, is the major food influence there Chinese or Malay/Indian? Is it sort of like a fusion in general, or are most dishes distinctively Chinese, Malay, or Indian? It seems that Malay influences are disproportionately large, as least as far as population figures are concerned.

And as for my own blog, hah well, my food life is kind of boring lately...

#38 YSL

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 01:37 AM

*Loving* this blog so far. My neice and her family have moved to Singapore and keep urging me to go visit them, I wanted to go before but this blog so far has got me looking at my diary for possible dates to go :)
[size="2"]Brummie Tummy[/size]

#39 nikkib

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 08:14 AM

Lunch today was a quick bite at Din Tai Fung - a Tawainese restaurant chain. I opted for a vegetarian tofu salad with veggies and pork, chilli and crab steamed buns all for less than $10. They are Michelin recommended (which i was not aware of the first time i ate there but it did not surprise me to learn) This place runs like clockwork, there is nearly always a queue - whatever time they tell you the wait will be is almost always spot on to the minute - you are given an order pad while you wait which they take from you as soon as you are seated and despite the dumplings being made to order, you will always have at least one dish within 10 minutes - if you see a Din tai Fung on your travels i would highly recommend you check them out...

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Edited by nikkib, 15 November 2011 - 08:15 AM.

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#40 nikkib

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 08:17 AM

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oops forgot the best bit.....
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#41 Jenni

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 08:20 AM

Great shot!

#42 nikkib

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 08:20 AM

@Hassouni - The Kopi O Kopi C etc are i gather from Google derived from chinese or Malay but they are just listed short hand like that so wouldnt know for sure, i just ask for Kopi and get the right drink so thats all i'm really worried about :wink:

@YSL - Thanks! It is great fun here, either as a destination on its own, a stopover en route to OZ or tied in with a beach holiday somewhere like Langkawi, Penang or Thailand - highly recommend it!
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#43 nikkib

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 08:53 AM

For dinner i went to the Newton Circus Hawker Centre - one of the most famous (and controversial) hawker centres in singapore. It was renovated a few years back and general opinion now seems to be it is too watered down, expensive and touristy. It is still a fun place to go but i have to agree with the critics on this one - it is reknowned for its seafood whioch explains the higher prices somewhat but i was quite surprised at how different the prices were here to other places i prefer. I wasnt really too hungry and just fancied something light so i just had Popiah. Popiah is a Chinese dish of a light, fresh spring roll popular in Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. The wrapper is a thin crepe (un fried) and it is filled with egg, jicama, turnip, bean sprouts, lettuce, peanuts and carrots amongst others and it is served drizzled with a sweet soy sauce or hoi sin most commonly. M ine was pretty good - $3.40. To drink i had my first barley water, a drink poplular here and served both hot and cold - i'm not really sure what as i was expecting (Barley + Water doesnt leave much to the imagination) but i was completely underwhelmed. Probably better hotter as a pre bedtime drink like a malt but i think i will stick to something else in future.

Brilliantly and bizarrely the Chinese guy next to me was eating steak, chips and baked beans - on sale at another stall for about $10!!

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"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#44 percyn

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 09:32 AM

Very excited that you're blogging, Nikki! Apart from the intolerable heat, Singapore is one of my very favourite food places and I BEG you, on behalf of all eG, to go all out on the gluttony! Six meals a day, if you can help it! Show us everything! :biggrin:

I second that - go all out Nikki !!

If I didn't already have a food trip planned for Vegas, I would offer to fly to Singapore to help lend an extra stomach :laugh:

#45 percyn

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 09:54 AM

Jenni posted about Idlis a while ago so as soon as i saw them i knew i had to try them and they have become a favourite breakfast of mine if i wake up feeling hungry – today i decided to add vadas(mentioned in percyns brilliant blog - finding them became somewhat of an obsession for me)

Nikki,
Glad you were interested in trying the "vada". Actually, there are different types of vadas or fritters. The one you have pictured is a South Indian called a Mendu Vada, which is made from rice and Urad dal.


The Vada shown here is a spicy potato fritter popular in Mumbai and the state of Maharashtra. Both are good but very different flavors and textures.


Enjoying your blog and looking forward to the chili crab post to bring back memories.

#46 heidih

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 10:36 AM

Were you in Singapore during durian season? If so, did you partake? Did the scent seem to follow you everywhere as it wafted from the markets?

#47 judiu

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 12:36 PM

For dinner i went to the Newton Circus Hawker Centre - one of the most famous (and controversial) hawker centres in singapore. It was renovated a few years back and general opinion now seems to be it is too watered down, expensive and touristy. It is still a fun place to go but i have to agree with the critics on this one - it is reknowned for its seafood whioch explains the higher prices somewhat but i was quite surprised at how different the prices were here to other places i prefer. I wasnt really too hungry and just fancied something light so i just had Popiah. Popiah is a Chinese dish of a light, fresh spring roll popular in Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia. The wrapper is a thin crepe (un fried) and it is filled with egg, jicama, turnip, bean sprouts, lettuce, peanuts and carrots amongst others and it is served drizzled with a sweet soy sauce or hoi sin most commonly. M ine was pretty good - $3.40. To drink i had my first barley water, a drink poplular here and served both hot and cold - i'm not really sure what as i was expecting (Barley + Water doesnt leave much to the imagination) but i was completely underwhelmed. Probably better hotter as a pre bedtime drink like a malt but i think i will stick to something else in future.

Brilliantly and bizarrely the Chinese guy next to me was eating steak, chips and baked beans - on sale at another stall for about $10!!

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OK, Nikki, I gotta ask: What's the Black Spider drink?
"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

#48 chan25

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 04:14 PM

@Hassouni - The Kopi O Kopi C etc are i gather from Google derived from chinese or Malay but they are just listed short hand like that so wouldnt know for sure, i just ask for Kopi and get the right drink so thats all i'm really worried about :wink:


Kopi ordering guide

#49 Kent Wang

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 04:24 PM

Bar Kode looks pretty decent. Have you been to the Tippling Club? I hear good things about that place.

( FYI I also saw adverts stating they wouldn't rent to "Indians or Chinese" which really freaked me out and I refused to view any of them on principle which confused my rental agent no end -speaking to people I am led to believe this is for the aforementioned culinary reasons but still made me incredibly uncomfortable)

Yikes! I can understand curries leaving a lingering smell but what Chinese food does?

#50 Hassouni

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 04:35 PM

Bar Kode looks pretty decent. Have you been to the Tippling Club? I hear good things about that place.


( FYI I also saw adverts stating they wouldn't rent to "Indians or Chinese" which really freaked me out and I refused to view any of them on principle which confused my rental agent no end -speaking to people I am led to believe this is for the aforementioned culinary reasons but still made me incredibly uncomfortable)

Yikes! I can understand curries leaving a lingering smell but what Chinese food does?


All the smoke from trying to get solid wok hei.....

#51 nikkib

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 05:48 PM

@Kent - it's a mystery to me - maybe as hassouni suggests or just cooking oil?
@judiu- a black spider appears to just be a coke float, Its a new one to me too though!
@Heidi - I must have missed the durians, certainly haven't noticed them so far, I did try them in Thailand a few years back - admittedly a bit odd but I didn't have any major reaction to it either positive or negative unlike some... Will keep my eyes peeled for any durian related sweets/drinks etc though in the meantime.
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#52 nikkib

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 08:31 PM

@percyn - I realized it was a diiderent vada as couldn't imagine my version eaten as a sandwich - the hunt for vadas will continue...
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#53 Kent Wang

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 08:58 PM

Indians and Chinese are a pretty huge part of the population right? What about Malays? Wouldn't their food be as pungent? So that leaves only foreigners?

I also live in place where it's affordable to eat out every day but I don't because I find it's not very healthy. Do you find that to be a problem? Do you try to eat some of the more healthy options?

#54 prasantrin

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 09:26 PM

I miss Singapore so much, and you're just making me miss it more! Although I do think KL is more interesting food-wise, the ease of public transportation in Singapore edges it out in terms of being an eating destination for me.

Any chance for a curry puff taste-off? I did one the last time I was in Singapore and my rankings were:

Tanglin Crispy Curry Puffs (at Hong Lim)
random cart at Pearl Centre (?)
OCK
Homi
1A
Muslim Nasi Pedang stall at People's Park(?)
Ci Yan (organic and vegetarian--need I say more?)

But I didn't get to Tip Top or Rex's (I think Homi was in KL, but the others were all in Singapore).

I love me some curry puffs!

If you do get to do a mini-blog for Melaka, my favourite of the trip was this place http://eatingasia.ty...0am-with-t.html . We got there too late for the laksa (11 am was too late!), but the chee cheung fun was the best I've ever had!

And we wanted to try to get to this place http://eatingasia.ty...ing-out-of.html but we ended up taking the bus to Melaka, so no off-the-beaten-track places for us. :(

We also became addicted to the chile con queso at Cafe Iguana. I think we had it two or three times while we were there. It's pretty much just tostitos con queso dip, but it was a very guilty pleasure.

Edited by prasantrin, 15 November 2011 - 09:27 PM.


#55 nikkib

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 11:12 PM

Indians and Chinese are a pretty huge part of the population right? What about Malays? Wouldn't their food be as pungent? So that leaves only foreigners?

I also live in place where it's affordable to eat out every day but I don't because I find it's not very healthy. Do you find that to be a problem? Do you try to eat some of the more healthy options?


Kent - don't be telling me all these noodles fried in lard aren't healthy :wink: Usually i don't consume quite so much as this week, i am spoiling myself for the blog - i usually skip lunch and/or breakfast as i am busy working - i am also on my feet for at least 9-10 hours a day as well as trying to walk the 2K to/from work at least 4 times a week so i burn up a lot of calories - enough to keep my weight constant just the right side of cuddly ......

Edited by nikkib, 15 November 2011 - 11:13 PM.

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#56 nikkib

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 11:19 PM

I miss Singapore so much, and you're just making me miss it more! Although I do think KL is more interesting food-wise, the ease of public transportation in Singapore edges it out in terms of being an eating destination for me.

Any chance for a curry puff taste-off? I did one the last time I was in Singapore and my rankings were:

Tanglin Crispy Curry Puffs (at Hong Lim)
random cart at Pearl Centre (?)
OCK
Homi
1A
Muslim Nasi Pedang stall at People's Park(?)
Ci Yan (organic and vegetarian--need I say more?)

But I didn't get to Tip Top or Rex's (I think Homi was in KL, but the others were all in Singapore).

I love me some curry puffs!

If you do get to do a mini-blog for Melaka, my favourite of the trip was this place http://eatingasia.ty...0am-with-t.html . We got there too late for the laksa (11 am was too late!), but the chee cheung fun was the best I've ever had!

And we wanted to try to get to this place http://eatingasia.ty...ing-out-of.html but we ended up taking the bus to Melaka, so no off-the-beaten-track places for us. :(

We also became addicted to the chile con queso at Cafe Iguana. I think we had it two or three times while we were there. It's pretty much just tostitos con queso dip, but it was a very guilty pleasure.


Add me to the curry puff fanbase - will add them to the list of treats this week with pleasure! Thanks for the tips on malacca, I will probably leave it until the new year but looked into it very seriously for this week and am extremely excited to go! As for Cafe Iguana - I LOVE it!! Not only do they have cracking Don Julio Reposado Margaritas but yes the chile con queso is a big hit - as is the spicy prawn appetizer they have. It is one of the few times i brave the meat market that is Clark Quay....
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#57 Dian

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 12:30 AM

@Hassouni - The Kopi O Kopi C etc are i gather from Google derived from chinese or Malay but they are just listed short hand like that so wouldnt know for sure, i just ask for Kopi and get the right drink so thats all i'm really worried about :wink:

@YSL - Thanks! It is great fun here, either as a destination on its own, a stopover en route to OZ or tied in with a beach holiday somewhere like Langkawi, Penang or Thailand - highly recommend it!


Kopi is Malay for coffee. The "O" is short for the Hokkien term for black, "OO" (pronounced Orh). I'm guessing where Kopi-C is concerned, the "C" is short for Carnation Milk, a popular brand of evaporated milk.

Check out this cute pictorial on how to order coffee in Singapore (and probably Malaysia!).

Loving the blog so far!

#58 Jenni

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 02:04 AM

Nikki, if you want the Maharasthrian vada then look for aloo bonda or batata vada.

Oh and thank you for giving me a kick up the bum. I made sambar today and since I was still umming and ahhing over small batch idli creation, I bought some from a restaurant. The idli were so-so but with home made sambar they were divine. I think I will now get back to my plan to make small batches and see how it goes. You have given me inspiration again!

#59 nikkib

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 02:18 AM

@Dian - GREAT coffee guide - will be using it to get a stronger coffee from now on! Thanks!!

@jenni - coming from someone I consider to be one of my "inspiration gurus" on my quest for outstanding Indian food that is a bigger compliment than you can imagine!
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#60 nikkib

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 07:56 AM

Breakfast this morning was another Singaporean favourite - Roti Prata. Rotis made fresh to order and served with curry sauce on the side - i usually have vegetarian but the place i go to know i like my curries pretty hot and wanted me to try the chicken version as it is spicer. Umm you can say that again! The curry had a real kick, in a good way and was the boost i needed to wake up thats for sure. I also love the fact that the Rotis aren't greasy here (The Mon Ami Cafe again in Farrer park) like they can be. If this isn't the breakfast of champions, i have no idea what is....








"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man





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