Singapore Trip - Food Hunt 2014

8:00:00 AM

After 2 years, I've finally returned to Singapore. Unfortunately, this was for an assignment in University. Screw Taylor's for that. However, I did manage to allocate some time to try out some food/restaurants in Singapore which is alright. I paid a total of RM490, which includes accommodation, transport & breakfast for 2 days.


Hotel
Ibis Novena Singapore

We stayed in a pretty decent hotel; Ibis Novena Singapore. For RM440 and to share a room with someone, the price was considered reasonable. 


As anyone can see, it costs SGD218 per night on the day of arrival. Although the next day the price dropped by SGD50. 



The interior, rather cramp for such a hefty price tag.


There are 2 available Macs at your disposal. Access to internet, google maps, almost anything can be done. Even playing Thai-pop music and leaving it on when we left.


The dining area. 


Into the hall way to our rooms.


Tadaaaa, our messy room on our last day before departure. The space was sufficient for two, but it was still pretty tight. Bed comes with two pillows (+1 additional on the shelf) and 2 individual short-bolsters. Pretty useful when there were two guys sleeping on a same bed.

TV was relatively small, 32', with less than 20 channels available for viewing. Well, I don't really care about that since I was out for the entire day. A small couch area with built-in table provides decent space for laptops or just to charge your phones. Safe deposit box was really helpful as I could store my passports inside. 

The hotel also provides a plastic kettle (hate plastic kettles) for those who wishes to have some tea/coffee or simply because the water in Singapore costs twice as much. Wooden clothes hanger for those who wishes to hang their clothes, although I see no reason why. HOWEVER, I MUST SAY THAT THE FLOOR WAS AS OILY AS KEROPOK LEKOR. I suggest bringing some cheap paper slippers for those who plan to not walk in with your shoe. Unfortunately, the hotel does not provide such an expensive equipment.

The toilet was very clean and well kept. Though the shower area was smaller than a hamster's cage, they had hot water. Do not know why, sometimes the thermostat goes haywire, after 5 minutes in the shower, the water turn boiling hot. Again after 10 minutes, the water went cold. Some mood swing crap.

Overall, the hotel was pretty decent. But it was expected, since its roughtly SGD160-220 
(RM417/574 according to the exchange rate on the duration of my trip, 2.61x). The nearest MRT station was Novena MRT, which was approximately 10mins walk, which wasn't that bad. 


The breakfast buffet. Cereal available with either Fresh milk, skimmed milk or full cream milk. Choice of Trix, cornflakes or chocolate pops are available.


Pinapple, apple and orange juice. Nothing fancy. Sweet as Satan's tooth.


Forgive me for the flat and blunt image as tourists in the hotel was preying on me taking photos with my camera. Though their face shouts "why the hell are you doing that you damned Malaysian?". I took a quick photo without much standards and hesitation in mind. 

This was a large serving of scrambled eggs. It was bad. Needs more butter and seasoning. 

Next to it was chicken ham. Now even McDonalds could've done better.


Chicken sausage and hashbrown station.


Salad bar, pretty decent with plenty of sauces to choose from.


A wide selection of nonsense.


Croissant, scrambled eggs, chicken sausages and hashbrown. The only thing that I enjoyed was the croissant, even when its a little cold. Can't stuff it in the toaster. Everything else was equally as bad.


Stuff them eggs.


Choco pops and full cream milk. They start to decolourize. 


I pressed on Cappuccino but it turn out to be espresso. That lying shit.


Anchor's butter and Beerenberg Strawberry jam. At least those are something

In conclusion, the breakfast was bad. Almost close to horrible but there were plenty of varieties. For some they do not complain simply because its expected. But personally, not in a SGD200 hotel. 


Restaurants
HIFUMI


After visiting 2 architecture firms, we finally arrived at somewhere we can have dinner. Considering almost everywhere was full and the currency was a pain in the ass, we had to find a place that will fill our stomachs without killing ourselves. 

Somehow, we came here. Hifumi Japanese restaurant. You can check them out here https://www.facebook.com/hifumi.sg as I can't recall where the location was. The two main reasons that attracted us here were the amount of people and the free-flow appetizer bar! Yes, with no extra charge!


The restaurant was really full. We had to wait for 15 minutes to be seated.


The appetizers bar! Includes a wide range of appetizers (obviously) and best of all, Cawanmushi. Free flow! Though the stupid cawanmushi was like a bloody war zone for hungry egg lovers. We had to be Kiasu (afraid of losing) in order to snatch what was rightfully ours. There were people lining up just for the cawanmushi itself.

The drinks requires you to add additional SGD3 (RM7) for free flow but if you choose not to, there's always water available. 


To be honest, the appetizers were indeed pretty good. Quality and taste were much better even compared to Malaysian hotels, i.e: Hilton, Sheraton, Concorde etc. The Cawanmushi was really smooth as well. Requires a little more seasoning but was good nevertheless. However, the cawanmushi has an interval of 30minutes between each batch and 1 batch will only be there for roughly 30 seconds. So, be quick and rob them all. 


Tomato Chili Chicken Katsu - SGD13.99

Well, I was conned by the photo. They had more tomato chili on the katsu chicken compared to this. However, taste-wise, was great. The tomato chili was packed with flavour, the chicken was crispy outside whilst moist inside. Only problem, the rice. It was too little. I loved the rice, it was glossy, short and fat. Truly Japanese. However, the portion was ridiculous. Who on Earth eats so little? 




Chicken Oyakoni - SGD12.99

Simmered chicken with onions and eggs. Extremely salty and goes incredibly well with rice. However, the rice ratio to dish makes no sense, leaving plenty of chicken oyakoni left. Definitely requires additional rice which costs SGD2-3, not that sure.


Curry Katsu Chicken - SGD14.99

Possibly the best set among ours. Flavourful, rich and sauce-y. No complains for this one.


Now, here comes the interesting part. The miso soup that all of us thought, was not miso. In fact, it has slices of bacon in it. I don't know what this is or what is this called but bacon is always right.


Maxwell Hawker Center (Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice)


Ridiculous line. People are lining up all the way back there. 


Chicken Breast with Rice - SGD4.50

This was my first time trying despite the fact that I've been here before, 3 years ago. 

The chicken was amazingly silky and firm. Different from our local chicken rice for some satanic reasons I don't know why. Loved the chicken skin, really soft. Rice was good. Wasn't too oily but had decent flavour in it. The best part was the chili sauce. It was sour and spicy. Got me kinda teared up after only finishing 1 small palette of it.

Overall, I wouldn't say its the BEST chicken rice, but it was pretty damn good.


Small Bak choi - SGD3.50

Possibly one of the most expensive bak choi that I've ever ordered. Converted to be about RM9.10. The pain. Nothing special, just fresh and really crunchy.


Maxwell Hawker Center (Lao Ban Soya Beancurd)


For dessert, I've decided to revisit the place I've tried 3 years back. 


Almond and original flavour. Both soya beancurd were really soft and silky. For some reason it reminded me of Agar-agar. The texture was not of soya, but a mixed between something else. There was 0 granules, completely smooth. Almost too hard to be true. 

On the other hand, the taste of the almond was really sweet. 


Gardens by the Bay (Satay by the Bay)


When I first heard I could have satay whilst watching the light performance in Gardens by the Bay, I was thrilled. Unfortunately, the entire thing was a disappointment. 

First, the distance from the 3 main trees to the satay area (otherwise known as foodcourt now) was 15-20 minutes walk. Hell, it was really far. The above photo shows that we're only half way there.


Secondly, I was greeted with 4-5 different satay stalls within the area. I don't even know which one to choose from! Their prices were pretty similar so its pretty hard to tell. Since we were in a hurry (we only had 30 minutes to eat), we had to pick the one with the least amount of people ordering. 

And that was Top One Satay, managed by ACE management, otherwise known to me as All Crappy Effort. 


We ordered a set, costing SGD32. Included was 10 beef, 10 chicken, 5 lamb, 5 prawns, 2 cubes of rice, cucumber and peanut sauce. Now, pretty standard right? However, its averaged to roughly SGD0.90 per stick, which costs RM2.30 each. I know I should not convert during a holiday but I can't seem to let this go. 


In conclusion, as there was 3 of us who tried it. I'm just gonna take the average decision. The satay wasn't bad, neither was it good. The beef was pretty well marinated, along with the peanut sauce, it was okay. The chicken however seems to be overcooked. The prawns, well, smells fishy and tasted unfresh. Nothing was standing out. Just plain old satay we could get in Malaysia. 


Third, the seating. It was practically impossible to get a spot with a proper table there in Satay by the Bay. We had to sit around a tree while I squat like an "Ah Beng", chewing off meat from a stick. 


Last but not least, we couldn't watch the performance here. Even without all the smoke, the 3 trees were still too far. 


Of course, on the way back, we stopped at a small shop and purchased some ice cream. Earl grey flavour and Orchard Vanilla. Both were pretty good. I like my Earl grey more since it has more depth and I could taste the tea within. Costs SGD4.50 each!


4 Finger Crispy Chicken


On my last day, we had 3 hours to visit Orchard as part of our assignment. During lunch, for some reason we arrived at ION Orchard and because we are Malaysians, we tend to find the impossible cheapness within such an exclusive place. We did not fail, but neither did we succeed. 

4 Fingers Crispy Chicken, as if the middle one was left for the customers. 

The advertisement was hilarious as well. It features a guy delivering fried chicken all over Singapore. With his constant (fake) smile and ending pose, lifting 4 fingers up in the air and starts waving. 


Despite all that, the restaurant was actually pretty full. As you can see.


Chicken Chop with Seaweed Fries - SGD9.95

This wasn't mine, but I wished it was. The chicken was crispy (4 fingers crispy!!), and the meat was tender. The additional seaweed powder that was accidentally diffused from the fries was unnecessary. Hated that powder so much. Fries was sloppy, wasn't even crispy nor hot. 


Katsu Chicken Sandwich with Kimchi Fries - SGD9.95

Worst decision ever for the kimchi fries. Made me cough several times. 

The whole idea of a bun was great, I loved it. Until I had the first bite. Everything...everything fell off. Its like a broken condom or something. Full of sliced cabbage, barely any meat, lots of flavour but I can't tell what exactly do they want me to taste. Its felt random and....lost. 

Not to mention the amount of oil coming purely from the fried mantao itself. Not advisable. Should've went for the damn fried chicken.


Kai Juan Bak Kut Teh


Kai Juan bak kut teh, the owner who claims he has been running this business since 30 years ago. Well, I have to try that now wouldn't I?


Now, I may not be an expert in Bak Kut Teh but I'm pretty sure they ain't white. Turns out, it was basically our Malaysian version of  Pepper Pork Soup. To be honest, I was furious when I was served. I thought the owner was out of his mind. Is this what you call bak kut teh? (also, the Yu-Tiao was cold and hard). After finishing it, I visited friends whom were nearby having bak kut teh as well. 

I rushed all the way there, only to find out, it was the same. Hence, I was convinced that Singaporean Bak Kut Teh was actually our Pepper Pork Soup. Felt relieved after knowing that. 


Random Street Ice Creams and Drinks 


Yeap, all those were mine. From descending order, durian, peppermint chip, honey dew and cookies & cream. All for only SGD1. This can be found almost anywhere in Singapore. Even along Orchard Road. The location which I bought mine was at Clarke Quay. 


Korean Melon Ice cream at SGD2.50 each! =D


A wide selection of juices at only SGD1-2 each! Highly recommend this place, located at Bugis Street. For those who wanna detox.


Japanese green tea waffle ice cream at only SGD2.50 each!


Last but not least, my personal souvenir. A limited edition Coke bottle which cost SGD2.50. It looked really cute and I had to have one. Ran all over the place looking for a 7-11 to purchase this. Not even cold storage or any other random shop has it. 


That concludes my trip at Singapore, for the food hunt session. There were other places that I've visited but they're not important here. All opinions about food were personal and I do not wish to bash anyone or any restaurant in Singapore. You can choose whether to take my word for it or not. Considering that I'm a Malaysian citizen, I will always have the thought of currency exchange rate in my head. Therefore, things that I find expensive may or may not be to anyone else. The exchange rate during my trip was 
SGD1 - RM2.61. It was rather painful but, was worth the trip. 

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