Saturday, January 21, 2017

Applause (or One Night Only?) on River Valley Road, Singapore

Blackened Catfish

I'm not sure if I got the name of this place correct. The big neon sign outside says Applause, but the receipt says One Night Only, which is also painted on the side of the building. Well, either name suggested that this might be a stand-up comedy club or live music bar. Instead, it's an American diner that now sits on the location formerly occupied by Tony's Pizza (397 River Valley Road, 6236-1248).

To be specific, it focused on Southern food (think: fried chicken, chicken fried steak, and étouffée). I went for the blackened catfish above, and was a bit disturbed by the small puddle of water sitting underneath it on the plate. I didn't care for the overly soft cornbread either, even though the creamed corn was fine. Well, even if it were better, I doubt that I'd come back given how high the prices are.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Sanjeev Kapoor's Ruchi Thali on Singapore Airlines

Ruchi Thali

On this return leg, I upgraded myself into business class, where SQ is offering this Ruchi Thali by Sanjeev Kapoor. It's pretty impressive considering that it's airplane food, especially with that little clay jar of yogurt on the side. And compared to the economy class meals, one got a decent-sized portion of that lovely rice. But it wasn't very spicy, and they didn't provide any raw onion slices either.

Some Kashmiri Rajma from Delhi Airport Terminal 3

Kashmiri Rajma

There aren't many restaurants to choose from at Delhi Airport Terminal 3. So I went up to the food court and got this Kashmiri rajma set from stall called Curry Kitchen. It wasn't as spicy as I'd hoped it would be, and the kidney beans kinda reminded me of Texan chili. Still, I cleared this plate pretty easily, especially with that yummy rice and salty lassi. Note to self: next time try that chaat cart near the seating area if it's still around.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

21 Gun Salute in Gurgaon, India


The local team suggested coming to this place tonight (SCO 35-36 Leisure Valley Road, +91-124-489-8344), an impressively ornate place serving North Indian and Mughlai food. And yes, I enjoyed it, including not just that briyani above, but in particular something called a Rajwadi chaat, which were chunks of fruit (like apple) that were slathered in a spicy chili sauce and then grilled in a tandoor, Rajasthani-style. It kinda reminded me of Mexican coctel de fruta except that it was served warm from the oven with a nice smoky aroma. I was also quite a fan of a bread pudding-like dessert called shahi tukda, where bread is soaked in milk and then fried with saffron. Yum!

Mumbai's SodaBottleOpenerWala in Gurgaon, India

Eggs Kejriwal

The background of this place needs some explaining. It's a "Bombay Irani cafe," or a place from Mumbai based on food of the Parsis, a group of Persians that went to countries like India centuries ago fleeing persecution. And there are only a very limited population of Parsis in the world now; something like 100,000 if I heard it correctly. So this was a very unique restaurant that I wanted to try, and they conveniently had an outlet at DLF CyberHub just after we finished work this afternoon (4 DLF Tower 8th Road, +91-11-3310-5664).

What surprised me was that the food tasted neither Persian nor Indian (at least, based on the eggs and chicken sandwiches that we ordered). In fact, it almost seemed more influenced by the British, but in a salty and punchier way. The decor of this place also seemed more like a bit of nostalgic colonial pop culture with a twist of steampunk. Well, I definitely liked what we ate, and I could've easily eaten more here if we weren't about to head off to our team dinner next.

An Outlet of Shawarma House in Gurgaon, India

Lamb Kofta

We were in between meetings today and needed a quick bite before the next one. There wasn't much around aside from a bunch of fast food chains, so we came to this place where I got this plate of lamb kofta. There were really salty though (and they took forever to bring it out). No, this isn't something that I'll come back for.

My First Taste of Ber: a North Indian Jujube

Ber Fruit

There have been quite a few street carts around here lately selling these green fruits. From a distance, I thought that maybe they were limes or even green tomatoes. Instead, they are a fruit called ber, which is from North India and is in season right now. They had a firm flesh, making it bit like an apple or pear with a single small stone inside. But the taste was also pretty delicate, and nowhere as tangy nor juicy as I had hoped. Well, it was interesting to try.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Stroll Through Old Delhi, India


My local teammate offered to take me to Old Delhi tonight, especially to pick grab some snacks off the street. One item I specifically requested was a jelebi, especially since I've never had a freshly fried one that was still warm. So we made our way to the Old Jalebiwala (1795 Dariba Corner) where we wolfed down one of these grease and sugar bombs with a scoop of rabri, a condensed milk dish.

Can you spot the barefoot man making paranthas?

We also went to a famous paratha shop called Gaya Prashad Shiv Charan (34 Paranthe Wali Gali), a little place tucked deep inside a narrow alley. And it was awesome. These guys face the alley, frying the paratha in ghee. It made these hot and crispy things much more fun than that commercialized chain Not Just Paranthas. The green chutney once again did it for me, as did the lassi in those cool clay cups. Perhaps the most amusing thing was the dude in the green and blue shirt above: look closely and you'll see that he's got his bare foot propped up just inches away from the rolling pin that he used. Yum...extra flavorings!

Mutton Korma

Finally, we made our way past the mosque to a place called Al Jawahar (8 Jama Masjid Matia Mahal Road), where my teammate ordered us some mutton korma and some flatbread to go with it. The mutton was deliciously tender and fatty, all while slathered in a surprisingly spicy brown sauce. I happily ate some of those raw onion slices to cut through the grease. But now I'm totally stuffed!

Grabbing a Quick Lunch at Haldiram's in India

Chola Bhatura

I have to confess that that wasn't my food above. But my teammate's chola bhatura just looked so much better in a photo than my lunch did, which was a Punjabi thali special that Haldiram's was running. Mine was still tasty though. Either way, we just needed to refuel before going to our next meeting.

Monday, January 16, 2017

My Indian Bar Snack: Broccoli Malai Kebabs

Broccoli Malai Kebabs

I'm not sure how that comes across in the photos, but these were delicious. And it was basically just a bar snack that I grabbed while plopping myself down at the hotel bar here in India. I also got some paneer kebabs. Both that and the broccoli went down with ease, especially with some of their spicy green chutney and some local beer.

Ippudo Express at Changi Airport Terminal 3, Singapore

No, I'm not intentionally trying to eat takeout bowls of Ippudo. I just happened to be at Changi Airport this afternoon and needed a quick bite before getting on the plane. I've kind of always wanted to try that Ippudo Express post-security at Terminal 3, and now here was my chance.

I got the cheapest bowl available: S$7.50 (US$5.25) for the Hakata Tonkotsu. And I liked it a lot more than Kuro-Obi, especially with the firm skinny noodles and velvety broth. Tonkotsu is Ippudo's forte after all. It's just too bad that Kagetsu isn't around anymore for its tori paitan.

Liao Fan Hawker Chan in Singapore's Chinatown

Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle

The guy behind Michelin-starred Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle opened a restaurant a couple of months ago (78 Smith Street), so I came over at the opening hour today for a quick bite. The good thing is that the line moved pretty quickly, with an automated machine taking credit cards while you sat in a large clean air-conditioned space; much better than the thought of standing around in line in the sweltering heat of the Chinatown Complex hawker center across the street.

And with just one bite of the chicken it was clear what the Michelin folks liked so much about it: it must have been one of the juiciest, tender pieces of bird I've ever eaten, and the noodles were cooked just right too. Still, I got a bunch of annoying bone fragments in my food. I should've gone for the breast meat; if they can make that thigh above so darned juicy and tender, they could probably do a pretty darn good job with breast meat as well, and hopefully be bone-free in the process.

Was this really as good as the one Michelin star suggests though? No, not if we're comparing it to Tai Wah Pork Noodle or even Tim Ho Wan. Sure, it's better than most hawker stalls out there, but I'm not itching to come back here again, especially since the char siew wasn't anything that exciting either. In my opinion, this place is a Bib Gourmand at best, if that.