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CEIL JOVEN
This is CEIL JOVEN living in Ang Mo Kio. I am a Food WriterI like to hang out in Boat Quay, Bukit Timah, Tanjong Pagar. Japanese, Singaporean, Peranakan / Nonya are my favorite cuisines. I also love Hawker Centre, Bakery, Café and Ramen, Burgers and Sandwiches, Desserts and Cakes.
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Butter Coffee, a New Found Love! Smile Oct 30, 2014   
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Categories : Singaporean | Chinese | Coffeeshop


I never did expect to find such a old coffee shop amongst the modern buildings in not just this area but Singapore as a whole. Everything about this coffee shop has not changed. I spotted the elderly Uncle in his usual white t-shirt and his pocketless pull-string pants. The main reason for not having a pocket is to prevent the coffee boys during those olden days to steal the money collected. This elderly Uncle is running this coffee shop with his son from 4 am to 8 pm, daily. Time has come to a stand still right here. 

Heap Seng Leong is definitely a part of the history and i could not help but wonder how much longer would this place be around? i am glad that i made the effort to drop by before it is gone for good.

 
I am here for their Butter Kopi and i ordered some toasts to go along. Butter Kopi can only be found at those traditional Hainanese Coffee Shops but not many are still serving it these days as the younger generation is not able to appreciate the goodness of such traditional taste. The younger Uncle served the Butter Kopi first then came back with the toasts a couple of minutes later. The first look of the Butter Kopi was not an appetising one. The butter melted rather quickly in the hot coffee then left floating on the surface of the coffee.

 
I stirred it slightly, to mix the melted butter with the condensed milk then took my first sip. Honestly, i never did expect myself to enjoy it. It did not taste too buttery, in fact, i could hardly taste any butter taste in it. But that piece of butter has added the extra bit of creaminess to the coffee to enhance its flavor quite a bit. It did not taste too acidity but rather smooth in general. This was my first time tasting the Butter Kopi and i have fallen in love with such an unique taste. It just got me to wonder if i am to try getting a block of butter and sliced it then have it with the coffee from my usual coffee stalls at the food centre near where i stay and whether would i get the similar taste?

 
The toasts with a piece of butter sandwiched in between and a thin layer of kaya did not taste any different from others that i have tried. Those pieces of bread were nicely toasted to give its texture a slight crisp. Though not too special but it complemented with the Butter Kopi perfectly and to make this as a perfect choice for afternoon tea.

 
I do hope this old coffee shop is going be around for another few decades to able the younger generation to experience the Kopitiam culture during their grandparents or their parents' generation.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Butter Coffee
 
Date of Visit: Sep 18, 2014 

Spending per head: Approximately $1.20

Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 3  |  
Clean
 3  |  
Price
 4

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A Fishball Story. Smile May 21, 2014   
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Categories : Teochew | Hawker Centre | Chinese Noodles

Gotten news about this fish balls noodle from the Makansutra and decided to visit it when i happened to be there on a Saturday. It was slightly after 2 pm when i was there. I did not expect much as i was told it might have already sold out by but it was still opened then. I joined in the queue quickly and there was another 2 customers right in front of me. I waited for less than 5 minutes to be served by Douglas Ng. The first impression has been a good one. He was smiling, cheerful and friendly as well.

Though he is only 23 years old but he is the anchor of this fish ball noodle stall. He used to run a Zi Cha business before started this stall with his 26 years old Sister that holds a degree in hospitality. With preserving the hawker culture in mind, they decided to take up the challenge in starting this stall in mid April 2014.

 
Douglas made the effort to come at 4 am to handmade 700 pieces of fish balls and fish cakes from yellow tail fish everyday. He insisted in using pure fish with no flour added to give the desired texture. He passionately blended the fish paste and hand pressed them into fish balls and fish cakes then he fried the pork lards and made the sambal chilli using a recipe that handed down by his Hakka Grandmother.

Such an amazing effort is definitely worthy of support.

I waited while he cooked my bowl of noodle. He served it with a smile when done. He asked me to wait for a bit while he sprinkled the chopped spring onion and fried shallots on the noodle. He said it enhanced the taste and it tasted better. Then he asked whether i want vegetable to go with it.

The customer right in front of me ordered fish balls soup to go. When he packed, he told the lady that it comes with 6 pieces of fish balls but he added in an extra piece of a broken one.

For $3, i get 3 pieces of fish balls and a few slices of fish cakes with a good portion of mee pok. I tossed the mee pok lightly to mix it well with the sambal chilli.

 
I could clearly taste the dried shrimps in it when i had my first mouthful. The spiciness though distinctively but it was rather mild and it is not as oily as expected.

 
The fish balls and the fish cakes are the star of this bowl of noodle. The texture was nicely soft, i would say it is much softer than those out there. The chopped spring onion and chilli are added into the fish cake to enhance its flavor and texture.

 
The texture of mee pok was cooked just right to achieve the delightful springiness and the desired texture.

Overall, it was a satisfying bowl of above average fish balls noodle. I do hope such a standard is to be maintained and i hope the queue would not be too long when i visit again as i somewhat expected their delicious fish balls noodle is going to get popular.
 
Table Wait Time: 5 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Apr 26, 2014 

Spending per head: Approximately $3(Lunch)

Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 3  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 3  |  
Price
 3

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That comforting taste.  Smile Apr 09, 2014   
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Categories : Singaporean | Chinese | Hawker Centre | Porridge/Congee

I just happened to be there on a rainy day and wanting something comforting like a hot bowl of porridge. There was a queue of few people right there at this stall and it prompted me to give it a try for the first time.

Some of the choices available are Century Egg & Lean Meat Congee ($3.50), Pork Congee ($3.50), Meatball Congee ($3.50), Mixed Pork Congee ($4.00), Pig's Liver Congee ($3.50), Chicken Congee ($3.50), Sliced Fish Congee ($3.50), Congee in Boat Style ($5.00) and Mixed Scallop Congee ($5.00). Frog's Leg Congee in claypot are at $7.00 and $12.00.

The side dishes for selection are Frog's Leg ($8 and $14) and Pig's Liver ($5 and $8) served with Dried Chilli, Ginger and Onion in claypot. There are Raw Fish at $3, $5 and $8 together with Homemade Beancurd at $3 and Beancurd with Spicy Sauce at $3.

 
I decided to go with Mixed Pork Congee with the smallest serving of Raw Fish.

 
A good portion of porridge garnished with a handful of chopped spring Onion and dried shallots served with a single piece of You Tiao.

 
The You Tiao that came along was still warm with a crispy texture unlike most of the stalls out there that did not bother to make such an effort. The best way to enjoy the You Tiao is to dip it into the congee slightly then eat it. It is as good as dipping it into the coffee, the rather old school way of enjoying it taught by my dearest Grandpa.

 
The Congee is the typical Cantonese style with the rice grains nicely broken up made by a long cooking process.

 
I was delightful to find generous amount of ingredients like slices of liver, small intestine and lean meat in it. This is indeed a value for money bowl of Congee that so hard to come across these days.

 
Though it was the smallest serving Raw Fish but it came with a good amount of sliced fish together with shredded ginger, shredded lettuce, coriander leaf then garnised with dried shallots served along with cut chilli by the side.

 
To start is to mix all the ingredients well with the sesame oil and the sesame seeds to give it the desired flavor.

 

 
The raw fish was sliced perfectly to give it the nicely thin texture. It tasted delightfully when it was tossed well to coat with the bits of sesame seeds and dash of sesame oil. The taste was further enhanced by squeezing then mixing in the lime.

 
It tasted even better when it was eaten with bits of shredded ginger and shredded lettuce with the coriander leaf.

 
I dare say this is the hidden gem right at this Food Centre. Simple fare but served with passion to ensure the delivery of best quality coupled with fresh ingredients.

I know i will definitely be back to try the others on their menu.

 
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Mixed Pork Congee,Raw Fish
 
Table Wait Time: 5 minute(s)


Spending per head: Approximately $4(Lunch)

Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 3  |  
Service
 3  |  
Clean
 3  |  
Price
 4

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Categories : Japanese | Restaurant | Sushi/Sashimi

I was told of this restaurant by the group members of a particular foodie group that there is an ongoing promotion for the buffet lunch at an affordable $15.90 nett from 11.30 am to 2.30 pm on Monday to Friday starting from 5 March 2014.

The restaurant is located secludedly right in Seletar Aerospace View right beside the runway. You might want to take note that there is only Bus 103 going in there if you are not driving. The bus stop is located a short distance from the restaurant. First to look out and to walk through the covered walkway then another few minutes walk from there. Keep a lookout for the MAJ Aviation Building and walk through the door with the Flying Training School stated outside. The restaurant is at the end of the corridor.

I was there slightly after 11 am. I remember it stated in their posted on their facebook page that the buffet lunch is supposed to start at 11.00 am. They was still in the midst of preparation when i was there. I was told by a friendly lady that i have to wait till 11.30 am. She suggested that i took a seat at lobby first. When i was there waiting, the same lady appeared. She asked me to take a seat in the restaurant and have a hot drink first while wait. I just thought she might be that friendly lady owner by the name of Claudia that talked about by the group members. She confirmed it when i asked for her name. 

 
This is the view right outside the window when we seated down. Another couple of minutes later, Claudia came by to inform that the buffet is ready. She brought me around to brief me a little. She told me that not too many people heard about her restaurant as this building used to be classified under industrial building and there is a law against advertising for such a building. She said it has only changed it to commercial in early this year. The restaurant occupied 2 units right next to each other. The particular that we were is serving different types of sushi and handroll. The other one is serving cooked food with a kitchen taking order for Chawamusi, Mini Ramen and Teppanyaki dishes. There is also a display fridge where the desserts are right there.

 
The cooked foods on that day were Japanese Curry, Garlic Fried Rice, Fried Fish Cutlet, Fried Chicken Wings, Potato Salad and Mixed Vegetable Salad.Both salads tasted decent. Plain rice was served too.

 
The Fried Chicken Wings were the first to go when the crowd started to come in. I was told by Claudia that the Japanese Curry is a must try. It was nicely done with bits of carrot and potato in it. It got a nice fragrance with a slight sweetness. The Fried Fish Cutlet was nicely fried to give it the desired crispiness.

 
Chawamusi and Mini Ramen have to order by clipping the clips to the sign indicating the dishes at the counter. I was told by Claudia that you might get the Chawamusi right away if they have it ready. The Mini Ramen has to be served to the table later. I got my Chawamusi right away. The taste was rather light with a delightful softness and smoothness with bits of mushroom and chicken in it.

 
The Mini Ramen was served to the table but a friendly waitress. It was a small portion served with a few slices of Japanese fishcake, half a egg then topped with chopped spring onion. The broth was rather bland and the noodle somewhat reminded me of instant noodle.

 
Handrolls were available at the counter. It was simply wrapped in a piece of dried seaweed with shredded carrot, crabstick, cucumber sticks and a piece of cheese. This was my first time tasting cheese in a handroll. It tasted a little strange but rather acceptable.

 
There are different types of sushi available at the counter. The Chef was stationed right behind to replenish it as and when. It was freshly made on the spot and served it right after.

 
These sushi were made using fresh tasting ingredients. 

 
There is also a Teppanyaki station. The selection is limited as compared to their dinner buffet. There were chicken, pork, beansprouts and omelette for selection. As this was their second day of running this lunch buffet, it was a little messy. To order, you have to inform staff at that counter then to give your table number. We ordered all of the 4 selections but only gotten 3 of them after waited for a while. 

The taste was acceptable though not particularly outstandingly. 

 
The must eat amongst their desserts has to be the homemade tofu cheesecake as recommended by Claudia. There were also matcha cheesecake, brownie, jelly and fresh fruits available. My favourite has to be the matcha cheesecake. It has got a distinctive matcha taste with just the right cheese flavor. 

 
I was told to go up to the roof top for a panoramic view of its surrounding. Claudia said some of the best sunset shots were taken from there. 

 
It was quite an unusual dining experience and it is definitely value for money. I might come back someday for the dinner buffet with my camera ready to shoot the sunset from the rooftop.

For more pictures, please refer to http://www.allaboutceil.com/2014/03/japanese-buffet-lunch-at-clover-gac.html
 
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Mar 06, 2014 

Spending per head: Approximately $15.90(Lunch)

Other Ratings:
Taste
 3  |  
Environment
 3  |  
Service
 3  |  
Clean
 3  |  
Price
 3

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Hearty Soup at Hawker Centre Smile Apr 01, 2014   
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Categories : Hawker Centre | Chinese Soup

This is the first time that i came along such a stall in a hawker centre. I came across this stall online and came purposely today just to try it. I was there close to 11 am. The hawker centre was rather quiet at that time with no queue right at this stall at all. I decided to go with Minestrone soup. I love anything that is tomato based and this made Minestrone to be my favourite choice for soup.

 
I given my order and waited there. Minestrone Soup served with a bun reasonably priced at $5.20 as compared to The Soup Spoon. The stall owner asked me to take a seat and offered to send it when it's ready. He sent it in a couple of minutes on a tray. I guess he knew i was looking for the soup. He said it's in the brown paper bag together with the bread.

 
A good portion of Minestrone was served in a paper bowl with the stall name nicely printed.

 
I simply adored the bright orangey color of the soup. 

 

 
The portion of soup was substantial for a quick lunch. It was packed with different ingredients like bits of carrot, cucumber, onion, tomato and pasta.

 
When i took the bun from the brown paper bag, it was still warm.

 

 
A piece of butter was given together with the bun. A fork with a piece of those wooden ice cream stick wrapped in the piece of tissue paper.

 

 
The best way to enjoy is to tear a small piece of the bun and to dip it into the soup then eat it. I enjoyed my early lunch totally. It is definitely a hearty yet healthy alternative as compared to the usual rice and noodle.

Chatted a little with the owner. I was told the Minestrone and others on the menu are freshly prepared daily with fresh ingredients to ensure the best quality of these items.

This is going to be my choice for lunch or even dinner if i happen to be in the vicinity. Some of the items available on their menu are Green Pea Soup with Bacon ($4.80), Pumpkin Soup ($5.20), Forest Mushroom ($5.20), Spicy Pork Spaghetti ($5.20), Spaghetti Bolognese ($5.20), Cream of Onion Soup ($5.60), Beef Stew ($5.80) etc. If you need an extra bun to go with your soup, it is available at 0.40 cents for a piece.

A gem indeed right at this food centre. This is going to be my top choice for lunch.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Minestrone
 
Table Wait Time: 5 minute(s)


Date of Visit: Jan 20, 2014 

Spending per head: Approximately $5.50(Lunch)

Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 4  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 4

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