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Thomaschan
This is Thomaschan living in West Coast. I am a StudentI like to hang out in Orchard, Yishun, Clementi. Japanese, Singaporean, Cantonese/Hong Kong are my favorite cuisines. I also love Restaurant, Café and Dim Sum, Steaks and Grills, Sushi/Sashimi.
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Thomaschan  Level 3
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Categories : Korean | Restaurant | Army Stew

Before the recent "Gangnam Style" craze, there was former tutor and caretaker Ji-young Nam Gung - or better known as "Big Mama" cooking up a storm in her humble eatery, located just a stone throw away from Tiong Bahru Plaza. Her authentic home-cooked Korean dishes are a favourite to many, especially Korean students who came to savour a taste of home.

Similar to any other Korean restaurants, diners are greeted to an array of assorted banchan (side dishes) to accompany your mains. At Big Mama's, we were served with kimchi (traditional fermented vegetables), marinated watercress, crunchy lotus roots, japchae (sweet potato noodles), anchovies and mook (acorn jelly). And the best thing? It is free-of-charge and refillable!

 
Yummy japchae - probably my favourite besides kimchi

 
Glorious Crunchy Anchovies

Girlfriend Peiyi and I ordered their speciality, Dakgalbi (S$15.00 per pax, min 2) - marinated chicken thigh chunks, chewy rice cakes, sliced cabbages and onions stir-fried together with generous drizzles of condiments and red chilli pepper paste. Additional sides, such as fried rice comes at different prices.

 
Don't know how to cook? Fret not, for their service staff are trained to make the simplest ingredients to the signature, mouth-watering Dakgalbi!

 
Their Dakgalbi reminded me of the ones I had in Korea a few years back. The well-marinated spicy chicken chunks were incredibly good and tasty, while the rice cakes were so so soft and chewy (I am putting heavy emphasis on "so"). This is definitely one of the best Korean dishes I had in Singapore.

Just a tip - add a bowl of steamed rice and stir fry them together!

"I love it when it is clean" (referring to the dishes), one of the service staff told us with a slight aegyo. And yes, we indeed cleared out every single plate on our tables. Although not an atas restaurant, Big Mama makes authentic and scrumptious Korean dishes without burning a big hole in your wallet.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Dakgalbi
 
Other Ratings:
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 4  |  
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 3  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 3  |  
Price
 4

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Dim Sum Haven Smile Dec 17, 2013   
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Categories : Dim Sum

Ranked as one of the world's 'Top Ten Best Restaurants' by The New York Times, Michelin-starred Din Tai Fung is the one place to head for authentic Taiwanese xiao long baos (steamed pork dumplings). Its roots dated back to Taiwan 40 years ago, when Bingyi Yang stopped selling oil and switched to making xiao long baos for a living. Businesses grew quickly with customers boasting about its exceptional quality and taste. Today, Din Tai Fung has became a widely acclaimed, international brand, offering customers distinctive culinary and service culture.

It was the 60th birthday of girlfriend's father and I thought, what's better than to celebrate over a table of signature dim-sum. As expected, getting a table on Friday evenings is pretty difficult and they do not bother with reservations under 8 persons. However, orders could be placed beforehand to minimise waiting, so food arrived even before we warmed our seats.

 
Xiao Long Baos, or affectionally known as XLB (S$6.80 for 6pc) are obviously a must-order. Thin melt-in-your-mouth dumpling skin with exquisite foldings, encapsulating the tantalising and juicy pork fillings was a sufficient reason to order second servings. Recently, they introduced the steamed chilli crab version (S$9 for 6pc) which is 40% larger than the original and consists of succulent crabmeat in spicy broth. For myself, I still prefer the former. Both are eaten best with vinegar and ginger.

Steamed Chilli Crab and Pork Buns (S$4.30 for 3pc) are clever twists to the original steamed buns, but lacks the "oomph", perhaps it was a tad too dry.

 
Shrimp Siew Mai (S$9.80 for 6pc) was slightly different from the normal steamed dumplings, their version was wrapped with dumpling skins in the shape of an auspicious money-bag, completed with a full juicy full shrimp on the surface. Amazing, yes, however, the high pricing is a minus point.

 
If there is one dish in Din Tai Fung that I had to label "under-rated", it would be their Goma Bun (S$3.60 for 3pc). Thick, flavourful black sesame wrapped within soft, fluffy bun was just purely amazing, or maybe because I was biased as a huge goma lover, but nonetheless, their rendition was genious.

 
Similar to their siew mai rendition, Shrimp Dumplings (S$7.30 for 6pc) consists of succulent shrimps mixed with juicy minced pork, wrapped with dumpling skins. Good, maybe, but definitely not awesome.

 
Besides dim sum dishes, Din Tai Fung serves a wide variety of enticing Asian delights like braised beef noodles, yang zhou fried rice and steamed chicken soup. This post is making myself hungry already, which reminds me to get lunch and search for more good dim-sum places. Recommendation guys?
 
Spending per head: Approximately $20

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 4  |  
Environment
 3  |  
Service
 3  |  
Clean
 3  |  
Price
 4

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Rochor Thai Food Tasting Smile Dec 17, 2013   
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Categories : Thai | Café

Nestled along the bustling streets of Joo Chiat, Rochor Thai delivers authentic cuisine from the Land of Smiles to our local food scene. Helmed by a passionate food enthusiast, Joel, the exciting menu consists of traditional flavours crafted with modern Thai elements, such as their speciality green curry and pad thai talay. Hence, it was indeed a pleasure when Openrice.com invited yours truly to Rochor Thai for another food tasting session recently.

So what's on the food tasting menu?

Before dinner, an amuse-bouche ("mouth-amuser" in French) was served. Unlike appetisers, this single bite-sized creations are usually free and can be served out of the menu, according to the chef's selection alone. Joel's amuse-bouche was brilliantly crafted - cold noodles topped with pork floss, infused with the star flavours of Thai cuisine in a bite-size, namely sour, spicy and bitter.

 
Som Tum – Green Papaya Salad Central Thailand Style ($6.80) was served as an appetiser. It didn't pack much of an "oomph", but it did make a good preparation for the palate.

 
Gaeng Kaew Wan Gai - Chef's Special Green Curry with Chicken Thigh and Thai Eggplant (S - $11.80, L - $18.80) was my favourite dish of the dinner. The unique blend of green curry and coconut milk was made from scratch, and for those who do not take spicy food, this is a great option to go with.

 
Tom Yum Talay/Po Taek – Hot & Spicy Seafood Soup with Thai Herbs/Clear Spicy Sour Soup with Holy Basil and Kaffir Lime Leaves (S - $8.80, L - $15.80) were pretty standardized with the average flavours and ingredients. Just a warning not to be fooled by the clear colour of the latter, as it packs quite a deadly degree of spiciness.

 
Pad Kee Mao Goong - Stir Fried Thai "Drunken" Style Prawns (S - $16.80, L - $24.80) alongside with Gaeng Phet Pla Krapong Daeng - Dry Red Curry with Red Snapper Fillets (S - $16.80, L - $24.80) served as good side dishes for the dinner. Snapper fillets were Girlfriend's favourite, but it just seemed too average for myself. Oh, and the prawns weren't that "drunk" anyway.

 

 
Pla Nin Pao – Salt Baked Whole Tilapia served with Spicy Coriander Sauce ($22.80) was succulent and juicy. Personally, I didn't adore the flavour of the coriander sauce, however the fresh sweetness of the tilapia makes it good enough to eat it on its own.

 
Hoay Lai Pad Prik Pao - Clams Flambe in Chilli Jam and Chef's Stock (S - $14.80, L - $22.80) was the chef's attempt to deviant away from the boring preparation methods of clams. I'd say it was a good enough attempt, as traces of overcooked clams were present.

 
Kor Moo Yang – Seared Pork Collar served with Aromatic Dried Chilli Sauce ($12.80) was excellent. The meat was seared just nicely to lock the juices in, which presents no less than a satisfying dish. Great to eat it without the sauce as well.

 
Pad Thai Talay (S - $7.80, L - $14.80) - Everyone's favourite street food from Thailand. I have never had pad thai before, prior to this, but "impressed" might be just the fitting word to describe Rochor Thai's rendition.

 
Khao Niew Ma Muang - Mango Sticky Rice ($7.80) and Tab Tim Grob - Thai Red Ruby ($4.80) are served right after the meal. The former has an added nutty crunch to its sticky rice, while the latter was an awesome version of the common red ruby. According to them, the red coloring comes from the natural pigmentation of beetroot itself.

 

 
In a nutshell, Rochor Thai serves authentic Thai dishes, infused with both modern and traditional elements, in a much cosy environment. In my opinion, the food whipped out here is much better than those mainstream restaurants.

Once again, I give my thanks to Openrice and Rochor Thai for their hospitality and food tasting session.
 
Other Ratings:
Taste
 4  |  
Environment
 3  |  
Service
 4  |  
Clean
 3  |  
Price
 3

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Great Hangout Place Smile Dec 17, 2013   
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Categories : Bars/Lounges | Café

Nothing goes better than a cup of caffeine and your favourite dessert after a filling meal. Here at Maison Ikkoku, expect exquisite cuppas crafted by skilled baristas, who are well-versed in the latte arts. With selections of weekend brunch menus, salads and gourmet sandwiches, this place has become a fast-rising favourite among youngsters. The interior holds a strong rustic, cosy feeling, completed by odd-looking furniture (the table top sure looks like a door), comfortable ambient lights and a coffee bar, with a glass display of all the lovely selections of cakes.

 
Besides the range of coffees, Maison Ikkoku serves home-brewed tea as well. I, myself is not a huge tea lover, but those who had their teas, raved it. For coffee lovers, you're in for a big treat. You can have your coffee brewed in one of the seven methods, namely Chemax, syphon, ice drip, V60 pour over, woodneck, eva solo and aeropressz. Don't know which roast to go with? Fret not, simply approach the friendly baristas and I bet they are more willing to give some professional advices.

 
Recently, we were there again to celebrate one of our friend's birthday, and guess what? The friendly staff at Maison Ikkoku even dimmed the lights for a few moments and sang the birthday song with us. How lovely was that. Their S'more pie is a huge favourite amongst us. Soft and chewy marshmallow on a bed of rich, bitter-sweet chocolate is something that you would not stop at one mouthful.

 
Some of the recommended signature cakes include Blueberry Cheese Pie and Chocolate Banana Cake. The former was slightly too moist and lumpy, but the latter was a sinful combination of rich and flavourful. If you love dense cake, go for the chocolate banana cake, you won't be disappointed. Unfortunately, red velvet was out of stock the night we visited, but trust me, they got one of the best out there.

 

 
Personally, I have not tried their brunch items yet, but would love to head down for some weekend breakfast soon!
 
Other Ratings:
Taste
 3  |  
Environment
 5  |  
Service
 5  |  
Clean
 4  |  
Price
 3

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Convenient Japanese Dessert Smile May 28, 2013   
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Categories : Japanese | Café | Desserts and Cakes | Ice Cream and Gelato

St Marc opened its first outlet in Singapore late last year and it's only recently I dropped by to try out what they have to offer. Conveniently located at my favourite mall, St Marc offers a wide array of freshly baked pastries, hot and chilled beverages, as well as authentic Japanese desserts. And that was what we came for. Desserts.

The 3D model of Kyoto Delight among several dessert displays, caught my eye. As a lover of matcha and warabi mochi, I couldn't possibly ask for more when I indulged in this delicious dessert of milk soft serve, complemented by mini rice balls, red bean paste, corn flakes, not forgetting the mochi and matcha ice cream, and completed with a drizzle of caramel syrup.

 
Yummy much? Definitely will be back for their other desserts, or possibly drop by for a cup of coffee and some pastries.
 
Recommended Dish(es):  Kyoto Delight
 
Spending per head: Approximately $8(Tea)

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

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