Tag Archives: chinatown

Platypus Gourmet2Go and Lobster Shack

We walked past Platypus Gourmet2Go and Lobster Shack a few weeks ago when we went out for a brisk walk. I’ve never tried a lobster roll before so we had to have it for dinner the next day.

Platypus Lobster Shack

We ordered two lobster rolls and to our surprise we got a complimentary bowl of Lobster Bisque. Our server told us that they were gathering feedback from customers since they wanted to put it on the regular menu. I love crabs and lobster but I’ve never really liked bisques so I was a bit apprehensive when I tried it but I really really really love it.

Best Lobster bisque ever!

The bisque was creamy and well balanced. I loved how the roe did not overpower the soup. I’m not familiar with the taste of sea urchin so I can’t really comment on how well the ingredient tasted but all I can say is if they sold a large portion of the lobster and sea urchin bisque, I’d be a regular at their restaurant.

The Traditional Lobster Roll

The Traditional lobster roll had some butter-poached lobster meat with roasted garlic mayonnaise and chives. The bun was buttery and slightly crunchy since it was toasted. The lobster was delicate and a splash of lemon really brightened the flavors.

Smoke Paprika Lobster Roll

The Smoked Paprika lobster roll had butter poached lobster with Spanish paprika with Hollandaise and chervil. I preferred this one to the Traditional Lobster roll since I like strong flavors, but what I really liked about this roll is that although the flavors were strong they did not overpower the taste of the lobster. The dish was well balanced so you could still taste most of the ingredients.

The sides deserve a special mention since they were excellent as well. The truffle chips had a strong truffle flavor and it had a spicy kick which made it taste like truffle and BBQ. I’ve never really liked the taste of truffle until I had their spicy chips. The salad was fresh and the citrus dressing was light and refreshing. You will really feel stuffed after having such a huge meal.

They serve a different menu during the day and the lobster rolls are only served after 6 pm. We were talking about how it would be great to bring guests here. Unfortunately, they are only open on weekdays and they only accept cash so you need to withdraw some money before coming to this place, but it is worth it.

I like how the restaurant is very intimate and the staff is very friendly. The Platypus Gourmet and Lobster Shack is a must-try in our book. If you’re in the Telok Ayer/ Chinatown area, we would recommend trying this place.

Platypus Gourmet2Go and Lobster Shack

  • Website: www.platypuskitchen.com
  • Address: 3 Pickering Street #01-31 Nankin Row Singapore 048660
  • Telephone: 6438 796
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: Lobster rolls are only served after 6 pm

Best Kaya Toast in Chinatown

I love coffee and but I was never a huge fan of toast until I tried the kopi, kaya toast and runny eggs combo here in Singapore. It is the quintessential breakfast and a must-try. A good kaya toast breakfast must have a delicious kaya jam with a good balance of kaya to margarine / butter ratio, well toasted bread, perfectly brewed coffee and a pleasant place to eat to enjoy your meal.

Delicious kaya toast on white bread

Now we make it a point to try the various coffee places in Singapore during the weekends and we’re sharing our reviews on what we think about the popular kopi places in town.

Coffee was ok

Almost hard boiled!

I’ve wanted to try the kaya toast at Tong Ah Coffee Shop since it was featured in a Makansutra article in Yahoo. This place is supposed to be popular with international chefs, so we had pretty high expectations when we went there and sad to say we were deeply disappointed. The kaya toast was delicious and I loved the white bread that they used but the coffee was just so-so, the eggs were almost hard boiled and the uncle manning the shop was constantly shouting angrily at this staff. Constantly. Noisily. Shouting. The place is out of the way and the food standard is not even at par with the hawker place near my building. The uncle even went to our table and observed us trying to mash up the almost hard boiled egg when he served our coffee and left without a comment. When we tried to check out the other tables, the eggs that were served were also the same as ours. Tsktsk.

Tong Ah Coffee Shop

  • Address: 35 Keong Siak Road, Singapore 089142
  • Hours: 6:30 am – 10:00 pm
  • Coffee: 2/5
  • Traditional Kaya Toast: 5/5
  • Eggs: 0/5
  • Ambiance: 0/0

Good Morning Nanyang Cafe is a nice place to hang-out in the middle of the tourist strip in Chinatown

Good Morning Nanyang Cafe has a branch near our place and we went there last weekend. The cosy ambiance and made it pleasant to hang out there. It is a place where you can chill with friends on a lazy afternoon. The kaya toast was delicious, the eggs were runny and  the coffee was well brewed. We’re looking forward to going back there to try the other versions of kaya toast that they offer since we only tried the traditional one.

Good coffee and kaya toast

Good Morning Nanyang Cafe

  • Address: 75 Pagoda Street, Singapore, Singapore 059234
  • Hours: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
  • Coffee: 4/5
  • Traditional Kaya Toast: 4/5
  • Eggs: 4/5
  • Ambiance: 5/5

Our favorite kopi and kaya toast set

Ya Kun is everywhere. When we started going around looking for the best kaya toast, I didn’t expect such a commercialized  coffee place to be my favorite so far. We desperately wanted to vote for the little hole-in-the-wall places and patronize small businesses over such a large chain but the food speaks for itself. I’ve never been dissapointed when we go to have coffee at Ya Kun. The kaya toast is delicious, the eggs are runny and the coffee is great. The only things that the place lacks character.

Ya Kun Kaya Toast

  • Address: People’s Park Centre, 101 Upper Cross Street, Level 1 Atrium, Singapore 058357
  • Hours: 8:00 am – 8:45 pm
  • Coffee: 4/5
  • Traditional Kaya Toast: 4/5
  • Eggs: 4/5
  • Ambiance: 3/5

Do you have any other places to suggest? Leave a comment below and we will try out your recommendation when we’re in the area.

Sketching

I’ve always wanted to learn how to sketch. I admire people who can finish a drawing quickly and their work seems effortless. So after years of hesitating, I pushed myself to do something about it.

At Upper Cross Street

I decided to draw a series of shop houses in Chinatown. This one took me about 3 hours to do. My mistake was that I drew everything in pencil then I inked it after. I should have drawn the rough outline in pencil then inked the details. Halfway through inking, my wrists were tired and I was getting sunburned. My spirits were running low but I knew I had to finish it or else I won’t be bothered to.

Inking the sketch after making the pencil drawing

I’m pretty happy with the results but I still feel that I’m putting too much detail in. Hopefully I can bring down my drawing time. My target is to be able to do a sketch in 15 minutes. I’m looking forward to sketching in the weekend. Hopefully I can draw something better in less time.

Pen and ink

Photography Practice: People’s Park Complex

During the long weekend last week, Lex taught me how to use the manual mode on my camera. I have always resisted using this setting since I always thought it is not necessary to master this feature but I did give it a shot and I’m pleased to say that I can see the difference in the quality of my photos.

My favorite Kway Teow at Chinatown

The only editing I did on these shots is cropping and a very light adjustment on brightness. The LCD on the camera was slightly brighter so when I adjusted the shutter and aperture settings, I was off by a tiny bit.

Crispy Roast Pork and Jiucy Char Siew for Lunch

We had lunch at People’s Park Complex and we decided to take photos around the hawker area. I will be posting more photos of our photography session in the upcoming weeks.

Making Dumplings

Red Bowls

Handmade Noodles

Chickens in a row

Coffee and a Chat

Lex will be doing a basic photography workshop in November so stay tuned for details. What do you think of my shots? I’d love to hear your feedback.

What to Eat at Chinatown: Chinatown Complex Smith Street Food Centre

If there is one thing I tell our guests when they come to Singapore is that they must try the food at the hawker centers. You can find cheap and delicious local food at these food courts and most of the time the quality of the dishes in hawker centers even surpass those in restaurants. Just look for the hawker stall with a long line and most likely this place sells the best food in the area.

We’ve moved to Chinatown and I must say that I love it here. Everything we need is only a few blocks away. The best thing about moving to a developed estate is having tons of food options. We decided to create a series of posts about what to eat when you’re in this area. We’re foodies but our palates are not as sophisticated as compared to Singaporeans in judging local cuisine. These are just the dishes we prefer over those we’ve tried. Take our advice with a grain of salt.

Note: We will updating this post whenever we find other dishes we like at the Smith Street Hawker Centre

Where: Chinatown Food Centre ( Block 355 Smith Street )

There is a huge hawker centre right beside the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple at Sago Lane. The Chinatown Complex Smith Street Food Centre has over 100 hawker stalls.

Entry 2:  May 6

Terry Katong Laksa (Stall #02-004 )

Is this the best laksa in Singapore?

This place is supposed to sell the best laksa in Singapore since they use coconut milk and not evaporated milk. There is even an article on display comparing their laksa and those sold by other famous laksa places and theirs is hailed as the best.

Laksa with Coconut Milk ($3)

Well we’d hate to disagree but we don’t think so. Their laksa is great but not the best. The broth is favourful but it is too thin for our liking. We were talking about the laksa during our entire meal and we’ve compared it with those we’ve had in the Katong area and we still think that the Famous 49 Katong Laksa is the best because the broth was so creamy and the flavourful was very roboust.

Hong Kong Mongkok Tim Sum (Stall #02-135 )

Take a queue number and wait for it to be called so they will get your order

So I guess it is pretty obvious that we are dim sum fans. Since we were craving dimsum and our favorite xiao long bao place was closed we decided to try this stall.

Siew Mai (3 pcs for $2.30) and Prawn Har Gao (3 pcs for $2.30)

The siew mai was ok. It tastes slightly better than most siew mais sold in Singapore. We loved the prawn har gao since it was cooked well, tasted fresh and the prawn was succulent.

Prawn Chee Cheong Fun ($2.30)

I’ve always loved Chee Cheong Fun and Lex doesn’t really like them which is odd since he’s not a picky eater like I am. The prawn were cooked well and the black sauce was delicious. This shop really knows how to cook prawn. He did love the this version of the dish and even mentioned he would love to have it again.

Char Siew Buns (3 pcs for $2.30)

We’ve tried so many char siew buns and most are disappointing since they look good but taste so bland. We were so glad that we tried their char siew buns. The filling was dark and savoury while the dough was fluffy. This now our go to char siew buns place.


Entry 1:  April 16

Zhong Guo La Mian Steamed Mini-Buns (Stall #02-135 ) – closed on Mondays

Made fresh daily

We were so happy to find that my favorite Xiao Long Bao or Steamed Mini-Buns stall at Alexandra Food Centre had a branch here. We actually go to Alexandra Food Centre from Ang Mo Kio just to get our dumpling fix every month or so. Honestly I prefer their soupy dumplings over those at Din Tai Fung.

Soupy Dumplings with Chinese Black Vinegar (10 pcs for $5)

The broth of the dumplings and the filling is tasty and the skin is not too thick. Most xiao long bao in hawker centers are pretty bland but this one hits the spot. The price is another plus. You get 10 dumplings for $5. Be careful when biting into the dumpling as the soup has the tendency to drip or squirt out of the dumpling. This is served with black vinegar and shredded ginger which compliments this dish well.  We also recommend their Pan Fried Dumpling and the Szechuan Spicy Wonton.

Shi Xiang Satay (Stall #02-079) – closed on Wednesdays & Thursdays

Our favorite pork satay stall

This Chinese Satay stall comes highly recommended by Makansutra. This stall is try to find since it is located in a secluded area in the hawker center. Just look for the sign that says “More Stalls”. The lady who sells the satay didn’t speak English and a customer was kind enough to translate my order. She only sells one pressed rice cake every $5 order and she usually runs out of rice at around 7 pm.

10 pieces of Pork Satay for $5

The stall sold pork and chicken satay but we only ordered pork. The satay itself is very flavourful and the accompanying peanut sauce is tasty but I must say that I had better sauce elsewhere. That said, the satay is still a must try because of how well seasoned and marinated the satay is.

The Market Grill

We met up with our friends at The Market Grill months ago but I thought I would still post this review even though it’s so late. Joyce from Chic Noir recommended this place since she knows the chef and it was close to the Red Dot Museum where we were headed after dinner.

The place is cosy and the lighting is romantic but the place is also small. The counter and kitchen occupied more than half of the restaurant. A party of six would have a hard time getting a table just like what happened to us. Our party was split into two. If you’re on a date this place would be ideal on a weekday.

Wagyu Salad with Balsamic Shallot Dressing $19

We had the Wagyu Salad to start. It was ok but I expected it to be more savoury since there was Wagyu meat.

CW Cod Burger $26

My first choice was the blue cheese burger but it was unavailable that night which turned out to be a good thing. I’m very picky when it comes to fish and I rarely eat it but it is so weird that I like fish burgers. The CW Cod Burger is my all time favorite fish burger in Singapore. The fish was cooked well, parmesan bun was almost like brioche and the herb lemon mayo brought it all together. I would highly recommend the cod burger.

CW Burger Breakfast $22

Lex had the Burger Breakfast which was suprisingly delicious. I’m not used to having sunny side ups in burger burger hence the surprise. The beef patty was well seasoned and grilled perfectly and the aged chedar and bacon made this burger extra sinful. You should get this burger if you’re looking for a heavy meal.

Rum Banana Pockets $15

For dessert, we had the Rum Banana Pockets. The dark rum was infused into the pastry and caramelized bananas. It was delicious and I’m a big fan of desserts with rum but I didn’t like the brand of rum they used. A sweeter type of rum would have made this dish better.

The Market Grill

  • Does not take reservations
  • Address: 208 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 068642
  • Contact #: +65 6221 3323
  • Opening Hours: Lunch 11:30 am – 2:15 pm and Dinner 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm (Closed on Sundays)