Everybody knows I am a huge dim sum fan, and so I am often asked to recommend where to go for the best dim sum in Singapore. This is a tough question, as there are several top choices to be had. Also, the restaurant heading up that top spot tends to change on a regular basis.
I would obviously also vary my recommendation based on who is asking. Recently, however I put together a definitive Top Ten Spots for Dim Sum in Singapore list for NileGuide.com and so if you are looking for some suggestions, you should head on over to the NileGuide Singapore pages and check it out - you can even download it as a pdf file and store it on your ipod or iphone for future reference - how handy is that?
Here's a wee teaser for you - five of those included in the top ten list:
1. Yum Cha - I have put this in the top spot as I think it is great for visitors to Singapore: it's in the heart of Chinatown and has that great buzz that a dim sum restaurant should have. It's also one of the only places to experience trolley service in Singapore (only at weekends).
2. Royal China at Raffles - for an elegant dim sum affair. This is where to bring clients or that special someone you want to impress.
3. Crystal Jade Golden Palace - this is my current favourite place for dim sum, and you will often find me and Mr Greedy Glutton propping up the bar and tucking into a selection of dumplings. The food is outstanding.
4. Red Star - I actually didn't rate the food all that much when I visited, although I know many people do. But it is probably the most authentic place to enjoy dim sum in Singapore, from an atomsphere point of view... be prepared to queue!
5. Dim Joy - a great place for dim sum novices - the chopsticks even come with instructions!
Further descriptions, contact details etc are all available on the downloadable guide on NileGuide.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
I’m just back from a week chilling in my fave place in the world – Bali. We decided to mix things up a bit this time and actually spend a few days in Ubud, instead of just being ‘fabulous’ in Seminyak (of course we saved some time for that too…)
One of the reasons to head to Ubud was, obviously, to check out the renowned eateries in the area – and top of my list was Naughty Nuri’s. This roadside warung has built itself a reputation over the years for serving mean martinis – and succulent barbecue ribs. A strange combination, I agree – but one I wasn’t going to miss out on.
We were lucky to find ourselves a table as soon as we arrived, as within just a few minutes people were bunching around the tables waiting for a space. The first thing we did was order a martini of course – they were out of vodka, so it was two Gin Martinis with an Olive, shaken vigorously at our table and generously poured out into chilled glasses.
Now this was a powerful potion – it took us way longer than it should have done to finish it. But well deserving of its reputation (it has been named ‘Best Martini in Bali’ by Hello Bali mag).
Once we were feeling nicely warmed from our cocktails (don’t you just love the way a martini warms you from the toes up…), we went and checked out the barbecue. Naughty Nuri’s barbecue is set up on the street – as basic as you like.
But there is nothing basic about the flavour of the food coming off it. The ribs had been marinated in a sticky sweet sauce, and the meat was falling off the bones and mouth-meltingly succulent. Oh my goodness – I just know these ribs will be in my dreams years from now.
We also spied a burger on a neighbouring table which looked hugely promising so we ordered one of these to share too. Unfortunately it just didn’t live up to its looks – bland and uninteresting, definitely one to avoid.
The Chicken Satays however were an honourable accompaniment, tender and juicy and beautifully marinaded.
But at the end of the day, it’s all about those ribs. If this were a Carlsberg commercial, it would go something like this: Naughty Nuri’s – probably the best barbecue ribs in the world.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
The Marina Bay Sands complex officially opens this week, with its impressive Skypark, casino, shopping mall and celebrity chef restaurants, I headed down there a few days ago to check out progress.
Obviously what intrigued me most was the celebrity chef restaurants – there’s been a lot of excitement in the Greedy Glutton house about the arrival of world-famous names such as Santi Santamaria, Guy Savoy, Wolfgang Puck and Tetsuya Wakuda. Such is their status, they have been awarded their own ‘wing’ within Marina Bay Sands, reached by dedicated lifts.
It’s an impressive setting when you emerge from the lift – an enormous atrium, with views down over the entire casino, so you can watch the old ladies lining up their chips on the roulette tables.
Out of the celebrity chef restaurants, only Santi and Guy Savoy are currently open, although both were closed for lunch. There was no menu displayed outside Santi, but we did spend a few moments marvelling at their wine collection displayed in the window. Guy Savoy’s peepy-hole windows provided another entertaining diversion, as did the menu – or the prices displayed on it to be more precise. Crispy Sea Bass main course? $120.00++. Five course degustation menu? $340.00++ (without drink). Not for a cheap night out then.
Also sharing the celebrity chef wing is a new branch of home-grown favourite Imperial Treasure – Imperial Treasure Fine Chinese Cuisine. Realising that this was rather more within our budget, we took a table for lunch.
The restaurant’s décor is modern and opulent, with its deep-sofa booths and contemporary floral centrepieces, and befitting of its glam surroundings. Its high-end aspirations are evident as soon as you cross the threshold, when you are greeted with wafts of truffle – which is liberally applied throughout the menu.
We, however, opted for rather more humble selection of dim sum, including Barbecue Pork in Honey Sauce, Baked Char Siu Bao, Har Kau, Crispy Beancurd Roll with Shrimp and Custard Buns with Salted Egg Yolk. All of it was delicious – fresh, hot and tasty – and even served with a smile.
The chefs at Imperial Treasure may not enjoy the international stardom of their next-door neighbours, but the food they produced today for our lunch certainly kept this Greedy Glutton more than happy… and perhaps more importantly – it was affordable!
You can read more about Marina Bay Sands opening on my NileGuide blog here.
Imperial Treasure Fine Chinese Cuisine - http://www.marinabaysands.com/Restaurants/Imperial_Treasure_Fine_Chinese_Cuisine.aspx
Monday, June 7, 2010
I recently checked out Tian Tian Chicken Rice at Maxwell Road FC to see what all the fuss is about... actually I have been down to Maxwell Road on several occasions to try it out, but I always seem to go there when Tian Tian is closed.
This time I lucked out, however and had the opportunity to try out this legendary stall's offerings, which has had my fellow food bloggers and local chicken rice fanatics rhapsodising for years.
Of course there was a big queue, but we all know that means it’s worth the wait! And yes, I should say it was – the rice was full of stock-y flavours and the chicken was as moist and tender as you would hope.
So a big thumbs up from me, and definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already.
You can read more about Chicken Rice on my NileGuide blog here.
Tian Tian Chicken Rice, Maxwell Road FC
Friday, June 4, 2010
I have a new blogging position - I am now the Local Expert for Singapore for NileGuide. So if you are interested in all things Singaporean other than food - come along and follow my NileGuide blog!
Over at NileGuide they have local experts from around the world updating their blogs and the website content, so it's a great resource for when you're planning a holiday, to get on-the-ground local insight. I am slowly updating all the content on Singapore within the travel resource section for them, so come check it out if you're planning a holiday to Singapore!
Of course I will still be updating the Greedy Glutton blog - and if there are any food-related posts on my NileGuide blog, I'll add a link here too.
Can't hang around - I'm off for some Chicken Rice for lunch...
Saturday, May 15, 2010
It’s hard to believe, but despite having lived in Singapore for nearly three years I have never eaten Congee… until now.
Determined that my first bowl of congee was going to be a memorable one, I conducted a lot of research before venturing out on my porridge quest, and Zhen Zhen Porridge at Maxwell Road Food Centre continually came out on top of ratings. The Makansutra Guide gives it 6 chopsticks, putting it in the highest ‘Die Die Must Try!’ category, and it also gets the thumbs up from many of my fellow local food bloggers.
Even so, I wasn’t quite prepared for the length of queue this stall commanded. Undeterred, I stood patiently in line, convincing myself that if all these other people were queuing, well – it had to be worth the wait.
Forty minutes later (yes, 40 … 4-0 minutes later) I finally reached the front, where I realised I had absolutely no idea what to order, and all the signage was in Chinese.
I smiled and held up one finger “One bowl, please.”
The auntie on the stall refused to return my smile, barking instead “Fish?”
“OK,” I replied, unsure of what my other options were.
She plucked an egg from a large bowlful beside her “You want?”
“OK!” and I joined the others to the left of the counter to await my bowl, observing how they seasoned their porridge when it arrived, so that when my turn came I would look like a seasoned (excused the pun) pro.
I returned to the table delighted with myself, and trying to ignore the fact that the egg the auntie and held up to me had just been cracked raw into the side of my porridge - I had had romantic notions of it having been stirred through in a carbonara-esque type of way. Nevertheless I tucked in (I’d like to say enthusiastically, but perhaps a more suitable adverb would be cautiously), Mr Greedy Glutton watching my every move (he knew he was next).
Obviously I have nothing to compare it to, but Zhen Zhen is famous for its super-smooth porridge – they cook and churn the porridge until all the rice grains have disappeared. It is then sprinkled with spring onions, chai poh (preserved radish) and fried shallots, which, together with the fish, give some welcome flavour to an otherwise bland dish. I did kind of regret not ordering a side order of yu sheng (raw fish) plate to accompany it, as I’m sure this also would have provided some form of flavour injection.
I have to confess I didn’t eat a huge amount of my porridge – Mr Greedy Glutton’s Chicken Rice from Tian Tian Chicken Rice looked far more appealing. But I’m pleased that I tried it and I now know if I am stranded at breakfast time in some remote corner of Asia - I will survive.
Monday, May 10, 2010
I was recently researching the best places for local breakfasts in Singapore for a magazine article when I discovered Casuarina Curry just a stone’s throw from where I live. I walk past this place almost every day but hadn’t once stepped through its doors until now. The original Casuarina Curry is on Casuarina Road and has quite an avid following from the Roti Prata-loving Singapore public, and judging by this off-shoot on Killiney Road – I can see why.
Roti Prata, for those who have yet to become acquainted, is a pancake-like Indian flatbread, which is skilfully made by kneading, oiling, folding and flattening freshly made dough, then frying it on an iron skillet. A good Prata place will perform all of this in front of you, before dishing it up with an accompanying curry sauce – usually chicken or mutton.
Roti Prata is traditionally served plain, or mixed with egg, although Casuarina Curry also appeals to the more adventurous, offering up fillings such as mushroom, cheese – or even durian and pineapple.
I lamely opted for the plain and egg, which was beautifully crispy and flaky, yet satisfyingly chewy with a slightly greasy finish. Just perfect for dipping into the accompanying generous serving of chicken curry.
Delighted with my discovery, I wasted no time in dragging Mr Greedy Glutton back with me a few days later, and we vowed to return again soon.
Well, you can imagine my dismay then when I walked past a few days later to see that the shophouse had been gutted! Several days followed when I watched with anticipation as the builders and decorators transformed the space, wondering what new culinary delight would be joining local legendary neighbours such as Killiney Koptiam, Warung M Nasir, Chicken Rice Express and Killiney Curry Puff.
And then finally it opened, and I found myself open-mouthed in the middle of the street gaping towards… a Domino’s Pizza.
Is there nothing sacred in this world today?
What a travesty.
Casuarina Curry - http://www.casuarinacurry.com/
Friday, March 19, 2010
Universal Studios opened to the public at Resorts World Sentosa yesterday to great fanfare and sell-out crowds. To be honest I’m not all that fussed by rollercoasters and movie-themed rides. Nor am I partial to a spot of gambling, so the casino doesn’t really hold much draw for me either. What does excite me, of course, is the new batch of restaurants due to open within the complex.
So impatient am I, that I took a walk around the resort a couple of weeks ago to check on progress and was delighted to see that one of these hotly anticipated restaurants – Osia – was due to open the very next day. So I wasted no time in booking a table for lunch and went along this week to check it out.
Osia is the new enterprise for Aussie chef Scott Webster, proprietor of the famous restaurant in London of the same name. Due to family commitments, Webster was forced to close his London venue, and now three years later he is setting up again – this time here in sunny Sentosa.
Osia offers a welcome contrast to the madness (and lets be honest – tackiness) of its external surroundings. The muted tones, cool marble flooring and shimmering tiled bar all ooze Melbourne chic, whilst the large wall-length windows allow plenty of sunlight to spill through.
The menu is equally pleasing on the eye, epitomising what I believe is referred to as ‘Mod Oz’ these days – Australian ingredients presented with a contemporary twist and a hint of fusion for good measure.
Considering the choices on offer, the lunch menu is astoundingly good value – 2 courses for $35.00, 3 courses for $45.00, or 4 courses for $55.00. What I particularly like is that the customer can choose which courses to opt into – if you just want to go for the dessert and cheese, then that’s ok with Osia…
We instead started at the beginning, with the bread, which is actually an additional $8.00 on top. But it was certainly worth it. With two types of Stonearth Flatbread on offer, we opted for the Red Centre Spice version. This was warm, soft, chewy and beautifully seasoned – but even more excitingly was served with a baby toothpaste tube full of Pistachio Cream Cheese. Delicious and dainty - what a promising start to the meal.
Moving on to the set menu, I kicked off with the Australian Veal Tenderloin Carpaccio, served with Olive Raisin Tapenade and Cabernet Mustard. This was a very generous serving of the thinly sliced melt-in-your-mouth veal, the tapenade and mustard combo providing a fabulous sweet and sour contrast.
My lunch date opted for the Mandagery Creek Venison, served with Polenta Crumbed Foie Gras, Poached Daikon and Caramelised Banana, Rum & Raisin. The Venison was sensational – perfectly cooked and tender, the accompaniments giving an interesting range of textures and tastes. Particularly noteworthy was the foie gras, which melted beneath its crunchy polenta coating.
So far so good, on to the main courses. This time I chose the Line Caught Sea Bass, served with Preserved Lemon, Vine Tomato, Whipped Parmesan Potato and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Again this was a generous portion, the sea bass beautifully cooked and the accompanying salsa giving perfect balance to the dish.
I have to confess to being slightly envious of my lunch date’s main course however – the Spiced Braised Pork Cheeks served with Capellini and Snow Peas. This was heavenly, the super-soft pork smothered in a tangy Asian-influenced sauce, the soft capellini melting under the crisp snap of the peas.
We were really feeling pretty full by now, but we couldn’t leave without sampling the desserts, so we ordered one of each choice from the set menu: the Golden Apple Tart with King Island Double Cream and Nougat Ice Cream.
And the ridiculously decadent, smotheringly scrumptious Valrhona Hot Chocloate Soup with Black Pepper Ice Cream and Sesame Crisp. Yes, it really is as wicked as it sounds…
There’s nothing not to love about Osia (if you don’t look out the window to the garish buidings that surround it) and all the dishes we sampled were nothing short of sensational. The menu is inventive without being pretentious, the flavours and textures are so well paired and balanced that every mouthful was a pure pleasure. On top of this, the wait staff were friendly, knowledgeable and attentive.
All too often, supposedly good-value set lunches at fine-dining restaurants can leave you feeling slightly short changed, with the measly portions that they dish up. We certainly didn’t feel that way as we waddled out of Osia, vowing to return another day soon.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
So how do you top Michelin stars for lunch and dinner? You follow it up with a Three Michelin-starred restaurant of course!
Lung King Heen at the Four Seasons Hotel is the only Cantonese restaurant in Hong Kong to be awarded the highest possible accolade from Michelin of Three Stars – and only one of two Three-starred restaurants in the city (the other goes to the same hotel’s French restaurant, Caprice).
In fact, I’ve done some research and as far as I can see, this is the only Chinese restaurant in the World so far to have been awarded Michelin’s top prize. So, I guess we can deduce that, according to Michelin, Lung King Heen is the best Chinese restaurant in the World…
Exciting stuff indeed, and I was beside myself when Mr Greedy Glutton agreed to take me there for dinner (I justified this by pointing out that on our first night in Hong Kong we had gone to a hole-in-the-wall noodle joint and, ahem, I had paid…). Regardless of the justifications for being here, here we were and determined to make the most of it.
Much is made of the view from Lung King Heen, with floor to ceiling windows providing sweeping vistas across the harbour to Kowloon. Unfortunately low fog was set in throughout our stay so we couldn’t take advantage of this. The service, though it has to be said, was impeccable – discreet yet attentive and friendly, as they steered us through the menu knowledgably to make our choices:
Pan-fried Prawns with Chilli and Shallots – a plate piled high with enormous prawns in a sumptuous sweet and spicy sticky sauce
Australian Wagyu Beef Cheek in Casserole – this was outstanding, the beef so tender it was almost gooey.
Stir-fried Vegetables with Beansprouts, which was laced with scrumptiously sticky beancurd strips
All accompanied with an incredible Fried Rice with Lobster and Seafood – my only regret with this was that I wasn’t staying at home where I could take the leftovers home for my lunch the next day.
Well, I’m not really experienced enough to judge whether this is the best Cantonese in the world (I understand that a lot of Chinese restaurant ratings are based on their ability to produce outstanding results with the likes of Birds Nest, Sharks Fin, Abalone etc – none of which I am particularly partial to). But it was probably one of the best I’ve had the pleasure of eating – and definitely a notch up from the previous night’s meal at one-starred Lei Garden. It will certainly be interesting to see what happens if and when Michelin come to Singapore…
Lung King Heen - http://www.fourseasons.com/hongkong/dining/lung_king_heen.html
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I was still bursting to the brim from my fabulous late lunch, but as I had dared to go there without Mr Greedy Glutton in tow, I was forced to sacrifice my figure to join him for dinner just a few hours later. Slightly disgruntled that I had notched up my first Michelin Star without him, I managed to placate him by booking another starred restaurant for dinner, choosing Lei Garden in Wan Chai – basically due to its proximity to our hotel.
The restaurant provides a cosy comfortable setting, despite its grand size, and we were given a table with a great view of the weird and wonderful contents of the fish tank, where we spent much time wondering exactly who orders a fish that’s almost the size of our table…
Once we finally got round to the menu, we were fairly modest with our ordering – choosing just three dishes: The Braised Boned Pork Ribs with Sweet & Sour Sauce, served with steamed buns – this was beautifully succulent, the flesh just falling apart under our chopsticks and melting in the mouth, the sweet and sour sauce perfect for dipping the buns into.
Beef Cubes with Spring Onion and Scallion – perfectly tender cubes of beef and vegetables tossed in with a slightly spicy sauce
And the King Prawn in Superior Soy Sauce – which surprised us by arriving as just one prawn each… however we forgave the frugality when we tasted the sauce – sticky and tangy and delicious.
This was a great way to follow up my first flirtation with a starred establishment, and our satisfaction continued when the bill arrived – around SGD$120 for both of us, including a couple of beers each.
So I finished my first day in Hong Kong feeling very satisfied, very spoilt and yes, very full.
Lei Garden, Wan Chai, Hong Kong - http://www.leigarden.hk/