Food notes (to whet my appetite)

Since it’s coming to lunch time, I shall try to whet my appetite by talking about food.

(Probably not a very good idea.)

Japanese Food

I wanted to blog about this coffeeshop Japanese stall in Ang Mo Kio that the Goonfather accidentally discovered not so long ago. It has the best omu rice in Singapore and pretty good ramen.

I only managed to try it once and now, I just found out IT HAS CLOSED DOWN. WHY!!? How can they tease us like that!

Look at this.

Black pepper beef omu rice

Black pepper beef omu rice

Black pepper beef omu rice. This was what I ate and it was fantastic. I hope they just moved instead of closed down. But how am I going to find them?

The chicken katsu curry omu rice is the one the Goonfather loves.

Chicken katsu omu rice

And the scallop ramen.

Scallop ramen

Here’s what the stall used to look like:

Japanese food stall

If you see any stalls that look like this, tell me! =)

Korean Charcoal BBQ

There’s this huge restaurant in East Coast Parkway that we’ve wanted to try forever but never got around to until recently (when the Goonfather started watching Korean drama) because we always eat at Waraku just beside.

Ju Shin Jung Korean Charcoal BBQ

There are three outlets. We ate at the East outlet.

It was interesting. I like how, before we’ve even settled down properly, we already have a whole table full of food.

Ju Shin Jung Korean Charcoal BBQ

We ordered the buffet set. Four kinds of meat (just keep ordering until you’re happy) and free-flow side dishes (which is all the little bowls and dishes you see on the table). Our meal came up to about $45 each after taxes.

I like how the waitress cooks for us so we can concentrate on eating. She comes to our table periodically to flip meats, serve them, or add more onto the grill.

What the Goonfather likes is that they serve you fresh vegetable leaves with raw garlic and chilli padi. You’re supposed to wrap your BBQ meats with the leaves, add chilli and garlic and sweet sauce.

Ju Shin Jung Korean Charcoal BBQ

Quite interesting, but I think I prefer the meat alone.

We also got heart-shaped watermelon pieces as part of the package.

Ju Shin Jung Korean Charcoal BBQ

The place was quite empty. I enjoyed being able to dine in a quiet, super spacious restaurant. But, to be honest, I think the quality of the buffet is not worth $45.

Maybe it’s a place more suitable for rich folk who can go there and order wagyu and black angus without batting an eyelid. Maybe those will be worth it. One plate of those already costs more than our whole buffet, hehe. =P

I’d rather go eat at one of those Chinese-run Korean BBQ and steamboat stalls you can find easily in Geylang. I think some of them have better-tasting food and they’re cheap.

Ju Shin Jung Korean Charcoal BBQ is at 1018 East Coast Parkway.

Taiwan Porridge

Many people are falling sick over and over again recently, so here’s some sick people food. (Just don’t go when you’re contagious and spread your germs all over the place.)

My friends and I enjoy going to Quality Hotel for supper once in a while. There’s a Taiwan Porridge Buffet at Quality Cafe which is cheap after 10 pm ($8++ weekdays $9++ weekends). Before 10 pm, it’s $11.80++ and $13.80++.

And it’s good!

Well, it’s a buffet. There’s a huge variety of food for you to choose from. But I think they’re mostly wasted on me because I love the cheapest food with my porridge, like preserved beancurd and pickled vegetables.

Porridge

Porridge

But I still like going there. I like having choices and eating a bit of this and a bit of that.

Porridge

Porridge

Actually, if you don’t mind spending a bit more, the dinner slot is worth going for (6 pm to 10 pm) even though it’s more expensive. They have kueh pie tee during that time and it’s very good!! (And a few other extras… I can’t remember what.)

We once entered the restaurant at 9:30 pm. We couldn’t wait till 10 pm cos we were all starving. And because the kueh pie tee was only going to last for half an hour more, we kept ordering that nonstop.

It was top-notch kueh pie tee. The cup was very crispy and the ingredients had just the right proportions so that the taste blended very nicely.

Anyway, maybe it’s a good idea to eat more porridge nowadays. If you’re falling sick easily, eat more simple stuff to keep your health up!

(Yeah, we all know but we don’t listen!)

Quality Cafe is at 201 Balestier Road.

Happy eating!

What’s so good about Marutama?

The last time I blogged about Ramen Santouka, I received recommendations for two outlets that are supposedly better — Tampopo and Marutama.

Marutama Ramen

I tried Tampopo. I think Santouka is still better.

I tried Marutama. I think Santouka is still better!

Still, I was impressed by Marutama for its free-flow fried garlic.

Marutama Ramen

I am very embarrased to say that our guys finished the whole container and then some. We had to ask for another.

Marutama Ramen

People told me I had to try the chashu if I ever ate there, so I ordered the Marutama Ramen (non-spicy chicken broth with basic ingredients) and added extra toppings of chashu and seasoned boiled egg.

Marutama Ramen

The chashu is, indeed, very good, comparable to Santouka’s. Melt-in-your-mouth, buttery, utterly sinful.

But the soup and ramen are terrible.

The soup has a thick, frothy texture, which makes you feel like the inside of your mouth is bubbling all the time. The taste is mediocre, quite salty, and I wouldn’t want to have it again.

The ramen texture is really blah.

Marutama Ramen

It doesn’t have the firm QQ-ness that I love in ramen but I suppose it’s still edible. It’s mainly the soup that spoils it for me.

Oh, and there’s all that dodgy green stringy stuff which really spoils it. I don’t know what it is! It has the colour of spinach, the texture of seaweed and the taste of slop.

If I were to visit Marutama again, I’d order the grilled chashu. It’s good! But it’s quite salty so eating it by itself is not advisable.

Marutama Ramen

We shared a bunch of other side dishes but nothing did it for me. Probably my favourite thing that night was the seasoned boiled egg. Haha. I love boiled eggs in Japanese restaurants. They always do it so well!

Stewed pork leg (or something):

Marutama Ramen

Mediocre. The chashu is definitely better.

Stewed radish:

Marutama Ramen

I didn’t like it because I found that the sauce tasted weird. But Minou loved it.

Sweet omelette:

Marutama Ramen

Doesn’t have the fragrant eggy taste I love in tamago. It doesn’t taste bad but doesn’t taste too good, either. Texture fail, because it feels like the egg has been folded onto itself layer by layer and each layer is kinda thin and dry.

People:

Marutama Ramen

LOL. Just trying to show how popular the place is. The queue was neverending. I really dunno why. The ramen not very nice leh? All my friends agreed that Santouka is much better.

The queue:

Marutama Ramen

Despite our visit to Marutama not being too satisfactory, I don’t regret eating there. It’s good to be able to say you’ve tried it, especially when people won’t stop raving about it!

Marutama Ramen

Everyone says the logo looks like a basketball. It’s a stylised Japanese character, pronounced “tama”, which has a zillion definitions but mainly meaning ball or jewel.

(It’s also the Chinese word for jade.)

And here are the addresses cos I know people sure ask!!

Marutama Ra-Men
#03-09/91 The Central

Ramen Santouka

#02-76 The Central

More than 50 flavours of pasta

The Japanese are really great at marketing, aren’t they?

Who can resist walking into a restaurant when tempted by this!

Japanese plastic food displays have been around since before I was born and they always look better than the real food being served, but I’m still suckered by them every time. Of course, it helps that, in general, Japanese food actually tastes good.

Anyway, although I always find myself drawn to yummy-looking silicon sushis and parfaits (I would just stand at the window and gawk endlessly), I’ve been successful at managing my temptations, only very ocassionally caving in and allowing myself to be lured into a restaurant.

But Pasta de Waraku is something else altogether. They have like a hundred plates of shiny, mouth-watering pastas on display. Pastas you’ve never seen before. Pastas you simply must eat.

OMG all these delicious-looking fake pasta!

This was something I just had to allow myself to be tempted by.

We started our meal with some refreshing beverage.

Grape Cassis (alcoholic) and Japanese Red Wine (which is light and sweet, unlike normal red wine).

And then an appetiser. (Not that we needed any help to whet our appetites. The silicon food displays outside provided all the help we needed.)

This is Tofu Tomato w/ Cheese (swimming in some kinda sweet-salty Japanese sauce).

It’s quite tasty, but I don’t like tomatoes, so this is not a must-order for me. But The Goonfather loved it.

Because there were simply too many flavours of pasta to choose from, I couldn’t make up my mind. So I ordered the Half & Half Set, which gives you two mini-sized pastas, soup, salad and a drink. Unfortunately, you can only choose from five different pasta flavours if you order this set.

I chose the Japanese Style Cod Roe and the Carbonara WARAKU Style.

The cod roe pasta tastes quite good, although I would really preferred to have flying fish roe (tobiko). It’s worth ordering if you fancy cod roe.

The Carbonara is very disappointing. The sauce is not creamy or salty enough and the bacon is quite bland. Crispy bacon bits would have been better. But the egg is great. Haha.

The Goonfather had the Salmon Roe w/ Wafu Sauce.

Judging from the expressions of ecstasy rolling over his face every time he bites down on a salmon roe, I would say he quite enjoyed it.

But his final verdict was: “I will come back to Waraku but I won’t order this again.” According to him, the salmon roe pasta is good but not quite good enough.

To be honest, the fake food display on the outside of the restaurant hyped the food too much, so that when we finally got down to eating, our expectations weren’t met to the max. We enjoyed our food but we didn’t get blown off like we subconsciously expected.

Or maybe we just ordered the wrong dishes.

But it was a good enough experience for us to want to go back there again, to try the other flavours.

You can check out the menu and outlet locations at the Waraku Singapore website. Go ahead, make yourself hungry.

In case you’re lazy to click there, Pasta de Waraku can be found at #02-82/83 The Central, and #03-257 Marina Square.

Happy eating, and if you discover a to-die-for dish, share here!