Monday, November 29, 2004


Crystal Jade Ginseng Chicken BBQ

Note: Lots of photos in this post (12 to be exact). My apologies to those using dialup; you may have to wait a while for the images to load. :)

Crystal Jade (CJ) is a well-known chain of Chinese restaurants in Singapore, so it may come as a surprise to some that CJ has opened a restaurant serving Korean cuisine. In fact, it is located on the same floor in the same building as CJ's flagship restaurant, Crystal Jade Palace Restaurant. At first, I was skeptical of the authenticity of the food. But two months ago, my Korean expatriate friends took me there for a meal and convinced me otherwise. This time, I took my fellow S'porean friends (Celine, Richard, and R) there for a taste of Korea.

A glance of the six ban chan (side dishes). Many S'poreans don't know that side dishes are complimentary and refillable in Korean restaurants. I just hope that kiasu S'poreans won't start the ugly habit of ordering just one main course and fill up on side dishes.

A close-up of the ban chan:

Spicy fried anchovies. Celine loved this so much she refilled this dish 3 times!

Pickled cucumber.

Chinese cabbage kimchi.

Celery with squid.

Spinach salad.

Soy bean sprout salad.

Pa Jeon (spring onion and seafood pancake). S$15.00. This was beautifully fried till golden and crispy. In the pancake were spring onion, squid, prawn, and red chilli. The pancake was pretty good. I especially liked the crispy edges. The small dish in the far right was the dipping sauce for the pancake.

Jap Chae (Korean-style noodles). S$14.00. Ahh, this is one of my favorite Korean dishes. These noodles are called dang myun, made from sweet potato. They resemble Chinese mung bean threads, or glass noodles, except that these are thicker and chewier. The jap chae here is really awesome! The flavors of the ingredients, noodles, and seasoning are perfectly balanced. It's as good as those made by my Korean friends. If you go to CJ Ginseng Chicken BBQ, you must order this!

One thing I didn't quite like here was the break-neck speed at which the dishes were served. The main courses came in less than 10 minutes after we placed our order, and they all came at once. That's a bad thing because the main courses don't taste good when cold, and it'd be nice if we could have some time to savor each dish and chat during the meal instead of rushing through our food.

Dol Sot Bi Bim Bap (rice topped with assorted vegetables, beef, and egg in a hot stone pot). S$16.00. Before I could take a photo, the waitress had already started to mix the rice and ingredients in the sizzling hot bowl. A hot chilli paste called go chu jang was also mixed with the rice.

Bi bim = mix, and bap = rice. There were some bits of crispy rice crusts. The stone pot was so hot that it browned the rice at the bottom of the pot. The bi bim bap was sweet, spicy, savory, moist, and sticky, all at once. Yummy!

Sam Gye Tang (ginseng chicken soup). S$25.00. This is the restaurant's signature dish; hey of course, it's named after the dish! Once again, I had no chance for a photo of the whole chicken because the waiter, after showing us the soup pot, immediately whisked it away to divide into four portions. Another must-have when you come here. The soup was so light, yet it was delicately sweet and flavorful. It was also surprisingly not oily. The chicken meat was extremely soft and fell apart easily; the glutinous rice that was stuffed in the chicken was also very soft. Besides ginseng, this soup is cooked with red dates, chestnuts, and garlic. Very nice indeed! It's so refreshing that I could easily have another bowl of it.

And it seems I'm not the only one who fell in love with sam gye tang. We were seated near the kitchen window, and I saw pots of sam gye tang being served up by the minute! It was full house that night, and the wait staff were on their feet all the time. In fact, we even had to wait 15 minutes for our table. Well, the food was indeed good, and very filling. The service was pretty decent, and the prices are about the same as the other authentic Korean restaurants in town. The bill for the four of us came up to about S$90, inclusive of taxes. It seems like Crystal Jade has got another winner in its books.

Crystal Jade Ginseng Chicken BBQ
391 Orchard Road
#04-20 Ngee Ann City


P.S. Many thanks to Celine and Richard, for letting me take photos of the food first in spite of your growling tummies. :)

Saturday, November 27, 2004


Recipe: Sauteed Garlic Sprouts

Compared to other vegetables available in Singapore, it seems that garlic sprouts don't enjoy a very high profile here. It's only recently that I see them being sold more regularly in supermarkets and wet markets. Also known as garlic stems, they are imported from China. I did a Google, and here's some information from this link:

Chinese garlic stems, garlic flower stems, green garlic
suan tai (Chinese), shen sum (Korean)
(Allium sativum)

Chinese garlic has a symmetrical bulb in thin purple or silver skin, but has little flavour. Its stems should not be confused with the inedible fibrous tops of curled garlic often found at Farmer's Markets and specialty markets. These greens are about a foot long and not hollow like the green onions. They are solid and about the width of a pencil. If snapped or cut, the aroma is unmistakably garlic. In China, garlic flower stems are a side product of the garlic bulb of strains known to produce them. The bulbs are cultivated in the usual way, but the flower stems are cut in early summer when they are green and harvested very carefully so that the bulb will not be damaged and can be left to mature. The stems are usually twelve to eighteen inches in length and sold in bundles. They are too strong for most people to use raw; but, if quickly cooked, they are an excellent addition to dishes requiring a hint or two of garlic.

Those that I've spoken to either didn't know about the existence of this veggie, or didn't know how to prepare it. That's such a shame because garlic sprouts are highly aromatic, amazingly quick and simple to prepare, and wondrously sweet-tasting. Since they come from the garlic plant, you'll either love or hate their pungent, garlickly fragrance. When buying garlic sprouts, make sure that the stems and ends look green and fresh throughout. If too much of the stem is white, it'll taste tough and fibrous. Also, choose those with fat stems.

Of course, there are lots of ways you can cook garlic sprouts, but my favorite (and simplest) way is just to saute them till they are sweet and tender. This dish tastes good whether hot or cold. From this basic recipe, you can make variations by adding other ingredients.

Sauteed Garlic Sprouts

1 bunch of garlic sprouts (usually 200gms)
2 cloves of garlic
salt, sugar
toasted sesame seeds (to garnish)

1. Snap off the woody ends of the garlic sprouts. Wash and cut them into 2-inch lengths.

2. Heat up a little oil, just enough to coat the pan. Saute the garlic cloves slightly to release their aroma.

3. Add the garlic sprouts, sprinkle a pinch of salt over them, and saute over moderately low heat. Stir them every 15 seconds or so to ensure that the garlic sprouts don't burn and are evenly cooked.

4. When the sprouts turn tender (after about 5 minutes), do a taste test. Add a pinch of sugar and more salt, according. Remove to a dish, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve.

Variation: Season with some chilli powder or sliced chilli if you like it spicy. I also like the addition of chicken frank or fishcake slices.


Thursday, November 25, 2004


Cantonese Wedding Cakes

When I got home (late, very late) on Monday evening, a box of traditional Chinese pastries and two cans of braised pork leg on the table caught my eye. I exclaimed, "Ah, who's getting married?" Turns out it was my sis-in-law's sister-in-law.

I opened up the box in eagerness. of the cakes had already been attacked! Quick, whip out that digicam and take a photo before the other cakes are besieged too!

Below are close-up cross-section views of each of the four cakes, beginning clockwise from the half-cake.

Before I could taste this the next day, this half-cake was already gone with the wind. Sob! Look at the beautiful, golden crust. The filling is probably lotus paste with melon seeds. Anyone who has eaten this before, care to shed some light? I can only imagine how delicious this must have tasted.

The remaining three cakes had the same flaky, buttery pastry, but they had different fillings and were identified by the color of the pastry. This yellowish cake was filled with a savoury mung bean paste. Quite tasty and fragrant, a nice departure from the usual sweet fillings.

The white cake was filled with sweet red bean paste (dou sha) and melon seeds. The paste was smooth and creamy, and the level of sweetness was just right.

This is the prettiest-looking one, cos it's in my favorite color, pink! Filled with sweet lotus seed paste and melon seeds, the filling was also smooth and not too sweet.

What I liked about these cakes from Tai Chong Kok Confectionery is that they were truly fresh. The pastry was light, flaky, and had a melt-in-the-mouth quality, while the fillings were smooth without being overly greasy or heavy, and were not too sweet nor salty. The flavors of the fillings and pastry were brilliantly balanced. What a wonderful treat! Really appreciated this treat because nowadays, more people opt to give Western-style cakes (or even cake vouchers) rather than these traditional ones for weddings.

Here's a little background on traditional Chinese wedding cakes from a website called
"China Bridal".

Chinese wedding cakes are called "Happiness Cakes", also known as "Dragon & Phoenix Cakes". These are baked cake with dragon and phoenix imprint on the surface. Some styles have fillings made of lotus seed paste, red bean paste or green bean paste.

The wedding cakes are usually presented to the bride's family by the groom's family as part of the proposal gift. Bride's family will then present some of the cakes to worship their ancestors and send the rest of cakes to friends and relatives along with wedding invitations. Quantity of cakes to be sent depends on seniority of guest or relationship with the family. Nowadays, the wedding cakes are usually served to the guests at the wedding instead of the western style wedding cakes.


Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Waiter, What's for Lunch?

I laughed so hard at this really hilarious clip till my insides hurt and I almost cried! To view it, copy and paste the link below into your browser's address bar and press "Enter". If you have Windows Media Player installed, the WM window should pop up and start downloading the video clip automatically. The dialogue is in Cantonese, but there are Mandarin and English subtitles.

PSsst! Keep an eye on the little piggy's head.


Update: I found out that the above excerpt was from a 2001 Hong Kong animated film. For a review, click here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Coffee Club Xpress

I happened to be at Orchard Road at lunchtime yesterday. Since I had a long lunch-break, I thought I'd find a nice, quiet cafe to eat and catch up on some reading.

I found myself at Coffee Club Xpress (the Wisma Atria outlet), and ordered one of their Tummy Fillers value set meal. For S$10.90 nett, you get a soup of the day, your choice of main course, and a coffee or tea. If you order the set meal, you're also entitled to a 30% discount on cakes and desserts. How could I pass on such a sweet (pun intended) deal?

Tomato soup. Eeeks! This soup was SUPER sour! And sweet! I tried to drink as much of it as I could, but finally gave up after consuming half of it. This was the first time I've tried their tomato soup. I've been to this chain of cafes before and had other soups. They were good, nothing like the tomato soup I had this time. I'll remember not to order the set meal if they have tomato soup for that day.

Country pie. This is kinda like shepherd's pie. There's no pastry involved. First, a layer of chicken stew is laid in the pie (but looks more like souffle) dish. Next, mashed potato is packed above the chicken. Finally, mozarella cheese is put on top of the potato. The dish is then baked, allowing the cheese to melt and brown. Beside the pie is a small side of fresh lettuce with some kind of olive pesto.

A spoonful of chicken, potato, and cheese. This isn't my first time ordering the Country Pie, though it was at another outlet that I fell in love with it. This version was still quite delicious, though not quite as good as the previous one I had because here, the amount of chicken stew is rather miserly, and the mozarella cheese too thick. Can't imagine the calories I've put on after devouring this pie.

Some more calories: Blackforest roll (usual price S$3.10, S$2.20 after the 30% discount). It's actually blackforest cake, but rolled up Swiss-roll style. Very rich, very dense, very mmmmm..., very sinful! Love the rich and creamy mousse-like chocolate cream and plump, juicy cherries. Those without a sweet tooth, or those on a weight-loss diet, stay away!

Coffee Club Xpress
#03-35/38 Wisma Atria


Sunday, November 21, 2004


S.G. Holland Village Food Corner - Part 1

Warning for overseas Singaporeans: The following images may induce homesickness and cravings for local food. The author will not be liable for any damages arising from such effects. So turn away now, or proceed at your own risk. :)

Whenever I turned into Holland Avenue from Commonwealth Avenue West, I would, without fail, notice this coffeeshop at the corner of the junction because of the huge crowds dining there. Business at night is usually so good, that scores of extra tables have to be set up outside the coffeeshop to accomodate its dine-in customers. Heeding the adage that "crowds must mean the food is good", I went to sniff out S.G. Holland Village Food Corner for myself.

The wide variety offered certainly doesn't disappoint. The usual suspects in local hawker favorites were there: braised duck rice, kway chap, fish ball noodle, pig organ soup(!), economy rice, fried radish cake, fried hokkien prawn mee, fried kway teow, rojak, popiah, etc. There is also a zi char stall that seemed to be doing very well. I saw at least six chefs in clean, white uniforms and hats in the open kitchen. There were also posters proclaiming their signature dish: XO Crab Beehoon. Well, I didn't feel like ordering something so extravagant that day, so I went for the cheaper humbler dishes.

An overview of the food. From bottom right-hand corner: fried kway teow, kway chap, kway chap side dish, and popiah. And no, I didn't devour this whole lot of food on my own!

Kway chap (S$3.00). When you order kway chap, you get a bowl of flat rice noodles in broth, as well as a dish of accompaniments. The accompaniments above are (clockwise from right): braised hard-boiled egg, pork belly, taupok (beancurd puff), chilli sauce, and fishcake. Usually, pig intestines are offered instead of fishcake, but R, my companion, requested that they substitute the intestines for a healthier choice. The braised pork belly was tender and delicious.

The kwap chap noodles, which are steamed, flat rice noodle sheets cut into squares or triangles, were soft and silky smooth. The broth was just right, flavorful with a slight hint of herby fragrance. Good choice!

By the way, R made me take photos of HIS kway chap first, so that he could start eating while I continued taking pictures of the rest of the food. Don't you think he's such a sweet, sensitive guy? While he was tucking into his food with gusto, I was battling with my own hunger to take these photos that you see. So dear reader, do drop me a note if you've enjoyed reading my post. Please?

Fried kway teow (S$2.50). Compared to other places that charge the same price, this portion is huge. But I think there should be less of the noodles and more of the cockles, fishcake, Chinese sausage, and vegetables. The version here is more "wet" and not so greasy. was so good, although I wouldn't have minded if it was more "dry".

Popiah, two rolls (S$1.00 for each roll). Filled with turnip (or jicama), mung bean sprouts, lettuce, carrot, egg, fried crunchy bits, and crushed peanut. Not bad. The chilli sauce packs a huge wallop! The popiah skin was rather different. Instead of being soft and chewy, it was a little crispy and papery. To see how popiah is assembled, read my post on
Gluttons Square.

We bought rojak, an appetising salad, to bring home as a snack for our family. That's the rojak man behind the glass display.

These are you tiao, or fried doughsticks, and taupok (beancurd puff) stuffed with mung bean sprouts and cucumber strips. They are kept warm and crispy on the grill before being tossed into the salad.

Rojak (S$2.00). Okay, I know it looks kinda ugly, but this crunchy and refreshing salad with its uniquely sweet, tangy, and sticky sauce is absolutely addictive! The main ingredients are you tiao, taupok, fresh cucumber, pineapple, turnip (jicama), and crushed roasted peanuts. This version is also quite good.

Overall, this has been a tummy-rubbing experience. The food we had for this meal was cheap and delicious, and the service was brisk and friendly. I'll be back to try the other stalls, and if I feel rich enough, to try the XO Crab Beehoon.

S.G. Holland Village Food Corner
Block 40, Holland Drive
(not sure what time the stalls open, but they are open till 1 am)


Thursday, November 18, 2004


Recipe: Squid in Black Bean & Oyster Sauce

I made this dish some time ago, but didn't have time to blog about it. Instead of squid, you could also use prawn, beef slices, chicken slices, or fried tofu pieces. The yummy sauce is just wonderful over plain jasmine rice.

Squid in Black Bean & Oyster Sauce

3 squids, cleaned and cut into pieces
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
fresh ginger, 2 slices
1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
half tbsp of salted/fermented black beans
1 onion, cut into wedges
1 stalk of spring onions, sectioned
2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
pinch of sugar (optional)
half a cup of water
cornstarch solution

1. Rinse and soak the black beans in water for a few minutes. Drain and squash them slightly.

2. Heat the wok and pour in some oil. Over moderately high heat, fry the garlic, ginger, chilli, black beans, and onion till fragrant, about a minute.

3. Add the squid and stir-fry with the aromatics. Very quickly, add the oyster sauce and sugar, and mix thoroughly with the ingredients.

4. Pour in the water and mix again. Let the mixture come to a boil, then thicken the gravy with cornstarch solution.

5. Add the spring onions, toss for a few moments, and turn the heat off. Serve.

*For this dish, have all the ingredients ready. When stir-frying, make sure the wok and oil is very hot to cook the food quickly and seal in the juices. Work quickly so that the squid will not be overcooked.


Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Jack's Place

We had dinner at Jack's Place on Sunday. Here are some pictures of what we had at the Orchard outlet.

The complimentary basket of lightly grilled/toasted garlic bread. One slice for each diner. The bread was crispy outside and soft inside. Nice start to the meal.

Fresh lobster bisque (S$4.50). One of my companions ordered this, and I didn't get to taste it, so I can't give any comments. She did say the bisque was rather rich and tasty. I only saw two bits of lobster meat floating on the top. Hmm...guess I shouldn't expect too much for S$4.50.

Seafood in a basket (S$10.50). This is an assortment of breaded fish, prawns, scallops, squid rings, sotong balls (squid paste seasoned and rounded into balls), onion rings, and French fries. Comes with a dip of tartare sauce. It was good (the food, not the sauce), but nothing special. The portion was quite generous, though.

Chicken & mushroom spaghetti (S$10.00). I sampled a mouthful of the noodles and was pleasantly surprised to find the cream-based pasta sauce light and tasty. Before I could steal some of the chicken and mushrooms, my own main course arrived.

Grilled chicken (S$12.50). Clockwise from left: baked potato topped with sour cream and spring onions (I omitted the bacon bits), stir-fried cabbage with bacon strips, peas, and grilled boneless chicken leg with brown sauce.

The hotplate was still sizzling as it was placed in front of me! The chicken was quite plain, but perfectly grilled. Very juicy and tender. The sauce was a little lacklustre this time; it wasn't salty enough. I enjoyed the baked potato very much; it was soft, fluffy and steaming hot. The vegetables were nice too, especially the cabbage which had the strong fragrance of fried garlic.

Mixed grill (S$16.50). On the left are the same side dishes as the grilled chicken. The mixed grilled meats are stacked up and topped with a sunny side-up fried egg.

This is ideal if you can't make up your mind or just want a bit of everything. The "mixed grill" consists of a small beef steak, lamb chop, chicken chop, bacon, and chicken sausage.

I've been to Jack's Place many times ever since I was a child. In fact, I still remember my parents taking me to the Bras Basah outlet when I was a kid. Going to a steak house was considered a very special treat in those days. Jack's Place is a home-grown chain of steak restaurants in Singapore. It's been in business for more than 30 years (older than me!), largely due to its tasty and reasonably-priced food, cosy setting, and warm service. Their grub is definitely not Western haute cuisine. In fact, I would even say the taste of the food has been slightly "localised" to suit the Singaporean palate.

Nevertheless, Jack's Place is still one of my favorite haunts for unpretentious and value-for-money Western-style food. I've checked out about four of its outlets, but somehow, the food at the Bras Basah and Orchard outlets are better. The menu is the same, but the food is tastier and comes sizzling hot. Better quality control, perhaps?


Note: All prices are before 10% service charge, 1% cess, and 5% GST.

Monday, November 15, 2004


Recipe: Stir-fried Vegetarian Yee-fu Noodles

There are many kinds of Chinese noodles, but comparatively, yee-fu noodles don't seem to be very widely eaten in Singapore households. The only times I had these noodles were at Chinese wedding dinner banquets. I've discovered that yee-fu noodles are surprising easy to handle. They don't turn soggy quickly, nor break easily during stir-frying. Plus they have this unique texture that's soft yet slightly al dente, and taste great whether stir-fried or stewed.

When I made stir-fried yee-fu noodles at home for the first time, they were a hit. My recipe is amazingly easy to create. This is a basic recipe that you can easily modify, but I recommend keeping the sweet-savoury seasoning and bean sprouts. You can use other vegetables (onions, snow peas, Chinese chives, shitake mushrooms, button mushrooms) or even add prawns, fishcake or meat strips. Here's my recipe for Stir-fried Vegetarian Yee-fu Noodles (for 4 to 5 people):

a 200gm-pack of dried yee-fu noodles
100gms of mung bean sprouts
1 carrot, julienned
1 bunch of enoki mushrooms
1 can of straw mushrooms, sliced into halves
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
chopped spring onions
2 dessert-spoons of light soy sauce
2 dessert-spoons of dark soy sauce
3 dessert-spoons of ABC sweet dark sauce

1. Blanch the noodles in boiling water till soft. Remove and rinse in cold water. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat up some oil in a wok. Saute the carrots till slightly soft. Remove.

3. In the same wok, saute the garlic till fragrant. Add the noodles and toss briefly.

4. Combine the sauces in a bowl and pour over the noodles. Fry to mix the noodles with the sauce evenly.

5. Add the bean sprouts, enoki and straw mushrooms, and sauteed carrot juliennes. Fry and mix all the ingredients with the noodles, making sure the ingredients are evenly distributed. (I hold a frying spatula in one hand and a pair of chopsticks in the other hand to do this.)

6. Serve the noodles garnished with the chopped spring onions.

The dried yee-fu noodles in their original packaging.


Sunday, November 07, 2004


Recipe: Curry Chicken (the Easy-Way-Out Version)

Curry chicken is immensely popular here in Singapore. We have it for lunch, for dinner, at parties, and even at picnics. Due to our melting pot culture, many versions of this dish have evolved. Some popular versions are: Indian, Malay, Nonya, and Chinese. Each has its own following. And of course, every family has their own unique recipe.

Actually, cooking curry is rather easy. The troublesome part is preparing the myriad of spices and ingredients for the curry paste. But I've discovered a wondrous way to simplify this process: Pre-mix curry paste.

Wait, stop there! Don't leave yet! Lend me your ears (or in this case, eyes). Hey, when one has a craving for homemade curry and yet doesn't have time to labour over the curry paste, a good pre-mix is the way to go! And I found mine in
Chng Kee's curry paste. It actually tastes pretty close to my mom's version. But I've added some extra ingredients to improve the taste of the curry: lemongrass for its wonderful, lemony fragrance; onions for extra aroma and sweetness; and chilli powder for more oomph.

Curry Chicken (Julia's Easy-Way-Out Version)

Serves 6

6 fresh chicken legs, skinned and chopped into four pieces each
1 kg fresh chicken wings or mid-joints**
6 large waxy potatoes, quartered
1 jar Chng Kee's Curry Paste
1 red spanish onion, finely chopped
5 stalks of lemongrass, slightly crushed
10 grams of chilli powder
5 gms of curry powder (optional)
light soy sauce
200 ml coconut cream

1. Marinate the chicken lightly with some sugar, light soy sauce, and corn flour.

2. Heat up 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok. Saute the onions. When they turn soft, add the chilli paste and fry for a minute.

3. Add the lemongrass stalks, chilli and curry powders, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Mix well with the paste.

4. Mix the chicken and potatoes with the curry paste. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes.

5. Add water till the water level is about two inches above the chicken and potatoes. Cover and simmer gently till the chicken is cooked.

6. Turn the fire down so that the curry hardly simmers. Add the coconut cream. Stir and mix thoroughly.

7. Bring the curry to a boil again, and let it simmer for another 3 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

*Plain jasmine rice is great with this spicy curry. But I also like it with baguette or crusty bread to mop up the delicious curry gravy.

**We love chicken wings, that's why there's so much of them in this recipe. You can use fewer wings and more chicken legs if you prefer.


Friday, November 05, 2004


Sliced Fish and Beansprouts Horfun

It's been a busy week. No time to cook, so I've had to eat out. This was what I had for one of my dinners: Sliced Fish and Beansprouts Horfun (S$4.50).

The horfun (flat rice noodles) was stir-fried and topped with sliced fish, beansprouts and spring onions in a yummy gravy. Presented in a miniature steel wok. Cute. In the small dish by the side is pickled green chilli and belachan chilli sauce.

The savoury gravy was delicious! It combined perfectly with the noodles and fish. And there were lots of sweet and crunchy beansprouts! The noodles tasted even better with the green chilli and spicy belachan. Mmm...nice. This is quite similar to the usual seafood horfun, but I like this version because it has lots of fish and beansprouts. It's not widely available in foodcourts. The one I had was at the Food Junction foodcourt at Great World City.


Wednesday, November 03, 2004


d'Original Satay Club

Desmond, R.'s brother-in-law, took us out for Sunday dinner at d'Original Satay Club. Thanks Desmond! :) It's actually an al fresco dining concept by the bay under the Esplanade Bridge. Yes, that's right. A bridge. A huge bridge for vehicles, actually. We were actually eating while cars, motorcycles, buses and trucks were whizzing by above our heads. So it was pretty amazing that we hardly heard any noise from the vehicles. In fact, it was rather breezy and comfortable. Plus we were just next to the bay. This is a perfect place to eat satay (barbequed meat skewers) and drink beer.

This was what we came for. Clockwise from right: sliced fresh cucumber and onions, mutton satay, chicken satay, and ketupat (Malay rice cakes). In the foreground is a bowl of spicy peanut sauce, the dip for the satay. S$0.50 per stick, minimum order of 10 sticks. S$1.00 for one portion of rice cake.

Close-up of the satay. These were rather dry. We suspect that the satay had been pre-grilled, and heated up only slightly. That's probably why they came almost immediately after we placed our orders.

Sotong you tiao. S$6.00. These are deep-fried Chinese doughsticks with minced squid.

Seafood fried rice. S$8.00. The rice was quite fragrant and moist, but where's the seafood?

Seafood horfun. S$8.00. Flat rice noodles with seafood and gravy. This dish was quite generous with prawns and squid, but fish cake slices were used instead of fresh fish slices.

Stir-fried kailan. Can't remember the price, maybe about S$10.00?

Verdict? The food was average. I wouldn't bring my overseas friends here for definitive satay. There's certainly much better satay to be found here in Singapore. Same goes for the other dishes. I'm surprised that the operators, who are descendants of the hawkers at the famed Satay Club, aren't doing a good job of maintaining the quality of their satay. It's a pity about the food, because d'Original's unusual location makes it a cool place to chill out. And it's also next to the new Merlion Park and the Esplanade, so diners can go for a lovely walk before or after dinner and enjoy the sights.


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