Bombs away! : Mala Xiang Guo at Hougang Mall

Mala Xiang Guo [Second Stall from the Front, Hougang Mall, Hougang Ave 6, Singapore 538766]

Mala Xiang Guo is becoming popular in Singapore. It first started in some Chinese restaurants and the trend soon caught up, with shopping centres all over Singapore opening their own Mala Xiang Guo stalls.

Mala Xiang Guo literally means, Numbing Spicy Pot. It is a pot filled with spices specially chosen to numb your mouth, your tongue and your senses.

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Wide variety of ingredients to choose from!

You basically get a big metal bowl, use the metal tongs available, and pick whatever you would like to eat. There is a wide variety of choices, from Vegetables to Mushrooms to Meat and even Maggi Noodles. Basically you grab your food and leave it into the bowl, the cashier will weigh your ingredients and calculate the final cost.

After which, you have a choice of Less Spicy, Medium Spicy, or Very Spicy. (Warning: Do not start with Very Spicy at your first try. You could possibly start sniffing, or your tongue and lips will start to tingle, or both.. True Story.) Once chosen, the cashier will send your order to the kitchen.. where your chosen ingredients will be fried with your selected spices and sent piping hot to the counter when it’s done.

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The final product: I couldn’t capture the steam!

Here’s how it looks like when done. As my tolerance of spicy food is rather high, I chose Medium Spicy. The entire dish basically tastes savoury. It has a good mix of garlic, chilli, and other random spices that gives you a rather satisfying taste. While the spicy levels are rather high, you are still able to taste the flavour and umami of your selected ingredients and you end up with this warm, fuzzy feeling in your tummy in the end.

Some of my must grab ingredients:

  1. Luncheon Meat (the natural salty luncheon meat goes hand in hand with the spicy sauce. It adds flavour to an already flavourful dish. It is like adding another engine to a Ferrari)
  2. Mushrooms (Mushrooms are naturally crunchy and they add a different texture to the dish as you crunch on them)
  3. Potatoes (Personal favourite, you can’t eat something without potatoes)
  4. Maggi Noodles (You have to get this. The noodles soak up the goodness of the gravy and every mouth of the noodles are a microcosm of all the flavours in the dish)
  5. Fish (It is basically a slab of Dory fish. I believe it is lightly marinated in sesame oil. When cooked with the sauce, the fish takes on a spicy flavour, but has a light fresh peppered taste.)
  6. Cabbage (The vegetables add a degree of sweetness to the dish, making it even more layered in flavour. Honestly it would have been too spicy without the sweetness coming from the vegetables)
  7. Crab Meat (There’s something with Spicy stuff and processed food that goes well together. I have no idea why)

Anyway, the meal came up to a total of $16. (10% discount with Kopitam Card) I think I really grabbed too much fish and meat. But I felt as if I were the King of the World after wolfing down the meal. Worth it.

Mala Xiang Guo [Second Stall from the Front, Hougang Mall, Hougang Ave 6, Singapore 538766]


Changi Village Triple Goodness

[Changi Village Hawker Centre – Blk 2 Changi Village Road Singapore 500002]

My old army camp is near to Changi Village. It is so near that running our 2.4km tests involves running pass the food centres there. Most of the time we eat there during nights outs, or when we got to serve guard duties.. that becomes our only source of comfort. So we have always associated Changi Village with comfort food, and good food. I had the chance to drop by Changi V today and of course, I ordered the usual favourites.
photo 2[International Nasi Lemak Stall 01-03, Changi Village Hawker Centre]

Before Changi V went for the major renovation, the crowd usually queued for International Nasi Lemak. However, after the renovation, Mizzy Nasi Lemak took up the stall where International used to occupy. And therefore people continued to queue at the same place, not realizing that it’s a different stall. For nostalgia sake, I still order from International nowadays. But I suppose there’s not much difference.

The rice is fragrant, with coconut and a strong hint of savoury goodness like onions and chicken. The chicken is freshly fried. One might note that the joints have red spots, but I can assure you that’s the sweet spot of fried chicken and it’s at its peak of tenderness. If you cook beyond that, it’ll be too tough. The egg yolk used to be runny, but it’s fully cooked today. And the chilli, while sweet, complements the rice very well.

Nasi Lemak with Chicken Set: $3.50

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[Wing Kee Original Ipoh Hor Fun Stall 01-18, Changi Village Hawker Centre]

I can’t go all the way to Changi V and not eat the Ji Pa Horfun, also known as Set No.2. I’m not a big fan of horfun, but this is one of the smoothest horfun I’ve ever tasted. The journey from mouth to stomach was so smooth that you can’t resist putting more into your mouth. The horfun sits in a pool of gravy that’s obviously made of some traditional family recipe that they won’t tell you. If the horfun is Hello Kitty, then the gravy must be Dear Daniel. You can’t live without each other. The gravy has a savoury taste and has a hint of oyster and chicken flavour. To top off the ultimate combo, you have the freshly fried and chopped chicken cutlet. The skin is crispy, with just the right amount of fats to make it melt in your mouth. The meat is so flavourful it makes you smile just eating it. Definitely a must eat.

Chicken Hor Fun: $3.50

I also ate the famous Red Tea Longan for dinner, but I forgot to take pictures. I will update another time, this definitely won’t be my last time in Changi V. Stay tuned!

Curry Curry: Best Fish Head Curry

Curry Curry [203 Hougang St 21 Singapore 530202]

To me, Curry Fish Head has always been a comfort food.

By far, the best Curry Fish Head I’ve tasted is found in this cosy little place called Curry Curry. It is next to a NTUC Fairprice, and is just a short distance away from the MacDonalds at Kovan.

Store view while walking from NTUC

As we approached the place near 8pm, it was still packed with people queueing and waiting for their Curry Fish Head to drive the impending Monday blues away. You can almost smell the curry aroma oozing through our noses, a sign of what we could expect later.

Airconditioned seating inside

The place was recently renovated, so the inside seating has been airconditioned for a more comfortable setting to attack your fish head. As you can read from the red poster up in front, No Service Charge, No GST, No Vegetable Oil. They cook with Canola Oil, whatever that is.. for them to advertise it, I suppose it’s healthy.

Alfresco seating outside

Of course, if you’re game for alfresco seating, there are plenty of tables out there for you to sweat it out while eating your curry fish head.
The Curry Fish Head/Tail

Today unfortunately the Curry Fish Head was sold out, so we had the Curry Fish Tail instead.

Some people swear by the Fish Head, because the meat there is more tender, but has more bones.

Some people prefer the fish tail, because it has less bones, has more meat because well obviously the fish swims with its tail and not its head. So it’s really a case of personal preference.

For those who are unfamiliar with Curry Fish Head, the dish consists of Curry, the Fish Head/or Tail, Brinjals, Ladies Fingers, Tomatoes and some Tau Pok soaking up the curry essence.

This curry is like the best of both worlds. It combines the unique character of chinese curry, which has a mild spicy and savoury taste, with the stronger indian curry spices, which gives us the pleasant aroma of indian curry and depth in taste. You can also taste the tomatoes and lentils within the curry, giving it a wonderful texture with a tinge of sourness to complement the spices.

Anyway, at 8.15pm, I overhead the boss announcing all fish heads and fish tails are sold out. So if you’re keen to try the meal, do come early! The Fish Head and Fish Tail cost the same, the entire meal was around $30. (Fish Tail and 2 rice and 2 drinks)

Curry Curry [203 Hougang St 21 Singapore 530202] Closed on Mondays

Hatter Street: Fuss Free Waffles!

Hatter Street [212 Hougang Street 21, 530212]

We were just aimlessly scrolling through facebook when a waffle post comes up. Hatter Street Waffles, near Kovan MRT.

Sounds like a place I would have walked by several times in the past few months. If it’s that famous, I would have at least stopped and looked. But no impression leh.

Upon arrival, I realized why I’ve missed the shop a few times. It’s next to the famous Nakhon Kitchen in Kovan. It’s easy to lose focus on the queueing people of Nakhon Thai and then launch into a daydream of one day opening a nice little Thai restaurant selling Cha Nom Yen, Khai Tot, Tom Yam and Kuay Teow Neua… No wonder I keep missing this cosy little shop.

Cosy shop right next to Nakhon Kitchen. Check out the queue of people on the right!

A picture of the shop along Hougang St 21, just a few steps down from Mcdonalds, and next to Nakhon Thai. This is a nice little cosy place where you can sit down with a few close friends, stare at the roads and just talk about life.

Waffles with Salted Caramel and Vanilla Icecream

We ordered Waffles with Salted Caramel and Vanilla Icecream. The waffles were crispy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside. There’s a nice hint of milk as the waffles melt in your mouth, which makes it very addictive. And the presentation looks very atas and good.

And as we all know, if you eat too much of milk flavoured waffles, you will get sick of it. We Singaporeans call it “gelat“. Obviously the folks that created this dish have realized this as well.. the Salted Caramel balances the “gelatness” with a tangy sauce that is half sweet, half sour. It tastes something like a mix between the sour of a young green apple, and a sweet red apple. I don’t know why salted caramel taste like apples, but it still tastes good! And it complements the milky waffles very well!

The ice cream just taste like vanilla la. But the three of them seems to work well together.. leaving behind a nice tasting dessert.

So how much does it cost? $8.50, enough to fill 2 satisfied stomachs. Check it out the next time you’re in the area!

Hatter Street [212 Hougang Street 21, 530212]

21 Seafood – Crab cravings, high savings!

After watching a bunch of Bear Grylls videos eating seafood, I had a very strong craving for seafood, especially crabs.

We were deciding between Crab Party (which had quite decent reviews, but pretty expensive), and 21 Seafood in Kovan (decent reviews, but very cheap).

We went with the economical option in the end, bought over by the offer of 3 crabs for $20!

21 Seafood [212 Hougang Street 21, Singapore 530212]

3 crabs for $22, 3 crabs for $23 or 3 crabs for $25.
The signs were clear. 3 crabs for $22, 3 crabs for $23 or 3 crabs for $25. You could literally see the chefs cooking your dishes inside with big fire and lots of wok action!

Kai Lan with Oyster Sauce
The first dish that arrived. Kai Lan fried with oyster sauce. I would have preferred more garlic, but the Kai Lan was crunchy and sweet, just the right texture I liked!

Creamy Butter Crabs
The star dish of the day! 3 Creamy Butter Crabs. A few initial thoughts:

1. I thought it was going to be butter overdose. However I discovered to my pleasant surprise that the savoury juices of the crabs combined with the milky butter goodness to create a sweet umami sauce that makes you want to eat more.

2. We eventually purchased buns to go along with the very nice gravy. The buns were sweet, and added another dimension to the taste!

3. The crabs were bigger than expected! We thought it was going to be really small baby crabs, but the crabs we had were quite substantial. You could really taste the firm flesh off the shells.

The Final Bill
The final bill turns out to be $50. This was what we ordered:

  1. 3 x creamy butter crabs
  2. Oyster Sauce Kai Lan
  3. Marmite Pork Ribs (nice, but we over ordered)
  4. 2 x white rice
  5. 1 x Barley drink
  6. 6 buns

The bill would have been $38 if we hadn’t ordered the marmite pork ribs. We were pretty much stuffed after that. A good place to come to satisfy your crab cravings at a low price!

21 Seafood [212 Hougang Street 21, Singapore 530212]