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Singapore was recently ranked the most expensive city in the world, and when we sent this news to our friend Abel who just moved back, he replied with the above picture and following comment:
"And yet… I pay $2 for amazing cha kuey teow and of course… mee pok!"
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Friday’s BBQ chicken wing post had me waxing nostalgic about the Old Airport Road hawker center so I went back and realized I never posted about Albert Street’s prawn mee…
Albert Street is actually a handful of stalls down from Hai Fatt BBQ on the outside row of Old Airport Road closest to the street…
The owner has been making the same noodles for the last 51 years!
Three large, delicious prawns in a sweet and spicy shrimp soup…
With thick egg noodles and crispy fried shallots….
This would be the perfect dish for a cold day… but as it never gets cold in Singapore, it’s the perfect dish for ANY day!
OLD AIRPORT ROAD FOOD CENTRE
19 Old Airport Rd
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Seeing those Malaysian chicken wings in @cavalock’s earlier food haze brought back memories of my favorite BBQ wing joint in the Old Airport Road hawker center in Singapore and I thought I would share…
Hai Fatt is the place, located in the outside row closest to the street…
The owner does it old school; he grills the wings over charcoal, fanning them by hand, one rack at a time…
Then he clips them with scissors for easier eating…
One order will set you back about five bucks…
And DO NOT miss his homemade chilli sauce…
OLD AIRPORT ROAD FOOD CENTRE
19 Old Airport Rd
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2013 was a record year of travel for me. I flew more miles than ever, visited more cities than ever, and ate in more restaurants than ever.
While my last list was of the best single dishes I ate last year, this post is all about the best overall MEALS I enjoyed over the last 12 months. The combination of dishes, the service, the atmosphere, the company… I took it all into consideration when ranking these incredible eateries. But in the end, it all came down to the food; the concept, the execution and, of course, the taste!
Much like my earlier list, the Top 20 here ranks only restaurants I visited for the FIRST TIME last year. That automatically eliminates old favorites like Kyo Ya, Tonton, Incanto, Takazawa, Torishige and Aidoru, who all fed me amazing meals and remain at the top of their game!
Unlike the previous list, I did try and rank these restaurants in order.
Drum roll, please…
1. State Bird Provisions, San Francisco
Best meal I had all year. Hands down! Every bite was pure joy.
2. Jimbocho Den, Tokyo
Chef Zaiyu Hasegawa is doing the most incredible and innovative things with his cooking, while not forgetting to make food fun. It’s always nice to get a little theater mixed in with your fine dining! Every one of his dishes tells a story.
3. Candlenut, Singapore
Peranakan food at its finest. Chef Malcolm Lee is paying respect to the recipes of the past while developing fantastic flavors for modern palates.
4. The Box Tree Restaurant, Ilkley, UK
An amazing discovery in Northern England! Top notch dining in the most classic of settings. (Thanks, Adi & Tamsin!)
5. Sushi Saito, Tokyo
Finally got to see for myself why Sushi Saito is regarded as the best sushi shop in the world. Fresh fish without peer.
6. Krok Mai, Koh Samui, Thailand
Dined in a grass hut in the middle of a downpour as the umbrella-carrying servers delivered plate after plate of the most terrific Thai food I’ve ever tasted.
7. Kappo, NYC
Chef Paul Carmichael’s private counter inside Ma Peche, at Kappo you leave yourself in his hands for a four hour feast of the most dazzling dishes in NYC!
8. Wolvesmouth at San Diego Comic Con, San Diego, CA
Food is art, and the meal Chef Craig Thornton prepared proved it with every plate.
9. Perut Rumah, Penang, Malaysia
Classic Baba-Nyonya cooking in an old townhouse in Penang. Every bite was a history lesson.
10. Kikunoi, Kyoto
I can now cross “Eat at a Three Starred Michelin Restaurant in Kyoto” off my bucket list.
11. Barraca Valenciana, Mexico City
A former El Bulli chef returns home to specialize in tasty tortas and Mexican craft beer… Chef José Miguel García making magic in Mexico City!
12. Goblin, Tokyo
The best Japanese-French fusion restaurant you have never heard of. Yet.
13. Pig & The Lady, Honolulu
Finally in a permanent location, The Pig & The Lady is putting fun twists on Vietnamese classics using locals ingredients and Asian inspiration.
14. Ramen Lab, Teterboro, NJ
Shige, Kenshiro and George gave me not only an education in ramen, but five bombastic bowls of broth and noodles!
15. MW Restaurant, Honolulu
Pork wrapped fried oysters, foie gras with sukiyaki, mochi-crusted opakapaka over somen… Chef Wade Ueoka’s combinations give you pause at first, but then have you grinning ear-to-ear after you dig in, begging for more.
16. Biang!, Flushing, NY
It’s all about the spice. And no one does it better.
17. El Vilsito Taqueria, Mexico City
Handmade tortillas, fresh salsas, grilled meats sliced right before your eyes… all served in the middle of a bustling street corner. Everything a Mexican taqueria is supposed to be.
18. Nonchan, Kobe, Japan
Nonchan in Kobe served me chicken parts I’d never even heard of before…. like bonchiri still attached to the rest of the butt!
19. Tenkaipin, Kyoto
This was a pilgrimage for me. The original Tenkaipin in Kyoto is the only shop that still makes their soup from scratch everyday. I’d been waiting 20 years to eat here and it was everything I’d hoped for.
20. Sora no Iro, Tokyo
Normally, I see “veggie ramen” and walk away, but this was the freshest, most exciting bowl of ramen I slurped all last year. And don’t let the name fool you…. there’s pork in it!
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Going through my 2013 food pics and restaurant notes and came across this image from Singapore that made my mouth water, so I just had to share…
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Brought La Mien instant laksa back for my friend Sean Ng and now he’s food hazing me with pictures of it…
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Mutsumi cooked up a number of Singaporean and Malaysian dishes last night at one of our “Taste of Our Travels” dinners, where we use recipes and ingredients we bring back from the countries we visited. She surprised even me by preparing an incredible take on Hainanese Curry Rice later in the meal!!
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The Here Be Geeks guys spared me from a redux of my previous day’s disastrous lunch by bringing me nasi lemak to chow down on the last day of the con. Thanks, Wai!
What you see here all unwrapped is rice flavored with padang leaf packed with a bergedil (a kind of potato ball), a sambal chicken wing, a fish cake, peanuts and ikan bilis, or dried fish.
This hit the spot!
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Breakfast, Day Four…
Back to the Chinatown Complex! Breakfast there was so good the first time around, we decided to go back and try the places we missed… and the places that had long lines we didn’t want to wait in earlier! We figured if people were waiting that long, it must be worth finding out why…
We started with two of the joints that had the longest lines last time we visited… both of which had barely any line at this time in the morning!
So first we got the sublime fishball soup from Hong Xing…
Plump fishballs with such a subtle hint of simple fishy flavor in the broth…
And two types of noodles…
And then we headed over to Ah Heng for their Curry Chicken Bee Hoon Mee…
They sell so much of this stuff they have to keep large vats stewing…
Constantly kept fresh, I have a video of how this works that I’ll be posting shortly…
Chicken, tofu, potatoes and egg noodles in a heavy coconut curry soup, just the way I like it…
Realizing we hadn’t had Bah Ku Teh yet, which is a famous pork bone soup, we instantly went on the hunt for a bowl. And as this place had “Morning” in its name, we thought it would be perfect…
And it was!
A darker, less peppery soup than we expected, so maybe they tone it down in the morning…
The meat was fall-off-the-bone delectable…
Lastly, we looked for the longest line we could find and came across this joint, Joe Pork Porridge & Raw Fish, and knew we just had to try it…
We deiced to forego the raw fish and went straight for the “pork parts” porridge…
Where we discovered just why people were lining up!
One of the best dishes we had all week!
Tasty, tender bits of tripe, kidneys, liver, pork chop and pork meatballs in a warm rice porridge… I will go back for this every trip to Singapore from now on!!
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