THE TAKEOUT REVIEW…

July has been a troubled month for us Singaporeans. And an especially despairing month for our F&B establishments. The pandemic has caused the country in and out of 2 heightened alert lockdown, resulting in no dining-in at all restaurants, food stalls, food courts and everything in between. Takeouts for many of us have become a norm. And though I’m not an advocate for takeouts (because takeout foods simply don’t travel well), I was ready to do my part in supporting local food businesses. Choosing the kind of food that are able to survive the car ride helps!

VERY LUCKY TURTLE SOUP

No takeout is complete without one from a trusted favorite. Unlike pre-pandemic days, we were able to secure as much Yam Rice as we wished this time. I am not a big fan of yam rice unless it’s from Very Lucky. No, it’s not full of yam, if that’s what you’re after. There are just bits of tender yam cubes, yet somehow, the flavor is robust. The rice grains are firm and nicely separated. It is fragrant and flavorful, and goes so perfectly with the turtle soup.

Very Lucky’s signature turtle soup is rich with sweet herbal flavors. I always ask for more turtle soft shell skin. I love the glutinous texture that is soft and spongy to the bite. Turtle meat can be tough if not cooked well. But at Very Lucky’s, the meat is tear-apart tender and resembles soft jerky meat. We scored 10 hard-to-come-by turtle eggs as well. These are eaten whole. Let the fresh yolk warm up in a bit of soup and pop one in your mouth, savor as the delicate yolk bursts like a little ball of silky lava on your tongue!

I’ve never been disappointed with the turtle soup here. It is consistently good. And it travels very well too! Just a quick nuke in the microwave (if your lazy) or a quick reheat over the stove and you’re ready to eat. Leftovers tastes just as good the following day!

Very Lucky Turtle Soup @ 166 Jln Berseh, #02-38 to 49, Singapore 208877 Phone +65 62920851

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OLD SHIFU CHARCOAL PORRIDGE

A new porridge restaurant had started operating in my hood. An elderly porridge Master Shifu had left his famous porridge restaurant of 50 years to branch out on his own. A bold move, given Shifu’s age and the current economy. I’ve read a number of good things about Old Shifu Charcoal Porridge. And given the popularity he’s garnered at the original stall (also in the same neighborhood) for many decades, one wouldn’t expect anything less here with the master at the helm.

We ordered 4 different types of porridge and a portion of Chinese dough fritters to go. Century Egg porridge, Mixed Pork porridge, Shredded Chicken Porridge, and Li Wan Boat Porridge. All with a fresh egg broken in and extra add-on of salted egg. If you prefer silky smooth porridge, this isn’t it. Instead, it is dense and starchy, contradicting a review I read describing the porridge watery. I don’t like my porridge watery but this was way too thick and heavy. Every bowl is accompanied by a good amount of ingredients, but that’s about it. The porridge was lacking flavor, flavor and flavor! Almost as if they forgot the salt. For me, this has been disappointing, based on the chef’s background and history tied to one of the most famous porridge stalls in Singapore.

Porridge usually thicken a little bit when packed to go. So it didn’t help that this was already very thick and dried up even more after a mere 10-minute ride.

Old Shifu Charcoal Porridge @ Seng Poh Road, #01-17 Block 58, Singapore 160058 Phone +65 82018668

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HONG WEN MUTTON SOUP

A dear friend treated us to this notably famous Chinese Mutton Soup from Beauty World Plaza. I’ve not had Chinese Mutton Soup for eons, and have forgotten how much I used to enjoy it. Hong Wen’s mutton ribs are cooked in a full bodied herbal soup that’s bound to keep you slurping non stop! The rich broth has strong scents of Chinese wine and ginger, and a sweeter undertone than I’d expected; so folks who are adversed to strong herbal tastes would probably welcome this sweetness. The ribs are lean and tender, without any overpowering gaminess; and they fall apart on the slightest pinch of the chopsticks. There aren’t many places selling this anymore and it is great having this again after so many years!

This is perfect as a takeout. It stays hot for quite a while; and reheating in the microwave does not affect the meat or soup in any way.

Hong Wen Mutton Soup 紅炆羊肉湯 @ Stall 04-20, Beauty World Centre, 144 Upper Bukit Timah Rd, Singapore 588177 Phone +65 9889 8948

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BISMILLAH BIRYANI

Four-time Michelin Bib Gourmand Award Winner serving a mean Dum Biryani, a curry rice and meat dish cooked together in a huge cauldron. We ordered both the top favorites, Chicken Dum Biryani & Young Mutton Biryani. The mutton Biryani was outstanding! The meat is extremely tender, and the flavor of the lamb is deeply infused in the rice. The chicken Biryani is cooked with a mixture of chicken parts and while the drumsticks retained good moisture, the breast meat was dry and leathery. The Biryani rice for both is perfectly cooked. Every long grain basmati rice is fluffy and separated; infused in lovely herbs and spices. I like dousing the rice with the accompanying tangy yogurt sauce to cut the heaviness and spiciness of the curried rice. It’s a very satisfying meal!

Unfortunately, their Broast Chicken didn’t quite cut it despite the hype. It was crispy as promised, but sans flavor and definitely not juicy as claimed! Very unworthy of the $6.50 price tag.

The Biryani heats up nicely in the microwave; though I reckon it tastes good even a little cold. Its a good takeout choice!

Bismillah Biryani @ 50 Dunlop Street Singapore 209379 Phone +65 69351326

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THE CHEESE SHOP

Finally got a chance to pay this The Cheese Shop a visit. Unexpectedly, it holds a rather wide range of cheeses. Many of which are quite unique. We tried a number of unusual cheeses and they were all quite good. Prices are reasonable; the staff is friendly and knowledgeable. There’s even a small alcohol corner on a mezzanine floor where you could pick out some wine or champagne, beer and spirits. Definitely worth a trip, especially for some funky cheeses!

So much cheese!
Some unusual picks.

Cheeses are packed and sealed in saran wrap and paper, to keep them from drying out. And they stay fresh even if you open it up a few days later.

The Cheese Shop @ 58 Jln Jurong Kechil, Singapore 598582 Phone +65-8887-2044

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ROAST PARADISE

Last but not least, the Char Siu at Roast Paradise is truly as delicious as they or anyone else claim. After a few hours sitting in its styrofoam box, the Char Siu was as soft and juicy as if it was freshly chopped and served. My request for equal fatty and lean cut with extra char was ideal. The meat is savory sweet without being cloying. The fatty part of the meat isn’t eeky greasy. Many have compared them to the likes of KL’s exceptional Char Siu and I must agree it is indeed very, very close.

Their Siu Yuk Roast Pork belly did not withstand time as well. After a couple of hours, the crackling had turned to a soft, rubbery skin. In desperation (cuz nobody’s gonna wanna eat no rubbery crackling), I popped the meat in the oven under the broiler for a good 10 minutes and lo and behold, the crackling was back! And complete with some smokey burnt bits even (a good thing in my books!). While the crackling returned to its former crunchy glory, the meat remained moist and tender. It was very flavorful as well and not just plain salty like many others. So definitely a good choice; that is if you don’t wait too long to eat it (unless you have an oven to revive it!).

Roast Paradise has beaten a current favorite Roast Meat stall of mine. And I will even go through the trouble with the Siu Yuk again cuz its all worth it!

Roast Paradise @ 51 Old Airport Rd, #01-121, Singapore 390051 Phone9786 7396

Disclaimer- This is not a sponsored post

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