Pho 99 Vietnamese Delights

Mr J, Mr Harvest-The-Crops, Ms PR and I went out for lunch. Ms PR had just recovered from a terrible bout of food poisoning and she wanted something light and soupy to slowly ease her still sore tummy back to normal food. We passed by this quaint, hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese restaurant opposite Amoy Street Food Centre and it was just perfect. Vietnamese food is very delicate and light. Exactly what Ms PR needed.

Pho 99 is run by Vietnamese so you know the food's bound to be authentic. It's a very tiny restaurant but the turnover's quite fast so you don't really have to wait very long for a table in the cramped little restaurant space.

A Set Meal ($11.90 nett) consists of a noodle dish, 2 pieces of their fried spring rolls (cha gio) and a drink. Mr J and I got the Chicken Pho, clear, subtle and slurpilicious with a generous topping of shredded poached chicken. I love how the slurpy smooth flat noodles went down like silk.

The Cha Gio (Vietnamese fried spring rolls) was good, freshly deep-fried and crisp, but it wasn't as good as Phan Viet Deli's version. The fillings were somehow a bit mushy and less flavourful.

Ms PR got the Beef Balls Noodle, in a more robust but still muted broth. The beef balls were chunky, flavourful but generic. Like those you find frozen at the supermarket.

Mr Harvest-The-Crops got the Beef Pho, with sliced beef and beef balls. The thinly-sliced but generously-portioned beef was very tender and hearty.

Pho 99 Vietnamese Delights
57/58 Amoy Street
Tel: 9768 8735 / 6410 9600
Open Mondays to Saturdays from 10am to 9pm
Sundays & Public Holidays from 10am to 8pm


Tiong Bahru Market

Going to Tiong Bahru Market is like stepping back in time. From the walk-up art-deco shophouse apartments gazetted for conservation, to the sleepy neighbourhood vibe and the generally slower pace of life felt here. Tiong Bahru Market boasts some of the more famous culinary hawker finds, and it's always packed to the brim on weekends with locals hankering for their favourite prawn noodles, lor mee, chwee kueh and/or chicken rice. Please note that Tiong Bahru Market is predominantly a breakfast and afternoon market (i.e. a fair number of the stalls open only in the morning and afternoon and are closed at night).

Jian Bo Shui Kueh arguably serves up one of the best, if not the best chwee kuehs around, a steamed rice cake topped with diced preserved radish (chye poh) and chilli sauce. The Chwee Kueh ($2.50 for 10 pieces) here well deserves its reputation, the plainess of the soft rice cakes was balanced out by the saltiness of the chye poh, with sweetish, dried shrimp-based sambal belachan adding spice and flavour.

The shop front. There's usually a very long queue but it moves very fast as well. This is one queue I don't usually mind joining.

Jian Bo Shui Kueh
Open daily from 6am to 10.45pm


I was introduced to this curry fish head stall by Beeps and her hubs. The Curry Fish Head ($18 for half a head) is generously packed with fried yams (which is an unusual addition), tomatoes, beancurd skin, lady's fingers and brinjal. The fish is always fresh, clean and soft, and the kickass nonya-style curry is thick, rich, luscious and really spicy. Bring tissues for your runny nose.

The stall facade. This stall used to be at Marina South, but moved to Tiong Bahru Market when Marina South underwent extensive construction for the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort (IR).

Marina South Curry Delight
Closed on Mondays


Tiong Bahru Market
30 Seng Poh Road


Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Chicken & Biscuits, Singapore Flyer

CC, Mr J, The Professor and I went out for lunch today for some "fresh air" and because we thought a change of scenery away from the unforgiving concrete jungle that is the CBD was "good for the soul". We headed to one of The Professor's favourite lunch spots for some Southern Deep-Fried Chicken at Popeyes.

We all got the 2-Piece Set Meal ($7.40) served with a regular side dish and soft drink. I got the Spicy Chicken, (both thigh meat because I'm really not a fan of breast meat). The meat was juicy, succulent, moist and tender. Even if the portions have shrunk, the chicken here is still notably better and bigger than KFC's miserly portions. But The Colonel has one thing Popeyes doesn't. The "secret recipe" original flavour marinade. Popeyes' chicken skin is crispy and flavourful, but it just can't beat the "11 herbs and spices" used in The Colonel's "secret recipe".

Popeyes' Mashed Potatoes with Cajun Gravy (regular) is one of the best around in the fast food business. The potatoes are very ho-hum, nothing to praise about (I suspect it's the instant-mix type). But the gravy is really yummy. It's mildly spiced, rich, thick and luscious. I can taste paprika, cayenne, thyme and parsley in the gravy, herbs often used in Cajun cooking.

Obviously those 2 pieces of chicken thigh weren't going to be enough, so I got the Fish Bites ($3.90) as well. This was more batter than fish, but it was still great as a tea-time snack.

CC and The Professor opted for the Coleslaw side instead, for some refreshing fibre to help coax the oil and meat along.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Chicken & Biscuits
30 Raffles Ave
Singapore Flyer
Open daily from 9am to 11.45pm
Tel: 6338 8862


Seafood Paradise, Singapore Flyer

I've mentioned before that Seafood Paradise at Defu had an atrocious waiting time, lacklustre seafood BUT admittedly good cze char fare. So when the BF and I visited the restaurant's Singapore Flyer branch on a weekday night, we stuck to their cze char offerings and gave their seafood dishes a miss.

We ordered their Stewed Ee-fu Noodle with Crabmeat ($12 for small), which was as yummy as ever. This is easily one of the best versions of this braised noodle dish around. I love the generousity of the shredded crabmeat and scrambled egg white oyster sauce-based gravy, plentiful straw mushrooms and oodles of softly braised egg noodles.

We also got the Sauteed Scallops with chef's XO Sauce ($20 for small). The BF recently learnt about the existence of XO sauce, from the claypot mushroom dish at Crystal Jade Kitchen at Holland Village, so he was keen to try this dish. This was aromatic, spicy and bold. I loved how succulent and sweet the scallops were.

The Homemade Beancurd with Seafood in Mini Wok ($10 for small) was also yummylicious. The essence of prawns and sea cucumber infused the oyster sauce based gravy with their umami flavours of the sea. But the beancurd was the star of the dish, it was silky, soft and incredibly smooth. Like a baby's bottom.

At the recommendation of the manager, we ordered the Seafood Tom Yam Soup ($8 per portion). This was clear, instead of the typical red-hued types. But it was no less lethal, my nose got runny after 2 spoonfuls of this deceptively spicy soup. The seafood was also pleasantly fresh, squid was bouncy and soft, and prawns were crunchy.

The only less-than-stellar dish was the Sauteed Diced Chicken with Dried Chilli and Cashew ($10 for small), which turned out a wee bit too sweet for our liking. We would have preferred a little more kick and heat to this dish.

The obligatory Appetizers ($1.50) was also quite an unusual treat. The flour-based crackers were sweetish, and it complemented the spicy and piquant pounded chili sauce in the background.

Seafood Paradise
30 Raffles Ave
Singapore Flyer
Open daily from 11.30am to 11pm
Tel: 6336 5101
Website: www.seafoodparadise.com.sg


Gelatissimo, Singapore Flyer

We stopped by Australian chain Gelatissimo for some Italian-style gelato.

Their gelatos are generally less guilt-laden than the usual ice-cream offerings from Ben & Jerry's or Haagen Daaz because they use less cream. A perfect icy treat on a balmy evening.

We got the Large Cup ($8.50) with rich and creamy Mint Chocolate (green), Hazelnut (brown) and Toasted Almond (white). My favourite's the mint chocolate, it's refreshing yet comforting at the same time.

The myriad of gelato and sorbet offerings is really quite an inviting sight. How do you say no to a view like that.

30 Raffles Ave
Singapore Flyer
Tel: 6338 7133


Ristorante Bologna

I like going to Ristorante Bologna for dinner. It's peaceful and quiet, I've never seen a screaming child here. Hmm, in fact, I've never seen a child dining here, period. It's romantic, the restaurant is never very full and it's always dimly lit with the warm inviting glow of candles. And it's unpretentious, I never feel like I have to act or eat daintily here (I'm not one of those prim and proper feminine girl types. In fact, my parents had to send me to ettiquette school to learn how not to sit at the dinner table with my legs propped up on the chair. Obviously, I didn't learn much, hahaa!).

We shared the starter of Insalata Di Capesante Al Forno Con Le Olive Taggiasche E La Salsa All'erba Cipollina ($30) Sea Scallops with Olives and Cold Chive Sauce. I love scallops and these were plump and succulent, seared just right so it was nicely caramelized on the outside but all its wonderful juices were still retained on the inside.

I'm a sucker for good risottos, and Ristorante Bologna's version is done very well. The sunny Risotto Con I Pistilli Di Zafferano E Funghi Trifolati ($28) Saffron Risotto with Sauteed Mushrooms was starchy, creamy and cheesy all at once, with saffron lending grassy sweetness to the dish. The only downside was the sprinkling of chopped parsley to the mushrooms atop the risotto. I left the parsley-infused mushrooms alone.

We also got a meat dish, Medaglioni di Manzo in Padella con I Funghi Porcini e La Fonduta di Taleggio di Valle ($44) Beef Medellions with Porcini Mushrooms and Fondue of Taleggio Cheese. The beef was juicy, tender and full-bodied, with a well-seared crust. I would have liked to see more of the porcini mushroom gravy though.

We needed some greens to wash down all that starch and protein, so we got some Spinaci Al Burro E Pinoli ($10) Spinach Sauteed with Pine Nuts and Butter. This was warm, fragrant and had a hint of metallic sweetness.

The Funghi Trifolati ($10) Sauteed Mushrooms with Garlic is a perennial favourite, with its varied textures of oyster, white button, shitake mushrooms. They were simply tossed with olive oil and garlic to focus on the natural flavours of the mushrooms.

The Complimentary Bread Basket with 4 different breads, was fresh, warm, buttery and sweet. Olive tapenade accompanied this on the side.

Ristorante Bologna
Marina Mandarin
Level 4
Tel: 6845 1111
Open Mondays to Fridays from 12 noon to 2.30pm for lunch and 6.30pm to 10.30pm for dinners. Closed on Sundays



Prego's our fail-safe, go-to restaurant for hearty and rustic Italian fare. It also serves one of the best risottos around. I was craving some good ol' risotto so we headed there after work.

The BF wanted some pasta so he got the Agnolotti Brasato in Salsa Leggera di Funghi ($28), a variety of ravioli filled with braised beef shank tossed in a porcini mushroom sauce. This was surprisingly less heavy than we expected. We love the flavourful rich beef in the soft dumplings and the delicate mushroom sauce.

I got the 2-course set dinner at $76, with Saffron and Prawn Organic Arborio Rice as my main. The cheerfully-hued risotto was creamy yet pleasantly light, with peppery red and green capsicums cutting through the starch and rich cheese. Succulent cubes of prawns added crunch and texture.

The Dessert-of-the-Day was the Sugar-Free Chocolate Delight, with Sicilian orange and almond milk gelato. The gelato was very airy so you almost don't feel like you're eating dessert, with strawberry and oranges adding tartness. Indulgence without the guilt.

Level 1, Fairmont Singapore
80 Bras Basah Road
Tel: 6431 5156
Open daily for breakfast from 6am to 11am, lunch from 11.30am to 2.30pm and dinner from 6.30pm to 10.30pm


Marks and Spencer

Marks & Spencer finally brought back their Raspberry Viennese ($4.90)! I love the buttery, airy-fairy biscuits sandwiched with rich vanilla cream and tartish-sweet raspberry jam.

These heavenly sandwiches were so crumbly and light, you almost don't feel any guilt eating the biscuits. Please note that this runs out really fast, so be sure to buy a couple more than you think you want.

This is the toffee variation, Toffee Viennese ($4.90). The buttery biscuits are topped with a layer of decadent caramel and then covered in premium milk chocolate.

This isn't as sickeningly sweet as most caramel-based confectionery. I love how the burnt sugar edge of the toffee cuts through the rich sweetness of the milk chocolate. Please be cautioned that this gets all over your fingers when served at room temperature, which the BF likes. I prefer it refrigerator-cold, so there's no sticky mess.

Marks and Spencer

252 North Bridge Road
#02-01 Raffles City Shopping Centre
Tel: 6339 9013



Pontini's one of those candlelit, private, grand piano musically accompanied restaurants that's perfect for romance but bad for food photography.

We like it here. The ambience is quiet and peaceful so you can be assured there's no loud boisterous idiot yakking away. Service is warm and friendly (seriously, everyone from the pianist to the cooks at the oven greets you with a big big smile) but still discreet and unintrusive.

The BF wanted something light and healthy so we ordered the Pan-Fried Barramundi in Onion Broth ($32), a fairly large chunk of firm, white-fleshed fish balanced on a few king oyster mushrooms in a pool of rich onion broth. I liked how the earthy mushrooms cut through the sweetness of the onions.

I got the Saltimbocca alla Romana ($38) of veal with parma ham atop a bed of prosecco risotto. The rolls of parma ham wrapped veal was very full-bodied and meaty, something The Professor would like. I would have liked the risotto to be cooked for a little longer, the grains weren't cooked through and soft enough.

Obviously those 2 dishes weren't going to be enough for us. So we got the Grand Copthorne Pizza ($25), with arugula and parma ham. I loved the biscuit-thin crust of the pizza that had a smoky hint of the wood-fired oven, the piquant tomato base, the bitter greens and the rich saltiness of the parma ham. Easily the best dish of the dinner.

The Bread Basket was pretty good. The bread featured were very crusty, but with a soft centre. The BF particularly liked the nutty walnut bread.

Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel
392 Havelock Road
Level 2
Tel: 6233 1133
Opening hours:
Lunch 12:00pm - 2:30pm (Mon-Fri)
Dinner 06:30pm - 10:30pm (Mon-Sat)
Closed for lunch on Saturday and the whole of Sunday
Please note that there's a dress code


Curry Mixed Vegetable Rice, Zion Road

We'd originally ordered from Siang Hee, but there was such a long waiting time that we decided to order from the other shop selling curry mixed vegetable rice in the same coffeeshop instead.

I liked the Spicy Prawns, stir-fried in a tomato and chili sauce-based gravy. Although the prawns were a little small, they were succulent.

The Stir-Fried Spinach was also very good, the emerald green vegetables still retained a little bite and was delicately seasoned. Very similar to the way my maternal grandmother used to do it.

The Fried Fish was also pleasantly fresh, it was sweet, flaky and moist, with still crispy skin.

We also got everyday staples like Fried Eggs, with dark soy sprinkled for flavour.

We also ordered another staple, Fried Pork Luncheon Meat.

Curry Mixed Vegetable Rice
Blk 89 Zion Road
Open Mondays to Saturdays from 10am to 2.30pm.


Old Airport Road Food Centre

Old Airport Road Food Centre is one of those perpetually crowded hawker centres where you wait to get a free table, and then you wait some more to order your food, and wait further to get your food. But, the freedom of being single and childless is that the BF and I can go have lunch at 3pm in the afternoon. Which meant that the hawker centre was only filled with teenagers and retirees, i.e. people who have as free a schedule as we do.

We ordered a few dishes from a stall that sells cooked economic rice dishes, Ali Shan Curry Fish Head, which has another branch at Bedok Interchange Food Centre. It usually has a ridiculously long queue. Not today!

The Sauteed Spinach had a comfortingly familiar home-cooked feel to it, exactly the way my grandmother used to cook it.

The Chicken Cutlet was moist and tender, with a crispy bread crumb coating.

The Steamed Egg with Mince was also wonderfully homestyled, the egg was smooth and custard-like, with minced pork lending texture to the dish.

The Braised Potato was a disappointment though, it had a sourish tinge to it which we both didn't like.

The shop front. I think I'll try their curry fish head next time.

Ali Shan Curry Fish Head


We also got some Cantonese-style rice rolls. This is the only hawker stall I know that serves Cantonese-style rice rolls. Most rice rolls offered at hawker centres are the thick, plain types with sweet dark sauce breakfast offerings. We got the usual Barbequed Pork Rice Roll ($2) and Prawn Rice Roll ($2), thin and silky smooth sheets generously packed with fresh ingredients. A liberal dousing of soy and sesame oil provided flavouring.

We also ordered the Mushroom Rice Roll ($2) with braised Chinese black mushrooms. I love mushrooms, so this was a treat.

The shop front. They also sell pretty alright Cantonese congee.

Freshly Made Chee Cheong Fun


I was also craving some healthy fish soup, so we ordered from this TV shows-featured stall. The Sliced Fish Soup ($3) wasn't half-bad. The non-milk-thickened soup base was delicate and clear, and the fish slices were plentiful, thick and smooth. I liked that they removed the skin off the fish. Yes, it's full of omega-3, but I'm not a fan of it.

The facade of the stall.

Sliced Fish Bee Hoon / Fish Head Bee Hoon


We couldn't resist getting some Chicken Curry Puffs ($1.10 each) from the newspapers/magazines/TV shows-endorsed and award-winning Wang Wang Crispy Curry Puff.

The flaky shortcrust pastry puffs were buttery and crumbly, but the piece de resistance was the savoury and incredibly moist chicken breast and potato curry filling. My mouth still waters when I think of it.

The shop front.

Wang Wang Crispy Curry Puff
Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9.30am to 9.30pm, Closed on Mondays


Old Airport Road Food Centre
Blk 51 Old Airport Road
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