Wednesday 15 November 2023

Niu Dian Bugis Junction – Braised Pork Belly and Yakiniku Pork [MEDIA INVITE]

Niu Dian, Michelin Bib Gourmand Taiwanese Beef Noodles has opened their 3rd outlet in Singapore. It is located in at Bugis Junction and they have officially launched their new curated dishes, that has NO BEEF.

Niu Dian @ Bugis Junction
These new creations will feature in-house made braised and yakiniku sauces, meticulously prepared following time-honoured Taiwanese recipe. The latest additions are Braised Pork Belly Rice Bowl, Braised Pork Belly Noodles, and Yakiniku Pork Pearl Rice Bowl.

Salted Vegetable &
Beef Bone Marrow Chilli Oil
Yakiniku Pork Pearl Rice Bowl ($15.90) – served with a bowl of soup. The grilled pork sits on the bed Taiwanese pearl rice, bask in yakiniku sauce and soft scrambled egg. I can taste the fatty texture in the juicy pork meat. The yakiniku sauce is sweet and pack with umami flavour, complimented by the scrambled eggs and chopped onions. The sesame seeds and furikake sprinkle on top add a pleasant aroma and different flavour to the rice bowl.

Yakiniku Pork Pearl Rice Bowl 
Braised Pork Belly Noodles ($16.90) – dry version, served with braised egg, blanched vegetables and salted vegetable. This signature noodle is silky and bouncy, coated with the pork braising sauce. The pork belly is fork tender and infused with braising sauce like traditional Taiwanese “Lu Rou Fan”. The taste of the Taiwanese braising sauce is subtle compare to Singaporean braised pork belly. LD adds the chilli sauce in the noodle and she said it brought up the flavour.

Braised Pork Belly Noodles 
For the side dishes, we have Cold Century Egg Tofu with Bonito Flakes ($5.90) and Braised Beancurd ($3.90). Served cold, the tofu is soft and silky, topped with century egg, covered with sweet brown gravy and loads of shaved bonito. The overall dish is just creamy, refreshing finished off with umami flavour from the gravy and bonito.

Cold Century Egg Tofu with Bonito Flakes
The braised beancurd supposed to be serve warm. This time the braised beancurd was served at room temperature. Kind of missing the traditional smoky flavour that usually found in Taiwan.

Braised Beancurd
For the drink, we ordered the Lime & Sour Plum Green Tea with Aiyu Jelly ($5.70) and Lychee Mint Black Tea ($5.70). Both teas complemented our meal nicely. The Lime & Sour Plum balance the “jelakness” from the meal. While the Lychee Mint offer a refreshing end to the meal.

Lime & Sour Plum Green Tea with Aiyu Jelly 
Lychee Mint Black Tea 
Overall, the new dishes provided beef alternative for the diners. Initially, only Black Sesame Sauce Noodles were available. Now, diners can choose from more options like Braised Pork Belly Pearl Rice Bowl, Braised Pork Belly Noodles, and Yakiniku Pork Noodles. Cheers!!

Part of Dining Area
Thank you very much Protegie and Niu Dian Beef Noodles for the invitation.

For the full review of Niu Dian Beef Noodle (Click Here) and Niu Dian Beef Rice Bowl (Click Here)

Food & Drink: 8/10
Value: 7/10
Service: N/A (Tasting Invitation)
Ambiance: 7/10
Budget per Person: $11 - $25; $26 - $50

Niu Dian @Bugis Junction
200 Victoria Street
#02-50, Bugis Juntion
Singapore 188021

Sun – Thu: 11.00– 21.30
Fri & Sat: 11.00 – 22.00 (LO 21.30)
Menu available from the website.

Tuesday 7 November 2023

ChuHuang - Hong Kong Royal Chicken

What is Hong Kong Royal Chicken (Gui Fei Chicken)? I first saw it in Hong Kong / Chinese ancient martial art show. The chicken is usually served during a big celebration or the last meal for prisoners on the death sentence. The glistening yellow colour is very attractive and they all eat it with gusto. So, on my first visit to Hong Kong, it was on my “Must Eat List”. The HK Royal Chicken is very easy to find in Hong Kong as most of the Roast shops or Cha Chan Teng will have it. I like the bouncy texture of the skin, succulent meat and the strong flavour of the chicken, combine it with ginger and spring onion mix, it is just yummy.

Since Hong Kong is no longer on our itinerary, I always keep a lookout for Gui Fei Chicken in Malaysia and Singapore. Once ChuHuang Hong Kong Royal Chicken (“ChuHuang”) came to my attention, I planned to visit them and it come to fruition in 2023.

ChuHuang Hong Kong Royal Chicken
ChuHuang is located on the first floor of People’s Park Centre, facing Ya Kun. The set-up is similar to most Cha Chan Teng, Cashier in front, dining area and the kitchen at the back. You can clearly see the Hong Kong Royal Chicken hanging from the display window near the kitchen. The SOP here is to find a seat, check out the menu, place your order at the counter and make payment first.

The Chickens on Display
Hong Kong Royal Chicken ($19.50 half, $38 whole). So far, I only managed to order half chicken, as my makan kakis are limited in the afternoon. When the Royal Chicken arrives at your table, the yellow colour (from turmeric and galanga powder) of the skin will just catch your attention.

Hong Kong Royal Chicken (Gui Fei Chicken) - Half
The skin is smooth, silky and bouncy. The meat is tender, with a nice chewiness and packed with chicken flavour. The thigh meat is more succulent, while the breast meat is tender but not dry. Unlike our regular chicken rice that uses broiler chicken, ChuHuang uses Kampong Chicken from Southern Malaysia with 120-days growth cycle. This explains why the chicken is so tasty.

Hong Kong Royal Chicken (Gui Fei Chicken) - Half
The rice ($1) is fragrant, tasty and not sticky. However, it is not as fragrant and robust compared to the top chicken rice shops in Singapore. The ginger-scallion mix is a must-have, as it elevates the flavour of the chicken. Since I do not try the Chilli sauce, I can’t comment on it.

The Rice
Each of the diners will be served chicken soup. It is from the broth that boils the chicken, so you can expect a robust chicken soup.

Our Order
Hong Kong Soy Sauce Chicken ($12.50, lower part). Cooked in Soy Sauce mix, the chicken is juicy, succulent and infused with the soy sauce. The skin is smooth and carries a stronger soy sauce flavour. I feel the chicken is a bit overcooked thus it is not as tender, I like to see the bone a bit reddish and will also translate to juicier chicken meat.

Hong Kong Soy Sauce Chicken - Lower Half
Trio Treasure Combo ($5). Giblets, soy sauce egg and tofu. It is a good companion for your rice. The beancurd is the traditional firm type and the exterior is coated with soy sauce concoction. The giblets are crunchy, while the egg is firm and tasty.

Trio Treasure Combo
Bean Sprout ($6). The beansprout is crunchy, topped with crispy fried garlic and bask with soy sauce. It is tasty and refreshing.

Bean Sprout
Giant Grouper Soup ($10.90). Clean and robust broth, filled with firm, slightly chewy and bouncy grouper.

Giant Grouper Soup
The décor is simple and fuss-free. Tables and Chairs (Stools) bring back the nostalgic feel of a traditional tea house. Most of the space on the wall is filled with photos of the dishes and photos of Chef Wu Hai Feng with celebrities and international leaders. Service is friendly and helpful.

Overall, ChuHuang satisfy my cravings for Hong Kong Royal Chicken. It is unique, tasty and flavourful. I have not had a chance to try other dishes, I will be aiming for the noodles, braised chicken feet and prawn roll next time. Cheers!!

Food & Drink: 7.5/10
Value: 7.5/10
Service: 7/10
Ambiance: 6.5/10
Budget per Person: $11 - $25

ChuHuang Hong Kong Royal Chicken
101 Upper Cross Street.
#01-05L, People’s Park Centre
Singapore 058357

T: +65 6532 0380
OH: Daily, 11.00 – 20.00

Thursday 2 November 2023

SEORAE – Hangari Dry-Aged Meat [MEDIA INVITE]

SEORAE Korean Charcoal BBQ is conceptualized in Seorae village, South Korea by Chef Chul Park, a person that believes positive perfectionism. SEORAE has grown into a leading Korean BBQ chain and cemented its reputation as a pork rare-cut specialist, with 300 outlets established globally, and 6 of them are in Singapore.

SEORAE @ Plaza Singapura
This time, SEORAE introduced Hangari Dry-Aged Series, Singapore’s first ever meat fermented in Hangari pot. Inspired by the fermentation method of Korea staples like gochujang and kimchi, Chef Chul Park and his team developed the recipe consist of a secret blend of 3-essence, and aged the Duroc Chestnut Pork Belly (Samgyeobsal) in a traditional Korean Hangari. It is then stored in 3ºC to complete the fermentation process, resulting in the perfect texture of pork belly.

Dipping Sauces
Hangari Dry-Aged Pork Belly ($32, 200g) is served in Hangari pot, comes with a special sauce and a card that explain about this Signature collection. Due to the fermentation process, the pork must be grilled in medium heat, instead of the high heat as it will easily burn. When cooking this pork belly, our host grilled them closer to the edge of the grill plate instead of in the middle.

Hangari Dry-Aged Pork Belly 
When I bite into it, the pork belly just slowly melts in my mouth. The fermentation process also breaks down the tissue in the meat part, as I chew on it effortlessly. #Porkgasm moments! For the second piece, I dipped it in the special sauce, that is made with kimchi and bean paste. It is sweet, earthy and compliments the pork belly perfectly. A perfect pairing.

Hangari Dry-Aged Pork Belly 
Next is the SEORAE Iberico Rare-Cut Tasting Platter ($68, 350gram). This platter feature selection of Iberico Black Pork Cuts from Spain, consist of: Abanico, Rib Finger, Skirt Meat, Jowl and Pork Tongue.

SEORAE Iberico Rare-Cut Tasting Platter 
Abanico (part that wrap the ribs from the outside). It is very tasty and the texture is like a leaner part of the meat.

Rib Finger. Chewy, meaty and juicy. For those who like ribs, this is the most enjoyable part.

Pork Jowl. LD favourite part. Crispy externally, juicy and bursting with fats internally. #Porkgasm.

Pork Tongue. First time we try this at Korean BBQ. I usually have it braised. The pork tongue is sliced thinly and butterflied. The texture is crunchy with a bit of chewiness in it. It is a bit porky for our taste buds, so it is better to be accompanied with the dipping sauce or with the kimchi. For my case, I dipped it with Hangari Dry-Aged Pork Belly special sauce.

Pork Tongue
Skirt Meat. It is juicy and tender. With the marbling on the meat, it tastes like Iberico pork chop.

We ended the meal with Mul-Naengmyeon ($14.90). Traditional cold noodles, served with a cold icy and sour broth. The cold noodle is nicely cooked, thin and chewy. The cucumber and radish gave a crunchy texture to the dish. Meanwhile, the sourish and icy broth is just perfect to end the bbq. It helps to cut the “jelakness” (overwhelming oily taste) from the bbq and bring refreshing taste / palate cleanser. The portion at SEORAE is also very generous, LD and I have trouble trying to finish the bowl of noodle.

Overall, we both enjoy the Hangari Dry-Aged Pork Belly and SEORAE Iberico Rare-Cut Tasting Platter. The Hangari Dry-Aged Pork Belly will be a hit with the customers and it will definitely become SEORAE signature dish. For the SEORAE Iberico Rare-Cut Tasting Platter, it will be suitable for the more adventurous customers. Geonbae!! Cheers!!

Part of Dining Area
Thank you very much Protegie and SEORAE Team for the invitation.

Food & Drink: 8.5/10
Value: 7.5/10
Service: N/A (Tasting Invitation)
Ambiance: 7.5/10
Budget per Person: $51 - $80

Seorae @Plaza Singapura
68 Orchard Road
#02-01, Plaza Singapura
Singapore 238839

T: +65 9181 2709
OH: Daily 11.30 – 22.00
Menu & Information on other locations are available online.

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