Burger

Where:
Second Draft (FB Page)
G/F, 98 Tung Lo Wan Road
Tai Hang, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2656 0232.  YASSSS they take bookings – I’d also recommend making a booking because both times I’ve been they’ve seemed fairly busy.

Price:
Around HKD300 – 350 a person, including a couple of drinks.  Estimate around HKD200 per person for food (including 10% service charge).

The deal:
Second Draft is a collaboration between May Chow, the chef and founder behind Little Bao, and James Ling from The Tap Ale Project, who have their craft beer and simple eats in their Mong Kok restaurant/bar.  I’ll level with you, I didn’t have high hopes for Second Draft when I heard it was doing fusion modern food with craft beer, expecting that I’d be desperately trying to beg some beardy hipster waiter with tats to bring me some over-complicated food for ants which is trying too hard to be clever before I had to take out all the cash ever out of my wallet and then cruise for a second bang bang snack on the way home.   I never got into Little Bao because while I really enjoy the food at Little Bao, it’s exactly as the name promises – LITTLE.  Combine that with no bookings and its tiny (though delicious) baos the size of of a small child’s fist, it resulted in me cycling through this intense rollercoaster of fuck yeah and fuck no emotions whenever I ate there.  Such as “WOW this is fucking tasty” to “UH OH, how many of these little fuckers am I gonna have to eat to even touch my sides?” and then after some basic arithmetic I realise that the answer is “fuck tonnes x HKD78 each before tip = MY BANKRUPTCY, PLS TO HAVE IT”.

*cut to Sgt Noms’ matcha ice-cream bao sandwich melting under the hot, shower of impending bankruptcy tears*

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Second Draft is in the hip enclave Tai Hang, which I have a soft spot for even if it’s never really developed a knock out dining or bar scene.  But I guess that’s the hard to please game that hipster Tai Hang likes to play.  Second Draft is directly opposite where Stones (RIP) used to be and it’s a bright, simple space with sea-green walls, stencilled English/Chinese signs which say cute as fuck things like “NO SMOKING” and “BEWARE PICKPOCKETS”.  The back wall lists all the craft beers and hand pump beers that are available, our cheery waitress and knowledgeable bar dude telling us that that’s the best place for us to choose our beer from as they can’t keep the menus updated enough to keep up with their changing roster of beers.  I’m not the most knowledgeable fucker when it comes to beer but my more learned beer lovin’ homies are impressed with what’s on offer.  I stick to my Subject Matter Expertise and take down a Chen Pei Negroni (HKD120 +10% service charge), a lighter take on your traditional Negroni with Ford’s Gin, Aperol, Mancino Rosso and Aged Chen Pei (mandarin peel) and watch our bartender homie lovingly make this delicious as fuck cocktail with a beaker and a fucktonne of care.

The menu at Second Draft is split into Bar Snacks, Small Plates, Greens & Grains, Sandwiches, Fish & Meat and Chiella with the claim that they have taken traditional gastro-pub food and made it their own by riffing on traditional pub food by adding Asian touches.  Yes, I’m a sceptical fuck so I’ve already got my Why Are You Doing This? Pants at the ready to slip straight into when I get some bullshit Euro-Asian mishmash dish.  But I’m trying to be open minded so I keep them neatly folded to the side while I take a moment to appreciate that Second Draft have gone to the effort of having both English and Chinese on their menu which I give a massive fuck yeahhhhhh.

No self-respecting pub can claim to have their shit together if they can’t make good fries and Second Draft’s Tai Hang Fries (HKD68 + 10% service charge) are dusted with cumin, dried chilli and Szechuan peppers to give it a little bit of ‘ma la’ numbing spice, with a serve of aioli on the side.  There’s also chopped takana (pickled mustard leaf) fried into the mix which reminds me of the chai po (salted, preserved turnip) used by the Hokkien folk and is generally fried and used in omelettes or congee.  You wouldn’t think fries are something that are hard to execute but this week alone I’ve had two fuck no sad fries incidents in HK restaurants so GOLD STARS TO SECOND DRAFT, you know how to fry the fuck out of those potatoes and I showed my eternal appreciation by getting a spoon so I could eat the remaining spice and takana mixture left over when I’d decimated all the fries.

The Buffalo Wontons (HKD82 + 10% service charge for five wontons) are not stuffed with buffalo but are filled with Three Yellow Chicken and Chinese celery.  The name comes from the buffalo sauce which is where shit gets real, referencing the sauce normally found on a buffalo wing (but without the blue cheese), it’s just sour enough and a touch spicy.  To be honest, I can’t remember that much about the wontons but I do know that I wanted to bathe myself in dat fuck yeah sauce.

The Mapo Burrata (HKD138 + 10% service charge) references mapo tofu, and it’s optically creative by subbing out the white tofu with a white ball of burrata.  The ball of burrata is served on the pork “mapo” ragout, with some baby spinach leaves chilling on the side.  Finished off with a red, spicy Szechuan influenced sauce there’s that ‘mala’ spicy numb thing going on which plays against the coolness of the creamy burrata and the fresh spinach leaves.  Fuck yeahhhh, riffing on traditional Chinese dishes and actually producing something clever and delicious as fuck.  Definitely add this dish to your Must Order dishes if you find yourself at Second Draft.

It’s at this point that I realise that I’ve slipped into some sort of alternate HK reality slider because I realised we’ve been blessed with fuck yeah, top notch service all night.  What is this?!  Is our waitress attentive, friendly and totally on her shit?  Is she sniffing empty beer glasses and identifying what beer we’ve been drinking so she can get us another one before we even get a chance to desperately throw down thirsty face shade to try and get more drinks?  Is she equally fluent in English and Cantonese and busting out the charm and affable service bilingually across all the tables?! Is this really a waitress or a fallen angel from the Efficient Service Heavens as she changes all of our plates AND cutlery so we can enjoy our next round of food without it being tainted with all the dishes that have gone before??  I’m not used to this level of kindness in the wilds of HK Hospitality and I’m afraid that this vision of beautiful, efficient service is too good for this harsh and cruel HK world.  Don’t leave us our celestial hospitality angel, we want you, we need you, we love you.  PLEASE STAY.

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Someone had given me the red hot tip to smash up the Sandwich section at Second Draft and we went all in, ordering three of them – The Shanghai Dip, The Reuben and Fried Chicken sandwich (HKD98, HKD128 and HKD98 + 10% service charge, respectively).  Also, Bread Elements by Gregoire Michaud are doing their bread so at least you can be guaranteed that you’ll be avoiding the sad times and carb crimes that normally accompany most HK sandwiches.  The Shanghai Dip’s been getting some major promo at the moment as it was part of some Ultimate Sandwich Contest that’s been doing the rounds.  24 Hour braised pork leg and pickled cucumber is piled onto a ciabatta and served with a side of Stonecutter Scotch ale pork jus on the side, for you to get your dip on. It’s solid enough but I really thought I was going to enjoy this one more than I did, the dipping sauce and braised pork just being a bit too sweet for me to really get my full Fuck Yeah Sandwich on.

However, the Second Draft Reuben storms it home, using a dark beer bread and sliced pastrami, melted swiss cheese, pickled red cabbage and a young ginger dressing which in combination DING DING DING rings my FUCK YEAH SANDWICH bell so fucking hard.  In a major win, everything’s the right temperature which means that the sliced pastrami and its fatty streaks are still melting, the Swiss cheese is not a congealed slice of sadness and the toasted beer bread is actually still warm when it’s served.  Sure it’s not a traditional Reuben sandwich but I’ll take this one over some of the super sad ones I’ve had in HK.

We’d been seeing some fuck yeah looking fried chicken sandwiches being delivered to the other tables so we piled in for this one.  When it actually arrived at our table I realised that it wasn’t on any sort of appropriate bread but it was in fact constructed from, MY NEMESIS BRIOCHE.  In case you’ve forgotten about my feelings regarding brioche, please refer to my greatest contribution to the internet to date:

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Sir Crunch-a-lot tries to calm me down as my face screws up into what resembles a cat’s anus, “Maybe the brioche won’t be that bad? I mean, it still looks really good”.  He’s not lying, there’s a fuck yeahhhh looking fried piece of Three Yellow Chicken with Nam Yu (fermented tofu) Mayo, Pickled Ginger Coleslaw on BULLSHIT BRIOCHE.  As predicted, I can’t get turned on for brioche and as I eat my fried chicken sandwich, the brioche goes from being slightly offensive to being downright BULLSHIT when it disintegrates into a thin piece of soggy, slightly sweet bread.  ASIDE from the BULLSHIT BRIOCHE though, the fried chicken sandwich contents are FUCKING AMAZING.  The fried chicken is fried perfectly and the pickled ginger coleslaw brings a fresh, zingy bite to it and cuts through the grease of the fried chicken.  Don’t freak out about the fermented tofu in the mayo because it’s more just a of a low bass note that rumbles through the whole fuck yeah sandwich affair.  BUT WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY do people still insist on using toasted brioche for savory foods???? *falls to the floor with flailing arms, hands in rictus gripped into flipping the bird and gnashes teeth, amongst broken dreams and inferior bread choices*

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Don’t get me wrong, the Fried Chicken Sandwich was still FUCKING DELICIOUS.  So delicious that I added another order of the Fried Chicken (HKD108 + 10% service charge) so I could continue to get my fuck yeah chicken on without the distress of facing MY NEMESIS BRIOCHE.

I wasn’t exactly sure what the Octopus and Pork Belly (HKD148 + 10% service charge) would be, billed as “Nam Yu Braised Octopus and Pork Belly, Chimichurri and Pickled Garlic”.  This was my least favourite dish of the night because I didn’t really get what it was trying to be.  There were pieces of octopus and some pork belly sitting in a tomato gravy and some baby peas just floating about.  There was something nostalgic about this dish for all of us, touching on something from our childhood of peas and gravy but ultimately I just didn’t know what the sum of these parts was meant to be and I was neither better nor worse off for knowing this dish.

HOWEVER, the Flower Crab Pasta (HKD198 + 10% service charge) doesn’t suffer from this fate at all and when it arrives, it’s a pile of thick Shanghainese noodles, stirred through with a butter sauce, hand dressed pieces of Flower Crab and shredded cucumber.  There’s a whole egg yolk on top, hidden under the empty carapace of the Flower Crab which is meant to be broken and mixed through the noodles before eating.  It’s fucking gorgeous and this dish also brings the FUCK YEAHHHH feelings.  There’s the dense chew of the Shanghai noodles and the sweet pieces of crab which is matched with black vinegar to bring that Shanghainese crab feeling.  The noodles are coated with creamy, fat fuck feelings from the egg yolk and butter sauce but it’s also balanced with the acidity of the black vinegar and the fresh cucumber slices which pierce through the richness, so it’s all the dark and the light, the ying and the yang and the fuck yeahhhhs and the MEGA MAJOR MIGHT JUST HUMP THE TABLE LEG FUCK YEAHSSSSSS.  Just like a 90s power love ballad, YEAH YOU CRAB JUST TO KNOW YOU’RE ALIVE:

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This crab noodle dish was so fucking amazing that I trotted my fat little legs straight back to Tai Hang no less than FIVE DAYS later so I could get Mr Pinchy and his Carb related friends back into my life again.  Except I fell into a trap for young players and as I expectantly sat at my table, dreaming of the crab related love and happiness that was soon going to be in my face, my smiley waitress broke the sad news to me that Second Draft don’t do the Flower Crab Pasta before 6pm.  My heart breaks into a million pieces, my eyes shine with disappointed tears and FML, this is what it sounds like when foodie blogging assholes cry:

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So all of my reservations about Second Draft turned out to be incorrect, because I fucking loved it so much more than I ever thought I would.  Casual eats with top notch service, reasonably priced food which is riffing on the East / West thing but isn’t a total shit show, good beer/drinks and I can even book that shit so I’m guaranteed a table?  Sign me up for that good shit, preferably after 6pm so I can get that sweet fuck yeah Flower Crab Pasta in my life ASAP.

Verdict:
Fuck yeahhhhhh!!  I might even be able to move past the offensive use of brioche because dat Reuben Sandwich, Flower Crab Pasta and Mapo Burrata giving me serious LIFE.

Where:
Little Creatures Hong Kong
Shop 1, G/F, New Fortune House
2-5A New Praya
Kennedy Town, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2833 5611 (you better book that shit too, cause these fucks are popular)

Price:
This was the second meal of our night, so the per person cost isn’t as large as normal, around HKD110 a person (including service charge) without booze.  Large plates seem to range from around HKD100 – 150 each (+10% service charge), with most small plates under HKD100.

The deal:
After rampaging through fuck no disappointment town at The Ribcage, we pushed grimly onto a second bang bang dinner down the road at the microbrewery, Little Creatures Hong Kong. For those people who possess self control and don’t know what a bang bang is, it’s when you complete two meals in one session. Little Creatures is an import from Fremantle in Western Australia, but of course if you’re any true blue Aussie Cunt (technical term) worth your Vegemite, you’d know that you say it correctly as ‘Freo’.  The former sugar and flour mill in Kennedy Town has been decked out to try and capture that carefree port side feeling of the Little Creatures in Freo with its high ceilings, recycled wood, airy interiors and cute purposefully retro posters blending Australia and HK references. My lungs are almost gleefully sucking down that clean Australian air just by thinking about it. It’s also really fucking huge by Hong Kong standards with a fucktonne of tables.  Despite the ample seats, we still had a wait ahead of us because we were bang bang dinner refugees without a booking and by the time we arrive at Little Creatures HK at around 8:30pm on a Friday night, it’s totally rammed with people and a long list of reservations.  The hostess is totally on her shit though, assuring us in a comforting Strayan strine that she’ll try and seat us as soon as possible.  She might even have called me darl, which went some way to calming my harried nerves. We dull our Ribcage related pain by getting involved in some Little Creatures Pale Ale, IPA and cider, as we stand around awkwardly at the limited bar space for a very reasonable twenty minutes before we’re shown to our table.

The Little Creatures HK menu is split into Sharing Plates, Small Plates, Greens Breads and Buns, Pizza, Pasta & Rice and Cheese.  We start with the Crispy Chicken (HKD125 +10% service charge) with pineapple sauce.  I’m sceptical from the start because I just don’t jive with sweet fruit and savoury meat as a general rule but in reality, the sauce isn’t as sickly sweet and offensive as I’d imagined it was going to be.  While the chicken itself is well fried, crispy as fuck on the outside and avoiding the common fate of being a dried out mess inside, it’s unfortunately underseasoned which means it relies on the pineapple sauce to bring the flavour (not that it particularly pops with any strong pineapple flavour). Luckily, I’m able to season my bland though well-fried chicken with the salty tears that I shed when I try the cliched Hand Cut Frites with truffle mayo (HK75 +10% service charge) which are just like my summer body dreams – pale, flabby and definitely full of carbs.

Next up is the Mac and Cheese (HKD75 +10% service charge), which is billed as being topped with truffle and a herb crust.  Little Creatures HK, Y SO MUCH TRUFFLE?  Shit sounds soooo fucking fancy doesn’t it?  The Mac and Cheese isn’t anything more than a creamy, herb sauce with macaroni in it and it’s as unsatisfying as a Typhoon 8 signal which gets lowered before 6am on a Friday. FFS Little Creatures HK, it’s fucking melted cheese with carbs, how fucking hard is it to get a mac and cheese right??  Did you even try?!  RETURN OF THE LITTLE CREATURES MAC, YOU LIED TO ME, YES I CRIED, YES I CRIED.

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The Pizza menu is an exercise in minimalism with titles such as Herbs, Corn, Kale and Sausage.  I wince at the nomenclature awkwardness of having to order a ‘Herbs Pizza’ and I obviously stay well clear of the ‘Kale Pizza’ because that sort of pizza bullshit seems to be targetted at half-hearted clean eating urban warriors who punch out some BikiniFit in the morning because #strongisthenewskinny before barrelling into six strawberry daiquiris at Feather Boa with their best white friends.  The Sausage pizza (HKD125 +10% service charge) is topped with bacon, fennel, sage and provolone which all sounds good in theory but when it is presented at our table I start to wonder what kind of Home Economics high school kitchen is now responsible for the food at Little Creatures HK.  The base is cardboard like in texture and appearance, you can almost imagine it being ripped out of a pre-made base box half a week ago to allow it to truly dry out before the recalcitrant, moody adolescent fingers of high school students smeared tomato paste across it and indolently topped it with pre-prepared chopped pieces of bacon and shredded cheese.  It’s horrific on all levels from the dried out base and the sloppy toppings which almost slide off in one piece to the complete lack of flavour.  I take several bites of this ‘pizza’ abomination just to really make sure this is the most soulless and flavourless pizza I’ve ever come across in Hong Kong and as I choke it back, there is no doubt in my mind that I’m completely right.  I chew slowly and deliberately, as I sort through the vague memories I have of someone telling me the pizzas are good at Little Creatures HK. Unfortunately, I can’t place which tasteless moron or press release gave me this bullshit information which is a shame because I’d be furiously texting them my views on how they are completely devoid of any knowledge as to what actually constitutes a good pizza.

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We debate whether to give Little Creatures the chance to wow us on dessert because LBR, we’re not expecting any show stoppers at this point.  As we’re greedy cunts who love a bit of pud pud, we order the Cider Green Apple Nut Crumble with whipped mascarpone (HKD75 +10% service charge).  It sounds pretty fucking fancy but in reality it’s just a straightforward apple crumble with a scoop of ice cream which might have mascarpone in it, but if you’d never told me about it, I’d never taste it.  I’m now convinced that the Little Creatures HK menu has been designed to be cooked by a small child chef who’s using a cookbook with cartoon illustrations and warnings that you should get an adult when you’re boiling water or taking things out of the oven.  The apple crumble was the only well executed dish of the night and we take the time to reflect upon our entire bang bang evening where we’ve battled through two fuck no meals, the fuck no coleslaw and average to terrible ribs at The Ribcage and now we’ve let Little Creatures HK well and truly lead us down the garden path to a fuck no flower field filled with Mediocrity Marigolds, Gauche Gladiolis and Banal Begonias.

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So the food at Little Creatures HK, excluding that godawful sausage pizza, is absolutely edible.  I can’t imagine that was written in their vision statement of what they wanted their food to be amongst the artist’s sketching of their restaurant decor.  But it really is the sort of meal that if you painted black with white stripes, people would walk all over it because it’s just so fucking pedestrian.  Every dish we ordered had some sort of execution issue (ok, except for the apple crumble – but how fucking hard is it to make a crumble?) which suggests that the kitchen isn’t tasting their food for seasoning, giving a fuck if it’s cooked properly or their management is dictating a super uninspiring, bland as fuck menu which is meant to appeal to the undiscerning masses. Judging by how many people were packed into Little Creatures HK, perhaps there’s something to be said re: economic viability and appealing to the undi$cerning ma$$es.

But real talk, it looks like Little Creatures managed to keep their shit authentic in Hong Kong because Little Creatures in Freo has basic as fuck food as well.  Take my burn Little Creatures because fuck no to the faithful copying of boring, uninspired concepts and shipping it straight across the Indian Ocean so the suffering of uninspired and poorly executed food can be truly global.

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Verdict:
FUCK NO.  However if you’re an absolutely bottom of the barrel basic and enjoy shit like Castelo Concept restaurants, drinking rosé, thinking you’re living wild in real Hong Kong because you live in Sai Ying Pun or Kennedy Town, going to the Happy Valley races on a Wednesday, love ‘your girls’ or nights out with the rugby lads, Little Creatures HK might be your newest, favourite spot in Hong Kong.

Where:
Electric Ave (FB Page)
Tai Yik House, LG/F, 27-29 First Street
Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong

Phone: 
+852 2858 8883

Price:
Burgers before the extras are HKD120-HKD130.

The deal:
Electric Ave is a small, burger joint which opened up a few months ago in Sai Ying Pun.  I’ve been chatting to the owner Andy for a while on my FY Noms Facebook account (add me yo, like my page – all that good social media shit!!) and we’ve been shooting the breeze about the trials and tribulations of setting up his new shop.  Shiiiiit, I honestly don’t know how any of you restaurant fuckers do it in this brutal HK market.  The one thing I always think about when I’m eating out, particularly when it’s an independent joint without the backing of some mega-dining group, is just how many plates of X does a restaurant need to churn out every day just to make rent in this crazy, expensive city?  Answer – a metric fuck tonne, and that’s even before you figure out all the other tedious shit like staffing, sourcing ingredients, overheads and then just making sure that fickle, asshole HK punters aren’t already moving onto the next, trendy bullshit. Like for real, this is how I imagine life to be as a HK landlord:

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Sauce

I’ve been hearing good things about Electric Ave so I scheduled in a fatboy feed and waddled my fat ass down the stairs to find it tucked down an alley off First Street.  It’s cute as shit, with a white, black, red and yellow London inspired cartoon style mural painted by HK street artist Bao Ho down its green walls.  It probably doesn’t seat any more than 15 people and on a Saturday lunch session, almost every seat is taken.  From the chalkboard above the kitchen, we order the Classic Aussie Beef Burger (HKD120, +HKD15 for cheddar or stilton cheese, +HKD10 for skinny rosemary fries) and as the listed chicken burger is not available, we get the Smokey Carbonara Chicken Burger (HKD110).  For +HKD30, you can upgrade your fries to five hour hand cut chips with bone marrow and there’s no way my greedy guts can say no to that fuck yeah sounding proposition.

Our chunky chips are first out and HOLY FUCKING SHIT, this is the sort of carb related experience that will give you wet dreams in the nights to come.  Perfectly golden and crispy on the outside, fluffy as fuck on the inside and then there’s this depth and slight beefy flavour to them from the bone marrow which Electric Ave have rendered down themselves to finish off their chips.  I chatted to Andy (anonymously, he didn’t know that I was FYN because fuuuuck, what an outright wanker that would make me) about what goes into making a five hour chip and he outlined a number of steps from peeling potatoes and cutting them by hand, soaking the chips in pH 9 water with sugar and salt to get the starch out, drying the moisture off with a fan, putting the chips into the freezer until they’re almost frozen and finally, frying the chips so they can take their final glorious fuck yeah form.  Once they’re fried, they’re topped with rendered bone marrow which he’s cleaned all the blood off, served with a side of homemade ketchup with all sorts of fancy shiz going on like tomatoes, onions, olive oil, salt, pepper, cider vinegar, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, tamari, oyster sauce, fish sauce, anchovies, dark sugar and cloves.  Fuuuuck, five hours to make and then mere minutes to be destroyed but as I always say, carb life is the best life and Electric Ave’s bone marrow chips may be the closest to a carb filled FLAWLESS VICTORY that I’ve experienced all year.

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The only thing that stops me from inhaling every single chip is the arrival of my Classic Aussie Beef Burger.  It’s not one of those over the top gut buster size burgers but it’s also not a piddly little burger the size of a small child’s fist (HAY Burger Circus, you know what I mean). I gotta say, my expectations for burgers in HK start at a very low place but Electric Ave’s beef burger is obviously well thought out with every component bringing something to the fatty boombah table.  The patty is cooked medium rare (they didn’t ask how I wanted my burger, so if you don’t jive with this either learn to eat your burgers properly or make sure you tell them what temperature you want) and is made from prime grade Super Black Angus Australian cattle from New South Wales, a blend of chuck and brisket with a good amount of fat, seasoned with dried mushrooms, salt and pepper.  It’s a very good patty, with the fat giving it a lot of flavour and juiciness but personal preference, I would have liked my patty to have a bit more of a char on it and a touch more salt.  I can concede that I can swing more salty than some people, so once I season it to taste, I’m super into what’s happening patty wise.  

Aside from the fuck yeah patty times, there’s all sorts of fuck yeah things going on such as their custom burger sauce which is a punchy combination of their homemade ketchup blended with kewpie mayonnaise, Sriracha, garlic, cloves and sherry vinegar.  There’s no sad ass wilted iceberg lettuce either, with Electric Ave using halved baby gem lettuces.  Importantly, the pickle game is also strong, Electric Ave keeping shit real with home brined pickles that have overtones of coriander seed, dill weed and fennel.  Electric Ave also has some serious confit onion game going on, with a fuck yeah level of caramelisation going down, with just enough sweetness from the red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar and dark sugar.  Just to keep the burger components coming, it’s all brought together with some tomato jam which they’ve made from stewing tomatoes and peppers with fish sauce, ginger, vinegar, sugar and chill.  Electric Ave claims that there’s over 100 ingredients in every burger combo and fuck, I’m exhausted just thinking about everything I ate in that one burger but fuck yeahhhhh, I know that it definitely passed my burger test of when you take a bite of it and not only do you get a bit of everything that’s going on in there, it’s well balanced with lots of different layers of flavour and construction wise, holds its shit together.

I’m always sceptical about ordering chicken burgers, relegating them to the Poor Ordering Decisions Playbook, which is famous for containing bullshit plays like ordering the fish when you’re in a steak restaurant.  My homie ordered the Smoky Carbonara Burger which uses shredded chicken covered with a fucking delicious carbonara sauce made from chunks of smoked pancetta, cream, taleggio and a shit tonne of pepper.  This burger is gonna be your worst nightmare if you have qualms about eating mother / child, chicken and egg combos, because the chicken sits on a bed of arugula and a fried egg is used to top it all off and when you bite into it, the egg yolk explodes to combine itself with the carbonara sauced chicken.  Fuck the moral quandaries though because this chicken burger shiz is REAL LOVE and all of my doubts regarding chicken burgers always being the poor, ugly cousin to the beef burger are eviscerated, because I think this was even better than the beef burger.  It was downright primal, eating this messy fucker over whatever bone marrow chips remained so the broken yolk and carbonara sauce could drip all over those fuck yeah chips to become somehow, impossibly, even fucking better.

It’s at this point that I try to slow down the speed of my food inhalation because I’m hit by the terrifying realisation that like the dying days of summer, I’m running out of burger and fuck yeah chips and I don’t want my chip related happiness to slip through my fingers so all that I’m left with is a sense of loss deep in the pit of my stomach.  Except shit is just tooooo fucking good and soon I’m bereft and have nothing more to hold onto, except my desperate attempts to recall the memories of these sexy carb filled times, as my hands instead clutch remorsefully at a pile of grease smeared tissues.

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So if you’re after one of the best fuck yeah burgers I’ve had in HK which is stuffed full of thought in every component, get yo ass down to Electric Ave and get involved homies. Chef/owner Andy is also super fucking friendly and works the floor when he’s not bustin’ ass in the tiny kitchen to ask how things are and to go into the infinitesimal details of how he makes his burgers.  I won’t lie to you, it’s not a cheap burger but you’re paying for the quality ingredients and the vast amount of time involved to bring this righteous fuck yeah burger time together.  And really, what’s the point of slaving away in the money mines of HK if you can’t at least spend some of that hard earned slave wages on avoiding the fuck no plight of staring down some sad-ass excuse of a burger (probably with a fucking brioche bun) which makes you want to weep for your mother or anyone who can hold you close? Yassss, spend money bitch on shit that matters.

Verdict:
Fuck yeahhhhhhhh and most importantly, don’t forget to pay the extra cash to upgrade to the five hour hand cut chips because for real, that shit is gonna make you into a better carb-filled person.

 

Where:
Burger Circus (FUCK, it’s a miracle!  A functional and informative HK website!)
22 Hollywood Road
Central, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852 2878 7787 (I don’t think it’s a booking kind of place though)

Price:
Burgers are around HKD75 – 100 (+10% service charge).  We got out at HKD185 each with some sides and sparkling water.

The deal:
HK is in the midst of a burger craze, with approximately 23 press releases hitting my inbox every fucking day about some asshole opening up some “new and innovative” burger joint which has The BEST, JUICIEST beef patty in HK with The BEST bun, carefully crafted in conjunction with some French baker and of course they predictably tested that shit during Clockenflap or some pop-up on a godforsaken rooftop somewhere.  Hotshack, Boombox, Cali-burger, Big Butchersclub, Fernando Circus, Dirty Decadent Dickbags – fuuuuuuuuuck pass the kimchi and then call some lifestyle blogs to put in you in their Hot New Shit About Town special, cause I can’t fucking keep track anymore.  Who are these people in HK who are eating 27 burgers and 34 burritos a week which justifies the existence of all these new burger joints and the 57 Cali-Mexes in HK??

Word on the street about Burger Circus has been lack lustre which even the gifting of free burgers to the public hasn’t seemed to have stemmed.  My homies have been telling me that shit’s cute but the burgers are just ok.  They’re going for that kitschy retro thing so if you ever wanted to eat a burger in a replica train cart then you’re in fucking luck.  However despite the mediocre feedback, my judgmental as fuck self can soften when it’s 1:30am and my raggedy drunk ass is feeling the full effects of trying to soak up a bottle of wine, miscellaneous other drinks and a FUCK NO heinous tequila shot (fuck I thought it was vodka! #DrunkAssBitchProblems) with some crackers and cheese that I’d tried to fool my body into thinking it was a sufficient and nutritious dinner. Mr + Mrs Ain’t No Mountain High Enough and I were doing the Wyndham Walk of Shame, deciding between the usual suggestions (Paisanos, 27 Kebab House) when we see the idyllic retro charm (lolzzz) of Burger Circus looming in the distance.

Since it opened, one of my favourite things to do every time I walk past Burger Circus, is to see how fucking miserable their waiters look in their kitschy diner get up uniforms.  I even made one of their waiter homies into a STAHP meme in my Jollibee‘s review.  After we’re seated and our waiter swings by, I instantly realise that it’s the STAHP homie and while I asked him what his favourite burger was, I was simultaneously feeling bad for making this hard-working, convivial waiter into a meme but obviously not bad enough to stop myself from posting it again:

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Following STAHP Waiter’s recommendation, I went with “The Circus Burger” (HKD80), which bills itself as a “5oz beef patty, crispy bacon, savory onions, lettuce, tomato and Circus sauce” and a side of fries (HKD30).  My burger arrives wrapped in paper and on its fuckin side so you can see all the ingredients from the top.  I gotta give Burger Circus full marks for their fuck yeah presentation but their presentation shit is form over function cause when I’m slamming the burger into my face to give me much needed Vitamin G(rease), burger juice starts to drip fucking everywhere.  Retro stripey placemats and paper containers don’t look so fucking cute once they’re smeared with CIRCUS SAUCE and burger juice.  Dear Burger Circus, Y U no present burger with the bun horizontal like every other place?  Y U no wrap paper underneath the other end of the burger?  Shit’s just so unnecessarily untidy.

Given my drunk ass state in which was ready to eat my own arms off, my burger was a fuck yeah at this point in time but Mr Ain’t No Mountain High Enough seemed to have a quarter of an iceberg lettuce wedged into his.  The fries were only average though. My Circus Burger was fairly well proportioned in term of its ingredients ratio but wasn’t particularly spectacular in any aspect.  Gotta note though that the bun was super soft and it gets fucking soggy from the sauce.  I can jive with a soft bun more than some monstrous crusty sesame bun or some bullshit dried out brioche bun which just overwhelms the other ingredients.  Most importantly though, Burger Circus’s burger is the size of a small child’s fist and it was gone before I fucking knew it.  TOO SAD.  Reflecting upon the quick, fleeting Burger Circus moment, I had a flash back to a press release or a blog somewhere that the Burger Circus burgers were described as an ‘ideal size’, which seems to be PR speak for FOOD FOR ANTS.

With my small-ass burger but a fleeting memory and my drunk-ass hunger remaining, my homies and I ordered a serve of the jalapeno poppers, buffalo wings and the kosher dill pickle.  The dill pickle was a FUCK YEAH, sour, briney and juicy as fuck.  The buffalo wings came out cute as fuck in their paper container but were a fuck no on both execution and price point, given that for HKD88 you only get THREE just ok wings served with a side of watery blue cheese sauce.  The jalapeno poppers are all fancied up with a tempura style batter and a cream cheese filling but even in my Vitamin G seeking state, the poppers were not that amazing and punched in at HKD78.  Overall, fuck no to Burger Circus $ides, except for DAT PICKLE.

At about 2am, Burger Circus was calling it a night and our waiter homies hustled us out of the joint .  While the burger I had was enjoyable enough, I gotta be real, this was in the context that it was past midnight and I needed late night post-drinking snacks and if there was a McDonald’s on Hollywood Road, I would have been just as happy getting a cheeseburger and FUCK YEAH McWings.

So while the Burger Circus PR team are probably punching out press releases that refer to its rail cart diner ‘concept’ and sure milkshakes and over the top white and black retro outfits fit into that aesthetic, I can’t fucking eat my server’s outfit and I’d rather have less stripey packaging and MOAR FUCKING (HORIZONTAL) BURGER for my $$$.

Verdict:
Fuck no if you’re sober but not gonna lie, if my post-drinking ass was on Hollywood Road, tiny-ass overpriced passably decent burgers could happen again.

My oh my! While I love this busy, neon lit town sometimes the hustle and bustle of the heaving metropolis of Hong Kong can get anyone a little frazzled around the edges.  Which is why I was sooo looking forward to a balmy weekend away in the nearby city of SINGAPORE for a weekend of foodie nomad adventures, girlie catch-ups, chill tunes and yes, even a spot of shopping (OMG, Charles & Keith here I come!). It seems so inconceivable that with only a four hour hop skip and a jump away and I was trading my warm winter woolies for cute shorts, tank tops and strappy bejewelled sandals.  Wowee – oh so delightful to the max!

OH BUT SHIT NO – don’t worry homies my shit ain’t that desperate yet that I’ve had to start writing travel guides for HK Lifestyle blogs or sell my fat ass for paid sponsorship travel links (big love to CX Fanfares! Thanks so much Flight Centre! GUYS, YOU TOTALLY NEED TO CHECK THIS ECO-BOUTIQUE RETREAT OUT IN CAMBODIA! XO).  Here’s the fucking drum – the St Jerome’s Laneway Festival was on in Singapore, I fucking miss going to festivals with decent line ups (lolz, Clockenflap – I had fun at your shit, but in no way can anyone say it was a solid THREE DAY lineup) and since I read the Buzzfeed on A Guide To Hong Kong Basic Bitches it was time to fulfil my Sheung Wan/Sai Ying Pun Basic Bitch destiny on with a music festival and a fuck tonne of FUCK YEAH, SINGAPOREAN HAWKER FOOD at every other goddamn opportunity.  There’s a fine dining scene in the mighty Lion City, but in FYN’s opinion the Singapore Food Game is ALL about cheap hawker eats.  You take the influences of China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and some Western shit and throw that all together into a country which lives to eat its face off, how can shit not be fuckin’ righteous?? Sure, parts of SG might be manufactured and sterile but you can’t fucking deny it, SG’s food game is off the goddamn chain.

FYN’s Guide to Hawker Centres

There’s some basic hawker centre tips you gotta get on top of:

  • Shit fills up quick – go early and ‘chop’ tables. Singaporeans do this by placing a tissue at the table as some sort of territorial claim.  It’s pretty fucking unlikely that you’ll manage to secure a table all to yourself straight off the bat so be ready to share tables with strangers and then as they move, take over more territory.
  • Pass the tissues – bring your own or throw a couple of bucks at the old ladies who are going table to table selling tissues to make a living.  Bring wet towelettes too cause shit gets messy. As above, tissues can also be used to claim seating territory too.
  • Pick your homies correctly – if you go with fussy bitches or hygiene freaks, they’re gonna have a bad time.  You’re gonna have a bad time listening to these no fun assholes complaining the whole fucking time or screwing up their judgmental faces.  So essentially, you’re all gonna be fucked.  At a hawker centre, there’s not gonna be any of that prissy ‘food serving’ public chopstick thing that the Hong Kongers live and die by (wah wah wah SARS wah wah wah bird flu, ok I get it).  If you go with a tight ass like me, I won’t pay SGD0.40 for an extra empty plate – so I want my homies to be cool with eating off a banana leaf or sharing plates.  So do your due diligence and hit up hawker centres with homies who are down to eat, try new shit and if your chopsticks are in the main dish or you’re fishing noodles out of their bowl they don’t give a fuck cause it’s all about everyone getting their eat on.
  • Divide and conquer – have a plan so you can split up to line up for food for maximum efficiency.  Some stalls will cook it there and you might wait up to 30 minutes. Other stalls will deliver to your table.  Check your table number before you line-up so you’re not that asshole who has to slow down proceedings to run back and check yo shit out.
  • Long lines, fine times – this shit holds true in all of Asia.  People love a long fucking line and if you really have no idea where’s good, this is your best bet to chance on a winner.  Shit could still be a fuck no, but that’s the hawker centre roulette you gotta play.
  • Timing is everything – if you’re chasing a particular dish / stall, make sure that you check when it’s open.  Some centres are late night places.  Some will close on random days of the week.  Some open early.  Some will have mega fucking long queues and require an hour wait, so get yo ass down there early at opening to make sure you’re eating and not queuing all fucking day.  Some will shut down for the day when they run out of food. Google that shit to avoid disappointment.
  • Respect, yo – the polite thing to do when ordering your shit is to address the stall peeps as ‘Uncle’ or ‘Aunty’.  It might feel weird for you white folk cause fuck, it’s not like you’re actually related.  But it’s just how things go and they love that shit in Singapore.  Just don’t do what one of my homies did and asked an ‘Uncle’ to clear our dishes before realising that said dish clearer was actually a female ‘Aunty’.  Let’s just say we were subject to a very vicious and aggressive as fuck plate clearing experience post this gauche as fuck request.

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Old Airport Road Food Centre

My homie Mr Judgmental starting laying down the ground work for SG eats way before we touched down.  He insisted upon a methodical as fuck approach to our Singaporean Hawker times, first of all laying down the law that we had to get an early afternoon flight out to ensure we could hit a hawker centre on Friday night to optimise all eating opportunities.  Fuck no to getting in at 830pm and getting to hawker centres at 10pm when they’re closing shit down.  Fuck yeah to getting to HK Airport for lunch time and watching Mr Judgmental slam a four piece fried chicken feed at Popeye’s before you’ve even snacked down your measly two piece feed. Chicken of the Sky, what the fuck is better before you fly?

After researching and talking to our Singaporean homies, we had our choices narrowed down to Old Airport Road Food Centre and Chomp Chomp.  Once we decided on Old Airport Road Food Centre, Mr Judgmental and I didn’t leave no shit to chance, creating a spreadsheet which went through several drafts and ultimately generated a numerical score so we could prioritise what shit we were going to eat.  Yeah – this OCD shit might have happened:

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Thanks to the wonders of Changi Airport, we touched down, grabbed some Singapore Dollars from the HSBC ATM and a M1 sim card (fuck being without data, M1 sells a SGD18 sim which gives you 1GB data for one week, the SGD30 with voice option can fuck right off – THANKS M1 XO) and half an hour later from touch down we were at Old Airport Food Centre getting involved in a hawker food feast of epic fuck yeah proportions:

  • Char Kway Teow (Lao Fu Zi Fried Kway Teow #01-12): Four different plate sizes of char kway teow (fried flat noodle) in either the black or white variety.  The largest size was SGD10 which is pretty fucking expensive by hawker standards and wasn’t particularly large.  A lot of websites cite this as being one of the best in char kway teow in SG, but it was a bit sweet and too greasy for me and while edible, I don’t think it was that fucking phenomenal.  FYN verdict:  Fuck no – no one can afford to waste stomach real estate for ‘edible’ in Singapore.
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  • Curry puff (Wang Wang Crispy Curry Puff #01-126):   Wang Wang had your standard chicken and potatoes variation but they also have the less common tuna / sardine curry puff – and both were fucking RAD TO THE MAX.  Less than SGD1 each and these hot, flakey bastards were fucking amazing.  Mr Chang rolls out his pastry in multiple layers, almost like a croissant which results in this flakey, layered fuck yeahhhh pastry shell.  FYN verdict:  FUCK YEAH. I think this was the best fucking thing I ate at Old Airport.  Check out this video with a strong fuck yeah Singaporean accent to get yo’self pumped for WANG WANG YUM YUM times:
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  • Orh luak (Oyster Omelette) and Chai Tow Kueh (Carrot Cake) (Stall #01-100):  Katong Ah Soon per the spreadsheet was closed so we tried the orh luak and chai tow kueh at this stall instead.  While the oysters were big, this struggled on the execution of being an omelette and came more like chunks of eggs with oysters strewn throughout it  I like my oyster omelette to be crispier and more cohesive.  The chai tow kueh was good but not exceptional.  Shit was expensive too at SGD18 a plate.  FYN verdict:  Fuck no. Ain’t nobody got time for functionally acceptable food in SG.
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  • Satay (Chuan Kee Satay #01-85 and some other stall which I can’t remember):  Meat on sticks which cost SGD0.50 each versus the HKD58 each that you’d get slogged in Hong Kong.  Chuan Kee Satay is the famous one with the big line but we had satay from another stall and both were fucking awesome.  Overall, it’s sad regretful times that I didn’t eat more satay in Singapore.  FYN verdict:  Fuck yeah! Dat value too.
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  • Hainanese chicken rice (Weng Hua Yuan #01-119):  I’m not the biggest fan of Hainanese Chicken Rice – it’s good but end of the day it’s just fucking rice and chicken.  I’d rather eat one of the one million other more interesting Singaporean dishes on offer.  The chicken rice at Old Airport Road was nothing special and I thought the chicken was a bit dry.  But perhaps all of this comes from a biased place.  FYN verdict:  Fuck no.
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  • Otah (stall number unknown, but based on some sleuthing, I think it might have been Tan Beng Otah Delights #01-74):  Despite the numerical system, Mr Judgmental still had shit to say when I ranked otah (a grilled fish cake made of ground fish meat mixed with tapioca starch and spices) a low priority and Mr Judgmental gave it a high priority.  Sorry my judgmental homie, I just don’t get that excited about fish cakes even if they’re wrapped in a banana leaf.  Mr Judgmental got his otah on and managed to order shit tonnes of it, due to a communication breakdown.  FYN verdict:  I guess if you are super into fish paste it’s a fuck yeah.  But if you’re not – fuck no.

Overall verdict on Old Airport Road:  Shit was ok but if I made a return to SG, I’d hit up another hawker centre instead.  Fuck no.

Maxwell Road Hawker Centre

On Saturday morning I hit up a roti and masala dosa with one of my homies for a healthy heart starter of a breakfast but the star of today’s eating was Maxwell Road Hawker Centre (1 Kadayanallur Street, Chinatown) for lunch.

  • Rojak (Rojak, Popiah & Cockle #01-56):  Rojak is a mix of fruit, veg and fried tofu mixed with a black sauce consisting of belacan (shrimp paste), sugar, chili, and lime juice.  The fishy, sweet and sour sauce is what you might politely call a flavour sensation but what most other people would call it a red hot mess or even more bluntly, fucking disgusting.  If this strange beast is your thing, the one at Maxwell was spot on – the taupok (fried tofu) was fresh and not fried in some dank ass oil and there was a good balance between the sweet pineapple, crunchy cucumber and the bean sprouts.  FYN verdict:  Fuck yeah – but I fully accept that black shrimpy sweet and sour paste with pineapple may not be everyone’s fuckin’ jam.
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  • Chicken rice (Tian Tian Chicken Rice, #01-10):  As above, chicken rice doesn’t set my world on fire.  Tian Tian started at the Maxwell Food Centre and has since expanded to four outlets.  Of course this means any self respecting food douchebag should make disparaging comments that things haven’t been the same since they opened more stores.  The chicken was tender but I thought the rice was too fucking gluggy.  When a dish is as simple as chicken rice and you fuck up half of its name sake, you can guess where this is headed.  FYN verdict:  Fuck no.  My snobby Singaporean homies tell me that Tian Tian is more for tourists anyway.
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  • Mee poh goreng (Yan Kee Noodle, #01-49): Mee poh goreng is a dry noodle which is served with a chilli sauce and lard chips, fish balls, minced pork, ikan bilis and two token leaves of lettuce. You stir the sauce through just to wet everything enough and Yan Kee Noodle’s was spot on – if you want to be a mee poh snob you want to talk about shit like how springy the noodles were, how they didn’t clump together, the balance of the sauce moisture to the ingredients and the contrasting texture of the soft ingredients such as the crunch provided by MOTHERFUCKEN FRIED LARD CHIPS and fried ikan bilis (tiny anchovies).   FYN verdict:  Fuck off food snobs,  cause if you’re just a greedy fuck like me you’d just say FUCK YEAHHHH cause how can lard fried in oil to make lard chips ever be wrong?
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  • Fish Bee Hoon (Jin Hua Sliced Fish Bee Hoon #01-77):  I’d planned trying Jin Hua’s fish bee hoon (white rice noodle) as a priority because one of my Singaporean homies told me that out of all the things you can get in this awesome country, this is one of the things he tracks down as soon as he goes home.  But inexplicably, I missed getting this on the Saturday and I didn’t make it on Sunday.  I’d planned to get a bowl in before my flight on Monday afternoon but ended up at Hong Lim Centre instead.  My heart aches for not trying this, which hasn’t been helped by Mr Judgmental whatsapping me photos of him pouring those boiling hot noodles down his gullet as he raced the clock to make it back to Changi Airport for his flight. I won’t make this mistake again though – because imma coming for you my milky brothed fish noodley beauty.  I will wait for the old man to cook two pots at a time, not giving a single fuck that there’s an enormous line.  Then, Jin Hua Bee Hoon, I will whole heartedly devour you as I weep salty tears of joy into your carefully selected fish slices. I will wait for you, yearn for you and dream about the day that we will be together.  FYN verdict on my failure to try this dish:  FUCK HOW COULD I BE SO FUCKING STUPID – FUCK I’M SUCH A DUMB ASS DICKSUCK SOMETIMES. 

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Overall verdict on Maxwell Centre:  FUCK YEAHHHHHHH – looked like there was so much more awesome shit to try out too.  I’ll most def be back, SG homies.

St Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Singapore

So after the Maxwell Hawker Centre stop off, it was time for the purpose behind the trip – St Jerome’s Laneway Festival.  Get my denim cut off shorts and my floral crown out because I’m about to embrace my bohemian, free lovin’ individualistic spirit with 5,000 other pixie bitches:

FUCK YEAH, ICE-CREAM SANDWICH: I wanted to hate the icecream & cookie co for a number of reasons – the all lower case company name, the fact they sell their shit at farmers’ markets and pop-ups, describe themselves as ‘artisanal’ and their twee as fuck description of ‘daily kitchen shenanigans’ but SGD6 later I was being told to wait two minutes to let my sandwich soften up and then I smashed that glorious cookies & cream ice-cream fucker into my face to the strains of Angus & Julia Stone.  One of these things was more memorable than the other. Hot tip, it wasn’t the folky blues Australian rock duo.

FUCK NO, BURGER ABOMINATION:  boCHINche (SG, can you forgive this bullshit capitalisation?  I certainly fucking can’t) claimed on its Facebook that they would be “serving freshly grilled juicy boCHINche burgers and steak sandwiches at this year’s St.Jerome’s Laneway Festival!” but what they really should have claimed was that they’d be serving stone cold burgers, mass assembled by the hundreds and then desultorily doled out to punters who they hoped would be too wasted to fucking notice.  Well, I fucking noticed and this was almost the worst thing I ate in Singapore in four days with its unheated bun, pathetically small ass patty and barely adequate ingredient proportions.  boCHINche’s Facebook claims that “Bochinche is a vibrant expression of enthusiasm” which might be true if by enthusiasm they meant to say “a sorry ass excuse for a burger which brings the greatest of fuck no shame onto this magnificent, fuck yeah eating country.”. FUCK NO BOCHINCHE, may you reap the bad karma that comes from pumping out shitty food at festivals and charging SGD12 for it.

FUCK YEAH, NON-IRONIC HIPSTERS:  I was talking about Bengawan Solo (famous Singaporean bakery which makes the pandan cakes / biscuits that everyone takes back as presents for coworkers) and this pretentious as fuck homie without a trace of irony said “Yuck, like maybe if it was a gluten free, locally sourced pandan cake”.  R U FUCKING SRS? DO U REALISE THE THINGS URE SAYING??

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FUCK YEAH, ONE DAY FESTIVAL:  When we were cruising about at Laneway SG, one of my HK homies thought he saw one of the Clockenflap founders there.  I bet that tedious fuck was ruminating over how with such a solid lineup at Laneway, he’d have been able to spread that shit out to an entire goddamn fortnight in HK for maximum bucks and inconvenience for all concerned.  Fuck yeahhhhhhhhh to not having to trek back to Gardens by the Bay for three days to see all the acts that you wanted.

FUCK NO, PORTALOOS:  You know, if I had sold out a festival with a capacity of 13,000 people, I’d estimate that I need maybe…oh, I don’t know…about TWENTY FUCKEN PORTALOOS FOR EVERYONE?  I never get as blitzed as I want to at music festivals because I simply cannot face the soul tearing post-drinking portaloo trauma that’s involved.  

FYN pro-tip for life:  If you’re in the queue and you see lots of this shit:

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Ditch that glacial speed toilet bullshit quick smart and find yourself the line with the biggest sausage party going on, otherwise you are going to fucking die in a line that’s going nowhere fast.

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Festival femmes, WAT R U DOING IN DEM PORTALOOS TO HELL?  Y U no whatsapp outside?!  Y U no focus every atom of your strong feminine power and fucking romantic peony floral crown into being the fastest portaloo user that you know??

FUCK YEAH, BANKS: Banks was channelling Morticia Adams and seemed to move entirely from her shoulders but dis bitch was my highlight of the entire festival.  Yeah, I’m not gonna bang on about music too much because you’re reading this FYN shit for the noms, not for the tunes.  I tried to find a decent live video but predictably, all those assholes who spent the entire concert filming shit through their phone didn’t even do a fucking good job of it.  Nice one assholes, try living in the moment next time.  You guys are gonna have to make do with this professional music video clip of my favourite fuck yeah tune of the night:


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FUCK NO, SHANTY TOWN TIMES:  Laneway Singapore was undoubtedly the filthiest fucking festival I’ve ever been to which was really fucking surprising given that Singapore is normally the Queen Bee when it comes to keeping its shit tidy.  Even their PM took to Facebook to post pictures and try and shame SG’s hipsters into being filthy bastards.  By the end of the night, the entire ground was a sea of discarded ponchos, plastic bottles and food scraps. Just needed some ibises, seagulls and homeless hobos to really set the scene off.

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(Sauce  – photo by Alphonsus Chern)

Hey Laneway Organisers, maybe next time you’ll order some clean up crews to work during the entire festival and have some more fucking rubbish bins.  Shit son, this is not fucking rocket science.

Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre

I met one of my SG homies for yoga and Sunday brunch.  She asked whether we wanted to eat at a cafe, get some eggs and I said “FUCK NO! I can get that western egg shit in HK – let’s go hawkerrrr”.  Fuck yeahhhh, less than 48 hours in SG and I was rounding the corner into my third different hawker centre.  Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre (30 Seng Poh Road, Singapore 168898, 10-15 min walk from Tiong Bahru MRT) is in the middle of a neighbourhood which is going through a Sheung Wan-esque gentrification.  Ie. there’s public housing and old cheap shops now bumping up against shops that sell expensive cedar scented candles, playsuits from retro printed material, polka dot notebooks and overpriced coffee.  At Tiong Bahru Hawker Centre I tried two dishes that they were famous for:

  • Jian Bo Chwee Kueh (Stall #02-05):  I fucking love how Singaporean blogs are totally obsessed with value – complaining how one store will charge SGD1.50 for four of an item and another in a different hawker centre will charge SGD1 for four.  Chwee kueh (literal translation:  water cake)  is a type of steamed rice cake which comes topped with a preserved vegetable topping.  I’m not sure exactly where it’s from, I thought it was Teochew in origin but don’t fucking quote me in your chwee kueh thesis ok?  This may sound a bit feral but Jian Bo’s chwee kueh was one of the most fuck yeah chwee kuehs I’ve ever had in this mortal coil of mine.  The rice cake was bang on in consistency – neither too fucking hard or soft, firm enough to hold its shape but still enough give in it to wobble (*insert obscene Nigella Lawson jiggling shit and licking spoons*).  Allegedly Jian Bo grind their own rice to make the flour for their chwee kueh which seems fucking intense, but I can get behind that sort of attention to detail.  The topping here was off the chain too, a combination of preserved radish (chai poh), soy sauce, garlic, sugar and chilli sauce.  It probably sounds fucking weird but I can get behind the salty-sweet flavour profile as a result of the salty chai poh, sugar and then getting the soft-crunchy contrast through frying the chai poh and adding toasted sesame seeds. FYN Verdict:  Of course there’s a line and it’s SGD1.50 for four – get fucking involved homies if you ever get the chance. Shit’s special. FUCK YEAH.
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  • Lor Mee 178 (Stall #02-23):  Lor mee is a Hokkien noodle dish served in Singapore / Malaysia consisting of braised yellow egg noodles served in a thick, starchy gravy. Lor Mee 178’s costs SGD3 or pay an additional SGD0.50 to add deep fried shark nuggets (as if you wouldn’t).  I solely picked this store because it had a crazy-ass line.  Lor Mee 178’s noodle gravy was a super fuck yeah – consistency was perfect, not too gluggy and delicately flavoured with herbal tasting spices.  It came with fish cake, batter pieces and as I upgraded, crispy shark nuggets.  You then add your own mixture of sauces, garlic and chilli. FYN Verdict:  BEST LOR MEE OF MY FUCKING LIFE – FUCK YEAH.

Fuck I know I’m all ‘NO FOOD PHOTOS ON FYN’ but I’m not sure if my non-SG/MY homies would know what chwee kueh looks like – so here’s a fucking photo for your food education references.  Don’t hate, appreciate, UNFFFFFF:

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Overall verdict on Tiong Bahru Hawker Centre: FUCK YEAHHHHHHH – two from two dishes as BEST EVER in my fucking life.  Who can fucking argue with that shit?

Hong Lim Market & Food Centre

Final day in Singapore and my breakfast plans to get kaya toast and a runny egg were thwarted by not having access to coffee at my mate’s house and my epic laziness.  This means I rolled straight into lunch at the Hong Lim Market & Food Centre (531A, Upper Cross Street, Chinatown).  Hong Lim is one of the oldest hawker centres in Singapore and one of the first in the Chinatown area.  It’s sprawled across two levels (the famous shit is on the second level) and allegedly there was a renovation in May 2011, but shit definitely ain’t fancy (first things first, I’m a realist).  Given my inability to try the Fish Beehoon at Maxwell, I’d consoled myself with planning to try the famous ‘fruit juice mee siam’ at Famous Sungei Road Trishaw Laksa (stall #02-66), a sour, spicy rice vermicelli noodle dish which gets a massive wrap on the internetz.  BUT FUCK NO, Famous Sungei Road Trishaw Laksa was closed for two days for reasons that were unexplained. OHH MEE SIAM HOMIES, MY FLIGHT IS LEAVING IN FIVE HOURS, I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS CLOSED FOR TWO DAYS BULLSHIT – waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah:

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I tried to make the pain inside my heart go away by having some char kway teow (fried flat rice noodles) at Outram Park Fried Kway Teow Mee (Stall #02-17).  Gotta be real, my heart did hurt a little bit less cause this was the best fucking char kway teow I had in my Hawkergeddon SG Weekend.  There noodles are silky, just oily enough and most importantly, have got the char (wok fried) flavour that comes from the wok.  If you want to get all deep, this is known as wok hei (鑊氣) meaning “breath of the wok”.  Outram Park also is very generous on adding cockles, which is a bit of a fucking luxury especially considering a plate of char kway teow only costs a very fuck yeah SGD3.  Shit gets real here line-wise too, it opens at 11am and there’s only three people but by 12pm onwards the line is snaking around the corner.  FYN Verdict:  FUCK YEAHHH, dem cockles.  Lao Fu Zi Fried Kway Teow at Old Airport Road Centre with its SGD8+ price tag and lack lustre char kway teow can SMD.

Just opposite Outram Park, there’s Tai Wah Pork Noodle (Stall #02-16) which makes bak chor mee (pork noodle bowl).  You can have your shit dry or wet, and I went with the dry version cause I think all the different ingredients keep their texture better when they’re not floating in soup.  This means that a bowl of peppery pork soup will come on the side and you can use that to mix it with the noodles to your preference.  The bak chor mee comes in four different sizes, SGD4 to SGD8 and even though I ordered the SGD5 version, the SGD4 would have been fine for one person.  There’s some folklore about how there’s two bak chor mee stalls in Singapore and it’s a result of a feuding family which are now running rival stalls.  Of course this means that food wank assholes will claim how one is superior.  I don’t know cause fuck, no time for bak chor mee comparisons on this trip.  What I do know is that Tai Wah’s bak chor mee is fuck yeah rad times in a bowl – al dente flat wheat noodles topped with an assortment of ingredients – minced pork meat, pork balls, pig liver (dem iron feels), chewy pork dumplings and a few paper thin pieces of dried fish.  I can’t get enough of all dem textures and the sheer unadulterated joy of having that many pig products in one bowl and then sprinkling that shizz with FRIED LARD CHIPS.  FYN Verdict:  FUCK YEAH, PORK NOODLE TIMES. But why is it only Singapore / Malaysia food which is getting so involved with FUCK YEAHHHHHH CRISPY LARD CHIPS?

Special mention to Hak Huat (Stall #02-14) right next door which made the best fuck yeahhh sugar cane drink (SGD1.20) I had on my trip.  They mash dem canes up to order (some stores pre-juice and serve when ordered) which means you’ll wait a little longer but shit don’t get fresher than this. FUCK YEAH!

Fuck No, Changi Airport Toast Times

While I have a raging hard on for HK Airport, a lot of people seem to think that Changi Airport is better.  Even though I was told to seek out the basement to get my last hawker fix, seeing as I’d literally finished up at Hong Lim Market & Food Centre less than half an hour before arriving at Changi Airport, I didn’t feel like chai tow kueh (carrot cake).  Instead, I figured the last thing I hadn’t eaten in Singapore was kaya (coconut jam) toast with a runny egg.  While this shit is normally breakfast fare,  I found myself asking the Airport Info girl, where could I get kaya toast at around 3pm.  “Wang Cafe she replied before courteously giving me accurate directions.  What Info Girl forgot to mention was that this was totally bullshit advice and I was about to walk into a shitstorm of kaya nope.

Kaya toast isn’t hard to execute – ie. it’s toasted bread and you spread kaya jam on it.  Yet, these Wang Cafe homies managed to FUCK THIS SHIT UP ROYALLY.  SGD4.30 for two pieces of kaya toast but as soon as I opened up my paper bag, I was all:

areyoukiddingme
Even though Wang Cafe made this shit to order, my kaya toast was cold as fuck, the bread was as thin as the patience of an old HK grandma riding the MTR and it was spread with a shamefully scant layer of kaya which didn’t even reach the edges of the bread.  Two slabs of butter sat between the bread, but shit doesn’t melt cause everything’s stone cold.  I even tried to Macguyver my butter to melt by rigging up my sorry ass toast to balance on my kopi o (strong black coffee with sugar) but shit was beyond hope.  SINGAPORE, Y U leave me with this as my final FUCK NO food memory in this glorious fuck yeah food city of yours??
So there you have it, less than 72 hours in the Pore, four hawker centres and many FUCK YEAH moments.  MAJULAH SINGAPURA – KEEP STRONG AND GETTIN’ DEM HAWKER EATS ON.
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