Take Out

Where:
Johnny Gurkha (FB page which is actually informative with menus)
GF/45A Graham Street
Soho, Hong Kong

FYN hot tip:  While officially listed as GF/45A Graham Street, it’s actually not adjacent to 45 Graham Street (the godawful Cencalo’s) nor on the ground floor.  Next to The Globe, look for a staircase and the clearer signage for Japanese restaurant Toriyama.  Head up the stairs and turn right into Johnny Gurkha.

Phone:
+852 6293 4941

Price:
HKD150 a person before tip.  I reckon with a bigger group you’d probably look at HKD120 – 150.  But what’s HKD30 for all you big dick swinging HK ballers?  No service charge.

The deal:
I’d been given a big hitting recommendation to check out Johnny Gurkha from a bona fide FYN Nepalese homie, so of course I took that hard hitting shit to heart.  After receiving reports that they were open for business again post a “renovation”, we swung in for dinner on a Saturday night.  At 8:30pm, the restaurant is empty and dead silent, and initially there’s no background music to break up the awkward silence.  While no one else joined us for dinner, at least the kitchen seemed to be doing an ok takeaway trade with the Foodpanda dudes popping in periodically to collect orders. It’s a basic dining room and I’ll be real, the floor could be a little cleaner, but it seems positively salubrious in comparison to the Saw-like grimey apartment ambience of the super ghetto Up 9 Nepalese “restaurant” in LKF.

Johnny Gurkha only opened earlier in 2015 and in a fuck yeah indicator, all of the staff in the restaurant and the kitchen are Nepalese. The friendly owner comes over to walk us through the menu and make some thorough and well explained recommendations which forces us to reconfigure what we were initially going to order.  I am filled with immediate regret that I’ve only got one homie with me, rather than dragging along a couple more so we could more comprehensively bang our way through all the fuck yeah sounding dinner options.

We get started with some complimentary pappadums and tomato salsa and order some mango yoghurt lassis (HKD42).  They’re cute as all hell, served in handled mason jars with tin lids and a solid reuseable stripy plastic straw pierced through the top.  I fucking hate cute but functionally useless stripy paper straws that become instantly soggy upon contact with a liquid (surely this is crucial properties for a fucking straw to have) so I can get behind this sustainable choice.  Unfortunately it wasn’t quite my thing as the mango lassi needed more fresh mango and I think there was some sort of syrup in there which gave it an artificial fuck no taste.

The kutta ko achaar (pork trotters slow cooked in a tomato based gravy, HKD68) had been recommended to us with a promise that it’s quite spicy.  Given that it’s chunks of pork trotters, if you’re one of those slack jawed pussies who can’t deal with fatty meat or bones in their food, don’t order this dish and go and order a chicken breast from somewhere.  But if you’re into pork trotters that have been slow cooked until they’re a tender, gelatinous delicious as fuck combination of pork skin and meat in a fucking glorious spicy sauce, slightly reminiscent of those spicy Sichuan chilli dishes, you need to most definitely get involved.  The sauce is an epic masterpiece, deep with the flavours of pork bones and fat, tomatoes, chillies and ginger with a vinegary acidic kick at the end.  If only I’d had the foresight to order some roti so I could have captured every last bit of that magical fuck yeah sauce.  Rules to live by, always and forever – carb life = best life.

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We also ordered the Yak Cheese (HKD88) which comes from the milk of spoilt Nepalese Yaks who appear to be living a life better than my current HK life, as the menu claims that they are breathing clean air, drinking pure water and eating wildflowers. Very biblically, it’s served with dried apricots, walnuts and honey (although in reality, strawberry jam appears to have been substituted for the honey). It’s similar to a mild to medium cheddar and a good palate cleanser after the amazing kutta ko achaar but I’ll be real, I’d rather have ordered another curry dish in its place and as much as I love Nepal, it’s not exactly known for its cheese prowess.

The next dish is what we’ve all been waiting for, Nepalese dumplings which are well loved by all and available in pork, chicken or vegetable.  YASSSSSS MOMOS.  The steamed pork momos (HKD60 for 10) are fucking delicious – thin skinned and stuffed with a fragrant coriander and pork filling.  As always, I want to suck back all of the spicy acar sauce that’s served with the momos, a blended cooked sauce of ginger, onion, garlic, tomatoes, ginger and red chillis with a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten it all up.  It’s only too sad when I’ve finished all my momos cause as the saying goes, NO MOMOS, MO PROBLEMS.

We split an order of the Himalayan soup (HKD32) made from fermented greens (gundruk) and other vegetables.  I’m not sure what the green vegetable they used (normally mustard greens or spinach are used), but whatever it was its stems were  fibrous fucks which detracted from the very tasty sour and spicy soup.  Maybe this would have been better if it’d come out at the start of the meal but either way, if there’s an option on fried chicken wings marinated in herbs and coated in crispy panko breadcrumbs vs a fermented woody stemmed soup, you can probably guess which way I’m gonna swing next time I’m at Johnny Gurkha.

Our final dish was the Trucker’s Thali, a solid value proposition of only HKD78 for a mixed plate of lamb curry (option on pork, chicken or vegetable curry), rice or roti, lentil soup, two types of seasonal greens, tomato acar sauce and a papadum.  Unfortunately, we weren’t asked whether we wanted rice or roti which meant we ended up with the inferior breadless choice of rice and I was forced to console my roti-less situation with fork tender, generous chunks of fucking delicious lamb curry.  All of the components were jam packed with fuck yeah flavour – the slightly spiced potatoes which had most definitely been cooked in some sort of delicious fat (ghee? The answer to superior fuck yeah deliciousness is often clarified butter), curried green peas and a yellow lentil soup. Who knew that such value was available for only HKD78 in Soho??

Johnny Gurkha isn’t anything fancy in terms of its decor and it’s not pulling any punches in terms of the food it’s selling.  But I can most definitely get behind a straight up, family owned business making affordable and super delicious Nepalese food in a Central HK location.  I hope they’re turning over a good volume of home deliveries because it’d be too sad if Johnny Gurkha fell victim to HK rents simply because no-one fucking knew about them and the idea of the Nepalese family sitting forlornly in their empty restaurant night after night is just too fucking much for me to bear.  Don’t worry Johnny, I will do my bit to give you my patronage but largely it’s for self-serving selfish reasons because let’s face the hard hitting facts, I desperately need your tasty Nepalese eats in my life again soon.

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Verdict:
Fuck yeahhhh!  I need to get back to Johnny Gurkha to more systematically take down their menu.  As always, MO MOMOS NO PROBLEMS!

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.

Where:
Pololi
35-39 Graham Street
Central, Hong Kong

Phone:
+852-2755-8099

Price:
HKD90 per ‘poke’ / tuna ricey salad bowl

The deal:
Going out to lunch is a goddamn institution in HK, but old habits die hard and I still eat ‘al desko’ so I can save my calorific expenditure for night time and weekend nom adventures.  In really fucking boring news, I normally pack my own lunch (Salad! Lean proteins! Healthy fats!) but then sometimes the shit hits the fan, I’m out late the night before or the meat at the supermarket looks so fucking depressing that I can’t bring myself to buy it and then I’m fucking lunchless and about to endeavour on one of the most fucking depressing missions in Central – trying to find something decent for lunch which won’t leave you hungry in an hour (rules out pretty much all quick Chinese food) or bankrupt.

I don’t like to eat too much wheat, particularly if it’s in the form of sub-standard bread cause if you’re going to eat bread, make it fucking count for something.  So this results in me roaming around Central trying to find something which doesn’t resemble a fucking wheat field, but the options pretty much look like this:

breadbreadbread
But you know, I’m trying to be fucking healthy.  TRAIN MEAN, EAT LEAN like that motivational picture I pinned to my fucking Pinterest the night before, next to six recipes for kale smoothies and ‘no sugar’ grain free biscuits (which used a shit tonne of honey and are entirely made from calorie dense almond flour, but no biggie cause it’s NO PROCESSED SUGAR OR GRAINS).  So maybe I should go to Olivers or Great Food Hall and build my own fucking salad.  Except then you’re waiting a fucking eternity in a sea of people attempting to get their health on by also buying a pretty fucking lack lustre salad.

Artist’s impression of FYN at Great Food Hall / Olivers at lunch time:

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Or perhaps I could go to Pret a Manger to get a flat boxed salad, with its flaccid salad greens and utterly depressing proteins.  Yeah that smoked Scottish salmon and potato salad box or that “healthy Skipjack tuna salad” with those sad ass edamame beans, gives me feelings like this:

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I guess there’s always Simply Life – that brown cardboard box filled with some sugar snap bean salad, beet salad, the tomato salad and whatever fucking pathetic, shit boring selection is left if you get there any time after 1pm always excites the taste buds.  No really – not changing your shit ever is really working for you, Simply Life.  DON’T EVER CHANGE, that broccoli salad option is so so rad, you should serve it til at least the year 2050.

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Or maybe I should pay SEVENTY EIGHT FUCKING HONG KONG DOLLARS (that’s TEN US DOLLARS) for a pathetically sad looking tinned tuna salad from NOOD FOOD.  NOOD FOOD, R U FUCKING SERIOUS?  HKD78??? AREN’T YOU MAKING ENOUGH FUCKING MONEY FROM THOSE ASSHATTED JUICE CLEANSES THAT YOU’VE SUCKED HALF OF HONG KONG INTO BUYING?? JUDGING YOU NOOD:

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But seriously, If none of those options work, sometimes I like to go to MX, line up for fucking ages to get some unidentified meat, in some sort of cornstarchy sauce on some rice. LOLZ J/K – YOU TELL ‘EM DOWAGER COUNTESS OF GRANTHAM:

downtondowagerdesperate
So today, I finally decided to hike my lazy ass up to Graham Street to try Pololi.  Pololi is set up as a take-away joint with a few counter seats and a dog.  I even saw some customers eating their lunch on the steps outside (so fucking bohemian, amirite?).  Pololi makes “poke” (pronounced “po-kay”) which hails from Hawaiian – taking cubes of sashimi grade raw tuna, mixing it with a dressing/sauce and then serving it with the option of rice, salad or 50/50.

There’s about six different raw tuna options, one scallop option and a vegetarian option – a creamy tofu.  If you haven’t been before, they’ll let you taste all the different tuna + tofu options (which was surprisingly fucking good).  No scallop tasting though – can’t give that exxy shit away for free. Pololi homies, the taste test is a nice fucking touch.  The ahi tuna has options like the Hong Kong style (marinated in soy sauce and coriander), the wasabi mayonnaise with fish roe and spicy tuna.  Raw high protein tuna, salad, plain rice – it all feels pretty fucking healthy, doesn’t it?

You get to choose two proteins for your poke and I predictably went for the “wasabi mayo” and “spicy tuna” ahi options.  Fuck yeahhhh they will add more chilli for fuck yeah spicy times.  It looked like a fuck yeah and I wasn’t even crushed by disappointment when I finally ate it.  I gotta say, it’s been a long fucking time since I enjoyed a takeaway ‘al desko’ lunch in HK without feeling like I’d been totally ripped off.  The tuna was fresh as fuck, the dressing used to marinate the tuna was a fuck yeahhhhhh and mixed in with the rice, salad and the avocado I added in myself, shit was filling and most importantly, fucking rad.

I gotta say though, that Pololi can definitely lift their salad game. Their salad was just adequate with a good dressing but end of the day, it was just fucking boring ass lettuce. If you go 50/50, the salad gets packed right next to the warm rice, so there’s a bit of fuck no wilt going on.  I don’t think it would kill Pololi’s profit margins to shred a carrot, slice some tomatoes, maybe thinly shred some cabbage in there…Spotting this potentially sad salad times, I stopped off at the wet markets on the way back and checked out six different stalls to pick an avocado, my body braced for the constant disappointment of HK avocados.  I actually managed to select one which wasn’t a black fucker inside but it was still pretty disappointing in texture.  HK avos, Y U always break my fucking heart but why can’t I fucking quit you?

So at HKD90, Pololi is NOT super cheap, but as it’s only +HKD12 more expensive than those sad ass NOOD FOOD tuna salads and they use sashimi grade tuna, I can definitely live with their price point. Word of warning though, Pololi have only been open one month and while service was fine for me, I was also the one customer they had at the time. There’s only one very well intentioned girl proving tuna tastings and then making pokes, and shit is time intensive.  This is going to be fine for them if they only have one customer every 10 minutes but if shit takes off for them, shit’s gonna get  real.  Godspeed my Pololi homies, hope your service times don’t end up on Struggle Street when shit picks up for you.

Verdict:
Fuck yeahhhhh!

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