Monday, March 30, 2015

Chir Chir

The fusion chicken factory has hit Singapore, all the way from where is first originated - Korea. It seems the wave of Korean fried chicken restaurants are on a constant high, with new establishments coming up every now and then. Latest addition to our city? Chir Chir, located at Somerset 313, where queues to savour the some say 'best fried chicken in town' form, especially during peak hours.

What was the hype all about? We had to find out for ourselves. For a start, almost every table seems to have had at least one of these on their table - the Chir Cream Beer. While this may initially get stares since it's not the way most Singaporeans drink their beer, it is exactly how the Koreans do it in Korea, hence the reason it is being served at Chir Chir. Draught beer topped with freshly whipped cream, we wouldn't deny it's a perfect sidekick while indulging in your fried chicken.

On the menu, choose from three kinds of fried chicken - Crispy Fried Chicken, Garlicky Wings and Spicy Wings. The crispy comes as a whole chicken, while the garlic and spicy comes as wings and drumlets. If you like your chicken the original way, dive right for the crispy. We however, enjoyed the garlic and spicy ones more, which came with roasted sweet potatoes and fried toppoki. The spicy wings come with a bit of kick, so if you have low tolerance for spiciness, we suggest sticking with the garlic or crispy. Funny enough, the wings came slightly more juicy than the whole chicken (cripsy), nevertheless we still enjoyed all of them.

If diet in not on your agenda, we highly recommend the Nest Snow - a different take on fried chicken.  Served on a hot plate are cajun chicken tenders, drowned in sweet potato puree and cream sauce, topped with a generous amount of cheese. Or in short, heaven. We liked this dish best, but we recommend it as a sharing dish because we felt it was 'too much' after awhile.

We recommend you come as early as possible as the queue forms pretty quickly, especially during peak hours. Also, their portions are definitely for sharing so it's best to come as a group because trust me, you won't want to be finishing a whole chicken or 14 pieces of wings/drumlets, all by yourself. On the side, they also offer salads such as the Honey Grape Salad and Mango Salad which honestly, wasn't much to rave about and are worth skipping. In other words, head straight for the fried chicken and Snow Nest.

Chir Chir
313 Orchard Road
313@Somerset, #B3-04
Singapore 238895

This was an invited media tasting.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


New kid on the block of shophouses on Tan Quee Lan Street is Joo. One step into Joo and you'll pretty much be able to decipher what cuisine they serve, with k-pop music in the background. The 3-storey restaurant takes its name from the word 'alcohol' in Korean - Joo.

And of course the highlight of the restaurant/bar is none other than house-brewed alcohol, with an array of makgeolli (rice wine) flavours on the menu to choose from such as Yucha, Lychee, Peach and Strawberry. What to do if you're spoilt for choice? Order the Makgeolli Sampler that showcases all 5 flavours, including the original. Our pick of the lot was the Yucha, which is a Korean term for yuzu (a citrus fruit). The citrusy taste of the Yucha married the rice wine nicely, leaving a refreshing after-taste. 

Another drink that's worth the mention is the Yucha Sojurita (and in case you haven't realised by now, we are huge fans of anything Yucha). The innovative drink boasts a frozen soju-yucha-Cointreau-lemon juice mix with an added slug of an overturned beer. In our opinion, the perfect drink for sharing while chilling out with great company. 

From the food menu, be sure to head for the Baby Paper Eel which pairs perfectly with the drinks. These chips are highly addictive and the added lime zest adds an extra dimension to it. However, we thought that the lime zest made it a little soggy, so if you're ordering it we suggest trying it on its own before squeezing the lime.

On to the real food, the Warm Kimchi with Tofu & Spam won us over with our first piece. The house-made kimchi, stacked with a slice of tender mangalitsa pork belly topped with tofu, onion and scallion was a burst of flavours in the mouth - somewhat like a party of fragrant, savoury and a tinge of spiciness from the kimchi. If you like your beef, we highly recommend the Hand-chopped Korean Minced Rib Steak which is basically hand-chopped prime US meat, seasoned with a special sauce and topped with crispy golden brown garlic flakes. 

For something heavier on the palette, the Seafood Gochujang Risotto is a good choice - risotto in red pepper cream sauce with a selection of fresh seafood such as squid, shrimps, mussels and clams. The risotto was cooked perfectly and the freshness of the seafood complimented every aspect of the dish. 

Will we be back for Joo? The answer is most definitely. We think Joo is the perfect place for hanging with a couple of friends as the food portions bend more towards communal dining than individual portions. But of course if you happen to be on your own - trust us, a carafe of Yucha Makgeolli and a plate of delectable Seafood Guchujang Risotto will do the trick as well. 

5 Tan Quee Lan Street
Singapore 188094
+65 8138 1628

This was an invited media tasting.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Ponggol Nasi Lemak

As a Singaporean, one would easily be able to associate Nasi Lemak with Ponggol Nasi Lemak. Undoubtedly one of the most popular in Singapore, Ponggol Nasi Lemak at Upper Serangoon Road has been one of my favourite night spots for supper. Started in the 1970s, they now have 3 locations all over Singapore, which also means everyone can enjoy it without having to travel too far.

Their newest outlet at Jalan Besar Road is unlike the one at Upper Serangoon or Tanjong Katong. Instead, the newest addition to the Ponggol Nasi Lemak family emphasises on a fast-food style layout which is fully air-conditioned. This also means lesser waiting time in line and a more comfortable dining environment.

Instead of pointing out what you want, the fully automated system at the counter links to the kitchen where your food is freshly prepped and served to you. Also, having understood what customers tend to order through the years, they have set menu options for us to choose from. 

Our favourite part of this newest outlet however, is the fact that they made an effort to offer new additions to the menu. Our favourite of the lot is the Crispy Chicken Skin with Curry Leaves that are carefully prepared, fried till golden perfection and tossed in kicap manis. The end result leaves you with a highly addictive side that goes well with the fluffy aromatic coconut rice, or even as a snack on its own.

Apart from that, the Crispy Battered Whole Prawn and Fish Fillet did leave an impression as well. Fried till golden brown and accompanied with a house-made minty aoili dip, both the prawn and fish were extremely fresh and very delicious.

And if all that is not enough, they also offer Homemade Ice Cream and Sorbet as a post-meal indulgence - perfect for the Singapore weather. Flavours such as Raspberry Mango, Lemongrass Lime and Milo are made fresh daily on site to ensure freshness. 

We are glad that hawker food has evolved to 'fast-food' stage and that the tradition of Ponggol Nasi Lemak continues to live on in the heart of Singapore. A plate of Nasi Lemak from Ponggol Nasi Lemak to us is a perfect example of how comfort food taste like.

Ponggol Nasi Lemak
371 Jalan Besar, #01-01
Singapore 208998
+65 6293 0020

This was an invited media tasting.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Volvo : V40 Cross Country D2

Promising to deliver a balance of elegance and ruggedness, the new Volvo V40 Cross Country D2 is a car that's extremely fuel economical and sporty at the same time, yet retaining the essence of Volvo's key promise - safety. The sporty exterior of the V40 Cross Country includes a 40mm elevation as compared to the V40 R-Design, accompanied by contrasting front and rear bumpers.

On the interior, expect to be greeted by up-to-date technology, including a fully graphic 8" adaptive digital display that displays the most important information. We like how we had the option to choose between three graphic themes - performance, elegance and eco.

Besides the refined infotainment system which allows you to bluetooth connect phone conversations, as well as to stream your music, the V40 Cross Country D2 has a panoramic glass roof which gives the interior a spacious feel, allowing a tinge of natural sunlight to come in when opened in the day.

When it comes to Volvo, safety is never lacking. The car also features a City Safety system that is active at speeds up to 50km/hour. This will cause the car to automatically brake if you fail to react in time when the vehicle in front brakes, or if you are approaching a stationary vehicle too quickly.

We took the V40 Cross Country D2 for a weekend spin and very honestly, it is more than just a good drive - given the specs and how fuel economical it is. The car is sturdy and goes over humps with little turbulence, with an interior which we think it extremely spacious for a hatchback vehicle. Suitable for the most ages, we think Volvo has successfully changed our perception of matured looking sedans and huge SUVs with this sleek looking V40 Cross Country D2. Now i guess it's just a waiting game for the COE to drop.

This is an invited media test-drive review. 

Monday, March 9, 2015


Imakatsu, as you can guess from its name, specialises in katsu (deep fried food). On the menu, one can expect to find almost everything deep fried, from pork and chicken to seafood. Not exactly a place to be at if you do not like your food fried, but if the calories don't matter and you don't count them, then this place is all for you.

From the menu, we tried the heavily recommended Premium Pork Loin Cutlet ZEN which came in a 180g serving. The meat was extremely tender and flavourful, with a golden crisp exterior that crumbles upon your first bite. We think that this is a dish that you must order at Imakatsu.

Although a little pricy, the Deep Fried Scallop which highlights fresh sashimi grade scallop is also a dish worth raving about. Again, the exterior was fried till golden perfection, with a fresh sweet succulent plump piece of scallop that awaits you upon sinking your teeth into it. The Deep Fried Salmon ZEN is also a good choice if you like your fish. The salmon retained its moisture despite being deep fried.

The PIYOPIYO Minced Meat Cutlet, also know as a speciality dish at Imakatsu, was however a letdown. We were expecting more than what we were served - the meat was a tad too bland for our liking.

Most of their katsu dishes come with rice and free flow salad. Just a heads up that the sesame sauce that comes with the salad is extremely addictive so be prepared to go slow on it while waiting for the mains to arrive. Overall, we feel that the dining experience at Imakatsu will definitely satisfy a katsu-lover, or if you like anything deep fried.

1 Vista Exchange Green
The Star Vista, #01-17
Singapore 138617
+65 6694 6148

This was an invited media tasting.