FOOD KING: SPECIAL EPISODE FEAT. NATHAN HARTONO FROM SING CHINA!!

Friday, September 14, 2018

It has been a wonderful journey so far with a plethora of FoodKing worthy contenders from legit street food to  those irresistible mooncakes from last week’s episode. If you haven’t see them already, do it now! You will be in for a sweet surprise! Well, not to be outdone, this week’s episode will be a ‘special’ one, with a special guest. And he is none other than our homegrown singing sensation, Nathan Hartono! A finalist in the 2016 Sing! China competition, Nathan has won the hearts of many with his unique vocals and charisma. Oh golly, he is at it again! We are swoon over already! Lo and behold! We shall be bringing you Nathan’s top 3 favorite food places in Singapore. Leggo!

  1. Ivins Peranakan Restaurant is our maiden stop of the day. And this is also Nathan’s go-to comfort place for years. Let’s see if his taste in music is as good as his taste for this one! bring the dishes out!

Our first take is the Ayam Buah Keluak, which is stable dish and mainstay of Peranakan cuisine. Made with chicken (ayam) braised in a thick, spicy tamarind gravy with buah keluak nuts, this simple-looking dish one of the most labor-intensive Peranakan dishes to prepare. The core ingredient of thia dish is the keluak nut and the spicy tamarind gravy. Speaking of the former, Nathan is absolutely bonkers over it. More to it later.

The curry is slightly on the sour side, like eating Assam. But it is still ok because of the keluar nut. There is a black nutty paste inside it when u suck it out, which taste kinda bitter and earthy. Hence it actually compliments well with the sourness of the curry.

Let’s move on to the next dish: Honey Pork! This one’s kinda like a snack and goes really great with plain rice. We love how the pork is fried till there is this smokiness of the char. Add that with the sweet sauce and we got a real porky gem right here. We are pleasantly surprised that the honey doesn’t overpower the entire taste of the pork. Yummy!

Here we have the Nonya Chap Chye, which is the claypot version of the normal Chap Chye we usually have. We actually like this a lot, way more than the normal ones. There is so much flavor despite being a simple Nonya dish. In the meantime… Nathan is still getting into that Buah Keluak. And he’s gonna suck it dry! he’s enjoying every moment of it man. Juicy!

Our last dish here is the Prawn Sambal. At $6.30, this is really really cheap for a prawn dish! Unfortunately, the sambal is not as spicy as we expected. It taste more garlicky than anything else. There are many other dishes we haven’t tried but so far, these 4 dishes are insanely affordable despite opening in such a posh area. If you want to have an affordable meal with nice ambience without breaking the bank, this is the place to be.

Ratings: 2 Stars

Ivins Peranakan Restaurant

21 Binjai Park, Singapore 589827

Mon to Fri, 11AM to 3PM and 5PM to 9PM | Closed on Thurs

 

2. Alright! We are now here at Adam Road Hawker Centre for some Prawn Noodles! Oh boy, I smell tension here… A fight is brewing and we all know why! Nathan’s Noo Cheng Big Prawn Noodle stall is going to rival Ryan’s Beach Road Prawn Noodles. This spells trouble! Why, Nathan why! If you haven’t already know, this stall is Ryan’s one and only love; his gold class standard and benchmark for all prawn noodles stalls. Click here to find out why! Till now, Ryan has stood his ground and swear his beloved. None has even come close to sway him. Will he finally meet his match? Let the battle begin..

The first thing that caught our attention are the prawns. Look how huge it is! It’s as big as Aiken’s face! Goodness… Compared to the one at Beach Road, the pork ribs here are bigger, more tender and melts in your mouth. Ryan like his to be less tender and more bite to it. So it boils down to individual preference. Besides the pork ribs, the noodle also comes with pork lard and pork belly, both of which are absolute plus point for us. Another plus point is the soup. It is actually very robust and does soup packs a punch thanks to the sweetness of the prawn and the heaviness of the pork combined. A very good soup indeed! Overall, this one is very comparable to the one at Beach Road. If you are around the area, drop by and try this. Don’t skip on it. It’s that good! Dee Kosh has given his verdict and guess what, Ryan’s walking out! Come back Ryan! We need you for the next and final destination…

Ratings: 2.5 Stars

Adam Road Noo Cheng Big Prawn Noodle

2 Adam Rd, Singapore 289876

Tues to Sun, 9.30AM to 4PM and 6.30PM to 2AM | Closed on Mon

 

3. Our final destination is actually a mix-up. Nathan wanted us to try this Chao Ta Bee Hoon in Little India. Unfortunately, this isn’t the place. Instead, we are here at Yong Kee Seafood Restaurant and will proceed with reviewing this place since we are here. Who says life is a bed of roses huh! Let’s see how this random place will fare.

The first dish we will be trying is this Kampong Steamed Chicken soaked in some unknown sauce. To be brutally honest, on first impression, we thought these are leftovers from another table. The presentation, color and aroma is really bad. There’s nothing visually appealing at all and it doesn’t seem to taste very good either. But to be fair, we will try it nonetheless.

The chicken here is very small. Much like those bit-size kampong-style chicken. Flavor wise, it is not too bad. The chicken absorbs the sauce pretty nicely but the sauce itself is a tad too salty. We can also taste some Chinese wine in there. Not that it makes a huge difference to the flavors. This is basically chicken in sauce. We are unimpressed.

Next up, we have the Prawn Salad. This sounds as fancy as the presentation. It is basically chicken nuggets in mayo. Chicken? But it says prawn salad, no? True to be told, it is prawn. Weirdly, we can taste chicken batter in it. It’s like they lazily fried the prawn nuggets with leftover oil from something else (read: chicken), put some melon slices at the bottom and call it a prawn salad. Taste-wise, it is actually not too bad. Kids might even like this. However, we have tasted far better ones and this is just about average with an above-average price. Spend it on something else… I recommend the new Spicy Nuggets from MacDonald’s. Just not this one.

2 dishes, 2 duds. Final dish. What can go wrong, right? Less said the better. Already looking like Sahara Desert served on a platter, this Chao Ta Bee Hoon is not what we expect at the start of this episode. The texture feels and taste really dry and cheap. Like putting wires in our mouths. There is barely any flavor, gravy or wok hei in this dish. Seems really obvious that they are just doing this dish for one reason only; just batter and fry any bee hoon till it is alittle burnt and call it Chao Ta Bee Hoon, for the sake of having it in the menu. Definitely not how u run a food business. As Aiken bluntly but honestly summarize this dish, “I’ve never been to a desert, but the desert just been to my mouth”. You’ve been warned!

Ratings: Ratings: ZERO Stars, Avoid at all cost

Yong Kee Seafood Restaurant

43 Jalan Besar, Singapore 208804

Mon to Sun, 6PM to 3AM

 

And so we have it! All 3 food places by Nathan’s recommendation! Oh wait, make that 2. That last place was a disaster. On a lighter note, we have never seen Dee Kosh get jumped on before. Well, he just did now. Guess who’s the culprit!

Click the video below now!