Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Singapore - new jewels

You would think that working in the CBD area in Singapore, there is no end of choices for lunch. However, stepping out of PWC Building on Cross Street, the perrenial question is always where to go. Unless you want to sweat it out in drycelan-only office garb in the 2 excellent hawker centres at Telok Ayer and Hong Lim Centre, there really isn't much else to shout about.

However, when I was there last week, I did chance upon 2 new possible jewels. They both merit a return visit so that more can be sampled from the menu.

The first is Satowa - a new Japanese hole in the wall at the end of China Square (nearer Hong Lim Centre) serving Hokkaido cuisine. I had the ramen in a shoyu broth. Very tasty and the noodles were al dente. The cha-siew was a little tough but not overly so and the generous bamboo shoots and shredded Japanese spring onion added to the crunch.

The second is Old Shanghai - a coffee shop type environ on Temple Street. It had obviously been reviewed several times before judging from the various articles posted at shop front. We ordered the Shanghainese specialties of drunken chicken, meat and vegetable dumplings in soup and fried baby bok choi. Everything was very competent and not very oily at all, as is the case with Shanghainese food generally. A welcome change!

The drunken chicken was tender and had enough of the Hua Diao wine without being overpowering. The winner in my opinion was the dumplings which were very al dente, with a good balance of minced meat and chopped vegetables stuffed in there - a meal in itself which even Grandma would be proud of. My colleague was also impressed enough with the Zhejiang imported vinegar to bring one home with her.

When I am next back in Singapore, I wil try out these 2 places again and take more off the menu. Hopefully, they are good enough to elevate to gem status.

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