Kin Kin Chilli Pan Mee, Singapore

am back in the +65 for summer (best time of the year!!!) and finally got the chance to try the much raved about kin kin chilli pan mee. admittedly, i am pretty late to jump on the bandwagon but hey, better late than never!

if you’re reading this and wondering “what on earth is pan mee/ kin kin chilli pan mee?!” (pretty much my reaction when i first heard about this), pan mee is basically u mian, and at kin kin which hails from our neighbour malaysia, they serve it dry with some seasoned minced meat, ikan bilis, fried garlic, an egg with a glorious runny yolk, and you are free (and highly recommended) to add plenty of their famous dry chilli flakes. perhaps better explained by this sign pasted on their shop door:
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visited on a sunday morning for brunch. they open at 11am and when we got there at about 1115am, we did not have to queue but we snagged the last 2 available seats in the (very decently-sized) shop to make a full house.
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turnaround time for the tables is pretty quick; people don’t tend to linger at such places long once they’ve finished their meal (although this shop does have air-con – a mega plus point-  so one can sit pretty comfortably for an extended period of time) and the ordering system is simple and efficient – you are given a sheet of paper to indicate your orders and you take that sheet of paper to the counter to pay. your food will then be brought to your table when ready.20140622_114220

the menu consists of just 6 items:20140622_114124

most people order a bowl of noodle accompanied by a bowl of soup, and we followed suit. we waited about 15-20 minutes for the food, which i was quite surprised by because i expected an establishment like that to be churning out bowls by the minute. nevertheless, i suppose you could say it was worth the wait, though i wouldn’t go so far to say it is worth queuing 2 hours for (which i heard was the case when they first opened).

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signature dry chilli pan mee – $5.00
might not look like very much in the picture, but its actually a pretty decently-sized bowl that left us feeling quite satisfied! anymore and it might have become jelat i feel? they were pretty generous with the ingredients too; there was more than enough meat/meatballs to be eaten with the noodles.
after mixing:  20140622_115759what i found interesting about this bowl of pan mee was the fact that it did not taste dry or rubbery (which noodles that lack sauce sometimes tend to be) at all despite the lack of sauce. after mixing, the noodles were mostly coated in the delicious egg yolk, chilli flakes, and some (very minimal) sauce from the minced meat. each individual component was not outstanding (although 100 gold stars go to the perfectly poached egg – runny egg yolks never fail to steal my heart), but the mixture of everything put together was actually very tasty and did not disappoint! special shout-out also to their famous chilli flakes which really packed a punch:20140622_114027

we also ordered a bowl of soup to share between us:20140622_115346fishball/bean sheets/meatball soup – $4.00
the meatballs and bean sheets were nothing to shout about; they tasted like regular kinds that you can get commercially in supermarkets. the fishballs on the other hand, were something else! they were firstly, huge (check out those bulbous globules in the picture) and secondly, really really soft and pillowy!20140622_120210
definitely some of the softest and largest fishballs i have ever had. there was still a nice slight crunch to them on first bite, but their insides were extremely soft and fluffy. besides the pan mee, i would say the fishballs are worth a try if you are a fishball fan! i’m actually not one at all but i still quite enjoyed them. i think they must be rather popular because they allow customers to buy them raw!

we polished off everything, generally a sign of a satisfying meal:20140622_121155

and now for the all-important question: would i return? i think its something quite unique and different and i’d return if i’m specifically craving it! i would probably occasionally think of having a bowl and would be quite happy to make the trip down as long as the queue isn’t more then say, 10-15 minutes long.

note that if you’re looking for traditional ban mian though, this is not the place for you to have that craving satisfied (you’ve probably already gathered that from the pictures). its also worth noting that we felt really really thirsty for the rest of the afternoon so i think the food must have contained quite a bit of msg…

Restoran Kin Kin Chilli Pan Mee
534 MacPherson Road
Singapore 36822020140622_121604
20140622_121503Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Malacca & My Malaysian Menu of Mirth

The alliteration of ‘M’ words is by no means coincidental. Put together the ‘M’s and it spells ‘Mmmmm’ – which is exactly how one would feel after a trip to our friendly neighbours Malaysia.

Food in Malaysia tends to be identified with a particular area or town – Ipoh hor fun, Penang laksa, KL hokkien mee, Klang ba ku teh. All these individual locations deserve a post on their own, given the true gastronomical excellence that they provide: in each locality, almost every outlet selling the said dishes are of decent, if not top notch, quality. I shall attempt, in this post, to offer a glimpse into the spectrum of Malaysian fare available using the town of Malacca as an example.

In a recent trip to Malaysia, I was in Malacca and made a trip down to the famed Jonker Street – which , at night, turns into a pedestrianised street (aptly called Jonker Walk) night market selling foodstuff, mobile phone and fashion accessories and much more. Being a food blog, we will of course focus on the food; however, the history of the street should not be neglected. Back in the old days, Jonker Street was where rich Chinese merchants – trading in the port of Malacca – congregated and settled, making the street the centre of the Chinese community. If you look around, old buildings of Chinese clan associations and temples still exist in their original incarnations.Photo 21-07-2013 06 33 21 PM

The street market offers fare ranging from the sweet to the savoury, snacks to wholesome meals. Here are some highlights.

Muah Chee – glutinous rice snack coated in peanutsPhoto 21-07-2013 06 50 56 PMPhoto 24-07-2013 11 06 28 AM

The muah chee here was really smooth and I liked how the peanuts actually are able to fully coat the rice chunks . Also, the peanut coating was not overly sweet and you could taste the roasted flavour of the peanuts – which is something most muah chee stalls aren’t able to boast.

Fried Carrot CakePhoto 24-7-13 11 05 57

We get this almost everywhere in Singapore and given a choice, I’d opt for the Singaporean version more often than not. However, note that the fried carrot cake in Jonker Street (and the wider Malaysian food scene) is different from what we’re used to in Singapore. Vendors tend to add bean sprouts into the frying mix and this, I feel, makes a huge difference to how it tastes – perhaps a little too healthy hence my deference to the Singaporean version.  Also, often there isn’t a choice between the black and white versions that we are familiar with in Singapore. I guess that’s a good thing because you only need to order one plate, unlike in Singapore where it’s too tempting to just order both!

Potato RolesPhoto 24-07-2013 11 06 20 AM

This is interesting. Basically it is a deep fried whole potato cut into small slices. After which you can choose your flavouring ranging from mayonnaise, chilli, black pepper to cheese. Essentially this is like your packet potato crisps, just that its freshly made on the spot.

Durian PuffPhoto 24-07-2013 11 06 24 AM

Just look at the durian cream oozing out of the puff! This was really good, especially since it’s served chilled. The pastry was thin and light, which complemented the durian cream inside. If you’re looking at this and expecting it to taste like the S$7 for 2 durian puffs sold at Goodwood Park Hotel, Singapore, you’re missing the point.  The puffs here are not stuffed with a thick durian filling; rather it’s a watered down version which is surprisingly refreshing – a unique description of anything durian-related. Moreover, at RM5 for 3 (that’s S$2) it is well worth the money spent

Coconut JellyPhoto 23-07-2013 10 35 39 PMPhoto 24-07-2013 11 05 33 AMThis is my personal favourite. It is basically gelatinised coconut water. This means that the natural coconut taste is preserved and not artificially enhanced and, once again, an extremely refreshing option on a hot, humid day.  

Dim SumPhoto 21-07-2013 06 58 33 PM

This was not anything particularly special, aside from the fact that the variety was pleasantly abundant and that the ingredients were fresh and served piping hot. No need to queue for hours (*ahem* Tim Ho Wan) or pay sky high prices (*ahem* Yan Ting) if all you want is to satisfy a craving for a couple of prawn dumplings or siew mais.

Takoyaki – Japanese Dumpling BallsPhoto 21-7-13 21 23 04

I have always felt takoyaki should be a staple in street markets, given how light a snack and how universally palatable they are. I mean if you don’t take the original octopus fillings, go for cheese! Or if you’re allergic to prawns, have the sausage option! In fact, to me at least, takoyaki balls actually whet up one’s appetite so its presence should benefit the other stallholders as well. The ones here aren’t exceptional as they are too floury for my liking. But, as I mentioned, a must have in every street market.

Fried OysterPhoto 21-07-2013 09 23 38 PM

As a dish, this is one I always look out for anywhere I go. The thing about Malaccan fried oysters is that they fry the oysters for a rather more substantial amount of time than Singaporean hawkers. Hence you get a oysters that are more cooked. Somewhat similar to the oysters you get in Penang. I personally prefer this style because the oysters become less watery and, texture-wise, goes better with the fried flour. If you are Hepatitis-paranoid, perhaps this version will set your mind at ease (if only by a little).

Nonya snacksPhoto 24-07-2013 11 06 06 AM

There are also sweet snacks available along Jonker Walk. Here is kueh dadar, a nonya pancake role filled with grated coconut. The one I bought was pretty mediocre but at only RM1? Always worth a punt.

We adjourned to a nearby zi char restaurant for dinner after roaming the streets for snacks. Well everyone deserves a proper meal after walking so much!

We elected to come to this eatery just metres away from the main food street. The waiting time for the food was more than half an hour but I tell you when the food arrived it, it was thoroughly worth it.

Curry Fish HeadPhoto 24-07-2013 11 05 15 AM

The curry fish head was delightful, the fragrant curry taste and generous servings of veggies. It also wasn’t too oil unlike most other curry dishes. The fish was fresh and cooked to perfection – usually most curry fish head would be pre-prepared, and hence likely to be overcooked; this one had no such problems.

Salted egg yolk fried chickenPhoto 24-7-13 11 05 24Basically this was fried chicken coated with a salted egg yolk paste. It could be ordered with pork ribs, prawns or chicken and we opted for the latter. This was quite a unique take on a common zi char dish. The salted egg yolk paste was not too thick, yet it was ultra creamy in texture. No way did it taste like a heart attack waiting to happen  as you’d expect with such a rich dish. I also found it a nice touch that the chicken pieces were filleted for our convenience and I was happy to devour each piece whole.

Claypot pork cooked with sesame oil and salted fishPhoto 24-07-2013 11 05 11 AM

This was nice, especially when eaten with plain rice. The pork was very soft and the salted fish bits added a panache to the overall taste of the dish.

Tofu with seafood topped with dried scallopsPhoto 24-07-2013 11 05 07 AM

This was another enjoyable dish. The seafood, comprising prawn and squid, was fresh. What impressed me was the generous toppings of dried scalloped – which was fried till crispy, so much so I almost mistook them for shallot bits! That, of course, would not have done the dish any justice as the scallops – in the way they were fried – definitely enhanced the taste of the dish by miles. Photo 24-07-2013 11 04 57 AM

For the sake of a wholesome meal, we also ordered spinach fried with garlic and long beans with dried shrimp. The long beans were especially good, in fact it was so good that it was long gone before I could even snap a close up picture of it. I guess it was due to the fragrance of the dried shrimp; again I suspect that they had pre-fried the dried shrimp before putting in the beans.Photo 24-07-2013 11 05 01 AMPhoto 24-07-2013 11 04 53 AM

Restaurant Chong Sek

20,Jalan Portugis,75200 Melaka
75200 Melaka, Malaysia

Malacca, and indeed Malaysia as a whole, is certainly a good place to visit for food – the peranakan food scene here is famous but sadly overly commercialised. But try your luck and visit any independently-run eateries or stalls and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. More Malaysian posts to come – watch this space!