Trying Dumpling Darlings at Amoy Street

Craved recently for dimsum and I thought of taking my friend Ramel to Dumpling Darlings at Telok Ayer. I was always intrigued by the name “Dumpling Darlings”. It sounds like a cute name, right?

When I learned it’s inside of a shophouse, I jumped onto an opportunity to make reservations. (Here I go again with my fetish for shophouses). It’s at Amoy Street, just steps away from the Amoy Street Food Centre and near the stairs that lead up Ann Siang Hill. Here’s how it looks like:

I couldn’t take photos inside since it was PACKED with safely-distanced patrons. But inside it was no frills. The lighting was warm and dim. The bar area caught my attention… and I was elated that our reserved seats were at the bar. The staff were impeccable.

Ramel and I ordered the Dumpling Platter of 15 (SGD 20.00) which is a platter comprising of five types of dimsum (3 pcs each). It was more like the gyoza kind, so don’t expect something like the piping hot baskets from Swee Choon or in… what I’d imagine… Hong Kong.

The five flavours according to the menu description are: Original, Veggie, Momo (named after one of the items on the owner’s wedding menu according to this video), Fried Pierogi, and Smoked Duck… I think one of them was replaced by the ‘impossible meat’ version (as you can see in the photo, with the impossible flag).

As for taste, it was filling, yes. The sauce that accompanied the dumplings were tasty. I can happily suggest that ordering a platter of 15 pieces is good enough for two people.

I also ordered some Miso Mushroom Noodles (SGD 7.50) since this was dinner.

The noodles were slightly dry but I was enjoying this whole experience of dining in again… eating dumplings… and catching up with Ramel… that I didn’t mind. I liked that the noodles had a fair mix of savoury, crunchy, and the Onsen eggs were a treat. Not bad to pair with dumplings.

But what I really liked was the Grapefruit Thyme Strawberry Green Tea (SGD 6.00). I ordered two and had to stop myself from ordering a third. With Singapore’s perpetually humid weather… this was PERFECT.

Overall it’s a quaint enough “pit stop” in the Telok Ayer area for a nice and cozy dinner. I know there are loads of other places in the vicinity that are probably cosier… but I was craving for dumplings! I liked the homemade appeal and I’m a sucker for shophouses… so this was a win. Dumpling Darlings bills itself as creating “unorthodox dumplings”.

Dumpling Darlings is located at 44 Amoy Street, Singapore 069870. There is also a branch at nearby 86 Circular Road, Singapore 049438. The branch that we went to is closest to Tanjong Pagar MRT and Downtown MRT stations. You can learn more by visiting this website.

I think Ramel loved it too. Ramel recently launched a YouTube channel called LabyanTV. Do visit and subscribe if you have a chance.

Singapore Favorites: Kimoto Gastro Bar

My boyfriend and I discovered this kushiyaki izakaya at The Sail when I used to work at LinkedIn. It has my kind of vibe: Japanese skewered meat, Japanese beers, a long bar table, and with minimal foot traffic. It’s like a secret! Very hole-in-the-wall and hidden if you don’t know where to look.

My friend A and I met up at Kimoto Gastro Bar to catch up over some Asahi beers. I’m glad the establishment is still open during this pandemic.

Sorry to make you squint. Here’s the menu at Kimoto Gastro Bar.

They have donburi available but I am eating less rice these days so I’m fine with the kushiyaki. The Buta Bara (2 sticks) for SGD 7.80 is SO GOOD. It’s addictive. The pork belly is juicy and freshly grilled. We couldn’t stop ordering. I think we had three plates of that!

We also ordered the Sasami (2 sticks) for SGD 7.80 which is tender chicken breast with wasabi and lime. WASABI on a kushiyaki – amazing haha! The other item on the plate is the Enoki Maki wrapped with pork belly for SGD 4.80. Sinful. The juicy pork belly wrapped around a crunchy filling of enoki mushrooms.

It’s a great place to catch up with old friends in Singapore’s CBD.

Glad to also catch up with A who is hella busy these days with his raqs sharqi which is the official or proper name of bellydancing. A shared with me his dance school’s logo. It’s great that outside of his full time role as a recruiter, he is passionately pursuing the arts. You can follow him on Facebook.

A selfie with A inside Kimoto Gastro Bar. What you see behind us is the ambiance of the establishment.

Location: Kimoto Gastro Bar is at The Sail, 6 Marina Boulevard #01-15 Singapore 018985. Closest MRT station is: Downtown. It is accessible as well from Raffles Place MRT. Visit Kimoto’s Facebook.

Unli-Rice at Orchard Road: The RiceTable Indonesian Restaurant

PJ is a rice lover. Often what we both want for lunch (or dinner) is different. I want my salads, pasta, and proteins. He wants anything else as long as it has rice.

On his birthday, I wanted to take him to a restaurant that specialises not in rice… but in what goes great with rice. Instantly I’d think about Peranakan, Malay, Thai, or Filipino. I didn’t want to take him to Gerry’s. We have Thai every other week. The good Peranakan can be pricy.

Through someone’s Instagram story I learned about a restaurant called “The RiceTable Indonesian Restaurant”. It’s a restaurant that features Dutch “rijsttafel”. Rijttafel means “rice table”. Think of it as a setting of Indonesian or Indonesian-inspired dishes placed over a plate warmer. In terms of having dishes laid out in front of you… I think it’s similar to the nasi padang you’d find in Jakarta?

I thought this would be perfect for PJ. Savoury Indonesian dishes coupled with “unlimited” rice.

Where is it? The RiceTable Indonesian Restaurant is located on the 2nd floor of the International Building (360 Orchard Road). It is walking distance from Orchard MRT station. The building is small… so once you enter, take the escalator to Level 2 and you’ll spot it right in front of you. Here’s how it looks like:

The restaurant is straightforward. It’s one open area with tables laid out on two sides of the space. The lighting is warm. The decor is minimal. There’s a gamelan soundtrack playing lightly in the background.

Easily you’ll come to notice this device in the middle of the table. It’s a plate warmer and this is where the wait staff will lay the dishes one-by-one in front of you.

Once seated, you’ll be served your lunch or dinner set.

For our lunch set, we had a delicious mix of satay, kangkong, curry chicken, and fish. Our favourites were the beef rendang and the kangkong.

Clockwise from top left: Chicken Satay, Kangkong Belachan, Otak, Grilled Chicken, Curry Chicken, Fried Sweet and Sour Fish, Ladyfinger in Bean Sauce, Beef Rendang, Vegetables in Coconut Stew, and Curried Tofu

Rice is “unlimited” – and PJ enjoyed his refills. The refills are done similarly to Mang Inasal back in the Philippines. One of the wait staff will come to the table to put scoops of rice onto your plate.

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We had a great first dining experience here. I couldn’t help but think it’s a great place to bring my family when they come visit Singapore again in the future. Unlimited rice, Indonesian dishes, and a no-frills dining experience.

During this pandemic, I highly recommend making reservations at restaurants to guarantee your spot because of limited seating arrangements. I made my reservations via their website.

Note: This restaurant was PACKED when we visited on a Monday. We happened to be the last ones to leave the restaurant during the lunch hours… so it looks empty and clean. But it was packed!

If you’ve tried The RiceTable Indonesian Restaurant, let me know what you think?

Tampines, Singapore: 888 Mookata

PJ and I discovered an affordable mookata (think: Korean BBQ meets Chinese Hot Pot) near his block in Tampines.

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888 Mookata is part of a newly-renovated coffee shop at Block 820 Tampines Ave 81.

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888 Mookata sees a healthy crowd. Took this photo after 11pm sorry!

We were happy it’s open until 11:00 PM!

They offer a set for two people which is priced at SGD 26.00. That’s $13 each for a selection of meat, vegetable, and noodles. Not bad!

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A nice Saturday evening in Tampines with PJ.

There’s a set for four people priced at SGD 45.00. Maybe PJ’s flatmates Del and Gel can join next time. 🙂

888 Mookata has several branches in the city. Check out their Facebook here.

  • 888 Mookata
  • 820 Tampines Street 81, Singapore 520820
  • Open 12PM to 11PM

Singapore Favourites: Kushiya Japanese Grilled House at Westgate, Jurong

Without a doubt this is a hidden gem! Located in Basement 2 of Westgate Mall in Jurong East, it’s a simple “basement level” eatery that blends in with all the others. But I am consistently impressed by the fresh grilled taste of their pork belly served over rice. PJ also ordered the kimchi beef which is equally delightful.

What I love is that it’s rarely ever crowded. I’m surprised we always chance upon it as being almost empty. For a good price, you get a good lunch of freshly grilled meat (and the sauce is pretty good that it makes you want to eat more rice). They also have other meats and mushrooms on skewers which you can add onto your dish.

Definitely, a favourite when I’m in Jurong.

Location: Inside Westgate Jurong East, Basement 2, Kiosk 4 “B2K4” – 3 Gateway Drive

Singapore: Soi Thai Kitchen in Tampines

My current living arrangement with my partner is simple. We take turns. Every weekend we alternate between his flat in Tampines and my place in Bukit Merah.

We plan to move in together eventually. But for now, we’re enjoying this arrangement of being able to enjoy two sides of the city.

Somewhere in Tampines West (okay, the address is at the end of this post) is a casual Thai restaurant called Soi Thai Kitchen. We both didn’t know it existed until we were walking and exploring the stores near his HDB block. There are two Thai restaurants at the location but we were intrigued with this one which had a larger crowd.

We ordered the Thai minced meat omelette (told you I’m obsessed with it based off a previous post). Added a large plate of Olive fried rice (I think we’d try Pineapple Fried Rice or Thai fried rice on the next trip). But the highlight for me was the dry tom yum. WOW. Every bit of that tom yum flavour… but imagine it as a sauce you could pour over your steamed rice. It was so good I might have it again next week.

I’ll update this post again when we try the other items on the menu.

Soi Thai Kitchen is located at Tampines Street 81, #01-28 Block 824, Singapore

Singapore: Little Elephant Thai Bistro in Tiong Bahru

There are a handful of Thai restaurants in the city and in the heartlands. Luckily here near my block, there’s one that sits right across Tiong Bahru Bakery. Little Elephant Thai Bistro sits in a beautiful spot next to coffee shops and a bus stop.

This is one of my favourites in Tiong Bahru.

I’m recently in love with Thai omelettes. These ‘minced meat’ pancakes could be quite oily at times. But they are also fluffy and filling. Add to that a plate of Thai stir-fried morning glory (a touch of spice) or a pot of green curry. Mmm. You have a Sunday brunch fix. Oh, and don’t forget a glass of Thai milk tea. Why is Thai milk tea so damn good.

Little Elephant really has a bistro setting. You can order beers as well. There’s an assortment of seating. Tall tables, tables for four inside, or even a boat-shaped table (where we normally always sit).

Little Elephant Thai Bistro is located at 57 Eng Hoon St, #01-72, Singapore 160057. Take note that it’s closed on Mondays. Closest MRT: Tiong Bahru (2 bus stops away)

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This Week in PJ and George’s Kitchen: Butter Garlic Shrimps

I’m so proud of myself.

I’m starting to cook something other than pork adobo. Clap! I mentioned in a previous post that my boyfriend and I will cook ‘something new’ every Wednesday and feature it in my blog. Last week we had pork steak. This week we listed down butter garlic shrimps, Filipino-style. Like where I get most of my current instructions… I learned this recipe from the ever-reliable Panlasang Pinoy. ❤

Here’s the finished result:

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It’s a very easy dish to make. You buy shrimps and you soak them in lemon soda for about 10 minutes at least. I picked out 7-up.

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Then you melt half a cup of butter and heat that up. Pouring in minced garlic (the fresh ones are probably way better, but this one in PJ’s kitchen wasn’t too bad). You wait for the bits to turn golden brown before you pour in the shrimp.

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This is one of the fun ones to cook. Waiting for the shrimps to turn orange. Watching them soak up the butter and garlic. Then you sprinkle in two tablespoons of parsley. I’m not going to get the credit for this recipe so I’ll point you again to Panlasang Pinoy this time. What would I do as an OFW without Panlasang Pinoy. ❤

Click here to see Mr. Vanjo’s recipe for Butter Garlic Shrimp.

And voila… you’re set! Delicious butter garlic shrimps ready within 30 minutes basically. I blanched some broccoli to serve as sides.

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My boyfriend PJ loved it! Can’t wait to cook again next Wednesday. 😀

Couldn’t help ourselves to some cups of rice.

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Singapore: Saveur Restaurant in Purvis Street

The truth is this. I’m aware of restaurant openings, events, and things to do wherever I go. I have lists of places I want to go to and food I want to try. So when PJ offered to take me out on a date one Friday evening, I let go. I let him surprise me.

And surprised I was.

He took me to an address: 5 Purvis Street. All I know is that it’s on the same street as the Clinton Street Baking Co. and Restaurant. But I was wondering if he was going to surprise me with something else.

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Saveur is located at 5 Purvis Street

At 5 Purvis Street is a French restaurant called Saveur (Suh-VERE) which markets itself as “French for everyone”. We entered the shophouse and it’s a casual setting. Tall white walls all the way in. You can see the whole restaurant from the door. This includes the open kitchen at the other end of the long dining hall.

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Saveur Menu

They have a three-course dinner set. But we felt like exploring and trying out some dishes ala carte and sharing the starters and sides.

Starters are divided into warm and cold or salad. We had the Saveur Pasta (SGD 9.00) which is capellini (thin pasta noodles) with ebi, chives, shallots, and in pork sauce and truffle oil. It was a burst of flavor with the pork sauce and truffle (which is normally really strong tasting, right?). But we loved the saltiness of the ebi (shrimp).

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Saveur Pasta

Being a French casual restaurant, I wanted to try the rotisserie chicken for one of the mains. PJ and I ordered the Rotisserie Baby Chicken (SGD 22.00) and Pot-Au-Feu (SGD 24.00).

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Rotisserie Baby Chicken

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Pot-Au-Feu (Pork Belly, Cheek, and Rib)

The roasted chicken was tender and I couldn’t stop dipping it in the sauce. The pork belly, cheek, and rib (Pot-Au-Feu) was in this aromatic broth. The pork belly melts in your mouth. Omg. Like… it just dissolves. Lord.

For sides, we ordered the Mash (SGD 6.00) and Braised Lentil & Bacon (SGD 6.00). This is the only way mashed potato should be enjoyed. REAL. Not like your KFC or Popeyes’ Chicken powered mashed potato. The mash was creamy, buttery, with a hint of truffle oil.

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Mash

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Braised Lentil and Bacon

The braised lentil and bacon is a strong-tasting side. At least, in that first bite! I was like, WHAT… an assault on the palate. But after a few bites, I couldn’t help myself. It’s a distinct taste from the mains. Loved it.

We didn’t order desserts at Saveur since I was thinking of taking PJ for Korean bingsu around the corner.

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Quite a number of awards for Saveur.

Would I recommend Saveur? YES. It’s French casual and the starters, mains, and sides we tried each stood out from each other. We noticed that the restaurant attracts a sizable crowd. PJ was sweet to make reservations for us.

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My date at Saveur 🙂

Location: Saveur is on 5 Purvis Street in Singapore. The closest MRT stations are Bugis and Cityhall. Learn more on their website here. It’s located near the National Library and also near Leslie’s.

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Singapore: Tonkotsu Kazan Ramen at Liang Court

Ah, Liang Court.

One of my new favorite malls to visit. Why? Though it sits next to Fort Canning MRT station on the Downtown Line, it doesn’t have the stressful crowds of MRT stations you’d find in Ang Mo Kio, Cityhall or Tiong Bahru. Liang Court is an old mall filled with Japanese stores and restaurants. It seems to attract a crowd that stays in the nearby condos. It’s laid back.

It also happens to be a major transit point getting from my office (Marina Bay Financial Centre next to Downtown MRT) to my house in Bukit Merah. Bus 195 is a convenient ‘feeder’ bus that takes me from MRT station to my block on a 15-minute ride.

Enough about that. I’ve done some little exploring of this pocket-sized mall and I’ve discovered a restaurant in the basement that specializes in Okinawan cuisine. I’ll write about that next time. Today, I got my ramen fix from Tonkotsu Kazan Ramen. It’s located right across from Starbucks and Subway on the ground level.

Click the images to make them bigger.

It specializes in “kazan ramen” which is ramen served in a very hot stone bowl with a conical lid cover. But for my first trip here in weeks, I went for the classic tonkotsu ramen with a piece of cha shu.

For about SGD 12-15 (standard price for ramen in Singapore), it’s not too bad. Given you can enjoy free boiled eggs.

It’s good for a quick fix. But my favorite ramen places are still in the Tanjong Pagar area near Orchid Hotel. I want to try the kazan ramen next time and I’ll write an updated review about that here.

Location: Tonkotsu Kazan Ramen, Liang Court (177 River Valley Road). Nearest MRT Station: Fort Canning (Downtown Line).