Sunday, June 8, 2014

Singapore Food Round-Up, part 3

Welcome back to my Singapore sling - I'm slinging food reviews your way, get it? Ah, you get it. Read back through part 1 & part 2 if you had missed them earlier.

By the way, the Singapore Sling is a pretty nice little drink - sweet & fruity, just the way I like 'em. When it comes to two other classic Singapore flavors though, I kinda hated them. Durians - love them or leave them, and I would've gladly left them at the very bottom of the gym bag that they must've came out of. Seriously, for me it tasted the way rotten onions smell, but I ate an entire one to prove a point to a non-existent critical audience. "See, you think I couldn't possibly eat something this groddy...well, look at me now!" Durian definitely is a marmite type of situation - I think you can only like one or two of those love it/hate it foods in your life, and I only have room for marmite & coriander, I guess.

I was also a bit disappointed by the chicken rice that I had, which admittedly may not have been the best as it was just the hotel's room service, but I had no idea that it was going to be served cold. Not even room temperature, but actually kinda chilled. My personal preference is to never really eat cold chicken, and the texture of this seemed quite 'slick' and fatty, for lack of a better description. Served warm & I would've liked it more. As it stood I spent the whole meal vaguely concerned about salmonella. It was completely fine, of course, but it just wasn't a nice thing to eat for me. The rice was delicious though - savory as I think it may be cooked in chicken broth & ginger- and the traditional sauces on the side were all nice, ranging from hot to spicy to creamy and spicy. I can see why other people would really enjoy it, and it is meant to be served chilled like that, but for me I like chicken to err on the side of dryness & warmth. Just personal preference, but if you don't like the sound of a cold, moist chicken breast I'd recommend you go for some of the other tasty things Singapore has on offer.

Such as Bread Society's many breads. Some filled with sausage, some topped with blue cheese & walnuts or bananas, caramel & hazelnuts.

This was truly delicious - I'm sure it could be replicated at home, too! Really chewy kinda bread, seemed to be a variation on tangy sourdough with a thick crust. The topping is griddled blue cheese & walnuts, and it tasted so sweet and savory. A really great combo that I'd happily get again if given half a chance. That might seem a bit plain to a European palette, as I understand blue cheese & walnuts isn't an uncommon flavor here, but the next one should become a more common flavor.

I'm talkin' sausage inside bread. Hot dog style. Savory, buttery, with added extras like whole grain mustard baked inside or cheesy sauce innards.

These kinds of soft buns with sausage/hot dogs baked inside are a common sight in Japanese convenience stores, like every single one I ever went in had at least 2 or 3 variations. Mustard, cheese, mayonnaise, and probably even more sundry fillings & toppings that I missed. I was really happy to see them again in Singapore, although much less commonly. There's something about that soft, squishy, sweet bread that completely envelops a warm & savory hot dog that makes me feel so happy. I like hot dogs, but I guess my main problem had always been that the bun wasn't up to snuff. I like soft & squishy bread, and so often hot dog buns are chewy.  These particular hot dog breads were very nice - I had the whole grain mustard one and it was mild, hoppy dijon. Don't know what it is about these that make them so appealing, but I'd love to see these take off here in the UK. First, the country would have to fall in love with hot dogs I guess, haha. Odds are probably better that the US will adopt these buns.

I can see this one going down very well in the sweet-loving UK, though.

Grilled bananas, caramel, and hazelnuts top off a very buttery brioche. Like I said, I wouldn't have been shocked to find this one already available as a brunch option in a London breakfast place, but that doesn't change the fact that it was very nice. The caramel was light and not too sticky, the bananas were very finely cut and added a little tangy fruit taste, and the hazelnuts were nice and slightly roasted...the only problem was they weren't actually affixed to anything, as instead of being on top of the caramel they were on top of the bananas. So, every bite meant that a hazelnut would fall off - just picked them off the plate and ate them that way, so no great loss. Bread Society might've been a little boring, but it's an example of the kind of variations and quality you can expect from even something like a bread bakery in Singapore. I really appreciated the level of choice and expectation of quality - even from something simple.

Speaking of variety & choice in things that we otherwise know very well - enter McDonald's Singapore.

This is a fine assortment of what I'm talking about with variety - to the left is a Himalayan Tea McFlurry, middle we've got a Fiery Mala burger, and to drink none other than a Yuzu McFizz.

Three things you will never, ever see at a McDonald's in the UK or the USA - a shame, because all three were very nice.

I consider myself somebody who can easily eat almost any 'spicy' food challenge. There have only been a couple of times where I felt like "damn, this is way hotter/spicier than I'd like' - and exactly 0 times have I actually had to stop eating something because it as so hot. So when I read 'Level 4 Spicy Challenge' for the Fiery Mala burger, I scoffed. Pah! Like McDonald's of all places would have something that could best me.

Well, long story short - it didn't best me, but it tried - and it was very, very spicy. It was a real peppery and garlicky heat with a bit of mayo to cool it down & lettuce to take the edge off. It's grilled chicken rather than fried chicken - ya know, for your health. I really liked this one, and the heat levels were definitely enough to require lots of sips from the Yuzu McFizz.

The Yuzu McFizz was a cool combination of fruit syrup and fizzy plain soda - you(zu) mixed it up yourself - I didn't know that at first and had a huge sip of pure syrup. Good thing I have a sweet tooth, because I was basically just into it. Sweet & tangy, and when mixed with the soda quite subtle. It wasn't bitter at all, like yuzu sometimes can be, this was definitely a candy sweet version of the stuff. It worked really well to cool down my mouth during the Mala experience!

However, it wasn't even enough...I went straight to the Himalayan Tea McFlurry afterwards. Ya know, just for uh...cooling off purposes. Yeah, that's the ticket. To cool down.

So the mix-ins aren't really listed on the website, but there was bits of crushed cookie, probably Oreo judging by the color, and lots of powder. The powder tasted a lot like cinnamon & tea, sort of like a chai perhaps? There wasn't much chocolate taste from the Oreos, if those were what they were, and it was really just a tasty cinnamon-y McFlurry with crunchy bites. I'd love to try this one again, and I think labelled 'Chai Tea Crunch' with bits of digestive or something, it would actually go over quite nicely in the UK. (please hire me McDonald's headquarters I've got ideas like this all day and I can live off of a small salary & free ice cream)

We also tried a Tom Yum cutlet, unfortunately not photos of this one - but it was a very cheap side-menu item that was like, a chicken thigh cutlet fried with Tom Yum flavoring. Citrusy & spicy, it was absolutely delicious. Definitely worth tacking onto an order if you're in a Singapore McDonald's sometime.

So I'm winding down this round-up, and it's sad to say good bye. It almost feels like only now has my holiday really ended, now that I'm finished talking about Singapore even in past tense. I skipped over some great meals, because either I happened to not have my camera, I was in too much of a hurry to eat, or I just didn't want to make this a 4 part series. So, there's just one little bit left to go: one of my favorite treats of all time, found generally in Japan, but also available in a few locations throughout the rest of Asia with a handful of shops dotted elsewhere...including, to my surprise, 4 in Russia.

I'm talking about Royce! Makers of one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten - 'nama chocolate'. Nama meaning fresh or raw in Japanese, this chocolate is textured like incredibly smooth fudge or perfectly moist & creamy ganache. There are lots of recipes out there for nama chocolate, and I've tried to make it myself a few times to no avail. Royce just has the perfect balance of cream, alcohol, and high quality chocolate. I simply can't match it...but it hasn't stopped me trying.

Before I had only ever had the milk chocolate variety in an airport leaving Japan, but in Singapore I was overjoyed to see that they had many more varieties. We grabbed white chocolate & Champagne Pierre Mignon.

Classy colors, huh? I should've mentioned that these must be kept refrigerated after so many hours, and are therefore basically impossible to get outside of the countries that they're sold in. Sorry everyone who is going to want to eat these in a few seconds.

First up is white chocolate, which was coated in what I assumed to be white chocolate powder - however it was a bit thicker than average cocoa powder, so perhaps it was cocoa butter powder? That is also what it tasted like. Royce is kind enough to provide these little forks in the box, so you can dig right in.

The white chocolate tasted like cake batter, cocoa butter, and vanilla. Truly a delicious taste sensation. The texture is so smooth it's nearly unreal, and it's cooling & soft like a ganache. They're like just-set ganache, or the smoothest and richest fudge imaginable. If ever you're able to get some Royce, I highly suggest you do just that.

Now, the white chocolate flavor - while nice - wasn't as good as the regular chocolate I had before. It was a bit too sweet, buttery, and 'thick' tasting for my liking. It didn't leave me feeling refreshed as other Royce had done in the past. It was just a bit too sweet & rich, without even the slightest bitter or alcoholic hit to curb the cloy.

That leaves the next flavor - champagne!

Ah, now that's a bit more traditional. Small pieces of cool, smooth ganache/fudge/'nama chocolate' dusted in fine cocoa powder. These had a nice alcoholic smell to them as well, much like Charbonnel et Walker's champagne truffles do.

The taste was actually also quite similar to the aforementioned truffles, except in a softer, smoother, cooler consistency with a milkier chocolate. It was also a bit less sweet, as instead of being dusted with powdered sugar, the Royce is dusted in cocoa powder.

 I'm a huge fan of the Charbonnel et Walker champagne truffles, and this was no different. The texture was such an improvement, it made them completely impossible to stop eating. My number one regret about Singapore is that we didn't buy more Royce. Is that so wrong? I guess I also regret not going to Universal Studios! Next time you'll just see pics of me & the Minions snacking on Royce, and you'll know I lived out my dreams.

So that concludes Singapore, this time around. I'll now resume my regular reviews of snacks of all sorts that are easy to get here in the UK!


  1. Oh man, those breads! It's like heaven hehe

    YUMMY★うんち | Japanese Snack reviews

    1. Totally! Looking over the pictures makes me really miss it, haha.