FOOD is always the first thing that comes to mind when I pick a vacation destination. Of course after hearing about all of the great food from Singapore from Sarah, how can I not be excited? On the first night we arrive in Singapore, we briefly roamed around the various malls in the Orchard Road area, and one of the most memorable things at the malls was the food court called Food Republic. Unfortunately we only roamed around the Food Republic at the Wisma Atria Mall, and then had dinner at Din Tai Fung instead. But that first walk around a Food Republic really got me excited. A fews days later I was faced with the dilemma of where we should go to eat dinner, the first place that came up in my mind was the Food Republic at Wisma Atria.
With all of the different food options, deciding on what to eat is always the hardest part. We knew for sure the we wanted Singapore’s national dish, chicken rice, but had no idea what else to get. We ended up picking a random stall selling various rice and noodle dishes served in mini woks, called Ya Fu Mini Wok Zhi Char.
The chicken rice we got was rather forgetful, and I can’t really remember what that stall was called. But then again it is pretty hard to say since we had been constantly comparing it to our first impressions from Lao Pa Sat and Maxwell Food Center. A good first impression is always hard to beat for us and we had become pretty biased when it came to the chicken rices.
The more memorable dish of our dinner was the rice noodle dish we got. I have always been more of an egg noodle kind of person, so I don’t think much about rice noodles, but boy was my dad impressed by this dish!
We ordered the San Lor Hor Fun, which was pan fried rice noodles with fish fillet. At first bite, my dad really liked it, claiming it had really good “wok hei” (鍋氣). This term is used to describe a smokey kind of taste in the food. I like to describe it as an almost but not quite burnt taste. Flavors were really good, and they were quite generous with the fish fillet and bean sprouts.
After only two dishes, of course we decided that we wanted to eat more. I remembered that Sarah had pointed out a stall to me when we first walked around the food court the first we were there. So I thought it was a good idea to pick this one, Puay Heng Bak Chor Mee. We had already had a taste of Bak Chor Mee during our visit to the Malaysian Street Food. I would say that taste-wise it was pretty similar to the Malaysian version. The most prominent difference was there were a little more toppings at this place, namely a dumpling and a fried scallop.
There were so many more options to choose from during our second round, but after the “wok hei” sensation we just had to go back to Ya Fu Mini Wok Zhi Char for more rice noodles. This time we ordered the Seafood Hor Fun, and it was just as good in taste and generous in portion.
Random story…by the time we came back to this stall for seconds, the line had already gotten pretty long, and the poor lady behind the counter was getting all of the orders mixed up. We actually ordered the version with no sauce, but still got sauce, lots of it. Regardless it was still quite good, and I don’t even care for rice noodles!
We had another shopping day a couple of days later, and we ended up heading to the Food Republic food court at Somerset 313 to take a break. We weren’t actually hungry, but we still decided to get some food while were there.
This particular Food Republic also had a Ya Fu Mini Wok Zhi Char, so we decided to get food from there again! I know we’re boring…but who can resist their awesome “wok hei.” We actually ended up getting the Seafood Hor Fun again, but this time we actually got the one with no sauce. Despite being at a different location, the taste was still up to par with the one located at Wisma Atria and it still had the great taste of “wok hei”.
What was even more boring of us was that we got another plate of chicken rice. Unfortunately, I really can’t say this rice was any special compared to the others that we have had. I think it really had turned into a type of obsession for us, when in Singapore we must eat chicken rice. And more importantly, the rice was filling enough to keep my dad from getting hungry to quickly.
Something kind of different this time around was the prata. We had already tried this in Chinatown, and I had really liked it then. Since we weren’t really hungry, prata was a good snack food. We once again got the a plain prata and a cheese prata. As someone who doesn’t really eating spicy food, the prata made the curry bearable for me. And I was actually craving for more curry and prata.
We always order drinks when we are at the food centers/courts. However it is usually just the lime juice. Have I ever mentioned how much I fell in love with the lime/ calamansi juice in Singapore? I absolutely LOVE this particular juice. I honestly don’t know how to describe this, but to me it’s refreshing and not too sour like lemonade nor is it too sweet like other kinds of fruit juice. Does anyone have a better way of describing it? Unfortunately, this beverage is not available anywhere near me…
Another unique drink we tried this time around was a rose milk tea, referred to as bandung. This is a concoction of condensed or evaporated milk, rose syrup, and tea. Seeing the ingredients, I really expected something very strong and sweet that would overpower the tea. But to my surprise it was the opposite. There is a subtle sweetness from the milk and syrup and you could still take the bitterness from the tea.
But in all honesty, I still prefer my lime juice!