A trip with the Chief Chowzters to Singapore

In my recent post on the beautiful restaurant Tippling Club, I mentioned that I was taken on an incredible foodies dream trip over to Singapore by Chowzter. There’s so much to say about the trip and all it involved – so much so I barely know how to begin blogging all about the ongoings. But before I do, a big thank you to the incredible team at Chowzter for not just organising an absolute stellar holiday. the Tastiest Feasts of Asia Awards and for bringing me in to their family as the Perth Chief Chowzter. It’s all been a really exciting time for me!

Chowzter is the brainchild of marketer Jeffrey Merrihue and is a site that attracts foodies from all over the world as they look at both the fast feasts and destination dining information updated by the wide array of Chief Chowzters. It’s definitely a privilege to have joined the team! And of course to have been treated to a trip to Singapore which blew my mind (even though I’ve been to Singapore so many times before).

Now the awards we were there for I’ll leave for a post on their own because they were a pretty epic affair in themselves. But the rest of the trip… well it was a series of epic eating adventures as we were shown about town by Singapore Chief Chowzter Catherine Ling. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much in so consecutive days, but every single bite was worth it (and of course I regret nothing)!

Day 1: Dinner at Izy

I touched down in Singapore around lunchtime on Friday and was greeted by my own personal driver (AMAZING) who took me over to our hotel, Carlton City. I love having a bit of down time before plans so this gave me a chance to shower, unpack and explore my local surroundings. But the hours soon passed and I found myself in the hotel lobby meeting all of the other Chowzter Asia bloggers – all of whom were so lovely, friendly and fun companions on the trip.

Once we were all accounted for we set out to a nearby Japanese restaurant known as Izy. It’s a place that describes itself as redefining the traditional izakaya through a thoughtful new take on Japanese cuisine and design with intricate, fun small plates and an eclectic drink menu. Needless to say, I was pretty excited since it was our first meal as a group.

Course 1: Silken tofu, cold broth, uni and wasabi

Course 2: Sashimi of tuna, trout and Hokkaido scallop 
Course 3: Seared glazed swordfish
Course 4: Karaage crispy chicken
Course 5: Wagyu with caramelised onion, soft egg and truffles on rice
Course 6: Chilli sorbet, meringue and strawberries

What a great way to start our evening in Singapore for the Chowzter Asia trip. Izy was a beautiful setting, dark and intimate with the back dining area almost solely occupied by us. The food was playful but well executed at the same time with the balance of flavours spot on – even our Tokyo Chowzter blogger was impressed which says big things!
My favourite dishes for the evening were definitely the tofu with uni – because who doesn’t love buttery, rich uni! And the other favourite was the wagyu with it’s plentiful topping of truffles. The meat was melt in your mouth, the egg gooey with it’s satisfying yolk porn. 
I left Izy feeling full (and sleepy from all that food!), satisfied and even more excited for the days to come as we set about exploring Singapore’s culinary scene. 
Day 2: Market Eats

On the Saturday the Chowzter bloggers and staff all boarded a coach bus which set about showing us the best market eats available. Our first stop, the famed Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice stall at Maxwell Hawker Centre.

This place is legendary with foodies, synonymous with tourists and locals alike. Anthony Bourdain has even dubbed it THE place for chicken rice, and I have to say I can see why. This was my second visit here and it seems to get better each time.

Our Singapore Chief Chowzter definitely made things easier for us, having come earlier to reserve some tables and pre-order dishes for us to eat. It was nice to skip the ever-long queue and get straight into the business of eating!

Trying both the steamed and roasted chicken was a nice treat as having so many there gave us the opportunity to order more (this was just our table of four, there were four different tables!). The sauces that accompany the chicken were delicious – a nice thick soy and a punchy chilli sauce were my go to condiments. 
The steamed chicken is moist and juicy, the meat so perfectly succulent. It goes hand in hand with that wonderful fragrant rice which for me is the real star – as good as the chicken is. I really enjoy the roasted chicken too which has that moorish skin and soft flesh underneath. They really know their poultry here that’s for sure!
Our second stop that morning was at Sungei Road for their laksa. Before we even sat down I immediately knew it would be amazing just judging by the ridiculously long line. If you’re ever unsure in Singapore (or Asia in general) where to eat, always just look for where the crowds go. The proof is in the people, who will happily dedicate their time to wait for the perfect bite of food. I like that thinking!
To be honest I was actually already full from our chicken rice feasting but thankfully the bowls here at Sungei Road Laksa that Catherine had pre-ordered for us were smaller servings so I was able to have a bit of a munch without leaving too much behind.
Laksa is definitely an acquired taste, but is something my mum’s made since I was little. I have to admit, it’s only in the last couple of years I’ve really started enjoying it – I have no idea why it took me so long to find the love in it. 
The coconut infused curry soup is rich and layered in flavour. The noodles have been cut into bite size pieces to allow for easy slurping and there’s a generous spoon of chilli sambal down the side. I think this laksa was tasty, but I’m not quite convinced it was the best I’ve ever had. Either way, a nice second stop for our market feasts. 

Our final stop for lunch that day (yes, three lunches – why not hey) was at The Fishball Story in Golden Mile Food Centre. Owned and run by 23 year old Douglas Ng, this place is really something special.

Every morning he wakes up at 4am to beat, blend and press yellowtail fish meat into fishballs and chilli-scallion fishcakes. His recipe is his grandmother’s, made with no flour – only meat to make the most amazing soft and bouncy fishballs.

We watch as Douglas creates bowls of noodle goodness with freshly cooked pasta topped with sambal, crunchy pieces of pork lard, veggies and the fishballs and fishcakes. One bowl only costs S$3.50 and is worth so much more – the fragrant flavours, the umami rich fish and the al dente noodles. It’s no wonder this dish was the overall Tastiest Feast of Asia (more on that to come in a future post).

For me, this is a dish I will always remember – and I can’t wait to come back with my boy as I know he would absolutely love this. 

Day 2: A porky pop up and the home of chilli crab

After a good rest (otherwise known as some of us going shopping at Marina Bay Sands), dinner on day 2 was a two part affair. To be honest I was still pretty full from lunch, but I was ready to commit to the next stage of Singapore feasting.

Back on our comfy coach and we made our way to a sold out pop up event at Iskina Cebu.  Somehow the Chowzter team worked their magic and got us in to sample this Filipino fare of suckling pig stuffed with rice and truffles. We didn’t get to try the stuffing since they’d technically sold out prior to us signing on but we definitely did get some of that beautiful pork!

During our time there we actually got to meet the legendary street food expert, KF Seetoh. You may recognise him from Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations which is a show I’ve watched every episode of, so I had a bit of a fan girl moment when I met him!

It was really interesting to listen to his street food projects, including some work he’s currently doing with Mr Bourdain at the moment. NYC is definitely set for something exciting in the coming years if they get it off the ground!

After Iskina Cebu we make our way to Roland Restaurant, the birthplace of chilli crab! Shown into a banquet room we had a traditional Chinese feast. But the real stars of the evening were their chilli crab and salted egg yolk crab with taro. 
Everyone’s favourite was the salted egg yolk crab but I preferred the chilli crab which was steaming hot and well balanced. The sauce was rich and perfect to dunk the fried mantou buns in which were crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Ahhh fried bread, why are you so damn delicious!

Day 3: Some quick food fixes

On the Sunday of our Singapore trip I made my way out to Chinatown for some exploring, ingredient sourcing to bring back to Perth and of course, to get my hands on the wafer icecreams sold by little street vendors. These are the perfect thing for a hot day (and cost only around $1.00 from memory) and you can choose from a variety of icecream flavours, plus you can have either bread (yes actual bread) or wafer to encase the cold filling.

I’m more of a wafer girl so I quickly made my choice, opting for the raspberry ripple icecream. Mmmm-mmmm! It definitely hit the spot, offering some respite as I trawled the market lanes. Definitely keep your eye open for these carts when in Singapore, they’re a great treat!

 

For lunch that day we all made our way to Kway Guan Huat, which is actually a family business that’s specialised in popiah since 1938. Knowing we had just the one stop for this meal meant we could all properly indulge and participate as we watched them create the wraps (not as easy as it looks!), and then we all filled and rolled our own.

I loved the array of fillings including fresh prawns, crispy wanton skins, lettuce, custom made vegetable filling, chilli sauce and sweet sauce. We stacked, rolled, munched and lazed. What a great way to spend our second last meal together!

That night we had the Chowzter Tastiest Feasts of Asia awards at Wild Rocket. Once the night was over, a small group of us kicked on with some drinks at Oxwell & Co near our hotel. First of all, can we just appreciate how funky the interior is with the copper piping and drooping lights. It’s distressed but somehow manages to remain modern without looking grimy. 
But best of all, they have cocktails on tap! This definitely got all of our attention, even though alcohol is obscenely expensive in Singapore. 

The gin and chronic (with housemade tonic water and those punchy little Singapore limes) is a standout cocktail. It’s so tropical and citrusy, offering the ideal nightcap. All of us there had one of these (at least) and I think every one of us was unanimous in our adoration. 
If only I’d had time to stop by there again because their food menu sounded pretty damn tasty! Oh well, there’s always next time Singapore. And I know I will be back soon – I can never stay away long from this great country. 
Day 4: Some final decadence

On my final day in Singapore it was completely unscheduled so I started my day with a juice at Maxwell Hawker Centre (lime with salty plum all the way!), then ventured over to Tippling Club for an epic degustation lunch.

Once I’d finished lunch I explored the streets for a bit, then headed over to Ion Orchard for some final retail therapy… and because I knew Janice Wong (of 2am Desserts) had a pop up on the fourth floor. Since I hadn’t had the time to go to 2am Desserts, I knew this pop up would be the next best thing.

The staff there were really friendly and helpful, and before I knew it I was walking out with three rather expensive eclairs in tow! At $12 a pop they had better taste amazing. There was a chocolate truffle, popcorn salted caramel and raspberry & passionfruit. I love how inventive and whimsical Janice Wong is, it really is no wonder she’s one of the most revered pastry chefs in Asia.

And if you’re wondering which one was my favourite… definitely the popcorn salted caramel. I would happily venture to Singapore for this again and again and again. The perfect little box of happiness to bring back to Perth and share with my boy – and the best way to finish my wonderful Chowzter trip.

A big thank you to Sam, Natalia, Jeffrey and the rest of the Chowzter team for an absolutely stellar experience. It was an incredible getaway and one that I enjoyed every minute of!

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4 Comments

  • Reply
    dumplinglove
    27 March 2015 at 11:08 pm

    Aww this makes me miss Singapore!! Sounds like it was a whirlwind trip for you filled with lots of yummy food! hehe. PS. the $1 bread tastes WAY better with bread =P haha

  • Reply
    Queen of Bad Timing
    28 March 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Definitely filled with lots of yummy food! Haha I know I've been told to try the icecream with bread next time by a few friends πŸ™‚ lucky I always find myself in Singapore often enough!

  • Reply
    Chi
    30 March 2015 at 1:58 pm

    Wow youre really lucky; what a fabulous weekend away — I'm taking notes for when I visit Singapore next!

  • Reply
    Queen of Bad Timing
    31 March 2015 at 3:51 am

    There were some real gems! I was very fortunate and spoiled, looking forward to going back to Singapore soon to revisit some of these places too πŸ™‚

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