Brief Hiatus

Dear readers of Gustatory Explorer,

I'm going to go on a brief hiatus from now till probably next Tuesday or Wednesday. Reason being that my mother tongue O level exam is just around the corner, next Monday to be exact. Therefore I feel that its best to focus and do my best for it so I won't have time to update this blog. I apologize for this, but be assured that I'll be back real soon with more good food! So in the meantime, please stay with me because it excites me to see my readers increasing and saddens me when you guys decrease. And remember to continue to spread the word about Gustatory Explorer, thank you!

With lots of love,

Ichiban Sushi II : AMK Hub


Ichiban Boshi's Salmon Sukiyaki is good. I recommend it.

I've visited Ichiban Boshi at Ang Mo Kio Hub for a number of times, but this is my 2nd review on its food so I've put part II. I had the Don Don Gozen the other time. Therefore, I decided to try something else and picked the Salmon Sukiyak.

I'm a salmon lover, so I don't know if my tastebuds are biased towards this. But what I do know, is that I've just discovered a new way to eat salmon. Eat it medium rare.

Yeah, you heard me. Medium rare; semi cooked and dipped into some raw egg. I loved it. It melted like warm butter in my mouth. It might not be the cheapest meal out there, but the salmon at Ichiban is fresh and thus worth paying for it.

Ichiban Boshi

53 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3
#02-01 AMK Hub
Tel: (65) 6555-1617
Daily: 10.00am - 10.00pm
(Last Order: 9.30pm)

Astons: Sunday Lunch Without A Queue


It was Atsons Specialities' Black Pepper Steak for Sunday's lunch. I ordered a medium well Black Pepper Steak with french fries and potato salad. The steak was juicy, but a little on the tough side. The french fries were not bad, quite tasty. I would recommend the potato salad to be one of your sides if you ever dine at Astons, its delicious, must try.

And I'm going to let you in on a secret. You see my title? Yes. Sunday lunchtime without a queue at this Astons outlet. Where?

Pasir Panjang, Maple Business City. So now you know where to eat at if you're in the vicinity and you want a no queue lunch. It was quiet and service was pretty good. One thing to note though, my cousin's chicken came a little uncooked, so you might want to ensure your food is cooked before consuming it.

Astons Specialities (Pasir Panjang)

20 Pasir Panjang Road,
#02-15 Maple Business City,
Tel: +65 6570 1071

Opening Hours
Daily: 11.30am – 10pm

Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries


I had a sudden craving for sweet potato fries the other day.

And what do you do when you have a craving? You satisfy it.

What did I do? Yes I did... I baked.

I did not have any papers on that day so there was no school. Happiness. So, since I had a craving and it was a stressful period of exams for me, the need to de-stress came naturally right? Thus, I decided to bake the fries else I don't know where to buy them too.

I was a little too ambitious for my own good so the end product didn't came out very good, both in taste and appearance. I was feeling adventurous and wanted to experiment with the recipe. You can't really blame me for it because it's exactly when bakers take the risk to experiment that fantastic recipes are born right?

I made 2 different batches so I tried adding sugar into one batch and maple syrup into the other. There was a small bottle of mixed spices leftover from Christmas baking so I decided to use it, and because I'm still very much inexperienced at cooking or baking so I didn't know how to estimate the amount of spices to add in, in the end I added too much.

I wanted to experiment with different cuts of the potatoes but decided it was too troublesome so I just cut it as I deemed fit, but unfortunately I cut it too thin so it was neither here nor there. Neither crispy or fat and fleshy.

It was another round of not very successful baking. I was disappointed with myself for being too ambitious to do try out many things at once, the recipe was my first time trying it out too. But I suppose thats how people grow and learn - they make mistakes first.

I may give this recipe another go another time since I'm more certain now of how I should go about baking the fries now.

* Please note that I used 1 big and 1 small sweet potato for one batch. Thus, I use 3/4 tbsp of sugar and maple syrup respectively, with 1 ½ of vegetable oil, 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of spices.

* The preheating of the baking sheet and increasing of oven temperature to achieve crispy fries also didn't work for me.

** I would suggest oiling your baking sheet to prevent your fries from sticking on the baking sheet and cutting the fries into thicker strips because the fat and fleshy fries will taste more satisfying.

Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries Recipe
(Adapted From Simply Recipes)

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

The baking times are approximate; it depends on how thick you cut the wedges or rounds of sweet potatoes. Try to cut them evenly so they all cook at about the same rate. For best browning results bake only one sheet at a time. Why the sugar? To help with the caramelization and to intensify the sweetness of the fries, but you can easily leave it out if you want.

2 pounds sweet potatoes, about 3 large ones
1/4 cup olive or other vegetable oil
1-2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp salt
1-2 Tbsp spice or spice combination of your choice: chipotle powder, smoked paprika, Chinese five-spice, pumpkin pie spice, garam masala, Cajun seasoning, etc.

1 Preheat oven to 450°F. (For more crispiness, preheat your oven to 500°F.)

2 Peel the sweet potatoes and cut off the ends. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and then, if they are very long, in half crosswise. Cut each piece into wedges. Alternately, you can slice the peeled sweet potato into disks either with a mandoline or a sharp knife.

3 Put the sweet potatoes into a large bowl and add the oil. Mix well to combine. Sprinkle with salt, sugar and spices of your choice. Use your hands to mix well, so all pieces are coated with oil and spices.

4 Spread the sweet potatoes out in a single layer on a baking sheet; the oil they are coated with should keep them from sticking to the pan. If you are trying to cut fat, reduce the oil to 2 Tbsp and use a non-stick coating on the baking sheet. (Note: a commenter has recommended putting them on a wire cooling rack on top of a baking sheet, so that the oven air circulates around the sweet potato pieces and you don't have to turn them in the next step. Another commenter recommends preheating the baking sheet, to help the fries get crisp.)

5 Bake for a total of 25 to 30 minutes. After the first 15 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven and turn over all of the sweet potato pieces. Return to the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until they are well browned. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Yield: Serves 4-6 as a side dish.

Poached Egg - An Unsuccessful Attempt


An unsuccessful attempt to poach an egg - the egg white should have enveloped the yolk to be scooped up together easily.


Oh, but I still adore the runniness of the yolk.

I'll try again. (:

Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken


Today's Vesak Day, being a public holiday, my parents didn't have to work so my mom suggested that we head over to Chinatown for breakfast.

Chinatown Complex Food Centre is home to numerous famous food stalls but because it is quite distance from my home, we rarely travel all the way there to eat. Thus, I haven't had the opportunity to try many of the much reviewed and raved about stalls in Chinatown FC. The mention of eating there this morning certainly revved up my appetite and made me look forward to a sumptuous breakfast.

It also prompted me to google for food reviews. Yes, google is my virtual best friend. I did a quick search to see what I shouldn't miss out over at Chinatown FC and found Xiu Ji Ikan Bilis Yong Tau Foo to be strongly recommended.

I was determined to try it. Now, you might be a little confused and bewildered, thinking this is wrong, the picture above isn't yong tau foo. Yes, you're not wrong and I'm not mad either. It took me awhile to navigate around and when I finally got to the stall, it was, to my utter dismay, closed as the notice wrote that the owners have gone off for a holiday if I don't remember wrongly.

I was feeling a little lost because I didn't have a plan B and I didn't know which other stalls to try. Iron-willed to try a famous stall, I armed myself with the typical Singaporean mindset - look for a long queue. It didn't took me long to find this stall, Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chiken Rice & Noodle, while wandering around.


I put myself into the queue and started to google for a review on it. I chanced upon Dr Tay's review in ieatishootipost and it was supposed to good so I didn't mind queuing up for it. Took me roughly half an hour or so, but I finally bought a plate of Soya Sauce Chicken Noodle.


The noodles were firm, but not too hard or dry and they were delicious after mixing in with the seasoning and oil at the bottom. The chicken, on the other hand, had a sweet and savoury sauce coating its skin which made the chicken flavourful. However, I felt the chicken meat was a little dry, but all in all, the dish was still good.

At $2.50 a plate and the chicken rice at $2, cheap and good food still exist! The stall owners are generous with their portions so don't worry about getting a tiny and pitiful looking plate of chicken noodles or rice.

I enjoyed my breakfast and will be back for a bowl of yong tau foo the next time!

Hong Kong Soy Sauce Chicken

Smith St Food Centre
Closed on Wed
Daily 10am to 8pm

Wah Hoe Ban Leong Seafood Restaurant

Chilli Crab

We celebrated Mothers' Day last Sunday with a dinner again. This time, however, it was with the extended family - my grandparents, uncle and aunties plus my cousins.

We ate at Wah Hoe Ban Leong Seafood Restaurant. This restaurant started out very small initially according to mom, and I could only vaguely remember eating there a few years back.

It is situated at the corner of a quiet stretch of shophouses and eateries at Causaurina Road, along Upper Thomson Road, but I never knew it would transform into a night time metropolis. The place comes to life with the simutaneous and inharmonious calls of orders, people chatting and new customers streaming at dinnertime. It was like rush hour, literally.

We sat at 2 different tables that night and ordered a number of dishes, the same for both tables except for the crabs. My table was served the chilli crab while the other table got the black pepper crab.

I didn't try the black pepper crab so I can only comment on the chilli one. The crabs' pincers were big and the photo you see above, there were 2 crabs = 4 pincers, great eh? But I was contended to eat only the body of the crabs- it is said to be the best part of the crab.

The crabs were good, judging from the firmness and sweetness of the flesh, they were of no doubt fresh. However, the chilli gravy, in my opinion, was too salty, which was quite disappointing. And of course, we ordered deep fried man tous to go with the chilli gravy. They were big, almost twice or thrice of Jumbo's. Will blog about Jumbo's food when I have the opportunity to eat there again- we just need an occasion!


Their Cereal Butter Prawns were not very good. The prawns were fresh but they fail to bring out any buttery fragrance.


The Stir-Fry Baby Kai Lan was good, cruchy and a little savoury. Goes down well with some rice.


Don't know what type of pork ribs these are and I forgot how they tasted like, but I am pretty certain they were not bad in my recollection. They tasted a little sweet and savoury I think.


We had the Hotplate Tofu, which was sizzling hot and spicy. It was so-so, a typical tze char dish.


The La La was dead salty according to my family, but I couldn't really get any taste out of it. I could only taste a little bitterness and a sharp taste that I can't really quite describe.


I have saved the best for the last. The Har Cheong Gai, I felt, was the star of the night. It was good, but not great. The chicken wings were coated with just the right amount of batter and deep fried till it's nice and crispy. However, the flavour of the prawn paste did not accentuate through the chicken, which greatly disappoints me. It would have been great for fried chicken wings, but I'm sorry, not for deep fried prawn paste chicken wings.

Ban Leong Wah Hoe Seafood

122 Casuarina Road
Singapore 579510
Tel: 64522824/64554013
4pm to 1.30am



50% off your bill in the form of cash back vouchers at any Watami branch now when you show your Friends of Japan charity card. (scroll to the bottom of the link) A perfectly reasonable reason to dine at Watami, and my family and I had lunch there last Sunday.

It was my first time dining at Watami, and sadly, I did not have a pleasant first-time dining experience there.

We were having a late lunch so while we were placing our orders and the waiter told us that my mom's order would take 25mins to prepare, we decided to change orders. And after roughly 30mins of waiting, our orders didn't arrive. Not even one. Apparently there was some hiccups in the kitchen, but the waiter didn't not approach us to tell us that we'll have to wait longer. No doubt everyone was hungry and as the saying goes, 'a hungry man is an angry man.' So everybody was quite irritated by the time our orders finally arrived.

My dad's Hire Katsu Tamago Toji came first. I did not have a taste of it but it looks pretty delicious.


My mom's Unagi and Tofu Tamago Toji came soon after, I too did not have a taste of this so I can't comment. But as they say, 'a picture speaks a thousand words'. I'll let you be the judge, based on my photo.


My Ishiyaki Kaiden Omelette Rice came last. It is essentially just rice, seafood and an omelette topped with kimchi sauce in a hot stone bowl. Oh, and there's cheese too, under the kimchi sauce.

Everything taste extra good when you're hungry right? I don't know how true this is, but I was famished and it tasted good even though, if my taste buds and memory don't fail me, I could only taste the kimchi sauce throughout. I couldn't really taste anything else.

My first-time experience wasn't such a good one and the meals there are quite expensive compared to its cheaper sibling, Ichiban Boshi - they are under the same corporation. Therefore, I won't dine at Watami given a choice, I'm not sure if you would?


Junction 8,
9 Bishan place
Tel: 62583577
11.30am - 11pm daily

Ichiban Sushi

Don Don Gozen

Yes, you must have noticed, if you are a reader of my blog before this post, that I have revamped my blog with a new template, added a blog roll and organised my labels.

Somehow I felt Gustatory Explorer wasn't food blog-ish enough with the previous template and it wasn't very user friendly as well. So well, I changed it and I'm loving the new look, hope you do too!

Okay, back to the salmon sashimi don and unagi don set meal (Don Don Gozen) photo above. -points up- My sister had a $30 voucher that could be used any Ichiban Boshi outlets and so we went there to have lunch last Saturday with my mom and I.

I must confess, I forgot to take down the name of the dishes. So let's just name what we see in the photos shall we? A picture speaks a thousand words yes.

I had the salmon sashimi don and unagi don you see above (Don Don Gozen). It came with tempura soft shell crab, chawanmushi, watermelon and a bowl of miso soup.

The grilled unagi and egg made a great combination. The onions also added sweetness to the dish. I was half filled by the time i finished this.


The soft shell crab was delicious as it was nicely fried with a thin coat of batter and it was not too oily.


The salmon sashimi slices in the don were fresh and good, but they added sliced red chilli on top to garnish the dish and there was a bowl of rice underneath so I couldn't really taste the salmon once they all came together. I was really filled by the time I finished this.

The set meal's value for money and I suggest 2 people can share this unless you're very hungry.


Before my order came, my sister ordered a tuna sushi. If you look carefully, the tuna were very slightly broiled with a blow torch on the surface. It was tasty with a hint of charred-ness.


We ordered fried salmon skin as well. It was kinda of a snack-side, great for anyone craving for something crispy and fried.


Mom ordered a deep fried chicken breast with ginger gravy/sauce. I had a piece of her chicken and I felt the chicken was a little tough, the ginger gravy compensated a little for it.

It was a really filling lunch with 2 bowls of rice, but Saturday's lunch was good.

Oh, one more thing. Patrons at Ichiban Sushi will get double the amount of reward stamps from now till the end of May because:


Ten major Japanese F&B groups in Singapore have set aside their rivalry and come together to help raise at least S$250,000 for the March Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief efforts. (click picture for bigger version).

They have launched a "Friends of Japan" privilege card (S$5) that will give 10% discounts and promotions for the month of May 2011. All proceeds will go to the Singapore Red Cross in aid of the Tsunami Disaster Relief 2011.

The collaboration involves over 35 brands and 100 restaurants across Singapore. They also applauded the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority (AVA)'s work in making sure all food imports from Japan are safe for consumption.

The “Friends of Japan” charity card is available at these outlets until May 15:

1) Bachmann Japanese Restaurant
a) Ajisen
b) Botejyu
c) Aoba Hokkaido Ramen
d) Kura Sapporo Ramen
e) Ajino Chanpon
f) Kazokutei

2) Creative Food Concept Pte Ltd
a) Tampopo
b) Tampopo Grand
c) Tarafuku

3) RE&S
a) Cz’zar Singapore inspired cuisine
b) Green Pumpkin Japanese Bakery Café
c) Ichiban Boshi Japanese Restaurant
d) Ichiban Sushi Japanese Restaurant
e) Kabe no Ana
f) Kuriya Penthouse
g) Kuriya Dining
h) Kuriya Fish Market
i) Men-ichi Japanese Ramen
j) Shimbashi Soba
k) Tontei Pork Restaurant
l) Yaki-Yaki Bo Teppanyaki Restaurant
m) Nakatsu Cabbage Yaki
n) Otsu Kushi Yaki

4) Suntory Food and Beverages International
a) Japanese Dining Sun
b) Sun with Moon Japanese Dining and Café

5) Tatsuya

6) Watami

(Taken from Camemberu)

This is great news for friends who love japanese food! Because now you can eat and help others at the same time. Please do help to support the people of Japan! Do note that the “Friends of Japan” charity card is available at these outlets until May 15.

Ichiban Boshi

53 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3
#02-01 AMK Hub
Tel: (65) 6555-1617
Daily: 10.00am - 10.00pm
(Last Order: 9.30pm)

**Edited on 23 May - Found out the set meal that is value for money is called Don Don Gozen.

Yuan Fa Shou Shi


Been pronouncing this dish wrongly with Kutu Mayam till I googled about it. It is actually called String Hoppers, or more commonly known as Putu Mayam, a South Indian dish that's great for breakfast. (Or any time you're craving for it)

My mom would buy it back for us when she goes out to buy breakfast for us on Saturday mornings upon our request.

Putu Mayam (70cents/piece)

My mom usually goes to the food centre located at Blk 162 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 to get our breakfast. So she buys this from Yuan Fa Shou Shi.

I'm not certain about this, but it seems that when you buy this back from the stall, they would only give you the sugar unless you ask them for the grated coconut as well.

I only realised this when I asked my mom for the name of the shop and she called to ask if I wanted the grated coconut as well because she knew I was going to take photos of it. Then it hit me that Putu Mayam have always been served with sugar and coconut when I ate it a few years back but I haven't seen it again after some time.

I dived in after taking photos of it. The combination of Putu Mayam, orange sugar and freshly grated coconut is divine. I tried it only with the sugar and there was only sweetness, it lacked something. Tasting it only with the coconut, it was bland with only a slightly sweet and milky taste.

When you put two with two together? The sweetness of the sugar compliments the milkiness of the coconut to bring the dish up a whole new level. It give the dish its oophm factor. This really is good stuff.

Having said this, I've missed out a lot on the times when I ate it solely with sugar. Doesn't matter, as long as I remember to ask for mr coconut whenever i eat Putu Mayam from now onwards.

My mom tells me that Putu Mayam sells out pretty fast at this stall so be sure to be there before 10am if you want to get some for breakfast.

Yuan Fa Shou Shi
Blk 162 Ang Mo Kio Food Centre
162 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4, #01-21

Teochew City Seafood Restaurant

Teochew Steamed Pomfret

Mother's Day is a day where mothers are appreciated simply because they're unique and everyone would only have one. And therefore, Mother's Day is a day to celebrate, and what's better than to have a meal together?

Food brings people and joy together, it's true, I can vouch for it and I'm sure you would too.

My family usually celebrates special occasions -birthdays, Father's Day, Mother's Day- with a meal. Be it dining at a restaurant or over at my grandma's place where we'll have red eggs - symbolises good luck, roundness (as in complete happiness) and a sign of prosperity.

There was no exception this time round and my sister suggested that we celebrate in advance at the Teochew City Seafood Restaurant. We were there last Sunday and tried some of their teochew dishes.

As far as I know, teochews are pretty famous for their teochew-style steamed fish. Since we were at a teochew restaurant, how could we not try thier steamed fish? We ordered a steamed pomfret, teochew-style of course, with sour plums and salted vegetable. The fish was fresh and steamed just nice. The salted vegetable and sour plums definitely added flavour to the dish. It was a simple yet great dish.


We ordered a Hot and Spicy Soup too. It wasn't exactly the watery soup kind of soup that we usually have but rather more like the taiwanese thick soup that have been thickened up with cornstarch or 'geng' as they call it. It was nothing special and tasted so-so.


This is a dish that's worth recommending. The Pork Rib with Yam in Claypot is worth recommending.

There were pork ribs, yam and mushroom inside the claypot. The pork ribs and yam were the star of the night. The thick slices of yam were not overcooked till they were mushy and have lost their texture but rather they were soft and chewy. Similarly, the pork ribs were juicy and flavoursome not rubbery. It's definitely a dish worth ordering while you're there at the restaurant.


The Sautéed Chicken Cube with Cashew Nut or Gong Bao Ji Ding was good with tender pieces of chicken coupled with crunchy cashew nuts. The dish was only mildly hot not overpowered by the chillies.


The Teochew Claypot Rice with Yam and Salted Pork wasn't very good. My sister commented that it was overwhelmed by the soya sauce's taste. While I thought it tasted like a non-sticky version of my aunt's glutinous rice, only less flavourful and i didn't even realise there was yam till I saw the menu.


And, of course, we concluded our dinner on a sweet note. My dad actually ordered Orh Nee, a well loved Teochew dessert, but my brother suddenly had the craving for Red Bean Pancakes so we changed the order. Not sure if it was a special order because we just asked them if they had it and they said they have but I didn't find it on the menu.

Anyway, the pancakes' red bean filling tasted fine but the pastry outside it was too thick and hence the pancakes were a tad too oily and not as crispy as they should have been. Have tasted better ones elsewhere. This one, just lacked the oomph in it.


Happy Mother's Day in advance to all the mothers out there, thank you for the love you have given us!

Teochew City Seafood Restaurant

176 Orchard Road
#05-16 Centrepoint
Singapore 238843

Tel: +65 6733 3338

Opening Hours
10:30am – 3:00pm (Weekdays)
10:30am – 3:30pm (Weekends & PH)
6:30pm – 10:30pm (Daily)

Singapore Takeout


The Singapore Takeout, a former shipping container that now opens up into a kitchen, is a government initiative launched to share Singapore food with the world with nine chefs taking turns to serve up Singapore dishes in nine key cities: London, Paris, Moscow, New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Delhi, Dubai and Sydney.

My family and I won food vouchers at Camemberu that can be used to redeem a Heritage dish per voucher. Turns out? We could redeem 2 dishes each!

Was at the Singapore Takeout 2 nights ago when it was opened to the public for one night only, before it moves on to London. Had the opportunity to try out modern version of Singapore dishes by chef Janice Wong of 2am dessert bar.


There were 5 dishes on the menu that night - Blood Orange Snowball, Laksa Dumplings, 62 Degrees Egg, Popcorn Nostalgia and Xiao Lao Bao.

Xiao Long Bao

The Xiao Long Bao comprised of handmade Michel Cluizel 72% dark chocolate, foie gras and pork xiao lao bao served alongside foie gras ice cream coated in 72% dark chocolate. Didn't try the xiao long pao but heard it was not bad by my mom. Tried a little of the foie gras ice cream, it was my first time tasting foie gras and it was too salty and strong for me. It just wasn't compatible with my taste buds i guess. Whereas the 'soil' as seen in the photo, is actually the handmade chocolate and it was delicious! My family loved it.

The Laska Dumplings featured handmade tiger prawn dumplings in a rich, modern take on laska sauce featuring lemongrass, served with handmade noodles. The laska sauce was gentle on the taste bud, not hot and spicy, but with a strong hint of lemongrass. The dumplings were good, the skin wasn't too thick and the filling was substantial.

Popcorn Nostalgia

The Popcorn Nostalgia is made up of a duo of sweet and salty popcorn ice cream served with yuzu parfait and salty caramel. This dish was so-so. Tried yuzu for the first time and the yuzu parfait was not bad but a little too sweet.

The Blood Orange Snowball is a blood orange sorbet encapsulated in an ice kachang inspired shaved ice bowl served with lemon curd, fresh mandarin segments and blood peach foam. This modern ice kachang was all tangy and zesty, loved it. I think it was the dish i enjoyed the most that night.

62 Degrees Egg

The 62 Degrees Egg is a slow cooked free range egg in a rich chicken stock flavoured with goji berry and ginger. I guess after all the trying of the four other dishes my taste buds weren't working right anymore. The sauce at the bottom of the egg was too salty and tasted a little weird to me but the egg tasted okay.

I had a great time trying out the dishes since it was my first time trying all of them and many of the ingredients used. All the best to the nine chefs showcasing our Singapore dishes elsewhere around the world, make us proud!
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