O’ Coffee Club souffle pancake: More please

It took just one bad experience in Osaka to ruin our image of the souffle pancake. My family had just landed in the city and headed to a strategically located mall where the joint was at. We were awed by the photo of that pancake and ordered — expecting it to taste just as great as it looked.

Unfortunately, it was not to be. Neither the look nor the taste was as expected. In fact, it was awful.

Fast forward three years and my daughter and I were in our favourate haunt Jewel Changi Airport. We were looking to pack lunch home when she spotted a sign showing souffle pancake.

We have walked past that spot in the B2 food area countless times but somehow, haven’t seen this before. It’s an O’ Coffee Club kiosk serving just souffle pancakes.

Since she was game enough to give souffle pancakes a second chance (yes, she reminded me of the bad Osaka experience), I decided to join her.

“You have to wait 20 minutes” I was told while ordering. This was one day when I had the luxury of time so yes, we were prepared to wait.

The young lady behind the counter whisked the mix — first by machine, then by hand. She sliced the fruits and plated the pancake nicely for us.

OK, looks test passed. Now for the taste test.

We didn’t need the knife to cut through the pancake as it was so soft. One bite and yes, the souffle pancake has won redemption!

It is so good and here are our impressions:

  1. Nice and soft. All the shocking memories were erased when we dug in. This version is so soft and oh, so nice.
  2. Variety of fruits and sauces. Complementing the buttery but slightly bland pancake were the tanginess, sweetness and saltiness of the fruits and sauces. It’s like activating all the flavour senses in the tongue.
  3. More than enough for one. I’m not sure if the plate is intended for one person but with three pieces of pancakes and all the condiments, there’s more than enough for one person.
  4. Great effort and presentation. Seeing the young lady’s diligence and effort in preparing the dessert makes our hearts warm. And the presentation certainly makes it look more than its worth.
  5. Super value. At S$9.90 and big enough for you, it offers very good value for money.

Just as an indicator of how highly we rate the souffle pancake, we went there three times over a period of eight days. And the people we brought on subsequent visits all gave it the thumbs up.

The sad part is that come November 30, it will not longer be around in B2. The dessert may be added onto the O’ Coffee Club menu at its other Jewel outlet.

Verdict

Taste: ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

Value: ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

Hokkien mee fried till dry

For those who love their Hokkien mee fried till dry

Fried Hokkien mee can be found all over Singapore. And they are fried in a variety of ways — wet, not so wet, sticky, and even dry.

I’ve tried a number of stalls and one that really got me going back again and again is the one at Golden Mile Food Centre. Hainan Hokkien Mee run by an elderly couple fries theirs the dry style.

A few visits turned up zilch as the food centre was either closed for washing or renovation. OK, OK, it’s my fault for not checking first but it’s usually because I happened to be in that area around those times.

When I read from a Facebook post about anpother similar style of Hokkien mee in Geylang, I simply had to check it out. It helps to have an alternative should I have a Hokkien mee fix.

Before sending my daughter to work, we popped by 134 Sims Avenue, which is just a few doors away from 126 Dim Sum Wen Dao Shi ๆพๅˆฐ้ฃŸ, one of my family’s favourie dim sum joint.

Liang Ji Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee is owned by the son of the Hainan Hokkien Mee couple. The cooking style is similar but there are more offerings here with lobsters and lala versions.

Double thumbs up even without digging in yet!

We ordered the $5 entry level version (mine with pork belly only) and here’s my first impression.

  1. Great value at $5. For the price, the plate is large and more than enough for an average person.
  2. Tasty noodles. The dish is tasty and comes with more than enough ingredients to accompany every bit.
  3. The lard is to-die-for. If you want to eat here, forget about eating healthily because the lard is well worth the fats. It’s slightly saltish, oh so crunchy and left me longing for more. The good news is that if the generous portion is not enough, you can get another dollop at just 50 cents.
  4. Chilli has kick. The chilli is unlike some that are slightly sweet. This one is hot — the way I like my chilli.
  5. Not garlicky. I don’t like garlic but the way this is fried, it’s just like the Golden Mile version where you cannot really taste the garlic.
  6. Covnenient location with ample parking. There are lots of streetside parking along Sims Avenue and Lorongs 17 and 19, as well as the carpark at Lorong 19, which is just a short walk away.

If there’s one area of improvement, it’s perhaps that the noodles could be fried till it’s drier. Though it’s dry compared to others, it looks like the broth has not been totally absorbed — the noodles felt slightly sticky.

Having said that, it’s another place I’d visit again. If you’d like to check it out, the address and opening hours are below:

Liang Ji Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee
134 Sim Avenue, Geylang Lorong 17, Singapore 387456
Opens Tuesday to Sunday from 11.30am to 10.00pm.

Verdict

Taste: ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

Value: ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

Google Photos: Free storage going soon

Looks like it’s a case of hook them, then cook them. After offering free storage to attract to use Google Pbotos for the past five years, the service will no longer be free from June 1, 2021.

From that fateful date, new photos and videos will be counted as part of the free 15GB of storage that comes with every Google Account.

Users who need more space will have to become a Google One member and pay US$1.99 per month for 100GB of storage.

Well, I can’t say that I didn’t see this coming. When Google launched the Pixel 4 last October, the writing was already on the wall. Along with the introduction was an announcement that the smartphone comes with free three-month 100GB subscription of Google One.

Original quality images taken on the Google Pixel 4 are uploaded to Google One where the subscription see if payable after three months.

Admittedly, the good deal cannot go on forever. Google needs to monetise this fast-growing service with 28 billion new photos and videos uploaded every week.

But, to slam the door on all users doesn’t speak well of its customer service or desire to retain customers.

Source: Google

Perhaps, Google could have just stuck the new cap on new Google Photo users. This is wishful thinking but why rock the boat with the faithful?

The company did say that Pixel 1 to 5 users are exempted from the change and can continue to upload high quality photos and videos after June 1, 2021.

As a current Google Pixel 3 user, I still enjoy free storage for original quality photos and videos until January 31, 2022. After that, it’s either about forking out for a subscription to maintain media quality or just being contented with lower quality. Guess I’ll defer the decision till then.

Shenkeng Old Street โ€“ a gem on the outskirts of Taipei

A short bus ride from the Taipei Zoo Station lies Shenkeng Old Street โ€“ an old street famous for its stinky tofu (a local delicacy that you either love or hate — it’s the latter for me). Iโ€™ve always wanted to visit this place but its location makes it pretty inaccessible โ€“ itโ€™s not within walking distance from the nearest train station (unlike Shilin Night Market, or even Danshui Old Street) so you’ve got to take a bus. However, since I happened to be on an adventurous mode and near the Taipei Zoo Station, I decided to give it a shot.

Shenkeng Old Street

I was originally skeptical about the place because an online site described the old street as a short one. However, this is what I really like about it. Nestled in an old district with car repair shops nearby, this street is a gem. Once a bustling port between the tea plantations in the Wenshan and New Taipei City areas and Yilan, this place slowly saw less footfall when trains to Yilan took over.

Shops selling old-school toys and snacks are aplenty along Shenkeng Old Street

The red brick shophouses that line the old street exude a retro vibe but are very well maintained. From local delicacies to old-school toys, this old street is filled with shops with a blast to the past. My friend and I had fun reminiscing our childhood snacks and toys in these shops.

Delicious glutinous rice (NTD40)

While there were many eateries along the old street, I was more inclined to eating street food and the glutinous rice (ๆฒน้ฃฏ) caught my eye. The NTD40 (~SGD$2) bowl of rice came piping hot with a drizzle of sweet sauce all over it. It was delicious โ€“ the rice was soft and you could taste every grain of it (it wasnโ€™t like conventional sticky rice!). There were sufficient ingredients โ€“ dried shrimp and meat included! I would go back for another bowl of this glutinous rice because it was savoury, light in taste and yet filling.

Unique drain covers along the streets of Shenkeng


On a weekday afternoon, there was a small crowd as a local tourists (namely the elderly) were bussed to the old street for an afternoon. It was encouraging to see this place bustling with many elderly enjoying a nice afternoon walk and shopping spree. Though the crowd is nothing like the past, due to the fall in tourism during this period, Iโ€™m glad to still have had a chance to experience this old street. May Shenkeng Old Street continue to retain its charm.

Finding comfort food in a foreign land

What is your comfort food? For me, itโ€™s chicken rice, especially when Iโ€™m far from home.

I recently visited BoboChacha, a Malaysian eatery near National Chengchi University, that supposedly serves decent Malaysian food. Considering the number of Asean students in the school, it wasnโ€™t surprising to find a Malaysian eatery in the vicinity.

This humble-looking eatery has a pretty extensive menu which can be found here. Out of the long list, however, one dish caught my eye โ€“ Hainanese Chicken Rice. Singapore is known for its wonderful chicken rice, and boy, was I excited to try it out.

Upon the arrival of the dish, I realised a few things โ€“

  1. The chicken rice chili looked very similar to what can be found back home and it tasted really similar too. It wasnโ€™t very spicy but had a good mix of ginger and chili to which I enjoyed.
  2. The chicken rice served was not white rice and was indeed chicken rice! Itโ€™s not common to find chicken rice here, and white rice is usually served with chicken rice in Taiwan so I was surprised that the rice had the signature chicken rice aroma (think chicken oil and pandan leaves)
  3. The portion of the chicken was pretty (very) small. While this photo shows a full chicken drumstick, letโ€™s just say that it was a very small drumstick with a good amount of bones in it. The chicken skin wasnโ€™t chewy and was instead too soft. It tasted nothing like the usual chicken youโ€™d get with your chicken rice but instead more like a chicken drumstick boiled in water. It wasnโ€™t bad, but it didnโ€™t taste anything like Hainanese-style chicken. For 95 NTD (around S$4.50), it just didn’t feel worth it.
  4. The side dishes served were common Taiwanese side dishes โ€“ nothing like whatโ€™s served back home or even in Malaysia. I wonโ€™t comment too much on this because it seems like this is a common value-added service to keep up with the practice here. In Taiwan, it is common for eateries to provide two to three side dishes when a rice dish is served. I would have loved to see ikan bilis or sambal vegetables though!

I was pretty underwhelmed by this meal because this chicken rice didnโ€™t taste like the chicken rice back home but I guess Iโ€™ve got to make do with it because Iโ€™m far from home โ€“ at least the chili was decent. It wasnโ€™t a bad meal, but it just didnโ€™t taste anything close to chicken rice back in Singapore. Will I come here for the chicken rice again? I certainly won’t. But I won’t mind trying out their other dishes!

Verdict

Taste: ๐Ÿ‘
Value: ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘
Overall: ๐Ÿ‘