Childhood Memories

Dippy the up market cousin of Yam Yam.

Meiji is bias against strawberry flavor.

Matchsticks! Children shouldn't be allowed to play with fire.

I remember the times I would bug my mum when we pass by the mama shop (provision shop), to buy me Yam Yam to snack on. Long are the mama shops gone and slowly disappearing into the shadow, but Meiji Yam Yam are still present though hard to come by. I happen to get these instead. "Dippy" are also by Meiji, but under a different look. I came by them while in NTU's bazaar fair 2 weeks ago. They were at the same pricing as the Yam Yam ones, thus I decided to try them out.

Taste wise they were not as sweet as the sugar syrup moose of the Yam Yam ones. Instead they are more chunky and thicker moose. The strawberry even have bits of seeds inside.

Aoba Hokkaido Ramen

I love Japanese Restaurant displays.

Crate lamps? A new hip?

The closer you are to the sign. The closer you are at the end of the queue.

As any typical Singaporean. I rush to the longest queue and await eagerly for my turn to enter this new ramen stall. Apparently this is the 2nd branch of Aoba, with its first one in Manpuku.

Finally inside.


Spoiled of choices.

Fortune stick or chopsticks?

Shoyu Corn Ramen

Shoyu Cha Shu Ramen

Miso Corn Ramen

I just couldn't resist another photo.

Ramen wise. The noodles were very "q". Goes great with the broth. The soup broth was really full bodied and nice. However, after 3 of 4 consecutive spoons. It can be very salty. I had a "tough" time enduring the saltiness, just to savor the bits of sweet corn kernels that had sank to the bottom of my bowl.

There isn't a lot of difference between the different bowls of ramen. They are mainly differienated with their toppings and the soup broth that goes into the bowl of noodles. The cha shu (a bit thin) would have more slices of meat and the corn ones have lesser meat and a heap of corn kernels and a nob of butter. The soup is really salty. (This is coming from someone who loves salty food. You have been warned.). The butter does bring out the corn sweetness and seems to make the soup smoother. I got a perfect shoyu egg with a runny yoke. My two other friend weren't so lucky, with overcooked eggs. Standards are a bit varying. Miso broth is saltier than the Shoyu broth.

The service suffered a bit with new staff in a new branch. However, I applaud the service staff for stopping a couple from cutting the queue (its was a really long queue). No priority to anyone. You wait in line. Interesting fact.

Ajisen management brought in Aoba Ramen. *Shock*

Food for thought.

Aoba Ramen (ION Orchard)
2 Orchard Turn
#B3-25 ION Orchard
Tel: 6509 9394

Tsukiji Gindaco

Gindaco Takoyaki has come a long way from Japan to Singapore. This chain has more than 300 stalls in Japan alone and dishes out takoyaki ball, yakisoba and macha drinks to its patrons. Be prepared to wait, as there is always a indefinite queue is endless.

No one's cooking?

Staff busy making the batter.
Look at the heaps of tako at the right.

Never is there a second to lose.

Step 1: Batter is poured over the cast-iron grill

Step 2: The takoyaki are slowly flipped and kneed into ball shapes

Step 3: Takoyaki are fried till outer crust is golden brown.

Busy. Busy. Busy.

Gindaco Takoyaki Cooking 101
  1. Dissolve flour and eggs in water or a broth-based soup until the mixture achieves a saucy consistency, apply heat to a special griddle using a dedicated cooking stove, and fill this griddle to the brim with the prepared batter.
  2. Place bite-sized pieces of diced octopus in the center of each ball together with red pickled ginger, tenkasu, dried shrimp, and green onions and wait for the underside surface to form a thin membranous layer as the ball continues to cook before taking a specially designed skewer to flip the balls over.
  3. Repeat this process several times to form a spherical shape. After the balls have been grilled a lovely golden brown color, such that they emit a pleasant aroma.
  4. Pour some sauce on top and complete your masterpiece by adding mayonnaise and topping with shaved dried bonito and aonori seasoning according to your taste
Taken from Gindaco

Perfect Takoyaki

Lots of ingredients within.

Each ball is beautifully coated with okonomiyaki sauce & sprinkled with Katsuobushi flakes.

Once you had one, you just cannot stop.

I think by now you would be salivating in from of your monitor, so I will cut to the chase. Gindaco Takoyaki is good, damn good, the best. There is only one flavour for Singaporean to choose, unlike the many choices in Japan.

The takoyaki is crispy and fried till golden brown. I couldn't bear to even eat one, even after photographing it for a long time. Upon biting it, the balls burst of flavours of the tako, leeks and pickled ginger. The aroma immediately brush pass your nose with a savory and refreshing tingle. The interior is still slightly moist with the batter and a good portion of tako, which is fresh and chewy. The okonomiyaki sauce is just right, not overpowering and bonito flakes were slightly enough.

Japanese Maccha

The Japanese Maccha is really very thick. One small sip is all you need to get the smack on the face with the green tea rush. Good way to detoxify all those oily grease from the takoyaki. However, their Japanese Maccha is pure green tea maccha with not even a hint of sugar. Thus those who can't bear to drink tea without any sugar, may want to try another drink like their Maccha Float (Maccha with soft serve).

All gone...

In case you are wondering why the boat container. Every thing has a purpose. The boat containers are made of Russian white pines which absorbs excess oil to prevent soggy takoyaki balls. There are even holes round the container to prevent condensation to cause mushy balls.

I must say that Gindaco really hits the bell. Its by far the best and most authentic version of the takoyaki I've tried thus far. No need for any other flavor and marketing gimmick. If you are good at one thing, be very good at that and word will travel. I will definitely welcome Gindaco empire with open arms.Never eat Takopachi again with big boss (Gindaco) around town.

Update (23/12/09):
Had craving for tako balls and decided to grab some while I was in orchard. The original Japanese staff have been replaced with new Singapore ones. While waiting in queue I noted that the quality control is very stringent. Excess ingredients while grilled and forming the balls are discarded. Ball while sit too long and are cooled are also discard. Any balls that are not a perfect round, deformed or have holes are also discarded. The skill level that the chef molding the balls and quickly jumping them to flip is quite admirable. Almost like an art performance. Taste wise its exactly the way I remembered from the first time. Golden brown and crispy exterior and soft moist interior.

Tsukiji Gindaco
2 Orchard Turn
#B4-64/65 ION Orchard
Singapore 238801
Tel: 6509 9038

The Taiyaki @ ION Orchard

Many varieties of Taiyaki to choose.

The Taiyaki offers many different kinds of Taiyaki. From the sweet to the savory. They have French Cinnamon, Italian, German Potato, Fresh Banana Chocolate, Bacon & Eggs and Japanese Premium Azuki. They even place country flags next to the different Taiyaki to state where they got their inspiration.

Very generous azuki beans filling.

As you way have noticed. The Taiyaki sold here is different compared to the ones you normally find in Singapore. The main difference is the crust. Instead of the thick and sticky pancake mix that we are accustomed, the ones here are made up of very thin and crisp layer of crust. Beneath it is a very generous amount of filling. Guarantee to make you smile.

Attack of the Birds Fish

Poor fishy.

I tried the Bacon & Egg (British) Taiyaki. The crust is indeed very crispy and paper thin. The whole interior is filled with a whole egg with a strip of bacon. Taste wise the Bacon & Egg comes out to be rather average. Maybe I should have stick to the more traditional Azuki Beans.

Modern Peking Duck @ ION Orchard

Have craving for Peking duck, but don't wanna spend $60 in a high class restaurant for a whole duck. Modern Peking Duck in ION Orchard has introduce their solution of 5 pieces of Peking duck slices for the price of $6.

Modern Peking Duck is opened by the Toh family. They are no amateurs on the field, with 30 years experience in the roast meat industry. Now the luxurious Chinese Dining will be readily accessible to the general public.

More birds more luck money.

Chef at work. Do not disturb.
The on-looking bystanders do seem creepy.
Now I understand how a goldfish feels.

Little piggie and rip skinned duck boxes.

Packaging was really original with custom boxes to differentiate the two specialties of roast pig and Peking duck.

The Big Pig aka Roasted Big Pig

The Big Pig has some hits and misses. The chunks of meat in the front as you can see are bland, not seasoned enough and dry. However, dipping it into the black sauce dip does improve it a lot. Introducing a sweet and salty twang to the meat flavor, without it would be really disappointing. The portion closer to the ribs however was really tenders. One can taste the salt rub applied even on it before roasting the pig whole. Finally to the best portion of the roast pig, the crisp skin. The skin is very crisp and crackles with every bit. (In terms of the crispy skin) Not the best I've had, but among some of the better ones I've tasted thus far. Though they hope they would be more generous with the skin next time.

Modern Peking Duck

Wanna piece of me?

This has to be the highlight of the day. The Peking duck is execute really good. Never mind the long queue. The wait is worth it. Each slice of Peking duck is carefully wrapped in thin egg crepes and brushed with hoisin sauce. There is lot of duck meat present inside the wrap and its tender and lacks the strong smell that most people hate about duck. The sauce is just right and doesn't overpower light nature of this dish.

Although I do agree that the roast pork and Peking duck are on the pricey side for finger food. I do encourage you to try out the Peking duck. Really good stuff.

Modern Peaking Duck
2 Orchard Turn
#B4-75 ION Orchard
Singapore 238801
Tel: 6509 8539