A Taste of India at Newport Centre

Taste of India, Authentic Indian Cuisine at Newport Centre Mall.

I went up to the food court at the Newport Centre Mall for the first time last weekend.  I saw some old favorites that I hadn’t been to since before I left the US for Kuwait in 2007 and I was pretty sure I was going to wind up eating at Sarku Japan.  It’s not real Japanese food, but it tastes pretty good.  Then I saw a place called A Taste of India: Authentic Indian Cuisine.  I went over and they were handing out free samples of chicken.  It tasted pretty good, but I wasn’t really convinced.  Then I saw that they had chicken biryani, and I wondered if it was anything like the nasi briyani I’d had in Singapore.  I asked for a sample and while it wasn’t exactly the same, it was really close and really good.  It was really spicy too!

Chicken biryani from A Taste of India at Newport Centre Mall.

I wound up getting a bowl of it, with spicy curry on top.  It doesn’t look too appealing in this photo, but most of the foods I ate in Asia tasted better than they looked anyway.

Something about the restaurant was kind of jarring.  They all seemed to be first generation immigrants, judging by their accents, possibly from the same family.  The way they were working the crowd and cajoling people into taking samples and then buying food from them reminded me of street vendors in the Asian countries I’d visited.  They could have just as easily been on a street in Kuala Lumpur or a food court in Singapore.  The weird part is that they were all wearing cheesy looking, brightly colored, standard uniforms.  I guess it was something about the authentic taste of the food and the authentic behavior of the employees clashing with the American franchise store and uniform designs that threw me off.  I suppose it doesn’t matter though.  I paid for good food and that’s what I got.

Old Spaghetti House at Galleria

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Yesterday afternoon, after a day of running around trying to do job interviews and visit the GSIS office for my father-in-law, we stopped by Galleria on our way home to have dinner.  I wasn’t sure what to eat, but I was in the mood for something Italian, so my wife recommended Old Spaghetti House.  I’m glad we went.  The food there is great!  It’s not fine dining per se, but it’s well worth the money.

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I went with the Vietnamese garlic spaghetti with shrimp.  I’m not sure if it’s actually a popular Vietnamese dish.  It tasted really good though!

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My wife decided to have their puttanesca, which is translated literally as “whore’s spaghetti”.  There are conflicted theories about the origins of this dish, but the more colorful one is that it was a dish that prostitutes in Italy’s state run brothels made for themselves out of the odds and ends in their larders.  As a condition of working in the state run brothels, they were only allowed out one day a week, so they were often low on supplies and this light sauce made from few ingredients was the result of their attempts to get by.  More information can be found in the Wikipedia article.

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After dinner, I finally got the chance to introduce my wife to funnel cake.  Funnel cakes are popular at fairs in the US, but they’re pretty rare in Asia.  I don’t recall ever seeing a place with this on the menu in Singapore.  She loved it!  You can see in the photo that they don’t add quite as much powdered sugar as they do in the US, but it came with a choice of toppings which made up for it.

Speaking of Singapore… it seems like you can’t get away from it over here.  I found this stuff on the menu:

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I don’t care for the original Tom Yum soup, so I really don’t think I’d like the way it tastes as a pizza or spaghetti.

The Pancake House at Galleria Mall

Earlier this month my wife and I were looking for a place to eat in Galleria and I saw something that looked like it would definitely hit the spot, The Pancake House.  They had some interesting looking ads in the window and the one that caught my eye was a fried chicken tenders and waffle dish.  It claimed to be ‘Southern’ style chicken, as in Southern US style chicken.  Fried chicken is popular in the South, but from what I know (from a movie) the idea of waffles and chicken is something from Los Angeles.  Well, I could be wrong.

The service standard at the restaurant was great.  We were greeted at the door and quickly shown to a seat.  The service from the waiter was prompt and friendly.  The place is clean and it has a nice theme.  My dish seemed a little pricey, but it was still reasonable, especially since it was in the mall.

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This is the Southern chicken and waffle.  There was also a small bit of salad that was pretty good.  I loved the black olives.  The dish also came with three sauces: syrup for the waffle, a gravy for the chicken, and a light, tangy dressing for the salad.

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My wife ordered a traditional Filipino dish that’s usually called crispy liempo.  The menu had a fancy name for it, but I can’t remember what it is.  The meat is deep-fried pork belly and the rice is garnished with fried garlic.

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p align=”left”>We didn’t try anything else from the menu, but after the great meal we had, I’m willing to go back for more.

Singapore in Manila

Having recently left Singapore I thought it was cool to see Singaporean restaurants in Manila, specifically in Megamall.  I suppose it makes sense that there would be Singaporean restaurants here, in Manila.  A large amount of Singapore’s foreign labor force comes from the Philippines and while Filipinos may eventually go home, they might still crave some Singaporean dishes like I do.

So, here’s Singapore in Manila:

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We took a brief look at the menu for ‘Orchard Road’ and saw Hainanese Chicken Rice listed prominently.  It’s nice to know that I’ll still be able to satisfy that craving.  I hope they serve the red chili sauce with it though, or it just won’t be the same.  If you’re wondering, the chicken rice is priced at roughly 6 SGD there.

The second restaurant will hopefully help me satisfy my craving for kopi, though I didn’t think about it at the time and didn’t check the menu.

The Soup Spoon @ Bugis Junction

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My wife and I are constantly finding and trying new restaurants and I’m kinda sad that this one slipped our notice until just two days before I leave Singapore.  The Soup Spoon has some GREAT food.

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My wife ordered the Simon & Garfunkel Ragout (pronounced ‘ra-goo’).  I had a little taste of it and it was delicious.  I don’t know how close to original the ragout recipe is, but it was great on its own.

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I had the Velvety Mushroom Stroganoff.  Ever since I got to experience the mushroom soup at Say Cheeze in Tampines 1 I’m always on the lookout for a chance to try a new recipe.  I never realized mushroom soup could be so good, because in the US plain ‘cream of’ soups aren’t that popular and the ones that come in the cans are really bland.  The mushroom soup at The Soup Spoon is really excellent.  It’s thick and the chunks of mushroom are big enough to sink your teeth into.

The soups could be a meal by themselves, especially with the bread roll that comes with it, but they had a set meal offer that we took advantage of.

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My wife tried their Garden Green salad.  She said it was nice.

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I had the Chicken Tikka half-wrap.  It was ok.  I think I’d have enjoyed it more but it didn’t really go well with the soup I chose.  The taste was tart and sour, which was an abrupt change after the smooth, mellow tastes of the soup.  Oh, and the stuff on the side that you can see in the picture above?  It tasted just a bit south of foul.  I left that alone.

Overall, the meal was very satisfying and very filling and, surprisingly, very affordable at only 22 bucks for both of us.

I’m just sad that I’ll probably never eat at this place again.  It would’ve been a regular stop for me if I’d known about it earlier.