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Day Trips in the City Food Living in Singapore

Tampines 1’s Food Court

Every mall in Singapore that I’ve been to has a food court that is, in reality, just an indoor hawker.  The same basic varieties of food are served in the same basic way.  It’s a very convenient way to eat, especially if you’re not willing to spring for an expensive meal in a sit down restaurant.  These food courts (and hawkers) in Singapore often have much better prices than what you’d find in a mall food court in the US, making them a very affordable place to eat.

I’d somehow assumed that Tampines 1 was an exception to the rule that every mall has a food court.  I’d just never seen it.  It’s tucked away in a corner on the top floor, by the pet shop.  We happened to see it when we went to the pet shop to browse for travel carriers for our cats.

The food court isn’t bad at all.  The air conditioning there is ice cold and it offers glassed walls all the way around, which offer an excellent view of the area around Tampines 1.  The iced kacang seemed to be pretty popular, and there was a stall called Kuala Lumpur Roasted I want to try out.  I’m sure it’s just the standard chicken rice / roast pork rice / etc. stall, but maybe they have their own twist to the recipe that’s worth experiencing.

 

The most disappointing thing about the food court is that it’s not designed well.  With Tampines 1 being such a new mall, you’d think they’d have put more effort into making the food court look appealing.  The food court at Suntec resembles a library.  The food court at Vivocity looks like a quaint, village shopping district.  The food court at Ion is decked out in gold chrome and white statues of animals.  This food court is rather bland.  I suppose their reasoning might have been that there are already food courts in the two other malls in the area which also have a bland design, so they didn’t need to put much thought into the one they built for Tampines 1.

Restaurants in the US often have a theme to enhance their appeal, but before coming to Singapore I couldn’t have cared less what a food court in a mall looked like, as long as the food was decent.  I’ve become accustomed to, and spoiled by, the level of detail Singaporeans put into designing their malls.

Categories
Day Trips in the City Food Living in Singapore

Yamazaki @ Tampines 1 Mall

With all of the times we’ve walked right by this place I can’t imagine why we never poked our head in to look around.  I guess it was the really fancy cakes they had in the display cases facing out towards the mall walkway.  Tampines 1 isn’t really the place I’d think of when I want good, but reasonably priced, baked goods.

However, with my time in Singapore fast coming to an end, I got curious and looked around inside.  I was surprised to see great prices and a great variety of sweet baked items.  There were things with chocolate cream, custard fillings and apple pies and it was all completely affordable.

We quickly loaded up a tray to take home with us.  We’re gonna have to go on some long runs this week to burn off these calories, but they were definitely worth it!

The custard was better than I’d hoped, the waffle was sweet and tasted like it’d go great in a bowl of vanilla ice cream, and the apple pie my wife picked out was incredible!

If you’re looking for some good quality pastry type items for a good price, I recommend this place.  You can even get some Japanese milk tea or cafe au lait from the cooler to wash down your pastry.

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Food Living in Singapore

Tapa King in Singapore

Tapa King Banner

Tapa King is a restaurant that serves a popular Filipino dish called tapsilog.  The restaurant is very popular in the Philippines and has finally opened branches here in Singapore at Lau Pa Sat (same place as where the only Wendy’s in Singapore is) and one at Century Square in Tampines.  There may be other branches but those are the only two I’m aware of.

Anyhow, my wife found out about it because of a person handing out flyers by the Tampines MRT station.  She was a little disappointed at first but then realized she should check the food court.  It wouldn’t make sense for them to hand out flyers there otherwise.  Sure enough, Century Square had a Tapa King outlet:

Tapa King Menu

She was so excited she couldn’t wait to share the experience with me, and I mean that literally.  She went there for lunch and then told me in great detail about how good it was.  Tapa King’s reputation is well known to Filipinos and many of them were lined up, along with curious locals, to get a taste of this great Filipino dish.

Line at Tapa King

She didn’t want me to miss out on the experience so she sent me a copy of the menu so I could choose something for her to bring home with her:

Tapa King:

Tender beef strips marinated in a savory sauce cooked over a griddle, served with fried egg, chopped tomato and garlic fried rice.

Tapa Queen

Tender beef strips marinated in a spicy sweetish sauce cooked over a griddle, served with fried egg, chopped tomato and garlic fried rice.

Tapa Prince

Tender beef strips marinated in sweetish sauce cooked over a griddle, served with fried egg, chopped tomato and garlic fried rice.

Tapa Joe

Tender beef strips cut in small pieces marinated in herbs and spices cooked over a griddle, served with fried egg, chopped tomato and garlic.

They all sounded pretty good, but I went ahead and asked for the Tapa King.  The tapa dishes are their specialty so we didn’t bother with the other dishes.  My wife says the Spicy Tuyo is good, but it’s dried fish and she figured I wouldn’t like that.  Crispy Liempo is a piece of pork, if you’re wondering.

When she got home I eagerly opened the box, ready to dig in:

Tapa King Meal

Tapa King Meal

When I took the first bite, I knew I’d found a new favorite dish.  I literally found myself scraping the container to get the last few bits of garlic rice and wished I’d had a second helping available.  I’m excited to try the other versions the next time I’m in Tampines.

If you’re interested in trying some Filipino cuisine in Singapore, then I highly recommend Tapa King.  You definitely won’t be disappointed!

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Day Trips in the City Food Living in Singapore

Say Cheeze, Tampines 1

Mob Photo 30-Dec-2009 PM 11 32 00

My wife and I finally got around to trying this place out.  I’d actually decided not to eat there because the decor is hideous.  I mean, I want to be nice, but there’s really no excuse for how horribly ugly the place was decorated.  So, I’d written it off.  It didn’t look that appealing.  I know someone is thinking something ‘cheezy’ about books and covers, but when it comes to food, appearance is important.

Mob Photo 30-Dec-2009 PM 11 29 58

So, I never really paid attention to the place until about a week ago when someone I know told me the food there is good.  A few days later we happened to be in Tampines 1 and realized it was time for dinner, so we started thinking about where we wanted to eat.  Then I remembered what the guy had said about Say Cheeze and we decided to give it a shot.

When we first glanced over the menu we weren’t that impressed but we couldn’t think of anywhere else to eat so we sat down and ordered.  We were very surprised.  I wish I’d brought my regular camera.  These are just from my iPhone.

The dishes we ordered had an upgrade ‘combo’ deal.  For 5.90 SGD (4.90 on weekdays) we got a drink and a choice of soup.  The add-on price seemed kind of high until we saw the soups.

My wife’s minestrone soup was very, very good.  She let me try it.  Seems like I forgot to take a picture of it, but it was really thick and had pieces of pasta and vegetable in it.

Mob Photo 30-Dec-2009 PM 11 30 56

I asked for the cream of mushroom soup.  It wasn’t watered down at all.  It was also very thick and could’ve been a light lunch by itself if it came with a piece of bread.

The soups were a real treat.  They reminded me of the soups we used to get at OrganiCafExperience in Century Square’s basement level, before it closed.

The main dishes:

My wife's mushroom stuffed ravioli.
My wife’s mushroom stuffed ravioli.
My baked beef lasagna.
My baked beef lasagna.

The sauces were delicious and the servings were just the right size.  I can’t believe how good the food is there, considering the way the place looks and the relatively low cost of the meals.  We’ll definitely be going back!

Categories
Day Trips in the City Food Living in Singapore

Spinach Bacon OmuRice From Manpuku

Lunch on Sunday was Spinach Bacon OmuRice from the Manpuku restaurant in Tampines 1.  I didn’t remember seeing the stall before and the dishes looked interesting so I thought I’d give it a try.  I was later told by a friend that it was added recently.

As you can see from the picture, this dish is a big tasty omelet covered in a white cream sauce with bacon and spinach.  I was actually disappointed with how little spinach there was on the dish.  I was hoping for more.  There was a nice amount of bacon, but it wound up not being enough either.

You see, I had sort of expected there to be a more interesting filling in this omelet, but instead it was filled with just plain fried rice and a very small amount of mushrooms.  I think I sifted through the rice and only found 5 tiny pieces of mushroom total.

It was tasty, but as soon as the sauce, bacon and spinach were gone, the rest of it became rather bland.  A good dish introduces a lot of variety, to keep your mouth and tastebuds happy.  This one just didn’t do the trick for me and I don’t think I’ll order it again.

Strangely enough, we wound up meeting friends later in the evening at this same restaurant and one of them ordered the exact same dish.  She didn’t finish it either and commented on how it wasn’t very good after the toppings were gone.