Taiwan Eats!

Taiwan Eats!

Craving for XXL Chicken Cutlets, Braised Pork Rice or just some Taiwanese light bites? This is where you can solve your Taiwanese cravings!
Xing Wei Chua
Xing Wei Chua

One place that had seemed to have quickly made headlines on social media of the late is Tai One Wei (台One味). Having taken over the former premises of the now-defunct retail shop named Motorwerks at 751 North Bridge Road, Tai One Wei has been making waves of social media for serving up Taiwanese home-style cuisine. The entire establishment is decked in a style that reminds patrons of a homely Taiwanese vibe — filled with wooden benches on white walls matched with wooden dining tables and chairs, lantern ceiling lamps and brick-esque wallpapers; the interior also being fairly narrow considering the layout of the shophouse it is housed in. The menu here features quite a variety of dishes — there is a section dedicated to air-flown Taiwanese produce that are seasonal items priced at market rates; then there is a section dedicated to mains which comprises of items such as the Signature Braised Pork Rice and Fried Rice / Noodles with Pork / Beef. The rest of the items on the menu is separated into sections dedicated to dishes at either $5, $10, $15 or $18 per serving — something which does remind us of the same concept which then now-defunct Five Ten / The Salted Plum was previously doing. The list of beverages are also pretty extensive — whilst cold non-alcoholic drinks are pretty much limited to packet drinks, they do also offer hot beverages such as a Four Season Oolong and a Ruby Black Tea; alcoholic beverages include different types of canned beer, as well as hard liquor and red wine.

Ordered quite a number of dishes, which included the Signature Braised Pork Rice, the Signature Fried Chicken and the Stir-fried Clams with Basil and found them to be pretty good, but the Deep-fried Pork Intestine was an item that we found to be truly impressive even despite us being fans of innards. Being one of the $10 plates which they have to offer here, we had initially expected the Deep-fried Pork Intestine was to be served in a format that would be similar to the Signature Fried Chicken — turns out these were actually in a way simpler than we thought. For one, we really enjoyed how the Deep-fried Pork Intestine here has that crisp exterior, while the insides maintain some sort of chewiness — all that whilst not being particularly greasy. The intestines here are also very well-cleaned; there isn’t any undesirable odour that came with it, whilst the intestines also come stuffed with greens to help curb with that taste which one would usually associate innards with. One can also dip the intestine into the saucer or salt & pepper that further enhances the flavour as well.

Taiwanese eateries have started becoming a little more commonplace these days considering how establishments like Breakfast Hola!, Monki Cafe and True Breakfast has been sprouting up of the late. That being said, much of the focus seems to have been placed on Taiwanese-style breakfast fare — places that serve up Taiwanese communal plates are few and far in-between. Tai One Wei does seem to address this gap in the Singapore market by offering some pretty authentic Taiwanese-style communal plates — mostly dishes that are not exactly easy to find here; all that in a setting where it is also cosy and exudes strong Taiwanese vibes. It is little wonder how this spot is already so popular even before features of it on social media started to come online — a real gem of its own. With such a strong following alongside the features on social media, reservations via their online platform are definitely recommended to avoid disappointment; we are definitely looking forward to returning to Tai One Wei to try out their other less commonly found dishes soon!

There seems to be an increasing popularity of Taiwanese-style breakfasts of the late, especially ever since the move of True Breakfast into Cuppage Plaza which has seen crowds getting into a queue just to have a taste of their Taiwanese-style breakfast store dishes. Newly-opened along South Bridge Road just right across Jin Yu Man Tang Dessert’s second outpost is Breakfast Hola!; the shophouse is located just a short walk away from Chinatown MRT Station, and is also a stone’s throw away from the upcoming Maxwell MRT Station along Thomson-East Coast Line Phase 3 that is scheduled to open later in the year. Being rather simply designed, the interior of the shophouse is bright and welcoming; splashes of yellow on the walls amidst the white base paint, and simple furniture exudes a cheerful and fun vibe. Breakfast Hola! serves up a menu that is split into categories such as toasts, thick slices (i.e. thick toasts), club sandwich, handmade egg crepe roll, and noodles and rice. Beverage options at Breakfast Hola! includes soy milk, coffee, tea and Milo.

We have went for several items, which includes the Homemade Taiwanese Egg Crepe Roll with Spicy Cai Poh, as well as the Authentic Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice (Small) — all of them are equally well-executed and delicious but the Garlic Butter Thick Slices really deserves a shoutout for how they have seemed to really went looking into the fine details of this one. Being a thick toast, we really liked how this one was just on-point on how the toasting was executed — the brown crust of the bread is especially light and crispy; yet the white bread itself is pillowy soft and incredibly fluffy. Where most other places would usually slather just a little bit of garlic butter over the bread, it seems like Breakfast Hola! did a pretty good job where the ratio of garlic butter to bread is done just right — the savoury notes of the garlic butter did not seem to just sit atop the surface of the white bread, but also somewhat absorbed for a good garlicky note that we found to be pretty punchy. Simple as it is, but what we really liked about this variant from Breakfast Hola! is how it is done right.

There is really no doubt behind much of what has been said about Breakfast Hola! so far — no doubt that there may be teething issues at times since they are still in the midst of ironing out the way to do things, but the food here is certainly comforting to the soul; executed with a lot of heart to serve patrons with the very best that they can offer. Hospitality is also pretty Taiwanese here — sincere and heartfelt despite being fuss-free since we visited at a time which they seemed to be relatively busy. Overall, a great place to head to for some seriously delicious Taiwanese fare — not in a position to comment how authentic they are, but definitely somewhere I would make a return visit for!

Went for lunch at the Foodfare food court at Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3 just the other day and noticed a stall labelled “Taiwanese Cuisine” that piqued my interest — upon closer inspection, turns out the operator of the stall is The Voice . Taiwanese Cuisine (好聲音 .台灣風味館); a stall which we had visited when they were located in a coffeeshop along Eng Kong Terrace. While the Eng Kong Terrace outlet has since become defunct, they had since expanded their operations with four outlets at the time of writing — their other locations apart from the one at Foodfare at Marina Bay Financial Centre being within Foodfare at FairPrice Hub (Joo Koon), Kopitiam at Jurong Point 1 (Boon Lay), and Kopitime at PLQ (Paya Lebar). For those who are unfamiliar with what they serve up, the menu at The Voice . Taiwanese Cuisine comprises of various forms of “bento” (think Braised Pork Rice Bento, Chicken Cutlet Rice Bento etc.), Taiwanese Mee Sua and a whole range of sides including the likes of Sweet Potato Fries, Fried Mixed Vegetables, Braised Pork Intestines etc.

Went for the very same item which we went for when we dropped by their now-defunct Eng Kong Terrace location the previous time, and found that the Popcorn Chicken + Braised Pork Bento seem to have been vastly improved from back then. One very noticeable change was the use of a shallower paper bowl instead of the one that they were previously using — somewhat improving the aesthetics of the entire dish since there was less void space around the whole bowl. The cuts of the braised pork does feel different from back then; seemingly featuring more fattier cuts, the braised pork is nothing short of being soft and tender — does come savoury enough from being stewed in the braising liquid whilst there was also enough braised sauce going around to flavour up the rice this time round too. The Popcorn Chicken was good as it previously was — these golden brown morsels of chicken is crispy on the outside and juicy inside; not particularly greasy, and sprinkled with the usual salt and pepper for good flavour. The same pickled cucumbers and preserved vegetables also sit atop the short-grain rice; both of which providing a good break between the meat and the carbs, while the braised egg features a completely cooked yolk — great for those who prefer it done this way.

Having given them yet another go at their outlet at Foodfare at Marina Bay Financial Centre, was glad that they seemed to have did some minor tweaks to the Popcorn Chicken + Braised Pork Bento which refined the offering further — overall an improvement over what it previously was. Priced at $8.80, this may not be quite the most affordable eat around the area if one is looking for a meal in the price range of around or below $6 for a weekday lunch in office, though it is noted that they do have other rice bentos and mee sua that is priced competitively at $5.80. Always find it a little difficult to make a choice on what to have here at this particular Foodfare, but I guess The Voice . Taiwanese Cuisine is one that I would easily settle for the next time I return here.

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Had heard about Big Brother — a former Pasar Malam stall which had settled in Tastebud Foodcourt at Blk 218 Sumang Walk within Punggol for quite a while now; the stall had found new digs in the aforementioned coffeeshop for at least a year now, and was a spot that I was meant to visit following the nation’s re-opening after the Circuit Breaker last year. Apart from serving up Taiwanese-style fried chicken, the stall also serves up other Taiwanese-style snacks such as Enoki Mushroom, Crispy Plum Sweet Potato, and also offers mains such as Taiwanese Oyster Mee Sua and Taiwanese Pork Belly Rice.

We made our visit for the Taiwanese Pork Belly Rice; while no doubt we found their rendition to be better than what some other stalls can offer (their version came with ample sauce, a mix of lean and fatty meat, and was well-sized for an individual for $4.80), but it was the Big Brother Yummy Chicken that left even a stronger impression for us. Essentially a Taiwanese-style fried chicken cutlet, I liked how their rendition was simple yet satisfying — served piping hot, the chicken cutlet features an immensely crisp and fried golden-brown batter, juicy and tender flesh, all dusted with paprika and pepper for that slight kick of spiciness. Whilst being nothing out of this world, their rendition perhaps comparable to some of the more stellar ones served up by other chains operating kiosks in malls.

Given how Pasar Malams hadn’t been a thing ever since the ongoing pandemic, it’s pretty heartening to see how some of the stalls had managed to settle down as a takeaway kiosk or a coffeeshop stall during this period of time — it’s certainly a difficult period for these operators especially, considering the lack of a permanent presence at a single location previously and many of such stalls mainly relied on word-of-mouth for its marketing. That being said, Big Brother is a hidden gem amidst the inner neighbourhoods of Punggol — it serves up pretty decent Taiwanese fare that is worth exploring especially if one stays somewhat close to the area. Don’t forget to also grab a portion of the Big Brother Yummy Chicken while at it — makes for a great snack to share around the table!

The revamp of PoMo had been massively delayed for quite a while now — glad that GR.ID had finally seen its first few F&B tenants moved into the building and having commenced business recently, which adds on to the number of dining options in this area.

Having started operations last year with their first outlet situated at East Coast Road (we had also visited that spot when they had first opened their doors), it seems that Isshin Machi does have plans to expand their operations — apart from the recent opening of their outlet at GR.ID, they have also recently did a sneak peek at an upcoming location in the west. The menu available at GR.ID is largely similar to the one offered at East Coast Road too.

The Hakka-style Braised Pork Rice is a dish that isn’t unfamiliar to us — also one of the items which we had ordered during our first visit to the East Coast Road outlet. Essentially being the classic braised pork rice bowl, the portion served here is slightly deceiving considering how the bowl does seem to be of a smaller size, but it’s a pretty well-sized portion for an individual. Coming with pickles, cucumber and braised pork, the braised pork is diced finely, but also to a point where one would still be able to feel small chunks of meat and fibre — the braised pork here being a mix of fatty parts and lean parts through generally beer towards the leaner end here. The braised sauce was pretty flavourful, and the braised pork was marinated evenly throughout — sufficiently savoury, and gives the entire bowl ample flavour. There was also sufficient meat to go around with the pearly rice grains beneath; soft and fluffy, and easy to finish. While the pickles here features julienned vegetables rather than sliced ones which some establishments may serve, they still have the dish a light tang especially between morsels of braised pork to refresh the taste buds.

Pretty glad to see Isshin Machi expand its operations; the outlet at GR.ID seemingly being their most ambitious outlet with a lot of emphasis being placed in the decor and look of the store. The food quality at the GR.ID outlet seems to be pretty consistent to that of what we had experienced previously at the East Coast Road outlet — something which we were found to be pretty good. No doubt I would still prefer heading to Eat 3 Bowls for some really stellar Taiwanese-style Braised Pork Rice, but with other items like the Din Tai Fung-style Egg Fried Rice on the menu that also deserves a mention, GR.ID’s Isshin Machi is a spot I would gladly return to for lunch or dinner when the cravings hit!

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It seems that establishments specialising in Taiwanese cuisine is sprouting up around various corners in Singapore pretty recently — Big Mouth Eat 大口吃 is one of those recent openings that is hidden within the basement of Havelock II; a rather non-descript spot considering how the mall isn’t particularly filled up with tenants even at the ground level.

Just going by the minced braised pork belly, the Braised Pork Belly Rice is something worthy of a mention — the cuts used for the meat here comes with a good proportion of lean and fatty parts; all that coming together for a good texture that doesn’t require too much bite, yet melt-in-the-mouth. Really enjoyed how the meat has absorbed all that goodness from the braising liquid that is exceptionally savoury and rich — very flavourful without being overly salty. The only qualm here is how the rice feels like it could do with more of that sauce — no doubt it may seem to be served this way to circumvent the issue where the rice may get overly salty, but we felt that the rice felt a tad dry and could do with more flavour from the braising liquid; probably just a small douse would help. Really liked the preserved vegetables that they add to the bowl here which provided a contrast of texture by adding a crunch in between morsels of minced braised pork belly and rice, whilst also providing a light hint of spiciness that tickles the tastebuds. The braised egg was also decent; feature a solid yolk within, though some may yearn for the molten egg yolks typical to that of ramen egg that some places do serve up.

Whilst operating as a kiosk with a rather simple set-up featuring IKEA plastic chairs and metallic outdoor tables as their dine-in furnishings within the basement of a quiet mall, Eat Big Mouth is a hidden gem for those who love their Taiwanese cuisine — pretty authentic iterations of favourites ranging from the Braised Pork Belly Rice to more uncommonly found dishes such as the Taiwan Egg Pancake Crepe (would recommend the Ham variant which we also had), the Homemade Vegetarian “Blood” Cake and the Taiwanese Style Meatball. While there are still areas of improvement to be made for the Braised Pork Belly Rice, the setup does feel earnest and non-pretentious; something which we loved for how they seemingly focus on the food itself — itself being off for a good start. Looking forward to return for the Shredded Chicken Rice and other items some day too!

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Visited the new Abundance at Lengkok Bahru over the weekend — the fun, Asian fusion neighbourhood bar is situated just a couple of units away from Maison Sucree at a HDB block just a short walking distance from Redhill MRT Station.

A bit bummed by how the buns weren’t out when we went for lunch service (was told that they were only available for dinner during our visit), but found ourselves going for the Niu Yolk Fried Rice which was recommended to us by the staff. Featuring elements such as Beef Short Rib, Onsen Egg and Beef Fat over the Din Tai Fung-style egg fried rice that they attempt to serve over here.

Digging into the bowl of rice; the portion of which works great for two to share, and especially so for those who are looking to share at least a side, we noticed how the rice here seems a tad too moist for our liking — perhaps an attempt to achieve that fluffy texture of egg fried rice that was slightly overdone in this case. But otherwise, the rice was actually rather flavourful; wafts of an eggy fragrance that perfumes throughout the entire bowl. We were actually more impressed with the beef short ribs — the portioning of which may be a little small if one is attempting to share the item with two others just like how we did here, but we loved how the beef was absolutely tender and cooked in its own fat; not particularly gamey, but so melt-in-the-mouth good and savoury especially considering how marbled the meat was. The Onsen Egg is the crowd pleaser here — runny egg with a molten egg yolk that bursts of a creamy, golden goodness that provides for a silkier touch when one mixes it into the fried rice; talk about all the egg that is going on in here. Folks who prefer not to have beef can also opt for the “Classic” variant, and then go for the various add-ons here — think Crispy Chicken Cutlet, Pork Chop, Prawns, Crab Meat, Fried Beancurd Skin (aka 斋鹅)(!) and Tobiko.

Abundance doesn’t attempt to hide about its identity and character — it is exactly that fun Asian fusion gastrobar and the void deck it sets itself to be; the food here seemingly being of a Chinese/Taiwanese influence. Don’t come by looking for exceptional artisan fare; instead, just something more light-hearted with a playful touch. Whilst the location may seem a tad odd, we do reckon this is a spot that young families around the newer areas of Queenstown and Redhill may love having around — somewhere casual and hip with drinks with the convenience of being in their neighbourhood.

So ever since my first visit made to Ho Jia Ga for the Sausage with Sticky Rice, I have been actually craving for more — tried some variants from other establishments but found theirs to be perhaps the best I could find in Singapore (though I will like to think that I have yet to try every single version from the various establishments around).

Managed to have got my parents to try them out since we were around the area (and I was heavily craving for one), but mum got hooked and wanted to return a second time. Given how we loved their original variant, we went for the spicy sausage this time round — still very enjoyable given how the glutinous rice is sticky and encased in a snappy casing similar to that which comes with the Taiwanese sausage which gives it an extra chew; all that whilst also coming stuffed with pickles and minced garlic and sauce for a savoury, tangy flavour that compliments so well with the Taiwanese sausage. Their house-made sausages are very well-executed too; chunky and sufficiently thick, whilst coming with a sweet note typical of the type of sausage that it is and seemingly encased in the same sort of casing that comes with the glutinous rice — the spicy variant of the sausage comes with piquant hint of spiciness that tickles the tastebud, and is relatively manageable for those who can handle moderate levels of spiciness which gives a further contrast of flavours as compared to the original variant.

Being made from a 60 year-old recipe as claimed by themselves on a poster that is hung outside the kiosk, Ho Jia Ga’s Sausage with Sticky Rice is possibly the best it can get given how travel restrictions are in place with the pandemic still being a concern all around the world. Whilst I have not been to Taiwan and thus cannot comment on the authenticity of their variant, I can’t deny how theirs is probably the most well-executed version that I have come across — one that I would most certainly crave for and have again. Whilst seemingly a kiosk that have gained quite a fair bit of popularity with the residents around Potong Pasir these days, Ho Jia Ga is still much of a hidden gem worth going for.

Came across the Facebook page of 角头台湾早餐店 GATAO Taiwan Breakfast over the Chinese New Year weekend — thought it was pretty intriguing to have a spot that serves Taiwanese fare such as toasts, braised pork rice, and egg crepes just around the workplace and was pretty compelled to make it a lunch destination on a week where I return to office for work.

Housed within MEME Bistro Bar at a non-descript corner of Mackenzie Road, GATAO Taiwan Breakfast takes over the morning and lunch operations of the bar until 3pm. We were told that the Braised Pork Rice is a heirloom recipe inherited from the grandma of the chef’s spouse whom is also a Taiwanese. While I am still more into the fatty bits of minced pork that Eat 3 Bowls does spectacularly well in, the variant here features leaner bits of pork — overall a more homey rendition in general with its flavourful braised sauce; one could find bits of Star Anise within that is used in the making of the braising liquid. The braised vegetables do provide a good crunch for a varied texture, while the pickles on the side do provide for an adequate tanginess to cut through the savouriness; all that’s whilst also providing another dimension of crunch with the fluffy rice. Only qualm for us would be the inconsistency of the braised egg across the three bowls we had; ranging from a molten yolk akin to an Onsen Egg to one that is fully-cooked like those served at our local chicken rice stalls. Would also wish for the rice to come warmer for a better consistency in terms of temperature of the rice against the braised meat.

Having tried their other items such as the Egg Crepe, we do feel that we would return to give their breakfast toasts a try — the Pork Chop Toast does sound like something that could compare against Fong Sheng Hao’s signature offering, especially when paired with their Taiwan Special Breakfast Beverage; a silky and fragrant milk tea that comes with a mellow sweetness. Looking forward to give their toasts a try the next time I am here!

Had always been wanting to try 黑轮食堂 Hei Lun Shi Tang for quite a while; but i guess I never really had it in mind whenever I visit Queenstown because I often get more distracted by the hawker stalls at Alexandra Village Food Centre instead. Pretty glad that they had opened a new outlet at Wisteria Mall at Yishun, which I made it a point to visit since it had landed up north — though the space does seem smaller occupying a kiosk that seats around 15 pax.

Not sure if they had the Scallion Oil noodle at the Wisteria Mall outlet, but I still found it hard not to go for the Signature Braised Pork Rice given this is one of the items that most do seem to go for there. Felt that the braised pork rice here is definitely of a different league as compared to the ones served at Eat Three Bowl at Crawford and Really Something at Chinatown Complex; the version here does feel less spruced up — perhaps more homey even for how the minced meat still remains moist, but retains a good bite overall for some texture. The other elements such as the preserved vegetable helps to cut through the meat and rice; the rice aptly drenched with enough sauce for a slightly saltish note, while the braised cabbage and soft chunks of carrot provides a more wholesome feel and a fresh and slightly sweet note — the braised cabbage also adding a bit of crunch. Overall, not a bowl of braised pork rice that attempts to sweep one off their feet, but more of a simpler, hearty variant that comforts the soul.

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Came across the social media account of 非同小可 Really Something recently, and made a point to give this newly-opened stall at Chinatown Complex Food Centre a visit after realising that they actually do serve up Chiayi Chicken Rice — a dish that I was introduced to at Eat Three Bowls; a variant that I actually very much loved ever since my very first try of this slightly less common Taiwanese dish in Singapore.

Simple as it always looks, I actually liked how the Taiwanese chicken rice is absolutely flavour —something that the variant here is nothing short of. Liked how the shredded chicken here retains moisture — pretty succulent whilst being drenched in a savoury sauce together with the rice, making the pearly rice not only just easy-to-have, but also fairly addictive especially with the crispy shallots over the top; one just simply wants to go on and on, until the entire bowl is finished in no time.

Must say that 非同小可 Really Something’s name is something that evokes expectations beyond the usual — a somewhat playful choice to name a stall with. That being said, we were left more than impressed still; pretty authentic Taiwanese fare that’s pretty worth making the visit for — all at a time where overseas leisure travel just does not seem to be a viable option. Really wishing these folks all the best in their hawker journey; a stall that is worth keeping a lookout for!

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From the new Ho Jia Ga at The Poiz Center; a hole-in-the-wall takeaway kiosk that serves up Taiwanese cuisine. Apart from serving up rice sets, various light bites such as fried snacks, Ho Jia Ga also serves up this Taiwanese delicacy that is somewhat of a rare find.

Essentially glutinous rice encasing Taiwanese sausage, I enjoyed how the one here is a medley of sweet and savoury notes — the rice being smothered with a savoury sauce that matched well with the signature sweetness of Taiwanese sausage; the sausage also giving the snack a good bite amidst the soft, chewiness of the glutinous rice. Pickles and coriander come in between the glutinous rice and Taiwanese sausage; the pickles giving the item a good crunch and a slight zing that refreshes the taste buds amidst the sweet-savouriness going on. Had not managed to try the actual renditions of this item in Taiwan, but this does feel like somewhat of a pretty decent rendition that is worth a try!

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Up, down and everywhere around for food.

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