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I was in the Chinatown area last Sunday and decided to pop by with my friend to grab some dinner. We arrived a little past 7.30pm and was relieved it wasn’t packed like the last time.

We both ordered our favourite beef bibimap and when our orders arrived, I cannot tell you how disappointed we were. Instead of the generous serving of sliced beef that we were used to, the bibimap came with an utterly miserly portion of minced beef. I reckoned there wasn’t any more than a heaping tablespoon of beef mince in it.

After stirring it up, you could barely see or taste any of the beef mince. It was awful and no amount of gochujang could save it. I couldn’t eat more than a few mouthfuls, because it felt like I was eating rice mush with vegetables. My friend tried to drop a subtle hint to the lady owner by asking if chef was changed and then pointing out that the beef portion was much smaller than before. She merely smiled and replied that perhaps the kitchen crew was in a rush. Nothing else was said and done, and I pushed my bowl away after a few more weak attempts at eating it.

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Noodle House Ken

My sister was in the Cuppage area on Saturday and I had a ramen craving. Thanks to the recommendations that I found on AromaCookery and The Travelling Hungryboy, I decided to check out the Noodle House Ken at Orchard Plaza.

We swung by about 7pm and the helpful waitress directed us to the restaurant’s air-conditioned shop unit. I would have preferred to sit at the counter but because my sister was still adjusting to the weather, we decided to take the air-conditioned seats.

There was a small selection of ramen and and some side dishes. My sister and I decided to play it safe and ordered the Tamago Ramen (Stewed Egg Ramen, $12), Cha Shiu Ramen (Sliced Pork Ramen, $12) and the Fried Gyoza (Fried Dumplings, $5).

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I had the day off on Thursday and swung by the Red Star Restaurant with my sister for an early dim sum lunch. Red Star, around since the 70s, is a perennial favourite with both the young and old. I first visited the restaurant in my college years, on a friend’s recommendation, and have been a fan ever since.

Dim sum is still served off push-cart trolleys and goes for S$3-3.50 for a plate of 3 servings (there are larger servings available). The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, and is always packed during weekends and public holidays. Although the queue can get rather long, table turnover is generally quick. That said, I do recommend going early on the weekend if you do not like to wait.

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I have passed by this wonderfully ornate temple several times and I told myself every time that I should stop and get some photos. I was in the area today and finally did so. The afternoon sun washed out a little of the colour in the photos but it was fun anyway. I think I’ll be back again in the future, hopefully with the morning sun and nice blue skies for a backdrop.

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