Ang Mo Kio at The Podium

7 04 2013
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Bak Kut Teh at Ang Mo Kio at The Podium

THIS ANG Mo Kio is not the 16th station of the North–South line.  It’s so way out the Red.  Like, New Jersey out.

I always pay my favorite mall, The Podium, a visit whenever I come back home to the Philippines.  Whenever I would have to play the role of the trusty door–to–door delivery man (“Serbisyong parang ikaw na rin ang nag-abot sa kanilang mga kamay!), I would often request to meet up at The Podium.  It’s also the nearest mall to all my Superhero friends.  But it actually doesn’t really matter whether there’s an errand to run or not.  Often, I just go.

The Philip Stein flagship store is there – perfect for ogling at timepieces I couldn’t afford.  And there are plenty of gastronomic choices to quiet down grumbling tummies.  Usuals include Banana Leaf, Café Med, Figaro, Healthy Shabu Shabu, The New Bombay Canteen, and Shi Lin.

I’m adding a new one to that list – Ang Mo Kio (“Singaporean Hawker Cuisine”)!  I first noticed the very shabby chic, beat up solid wood tables and benches in the colors of the Singaporean flag – red and white.  But it was the restaurant’s name that really drew me in.  It was as if the two-year Singapore resident in me suddenly faced head-on the deep-seated homesickness he has been brushing aside for days now, only because the sight of the familiar promised to offer a cure even if it took the incarnation of neon in red and white, buzzing in his head, spelling the name of an MRT Station.

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Ang Mo Kio at The Podium

 

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The interiors. The tables and benches somehow evoke images of the Malaysian Food Street beside Universal Studios Singapore. The wall has an artist’s rendition of the daily life in the Lion City.

 

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I absolutely love the beat-up look of the tables and benches. I swear I could very well be in Singapore, if not for the whiff of airconditioning that cooled the short strands of hair on my nape where I would usually expect the unforgiving equatorial heat of the Singapore sun.

It could’ve been Kembangan and still, he would care.  As long as it was “Singaporean Hawker Cuisine”.

A cordial greeting at the door ushered the Superhero and me in, all the way to the back, by the window where there is a sweeping view of the city skyline and the traffic jam below.  The “wait staff” attending to us went on describing the concept behind the (new) place, the aesthetics, the interiors, the whatnots.  All this time, most of his words just faded in and out of my consciousness into chiaroscuros.  I guess he did notice that all my attention had transfixed onto the wristwatch he had strapped on.  It was an automatic movement TW STEEL, arguably a long lost brother to the TW STEEL I had on, alongside a Philip Stein.  (Me and my stacked wristwatches!)

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The black TW STEEL I had on was actually on loan from my brother. Ang Mo Kio’s owner’s automatic movement TW STEEL is the one on the foreground.

 

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I love the descriptions on the menu.

Wristwatches became instant conversation pieces and broke further what was left of a clearly crumbling iceberg.  Before long, he properly introduced himself as the owner of the place.  He was inspired to put up the restaurant in the Philippines after having lived a number of years in – you guess it right – the Lion City.  I told him that it was quite admirable and inspirational to meet someone like him who turned an experience into an entrepreneurial endeavor!  Business cards were exchanged.  And from what he handed me, I learned further that he and his family are also in the jewelry business.  One of the specialty jewelry shops in the mall is actually theirs too.  Wow.

The menu was extensive as it is impressive, covering all the bases of the melting pot cuisine that is Singaporean.  For that “true” Singapore taste, we asked for the Bak Kut Teh and the Hainanese Chicken Rice.

The food soon hit the beautifully rustic white table and with one sip of the soup, and a stain of chili on fragrant chicken rice, whatever longing I had for my second home was instantly appeased.

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Often, I would end up judging Hainanese Chicken Rice, not so much by the chicken, but by the rice.

 

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The steamed (Hainanese) chicken was moist and flavorful.

 

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The Hainanese Chicken Rice came with the requisite blanched vegetable in oyster sauce. This was baby bokchoy.

 

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The Bak Kut Teh hits the table! I love it for its robust, restorative broth. I think this is closer to the Malaysian version. The broth is darker and more herbal. Not as peppery as, say, Song Fa’s.

 

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A tight shot of a fave, the Bak Kut Teh!

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved

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