Monday, March 1, 2010

A night at the Opera.

Friday night we went into Orchard Rd to have dinner in Ion - the second newest supermall along the strip. The basement has a foodcourt which is operated by Food Republic - a foodcourt chain that operates throughout several malls here in Singapore. This one in the basement of Ion is named Food Opera!

What follows is just an abridged tour around this vast foodcourt - there are more than 20 stalls in total, covering all sorts of hawker-type cuisine. Prices are about 1.5 times hawker centre prices. Food Opera has really funky decor and is super clean and well maintained - I love it!

This one's for you Carlton Wong:

I had my dinner from Teo Chew (Chiu Chow) Fish Ball Noodles, a recommendation from Mark. He was super enthusiastic - saying that it was the only thing he ever at when he came to Food Opera, and also the only Fish Ball Noodles he would ever eat!

The Singapore style of Fish Ball Noodles is different from the HK style I am used to. Instead of noodles and fish balls being chucked together in a broth, the noodles are served dry and sauced, and the fish balls in their own separate bowl of soup.

The mix of sauces on the noodles includes sesame oil, chili sauce, tomato sauce and sweet soya sauce.

Here is the big vat of fish balls ready to be served, and the cook ready to serve them!

The different types of noodles you can order.

A sign like this, delineating the heritage and cooking process of the dish, accompanied each stall. These fish balls are handmade twice daily using yellowtail fish, and are soaked in cold water instead of storing in the fridge, to ensure maximum freshness.

The sauce mixture is prepared in a bowl, and the noodles scooped on top and stirred.

Fish Balls in broth waiting to be devoured! They are huge too, about the size of a golf ball each. I was absolutely shocked when I bit into the fish ball. The texture is unlike any fish ball I have ever tasted - completely smooth and delicate, light and airy. It is a lot less dense than every other fish ball or fish cake, and not as springy. It was a complete surprise and completely delicious. I can see why Mark recommended it so highly and will definitely be back to eat it again!

Dry noodles with sauce - served with spring onions, shallots and CRISPY PORK LARD. Delish!! (Yes, this is the same kind of crispy pork lard served in the fish head noodle soup at Sri Mahkota in Auckland, but a hundred times better!!) I think everything should be served with crispy pork lard. I think I've already said the same thing in the past for crispy fried shallots, so now everything must be served with both!

And of course, everything must be served with a bowl of chilis in soya sauce. The chilis are not that hot, and balanced with the slight sweetness of the soya sauce, can be eaten with everything!

We followed our meal with a cold treat from Ice Shop - a generic icy dessert stall.

This is Chendol - a dessert made with crushed ice, coconut milk, palm sugar syrup, red beans, and green jelly. Sweet and refreshing. Apparently can get much better ones on the street so I'll have to keep an eye out for those.

Overall, a fantastic meal at Food Opera, see you there next time! =)

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