I'm applying for citizenship as we speak
As soon as Rina, Chaikka and I hopped down from our Duck Tour Amphibian craft, we entered one of the Towers of the perplexing Suntec City Mall. As I mentioned during my first visit there just a few hours earlier, the place is really hard to figure out, not just for a tourist, but for a human being in general, so I didn't want to go on any more long walks. Being the notorious sleepyhead that I am, I actually just really wanted to go back to our "hotel" to rest for an hour or so before we head off for our next stop. Rina and Chai though, understandably, wanted to go around to possibly do a little shopping.
So there I was, in a foreign country, completely drained of all energy at four in the afternoon, due to my being awake since two in the morning. As I entered the mall doorway, I was trying to think where I could muster up the strength to troll around the busy shopping mall.
And Just like that, I saw the huge sign that would light a fire under me, and give me the strength I needed to carry on (*tear*).
In big bold letters, the sign said, "FOOD REPUBLIC".
Food Republic is a chain of food courts that is run by the people behind Bread Talk. There are currently four branches in Singapore, and we were "fortunate" (Inside joke you'll get in a few minutes) enough to be able to visit two of them. And just like that, I didn't feel tired at all. Hell, I didn't even feel bad that I didn't get to see the Merlion anymore!
Now THIS is my kind of Library
Food Republic in Suntec City Mall is supposed to look like a library, and I really do think they did an excellent job achieving that feel. Amidst the chaos of the people, it has an air of sophistication to it, and I honestly thought I had walked into a bookstore instead of a food court.
The choices more or less range from Chinese, Korean, Thai and Indian, but predominantly Chinese and Indian. There were a few Indian dishes that I really wanted to try, but I didn't want to risk a tummy ache, so I decided to skip on Indian food throughout the whole trip.
The Food Republic in Vivo City, on the other hand, resembles something straight out of an old school Jackie Chan movie. I got the feeling I was strolling down China Town in the olden days of the "Drunken Master".
Isn't that Alfred Molina? (The guy who played Doctor Octopus)
Back to Suntec. The first food stall that got my attention was "Fortunate Restaurant" (get the joke now?) I was still a little bit full from the awesome fried noodles we had for lunch, so i decided to just have some dimsum instead. We also got a few things here and there from other stalls, but due to my exhaustion (Or excitement), I forgot to get the names of some of the other places (Some of them are hard to pronounce!).
Just Add the word "Honey" to any dish and it instantly sounds more awesome
I tried the "Honey Roasted Pork Buns" first and foremost. Technically it was what we Filipinos call, "Asado Siopao". The difference with this was, there was something about the filling that had a richer flavor than your average Siopao from Mini stop, or even something from a fancy Chinese Restaurant here. The rich flavor made up for what the bun lacked in size. It was meatier and the dough was soft and moist.
I'm guessing this is Singapore's version of "Turon" a dish that I love very much (without langka though). It was "Deep Fried Banana Wrapped With Bean Paste", and guess what? It was absolutely amazing! At first it looked like a piece of Turon that got sat on, but when I flipped it over, you could see that they were rather generous with the bean paste.
I'm a sucker for banana products.
But I don't eat the actually banana just as a fruit. Am I weird?
But I don't eat the actually banana just as a fruit. Am I weird?
Pinoy Egg Tarts win!
Chaikka ordered their Egg Tarts, which didn't impress me very much. I've had some really kick ass Egg Tarts here in Manila, (Lord Stow's is the first that comes to mind) and I can safely say that all of them would blow this one out of the water. I think it was a little bit overdone so It basically tasted like a sweeter version of a the egg yolk of a hard boiled egg. Also, the crust was a little bit dry.
A chicken wrap like I've never had before.
On our third visit to Food Republic (Twice at Suntec City Mall, once at Vivo City), I was intrigued by this "Paper Wrapped Chicken". I asked the elderly sales lady, and she said that the paper was completely edible. But of course she didn't use those exact words. I basically asked, "Do I eat the paper, too?" and she said something really long in a barely coherent accent, and started nodding at me with a big smile on her face.
After taking this picture, Rina said, "please wash your hands after".
I tore into the chicken paper on, and after a few bites, I kinda realized that maybe the paper wasn't so edible after all. Just to play it safe, I decided to remove it from its pouch, lest I get some paper bits stuck inside of my body. The chicken (wing part, in case you were interested) was absolutely delicious. Since it was deep fried, I was expecting it to be tough or dry, but it was not at all. In fact, had they added a more flavorful coating, this chicken wing could have given Bon Chon a run for it's money. I'm not a chef or anything like that, so I don't know the logic in wrapping it in paper before frying it, but at the end of the day, had I know it makes chicken taste this good, I shouldn't been wrapping chicken in paper a long time ago.
This was one muscular duck
I ordered some Roast Duck from one of the other stalls (Ok I fess up. I lost my list of restaurants I ordered from), as a parting shot to my visit to Food Republic. This roast duck was surprisingly not as oily or fatty as the traditional duck dishes of seasons past. Though I gotta admit, I'm a sucker for Duck Fat, It was actually nice to get a sense of the actual flavor of the meat for a change. This duck was smoked to perfection (almost like a Christmas Ham), and the skin, (although since it was thinly sliced, you only got a thin lining of it) was crispy. The drizzling of the creamy mayo was a great enhancement to the dish.
"Black" Pepper my ass!
On our second trip to Food Republic (Vivo City Branch) Rina and Chaikka ordered a stall's Black Pepper Beef Rice Set. Again, they were assured that it was not spicy, but in what was a clear case of language barrier impediments, that was apparently not the case. It seems that Rina's request for the dish to not be spicy, was misconstrued as "Please blast mouth taste buds to smithereens". Apart from the over-spiciness (which may not actually be too spicy to others), The beef was very tender, and the flavors were excellent. The presence of the fried egg was supposed to help neutralize the heat of the peppers, but it really was just too overwhelming.
Toast Box on a temporary reprieve
So it's a good thing Rina had her Milo Dinosaur to wash the spiciness down! Apparently, Rina's boycott on Toast Box doesn't apply to the Singapore branch. Only the Toast Box Greenbelt 5 Branch is on her black list.
Choose your WeaponI ordered one of those long Fried Donuts that they used to sell in the old Virra Mall. It was surprisingly not as good as the ones in Virra Mall or David's Teahouse, mainly because it wasn't dusted in sugar. It tasted like oily dough, with a light hint of sweetness. Though it wasn't anything all that great, it was addicting as hell.
On our last day in Singapore, we were supposed to meet Rina's friend, Grace at "Food Trails" at the Singapore Flyer Arcade. After seeing the lackluster choices, I decided to head back to Food Republic, where I was sure to get something memorable for my last meal in Singapore (I ate again at the airport, so FINE, SECOND to the last meal). The next time I go to Singapore, I'm gonna try the Indian Food, I swear (Hopefully by then, I'll have a stronger constitution).
Chaikka and the deep fried banana.. See the bean paste on top?
The Barbero sisters in Food Republic VivoCity
Ancient Chinese Designs looks visually stunning. The smell made me hungry.
My beautiful Rina and her friend, the lovely Grace.
She's touching Rina's tummy because she's noting that there's three
of them in the picture :)
Our last trip to Food Republic, so we all squished in for one final picture,
including Grace's boyfriend, Zach!