We go toe-to-toe with Derrick Tan of SG Food on Foot at the Siam Square Mookata buffet.
The down-to-earth aviation specialist tells us about his favourite MRT stop amid chuckles
and meaty conversation.
Who: Derrick Tan (www.sgfoodonfoot.com)
Blogging since: 2010. The concept arose while dating his then-girlfriend (married last year)–they’d travel home via the MRT: “Which station to go? What food is there for our dinner?” His special skill: great sense of direction.
With more MRT stations opening” ¦ “That’s the beauty of it. I’m even hoping for the MRT line to
be extended to Malaysia.” He updates previous blog entries with alternative routes, and visits nearby eateries prior to station openings.
The most happening line: The North-East Line (NEL). “It covers Hougang, Serangoon, VivoCity,
Outram, Chinatown and Little India–it’s a multicultural line. Punggol is also up-and-coming.” Favourite station is Farrer Park for its mix of interesting cultures: old heritage along Kitchener Road like Hillman Restaurant and a vegetarian restaurant with great-grandmother-esque
curios, staples like scissors-cut curry rice, bak kut teh and PUTIEN restaurant, and trendy eats like Grub Noodle Bar, Old Hen Coffee Bar and Hungry Heroes.
Looking forward to: The northern part of Downtown Line for Bukit Timah (1Q 2016). “Most
drive there now, but the MRT stops will make it really accessible.”
What about the fare hike? “I have to top up more often, but it’s part and parcel of my travel costs, as blogging is still a passion and it’s part of my three meals. I actually have a car at home, but that’s more for my property agent wife. I enjoy taking public transport, as you can think through things and sit back and enjoy. I even saw an uncle doing tai chi on the train.”
Helping others: Raised funds for Touch Community Services via the Ultimate Hawker Fest 2014, together with Miss Tam Chiak and The Silver Chef.
Ultimate comfort food: Sungei Road Laksa, make it two bowls. (From Lavender MRT, walk
through the HDB flats for about 10 minutes.)
Don’t offer him: “I don’t eat a lot of carbs, ’cause I find they make me very fat (chuckles). I cut
these to maintain my weight.” Also nay for food that’s too exotic.
The buffet: Siam Square Mookata at #01-309, 134 Jurong Gateway Road ($29 nett per person, daily 12pm-11pm)
Time of visit: 8 February, 12pm
Initial doubts: “When the concept of mookata was introduced, I wondered how people could eat
like that. I couldn’t accept the pork lard dripping into the soup and making it oily. Slowly I accepted it, and now find the soup aromatic.”
Strategy: Go low-carb, pick the meats and seafood. Start with the meat, then when the soup is
more flavourful, add in the seafood and the fish/meat balls. “Actually, those contain flour and fill you up too.” Focus on protein, and try not to drink so much water.
Best dish: The black pepper beef was nicely marinated with a peppery kick. Interesting items
were the Fuzhou fishballs while the fish ’pasta’ which had a nice springy texture.
The sauces: The spiciest sauce is “Wah, shiok ah! Maybe can ask if they sell it.” The mildest is sweet, very kiddy, and the medium one is more Thai.
Not on his mind: “I like innards like liver (didn’t order), but I will be more cautious with new dining
companions. Usually I go through the menu for unique items.”
Shouldn’t have ordered: The veggies were too shredded but you “can’t blame them due to the
mookata ’moat’ size.” The chicken was too fatty and sliced too small but tasted OK.
Most memorable: The non-stick pan.
How many BiTES?
Value for money: 4.2/5