Friday, October 16, 2009

Ion Food Hall

Generally, I don't succumb to the hype of a new something in town. Not cool. But something did change my mind. At least in the case of Ion Food Hall. It was the raved Salt Caramel Roll from Arinco King, which I thought sounded really good. Think about it - salt and caramel. What a fantastic contrast of flavours, right?

I was informed by the apologetic and pretty staff that it’s usually sold out by 3 pm. Come weekends, it’ll be around noon. Reservation was advised but it would make me look desperate. I struck out the option immediately. And that marked my next few futile evening visits to the food hall. Okay, maybe futile might not be the right word here. I mean, I did manage to try out some other things.

Nice takoyaki from Tsukiji Gindaco.
Warning: The queue is really long.

Pork Katsu, a signature from Ginza Bairin (a famous chain in Japan).

Arinco King’s Caramel Sand. Boh hu, heh ah ho (not Japanese but Hokkien, which literally means get the shrimp if there’s no fish). In other words, a consolation. The vanilla sponge was good, given its cotton soft texture.

Arinco King’s Salt Caramel Roll. Hooray.

Arinco King’s Green Tea Roll. This, to me, was THE fish.

Famed Scott's Road Beef Noodle at Food Opera (foodcourt). It came with a generous serving of beef, tripe and meatballs. Adding some sweetness to the sauce would be nice.

Chicken wings at Food Opera (foodcourt). A random find.

Other things that I’ve tried included duck rolls from Modern Peking Duck, plum sauce pork burger from R Burger, grilled pork salad from The Orange Lantern Wraps and Rolls and assorted hawkerfare from Food Opera.

On a Saturday evening, when one least expected, I managed to get the salt caramel roll. Even the staff said that I was lucky as they stocked in more for the weekend. Some parts were relatively saltier while the caramel tasted bitterer that what I’d expected. But the overall taste was joyful. My favourite of the 3 rolls offered by Arinco King was the green tea. Fluffy sponge made with good quality matcha powder and filled with light, fresh cream. Really nice, especially when they don’t include sweetened azuki beans.

I was there again last week. The food hall was still very much alive with youngsters happily savouring small cups of Japanese desserts and a fully occupied Food Opera. With the advantages of a strategic location and exclusive imports from Japan, I guess the food hall will be around for a very long time.

Ion Food Hall
B4, Ion Orchard


Here’s wishing all Hindu devotees a blessed Deepavali. Invite me to your house! I’m craving for a good briyani and mutton curry! To the rest, happy holiday.


evan 이벤젤린 said...

"Boh hu, heh ah ho (not Japanese but Hokkien, which literally means get the shrimp if there’s no fish). " you cracked me up nic!!! so funny! LOL

frankly i thought the salt caramel roll was a disappointment. maybe becoz it was near frozen when we had it but it wasn't all that good leh. was it me or was the center indeed bitter? coz it seemed that way to me. the sponge wasn't all that cottony soft oso. MAYBE i'll try the macha one one day :p

you make hawker/normal food look good, i could never do it!

ice said...

Cool. I didn't know your favorite was the matcha roll. I thought the different taste & texture in each part of the salt caramel roll is what makes it special.

J said...

Wah! Looks like a really great variety of special+yummy food there. Must make a trip to Singapore soon... :) :) :D
(Hmmmm... when's the sale start? Then maybe can kill 2 birds with 1 stone... )

J2Kfm said...

indeed a rare find. i cant even imagine the combination of flavours. salt and caramel?!!! *_*

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

sigh no holiday here..

no swiss roll or any japanese themed food court here for the matter..

ladyironchef said...

whoa i love yr caramel sand photo! how u get the background so black, and the focus's just on the sponge! very nice :)

but the arico rolls are too expensive la, i tried one bit, def won't pay so much for it. haha

CUMI & CIKI said...

i HEART ION! i don't care.. i sell my soul to Singapore for ION! hahaha

Sew.. you ate the Pork Katsu at Ginza Bairin eh? i walked pass so many times.. each time my shopping bags got heavier and heavier.. then.. then.. i left! Sigh.. no time to eat there la;)

thenomadGourmand said...

heheh.. i love Ion Food court too!
My god..probably beats Msian food courts by a mile (oopss..did i jz betrayed our dear 1Msia??)


I havent tried the matcha one..prob is must buy a whole roll & me being msian just had to convert ya pain in the heart a bit hehe..

Anyhow, a visit to Sg is due hopefully soon..

PureGlutton said...

Definitely a must-go place in my next S'pore trip! Heard so much about this place...hmmmm!

Xiu Long Bao said...

There goes my answer to your question. Ion for me anytime. I can go there 7 days a week.

Jun said...

hey did u try the hokkien mee? not bad la, think they give 1 or 2 big prawns. sat inside luk yu when i was thr cos the place was so packed! so we got to try the dim sum too. not bad oso.

btw i thot the green tea roll looked better than that salt caramel roll, tho it's got too much cream for my liking. maybe if it's filled with azuki paste instead... *mmm*

babe_kl said...

youngsters? i thot you're part of them, no? :p

UnkaLeong said...

Whoa...must let my leasing colleagues down in S'pore now that the Food Court is getting rave reviews by femmes blogger ;)

qwazymonkey said...

U know, Scott Rod Beef Noodle is the only Singaporean Hawker food I constantly go back for. The rest, Malaysia lagi best lah. Hehe

And another thing I don't get, why Singaporeans like to queue long-long for things? Siao (that's Hokkien too!)

550ml jar of faith @minchow said...

The era of bad mall food is over!! Unfortunately, will prob take some more years before KL catches up. The green tea sponge does look like the icing of all them rolls!!

gfad said...

I just learnt how to make swiss roll, so am looking for inspiration on fillings rather than the usual cream and fruit.

I was testing out the Nikon D90 the other day. I can see myself shooting closeups like yours! So tempted to get it there and then! :)

Selba said...

I'm so impressed on how you shot the food from food court so nicely! :)

How come suddenly I miss Newton Circus hawker centre? kekeke...

fatboybakes said...

THAT SALT caramel roll looks YARMEEE!!!! bring some back please.

babe_kl said...

nic, pls email me at babe_kl(at)yahoo(dot)com. thanks.

team bsg said...

You guys here do come up with strange new sweet salty names every week, and none can say you guys are slow nor lacking in taste, right ?

Nic (KHKL) said...

evan 이벤젤린, hehe, glad u liked the joke! yupe, the caramel roll came nearly frozen but by the time we got a place to sit, the texture was kinda good already. as for the bitter centre, i agree with you. at first, i thought burnt sugar is supposed to taste liddat. being caramel, i think it should be burnt, not to that extend la. and aiyoh, thanks so much for the compliment! :)

ice, yupe, matcha roll's my fave! the green tea powder is really solid. do check it out! :) yupe, the salt and caramel roll is indeed special. that's the reason why i went there a few times to get it..hehe. i wish they'd reduce the bitterness of the caramel though.

j, come come! let me know when you are coming! :) sale should be around xmas. but i guess anytime is a good time to come over! hehe.

j2kfm, salty and sweet! kinda like tau sar piah...ok, abit too extreme of a comparison la. but yupe, it's really special.

joe, sun moulin! and that ex-prime minister's bakery? i think sun moulin's matcha roll's kinda nice too, but yeah, quite expensive.

ladyironchef, thanks, dude! glad u liked the pic :) on the background, i took the pic somewhere near ginza bairin where the background is dark. was kinda surprised with the effect myself also! yupe, i guess arinco king is more of a luxury but i must say that the quality is there and it's much better than what we get in some bakeries in town. :)

cumi & ciki, OMG! aiyah, with your jetsetting lifestyle, i think u are there more often than me la. no need sell soul etc..haha! yeah, i remember u so busy shopping-shopping at ion before our dinner at absinthe. :P

thenomadgourmand, haha, there's some truth in it la, i agree. then again, foodcourts in pavilion and mid valley's kinda good also la. yeah, i understand what u mean about conversion. so, the best way to it is by bring more friends there. can share the cost! :)

pure glutton, come come! let me know when you are coming. will try to meet up! it's been a long time already.

xiu long bao, errrr, but u still not specific abt which shop or stall leh. btw, u said ootoya leh..which is at orchard central. :P

Nic (KHKL) said...

jun, nope, havent tried the hokkien mee there. oooohh, they have a luk yu there as well??? gosh, looks like i hafta go opera again soon! thanks for the tips! haha, i know what u mean about the cream. can get a bit jelak. towards the end, we kinda dug the cream and just ate the sponge.

babe_kl, oppppss, i'm busted. hahaha! but i think they are really young leh. like late teens or early 20s. hehe.

unkaleong, OMG!!!!!!! siapa itu femmes blogger ar? i also wanna meet leh..haha. when u coming again, bro? call me la.

qwazymonkey, oooh, so scott's road beef noodle is really that famous ar? i really din know! next time u come, i bring u go eat minced pork noodle. my fave Singapore food! as for the queue, i think i'm beginning to do that also. but only when the food's really good. :)

minchow, actually, pavilion's foodcourt is kinda ok. Food Republic, under the management of a Singaporean company, i think. so, u are a match sponge fan, as well? kewl. there's ochacha sometime back but not sure if it's still around now.

gfad, matchamatchamatchamatchamatchamatcha! hahaha! or do a palm sugar + pandan roll! that'll be so exotic! woah, D90! very cool camera la. which one did you buy?

selba, *blush* thanks so much for the compliment! newton circus? omg! the next time u come, let's go somewhere more local! :)

fatboybakes, i think it must be consumed within a few hours leh. let me check, ya! if not, i bring the vanilla or matcha roll la. :)

babe_kl, okie. sent u an email already. :)

team bsg, agree! i think competition is kinda stiff here and ppl tend to bring exclusive brands or tastes to stand out from the crowd. we the consumers are definitely welcoming the idea!

Simon Seow said...

Singapore so nice, have so many different Japanese franchise import.

Nic (KHKL) said...

simon, check it out when you are in town this week!! :)

ling239 said...

so much cream in the green roll leh.... -_______-
no red beans ? :p

Camemberu said...

Ah I still haven't tried ANY of the food above! So the matcha roll is better than salted caramel roll? Who would've guessed!

Love all the photos! Makes me want to go there now!!!

Nic (KHKL) said...

ling239, yupe, no red bean. actually, i prefer the beanless version cos usually it makes the cake too sweet. hehe.

camemberu, ya lor! i really thought the matcha roll would be normal but it was really solid. :) thanks for the compliment! see ya sat!