Thank-Goodness-It’s, Home-based: “The Durian Tempoyak Mussels is a foodie’s dream come true”

If there was a lesson that I took away from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it would be a lesson on human resilience—mankind’s ability to adapt and react. Throughout these months, I have been overwhelmed by how quickly our F&B industry conformed to the ever-changing environment. Self-less acts, meaningful collaborations and innovative entrepreneurship are just a few examples of how the respective players helped and supported one another. And for that, I’m truly proud of our never-give-up tenacity.

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Credit – Thank-Goodness-It’s

I came across Thank-Goodness-It’s by chance over lunch with a fellow PR whom I came to love as a friend. As we were exchanging our thoughts on the changes in the F&B industry brought about by COVID-19, she mentioned about this delivery-only pop-up concept which is the brainchild of Gastrogig, a local events and gastronomic curator.

At that point of time, I didn’t think much about this delivery concept, after all, it sounded similar to other mainstream F&B businesses in which companies and individuals are diversifying into in order to stay afloat in this unprecedented times. 

But at the mention of ‘Laksa Quail’ and ‘Durian Tempoyak Mussels’, I was sold. “Wait, can you repeat what they sell again?”

What I tried

Keeping their menu items fun and interesting, Thank-Goodness-It’s moves onto a new edition every two months. After a fabulous end to their first edition which featured one of our favourite hawker food, nasi lemak, the brand’s second installation—Thank-Goodness-It’s Seafood—is not only a haven for seafood lovers but also an adventurous foodie’s dream come true all thanks to Chef Shen Tan’s boundless creativity and love for local flavours. 

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Durian Tempoyak Mussels (S$29) kicked off my meal to an astonishing start. A frisson of excitement rushed through me as I dug into the bowl of semi-opened crustaceans. It had a pongy hit that was bold and potent; nothing typical of any bowl of mussels I have ever eaten. 

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Enveloping every golden yellow nugget of meat was a thick sauce made with durian that has been lacto-fermented for over two days. Yes, think durian in the form of kimchi and you’ll get the idea. Cooked together with housemade belachan and fish sauce, the entire dish retains the flavours of fresh durian alongside little bites of spice that makes it slightly pungent yet beautifully so.

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The Salted Egg Cured Barramundi (S$22) was another dish that won my heart in an instant. Just look at how thick each slice of the fish is! Sourced from Ah Hua Kelong, these barramundis were cured for two days in whole salted egg blend with evaporated milk, curry leaves and butter before being freshly pan-fried upon delivery.

Drenched in an intoxicating salted egg sauce, the clean, natural sweetness of the barramundi paired faultlessly with the rich savoriness of the sauce. Here, it’s the fine balance of sweetness and saltiness that left me in awe.

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Not forgetting the delicate fish meat which fell into flakes with just a slight touch from my chopsticks. As a fish lover, the Salted Egg Cured Barramundi left me satisfied, without any complaints. 

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I was greeted by three mini birds laying on a bed of roasted vegetables the moment I opened the box which read ‘Laksa Quail’. Coated in a thick layer of laksa rempah, these birds exuded the deep fiery fragrance of belachan and shrimp—almost replicating the aroma of a real bowl of freshly cooked laksa

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Here, the Laksa Quail (S$22) was tender and juicy. But I can’t help feel a tad bit crestfallen as the marinade failed to penetrate right into the centre of the meat. After a while, I found myself rubbing pieces of the unflavoured meat onto the surface of the quail just to get that extra rempah onto them. If only there was a spicy sauce by the side, the dish would have been elevated from a good to great.

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How can we not have some rice to go with these delectable dishes. At Thank-Goodness-It’s, there’s no such thing as plain rice. It’s their Nasi Ulam 2.0 (S$12) that is the show-stopper. 

Made from over 20 herbs, the Nasi Ulam 2.0 is a rice salad filled with the powerful flavours of nature. Every bite exuded strong herbaceous notes that were strangely unfamiliar, yet addictive at the same time. I loved that each grain of rice in this dish was individual and slightly dry, resulting in a nice chewy texture that complemented the mains well.

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The Luxe Hae Mee Tng (S$22) was the dish that caused controversy between me and my husband. While his first reaction was to push the bowl towards me with a look of disgust, I gleefully finished the entire Luxe Hae Mee Tng.  

A springy cross between ban mee and pappardelle, the oyster sourdough pasta used in this weirdly creative dish was made with fresh oyster puree and sourdough discard. Swimming in the deeply flavoured stock reminiscent of the ocean were plump juicy prawns and generous slices of pork confit. Here, the pasta soaks up the broth beautifully while still retaining its firm bite. It was silky and perfectly al dente—my idea of handmade noodles done right. 

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Unlike a regular bowl of prawn noodles, the Luxe Hae Mee Tng at Thank-Goodness-It’s was bold and filled with briny, umami notes which might be too overpowering for some. The husband probably feels so, and I totally understand. In any case, this only means more Luxe Hae Mee Tng for myself!

Final thoughts

Durian Tempoyak Mussels, Laksa Quail and oyster sourdough pasta. These are not dishes that we are able to come across in our daily life, but it is such gastronomic creativity that keeps the food writer in me excited to explore beyond the surface of Singapore’s ever-evolving F&B scene.

After all, isn’t cooking meant to be fun and explorative? No one said sourdough is just for bread and durian is meant for sweets, right? If you are curious and want to give these unique dishes a try, check out Thank-Goodness-It’s Facebook, Instagram and website.

Expected Damage: S$22 – S$50 per pax