In the world of food, the flavour combinations and possibilities are endless. I mean, that’s why food is so exciting and it’s a medium that never ceases to amaze.
I’ve rounded some of the more exciting and avant-garde food items to see how much we can push that envelope. Some of these combinations will definitely make you go eh? But if you are an adventurous foodie, I’d say go forth and try these eight weird food combos that may surprise you, because you may end up loving them!
1. Milo Coated Chicken Pops from Flavour Flings
This one is for all the die-hard Milo fans who would just eat the powder straight from the tin (myself included!). Flavour Flings in Hougang has answered your prayers, but instead of something sweet, they have gone down the savoury route.
Presenting: Milo Coated Chicken Pops (S$9.90). Unlike the version sold in Malaysia, these Milo Coated Chicken Pops are served with a choice of Sambal Belachan Mayo or Nacho Cheese Sauce. If you would like to have both, just add S$1 to your meal.
Once the dish arrived, the chocolatey aroma of the Milo powder was a little overwhelming. Flavour Flings doesn’t skimp on its Milo powder, which coated every surface and crevice of the chicken.
Expecting it to be sweet like Milo, we were surprised that this leaned more towards the savoury side instead. However, with the liberal amounts of Milo powder, there was a strong malty flavour as an aftertaste.
You would think that Milo wouldn’t go with fried chicken, but these chicken pops were delicious, and everyone was clamouring for a piece.
2. Durian Chicken from Yassin Kampung
Yassin Kampung has been around since 2002, but have successfully managed to continuously garner the support with their innovative menu and mouth-watering recipes.
One of them includes Kampung Durian Chicken (S$20/S$30). Yes, you read that right, the King of Fruits makes a grand entrance in this one.
Today, Yassin Kampung has outlets in Admiralty, Marsiling, Clementi, and soon, Bedok. We headed down to the Clementi outlet to find out what exactly how Kampung Durian Chicken tasted like.
The moment they set the steaming plate of Kampung Durian Chicken down, the aroma was unmistakable. The thick durian flesh was interspersed throughout the fried chicken pieces.
There was a beautiful sticky sweet-sour taste that matched exactly how I love my durians, but the presence of the chicken really threw me off. A rather confusing dish, both texture and flavour-wise, and I was on the fence about how I felt about this.
While this truly tests the versatility of our beloved durian, I think I like my durian as it is. But don’t write it off so soon, try it and you might be a fan.
3. Wham Fries from Tanuki Raw
Tanuki Raw is a joint that needs no introduction; known for their mouthwatering donburi bowls and weekly sashimi deals, you know a good meal awaits.
If you are a fan of sweet and savoury, look no further. The Wham! Fries (S$11.90) is one flavour combinations that might be a winner. You have deep-fried sweet potato fries topped with gruyere cheese, marshmallows, Tanuki Raw’s spice mix, mozzarella and sour cream.
If you normally have your fries with a scoop of ice cream (you know who you are!), this tastes pretty similar. You get the sweetness from the marshmallows and savoury notes from the sour cream and cheeses. The marshmallows and cheeses were pretty unevenly distributed amongst the fries so you taste something a little different with each bite.
This was an odd one for sure and garnered mixed reviews, but maybe you’ll like them more than we did.
4. Ayam Buah Keluak Burger from HamBaoBao
Located on the fourth floor within an old school hawker centre in Beauty World Centre, HamBaoBao serves handcrafted burgers at affordable prices. Helmed by a young couple in their 20s, HamBaoBao stands out amidst the other hawker stall peddling traditional hawker fare.
Hambaobao’s gourmet burgers garner snaking queues during lunch time, so remember to get there early.
The Ayam Buah Keluak (S$5) burger was a tad unconventional. If you are a fan of Peranakan cuisine, you’ll know that buah keluak is a commonly used ingredient in many Peranakan dishes.
I’m a huge fan of anything buah keluak, so you can imagine my excitement when I saw the burger. The delicious patty was undeniably juicy when paired with the Nyonya-styled chap chye vegetables. The flavour of the buah keluak was well-balanced and went well with the braised cabbage and bits of black fungus. In fact, it was just right and did not mask the flavour of the chicken at all.
If normal cheeseburgers don’t cut it anymore, then Hambaobao’s Ayam Buah Keluak Burger is sure to send your tastebuds on a trip.
HamBaoBao: 144 Upper Bukit Timah Road, Beauty World Centre, #04-49, Singapore 588177 | Tel: +65 96675254 | Opening Hours: 12noon – 7pm (Wed – Sat), Closed on Mon & Tue | Facebook
5. Buah Keluak Spaghetti from Uncle Kiisu
There is no end to experimenting with buah keluak. Here at Uncle Kiisu, they pair Japanese and Peranakan flavours together. Think dishes like kueh pie tee stuffed with unagi coleslaw and topped with tobiko for starters! This wonderfully quirky restaurant is imaginative and takes fusion food to a whole new level.
Pairing Japanese and Peranakan flavours together might seem odd to most of us, but Uncle Kiisu does it really well. Take the #KuroGorudoRamen (S$16.80) for example: it’s buah keluak dry ramen with smashed pork balls and chicken.
Buah keluak is typically a little bitter with a flavour profile similar to dark chocolate. It also has a rich, earthy and strong aftertaste that most people associate with smoky mushrooms, truffle or fermented black beans.
The noodles were incredibly springy and reminded me of a mix between maze soba, bak chor mee and spaghetti bolognese. After mixing the buah keluak with the noodles thoroughly, I couldn’t taste any pungent bitterness or fermented richness. Instead, all I tasted was a pleasant meatiness with underlying umami flavours, just like minced meat with a tinge of black bean.
6. Chicken Rendang Lasagna from Baba Chews
From the previous selections, it seems like Peranakan cuisine is fertile ground for chefs to experiment with all the flavours.
In the Peranakan enclave of Katong, we have Baba Chews serving modern Peranakan cuisine along with some Western comfort dishes. In February 2019, Baba Chews changed about 80% of their menu to include several new Peranakan fusion dishes.
One unusual food pairing that I found has to be Chicken Rendang Lasagne (S$18). At first glance, Italian and Peranakan cuisine wouldn’t be the most obvious choices, but this pairing works somehow.
As I cut into it, I could see the multiple layers of pasta sheets and minced chicken. The combination of aromatic rendang and savoury cheese actually works. The cheese helped to mellow the heat from the rendang, as well as add some creaminess to the dish.
Both flavours were distinct without overpowering each other. A good twist on the classic and the rich spiced gravy was a nice touch.
7. Bubble Tea Hot Pot from Spice World Hot Pot 香天下火锅
We are now moving on to my favourite part: desserts.
There is no quelling our love for bubble tea and Spice World Hot Pot (香天下火锅) knows that.
Their new Bubble Tea Hotpot (S$32.90) is a sweet “soup” base that’s served alongside their usual mala hotpot. You can choose savoury items such as mala bak kwa and beef slices, or sweet items such as taro, nata de coco and colourful jellies.
This hotpot sounds like a recipe for disaster, but in the realm of food, anything is possible.
Spice World Hot Pot 香天下火锅: 3B River Valley Road, Clarke Quay, #01-06/07, Singapore 179021 | Tel: +65 6265 9777 | Opening Hours: 10.30am – 4am (Sun – Thu), 10.30am – 6am (Fri & Sat) | Facebook | Instagram
8. Chee Cheong Fun & Thunder Tea Rice Ice Cream from Tom’s Palette
Tom’s Palette in Bugis is well-known for its quirky and one-of-a-kind ice cream flavours. Flavours range from Salted Egg to more avant-garde creations such as White Chocolate Nori. To keep things fresh, they come up with a new flavour monthly.
One of the flavours that you have to check out is Thunder Tea flavour (S$4 for 3oz, S$5 for 4oz). A rather curious choice for ice cream but you would be surprised, as this scoop begins with a matcha base, which lends it a green hue. They then mix in a combination of peanuts, black sesame and white chocolate.
Another unconventional flavour that Tom’s Palette is bringing back is their popular Chee Cheong Fun ice cream. An unlikely pairing but this scoop has managed to capture the essence of chee cheong fun.
Nutty and sweet with a hint of saltiness, I understand why they decided to bring it back. Tom’s Palette constantly rotates their selection of unique ice cream flavours, so keep your eyes on their socials for updates!
Tom’s Palette: 100 Beach Road, Shaw Tower, #01-25, Singapore 189702 | Tel: +65 6296 5239 | Opening Hours: 12noon – 9.30pm (Mon – Thu), 12noon – 10pm (Fri & Sat), 1pm – 7pm (Sun), Closed on every last Sun of the month | Facebook | Instagram | Website
After all of that, I hope your tastebuds weren’t taken for too wild a ride. Whether it be sweet or savoury or even a combination of the two, it goes to show that food can never be boring.
What’s ‘weird’ today might be the norm tomorrow; there is no guarantee what will burst on to the scene next. All I can say is, keep your mind and stomach open!