Food

Love Affair with Pork Knuckles – Stew Kuche

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I’ve always loved crispy roasted pork, it started with roasted pork belly (shao rou) and back when metabolism rate was way higher, you bet I was scarfing down those yummy meat with crunchy skin. When German food became more easily accessible in Singapore, I fell in love with German pork knuckles and after my trip to the Czech Republic late last year, my fate was sealed and I know I would be eating pork knuckles until the end of my days. All that succulent meat wrapped in gelatinous fat/collagen, cocooned in crispy, crunchy crackling *drool*

There are decent pork knuckles in Singapore, like in Brotzeit, but pork knuckles don’t usually come cheap in Singapore or it’s just not quite up to standard. Then I found out about Stew Kuche, a Swiss-German stall in a, wait for it…kopitiam or coffee shop. Kopitiams, for those not from Singapore, is a place where several food stalls set up shop in a non-airconditioned area, usually selling local food at a pretty affordable price. In recent years, younger hawkers have started selling proper western food at stalls in kopitiams. The thing that sets this kopitiam in which Stew Kuche is located in is that all the stalls sell western food, the papers have termed it kopitiam 2.0, I just call it atas kopitiam (high class coffee shop).

Back to the pork knuckles. As with any proper food place that serves German food, pork knuckles is one of its specialties and it is probably the best pork knuckles I’ve had in Singapore. The meat is tasty and melt-in-your-mouth tender and the skin, the best bit of the pork knuckle, is crispy and gives such a satisfying crunch when you bite down on it. There’s no hint of hardness in the skin and even though it is fried, it doesn’t feel oily. So good. Pork knuckles are huge, but at Stew Kuche, you can order a ½ portion. They do ladle the gravy over the ½ portion, which is a bit of a shame, but it didn’t seem to affect the crispiness of the skin much when we had it, just be sure to finish it fast before the gravy soaks into the skin. The next best thing, other than its absolute yumminess is that it’s very affordable, S$15 for a ½ portion and 20140627-231327.jpgS$25 for a full portion. My only complaint is that they serve achar (spicy pickled vegetables, usually cucumber, pineapple and carrot) instead of sauerkraut. I love my sauerkraut, damn it!

Stew Kuche also serves other food, like the ox tail soup, osso bucco, pastas, and other grilled food. We tried the squid ink pasta (S$15), which was decent enough, but I really want to try the ox tail soup and the osso bucco.

20140627-231400.jpgNow, the best part of this kopitiam is that there are no lack of choices in terms of food. During our visit we also tried the chicken wings from Two Wings, because we have read rave reviews about them and oh my goodness, those reviews are so right! Crispy, not too oily, delicious. All that you can ever want from a deep fried piece of chicken. The wait for these wings is long, on a Friday night, we had to wait 20 minutes for our first order and I was told I would have to wait 40 minutes when I decided I needed to bring some wings home. The wait is long, partly because it’s freshly fried (yay!) and because it is really popular, so get your orders in early. Two Wing’s mantra is One just isn’t enough! and is it ever so right, I could easily have had two or even three….or four…

20140627-231334.jpgWe also ordered from Immanuel French Kitchen, which serves restaurant-style French food in a kopitiam setting. I had the Duck Confit, because, well, you just have to. The duck was fall-off-the-bone tender and the sauce was decadently rich and the accompanying mashed potatoes were really good. For S$14.90, this is probably one of the more affordable and good duck confit you can get.

20140627-231345.jpgLast up, Seasalt, from this stall, we ordered the Mussels in white wine. S$14 gets you a pot of mussels still stewing in juices and wine served together with 3 slices of bread. The sauce was amazing and the mussels pretty fresh. Only downside was that there were quite a few mussels that were sealed shut when they arrived at our table 😦

Of course, food like this would not be complete without alcohol and Stew Kuche also serves up a variety of craft beers, from local-brewed Archipelago on draught to bottled cider. What I particularly liked was the Brothers Toffee Apple Cider. It really tastes like toffee apple and the slight sweetness is refreshing and never got cloying.

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I really like the concept of this place, a good variety of food that you don’t have to pay an arm and leg for. Many people obviously agree with me because the place was packed, but you can save yourself the trouble of having to hunt for a table by making a reservation via Hungrygowhere. Imagine that, a kopitiam at which you can make a reservation, will wonders never cease?

Where to find this atas kopitiam?
119 Bukit Merah Lane 1 #01-40
Singapore 151119

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