Thursday, June 05, 2008


Last night, I went to Merlion, in Southern Village, in Chapel Hill, with my Most Faithful Readers and friends. Merlion features the cuisine of Singapore and is actually in the same building as the Town Hall Grill, which I went to a couple of months ago. In fact, from our table, I even saw Corturnix striding down the sidewalk at a fast pace, presumably on his way there.

Ordering beverages was a little strange, because the waitress said that they out of unsweetened tea. I've heard of restaurants being out of or not serving sweet tea, but never unsweetened tea. They ended up making a single glass for one of our friends and my Second Most Faithful Reader had diluted sweet tea.

Above you can see the Merlion Sampler, which two of us, including my Most Faithful Reader, had as their main meal. It had vegetarian spring rolls, curry samosas, coconut prawns and Merlion "dumpling parcels for two", which contained ground pork, shrimp, shitake mushrooms, carrots, water chestnuts and spring onions. It came with a tangy and sweet dipping sauce. My MFR liked the samosas the best.

One of our friends had the eggplant and basil, which was served with onion and peppers. I thought this looked really good, but I am very fond of eggplant.

Another friend had Mee Goreng, which is supposed to be a "street food" in Singapore. It was a stir fry, containing egg noodles, shrimp, chicken, sprouts, tofu, potatoes, green onions, and eggs in a tomato-chili sauce. One interesting thing was that they seemed to have an easier time making this dish more spicy than less spicy, which turned out to be good in this case.

My Second Most Faithful Reader had the mango chicken. I tried this and thought it was a good combination. The mangoes weren't terribly ripe, so it was fairly tart and crunchy.

I had Char Siew and Dumpling Noodles. It had nice and thick slices of sweet roast pork over noodles and bok choy, in a sweet brown sauce. On the menu it said "Choice of noodles in a soup or tossed in house sauce.". I interpreted this as getting a single dish with a sauce. I was very surprised to get the dish you see above and a bowl of dumpling soup in addition to that.

One of our friends was really looking forward to a serving of Sago Pudding, which is a mound of tapioca pearls, covered with coconut cream and gula melaka (palm sugar syrup). There were several good sounding sorbet flavors on the menu, but I am almost always eager to try new things. I guess I'll have to remember that I'm not crazy about tapioca, but it was certainly worth trying once.


  1. Was I walking the dog?

    Someone should have run out and hollered ;-)

    I cometimes go to Merlion (Mrs.Coturnix goes more often) and it is very good. But in the meantime, Town Hall Grill has a new menu, so we need to go again... ;-)

  2. Ooh, food from that part of the world. Yum. Malaysian cuisine (so I'm told by a Malaysian guy) is built on three legs: Chinese, Indian, and SE Asian cuisines (think of Thai and Indonesian food)

    I love the eggplant dish you had. Merlion's lunch portions are perfect for me.

    Regarding the mango chicken, I wonder what Merlion's recipe calls for?

    As you know, unripe mango is an awesome ingredient that has a very different function from ripe mango. I'd liken the difference to, say, the complementary/overlapping ways we use lemon vs. orange.

    One treat in certain parts of the Philippines: green mango served with sweet bagoong (fermented baby shrimp cooked with shredded coconut and some cane sugar). More typically in the Philippines, the bagoong is salty, not sweet.

    Boy, I wouldn't mind some shrimp (the regular kind, not the fermented kind) and or mango soon. Wait, maybe I'll have some tomorrow!

    -- greetings from Utila, Honduras :-)

  3. @coturnix No, I didn't see your dog, but you were carrying a bag in your hand. We definitely need to go to the Town Hall Grill again. :)

    @marsosudiro Sweet bagoong sounds really good to me!