Would you think of having Hae Bi Hiam, Cincalok, or even Beef Rendang with your pasta? PastaMania is having a trial run for all its new fusion pasta flavours and its customers get to vote which of these dishes get to stick around longer on their permanent menu!
The halalfoodhunt team was invited for a Media Tasting and we tried out all the flavours which are grouped into different themes. Their continuity rests on popular vote. How big is this decision? It will be rolled out across all 28 branches in Singapore!
There were 12 dishes we sampled (in sampling sizes of course! My poor stomach definitely cannot tahan having to eat 12 full-sized dishes), in three different groups- Kampong Flavours, Spicy & Fiery, and Asian Catch. The pasta dishes are priced at $12.90 each, and diners can top up $5.50 for a soup set (soup & garlic bread and soft drink), or $6.50 for a snack set (choice of appetiser: chicken wings, cheddar cheese sticks, calamari etc along with a soft drink) to complete your meal.
In the mundaneness of daily life, one will always miss the things from the past which cannot come back. Here PastaMania has tried to add kampong favourites in their menu with dishes like Salted Egg Chicken, Laksa Seafood, Beef Rendang, and Black Pepper Chicken.
Salted Egg Chicken
The Salted Egg Chicken pasta is nicely coated with salted egg sauce, with very small chunks of tomatoes. It’s best to have this one with linguini because the sauce is thick enough to coat the linguiny on it’s own. The fried chicken that accompanies this pasta is also a good pairing to the sauce. What was missing though, was the tiny bursts of chilli padi which was replaced with chilli oil. The red from the chilli would also look good on the plate visually.
The Rendang is more of a Nonya Rendang compared to the typical Malay rendang. It’s creamy yet still flavourful with the kind of rempah that you can’t get with pastas like carbonara or bolognaise, and the beef is tender. This dish is not very spicy so the kids would be able to taste this too. Plus there’s chunks of vegetables like carrot to balance the meal.
Using pasta to subsitute for the laksa noodle is actually quite common among the Malay community and so I’ve tasted such dishes before. Maybe because of this, the laksa seafood tasted funny on my tastebuds. Laksa has a coconutty (i.e. lemak) taste or a distinct fish flavour, but this one was more of a sour (like tom yum kind of sour) taste.
Black Pepper Chicken
This was hard to get it wrong and is a safe bet. Black pepper chicken is sweet and spicy in an aglio style. Definitely a crowd pleaser.
Spicy & Fiery
When you order pasta dishes in this category, you can choose the level of spicyness that you want- from Level 1, 2 or 3. We tried to guess the level of spicyness here and asked PastaMania to surprise us. Our verdict: The level of spicyness is not that high until tears come out of your eyes, but it was nice enough for a kick. This is coming from my tastebuds which has reduced tolerance to spicyness over the years- a mystery on how this can happen since my family loves spicy food. If you’re looking for something spicy that day, try these pastas at PastaMania: Hei Bi Hiam Chicken, Sambal Cincalok Barramundi, Curry Vegetarian, Thai Red Curry Seafood.
Hei Bi Hiam Chicken
Spicy dried shrimps sambal or more commonly known locally as “hei bee hiam” is a popular condiment in Singapore and South East Asia. Not to be confused with belachan because that’s been fermented. Similar to belachan, it has a spicy, salty, a tinge of sourness with a lingering umami taste to tease the palate. So this one was definitely interesting to have on a pasta because Hei Bi Hiam belongs to the Chinese community and is not something I grew up with. Tasting this made me curious to find out what hei bi hiam originally tastes like, so it was a good introduction.
Sambal Cincalok Barramundi
Similar to Hei Bi Hiam, my family grew up with belacan instead of cincalok. What was surprising about this pasta was the zesty lime flavour that cuts through the pasta making it not ‘jelak’. Instead of the usual fried chicken, the pasta is served with fried barramundi slices. It tastes better when just fried. Otherwise it will get soggy and lemau after a while- unlike chicken. This is definitely an interesting dish to try.
For this dish, let’s say, if I was a vegetarian, I would stick to PastaMania’s mushroom pastas. According to the menu, this is “Indian curry” but with assorted vegetables like carrot, broccoli and olives. Having lived in Delhi for four months, I’ve tasted the creamiest curries in India that Indians (especially North Indians) enjoy so I’m not sure that even our Indian community would like this pasta. I think it’d it be interesting to think of Palak Paneer as a pasta. Palak Paneer is a vegetarian dish from the Indian Subcontinent, consisting of paneer in a thick paste made from puréed spinach, and paneer which is goat cheese. India’s culinary world, even the ones familiar to Singaporeans here, is so diverse so it’d be good for PastaMania to explore that instead of just sticking to the usual brown curry. What about butter chicken pasta? (Hah. The mind starts to imagine.)
Thai Red Curry Seafood
The Thai Red Curry Seafood is not a common dish you’d find in pasta shops too. There is red curry with mussels, prawn and squid, however the red curry tastes more like Tom Yam.
The flavour of seafood is fresh, and subtly salty and this is what PastaMania hopes to feature in this phase which will roll out this coming week. Starting 31 August 2017, Asian Catch will feature Japanese and Korean flavours with seafood. Dishes in this category include Seafood Ikan Bilis, Miso Clams & Mushrooms, and Kimchi Mussels.
Seafood Ikan Bilis
When this dish was presented to us, the image of Ban Mian popped up- isn’t that always the case when we are presented with a totally new dish? We liken it to something familiar we’ve tried before. There are fried anchovies, prawns, mussels and squid in this dry aglio olio dish. All that’s missing is an egg.
Miso Clams & Mushrooms
This was definitely one of the favourites among the media present. The pasta is served in creamy miso sauce and topped with generous amounts of bonito flakes. The image of takoyaki came to mind.
As a kimchi lover, I loved this dish but one can never have enough kimchi. The sauce was just enough to coat the pasta so it was neither dry nor soupy. However, I love PastaMania’s zuppas which are tomato-based soups and thought that this Kimchi Mussel Pasta could be served soupy akin to kimchi ramen instead. It was served with mussels, which was good accompaniment to this.
Out of all these pastas, only six will make the cut to PastaMania’s new menu. How will the dishes be chosen? The PastaMania team will look at the number of customer votes online, along with the amount of dishes sold within this period.
Having tried all the pastas here, the following dishes are the dishes that I’d love to stick around a bit longer:
1. Miso Clam and Mushroom
2. Salted Egg Pasta
3. Kimchi Mussels
4. Salted Egg Chicken
5. Black Pepper Chicken
6. Rendang Chicken
Have your own choices? Let PastaMania know here or forever hold your peace: www.pastamania.com.sg/votes. Wondering which PastaMania is the nearest to you? Head here: http://bit.ly/HFHpastamania
Besides getting your voice heard when you vote, you stand to win prizes!
1. Up to 36 lucky winners who vote in-store will stand a chance to take home attractive prizes at the end of the campaign.
2. Winners who voted for the winning dishes from each series will be selected to win $100 cash and $100 PastaMania vouchers each,
3. Six (6) lucky winners who voted for the final six winning dishes will take home a grand total of $1000 worth of cash and PastaMania vouchers each.
4. Voters who casted their votes online will receive a 10% bounce back voucher for every vote submitted.|
On top of that, you can get 10% off when you eat at any PastaMania outlet in Singapore with your FRIENDS With Halalfoodhunt.com Card (not valid with other promotions, or deals)!
Ok I’m so submitting my votes now.
Disclaimer: PastaMania is a verified halal merchant, listed on halalfoodhunt.com, which is a verified halal directory to verify and discover halal food choices in Singapore.