Monday, March 31, 2008

Roasted Sweet Potato

Older Asian folk tends to feel nostagic towards roasted sweet potatos being a staple food during days of food shortage in olden days.

Therefore we had kept in mind to bring mum for her roasted sweet potato of this newly opened stall, The_Sweet_Potato_Place in Suntec Tasty Treatz corner, next to the Carrefour hypermarket.

This Taiwan franchised store sells snacks and beverages made from sweet potatoes.

Priced at $1.25 per 100grams, our little fat sweet potato costs $3+

The sweet potato is moist and fluffy, overwhelming with its naturally sweet tastes. Eating it hot, we enjoyed it in the city evening sunset.

Fried Bee Hoon Mee

As according to mum, this is the way fried Bee Hoon was eaten in their childhood days from the street hawkers.

The Bee Hoon would be just plain ones with the only added condiments of thinly stripped fried bean curb skin and red bitter-sweet sauce generously ladled over the Bee Hoon for a delightful sweet, salty and crunchy sensation.

Today, many families could well afford adding an assortment of vegetables, mushrooms and sometimes prawn and meat to their home version of fried Been Hoon.

What we have today are Vegetarian Styled Bee Hoon Mee, served with pieces of crispy fried bean curb skin; never forgetting the red bitter-sweet sauce obtained from our favourite Chee Cheong Fan stall.

Techno Edge @ Engineering Faculty

Lunch at Techno canteen, and of course we got to order the much talked-about Grilled Chicken Chop set (3.00) from the Indonesian Rice stall.

Not bad at all, i like everything on the dish, the omelet, the chicken, the anchovies in the chili and the curry gravy in particular. But they can do with better rice quality; i'm rather particular about the texture of my rice.

Western food of Chicken chop (2.20) was acceptable also. The portion was comparable to our common hawker stalls. And its coleslaw tastes better than that served at Megabites_Cafe.

And i'm gaily surprised when Ric appear with these 2 glasses of Mango juice (1.30) and Avocado milk shake (1.70). The latter comes with a nice hint of coffee bean; and at such an affordable price with its numerous health benefits, we should have this more often.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Tian Tian Chicken Rice @ Maxwell Market

If you simply can't resist having the skins of these deliciously steamed chickens, you ought to visit this renowned chicken rice stall in Maxwell food centre.

I don't specially fancy chicken skins, until today. It was so good you have to try it to be convince. It was so slippery and light. Same thing goes for its glassy chicken feet; i promise myself a larger potion the next time.

Not forgetting the smashing hot chili mix that goes with it.

And looks can certainly be deceiving from this pack of messy chicken pieces (2.50 + 1.00 of chicken feet).

Having queued for near 45mins at the stalls today was worth it :)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Yong Tou Foo Laksa

My long awaited home-cooked laksa, another of mum's replicated spice rich cooking from the "Mrs Lee's Cookbook".

Yong Tou Foo pieces were used here instead of the conventional fish cake and fresh cockles in Laksa.

And mom said that the taste of the broth was almost close to that of what she gets in her younger days, and that alone is priceless.

Head Nodding Dolls

Wow, isn't this cute!
5 little nodding dolls seated on the front dashboard of a Honda Jazz.

Frontier @ Science Faculty

The canteens at NUS supposedly closed at 3pm on Saturday but arriving after 1pm already left you with not much choice. Most stalls are closed; others sold out.

We thus ordered the Mixed Dish rice with Spicy beef, green veg and mushrooms (1.80), something i always fancy having (but Ric always objected it as a bad taste of mine >_< ). And the fish slice noodle soup (2.00). Just the standard fare.

Being rather unsatisfied, we sought out more in Megabites Halal Cafe for its Fish & Chips (3.90) as many items were sold out also. Served with a bowl of watery day soup; overall taste was very average. Tartar sauce was way too watery also.

After all these visit to the campus, i could only say, to enjoy your meals here do prepared to queue, queue, queue. Everything is self-service here. And if your selected stalls were closed, be prepared that other stalls most often do not serve food up to your expectations.

Such are the preordained of campus dining, i think.

Nevertheless, campus dining with its serene environment remains a refreshing option to me. I'm now craving for the chewy waffles at the Arts, or give me my juicy waffles at PGPR anytime.

Instant Noodle Seasonings

Yeah, i would consider this a home-cook item as the seasonings were added on our own initiative.

You could prepare this when you feel that the particular instant noodles seasoning pack are not to your liking or when you wanted something MSG taste free.

Just add in 4 seasonings to your cooked noodle, namely 1 tablespoon of fried Spring Onions oil/ Olive oil, Light Soya sauce, bottled Tomato sauce and 2 droplets of Sesame oil. For our version here, we added Black Sesame Seeds too.

Sis read this recipe of the newspaper.
A simple breaking fast for us today.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Tanyu Claypot

Mom latest new addition of kitchen utensil was the Tanyu Claypot from VivoCity CK Tang.

We had just briefly seen its demonstrations umpteen times at Basement 1 of CK Tang Orchard as it was always crowded. Tanyu brand claimed to be superior to our conventional Chinese claypots, but with correspondingly inflated prices, of course.

Tanyu Claypot, Size 7 ($52)

And unlike common Chinese claypots, no cracking of the pot when it is subject to extreme temperature difference from the stove to cool waters. The heat conduction and retention is also better. I like its smooth, glazed interior surface which promised to be easy clean.

Mum says it is as good as it claims. Especially fragrant is her braised pork now! And she did promise of many more dishes to come from this new pot we bought her.

The Deck @ Faculty of Arts

Ha! Ha! Finally got to lunch at The Deck.

Following all the tracks & media recommendations to try out its Japanese Bento set and Yong Tou Foo Laksa. The Katsu Don (3.50) & Tempura Bento Set (4.00) were of average standards, but for the price you can't complain.

If you love tempura prawns, you'll get 3 here :) but you'll have to compromise on its crispiness.

Mum queued for near 30mins before getting this delicious bowl of Yong Tou Foo Laksa (2.90). We unanimously voted this a worthy order for a revisit.

And Ric specially beat the queue for my peanut butter waffles (0.80). The stall proved to be a favourite among the students here; with many packing away more than 2 pieces each.

Its peanut butter was lightly spread but the waffle was nicely baked and chewy with each bite.

What was disappointing is the Fried Carrot Cake (1.20). Salty and oily; i don't wish to post the pic here, just remember to stay away from it.

This was mum's first visit to a uni premises and she was pretty excited about it. As I showed her around the 2 storey deck of food stalls she expressed keenly of revisiting this 'place of interest'.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Vegetarian Popiah

This shall be the Best vegetarian food of my life!

Preparation for this Hokkien dish of Popiah 薄饼 or Chinese Spring Roll, requires a whole day of manual chopping, slicing and shredding all the vegetables with the big kitchen knife or the mandoline.

It's a back-breaking job for a housewife, and we only understand it now after helping out in the kitchen. But mum used to do all this by herself! But not now or ever as her hands have start to ache or grow numb under excessive applied pressure.

Sis was helping mom the whole Sunday doing the above. And i being not around, hate to miss the action and had told my mum in advance to leave something for me to do when i come back.

So this is what i did, spending near 4hrs of the evening shredding a little basket full of French beans with the mandoline. Yay, one stalk at a time. This is really time consuming but i actually enjoyed the process.

And Hurray! All was worthwhile when the dish was presented to us at dinner today. What go into the cooked vegetable mix are julienne carrots, cabbages, French beans, turnips and strips of fried bean curbs.

Then, it has to be combined with the right amount of sweet flour sauce, chilli paste, minced garlic, Chinese lettuces, bean sprouts, coriander leaves and topping of ground peanut wrapped snugly inside a thin plain flour dough skin (bought at $18/kg) to form the popiah roll.

And there's nothing better than biting into a whole uncut popiah roll and having the juices drip down your fingers giving you a lovely combination of sweet, salty, spicy and crunchy sensations!

I had 6 rolls tonight, stopping only after making sure that there's still enough set aside for tomorrow's dinner, haha...

None of the popiah version from local food stalls or restaurants comes close to home cooked ones. Most being heavy on taste and with its machine-aided vegetables processing work gave your bite a totally different texture.

The last time we have our home-cooked popiah was during the Chinese New Year, 人日 of 2006. Where the Chinese believe 7 kinds of vegetable was to be consume that day to mark a new beginning.

And as Sis is flying off to China for a 3mths training this April; maybe when she's back we can do this again. Popiah has a traditional significance of reunion and was meant to be cooked and eaten together as a family.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Foodgle Hub @ PGPR

Back to Prince George Park Residences; Ric craving for chicken & i miss its waffles. I also wish to give myself a chance on Vietnamese food.

So as to snacking, we ordered everything to share.

1. Steam dumplings from the China food stall; $3 for 8 pieces becomes the most regrettable choice of the meal.

2. Vietnamese Prawn Roll (1.80) is a good refreshing try. The Vietnamese are great with their chilli.

3. Vietnamese Beef Noodle (3.50) comes with generous beef slices is a light alternative to our usual heavier version of Chinese noodle soup.

4. Aston's Hickory Chicken (5.30) with sides of baked potato & house salad. Chicken is always a safe choice with Aston but the chicken piece is rather small for a filling meal, you'll have to stuff yourself up with the potato. Taste wise, I still prefer my previous try of their CharGrilled Chicken :)

5. Waffle with Peanut Butter (1.40) at Super Snack. Fresh crispy warm waffles; each bite with oozing peanut butter jam, SUPER!

Not forgetting the nice home brew coffee with evaporated milk (0.60) from the Foodgle food court. I believe it shall become my usual fare whenever i visit here.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Guang Xing @ Changi Village Food Centre

We spent the afternoon doing groceries shopping at the Giant hypermart in Tampines Retail Park which is also home to Singapore's 2 other biggest store of Courts & IKEA.

Parking is free here; so shopping is stress-free.

It was raining dogs and cats when we hop up to Changi Village to 'nurse' our stomachs. But all was worth it when we see the store lighted up at GuangXing.

This is our first time ordering this Fried Bee Hoon with Fish Head ($10) and it was so...oo good!

It was not salty; it does not taste bland.
It's full of flavor with ingredients of fresh sliced Fish and crisp Bitter Gourds. Yummy.

Yoga by the Water

Yesterday's heavy bulging left me bloated and sleepless. But the excitement of today's event got me jumping out of bed in the early morning at 7am.

I was pretty excited when i sign up for the event last week as my 3 years of yoga experience was self-taught, through yoga books, videos and practiced in the privacy of my home.

Never had i an opportunity to perform the act with so many others and not to say, with yoga instructors.

Yoga by the Water event was organized by the Public Utilities Board (PUB) in conjunction with World Water Day '08.

Under guidance of 2 professional yoga instructors, our mass yoga session was performed by the scenic waters of Upper Peirce Reservoir!

Oh, and the crowd cheered with the appearance of PUB's bubbly and lively mascot Water Wally!

It was a liberating feeling doing Yoga under the clear blue morning sky, breathing in the freshest morning air, by the waterside. With about 200 of us stretching away through the hour routine.

We each receive a beautiful printed goody bag! Complete with a copy of PURE magazine, a pen, Cafe Nova coffee packs, a sampler of Nivea sun protection lotion and Oxygen face wash.

Oh! The best was the thick, red yoga mat which we get to bring home after the session.

Mom totally enjoyed this yoga session i signed her up with. We even got glimpses of ourselves on evening news today, haha... that feels funny.

And we both got our fair share of muscle aches the following day.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Food Hunt @ NUS

This evening, we embarked on a food hunt following a map of the NUS for the various canteen & cafe in the campus. Well knowing that the stalls were mostly closed for the wkends, we just wish to find out their locations to save us the hassles of locating it during the wkdays.

I had always love canteen food since school days for economic reasons. Friends often complain for its lack of varieties but for me, i've always loved its simplicities, maybe i'm a purist by nature.

1 Stop @ Arts Canteen, The Deck
An imposing 2 storey building that sits on a little hilltop overlooking the Pasir Panjang Sea Port Terminal. Much recommended for its Yong Tau Foo noodles & Japanese food stall.

All stalls were closed except for this Claypot noodle stall 'Dong Dong' and another stall of Sichuan Chinese food. Many were having steamboat set (5) from the Sichuan food stall while we opted for Beef Horfun (2) from 'Dong Dong'.

Generous serving but was too saltish for my liking.

2 Stop @ Business School, The Terrace
An old premise which boasts of the best Western food in NUS but all stalls was closed.

3 Stop @ Prince George Park Residences
We ordered the Carbonara (4.80) and House brew (1.20) from the Kgourmet cafe. The big serving of Carbonara came dipping hot in nice creme sauce; house brew was aromatic and served with a little jar of fresh milk.

Desert was Vanilla ice-cream waffle at Supper Snacks. Everybody comes in for their crispy freshly baked waffles and the whole shop is filled with its homely baking whiff. Plain waffles are now at a discount of $1; ice-cream scope for $1.

Dessert always tasted exceptionally sweet with Ric ^_^

Good Friday Makan @ Whampoa Food Centre

We came for this stall at Whampoa Blk 91, #01-19 that boasts of their 'Best Lu Mian in Town'. Maybe having been featured in the recent TV program - Food Old Days 寻找原之味, the hawker had adopt arrogant bearing towards his customers amid his brisk business.

Priced at a minimum of $2.50 gets you a rather nice serving of braised fatty pork but be prepared that the broth is nothing like what we are familiar with. It is milder but definitely score with low salt or MSG.

While waiting for our order of the noodle, we observed many old timers to this food centre getting bulk orders of Chee Cheong Fan (Rice flour roll) from this adjacent stall. We join the queue and were satisfied :)

Being in a relaxing mood today, we do not wish to get entangled with the holiday crowd. We decide to pack the Duck Rice this legendary stall and enjoy movies at home comfort.

A stall which had its reputation builds by words of mouth and not by TV media hype does had much to be anticipated for.

Still a presentable and appetitive pack after 2 hrs; the quality pack at $3 was a steal.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Oishii Vegetarian Eel

I was bluffed into believing this to be eel, or Unagi stir-fried with 'dou miao' green and straw mushrooms :)

But then i recalled these to be the mushrooms i've helped mom cut into circular strips to form its eel-like guise. And they were Oishii!

Just a note of Mom's recipe before i forgot.

1. Soften the Mushrooms by soaking in water, followed by cutting,
2. Deep fried the Mushrooms after coating it with Corn Flour,
3. Stir fried Ginger, adding the Greens and the fried Mushrooms,
4. Adding a dash of Oyster sauce to complete the ritual :)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Astons Express @ NUS

Today's really scorching hot weather left me feeling so sleepy that after our city lunch at Balestier, Ric drop me home for my nap before waking me up at 1830hrs for a dinner together.

So sweet of him. He doesn't mind the extra traveling just so that he could spend the Saturday evening with me :))

However, we had a rather long search for this new Astons Steak dining outlet at Prince George Park, finally locating it in PGPR; in the vicinity of National University of Singapore.

There's food of so much nationalities at the PGPR, of China's, Vietnam's, India's, Taiwan's and of course, the locals. I was tempted to try these... hehe, but maybe other time.

I enjoyed my order of CharGrilled Chicken (5.30) while Ric struggled with his thick New York Strip (13.70). Mine came with a nice aroma of BBQ grill but his NYS was full of tendons that makes bite real challenging.

This being my first try of Astons, i'm rather impressed at their extra efforts that have been put into the preparation of the variety of sides. Their side option of baked potato tastes great even to a non-potato eater like me! But the corn cob was soaking greasy.

In summary, in their earnest efforts to please, they have gone a tad too much on seasoning, overall taste was on the heavier side. Adopting a lighter hand on seasoning used, together with mastery of steak cooking technique would make Astons a winner.

Friday, March 14, 2008

LCD TV in Toy Design

Would you call this creativity or sheer luxuries as these fancy toy-like designs of LCD TV are meant to target the young children market?

Well, without a doubt it has captured my heart too.

Shey Shey Thai Dining

Had planned to dine at this little Thai eatery in Sunshine Plaza after reading it from blog of ChubbyHubby.

For lunch we have the Chicken n Cashews(7), Clear Seafood Tom Yum(6), Pad Thai(5), Seafood Otah(12) and the Green Curry Chicken(6).

Memorable dishes would be the Pad Thai and the seafood rich Otah.

The chicken was a tad oily, the tom yum was on the salty side then spicy and i would have expect the green curry to come in a thicker soup version.

Nonetheless all ingredients used, especially the seafood were very fresh. It was still a very enjoyable meal with an sight to Thai cuisine.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Aglio Olio Seafood Pasta

Accompanied Ric to town for his sales deal which bags him few hundred bucks today. No celebration though, as work days always left me too tried for the mood.

Dinner stop on our way would be at Old Airport Rd Food Centre. Decide on Aglio Olio of Pasta Manna; having tried their Cabonara already.

This is equally good.

It's been a week of cold rainy weather which makes one crave for heavy meals of carbo.

Monday, March 10, 2008

If You Enjoy the Sweet Scent of Roses...

... learn to grow them in pots. They thrive easily under good sun, and with occasional feeding they'll bore you the plumpest buds of freshest sweet-smelling roses.

Lasting 1 week in the pot and another on your desk.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

What McDonalds mean to me...

Was having breakfast today at McDonald's restaurant when emotions flood me of my childhood times, of me and my hamburger...

Dining at fast food restaurant was far from our little minds then.

My father working as a carpenter was the sole breadwinner. It was until mom started working as a factory production worker did we have a schooling daily allowance of 4o cents. For each of our primary education years, we got an increase of 10 cents :)

So my sister and i save up on whatever we could spare, and on occasion where we planned a visit to the second hand bookstore at Coronation Plaza, we would always visit the McDonalds at Serene Centre.

Each time my sister would have the Filet-O-Fish burger while i only allow myself to splurge on the hamburger which was the cheapest burgers available at the minimum cost of $1.10.

Limited as we are, my sister was not stingy. Seeing my repeated choice of hamburger, she offered me a taste of hers; assuring me it's definitely tastier than the hamburger. This i know. But i told her i still prefer the hamburger :)

Till today, i still miss the taste then. The taste of happiness a simple hamburger and close kinship can bring.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Mee Rebus (I)

Mum finally mastered up enough courage to cook us the Mee Rebus again; reason?

It's grandfather birthday today, and as he is suffering from Arthritis - Gout which forbids him from the consumption of nuts in particular, he could not part take of the Mee Rebus sold at outside food store in which the addition of peanut to the cooking could not be specially reduced.

But alas, the taste of today's cooking was a far cry from our first try last year. We scratched our head for the rest of the day; trying to reason out the causes of our failure.

Where does the slight bitterness comes from? Why do we fail to bring out the fragrance? What did we not do as compared to our previous try? Every step was reviewed and we promised ourselves our next attempt would be a successful one :)

Nvertheless, the broth of spices and potatoes was devoured till the last drop by the next day.

Friday, March 7, 2008

My 1st Lasagna

Took advantage of the promotional coupons by Pizza Hut to try out their beef lasagna, my first and it's worth my noting, hehe... Yes, and i do like it.

Though ours is just a takeaway order, i'm impressed by the good service of the Pizza Hut outlet at Ang Mo Kio. Ric was warmly invited to take a seat at the table while iced Coke was served as he waits.

Beef Lasagna (7.20) and Aloha Pan Pizza (5.20), all the carbo and cheese in the breezy setting of the Sembawang Park.

Where we seat, it was obvious that security level had been stepped up with policemen petrol and setting up of temporary stations as the massive manhunt for the Singapore leader of the terrorist organisation - Jemaah Islamiah, Mas Selamat Kastari goes into tenth day.

What attributed to his escape from the Whitley Detection Centre needs to be review but it was pretty pointless to point fingers at anyone at this moment and demand their resignations.

Always believe lessons can be learned from all failures and improvements be made to get us in preparedness, in the face of possible future mishaps.