Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Healthy Fried Oyster Omelette

Most healthy food had to be home-cooked, especially oily ones like the Fried Oyster Omelet.

Feeling much vitalized after recovering from my stomach discomfort, i had volunteered to prepare the dish. It was pretty simple.

Under direction of mom, the followings were prepared; we replaced Oysters with canned Straw Mushrooms, so it became much a vegetarian dish.

1. Flour mix - 3 Table spoonful of Sweet Tapioca Flour with 1 teaspoon of Rice Flour.
2. Adding water to the flour mix till it's a watery texture as we don't want our flour to thicken too much upon cooking.
3. Stir in chopped Coriander, Carrots strips and Mushrooms (oysters) to the flour mix.
4. Pour in the mixture after heating up the non-stick pan with oil.
5. Over a medium fire, gently spread it out evenly on the pan.
6. Crack 2 Eggs over the mildly-cooked mixture and break it by spreading it over.
7. Pan fried the omelet till it's well-cooked before you sprinkle Fish Sauce/or Soya Sauce generously over it.
8. Stir fry a little and serve hot.

Vola! Try it, so simple and you get the joy of accomplishing a feat that you had thought was so difficult.

In Sickness

Gosh, Ric and i both fell sick yesterday, maybe of food poisoning. And thus were unable to receive my Sis from the airport last night.

I was slightly better off than him as i've always been blessed with a healthy stomach but he being a habitual gastric pain sufferer really had it once any viruses attack his stomach.

Weak limbs, bloated stomachs and all, i took this as a chance to shed off some weight :) But poor Ric was trying to cope with his job busy schedule while 'resting' home from gastric pain and giddiness.

At a time like this when our stomachs repel all oily food. We only had cravings for simple canned pickles with home-cooked porridge, our staple diet in all sickness.

And it's amazing how such modest food comforts our being in these weakest hours.

I'm much better today; breathing in and walking without much discomfort, it feels wonderful to be healthy once again. Keeping in mind that health was not to be taken for granted and to always sympathies with the sick.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lust, Caution (2007)

Movie Red Cliff which stared Tony Leung Chiu Wai allows me to be reminiscent of his outstanding performance in Lust, Caution (2007).

I had heartily congratulate the film for packing their many nominations for the various film awards such as Satellite Awards, Golden Horse Awards and their winnings in Venice Film Festival.

Based loosely on true events, “Lust, Caution” is an erotic espionage thriller set in WWII-Shanghai, in which a young woman, Wang Jiazhi (Tang Wei), enlisted by the Chinese resistance movement to seduce and assist in the assassination of the intelligence chief of a Japanese-backed Chinese government, Mr. Yee (Tony Leung Chiu Wai).

Though the film was intriguing, it was very upsetting to think that the naive student group had manipulated one of their classmates into being a sexual pawn and sacrificing her body; thinking their act would make a difference. But that was the truth of the era.

Wong was a young girl. The pressure and abuse was more than what she can bear. Developing a Stockholm syndrome, but ultimately put to death by her lover at a young age of 24, she had no one still.
It left to question when the line between duty-bound and that of love was crossed. Which would you have chosen?

I would chose the rock :)

The pear-shaped Cartier rock - dubbed a 'quail's egg'.

Amid the controversy of Lust, Caution” being sexually exploited, i begs to different. It was really not a movie about sex. In the absence of the violent sex scene between Mr Yee and young Wong Jia Zhi, the story would be pronoun as incomplete.

It is the intense emotional display between the two that the audiences were able to appreciate the depth of characterization and the motivation behind their actions. In describing her ordeal to her leader, you could see she was greatly traumatize with what was happening to her. Without the sex scenes, it's hard to understand her agony.

When asked about this show, my immediate response would be, "Great! Go watch it! Not for the sex; the acting is top notch."

Never been a fan of Tony Leung, i was really impressed with his gifted act. Emotions were communicated through facial expressions rather than actions; he lets his eyes do the talking. What amazes me is this debut of leading actress Tang Wei, that she is able match up to Tony Leung’s performance.
A Lee Ann's directorial project that's worthy of an Oscar.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Moth or Butterfly?

After our brief dinner at Dover, i spotted this Moth hovering around my home corridor. It was a big Moth in my context and was not shy to my photographing it :)

Is it a Moth or Butterfly?

A check on the internet:
1. Most butterflies are day fliers whereas moths are generally nocturnal in habit.
2. Butterflies generally rest with their wings closed in an upright position whereas moths rest with their wings held in a horizontal or roof-like position.
3. The antennae of moths are usually feathery without a club. Butterflies, on the other hand, possess antennae that gradually thicken from the base upwards to form a club.

This is therefore a Moth, an Attacus Atlas or more commonly known as Atlas Moth, so named because its wing patterns resemble maps.

Atlas Moth has the largest wing surface area of all moths, and has a wing span of about 26cm. The one here is about 20cm, the size of my palm.

With a stout, hairy body and a short abdomen looking out of proportion to its enormous wings that was decorated with transparent, triangular window-like areas. It was fascinating to watch.

Only found in Southeast Asia, the Atlas Moth is common in Singapore where we surround our inhabitat with greenery.

(Oh, and a call to China later confirms that Sis would be flying back tomorrow, reaching here by midnight.)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Whampoa Makan Shopping

Makan Shopping would mean we walk around the area, looking out for popular eats that attract queues or seemingly interesting stalls. And today we were at Whampoa Food Centre.

Ah Hock Fried Oyster Houngang
We had observed that business was still at the stall, but drew by its TV interview last night, and with its many display of food awards we made a brief order for its smallest $4 plate.

I wouldn't have minded of its miserable serving if food was at least palatable, but to say the least, i have had better. Saving grace was of its 4 reasonable-sized oysters.

Singapore Fried Hokkien Mee
This stall caught my attention with its big bags of noodles and plateful of shelled prawns. It certainly means they are in the big business and must have all the order of noodles they need :)

And boy i was right, while digging in to our flavorful plateful; we saw orders coming in both for take-away and dine-in. A $15 plate? How big, i wonder?

It was good; i'm missing it right now.

Cola Cold & Hot Dessert, #01-58
Tempted by the big bowl of Ice-Kachang ($1.20) on the neighbouring table, i have to get one too.

Its ever soft, finely shaved ice melts in our mouths.

And more pleasant discovery awaits us as we dig deeper into the icy hill to savour the tasty red bean mash and herbal glass jelly.

Its red bean mash reminds me of the ones we had in Japanese dessert :)

Lastly, we do take-away Duck Rice from the legendary stall that was already close to selling out with their last duckie by this early evening at 5pm.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Chen Li Yuan Restaurant

Our dinner at 成利园饭庄 (72 Tanjong Pagar Road) reminds me of our many dining experiences in China.

Humble it may be this eatery boasts the kind of warmth and simplicity that would have you thinking you're eating in Chinese township.

The little plate of freshly roasted peanuts with ikan bilis ($1) had already made its impression on us as we munched on them greedily while reading its menu.

The extensive menu listed dishes from various parts of China, but we were mostly being recommended on northern cuisine that the restaurant does best.

Being unfamiliar with northern Chinese cooking, we do find their dishes too oily and tad heavy on taste.

Nevertheless, as compared with what we were served in China, foods here were already recreated to suit Singaporeans' palates, but gladly, not to the point where they lose their character.

Fried Mao's Spicy Pork ($8)

One of their signature dishes, purportedly the late Chairman Mao Zedong's favourite, hence its name, comprises thinly sliced pork belly stir fried with red, green and dried chilli. Spiciness was far from its description though, savory was more apt.

The thinly sliced pork was pan fried, making it a little crisp on the edges and chewy. While the health-conscious like me were mortified by the fatty content and was desperately seeking a neutralizer by eating up the chilli, Ric marks this a delicious dish.

Chen Li Special Fried Brinjal ($7)

This delightful dish of lightly deep fried brinjal topped with meat sauce is delicious. A vast variation from the heaviness of Porky dishes we had today.

The soft brinjal that we tore open with a stroke of our tongue practically melts in our mouth. The accompanied mildly seasoned meat sauce perfected the dish.

Claypot Pork Liver ($10)

For pork liver that gets over-cooked easily, the one here was cooked just right. By stirring the liver promptly when it's being served bubbling hot prevents it from over-cooking. A delectable dish for Ric.

And despite its seemingly heavy seasoning used, we were not at all feeling dehydrated after the meal. This is thus another good family restaurant that boasts good, simple food at down-to-earth prices.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Lorong 5 Minced Meat Noodle

We had decided on a light dinner of noodle soup, considering our movie of 'Red Cliff' ends late at 8pm.

Our new found love of Minced Meat Noodle Soup lays in Toa Payoh Lor.5 Food Centre, and the stall was literally named after it.

I wouldn't conclude that it is the best Minced Meat Noodle Soup meant to be, but it was comparable, if not superior, to our much preferred one at Bedok, FengShan Food Centre.

Instead of the usual clear broth we normally got from regular minced meat noodle stall, the one offer here was of intense dark brown. Its soup clearly distinct it from the others in business and without a doubt, the crowd-puller.

Ignoring the fact of its well-textured noodle, you can't get pass its super bouncy fishball and well braised mushroom pieces. Most patrons 'up-sized' their orders to a $5 bowl for the added ingredients; mine was just the humble $3 bowl :)

"Boss! Minced Meat Noodle with FishballS please!"

Black Knights Vs Red Cliff

My initial dilemma of making a choice between the 2 blockbuster movies was decided once i've identified that the genre of Chinese historical epics was definitely more of what my heart desired, than pointless large-scaled, action-packed productions.

Stories of the Three Kingdoms period have always been most fascinating and intriguing. I recalled during my earlier days when i burned midnight oil to watch an animated 9-VCDs version of the war games.
The Battle of the Red Cliff was unarguably the most moving scene, which i couldn't stop watching till 3am just to know the outcome of the warfare. The simple yet clever war tactics employed was awesomely inspiring.

Red Cliff, a two part epic film based on the events during the Three Kingdoms period, specifically the Battle of the Red Cliff - in a quest to unite a divided China, was thus a must-watch for me.
I was not disappointed with John Woo's replica of this highly anticipated historical epic; it was not until the screen reads, "Be revealed in part2" that i was transported back to reality.

We Asian audience has the luxury to watch the full Red Cliff saga which will be shown in two parts, unlike the Western audience who will only get to watch a condensed version early next year.

The condensed, one-instalment version to the international markets might actually lose the character development and nuances that a abbreviated story lack in explaining the rationale behind each character's reaction at the climax of the Red Cliff battlefield.

Can't wait for the part 2 of the saga when the actual warfare at Red Cliff would be engaged :) War films based on historical epic never fail to get me all excited and energized.

Foo House Bar & Cafe

A little hideaway along the remote stretch of Jalan Pari Burong (off Upper Changi Road) near Simpang Bedok, Foo House is more of a cafe than a bar.

With BMB speakers playing soothingly on FM Class95, its homely styled furnishings in dim orangey lights creates that uberly comfy laid-back environment that provides a breather during lunch break.

Arriving past 1pm, we were grateful that the usual lunch crowd had dispersed; else the 6 dining table grouping could never accommodate us.

Standard Pumpkin Creme Soup comes with each of its 3 set lunches for the day, namely the Hainanese Pork Chop, Beef Sandwich and Lamb Sandwich Set.

The plateful of soup was sweetly creamy with a throw-in of Pumpkin seeds for that added bite. We lapped up the soup gladly as we were really famished; the soup was indeed comforting to our growling stomachs.

My order of their Signature Hainanese Pork Chops was old-school good, crispy pork chop doused in mildly sweet tomato based sauce with green peas, tomato wedges and onions. Topping of the French fries was a bonus :)

And i was impressed that even the green poached vegetable was freshly warm. The Butter rice that accompanied the dish was so good; you could even eat it on its own.

Before a taste of Ric's Beef Sandwich, i pinched his tempting looking French fries off his plate and they were surprisingly good! I never knew chips could taste any different; they were all the same to me.

But these here that were deep fried, lightly salted with crispy crust and moist fluffy infill tasted awfully satisfying. Recent eats of French fries at Kim Gary pales much in comparison.

Oh, and the sandwich was pleasantly crispy toasted Focaccia bread with juicy beef patties that were nicely cooked to perfection that were still pink in the middle.

And the black pepper sauce was orgasmic; flavorful yet not overwhelmingly spicy. I could only say i wish to eat all these again, and again...

Utterly bloated, the strong Hainanese Coffee served as a strong catalyst in aid of our digestion.

Foo House is super unpretentious in its presentation that emphasises more on its culinary expertise it could offer to its diners.

Their sincerity could be felt in their effort of whipping up quality set lunches, even though these were only priced at $9.80+. Kudos.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hong Kong Kim Gary Restaurant

Kim Gary at Vivocity where we lunched seems more of a Cafe with pricing of a restaurant. Yes, prices on the menu were definitely steeper than what you pay in many Hong Kong Tea Cafes where GST & service charges were mostly waived.

And it may pinch you thinking you could pay for the same food in Ringgit Malaysia just across the border where Kim Gary had 10 branches on.

Nevertheless, diners still packed the cafe for its standard fare.

French Toast ($2.80++)

This utterly sinful dish of toast that was spread richly in peanut butter and butter before it was dipped in beaten eggs and fried to golden brown. Not forgetting the topping of melting butter and generous drizzle of maple syrup on the succulent toast.

Slickly sweet and moist from the oil, butter and honey, it serves a better purpose as a dessert to me.

French Fries in Seaweed Flavor ($3.60++)

The chunky fries was an average fare with a hefty price tag you could do without. A big bag of good Farmland fries from the Supermart would cost you the equivalent amount :)

Hong Kong Style Cheese Baked Rice ($10.90++)

This was a value for money lunch set that comes with little cupful of Cream Soup & hot Yin Yang drink. Our Pork Chop Cheese Baked Rice in red sauce that has strong tinge of tomatoes was indeed appetizing.

The aluminum foil 'locked' all moisture and flavor within this rice dish. Yummy.

Spicy Noodles with Pork Chop in 'Typhoon Shelter' Style ($9.50++)

Noodle lunch set that comes with my selection of Almond Tea was not real impressive though i saw many ladies ordering this chow.

It was simply La Mian in mild spicy broth. The novelty of having finely chopped garlic bits deep fried to golden brown atop the pork chop was noteworthy though, as it does enhance the flavor of the broth.

Its drink of Almond Tea prepared from almond powder that leaves a thin residue on its cup's bottom was disappointing. And mum had cited that the milky hint accompanied the drink was intolerable.

Overall, food was not that bad here, it just depend on your orders. Being our first visit here, we had spend half-an-hour reading its extensive menu and doing our ordering :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Roving in NTU

Yeah, roving at NTU on a lazy Sunday evening. We had meant to find out which eatery stays open during the Sunday at Canteen A block that we might have a light snack.

Below Canteen A were eating outlets such as McDonalds, Subway and Canadian Pizza that were in business. Old Chang Kee outlet and two other restaurant of Sakae Sushi and The Palette Bistro were closed on Sunday.

Nothing seems more interesting than Muchie Monkey, at NUS.

After our light snacks of fries and shared burger at Mc, as we were about to leave, we chanced upon this little cozy corner of balcony sitting.

Where we enjoyed the cool, fresh evening breezes and sunset views... as i comfortably dozed off ... Zzzz zzz

Saturday, July 19, 2008

House of Dumplings (III)

Famished at our very late lunch; feeling i could gobble up all food placed in front of me. We drove 'fiercely' down to Kelantan Lane to visit the dumpling house again.

As most photos of the food had already been taken before, i could therefore eat up without my usual ritual of "food photo-taking" before consumption :)

My Xiao Long Bao seems exceptionally good today as i've missed it after so long; since i first had it a month back. I slurped up all its soupy content so hungrily that a neighbouring customer commented to the hawker that he wanted one after seeing my eating it, haha...

Pan-fried Gyozas, 锅贴 ($5)

大鲁面 ($3)

Loaded with tomatoes, eggs and onions was the home-cooked noodles commonly prepared in many China households. Simple as it is, it's no doubt a remedy for homesickness for the many China immigrants here.

No doubts about the handmade noodles here, its texture was totally smooth and chewy irregardless whether it's of thinner or broader strands.

For more bite though, you shall order the broader handmade noodle, the Ban Mian 板面.

We then shopped at Cold Storage Supermart for our usual tidbits of Potato Chips & Prawn Crackers before ending the day at East Coast Lagoon to satisfy our craving for its Satay Bee Hoon (queue already forms outside the store even before its opening at 6pm).

Friday, July 18, 2008

Revisit to Techno Edge

Dining at NTU rekindle my craving of food in NUS, Kent Ridge Campus.

My suggestion of lunching today would therefore be at Techno Edge of the Engineering Building to ease my pining for its Indonesian Grilled Chicken & Western Baked Pasta.

Grilled Chicken Set ($3)

Prices had gone up by 20 cents; in fact many prices of food in the canteen had upped by 20-50 cents since our last visit here. I believe such trend follows the rest of the canteens.

Still, the well-matched spicy curry sauce with sweet sauced grilled chicken at Indonesian Panggang is worthy of my 3 bucks.

Seafood Baked Pasta ($2.20)

No increase in prices for my baked pasta; the seafood version was equally cheese-rich and yummy as the Chicken version i last had.

Soothing scenery of greens that was such heartening view from the McDonalds balcony sitting where we had our drinks & snacking on Chicken Nuggets.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

NTU - Canteen 14

Armed with the Map of NTU with its location of canteens and reading up on the internet blogs. I had in mind a few places for our foodie hunt.

Canteens of NTU being numbered as according to its located Hall number was a breeze to trace.
Hall 14 of canteen 14 was Ric's recommendation today for its Western food. A search on the internet told us it was one of the winners in last year's TV featured "Campus Yummy King".

Chicken Cutlet ($3.80)

Its winning entry of Mixed Grill ($6.50) was tad a little big in portion for us; we thus set out to order the Chicken Cutlet Set instead.

It was indeed a worthy try if greasiness of the deep fried chicken piece can be tolerated. The stall could certainly boosts of its coleslaw (better than KFC anytime), well-buttered garlic bread and tasty seasoning of its crisply fried chicken piece.

Salmon Teriyayi Don ($3.50)

I wanted to try the Japanese food stall that also seems to command certain support from the students here. Most were ordering its Kastu Don. Food portion was generous and of decent quality.

My favored cooked salmon however remains that from Yoshinoya fastfood outlets.

Such serene environment at NTU was certainly much sought after, indeed befitting as a Tertiary campus. It was much more spacious and had lot more open spaces than NUS.

Hope we outsiders would not be a disturbance to the serenity here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tawatchai's Ladder

Crossing from Marina Square after lunching, we relaxed at the sight of this visual art piece at the Esplanade by Thailand artist Tawatchai Puntusawasdi.

As quoted from the explanatory board, "Two-dimensional planes are assembled to resemble familiar three-dimensional forms, distorted.

By creating, for instance, a tilted school chair, the artist challenges and subverts the viewer's fundamental way of seeing life, his/her perception of reality, its natural laws of gravity, nature, stability, volume and space, and the notion of symbols of social structure, such as the desk and chair so typical of our idea of school."

Disregarding the profound artistic philosophy behind each of these arts creation, visual arts simply has that calming effects, agree?

I would have love having these art pieces in my home if my place & pocket allows :)

Art sculptures by China artist Li Chen would be the first on my list of collection; many would have already been aware of his pieces that were being bought and display in many public buildings in Singapore.

You may otherwise catch his works at Ode to Art Gallery at Raffles City featuring contemporary Asian art.

Lunch Special @ Azabu Sabo (I)

An early end to my morning meeting enables us to gain free access to the Central Business District for lunch. And my first priority was still the lunch special promotion at Azabu.

Kimchi Beef Don & Shoyu Char Siew Ramen ($7.80++)

All's well except for the Kimchi that we don't really fancy its combination here with beef; it just tasted funny to us, despite the fact that we are Kimchi eater.

Unatama Don & Miso Char Siew Ramen ($7.80++)

An otherwise average fare of my favourite Unagi, if not for the surprise hint of spiciness from my Miso broth and the fatty Char Siew with fat that melts in the mouth.

The Ramen and its tasty broth were what i return here for.

Though the small bowl of Don & Ramen was enough to satisfy normal 'capacity' like mine, was nonetheless scanty for a guy's appetite.

Soft Ice-Cream w/Sweet Potato, Almond & Chocolate Sauce ($2.80++)

My meal here today end with this dessert again; i'm hook on its Caramelized Sweet Potato. On a commendable note, the cold desserts here are always served in well-chilled glasses.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Late Lunch cum Dinner at NTU

Ric has a 'sweet heart' working in NTU who introduced him to the canteens and food at NTU. All's forgiven as i now got a chance to visit the NTU campus for some yummy haunt :))

Still devoid of his lunch by 4pm today, he suggested to bring me on my first visit to the new Canteen A of the campus. I was of course, "all hands and legs up" in agreement.

Driving pass the impressive full grass-patched roof of the Art, Design & Media Building, we reached Lee Wee Nam Library block where Canteen A is located on the top floor.

Hand-Made Noodles Soup ($2.30)

Western Chicken Chop ($2.80)

Minced Meat Fishball Noodle ($2)

The dish of fishball noodles was what we came back for today. It was stated on its newspaper cuttings that they were a famous stall from Hougang. Clearly the noodle texture was unbeatable, and definitely value for money.

Our drink of avocado was very disappointing, pls don't try it yourself.

Not wanting to leave empty-handed, i packed dinner for mom & dad with Vegetarian rice and Indonesian Grilled Chicken rice set. A feeling of deja vu with the Indonesian Panggang food stall at NUS? But it cost $3.80 here compared to $3 at NUS, had prices appreciated that much already?? Overall, food at NTU certainly cost more than that at NUS canteen.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Henderson Waves - Lights

Revisit to Henderson Waves; this time with Ric but our weekend timing is wrong for a quiet weekend getaway. The bridge was full of running, screaming, jumping kids...

Until the dust settles do we took these pictures that give us that sense of peace we're looking for.

Locating a quieter spot, we ate our packed Subway's Ham & Cheese Parmesan Buns while sipping on red wine and munching on peanuts; this was my planned surprise dinner out for Ric that didn't turned out as planned but thankfully all ends well.