Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Buzzing Cashiers - Prawn Noodles

Following the episode of Ch8 program 抢摊大行动:Buzzing Cashiers, brought us to this featured prawn noodles stall in Tiong Bahru Food Centre.

The program aims to provide culinary skills re-training to food vendors who suffer from poor businesses or who are at the brink of closing shop. Their plight were made known in the program and after their re-training, they will always win many supports from the general public.

We were save from the hustles of waiting in line as we arrived before the dinner crowd starts coming in.

Just an average bowl of prawn noodles ($3). Soup was sweet but a little weak in flavour. I enjoy the tender meat balls though :)

Not a bad choice if you are in the vicinity and was craving for prawn noodles. Hope the young cook would gradually fit into his new role and in time perfect his culinary skills.

Rice Bucket

Yes, had always been a 'rice bucket' 饭桶 since young. I love my rice. And I always find it bliss to sit down with a fragrant bowl of rice for dinner after a hard day's work.

As part of a surge in global food costs and prices of daily commodities, rice prices are rocketing. And analysis are blaming rising fuel and fertilizer expenses as well as crops curtailed by disease, pests and climate change.

This April '08 marks an end to the era of cheap rice.

Today, I was startled to realize that our favourite brand of rice, the Golden Phoenix has risen to a price of $26.30/10kg! It was an over 40% increase compared to my last purchase on 6 April at price of $18+, all within a month's time!

There was already a rush to stock up on rice grains in early April despite Singapore government officials assuring the public that local rice supply was adequate and our abundance stockpile of rice on the island will never face shortages.

But the concern was not of rice shortages but on the rising rice prices. Right now, we have a price crisis, not a supply crisis.

The only positive aspect i wish to see in this mess was that everybody would stop wasting food and finally learned to appreciate and cherish food resources, irregardless of its price.

Ben & Jerry's - Free Cone Day

Who the man can resist the lure of a free yummy cone from Ben & Jerry's, known for its chunky bits in their ever creamy milk-rich ice-cream?

Free Cone Day by Ben & Jerry's is an annual event held in late April or early May; this year marked the company's 30th annual Free Cone Day. Its scoop shops around the world give away free ice cream scoopes all day.

And i do recognize their genuine efforts to make the event as pleasant as they could by getting the crowds entertained and queuing up in an orderly manner. 5 of their top sellers were also up for selection.

They also pride themselves for targeting to smash last years record of cones give-away. Their helpful and friendly staff makes you feel really welcome.

Beating the snaking queues at Vivocity, i land myself with the deliciously milk rich 'drumlet' within 30mins! I guess i've become a big fan of its New York Super Fudge Chunk and Chunky Monkey after today!

Its big chunks of chocolate makes you feel like you are eating chocolate bars with ice-cream! Awesome treat.

Set Lunches @ Uluru

Named after the famous sandstone rock formation in Australia that was formerly called Ayer's Rock, Uluru in Duxton Hill is less rugged than it sounds.

With an impressive decor that strikes you as an upmarket dining place, the restaurant is also fairly formal in their delivery. We therefore tries to settle in as comfortably as we could, while anticipating our 3 course set lunches ($24++) to be serve.

Smoked Tomato Soup with milk foam, basil pesto and dash of black pepper. Besides the appetizing rich tomato soup that lingers in the throat, the warmly served, very aromatic herby bun with butter was noteworthy. I would love to have one more.

Roasted Poussin with Mesclun salad and potato wedges. Chicken pieces nicely done with a tinge of char bitterness. Throwing all dining etiquette to the winds, i couldn't resist not popping its bony remains into my mouth for a final savoring.

Fish & Chips with Mesclun salad and potato wedges. Sizzling hot and juicy fish piece with crispy batter tastes great with the sour tartar sauce. Potato wedges were hot and crispy. Salad was just a simple tossing with olive oil?

Looking like slabs of chocolate ice cream neopolitan is my 'smiling face' dessert. The chilling Trio Chocolate Cake has a top layer of white cream that gradate to milk chocolate middle and then a denser base of dark truffle-textured chocolate.

My best way to savour it would be to dip in to the sour raspberry sauce and have all the different flavours in my mouth at once :)

Service here is helpful and pleasant; albeit the small serving portion, food standards here left little room for complaints.

But at the end of the day, it's actually how you enjoy your dining experience as a whole; i would have much prefer a no-fuss dining mostly, these occasional treat of finer dining is a refreshing change nonetheless.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Beef Hor Fan @ Dover Rd Market

Weekend crowds at hawker centre are joy-killer, you've got to try your luck at the parking lots and beat the queues at the popular food stalls.

I was reluctant to suffer with the city crowds so Ric suggested visiting this old and remote food market in Dover Rd, Blk 31. Yeah, i love these places...! Food is often prepared by old stall vendors who know their cooking and prices can be kept reasonable with their low rental rates.

We chanced upon this cooked food stall '河升美食' managed by an old couple and a lady; the old man being the chef. Business was brisk but not to an extend of long wait, so we decide to try its Beef Hor Fan (dry).

And we were not disappointed. A little oily but not at all salty. Priced at $3, beef slices were not aplenty but the 'wok hei' of the delicious smooth noodle strips left us fighting over it.

I'll be back soon, with an empty stomach. And what a delightful evening today!

Tea Time @ Munchie Monkey

Had an absolutely sweet and much enjoyable time at Munchie today.

Munchie offer tea-time sets (3-6pm) which consist of a cake and drink, at $5.5 and $6.5 depending on the type of cakes you choose.

We opted for the $5.5 set. Nice, bitter coffee for Ric. Sweet, gassy Passionfruit Italian soda for me :) And I asked for their popular Chocolate Brownie and Carrot Cake.

Oh, and how i love the cakes!

Chocolate Brownie served warm was a moist, dense and immensely sweet chocolaty.

Carrot Cake and i were love at first sight (taste). Am was much impressed with Carrot Cake unique taste, offering bits of grated carrot, walnuts and juicy raisins with white cream cheese icing. It was pleasantly moist and not at all a dry, coarse crumb.

On the other hand, Ric was not accustom to its taste, so i got the whole slice to myself... happy! But i hope he would get to like it one day; Joy comes from sharing and good things are meant to be shared :)

Onion & Cheese Spaghetti

Our new Hitachi refrigerator arrived yesterday and mom was busy with the re-arrangment & stock-taking of the family 'stocks'.

I feel that my spaghetti and sauce have to go either to the bin or to the cooking pan; so there it goes into the cook pots today :)

And boy, onions never fail to make me cry...

My first try of frying the eggs on a low fire, in a non-stick pan without any addition of oil. Am happy that it turns out as expected :)

Next try maybe a Carbonara pasta!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Set Lunches @ Cafe Cartel

We were at Marina Square Shopping Centre today, lunching on its new set lunch menu. On the hindsight, the new menu is more interesting than their previous.

Their offer of free-flow home made bread with the set menu is very popular with the diners here. And I love to soak the freshly baked loaf into the day soup before popping it into my mouth. Oh, the crispy crust... yummy.

My Pan-Fried Spaghetti with Black Pepper Fish was sizzling with the aroma of black pepper when served. But it's not really black pepper fish you get here, just simple fried fish pieces coated with flour. The al dente pasta was notable.

Ric's Mixed Grill in Black Pepper Sauce consists of pork chop & BBQ chicken pieces, a sunny side up egg, rice and a simple salad. A combination every guy would love.

And we round up the heavy meal with a dessert of Walls Mini Poppers (Vanilla ice-cream with chocolate coating) and big mug of house brewed cuppa.

Pleasant service and tranquil environment with magazines and newspaper readily available; i would certainly love to waste an hour or 2 here if parking charges is not a concern.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Tea Time @ Secret Recipe

There must be a spoil brat inside me, somewhere. I didn't know since when does Secret Recipe cake not appeal to me anymore?

Until today at its Henry Park's Branch where i found myself not really interested to raise my fork; maybe i've got so used to its cake that it holds anticipation no more.

It's been sometime since we last visit SecretRecipe. We ordered its Chocolate Indulgence and award-winning Marble Cheese cake (4.90). The chocolates were in a form of cream and mousse, kind of light and not bitter and thick like something i would prefer.

Vanilla Latte (5.50) was disappointing as it does not have any trace of vanilla in it. Its new product of caffeine free, Kiddiccino (2.00) tastes more of a Milo drink but maybe better if i didn't add in the sugars.

Ain't i acting like a spoil brat, complaining about nice proper food lay in front of me? And the effort that Ric took to suggest the place makes me feel worse :(
I'm so spoil, pls ignore me.

Subway - Eat Fresh!

Took advantage of its breakfast promotion at Bukit Panjang Plaza to have a taste of Subway. At an economic $2, you'll get a sandwich burger with coffee/tea.

A choice of ham or bacon, over with mayo, chilli or tomato sauces.

Our choice of their light mayo sauce tastes splendid. And I was totally won over by its very soft egg pieces and aromatic coffee brew that comes with the set.

So Subway really has got something to explain for its long dining queues. Indeed they provide a simple yet satisfying meal.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lao Zhong Zhong Five Spice Stall

This legendary Teochew snacks stall had to be on our family's list of die-die-must-eat. We often came down to pack a substantial bag for the family dinner.

Previous housed in the Jackson Centre Kopitiam at Siang Kiang Ave, they have since moved behind to occupy a coffeeshop at the adjacent block. We were so afraid of losing track of them that we were there just the day before they shifted to their new location :) Haha, coincident lah.

And this is our usual pick of our favourites, fish balls, squid, pinky Chinese sausages, chestnut cake, crispy prawn fritters and the five spice meat roll. All drown into their specially concoct spicy, sweet sauce that works the magic.

Mom and my favourite is the prawn fritters; Ric's is the sausages; Sis's is the fish balls; Father's the meat roll. Everyone has got their own favourite item. Priced by the pieces, we often spent around $17.

And by the frequent patrons at the coffeeshop, these deep fried assortments are highly favored among the beer drinkers.

Baked Pasta @ Techno Edge

Planned a lunch out at Techno Edge today as i was missing the avocado drinks they offer here but was disappointed the drink stall was closed today.

A saving grace was the baked pasta i got to order from the Western food stall. I've wanted to taste it since i saw it during my first visit here.

Smooth, cheesy baked chicken pasta (2.20) Mmmm... ... Fork-licking good.

Ric's standard fare of Malay Nasi Padang (2.00) consists of beef rendang, beancurb and stir-fried bean sprouts, cooked just the way he likes it. He gave a special mention of the chilli paste too.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Baguette from St. Leaven

We never fail to visit the St. Leaven (by Four Leaves) bakery whenever we are in the Orchard Rd vicinity. A trip to its store at Ngee Ann City Mall, B2 is a MUST!

More commonly known as 'pointed head bread' 尖头面包 in our local context, French baguette ($2) is a much perfect bake of crispy hard-headed crust loaf with soft, fluffy infill.

And the ones offered by St. Leaven were unmatched - as on now. And mum already had her teeth sunk into one, the moment we stepped out of the store :)

Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao

In searching for a new refrigerator for mum, we set out to visit the pre-renovation sales at Best Denki, Takashimaya. Thus lunch was decided at the Crystal Jade restaurant on the 4th level of the shopping mall.

We like visiting this restaurant because of its warm, friendly and helpful service staff. The other Crystal Jade restaurant at B2 which serve Hong Kong styled meals pales in comparison.

Vegetarian Fried Noodle ($9.80++). Crispy fried noodles in tasty sauces with assortment of mushrooms and veg.

La Mian in Spicy & Sour Soup ($7.80++). Our all time favourite. And we had specially requested for the 'dragon beard' noodles to be used in the dish.

Sauteed Sliced Pork with Assorted Bell Pepper & Bean Paste ($9.80++). This dish chosen by Ric was a fresh try for us. It was not disappointing though; the overall taste and experience of the ingredients wrapped in the rice flour skin was rather nice.

Pork Dumpling with Hot Chilli Sauce ($4.80++). It was not overly spicy and still exude the scent of chilli oil. Very generous filling of meat in light dumpling skins.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Puttu Mayam

Mum had a sudden urge for this Indian Puttu Mayam today. She thus bought a packet (10 pieces at $3) of these fluffy, thinly treaded rice flour vermicelli-laced pieces that was shaped to a pancake mold.

The sweet orangey-hue sugar has to be purchase separately. We used to buy these easily from neighbourhood hawker who will serve our fondly known 'Tu Mayam' with the orangey sugar and coconut shreds.

But being just kids then, we do not appreciate the coconut sheds at all. Only the grown-ups, like my father who still rave about how cheaply & fragrant these Tu Mayam used to be with the coconut sheds.

Oh what nostalgic...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Munchie Monkey on the Tree Top

Munchie Monkey Cafe was at a tree top high of level 3 in Yusof Ishak House (YIH). And i was pleasantly greeted by these apes plush toys and a display of its cakes and brownies.

Already had our dinner, we were in for a relaxing stroll at the campus, complete with a cake and coffee break. But the bonus of today was an up-lifted mood by these cheery monkey face.

Our shared portion of Cafe Latte (2.50) and New York Cheese Cake (3.95).

I shall be back for more try of its food and serene dining ambience. It's great for a quiet, lazy weekend.

Zhen Zhen Porridge @ Maxwell Food Centre

The trip to the city today was solely to pack the chicken rice from TianTian, but being caught in the sudden heavy downpour we decide to queue for the raw fish 鱼生 from ZhenZhen Porridge also.

I just realise how funny the names of these 2 food stalls rhythms :) They are both the anchor food stalls here which boast of an all day queue at anytime. Come late afternoon; all would be sold out.

Our raw fish (4.00) here seems to have strink with our current high inflation rate; it's a much smaller serving than when i last remembered.

Nevertheless its condiments of sesame seeds, garlic, ginger, red chilli, fried shallots, spring onions and generous squeeze of lime juices with raw fresh fish slices never fail to satisfy my cravings.

Plain hot porridge (0.50) with generous shower of condiments.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Late Lunch @ Frontier

Ric was doing an eye test at NUH today, so i met him for lunch at the Frontier canteen. I got the chance to serve him lunch today as the eye drops used on his eyes heighten his sensitivity to light and gave him a temporary blurred vision (NUH should have advised him on bringing a sunglasses).

And having a bad sore throat, i suggested he tried the 板面 Ban Mian (2.00) which i read of a fine review on. Abandoning the prawns, shrimp dumplings were replaced on request.

Ban Mian has never been my favourite so i can't judge but i rather like the light, fragrant broth. As according to Ric, it's pretty average and the serving was small compared to what he usually gets outside.

The queue at the Indian food stall was constantly long at this canteen; i had the spiced Marsala chicken and 2 side veg (2.00). This Indian food stall had pretty much interesting food impending my exploring.

As NUH had fixed his afternoon appointment up wrongly (the doctor is only unavailable at 3pm!), i loitered around the canteen and found that the snacks stall here actually offers bread from Four Leaves Bakery. We bought a nice piece over coffee.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Terrace @ Business Faculty

Our lunch at Business today was gainful.

The Vietnamese food stall here really do have something special to offer, all in the queue were for its today's special of Grilled Pork with Dry Noodle (2.50).

2 grilled bacon pieces, 1 grilled pork with dry noodles in Vietnamese sauce; sprinkled generously of fried shallots, peanuts and spring onions. It's chopstick licking good!

I wonder what's other day special?

The Lemon Grilled Fish Fillet (2.20) at the Western food stall was only lightly grilled but without the muddy taste of dory. Pasta that comes with the set was too soggy for my liking and the sauce adds further injustices to the grilled fish.

My repeat order for this dish would be without the pasta & sauce, maybe the potato wedges in exchange for the pasta would be great.

The Muffins from the Western food stall were also worth a try. Fluffy and sweet, i've got here the Chocolate and Banana with Walnuts (0.80). My repeat would be the Chocolate and maybe to try out the Blueberry ones.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Bukit Batok Nature Park

Mom and sis had always frequent the park, walking our dog. Today is my first trip with them as my sister would be leaving for her 3 months training in China on the 10th and i wish to spend some time with them.

So despite my weariness from my day meeting, i drag myself there to breath in some fresh air, with main intention of taking some photos of my mom and sister.

My 'water-fighting' dog! He was so excited at the sight of water; he was dashing along the stretch of waters the whole time.

I teased him by splashing the waters with my feet and he wails in thrill before dashing straight into the waters :)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Indian Curry Puff

This unusually shaped giant curry puff caught our eyes as we were scouring the non-air condition canteen at the PGPR, NUS for interesting food. Hesitating, we finally decide to buy one to find out.

The triangular shaped curry puff ($1) was stuffed snugly with firm potato pieces that were cooked in Indian spices. The overall taste was really not bad at all, it was not salty, the skin not too thick and the fragrance of the spices linger on in the room even long after i had finished.

This is the 1st time i sees Indian curry puffs, usually we can only get Malay spiced curry puffs in the food market. I therefore am very happy with this find.

Anjappar Indian Express @ Foodgle Hub, PGPR

We had long wanted to try out this Indian food stall; i in particular enjoy Indian food.

Served in a plastic compartmental plate, the Non-Vegetarian set meal (4.50) comes with 2 meat, 2 veg, 1 dessert, 1 serving of basmati rice, 1 naan and 2 papadam (extra 1).

From the left compartment clockwise, we have the Tandoori Chicken drumlets lolly pop, the mild ginger tasted dessert, mild Indian curry chicken, spiced potato and raw onions in yoghurt.

Just a standard fare which i find delight in the lightly spiced basmati rice and the gingery dessert.