Saturday, August 31, 2013

京华小吃, formerly named Qun Zhong Eating House

Juicy Steamed Meat Dumplings 'Xiao Long Bao' ($7++ for 7 pcs)

Ric had wanted to get us to the Jin Hua Xiao Chi at Neil road for the longest time. Withstanding the weekend's car parking woes and possible long wait at the restaurant, we were here for the night. Was his effort worth it? Yes.

For our love of China food, we had the thinnest skinned Xiao long bao of our life; most satisfactory bean paste sauce for the handmade noodles; thickly floured but enjoyable pan-fried dumplings and finest hand-kneaded glutinous rice balls for dessert.

It was all pleasurable. Would love to return with Ric again.   

Noodle with Minced Pork and Soy Bean Sauce 'Zhajiangmian' ($5++)

To be fastidious, it would be the 'all meat' recipe of the meat dumplings which we didn't quite appreciate; small serving of the handmade noodles and a Guotie that's very different from the traditional China styled i missed much.

The rice ball dessert is near flawless. Comes with mildly sweet filling of finely grinded peanuts, red beans and black sesame - wonder if we could dictate our preferences? Why was there only 1 ball of sesame?

Mixed Seafood, Pork Dumplings 'Guotie' ($8++ for 10 pcs)

 Sweet Osmanthus Flower Rice Ball Soup 'Tang yuan' ($3++)

Instant Noodle Recipes

We absolutely love instant noodles. It could be the atas Korean Ramen version or the nondescript $2 for 5 Maggi noodle packs. But often, we dreamt of not having to depend on the MSG flavoring sachet for the noodles. Here is therefore some interesting recipe of cooking the instant noodles for reference; with less use of the MSG powder.

1. Korean Cheese Style
Cook noodles as instructed on packaging. Place a slice of Cheese over the noodles and allow it to melt. Splendid!!

2. Pasta Style
Cook noodles as instructed. Crack an Egg over the noodles in the boiling soup. Gently stir the eggs, coating it on the noodles, careful not to spread it into the soup. And do not overcook the eggs; just keep it firm yet runny. Then, remove the noodles with the eggs in a ladle and plate it, draining away most of the soup. Lastly, add 2 tbsp of Ketchup and 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (or as desired, i.e., Thai Fish sauce). Mix, toss and serve. It should have that Hainanese vibes.

3. Mee Goreng Style
Cook noodles as instructed. On a plate, do a sauce mixture consisting of 1 tbsp of Dark Soy sauce, 1 tbsp of Light Soy sauce, 1/2 tsp of Sugar and Chilli sauce to taste. Place in the strained noodles. Mix, toss and serve. Uncle used to do this for us when we were kids. A thirty-year old recipe!

4. Fried Noodle Style
Add noodles to bowl of hot water and allow it to soak for few minutes. When it has softened slightly, remove the noodle and set aside for use. Heat up the wok over low fire with 2 tbsp of Oil and scramble an Egg. Add 1 tbsp of chopped Garlic and fresh cut Chilli. Add in ingredients, i.e., sliced Meat, Shrimps, Green Vegetables, Carrots, Bean Sprouts... When cooked, toss in the noodles with a zest of Fish/ Light Soy sauce, pinch of Sugar, some Water to moisten, and Lime juice. Lastly, a dash of Pepper before serving!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Dora Keiki for Dorayaki

Dorayaki ($1.50 for 1, or $8 for 6). Golden Egg ($1 for 1, or $6 for 7)

Doremon loves Dorayaki, a Japanese red bean confection which consists of 2 small pancake-like patties made from castella, wrapping the filling of sweet Azuki red bean paste. I love Dorayaki too.

So Ric went to buy these from Dora Keiki, the up and coming confection house that's becoming popular with their Golden Egg and Dorayaki dessert. The Golden Egg pastry have a cake-like texture and comes with rich creamy filling of cheese (we like this best!), chocolate, blueberries and custard.

But nothing beats the Dorayaki. Best with Red Beans? Not necessary.
Pay just 30 cents more for the ones with Durian..!

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Ric says i'm biased towards Sony. So brands of the equipment were intentionally left-out on the display here, and we could remain unprejudiced in our viewing.

Cameras for today's run are the RICOH GXR, with A12 28mm f2.5 lens module and SONY NEX 5N, with E35mm f1.8 prime lens. Both set to their full Auto mode; with a cameraman who is partial to Ricoh.

We have readers requesting for cameras to be tested on the same setting instead of letting the cameras run itself - it is more work for that, but we may try it out sometime.

Which shoots do you prefer?

The first picture of each pairing is taken by Sony, Ricoh follows. Ricoh's appeared somewhat dull in terms of lighting but I like its color tone, especially that of the last photo (above) albeit it is Sony that delivers true color of the food. I trust Ricoh is better off using manual setting.

(Food at Botak Jones - Fish n Chips and Cajun Chicken)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

煲汤馆, Bao Tang Guan - Healthy Soup

Pumpkin rice ($1)

I like soup. Something to warm the belly after a busy morning in the air-conditioned office. We were at Blk 61 Teban Gardens, joining the rank and file of nearby workers at this popular MSG-free soup stall.

Their pumpkin rice is a must-have. 

We ordered a Chicken pot to go with our rice and just a soup to share, as the stall offers 1 time free top-up of soup! Even with the freebies, the hawker gave us yet another handful of wolfberries that comes with the first serving. Nice.

Ten Tonic Chicken Soup ($6)

While there wasn't much ingredients in the ceramic jar, the soup was robust. How do i know that? Because i'm one who gets knock out whenever i take tonic soup. And this meal did just that. I was practically flat on my desk when i returned to the office, having such hard time keeping awake! We slept like babies that night.

A pedestrian style of XO chicken pot though. So you may just want to have their soup with the pumpkin rice!

XO Chicken Pot ($6)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Aerial View of Jurong

The Singapore Science Centre, with The Chinese Garden

So you grew up in Jurong? So do i. But the view i have from here today is quite far from what i know about it. Firstly, i didn't know the Chinese garden lake is quite extensive!

Jcube Shopping Mall and Jurong East Centre

Jurong East Residential Housing

Then, i didn't know there's vast piece of green still available! Can you see your flat from these pictures?

The Pandan Reservoir

Jurong River, Jurong Country Club and the Ayer Rajah Expressway

Why didn't i know about all these? Because, Jurong's only tallest building is the one i'm here today. And, what a view! Never knew the West side of Singapore can be this beautiful!

View towards the Downtown Business Districts

But that might be changing as the government rolled out bold plans for the Jurong Lake District as part of the draft Master Plan 2008. You see these many construction sites around? Yes, they are all part of the Jurong Lake development.

Construction of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and Big Box Warehouse Retail

Sunday, August 18, 2013

UCC 113

UCC Blend 113, 90g ($10.20)

I had hesitated - UCC 113, soft taste... 
Wasn't good coffee supposed to be 'thick'? Why 'soft'?

The selection turns out to be a wise one. Instead of viewing the 113 as weak coffee, we should conceptual it as smooth coffee. Yes, smooth like good wine yet richly aromatic. Neither overly acidic nor bitter, with a good mouthfeel. We are enjoying this quite a bit.

There is a good reason for this production.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

LG Optimus L7 II

LG Optimus L7 II, white ($338)

A week into my Life's Good Android and life's good.

Why the jump back to Android phone after testing out Window phone, iOS? Window phone doesn't provide updates to my favourite social media Apps like the LINE chat (it hangs sometimes too); although i absolutely love its flipping tiles display on the home screen.

And i couldn't risk having my entire data wiped out by an unintentional click on iTunes! So, it is back to old, reliable Android.

Why LG? Not the popular Samsung, because Samsung is charging premium for its branding. Life's good when technology is moving fast and competitive that the market seems to be on a level playing field - every brand of Android phone differs little. So forget about branding, go out there to explore, and pay less, for more.

Give this refrigerator brand phone a try ")

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

L'occitane Shampoo and Shower Gel

L'occitane Repairing Shampoo, 300ml ($34)

Scents are my natural sniffing drugs.

Remember our traditional 'Flower Bath'? When mum will buy flower petals, flower buds packed in small bags from the market? Release all of it into our pail of bathing waters so when we scoop the water over our heads (most time, with some of the flowers in it!), we could actually enjoy the sweet flowery scents as the water runs over our face.

For something close and convenient, getting scents of flowers in package forms maybe what we could afford. Albeit its swanky tag, Loccitane has been my sniffing drug so far. Formulated with essential oils of angelica, lavender, geranium, ylang and sweet orange, shampooing is liken to having an ointment pour forth.

I have been cynical about Loccitane's cleansing effect as its natural origin foaming base kept the product light. But truth is, without distressing the scalps and skin with chemical lathering actually helps the body felt less disturbed and thus becoming balanced with its ingredient of good essential oils. But, the product definitely don't lather well with Asian oily hair - you'll need large volume of the pricey shampoo.

The shower gel, with blend of mint, pine, rosemary essential oil and body lotion with grape seed oil, lavender, tea tree and geranium essential oil are equally luscious but nothing quite beat the fragrant that stays long on the hair and brushes softly on the face... on his face.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Koala Blue Shiraz 2001

Koala Blue Shiraz, Syrah (750ml, 13.5%)

No grease on the bottle when Olivia Newton-John hopelessly devoted to co-own the Australian Koala Blue Winery 30 years ago, in 1983. It isn't another gimmicky celebrity wines; as this is a gift, we do not know the price of the blue bottle. But the taste buds put it at the $20+ range, at least.

Definitely full-bodied yet supple with soft, velvety texture makes it a very enjoyable glass. Worthy the trouble of cellaring the adorable Koala for this special night... Cheers, Sandy.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Lipton Russian Earl Grey

Lipton Russian Earl Grey Black Tea, 20s ($5.15)

Favourite English tea is the Earl Grey

Where the sense of smell is more gratifying than the taste. Grasping in the bergamont aroma from the rising hot steam surely soothes the tired and listless brain. Arrhhh... ...! Inhaling deeply.

Lipton Russian Earl Grey is lovely. When even the sense of sight is entertained by the freely dancing tea leaves and Cornflower petals in pretty silk-like pyramid tea bags.

The tea definitely refreshes a desk-bound afternoon, bogged down with paperwork. A life-saver.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Skies of Jurong Island

These photos were taken during my period of visit to the Jurong Island for project. It is 1 large island formed by joining 7 small islands together by reclamation of land in the 1990s!

Development of this Singapore island into a Petrol Chemical Hub is well underway. And before we lost the vast open spaces here to rising chimneys and tank farms, i snapped these shots for remembrance.

I am missing the carefree island..