Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bitter Grass, 苦草/ 穿心莲

It is well-known that this Andrographis herb is especially effective for heat-clearing - easing sore throat or swollen tonsils from too much heaty (fried, dry) food. But we seldom resort to applying it because of its extreme bitterness!

Bite into a leaf of it, and you will be knock off with the most unforgettable bitterness! It is almost brain freezing!

But i had my worst this month - all started with a swollen gum on my left cheek with a slight fever. Ignoring it, it gets worse after a week with a swell that becomes so visible, i felt embarrassed. By this time, my left tonsil had bulged also, resembling that of a Mumps virus infection. I was alarmed and in serious pain; it is unbearable! - desperate, i places all hope on my most unsweetened friend.

We found that the most comfortable way of taking the bitter grass is through drinking; cut 2 leaves and make tea out of it, letting the bitterness slowly sip in. Refill with a second cup, washing down the leaves finally. And i actually felt noticeably better after 3 hours. By the next morning, half the battle is won!

If you want a seedling of this plant, give me a jingle.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Coffee Hut, 咖啡姐茶轩

Kopi with Toast Bun Set ($2.40)

If you wake up one morning in 2015 and are craving for some really good Nanyang Kopi; determined to travel further than the all familiar Ya Kun or Killney, this is it - Coffee Hut, stall 43 in the Jalan Berseh Food Centre.

We cross our heart for it. And be warned, that you order their toasted bun with the most amazing texture; thick butter and Kaya spread too!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Mookata Steamboat at Rattana Thai

Was intriguing to start our first Thai Mookata BBQ steamboat at Rattana Thai after getting a 
Deal voucher at $19.90 (Add $2 for service charge payable to merchant) meal set for 2 pax. For big eaters, we don't think the portion of food is filling enough.

Seafood Menu 
Marinated Fish Slices
3 Tiger Prawns
Whole Squid
3 New Zealand Green Mussels
Chicken Sausages
Free Flow Authentic Tom Yam Soup
Green vegetables Platter: Cai Sim, Cabbage, Kangkong.
2 Fresh Eggs
Vermicelli / Glass Noodles
Soft Egg Tofu
Imitation Crab meat Sticks
Straw Golden Mushrooms

Inclusive Ala carte dishes:
Mango Salad
Deep Fried Calamari
Top Shell with Rattana seasoning

Ala Carte: Mango Salad, Deep Fried Calamari and Top Shell with Rattana seasoning

We enjoyed cooking the fresh ingredient in their Tom Yum Soup base, but towards the end of the meal, everything start tasting the same, and gets salty. On the hindsight, we should have just request for a top-up of plain hot water for the soup base to water things down.

Quite wonderfully, the 3 ala carte appetizers that came free with our deal actually taste great - the Mango salad and the Top Shell. It got us coveting - that their ala carte kitchen would serve us better than an all Tom Yam soup steamboat.

Now, camera off. As we start our steamboat with a rub of oil with a fat lemongrass stem; instead of pork lard!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

the Little Penquin Shiraz 2008

the Little Penquin Shiraz, 13.5% vol. ($24.90)

A wonderful bottle from the Little Penguin, South Eastern Australia. And boy! With Singapore higher taxes on alochol, the reds here are up by at least $4 per bottle.

Here, wishing you a Holy Christmas & a Blessed 2015!!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Siraj Famous Waterloo St Indian Rojak

Assortment of Indian Rojak - Flour Potato, Coconut Flour, Flour Egg, Fish Cake, Veggie Mix... etc. ($8.30)

We were met with unexpected friendliness and patience from Sabeek, who had numerous interviews with the local media for being one of Singapore's best Indian rojak stall with a long history. 

Unlike the island's many Indian rojak stall which left you guessing - of being overcharged, Sabeek at the Albert Centre Market & Food Centre listed their pricing clearly on the stall front.

In your selection from the rack, don't forget their flavorsome prawn fritters (both the large prawns and the smaller shrimps version) which are one of the better ones around. Then dip everything into the thick potato sauce which has a piquant sweetness and spiciness altogether!

(They are also famous for their Mutton Soup ($5), and Mee Siam ($3) !

Sunday, December 14, 2014

欣美, Xin Mei Congee

煲仔面, Claypot Noodle ($3.50)

The all day rain have us craving for some really hot soup or smooth congee that fills the stomachs and warms our bodies! There's a nice congee stall (#01-214), just next to the 40 cents satay stall in Chong Boon Market and Food Centre - they serve freshly deep fried dough fritters with every bowl of their congee!

We love that. But for a change, Ric says, let's try their 'claypot noodle' that so many people are ordering too!

So we get to savor the unique flavor of the oven-dried noodle that works the rich broth together with fresh ingredients of minced meatballs, pork, pork liver and a beaten egg... Mmmm... Such gratifying bowl for the cold night!

皮蛋瘦肉粥, Century Pork Porridge ($3)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Hougang Five Mile Cooked Food - Cheapest Satay at 40 cents?

Satay - Chicken & Pork ($0.40) Mutton ($0.50), Ketupat ($0.50)

Gone were the days of 30 cents satay; when our old hawker retires. Today we chanced upon a 40 cents satay stall in Chong Boon Market and Food Centre, Ang Mo Kio. Looking for cheap and good satay? You no longer need travel to Clementi - Chai Ho Satay where they are the island cheapest at 38 cents.

In fact, we thought this stall is better.

The friendly middle age couple who mans the stall seldom burn our satay as badly as Chai Ho does, ever so often. Their sticks are also meatier; never missing the piece of crunchy fat in between the lean meat for the pork! Best of things, the waiting queue here is reasonable.

And the chunky peanuts sauce is served hot, without that sinful layer of oil. They would have scored a perfect 10, if pineapple puree is added into the satay sauce!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Sichuan Mala Fragrant Pot, 麻辣香锅

We are always enthusiastic to trying out new food in the neighborhood hawker centre; particularly foreign cuisines which look appetizing from the patronizing tables. But sometimes, we didn't know what or how to order!

Sheepishly, we asked the stall owner, "What is this that you have? How do we order? How do we eat it? Which are the popular ingredients to have?" And now we know that 'hot pot' doesn't always implied steamboat.  

Our ala-carte for 2 pax, with 1 rice ($11.90)

The friendly hawker at the Alexandra Village Food Centre recommends the beef tripe, cabbage and instant noodle pack that we missed; while Ric got down to picking up as many varieties of food as he can.

Our selection - beef, pork, cuttlefish, enoki mushroom, king mushroom, shimeji mushroom, beancurd skin, taupok, pig's skin, spinach vegetable, black fungus, lotus roots, mung bean sprouts, instant noodle pack and my favorite thick vermicelli (濑粉)!

Vegetables               $0.80/ 100g
Meat Type               $2.50/ 100g
Fungus Type           $1.80/ 100g
Seafood Type          $3.00/ 100g
Minimum amount to order is $4.

The hawker weighs our selection with us, then proceed to cook and spicy up the dish with Mala sauce, spring onions, sesame seeds and roasted peanuts! This big bowl of mildest spice level is hot enough for us to douse ourselves with chilled sugarcane drinks and still numb our lips! At the same time, the taste is novel and temptingly spicy - we couldn't stop eating!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Montaillac Cuvée Vin De Pay Merlot 2011

Montaillac Cuvée Vin De Pay Merlot 2011, 12% vol.

When you host, pay attention or even test out the wine that restaurants offered to package into your dinner. Avoid the bad luck of helping to clear their cart of lousy wine.

The bottle here is especially base. Probably my worst so far, and it says product of France - you could booze this like a fish and suffered an absolute plain aftertaste, devoid of vine grapes.

I gulped down my glass and got a little woozy while my partner returned his. We had rather have tea.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Restoran Loon Sing, 隆盛佛跳墙酒搂

Does one dream of holding one's wedding banquet in Johor Bahru? Their renowned good food; made affordable by ringgit exchange rates and significantly improved restaurant decor these days, it might just be worth considering the hassle of ferrying all your friends and relatives over the causeway for the big day...

Especially after today's smooth traffic across the immigration offices in our chartered buses, and delectable lunch banquet at Restoran Loon Sing (adjacent to AEON Bukit Indah & McDonalds); any of our resolve begin to waver - we wiped off clean every dishes; everyone enjoyed ourselves and left home feeling well fed.

Menu for the day is especially impressive with lobster salad, abalone soup, roasted suckling pig, steamed fish, baked prawns and braised fish maw! We are quite sure such listing fetches more than S$1K/ per table in Singapore?

This is about RM$1500, include all taxes. Now start thinking about it!

Lobster Salad Combination Platter

"Buddha Jumps Over The Wall" with Abalone, Mushroom, Shark fins, Scallop, Sea Cucumber and Chicken. 

Roasted Golden Suckling Piglet

Steamed Marble Goby with Fine Soy Sauce

Wok Baked Sea Prawns in Twins Style (Sesame sauce/ Salted egg yolk)

Braised Fish Maw Dry Scallop & Mushroom Greens

Emperor Waxed Meats Rice with Eight Treasures

Home Made Snow Ice, Mango flavor

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Less Than Awfully Chocolate

1/4 cut of All Chocolate ($34, 6" dia.) 

6 years, was how long we last seen Awfully.

Today, it stands much lesser awful and lesser chocolaty than how we had love to remember. Of course, the famous recipe never change; we are built greedy and it just maybe time to try their Super Stacked Chocolate Cake ($7.90, per 100g) - a thicker, richer version of the All Chocolate cake with more bite.

Nevertheless, the pudding-like chocolate cake is moist and utterly light, faintly sweet with hint of bitterness - we could like, eat this forever until the chocolaty gets us.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

No Signboard Seafood, since 1981

Sri Lanka Crab, White Pepper ($70++/kg; approx. $80++)

No Signboard Seafood is a place for crab-eaters with fat wallets - Sri Lanka crab is their cheapest offering at seasonal price while the Australia Snow crab ($130/kg), Tasmania King Crab and Alaska King Crab goes up to $180/kg!

The must try would be their much celebrated white pepper recipe - crab stir-fried in thick white pepper sauce and generously garnished with stalks of spring onion. It is not bad indeed; the same could be said about their chili crab too, delectable sauce.

That being said, standard cooking recipe of a mud crab doesn't warrant a visit to an expensive restaurant to savor the freshness of the seafood. It is something you would better enjoy in a laid back setting; eating with bare hands.

Sri Lanka Crab, Chili ($70++/kg; approx. $80++) with mini fried buns ($0.50 each)

Sri Lanka Crab, Butter ($70++/kg; approx. $80++)

Notwithstanding, No Signboard could certainly boost of having a group of accomplished chefs behind them; capable of churning out several delectable dishes, other than just crabs - meaty prawns in herbal claypot; nicely charred Soon Hock fish and sauteed chicken which we mistake for richer pork ribs.

It is a pleasant surprise that No Signboard is serious of being an all-rounder.

Drunken Prawns ($48++)
Hong Kong Style Steamed Soon Hock/ Marble Goby fish ($70++/ kg; $80++)

Saute Chicken with Superior Honey Sauce ($20++)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Healthy Tuna Sandwich

After hundred years of preparing tuna sandwiches - learned during my cafe's apprentice days, i'm finally doing a healthier version of it by omitting the mayonnaise that goes into the entire tub. Omission of the liquid also better extends shelf life (4 days in refrigeration) of the sandwich with its wet cuts of celery, onions and peppermint leaves. A generous dash of pepper helps too.

After spreading the tuna on bread, mustard sauce, nonfat salad dressings, salsa or nonfat mayonnaise was used as condiment, sparingly - just a few drops for taste.

Still too dry a sandwich for you? Heap up with slices of juicy tomatoes or green lettuces. Now eat.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Godiva Chocolatier - Sea Salt with Cacao

Godiva 50% Cacao Sea Salt, Godiva 72% Cacao Almond

And i almost forgot Godiva chocolate, dismissing them simply as bars of cocoa without creativity; until Nic bought these from his America trip - bitter chocolate with tiny bits of sea salt crystals. We love it!

Now that i better appreciate; it maybe anytime a decent Godiva than the fancier Royce.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

天天到, Hokkien Fried Noodles

"Everyday you report!" Such auspicious name for a stall; direct translation from its Chinese signboard.

As an unspoken rule - you go to any hawker centre; you saw the longest queue; you join the queue at the stall; and you should get to savour some of the tastiest, right? Haaaa... Wrong! When you are at Ang Mo Kio, Chong Boon Market and Food Centre.

Hokkien Sotong Mee ($3.50)

Our smallest serving from the stall to share when Ric saw their lesser than desirable cooking as he nears the front of the queue, and decides to downsize our order. Haaaa... we couldn't understand the long queue given the mediocre standard of the Hokkien noodle.

Give the girl a BMX, and she would gladly cycle over to nearby Teck Ghee Square for some truly scrumptious Eng Ho Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee.

Friday, November 7, 2014

My Fried Rice Don't Stick to the Wok!

How do you do that? And with lesser cooking oil!

You see, fried rice tastes good when you add eggs to it; but often eggs cause the sticking of the wok. The gist of it would be "when" you add the eggs. Never do it after heating up the rice, do it way before.

Crack the no. of eggs you like onto the cooked rice, mixing them well. Let it sit for at least 10 mins - for the eggs to dry up a little. Following this, you need just add enough oil to grease the wok. Heat it up before adding in the rice that's coated with eggs - this way, the rice just wouldn't stick to the wok as the fried eggs layer gave it a dried, hardened crust.

Continue frying the rice, then proceed to add in your usual pepper, salt/ light soya sauce, ingredients and every other things. Just 2 mins before dishing up, turn up the fire to give it a final char, and serve.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Peranakan Buffet at Hotel Grand Pacific

Prawn & Fish Crackers, Deep Fried Squids, Fried Fish, Fried Ngoh Hiang (with sauce and sambal chili)

Within a span of 1 month, i actually came back to Hotel Grand Pacific (Sun's Cafe) twice, with different group of my family members for their Peranakan themed buffet. Prices were so affordable with Groupon, we didn't have to over-eat to make the money worth, and fare was palatable and exciting enough for the gathering.

On both occasions, i noticed that food almost never run out at this generously replenished buffet where we left with satisfied burps and rounded bellies. If you think varieties (shown here) weren't enough, don't worry, i missed out half their cooked food section - mostly seafood, and desserts - fruits, warm sweet soup and Swensen's ice-cream!

Fresh Salad, Nonya Achar, Chilled Boiled Streaky Pork with Cincalok

Fruit Rojak (Pineapple, Green Mango, Green Apple, Guava, Cucumber, Turnip) & Kueh Pie Tee Corner

Claypot Corner 

Claypot Corner - Babi Pongteh, Curry Chicken, Itik Sioh (duck), Beef Rendang

Cuttlefish Congee, Laksa, Fish Maw with minced Pork Ball Soup, Udang Lemak Nenas (Prawns with pineapples in coconut curry)

 Roasted Pork/ Roasted Duck

Assorted Nonya Kueh

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Kate's Catering Services

High Tea Bento Box

A taste of Kate's Catering when the seminar includes tea break from them.

We have their BBQ pizza bread, shell potato curry puff, Vietnamese yam spring roll, egg nori rolls and mochi sweets. Just the other day, we tried their fried bee hoon with vegetables, five spice chicken ngoh hiang, steamed crystal skin soon kuey and yam cake with chocolate eclair. And i especially enjoyed their mochi, soon kuey, yam cake and chocolate eclair.

Judging from their high tea offering, i believe they are capable of running a satisfactory buffet line - unique dishes and good pricing; taking a look on their website.