Saturday, February 26, 2011

V.S. Vietnamese Cuisine

Our long absence from Prince George Park Residences Foodgle Hub. It was raining dogs and cats while visiting a colleague in NUH, so dining at PGPR seems a natural choice given its proximity and sheltered parking amenity.

Fried Chicken, Braised Pork, Cabbage Salad - 2 Meat, 1 Veg ($5)

Have you had Vietnamese food? I don't mean the ubiquitous Vietnam Beef Kway Teow Soup but their real cooked food; it might look similar to our local Chinese cooking but tasted otherwise.

Today, we joined the decent queue at PGPR Vietnamese food stall who offers a good 8 selection of home-styled dishes for dinner. The seasoning of meat and refreshing use of green Mint, Onions and Shallots characterizes their cuisine.

Stewed Pork, Cabbage Salad, Bean Sprouts - 1 Meat, 2 Veg ($4)

Without a doubt, this is pricier than the nearby Vietnamese stall in Business Canteen, NUS and of much smaller serving too but we enjoyed the variant sampling to complain ;)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Tab!

Drawn resonance reading the article Samsung's Galaxy Tab is iPad's First Real Rival and an unbiased review here. Googled cos Ric just gave me the Android that i expressed interest on ;) saw it while window shopping and like its sleek handy size.

The 7-inch tablets seem to be made for our smaller one-handed use than larger-screened ones (the 9.7-inch iPad); weighting less than a pound, i thus agree to adopt it as a mobile phone.

Samsung Galaxy Tab (S$998 without mobile plan)

Hate carrying multiple electronic gadgets, i love it for the fact that Samsung Galaxy Tab has phone communication abilities; i expect my tablet to work as well as my current handphone. Yes, it should act as my mp3 music player too!

It felt really COOL when i tested out the Tab by speaking to Ric on the speaker phone while surfing on the screen! The speakers sounded noticeably crispier than the average smartphone!

Of course there are the grouses of shorter battery life as compared to the iPad, and the inconvenience of ear piece connection for heavy phone user, but all in all, i love the Tab as it is ;) What's really dreary? Having to learn around the whole new Android interface after being so comfortable with years of Nokia.

"It's different enough from the iPad, yet good enough, to give consumers a real choice." quoted from Compare it with 16GB iPad which is going for S$928, which will you choose?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Handheld Garlic Dicer!

Onion/ Garlic Dicer ($10)

Ric bought this handheld chopper from the market peddler during the Chinese New Year; and i've yet the chance to try it out until today that Mom asked for my help to prepare the Hot Wok Garlic Prawns - needs lots of Garlic.

Let's see how this basic 2-blade performs...

Filled it up with skinned Garlic.. cover the lid and manually rotate the blades for 30 seconds...

Magic! And you don't need a 20 blades gadget to do this; easy cleaning 2 blades does it!? Amazing! Love it!

But, a later try with Ginger, Chili and Basil leaves doesn't yield a mix as finely minced as the Garlic. Will try it with Onions and Capsicum next; i believe it should do a beautiful job ;)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Chopard Happy St.Valentine 2009

"Diamonds are happiest when they are free."
Karl Scheufele, President of Chopard.

Ric had generously bought the watch on 13 Feb 2009, 2 years ago, just a day before Valentine's Day. It was in fact the very last piece of the limited 300 pieces that was specially assembled for The Hour Glass in 2009.

I had a whirl emotion of delight and confusion of owning my 1st 'Happy Diamond' collection by award winning designer Ronald Kurowski (in 1976); a rather expensive quartz watch.

But the charming 35mm dia. condone the impromptu purchase by mesmerizing me with its dancing diamond-encrusted heart that spin round the dial gracefully like a top! Instead of just gliding across plainly. At that instant, i was captivated.

Sandwiched between double sapphires crystals, the clarity of the mobile diamonds from jewel maker, Chopard was evident. Year by year, i wear the watch on each St.Valentine's Day..

美珍香, Bee Cheng Hiang

Slice Pork Barbecued Meat, Bakkwa ($48/kg)

Bakkwa has to be my favourite Lunar New Year goodies; without, my new year holiday would never be complete. Totally unpretentious, i always wish for just a Bee Cheng Hiang - quality guaranteed; forget the bustle of queuing up at the few famously named barbecued meat chain, or even deciding between them.

Absolutely juicy, tender yet deliciously chewy with just the right amount of sweetness, i love my Bee Cheng Hiang sliced pork Bakkwa where each are of about 3-4mm thickness - Yes, only the "sliced" give this satisfying chew, never the minced meat ones!

Benefits of this post-new-year purchase? No rush for the serving staffs; each sweet meat slices meticulously barbecued, handled and cooled. All ready for storage or the immediate chaw. Yum.

Sakuraya Fish Mart

Swordfish/ Mekajiki ($10.80, $98/kg), Amber Jack and Bluefin Tuna, Green Tea ($1.50 x2)

Sakuraya Fish Mart, reputed to be the most economical place for Japanese Sashimi in Singapore? Freshness of their Sashimi are well above those from buffet lines, and comparable to the standard of Japanese restaurant but at a knock off price.

We were on a Valentine's Day treat for ourselves at Parkway Parade <3

Tuna/ Honmaguro Ohtoro ($41.30, $480/kg)

Otoro (oh-toh-roh), the fattiest portion of the Bluefin Tuna, found on the very underside of the fish; it was considered to be the most expensive cut for Sashimi. Beautiful fat marbling, it can literally melt in your mouth yet offers a delicate juicy chew to that of Wagyu.

I certainly recommend the Otoro for a 1 time experience but never make it your regular plate as the species is endangered by overfishing, due to this, they are becoming very expensive. Do support Wildlife conservation!

Amberjack/ Kanpachi ($16.65, $160/kg)

Instead the recommended Amberjack by the serving lady proved to be a much justifiable treat. The chef had even carefully sliced our sweet-tasting  fish into 2 different cuts that offers a variant taste on the palates.

Firmly crunchy Amberjack is a gem!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Wan Chai, Hong Kong, NTU, Singapore

Beef Brisket Noodle ($3.80)

HK Shrimp Dumplings Noodle ($2.80)

These are our personal favourites, Beef Brisket Noodle and Shrimp Dumplings Noodle from Wan Chai HK Tea Room, NTU.

We were so sure of our own preferences that we don't have to share them; needed a complete serving to satisfy the individual craving... :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Mini Wok at Canteen 14

The day was cool after rain, so i suggested we check back on the China Cze Char in NTU Canteen 14 (non-air con).

干扁苦瓜, Deep Fried Bitter Gourd with Black Bean ($4)

The Bitter Gourd was a recipe that also includes saltish preserved radish, 菜脯. The fusion of bitterness and savoriness are titillative.

干妈牛柳, Fried Beef with Lao-Gan-Ma Sauce ($6), Rice ($0.20 x2)

The Braised Beef with Carrot was sold out and we yielded to a new try of fried beef with Lao-Gan-Ma sauce. What's Lao-Gan-Ma sauce?

Don't know, but we see just the same spices used in their common Sichuan spicy mix... ... still yearning for their Braised Beef!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Of Bees and Butterflies - Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West

Does one look forward to flower blooms in the Lunar New Year? That's why multitude flocks to Sentosa Flower Festival that's held annually? We had quite our fair share of the hustle then and decided no more of such strife during the holiday.

How about visiting the many Singapore's neighbourhood parks for colors of Spring, like this one in Ang Mo Kio? Compared to those blooms of the Festival, plants here are in a more natural state.

The many Bees and Butterflies that graces the garden are delightful! If you knew how important they are in the horticulture scene and plants pollination; seeing them simply mean your garden is a thriving wildlife.

If you are interested, here's a useful website for names, pictures and description of plants in Singapore.

Lotus Pond, Nelumbo nucifera

琴叶珊瑚, 日日樱, Jatropha integerrima

Before i forget, today i'm using a borrowed Panasonic Leica GF1 on Panasonic Pancake 20mm, f1.7 lens. How do you like these un-edited photos? For an amateur photographer like me, the GF1 is effortlessly helpful.

And do enjoy your walk in the park...

达记, Tat Kee Noodle Stall

Roast Pork with Dumpling Noodle ($2.50)

I remembered we have had from this noodle stall (#01-30) in Pek Kio Food Centre - so many years back! The stall is still around and tastes as good as it does.

Pork Ribs Noodle ($2.50)

One characteristic that sets in apart from the countless stalls selling Wanton Noodles is in their seasoning mix for dry noodles - Braised meat sauce added give a groovy punch to the otherwise regular recipe.

I like the novelty. You may too?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

the Little Penguin, SHIRAZ 2008

the Little Penguin Shiraz, 750ml (Promotion Price $9.95)

I was practically enjoying wine with red meat, grilled some bratwursts tonight and couldn't wait to start off with the bottle ;)

Its label reads the South Eastern Australia red would be spicy but was glad the Little Penguin spiciness was of the pleasant sort. I distaste spicy wine; though this is good, drinking up fast for its 13.5% alc./ vol.

Ric decided to have less tonight; saving the bottle for nxt.
While i was in the mood to bottoms up...!

Grilling Brat (wurst)

"Best Brats are the natural, uncooked sausages..." i read.
And so is mine, from QB Frozen Food.

1. Thaw the hard frozen sausages thoroughly.
2. Prick sausages 1/4 inch deep with a fork at 2-3 locations, per sausage.
3. Layer oven tray with aluminium foil for ease of cleaning up.
4. Uncooked fresh sausage may then be cooked directly in the oven over medium heat of 170-200 degrees for 10mins, turn the sausages (if you are on 1 side heating) for another 10mins, and it's done.
5. Rest sausages from heat for 10mins before cutting them up so they don't lost its juices.

As you can see, i made slight cuttings on the Brats before cooking, next time i shall just prick it to minimise the oozing out of meat juices during cooking. Of course, Brats will have more grease in there if not pierced.

If you decide to have it as a hot dog bun, top up with Mustard - the traditional dipping sauce for Bratwurst. We are having ours plain with red wine tonight ;)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Rain Lilies Zephyranthes

What was i doing in the first morning of the Chinese Lunar New Year? Gardening, usually. Today i've a time consuming project of transplanting Sis's abandoned Zephyranthes to pots, digging up all the little bulbs.

Actually it was Sister-in-law who saw them last night and suggested we recover them - she likes the little flower petals, and so do i. It does seem meaningful marking the first day of Spring by planting; though my nails are soiled by the dark earth, got to clear them up before visiting later ;P


Poem by 唐 韩愈《晚春》

We have the Zephyranthes candida – White flowers, thin grassy green strap foliage, small bulb. And the Zephyranthes rosea- small Pink flowers, flat grassy green strap foliage, larger bulb.

While the little Lilies doesn't bloom all year round; depending on the climate, i took pride in its long slender foliage. Even at its opportunistic flowering, the green doesn't obscure the blooms but graces them. Keep in mind that ALL parts of this plant are toxic, the leaves, flowers, bulbs and seed.

I shall update again when they bloom, hopefully together...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Black Pig - Kurobuta Pork Belly!

U.S. Kurobuta Pork Belly from MMMM! ($6.80 per 200g)

THis is 1 fresh ingredient that has made itself a permanent fixture to our Annual Steamboat cum Teppanyaki Reunion Dinner - The Berkshire Black Pig, an American animal that the Japanese had grown so fondly of, the Kurobuta they call it.

Gliding it in hot soup reaps you a clean strip of 'purest tasting' pork; flipping it on teppanyaki plate generously oils the hot surface, getting it ready for more Teppanyaki cooking. Promptly, pop the slightly charred belly warp into your mouth, savoring its ultra delightful juices...

We had some common Pork collar by the table and could thus clearly distinguish between the two by our tongues. The Black Berkshire was unlike that of modern pork that irks of typical porky taste, its delicate texture and succulent meat left you hankering for more.

Having the options of Pork loin, collar or the belly, we love the belly most for its luscious bite. Withholding our stomach reserves for the red meat, we pass on the ever popular Abalone!? And have voted unanimously - next year's budget for Abalone would be saved for more of Piggy ;))

Pardon for the lack of pictures of the cooked meat; we were enjoying ourselves too much to stop :)

New Moon Premium Grade (NZ Jumbo) Abalone

New Moon NZ Premium Abalone, 750g ($68.80)

Ric had redeemed the abalone after splurging $1,688 on OCBC credit cards this month. Marketed by Goh Joo Hin, the jumbo sized can (yes, only the can was jumbo-sized, the abalone was 2's and of average width) was quite a disappointment.

I wouldn't mind its New Zealand origin, as it was of satisfactory tenderness. It was the large volume of water i emptied out of the can that dispirited - forewarning the smallness of the abalone.

Resentment for the gimmicky packaging sets in. Getting any two standard cans maybe a better idea... if you need 2 of these sea snails.

Swensens - A lunch before the Reunion Dinner

We were at City Square Mall for lunch and shopping some new clothes at bYSI 50% Sales; yeah, was feeling a lacking in new clothes to wear for the Chinese New Year's day tomorrow ;)

Grilled Fish Sambal ($14.90++)

A humble fare of Dory fishes; Swensen offers comfortable dining while many food outlets already closed for the Lunar New Year celebration today, it's the Eve when the Chinese places great emphasis in the preparation for the nite's dinner.

We were also reserving our appetite for tonight's celebratory reunion.
Hope you enjoys the long weekend holiday too ;)

Fish & Chips ($14.50++)