Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Red Love Seed, 相思豆

Red is the symbol of love. 
In the south, the Saga Seed Tree buds in Spring. 
The red seeds spill from the pods, scattering on the ground. 
Pick them up, as many as you can, 
as if gathering thoughts and memories of those you love. 

The Sage seed tree (Adenanthera Pavonina) had been so familiar in old Singapore; none of us bothered to closely examine it, nor collect the tough polished seeds. In old Singapore, couples in love picked up the scattered red seeds, bottled them in pretty glass container as their memoir of love.

Today is my first serious look at the 'love seed' with a young child beside, and she was fascinated!

Am going to start locating the few surviving Sage seed tree in Singapore; embarking on my first and only, love in a bottle.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Deli Hub Catering - Seminar Package

Half Day Seminar Package (tea break + lunch), $19+ per pax

Deli Hub just taught me - if you have the space, do arrange your buffet table as a centre piece, it looked this good! Better than the linear arrangement. It wasn't the company's first ordering from them and food has been complimentable so far - low on salt and MSG. This is lunch today.

Together with Orange Clove (another good caterer), they obtained their Halal certification under the Neo Group Branding.

Mee Goreng (Optional Mains added at $3.50+ per pax), Thai Pineapple Rice w Raisins, Braised Bean Curd

Spring Onion Dory Fish, Sweet & Sour Chicken, Cai Xin w Straw Mushroom

Otah-Otah and Chilled Sea Coconut w Fruit Cocktail

Saturday, June 13, 2015

如记, Ru Ji Kitchen - Handmade Fishballs!

On any average morning, this busiest food stall in Holland Drive Food Centre easily lures you onto the back of their long human queue! There are several popular stalls nearby (We will get to those.), but none beats this.

The stall has been boosting of their handmade fish balls and fish cakes for the longest time - Years back, with several interviews running on the paper but we have never got to try them till today.

Patrons before us were all having their dry noodle; but i do prefer their lighter soupy version. The fish balls prove to be meatier than our usual albeit the slight fishy stench and it being saltier, else it was great. Ric is intolerant to such, so we wouldn't be hurrying back. And yes, you taste the MSG here.

Mee Pok Fishball Noodle Dry ($3)

Kway Teow Noodle Soup ($3)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Happy Hour at Barossa Bar

Black Angus beef sliders (free-flow for Happy Hour)

House Red ($12++ by glass, $60++ by bottle)

A casual night out at the Esplanade waterfront where we leisurely enjoyed their many free concerts and performance, put up for the weekends. Taking to the glass heightened the mood; our illuminated cityscape looking more stunning than ever as we strolled across the new Jubilee Bridge - we felt enveloped by this modern city!

Now, i just wished the black Angus beef sliders at Barossa Bar wasn't of burger patty material, and were better browned for that charred aroma. Maybe another night.

Night View from the Esplanade Outdoor Theater

28th SEA Games Singapore

Traditional Dragon Boat Race Event at the Marina Bay

After a spectacular opening ceremony to the 28th South East Asian Games on 5 June, 2 weeks of exciting games followed! We were trying to catch as many sports action as we could, over the night hours.

Winning games and medals bind the people together as we cheered on Team Singapore - after all it is our 50th year of independence, and the year beloved statesman, Mr Lee Kuan Yew departed. National pride seems at its highest; even failures were cheered. Lauding 84 gold medals, and 259 in all, threw the nation in jubilation - their best performance so far in SEA games. It is a memorable 2 weeks.

Maybe this little red dot has finally found its feet. Maybe these people of diverse language, race and religion are finally coming together. Maybe Singapore can survive as a nation after all. Let's pray we stay this rugged.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

58 Minced Meat Noodle - Complain but i still want to eat!

Up the escalator in Taman Jurong Market Food Centre to level 3, a snaking queue greeted us. Then a strong, mouth-watering vinegary whiff hits me! It stopped my footsteps, quite literally. I jumped behind the queue and simply refused to look further.

Today is not my first. It's been more than 2 years from my last bowl of bak chor mee here!

Bak Chor Mee, dry ($2.50)

Its memorable taste is heart-stopping wonderful! No doubt, Ric had to spend half an hour at the queue that moves ever so slowly, with the hawker moving away next door to refill his drink, making phone calls while peeping in to the queue. Haha... Ric was clearly irritated.

But i was heightened in anticipation. Between crunchy lard bits with minced meat, pork slices, tender pig's liver, canned button mushrooms and fresh Shiitake, i took a sip of their altogether savory soup to dispel the morning chill. Ahhh...

Bak Chor Mee Pok, soup ($2.50)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak No.2 - Nevermind MSG lah!

Royal Flush Set ($5) - Chicken Wing, Otah, Potato Begedil, Egg & Ikan Bilis (add $0.20 for takeaway)

Lunch was an impromptu takeaway from the Adam Road Food Centre as colleagues were in the vicinity - We were just discussing about the famous Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak last week, when we were at the popular Boon Lay Power Nasi. You see how Singaporean eats? From the West, we talked about another makan outlet at the Central of the island.

Both of these stalls are perfect for a self-indulgence meal on Nasi Lemak - fresh fried chicken wings, fragrant Basmati rice and savory chili sauce. The anti-climate was the dehydration after that; when we drank like camels after the MSG-laden meals! But i had enjoyed every piece of this decadent meal, once in a boring while. And i licked the chili clean at Selera Rasa today!

There's a story behind the famous Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak that says our Singapore Prime Minister and his guests are often treated to this commoners' fare. I seldom agreed with MSG, but in Selera Rasa, i wanted to. Where it's convenient, and with minimum queue at the stall, do serve me another.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Cathay Restaurant, 新国泰冷气酒家

Chicken Yam Ring

Cathay Restaurant in Johor Bahru was where we ended our 2 days trip; dinner has to be early as we were rushing to beat the Causeway jam to Singapore. We even joked that dinner would be only 30 mins!

With this mentality and early timing, our plates were barely cleared although food has been decent. The strong air-conditioning in the old restaurant also had most of us scuffing about... but i made sure i pecked extra portion of the delicious braised chicken, before scrambling back to the warm outside air. (Yes, we did beat the Causeway jam.)

Shark's fin Soup

Beancurd Fish Cake

Braised Herbal Chicken

Mayo Prawns

Nyonya Sayang Restoran - Homely & Unpretentious

Beneath the secluded doorway of Nyonya Sayang hides a bustling kitchen, all geared up for the lunch crowd that swarm in steadily. The restaurant looked a little too new for good food, but we settled in comfortably in their airy dining hall.

Singaporeans do love Nyonya food, for its many spices used. Fresh from our hotel buffet breakfast, just some 3hrs ago, the group is all ready to wallop up these plain looking dishes?

Sometimes, you really don't judge a book by its cover. Nyonya Sayang definitely isn't the best Nonya restaurant in Malacca; we had had better, but we appreciate home-styled cooking, especially after all that restaurants' feasting on this trip. We like the taste of food - genuinely fresh ingredients, apt seasoning and their obvious culinary efforts. The most popular dish being the braised Cabbage! And the Otah just reminded me how mum used to prepare it at home!

Just when we thought we had too much Chendol-ing? Sorry, we finished their bowl of watery and not-too-sweet Chendol! It seems to satisfy everybody's taste buds. We liked it! 

Ikan Goreng Cili (Deep fried fish with a sprinkling of deep fried fresh Chilies)

Homemade Otah and Udang Masak Lemak Nanas (Prawns with Pineapple in spicy Coconut milk gravy)

Nyonya Chap Choy (Signature Nyonya braised Cabbage)

Ayam Pong Teh (Chicken braised with preserved soya bean paste, Mushroom and Yam)

Sambal Petai with fried Ikan Bilis

Sambal Bendih (Ladies finger with Chilies, dried prawn and a squeeze of lime juice)

Gula Melaka Chendol

Chendol-ing in Malacca!

So which is the Durian Cendol? The plain white snowy looking one, behind.

Durian Cendol (RM$6.80), Gula Melaka Cendol (RM$5.80) at San Shu Gong, Jonker.

Why do we die-die have to eat Chendol in Malacca? Because the most essential ingredient in the dessert, the Gula-Melaka is found here. It is a type of dark brown coconut palm sugar which gives the recipe its deep rich flavor of sweetness. The alluring smoky aroma of the sugar is unique; guaranteed to binds you for life...

Although you are able to buy the Gula Melaka, quite easily in Asia; everyone simply acknowledge the supremacy of the palm sugar from Malacca alone. And yes, i was made to carry some 3kg of the sugar nuggets, back to Singapore. Mum loves cooking desserts with it.

Durian Cendol (RM$5.50), Gula Melaka Cendol (RM$4.50) at Tan Kim Hock Dessert House

Just when we were complaining of over cloying Cendol from San Shu Gong last night; the ones at Tan Kim Hock Product Centre proves to be even more so! But at TKH, at least you get these really large sized red beans and durian puree on top of the dessert; at SSG, they serve large sweeten attap seeds instead, accompanied with strong whiff of the durian essence.

At both places though, we had preferred their Gula Melaka Cendol to the Durian, which is less cloying. A pure enjoyment of their remarkable Gula-Melaka. TKH does serves up a mightier Cendol of the brown sugar.

Well, there's no fight between the 2 names actually. Father and son related - Dr Tan Kim Hock is the father of San Shu Gong's maker.

Biscuits, Pastries, Tau Sar Piah and Heong Peah!

Sales at Gu Pong Enterprise, in Jonker Walk

"Alright, Mummy. We are buying too much! How are we going to hand carry these across the custom office!? No hands!" I was complaining. But compared to our group, we were considered the modest lot. You know, some families snapped up 20 packs of Heong Peah in a shop!

But mum simply couldn't resist the palm-sized salted Tau Sar Piah (10 pcs for RM$10) at Gu Pong Enterprise when we were at Jonker Walk. We also bought their individually packed, charcoal-grilled Heong Peah (10pcs for RM$13.50) when a fellow traveler highly recommends it - Yes, it's those flaky biscuits with infill of sweet molten maltose!

京园, Jing Yuan Biscuit and Bakery

More at Jing Yuan Biscuit and Bakery where warm baking aroma of their Tau Sar Piah (Salted Beans Biscuits) entices us! It smells wonderful! And as packing size could be variant as per order, we were encouraged to make some small selections for neighbors at home.

Then it was at 新源珍 where our group snapped up their SGT Heong Peah (1 bag for RM$10.50, buying 10 bags get 1 free) in ten and twenty packets! We even have to wait for the new bake as our group has emptied their stocks! Back home, friends and colleagues love the freshness of the pastry, and we just managed to locate their nearest subsidiary, the 明安, Ming An Confectionery in Johor Bahru.