Monday, July 14, 2014

Shinkansen- Life on the fast track

When fast food doesn't have to be supersize-me food.

A choice of transit, station and terminal.
Let's go straight for the Terminal.

A base, 5 toppings, sauce, 2 add-ons and a choice of meat.
This goes for $12 for a hefty serving.

This was my choice for today.
A base of soba noodles.
Almonds, mushrooms, carrots, tamago, pickled seaweed.
Apricots and Quinoa.
Tuna Tataki.
With sesame plum dressing. :)

Other than the fact that the tuna was sliced too thin,
everything else was a joy to eat.
A mix of sweet, salty, savoury yum.
Healthy never tasted better.

Ask the staff for their sauce pairing recommendations.
And if you still aren't too sure about your choice of sauce,
make a request for it to be packed separately.
They'll gladly oblige.
And you wouldn't have to worry that the sauce isn't enough.
They always make sure their customers are well fed.
And their takeaway bowls well dressed!

They have an opening promotion now for their branch at 100AM in the Tanjong Pagar area.
Get your bowls here with their one-for-one deal till the 25th of July.
Time to hop on the Shinkansen! :)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Visiting Sir Antonio- The Tiramisu Hero

The sun was out in all of its oppressive heated glory.

And just like everyone else, we needed to seek respite from its angry rays before we melted into nothingness.

Oh the drama.

And so welcoming was the blast of cool wind. We decided to bask in all of its air conditioned loving arms whilst waiting for a seat in the bustling crowd of cafe hoppers on a Sunday.

Thankfully, getting a seat at their communal tables didn't take too long.
The creme brulee latte came with an overpowering scent but for what it served in smell, it failed to make up in taste.

These chicken wings looked like heaven.
But again, fell short of their pedestal.
Straight from the fridge to the oven grills left them with an unmistakable un-thawed taste.

The waffles?
On their own, they were decent.
But those two scoops of vanilla ice cream was less than stellar.
They tasted of low quality and ruined the entire waffle order.

The tiramisu was quite the saving grace.
Though a little costly for its size.

It's a shame though because I loved the decor,
the aircon was quite the blast :)
The happy colors in the washroom and the cute drawings of The Tiramisu Hero of course!

I'm sure they'll get better as the cafe continues.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Seoul food. Japchae.

These korean glass noodles made from sweet potato starch are honestly the bomb.
They take in so much flavour it's a treat for the taste buds every mouth you take.

The key is to make sure these strands are nicely separated from each other.
After boiling them in hot salted water,
drain and toss in sesame oil before setting aside to cool.

1 tbsp cooking oil
2 tbsp soy sauce (or 1 tbsp soy, 1 tbsp fish sauce)
1 tsp sugar (optional)
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 piece of bacon, chopped
1 piece of fishcake, sliced
1 green capsicum, cut lengthwise into matchsticks
1 carrot, cut lengthwise into matchsticks
Half a packet of korean glass noodles

Heat oil in pan, and pan fry bacon and garlic till fragrant.
Toss in onion and fry till translucent.
Add in carrot sticks and fry for a couple of minutes before adding in capsicum sticks.
Leave in pan to be cooked through till frying slice can be used to cut through the carrot sticks with little effort.
Add soy sauce (and sugar if used)
Lastly, add in fishcake pieces and fry for a couple of minutes.
Throw in the cooked noodles and toss till ingredients have been well mixed into the noodles.

Best served when hot.

**Other ingredients for the japchae would include: black wood fungus, black mushrooms, spinach and sesame seeds.

Seoul food.

Xian De Lai

Happy appetizers.
This is much less spicy than it actually looks.
Feel free to put the dried chilli into the soup to up the spice factor.
These tiny morsels of chicken although frustrating with all the tiny bones,
are deep fried yum.
Think spicy popcorn chicken- with bones.

Spicy chicken/ pork ribs soup base.

There's a whole conglomeration of hotpot stalls in the area.
So why XDL?

The familiarity of the place (It's a hotpot girlfriend hangout place for me)
plus it's fully air conditioned and they have these awesome cushion seats which are cosily comfortable although I have much reservations about their cleanliness.

They have a good spread of ingredients to choose from.
Four types of mushrooms, house specials and cooked items served in bite sized portions.

The vegetables are fresh.
I have not yet once seen vegetables with worm eaten leafs or dirty stalks.

Canned drinks are at a standard rate of about $1.80.
And they do serve complimentary tap water :)

Customise your own dip.
And my favourite is a mix of parsley, sesame sauce, generous serving of chilli padi and just a bit of soya sauce.

Finish off with their usual house special of barley and beancurd sheets. They also sometimes have white fungus and red date soup.

With the additional charge on special soup base, towels and drinks, the food can get costly here.
Unless you have the 10% off from their XDL card that most of my girlfriends have.

And just as a side note, House of steamboat is cheaper but the meats are less then fresh there.

Also, if you're willing to sweat it out- literally, 
Tian Tian Hotpot has one of the freshest meats in the area for hotpot.

Eat up and enjoy some bubbling yum over happy conversations at dinner :)

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Chicken, pork rib, mushroom stew.

Grandma's back in the game.
She's got an amazing strength and great talent when it comes to the kitchen and all that which 'home cooking' stands for.

Today's stew was cooked over charcoal.
Which really made all the difference in the world.
The best part?
The stew is kept heated and never burnt, gently bubbling over the leftover white-hot ashes.
Generous cuts of chinese black flower mushrooms,
meaty pork ribs with soft bones, 
chicken drumsticks and hardboiled eggs.
Stewed in a light soy gravy.

The mushrooms were fully absorbent of the gravy and burst into a plethora of juices on first bite.
The pork ribs were stewed till tender and fell apart almost immediately.
Likewise for the chicken drumsticks.
The gravy.
Was fragrant and light enough on tastebuds to be drunk almost like a soup.
Which was perfect since that meant I could happily skip rice. :) 

Home cooked.
Always the best kind of yum.

Preserved salted vegetables in sweetened dark soy sauce

The taste of my childhood-

Is redolent in this dish.

The simplest indulgence for a lunch affair.

A pot of sweet potato porridge.

Shallow fried pieces of luncheon meat complete with crisp edges.

And a plate of preserved vegetables.

What's that about?

Sweet salty never took on better combinations.

Two cloves of garlic, roughly chopped.
Half a head of preserved salted vegetables, chopped.
Half a bowl of dark soya sauce.
2 tbsp of sugar.
1 tbsp of canola oil.

Heat up pan and fry garlic till fragrant.
Add in chopped salted vegetables and stir fry for a few minutes.
Add in half a bowl of dark soya sauce and 2 tsbp of sugar.
Fry till vegetables are well coated in sauce.
Turn to low heat and allow to simmer for a couple of minutes.

Serve hot.
With all those other dishes above.

The tastes that bring us back to where we started.
But where did all that time go?

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Simple Stir Fry- Cabbage and dried shrimp

Doesn't mean having to eat tasteless food.

Today's simple stir fry shows you how.

Half a head of medium sized cabbage, chopped, rinsed and drained
A small handful of dried shrimp washed and soaked
Two cloves of garlic, minced
Canola Oil, 1-2 tbsp
Soya sauce, 1 tbsp

Heat up the wok.
Add in canola oil.
Stir fry the garlic and dried shrimp and fry till fragrant.
Pour in drained chopped cabbage and 1 tbsp of soya sauce.
Stir fry on high heat.
Then leave to simmer on low heat till cabbage has been cooked to your choice of doneness.

**Some like it with bite (drain some of the liquid that is produced by the cabbage) and stir-fry till dry.
Some like it softer (leave to simmer in liquid).

Eat clean and eat well :)


Monday, July 07, 2014

Hana Hana is?

Really just Teppei.
The newer, cleaner, brighter extension of Teppei.
And the strange thing is that there is so much talk of Hanare,
the restaurant just a 5 minute walk away which is managed by Teppei's wife.

But little that I've found written online about Hana Hana,
the restaurant in the next unit to Teppei.

Which is really probably why the queues over here are a lot more manageable.

To be honest,
I am reluctant to share this piece of information.
But as a fellow foodie,
there's nothing really to be selfish about sharing good food.

So there we go.
Hana Hana really is just the mirror image of Teppei, 
expanding the 21-seater restaurant to a 40-seater.

And Chef Teppei runs both kitchens simultaneously.
The people in the picture are just his assistants.

But this bowl of Bara Chirashi below, 
Chef Teppei himself served to us within a span of minutes from the time when we placed our orders before he went over to the kitchen next door.

A generous serving of salmon, tuna, swordfish, baby scallops and salmon roe lightly marinated in a sesame soy dressing atop a bed of deliciously fragrant Koshihikari rice from Toyoma, Japan.

$17.60 per serving.
 Of some of the best things in life.
 Which includes complimentary top-ups of iced tea served in beer mugs, miso soup, three kinds of sides which change regularly and pretty good service.

And as I was eating, 
I couldn't help but wonder about those 'die-hard' fans who are still sadly in ridiculous queues next door outside Teppei.

As a disclaimer, this is not to say that the queues here are non-existent.
It was peak lunch hour and we only got our seats at 1225pm after about half an hour.
So the people queueing here, are just the more initiated.

So queue less,
And still eat just as well.
Over here at Hana Hana.

Hana Hana
Orchid Hotel
1, Tras Link
S (078867)

Sunday, July 06, 2014

320 Below

 Along the same stretch of road as Noir Art Cafe,
you'll find an ice cream shop with huge bubble letterings 320 Below Nitro Cream Cafe.

To be honest,
the kiddy fonts and all too colorful chairs in the shop wasn't much of a draw for me.

But we just had some boiling hot hotpot and there's no better way than to seek relief from the cool comfort of ice cream. :)

Nitrogen ice cream wasn't a first for me. We first had it at the basement level of Terminal 21 in Bangkok in 2012 and decided that this might actually be a feasible business idea in sunny Singapore.
Suffice to say, we've said it about so many things and someone's always beaten us to it.
What else to do but enjoy the fruits of someone else's labour! :)


This was a happy nightmare for me.
How does anyone choose from this extensive list?!
Well, I couldn't.
So I asked for some help from the friendly counter staff.
She's also awfully patient with our group of five indecisive diners.
Eventually, I settled on some Christmas horlicks.
With two ticks!
But it was actually the horlicks base that I totally fell for. :)

Inexpensive shelf decorations.
That contributed to a color splash.
And I have a team mate who has a cup that he drew there. :)
Which I recently just spotted in Osulloc in Jeju.
Wonder if that was where the inspiration came from.

Tim Tam Toff, Christmas Horlicks, Blackforest, Salted Caramel and Thai Coconut.

Made with the magic of Kitchen Aids and liquid nitrogen at below 320 degrees of course.
With no stabilizers, emulsifiers or preservatives, every cup is made to order.
The possibilities are endless and if you have a dietary restriction, these peeps would be more than glad to make the necessary adjustments for you where possible.

Everything tasted amazing.
And everyone loved theirs enough not to be switching/ snatching cups.

But the waffles were quite the let down.
For what it lacked in density, it also lacked in crispiness.
I asked for my ice cream to be served on the side.
But perhaps, they could leave the waffle as a whole and serve it with my ice cream drizzled with honey.
But first, to get the batter better before anything else.

Tip: Always go in big groups. There's a lot of love to be shared in a cup of ice cream creation. :)

33 Mackenzie Road 

CX 659 Hong Kong --> Singapore 0135 h

Supper onboard.

Delightfully refreshing prawn salad with vinaigerette on the side.

Proudly Asian.
I made a choice for fried dory fillet with choy sum and steamed jasmine rice.
Late night supper club.

Followed by a selection of cheese and fruits.

Ending with a serving of Haagen Daaz ice cream. 

Life aboard Cathay Business Class. :)

Black pork in Jeju

For our last night in Jeju, we decided that we had to get some of that famed black pork.

Apparently there is a heuk-dwaeji street in Jeju which is near to Dongmun market where all the restaurants on that street guarantee that diners would be served black pork from the island's own black pigs. We weren't bothered with finding that street because there's also quite a bunch of these black pork bbq restaurants just right outside our guesthouse at Nohyeongdong which our kind host recommended for us to try.

Over the past two evenings, I've been watching families and groups of friends walking into this establishment and today, it's our turn to venture in! :)

Some of the delicious banchan placed on our table.
Those mushrooms!
My favourite.
And the paper thin slices of pickled radish and seaweed was light and refreshing.

The amount of fat is NOT for the faint hearted.
Every serving comes with mushroom and potato slices and a thick slice of onions to be placed on the grill.
The spicy kongnamul muchim is also placed on the side of the grill and a raw egg is cracked over it.

The learner cut is pork shoulder.
Pickled onion rings in soy based sauce for dips and wraps.


And if you hadn't yet noticed.
Those black hairs on the skin is proof that we're having definitely having heuk dweji.
It tasted good, with a smoky aftertaste of bacon.
But if you're asking for my opinion,
this meat costs so much more than normal cuts of pork,
you might just be better off eating leaner and more tender cuts of meat from normal pigs!

Dinner was about 130 sgd for 6 pax with two portions of black pork, one portion of pork shoulder, 5 servings of rice and one beer with unlimited refills of banchan of course! :)

72-3 Ildoi-dong (520 Yeonsam-ro) Jeju-si, Jeju-do South Korea
+82 64-724-8892