Friday, December 30, 2005

food, fun and friendship.

I had so much fun on Boxing Day catching up with old pals. It's actually amazing that us polka dotties have known each other since 17 - 18 years back, lost contact in between when we were growing up and yet still have endless things to talk about when we got reunited. To whoever is the one who initiated the reunion, I am thankful.

So.. everyone got to contribute a little that day. My mum made Shepard's Pie, I made a tomato and onion salad, Wen got busy in the kitchen by preparing rich and pure mushroom soup, fried calamari and Dida made a roast leg of lamb. Oh.. and Ama got the drinks for us =). We ended up having a feast that night and even had to walk round the estate for one hour before plonking ourselves down to watch 'Project Runway' and doing the dreaded dishes during commercials.

I have to give special mention to Dida's roast lamb because it was pretty much the STAR of the night! It was really quite delicious and it smelt great cos of the lemons and rosemary. So I'm saying it here now. DIDA makes good roast lambs. Drop me a comment if you think it looks delicious k.

This meal marked the end of my Christmas feasting but guess what, New Year's is just about to start.

Update: Dida posted a much more appealing picture of their roast lamb on their blog. They're right though, all you can do is look and drool. Click here or here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

the week past.

Triple 3, The Buffet Restaurant
Meritus Mandarin Singapore
333 Orchard Road
Tel: 6831 6271/88

Hinode Japanese Restaurant
50 Stadium Boulevard #01-02
The Oasis
Tel: 6345 2113


Too many things have happened the past week. First, I went crazy pre-christmas bcos of presents, second, my bro got detained in the US (that's a long story), and third, I ate soooo much that I don't even know where to start. Oh! and yes... I finally got the cam phone I wanted so I will FINALLY post pics!

I'm still waiting for the Meritus Mandarin Triple 3 buffet pics to come from Ling. It's nothing much anyway cos we were too busy stuffing our faces and catching up so we only took like one shot of the desserts. This makes us sound super kiasu but we ate so much that when we left, we kept going on about how full we were. But anyhow, it was a real treat cos courtesy of Ling, Ed and his sister, we managed to have the scrumptious buffet at a 50% discount! There were some good stuff like the seared tuna with honey mustard and the famous chicken rice. Liked the green tea mousse also but some others were so so. I couldn't eat most things anyway cos I was too full by then. And so, I had 2 buffets last weekend which made me super full even on when I got back to work on Monday.

I had some sort of break but by the end of the week, I started feasting and ended up at a Japanese buffet restaurant at Kallang Oasis. The restaurant's called Hinode and I say that they serve up some pretty decent food. Other than the noodles that failed miserably, some of the stuff Dar and I had were pretty good. The grilled squid and saba shioyaki deserve special mention because they were cooked so well that the squid was still soft and the fish moist. I've tried buffets at 2 other places and they both do not serve grilled squid and their saba is always dry and miserably sized. I would have liked the sashimi to be sliced a bit thicker but nonetheless, it was fresh. Menu is not as extensive as other places but I think it's good enough. Definitely worth a try.

Had my 4th buffet within 1 and a half weeks on Boxing Day. Had some pretty good stuff like fresh prawns, lobster bisque, bone-in ham etc but after this, I am NOT going to have buffets for a long time. Thinking of buffets now make me sick. It's hard to imagine what New Year's will be like. Anyways, just to show you my first serving from the buffet. I was too lazy to take more during the meal.

Got lots more to update but I think I'll save it for another entry. Til then. =)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

the magical hot pot

The Magic of ChongQing Hot Pot
19 Tanglin Road
#04-06/07 Tanglin Shopping Centre
Tel: 6734 8135

It's been slightly over 5 hours and I'm still feeling bloated from dinner. My eyes are squinting at the computer screen as I write but I can't go to sleep cos lying down now would make me feel super uncomfortable. Think I need to do something about my 'underperforming' metabolic rate.

Brought my parents to ChongQing for a steamboat buffet tonight. Mum liked it and I think, Dad did too although he always claims that foods, unless introduced by him, is not yummy enough. ChongQing serves the popular 'Yuan Yang Guo' which comprises of chicken soup and 'ma la tang'. Guess the soup is the most impt in a steamboat meal and this one made the cut cos Mum was raving about the tasty and murky soup. Although she realised later that it tastes much better when all the ingredients are not mixed inside. It's funny though cos most steamboat places serve their soups pretty bland in the beginning but gets tastier after everything is thrown in. The 'ma la tang' is almost unbearable to drink on its own so I usually mix a little of it in the chicken soup so it spices things up just a little. Dad choked on the soup cos he was trying to be a hero, thinking that the spice was nothing. He learnt after that I think.

ChongQing serves the usual steamboat fare but the fish paste is a definite must-try. Meats are also yummy cos they're sliced very thinly so that it's easy to cook and eat. To me, the uniqueness of the food is in the sauce. While Coca serves the Thai-style chilli sauce, ChongQing provides 4 sauces; a peanut sauce, chilli sauce, cut chilli with sliced garlic and sesame oil. It's up to each individual to decide what sauce they like but for me, it tastes best when everything is mixed together but in the right proportion of course. It may look disgusting initially but it tastes great with the boiled ingredients.

Pictures can speak a thousand words so maybe I didn't have to describe it so much if I had pictures of what I ate today. Unfortunately, I have no freaking camera nor a super high tech camera phone. Like i said before, before I go get one, try to use your imagination or rather, refer to the telephone number above and do the necessary.

P/S: Terribly jealous that my bro and sis have made it to NYC and ate at Les Halles! sis was going on about her t-bone and bro's hanger steak. blah blah blah about how the sauce was blah blah blah... urgh! For those who don't know, Anthony Bourdain used to be the executive chef at Les Halles, a bistro/cafe famous for their steak frites. sis says that their fries are fab but really, I didn't need to know that. Although I really love salty food, now's not the time to add salt to my wound.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

oodles of noodles

Miharu Sapporo Ramen
76 Robertson Quay, #01-11
The Gallery Hotel
Tel: 6733 8464

Read the review of Joone's for this place. Actually got to read about it in some magazine as well and after trying some great ramen at this stall at Cuppage Plaza, Dar and I were craving for more. This was actually despite hearing some not so excellent things about it. Not that smart for someone who goes round sniffing for good food isn't it. But still, it was worth a shot since it's supposed to be some franchise from Japan.

I have say one fab thing about this place first. I love its location. Ok, it's not the most convenient but I'm saying this cos I went to Miharu on a Friday night and it wasn't crowded or noisy. Maybe it's cos no one knows much of this place yet or maybe it's cos ppl don't like the food and they're not coming back? Whatever it is, I like the non-crowd existence feature of the place.

As for the food, I'll have to say I can't give 2 thumbs up for it. The good thing about the ramen though is that the noodles are cooked well. They're not soggy and still has the 'Q' texture (Can't find any other word to use). Can someone please tell all the fake-o ramen shops to stop serving ramen that looks like spaghetti? That's not real ramen! After eating such ramen from Ajisen and Ramen Ten, I started turning to and loving udon, somen and all. Just not ramen anymore.

Don't know how to describe it but the soup tastes different from other places I've tried. Think it's the Shoyu they use. I liked my Tokusen Miso Ramen better than Dar's Syo-yu Ramen although, Dar obviously thinks his choice is better than mine. Have to caution those who have a low tolerance for salt though. The soup gets saltier and saltier after each spoonful. It can become unbearable halfway through. Keep lotsa water beside you during the meal.

Prices are reasonable at about $12 a bowl. May go back again but it won't be the first Ramen stop I'd think of. Much prefer the stall at Cuppage Plaza. Just can't remember the name for that place...

P/S: I took some pics on my mobile but it refuses to send them to my e-mail and so... I need to get that 2 megapix camera phone I was thinking of getting over the weekend... Til then, just use your imagination.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

yucky stuff

Sent the little sis off today. Whilst she gets to savour all the good steak houses in the US, I get stuck back home, eating lousy s*** on the first day she's gone. Oh.. I am sssooo not jealous.

Anyways, went to this coffee shop in Hougang Ave 5 (I think). I know it's like Block 805 or something like that. Aunt wanted to eat the fish horfun from the Hong Kong Street so to accomodate we ended up having the fried fish bee hoon soup, a sliced fish horfun and some dubious looking tauhu that tasted more like fried fish cake. First, the soup was so milky it was as though I was drinking it out of the can. Second, the caixin they used in the soup was old and bitter! Then the sliced fish horfun was bland so I had to keep putting soy sauce in it but no matter how much I put it, it wasn't getting much saltier. They diluted the sauce with water! The dubious tauhu was supposedly their zao pai cai (speciality) but it was shaped oddly, tasted like fish cake and made me choke. I've had the food at other Hong Kong Street branches and they all have a certain standard. I think whoever the owner of the franchise had better look into this cos it's spoiling their reputation.

No wonder no one ordered their food. People were tucking into the braised duck rice which looked delicious. Should have just ordered that instead. Shucks.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

my first cheena experience

Came back from Shanghai almost a month now. First time to China and although, I did have quite a huge culture shock, the FOOD was AMAZING! How come we don't get such good stuff in Singapore? Even if we do, we have to pay big bucks for it. The most memorable meal was the famous Shanghai hairy crab dinner! I know the fun is in the breaking of the shell, peeling of the crabmeat and all but I had as much fun eating crabs that were all peeled without getting my fingers dirty! Besides being absolutely yummy, the food bill came to approx. SGD 300! and that was only for 3 of us. By China standards, I thought that was freaking expensive but according to my Dad, each of us were eating close to 6 crabs each so I guess it doesn't sound as exp as I thought. I need to see a doctor though although I'm afraid I have to put off high cholestrol food. The roe (my favourite part) was so smooth and wonderfully sinful. There were 4 dishes served in total. First was the crab claws, second was the legs fried with asparagus, third was the roe stir fried with crab meat and the last and the deadliest was just roe with fen pi (it's like transparent kway tiao).

There were so many other places that we tried like Mei Long Zhen, an old standing traditional Shanghai restaurant. The food was delicious. Even my mum's sharp tastebuds couldn't tell what they used to cook the pork. You could taste the crab stock in the stewed tofu, the meat from the Shi Zi Tou (Lion's head which is also big meat ball) was crunchy and flavourful, the vegetables were soft yet didn't lose its colour during the cooking process. I give this restaurant 5 stars; 6 even if I had to.

Also went to a modern Shanghai restaurant called Yu Yuan. Ri Bo Lang in Cheng Huang Miao paled in comparison to the 2 and is said to have served famous celebrities. Their Fried Pork Ribs, Xue Cai Nian Gao and Stewed Pork were good though.

Needless to say, I had Xiao Long Bao almost everyday. Interestingly enough, every Xiao Long Bao tasted different. Had the most memorable on at Ding Tai Feng. I tried the Crab Roe Xiao Long Bao and was bowled over by the soup that was inside the dumpling. The dumplings in Din Tai Feng Shanghai are so much better, bigger and tastier than the one in its SG branch. Not to mention, the menu's more extensive too. Went to the famous Xiao Long Bao place called Nan Xiang at Cheng Huang Miao too. There's like 3 floors serving that stuff. Had a Tang Bao for the first time in my life. It's actually like this huge Xiao Long Bao that has only bits of crab meat and roe and lots of soup in it. You have to drink the soup through a straw! Had a sotong ball that was wrapped with soup and crab roe on the inside too. Where in Singapore can you find this??!!

My parents and I were basically stuffing our mouths the whole time. When we saw interesting stuff along the street, we would buy them just to try it out. A big pao is like what 20 cents! How to not buy! My mum went crazy cos she's a big pao fan. Imagine we tried like 4 different types of pao at 8am in the morning. I think we need to learn the word 'moderation'. Would love to go back there again or maybe Beijing. Erm, I need to think about going to those rural parts though cos I need to get over the culture shock but it'd be some time from now anyways.