Monday, March 31, 2008

Potluck Vol. 1.0 @ Sid's

1.0    Details

Date: 23 February 2008
Time: 7.30 pm - 11.00 pm
Venue: Sid's (of BigBoysOven)
Theme: Chinese New Year (technically)

2.0    Attendance

Food bloggers, chefs and their families.

3.0    Menu

The menu consisted of local/international fares. Fusion included.

3.1    Mains

3.2    Desserts

4.0    Discussion

4.1    Food

As all the dishes were distinctively flavourful and scrumptious, classification of level of deliciousness was impossible. For the mains, an interesting observation was the ability of the dishes to complement each other, in an arbitrary manner. For example, the chee cheong fun with the curry sauce or the pasta with the roasted meat or the white bread with the caramelized meat. The desserts, which ranged from tiramisus to desiccated coconut coated nian gao to Chinese New Year cookies, provided a good finish to the meal.

4.2    Ambiance

The noise level, though bearable, was still high due to the laughters and interesting conversations (sharing of recipes and travelling included) among the attendees.

4.3    Satisfaction

Unanimously, the fun level was high. The session was extended until 11.00 pm as there were many unfinished storytellings, post-potluck activity plannings and doggie-bagging of the unfinished portions of the dishes.

5.0    Conclusion

Overall, the potluck has exposed attendees to many interesting (and new) aspects of food as all were of different backgrounds and interests. A sense of camaraderie was also felt among the attendees. At the time of departure, there were already talks of organizing another similar event in the near future.

6.0    Acknowledgment

Deepest gratitude to the organiser for the desserts as well as time spent in realizing such an enjoyable event. And not forgetting the attendees for the interesting ideas and jokes as well as Teckiee for the additional photos to complete report.

7.0    Appendices

Please visit the following sites for a more detailed review of the same event.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Holland Village XO Fish Head Bee Hoon

Warning: Parental Guidance Required.


Sweaty Prelude


I can't help but recall my virginal experience at this restaurant. If the XO was any stronger, I would have unconsciously knocked someone that day and my kid would be in kindergarten come 2009. What vivid imagination a Piscean has, eh? And perhaps it's due to the romantic sign that I fell in love (or lust) with this place since the first time I was done.

On the subject of fish, this restaurant is reputable for its orgasmic fish head soup, complete with a dose of brandy. Aphrodisiac or what, eh? This time, unlike the green me back then, I came prepared. Equipped with the right technique on how to do it right to achieve multiple peaks of the highest amplitude, thanks to THE VOICE. And of course, there are many foreplays, I mean side dishes to whip up your senses besides the soup.

Dua, Tiga, Empat...Main!

Just the thought of the Har Cheong Kai or fried chicken with prawn paste caused a surge of the mucho macho hormone and got my synapses exploding to that jumpy "Where's Your Head At" tune by Basement Jaxx. Unlike the typical, tasteless name-for-the-sake-of-business type, this version was absolutely wonderful. The thickness of the batter was just right, making the crispy coating not too hard to bite. The aromatic prawn paste was aptly applied and complemented the tender, succulent, fresh wings well. Much like that miraging numerical position.

Interesting mainCourse

Known as Sam Loh or "three stirs", the smooth strips of fair-skinned, flat rice noodle were stir-fried together with beansprouts (both ends trimmed, mind you), scallion and slices of haruan (snakeheads). With a lightly charred aroma and savoury taste, the simple dish was simply, a winner. Threesomes never tasted this good.

Main of the mains, the fish soup was equally flavourful. It was also slightly creamy and came with a dense whitish colour that maketh many a man proud. All thanks to the evaporated milk. The generous pieces of fish were flaky and no earthy taste was detected. The vegetables provided additional crunch. The main attraction being the strong XO aroma which amplified the wonderful concoction.

Remembering THE VOICE's advice, the soup was mated with the noodles and indeed, caused a climaxing sensation, complete with a post spasm reaction. Ok, that was an utter exaggeration. In a more sane manner, it was delicious. Imagine a combination of the richness of the soup, charred aroma of the noodle and the strong XO scent. And tell me you are not salivating.


Like makeup sex, the S$28 dinner (for two) was very much satiating. Sans the breakups, fights and silence, of course. Oh, and the service. Known for its hostility, I was surprised to find the cashier (the boss, I think)..well, normal.

Should I consider pre-kindergarten education too?

Holland Village XO Fish Head Bee Hoon
Blk 46, Holland Drive
Singapore 270046


Check out these sites for more sensible and hygienic reviews:

ieatishootipost (interesting comments!)
Xiu Long Bao (satisfied damsel)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Yum Cha @ Chinatown

I wish this post is read in the first few hours after you awake from a good nightsleep.
Refreshed and chilled from yesterday's heavy downpour.

To indulge in a little dim sum adventure.
Of nothing avant garde.
But a simple, centuries-old hearty breakfast.

Come on, join me in my yum cha reminiscence.

A warm Glutinous Rice In Lotus Leaf (S$3.50) to start off the meal. The soft, almost melting texture of the rice was pleasant. Ingredients for the filling, which included dried shrimps, chestnut and pork provided a lovely contrasting texture as well as flavours to the soft, bland rice. The lotus leave used was fresh, hence the milder scent as compared to the dried ones.

A staple, the Siew Mai With Fish Roe (S$3.00) was firm, with fresh shrimp and pork filling. Rather ordinary, albeit the use of fish roe instead of the dyed sago seeds. Then again, how do we define an extraordinary Siew Mai?

Moist and tad sweet the filling was, for the Steamed BBQ Pork Buns (S$2.00). Served warm, the skin was fluffy and thin, just enough to infuse with the filling's marinate at the first bite. A dish to please a many, but not me who feeds on the dark, savoury kind of filling.

An utter disappointment, the Fresh Prawn Rice Flour Roll (S$4.00) was. Like an enlarged piece of kway teow used in noodle dishes, it was definitely too firm for a dim sum. While the prawns were fresh and succulent, the sauce was nothing but a blindly savoury combination of oil and soya sauce. Where's a touch of sweetness when one needs it?

Not unlike the Lotus Leaf version, the Fried Glutinous Rice (S$4.00) was soft and moist. With aromatic ingredients such as shitake mushrooms slices, pork and dried shrimps, this dish was simply flavourful. Savouriness was well-controlled, with a touch of sweetness to boost.

You can imagine my childlike excitement when I discovered a dish called Steamed Mini Goose Liver Xiao Long Bao (S$4.00). The skin was rather thick. The sweet juice was abundant and oozed as I cracked the skin. The meat/liver filling was soft and somehow milky. It fell short of my own expectation as there was no hint of the aromatic liver taste. Then again, how much pate can one get at S$4.00? I'm counting my blessing for the lovely texture.

The Baked Mini Egg Tarts (S$2.00) was good. The pastry was crispy and dry while the custard/egg filling was sweet and smooth. Typical, yes. But a typically good egg tart is hard to come by these days, isn't it?

Not a dessert that I would order, the Pamelo Sago In Mango Juice (S$4.00) was a visual feast that came with a bitter taste, perhaps due to the pamelo sacs. A rather synthetic-tasting mango juice too, I thought.

The Crispy Red Bean Paste With Banana (S$3.00) ended the sightly bumpy excursion. Though not with a bang, the dessert was commendable for its slightly unconventional take on the pancake skin which was breaded and fried instead of the generic pastry. The paste was quite refined and tad sweet.

I hope you enjoyed the ride as much as I did.

As I wished you'll read this in the morning, here's wishing you a productive day ahead.
And bring an umbrella to work.

Yum Cha Restaurant Pte Ltd
20, Trengganu Street (off Temple Street)
#02-01 (Chinatown)
Singapore 058479
Tel: (+65) 6372 1717

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ngau Kee

Somewhere across the globe, supper is a mere warm soup affair.
Or a cold croissant with jam, fresh from the refrigerator.

You sniggered.

For you know somewhere between me and you lies a nocturnal city where supper breathes a life of its own. An afterhour escapade for the urban dwellers. Of plethoric diversity.

Even a simple chilli vinaigrette can prove to be an appetizer by itself.

An elaborated stall by the fringe of Tengkat Tong Shin, Ngau Kee has been serving the night crowd for as long as I can remember now. Ask even the youngest of clubbers at Jalan P. Ramlee and chances are they will synonymise this stall to supper (or breakfast, for some).

The wanton mee-like egg noodle was firm and springy. Plus a minus of the dreadful alkaline water taste made it even more enjoyable. The blandness of the noodle was complemented by a generous topping of minced, marinated pork. Wait, let me rephrase that. Shredded, marinated pork. An old technique, the meat was cooked and shredded to preserve the texture and flavour of the pork. And absolutely flavourful it was. A blend of optimal sweet and savouriness, the taste was very different from your everyday minced pork topping for the soup noodles. The meat was sticky (almost maltose-laden-like) and flaky. As you munch on the fibrous shreds, the taste of pork naturally oozes, sending orgasmic signals to your brains through your tastebuds. Be adventurous. Pour in a tablespoon or two of the vinaigrette for a contrasting taste. You'll love it.

The clear soup was rather bland and the colour very much resembled a pork (or snake) stock. If you are one who dislike beef dishes for fear of the pungency, this is for you. I for one, stand by the densely flavoured type. The meatballs were firm and fresh while the strips of tripe were smooth and crunchy. The beef cut did not disappoint as it was flaky and tender. A wonderful ensemble of textures, definitely. Not the taste though.

Since they said the standard has dropped, I certainly didn't expect my coming resulted in a blown-out-of-orgasmic proportion experience. How much better was it back then? I dare not imagine.

And this is just an example of the city's many mouth-watering, unique offerings.

....while somewhere along the Causeway, a KL boy currently working in Singapore who plans to eat as much as he can and travel as far as possible is making his way back to the nocturnal city to be serenaded by the city's gastronomical supper repertoire.

Ngau Kee
Tengkat Tong Shin,
50200 Kuala Lumpur

* For price list and other details, do visit the following links:
Precious Pea

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

n.y.d.c. @ Holland Village

Like any other second in life, I inhaled another dose of harmful gases and like any other minute that goes passing by, I asked myself, "what the hell are you thinking?!". And not unlike any other of my Big day, I was late...for work.

Life is beautiful, ain't it?

n.y.d.c. , I said, when a kind soul offered a B-day treat. I had no freaking idea why I uttered those four letters. I've come to know their gorgeous cheesecakes through an equally gorgeous ex-colleague whom has since became the wife of another ex-colleague of mine. That was three freaking years ago. I even forgot her name. Was it Felicity or Chastity?

Apparently, this is da joint for the young crowd to hangout. Teenage girls with their Junbug-like vocabulary and boys with their way-cool new toys. Even the blaring music was a mix of neo-emo-gothic-punk-rock noises kids worship these days. Awesome! or Awesome??

The menu was equally funky and diverse. Somehow, I ended up with Tears In Heaven at S$15.50. Rather inauspicious, I'd say but with a description that included words like spaghetti, caramelised onions, bacon and cream sauce, I reclaimed my sensibility. The verdict? Tears in my eyes, I had. The sauce was bland and reminded me of a thicker version of fresh milk, nothing more. The onions, caramelised? Definitely, and I'm suddenly Chico Latino. On the other hand, the spaghetti was done al dente and the ensemble was served warm. Not solid, man, definitely not solid.

A pizza-lover, the kind soul decided to order The Picasso, a 7-inch personal pizza which consisted of a basic tomato sauce and mozzarella. As the name suggested, the idea was to personalise a pizza with toppings listed on the menu. The Kind Soul Pizza included toppings like Italian ham and fresh mushrooms (S$2.25 each) with vegetables such as bell pepper and pineapple (S$1.50 each). The crust was slightly thick but crispy. The ensemble tasted generic but I must say the Italian ham was rather tender and flavourful.

My B-cake came in form of a Mochamisu (S$6.95 per slice). Though tad too sweet, the texture was well-refined and dense. The strong mocha flavour encapsulated the rich, milky tiramisu in a rather subtle way, which was interesting. Think of what a few drops of brandy or kahlua can do wonders for this dessert. Then again, there are plenty of minors here.

I couldn't even sway my fingers, let alone my body as I took a bite of the Mango Tango Cheesecake (S$10.50). What was supposedly a signature dessert, the Ally's New York Cheesecake tasted rather bland while the texture was powdery. The side mango ice-cream was equally bland. As for the colourful sugary rice and cream, well, served no purpose, I thought. As irrelevant as Abba's Fernando to Evanescence's My Immortal.

Was it me who has wrinkled up and turned cynical?
Or was the food really average at best?

Awesome! or Awesome??

Thanks, kind soul, for the dinner!

30, Lorong Mambong
Holland Village
Tel: (+65) 6469 2998

Check out kind soul's review here and her wonderful elder sister's take here.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Seriously. No pun intended. Nor it is a laughing matter. It is really called Bosses. Or 黑社會 (heishehui) in Mandarin. Also known as....the triad society.

Scared or not?

Together with CityGal (our visiting guest) and co-host Xiu Long Bao, we braced ourselves and paid the Bosses a visit. Braced breathes a whole new set of connotations (courtesy of my dark, past experience), including tastebuds assault and daylight robbery. Ok, the latter is an absolute exaggeration but Bosses' offerings certainly don't come that cheap. Their men got to eat too, you know.

It was excruciatingly interesting to watch XLB devouring her own kind, which cost S$7.00 (6 pieces) and reminded me of a documentary on the National Geographic Channel sometime back. But I sensed no remorse nor sympathy towards those tiny Shanghainese Steam Meat Dumplings as the skin was rather thick while the minced meat was on the salty side. Juice (or fat) was abundant, though. Just one piece and I left it to XLB to proceed with her sacrificial ritual.

A Chinese New Year special, the Claypot Rice With Assorted Chinese Waxed Sausages, at S$10.80 came in a petite portion that could feed 0.08 of me. The opening of the lid revealed a (fingers) countable amount of both pork and liver sausages with a few strips of blanched greens. The emulsion that dressed the fluffy rice lacked the anticipated waxy aroma and savoury taste. I would have also preferred a thicker, richer sauce. However, the sausage cuts were fresh and flavourful, with a touch of smokiness to boost.

The Fried Seafood Mushroom La Mian (S$14) reminded me of Internal Affairs and The Departed; wonderful ensemble of ingredients (or cast) sans the brilliance of taste, unlike those two award-winning movies. The la mian or handmade, stretched flour noodle was al dente and tasted subtly sweet while the selection of seafood (which consisted of prawns and squid cutlets) was fresh and tender. Choice of vegetables included cabbage shreds, mushrooms, julienned carrot strips and scallion. The single, major flaw turned out to be most important component, the taste. The sauce was just too sweet for me. Perhaps oyster sauce was overused. A drier version would have been appreciated too.

Like all gangsta flicks, there has to be a spark of romance with a pretty damsel while ours came in form of a signature dessert called Flowy Custard Bun (S$6.00 for 3 pieces). Also known as quicksand bun, the dainty sunset-coloured buns were pretty pretty. Served steaming hot, a bite of the bun revealed a soft skin that was neither too thin nor thick. And the filling...oh, the wonderful filling oozed like sand out of a shattered hourglass. Or at least, that's how I felt. Mainly consisted of custard and salted egg yoke, the golden filling was smooth and rich. Taste-wise, a perfect sweet/savoury combination. Lovely.

We also had a pot of Winter Pu Erh Tea at S$4.00. And instead of a pot of lime plant, we were presented with snacks (walnuts) at S$3.80.

The visit ended in peace. All in one piece. Personally, I thought there were more misses than hits. I loved the creative and sophisticatedly dark concept but I guess I will not be paying a visit anytime soon. Why? Recite the name and ask me again....*shudders*

Hope to see you more often in the roaring city, CityGal!

No.1, Harbour Front Walk
#02-156, VivoCity
Singapore 098585
Tel: (+65) 63769740

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Kenny Rogers Roasters

Haruman pagi ini amat memberangsangkan.

Penyaksian sebuah temasya semalaman yang melarut sehingga subuh ini meninggalkan aku dengan deria yang tidak seberapa. Namun, jiwaku masih terang...dan tenang. Aku dapat merasakan perbedaan pagi ini. Seindah biasanya, mungkin. Atau lebih dari itu?

Melihat sinaran suria pagi ini, terukir sebuah harapan yang direstui.
Aku tersenyum.

Apa gunanya hari yang penuh bermakna ini jika tidak dikongsi bersama sahabat-sahabat karibku? Pemilihan makanan tidak lagi berapa penting hari ini. Pemilihan sebenar telah dibuat.

Kami berkeputusan untuk berkunjung ke Kenny Rogers Roasters. Kesunyian dan keselesaan restoran ini amat sesuai bagi kita untuk mengulas kematangan tayangan hidup semalam.

Kenny's Quarter (RM14.90) terdiri daripada sesuku potongan ayam panggang yang dialas dengan sos lada hitam, 3 jenis pilihan sajian sampingan (salad tomato/timun/bawang, coleslaw dan keju/makaroni) dan pencuci mulut. Kurang menarik. Begitulah gambaran yang dapat diberikan mengenai ayam panggang di sini. Namun, kulitnya patut dipuji kerana cukup berperisa dan ranggup. Sosnya pula agak tawar. Tetapi, apa yang menjadi tumpuan kebanyakan pengunjung di sini adalah kepelbagaian pilihan sajian sampingannya. Coleslaw yang terdiri daripada cebisan kobis, lobak dan bawang dan dibanjiri sos masam/manis yang agak berlemak menjadi kesukaan penulis ini. Keju/makaroni dan salad merupakan cubaan pertama. Agak berperisa. Cubaan yang tidak sia-sia. Tak rugi kita mencuba, bukan?

Pencuci mulut terdiri daripada Kenny's Home-made Muffin dan perisa pisang/bjii kismis menjadi pilihan. Cukup manis dan teksturnya pula tidak berketul-ketul. Kerinduan pada muffin perisa jagung masih dirasai.

Di dalam keadaan yang begitu aman pada hari ini, kami juga sempat menonton 10,000 BC yang cuba membawa mesej yang agak bermotivasi (dan sesuai dengan situasi kini). Namun, sesetengah adegan masih menjadi bahan ketawa kami.

Sememangnya makanan dan cerita hari ini kurang menarik. Seperti kesunyian jalan-jalan yang dirasai...pada hari ini. Tetapi apa yang dijanjikan pada masa hadapan adalah sebuah harapan. Harapan yang boleh memimpin kita ke arah kecemerlangan hidup. Dan jangan kita lupa bahawa kepimpinan itu cuma pendorong dan kewarasan serta kematangan minda masih menentukan arah tujuan hidup kita.

Untuk maklumat lanjut mengenai restoran ini, sila layari halaman berikut:

* The above post was written in Bahasa Malaysia to commemorate the significance of the 12th Malaysian General Elections held on the 8th of March 2008.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Olio @ Suntec Fountain

Staring at the blinding beads, I was reminded of how infinitesimally long ago since we last met. Four years. That's how long I've come to know you. And we certainly had our fair share of fun, hadn't we? The celebration of the first paycheque, remember? And that lovely dessert overlooking Orchard Road? And then, you moved on. Didn't you? Or was I the ignorant one? And to think that I found out about you again through acquaintances. How greyly humorous. But we've certainly known each other long enough to forgive, with a warm smile. We meet again, old friend.

And we should thank that urban card too for the 1-for-1 entree/pasta/salad promotion.

The starter came huge. A Thai Chicken Mango Salad (S$11.90 - ala carte) it was. The selection of garden lettuce was fresh and crisp. The thin, long strands of colourful vegetables, including carrots were visually interesting while the deep fried strips of julienne wanton skin reminded me of the crackers used in yue sangs. Sweet slices of mango provided a much needed flavour to the otherwise bland ensemble. There was also a generous portion of sliced chicken meat (roasted, apparently). Quite bland, if you ask me. And I wouldn't have known a sweet Thai chili dressing was used if I hadn't flipped through the menu again.

Do you still remember my favourite dish here? The Spaghetti Seafood Marinara (S$12.90), yes. I was rather disappointed with the portion as it certainly looked much smaller now. The choice of seafood, which consisted of prawns, squids and cubes of fish was fresh and cooked just right. But the sauce was a tad too sweet for my liking, though there was a commendable amount of tomato bits in it. Almost felt like a designer ketchup. Only sweeter. Where has the old Marinara gone?

I quite enjoyed the Teriyaki Pizza (S$13.90), thanks to the sweet/savoury/tangy teriyaki sauce. Quite okonomiyaki-like, judging from the ingredients used, including katsuo flakes and mayonnaise. The teriyaki chicken pieces were rather tender. Though included in the menu, the presence of roasted onions and avocado slices, which were both important components of textures and flavours (to a certain extend), was oblivious. It could have been better, I thought.

Dessert came in form of a Tiramisu (S$6.80). Unrefined. While the portion was commendable, the taste was rather uninteresting. There was a dense taste of the cocoa powder but the cream filling was too light, I thought. Mascaporne? I don't think so. Non-alcoholic, by the way.

It was meant to be an evening of good food and fun. But somehow, I just couldn't reconnect with the wonderful times we shared. Quite sad actually, as it was not due to the cacophony of clattering utensils or the lack of staff, but quite simply, the taste of the food.

You have disappointed me, my old friend, my dear Olio.

3, Temasek Boulevard
#B1-033, Suntec Fountain
Tel: (+65) 6238 1109

Monday, March 3, 2008

Cupcake Chic

If I could paint this post, would be pink.
If I could include a song for this post, would be any from Avril Lavigne.
If I could dedicate this post to someone, would be to my lovely female friends.

A female friend once told me like many other things, cupcakes are nice because they are petite, beautiful and sweet. Perhaps that's why cupcakes have never been my thing. I only had it once, only once at Marmalade Kafe. But I gave this ohhh-isnt-this-the-cutest-thing-ever dessert a second try when I went for a wonderful outing with three lovely girls. I wouldn't call it a girls day out for obvious reasons but am certainly looking forward to the next one as it was really fun.

I've got to divert a little to explain how I met the three girls. Yes, it was through the net. We had a common interest. The interest was somehow...interesting. Now, before you start virtually spitting at my face (due to my allegedly dark history), these three girls were actually our very dear food bloggers whom were free after our dim sum session at Hong Kee.

We had a karaoke session at Red Box (the Curve). While THE voice (aka Mrs. Henney), the pop-turned-emo songstress, and the ultimate lip-sync machine were belting out the latest pop numbers, the young-old-fart me reminisced on the good old days of Sinatra, Don McLean and Jacky Cheung.

After the session, we headed to Cupcake Chic, one of the (then) newest additions to the Curve. First impression: minimally chic deco, wonderful service and colourful menu. And it did not take long before the attention was shifted to the myriad of colours and designs of cupcakes. A general assembly at the United Nations.

Always ready to strike a pose for the camera, these cakes were. And they should be, at RM4.50 a piece, RM25 for 6 and RM48 for 12.

If United Colours of Benetton decides to venture into the F&B business, I strongly suggest cupcakes. The possibilities are endless. By the way, two cupcakes (minimum) if you want the box.

Young-old-fart chose two of them rather distinctively different flavours. The Rum 'n Raisin was SWEET. Very, very SWEET. The cake had a flaky texture while retaining its moisture. A tad too oily. The raisins gave the cake a nice chewy texture and the rum flavour was quite evident. The icing was creamy but SWEET. At this point, I needed my Teh-O-Panas. Kosong, please.

Envy consisted of a green tea cake, topped with green tea cheese frosting. Let's talk about those pearls. I'm sure they are edible and visually interesting but not to my liking. Reminded me of the pips of the mandarin oranges. The cake had a dense green tea flavour. Moist and flaky. The icing was again, creamy. The problem was the undetectable cheese flavour. Overall, SWEET, SWEET, SWEET. Teh-O-Panas-Kosong!

Perhaps it's just me. I've never been a "sugar, spice and everything nice" person and would rather indulge in a plate of hokkien mee instead. But it was a good experience since it was one of the few upper-end cupcake shops in town.

When are we doing Gwen's "Underneath It All" and Meredith Brooks' "In Between a.k.a. B@#$H" again, girls? Can't wait...

Cupcake Chic @ The Curve
Lot GZF-4, Ground Floor
No. 6, Jalan PJU 7/3
Mutiara Damansara
47810 PJ, Selangor.
Tel: (+603) 7726 9075