Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Peranakan Mother's Love

At the new shopping centre Paya Lebar Square just next to Paya Lebar MRT station is O'nya Sayang, a casual restaurant which aims to provide authentic Peranakan food and share its rich culture with especially the younger generation.  

Opened by a young baba, Zhan Ho, O'nya Sayang, which translates to a mother's love, boasts recipes handed down from his grandma who started Dulukala Peranakan Restaurant in 1999.

Here's moo account from a recent tasting.

The star for me that evening was this Babi Pongteh ($13.90). It looks simple but was superb with its tender pork pieces and potato cooked in a rich and balanced bean sauce. Spoon this over hot steamed rice. A lot of hot steamed rice. Moohehe.  

The subtle, sweet flavours from crab, minced pork and bamboo shoots showed in the classic Peranakan favourite, Bakwan Kepeting ($12.90).

For something with a little modern twist without being overly un-Peranakan, try the Lor Bak Noodles Meal ($12.90) featuring well-braised chunks of pork belly and a hard-boiled egg with springy egg noodles. The latter is not traditionally part of the Lor Bak dish but was added to appeal to younger diners. I also loved the thick slabs of Otah Otah and the small mound of Sambal Kang Kong on the side.  

Sadly, both dishes in the above photo did not appeal to me. The Chilli Garam Seafood ($17.90) in the foreground was tasty with a nice mix of spices but I felt its seafood medley of prawns, squid and fish could have been fresher and cooked a little less. The Beef  Rendang ($14.90) was plagued with a very watery gravy. :(

Ayam Keluak Fried Rice ($14.90) was an interesting dish with a flavoursome Nonya chicken stew served with rice fried with keluak, onions and chilli for a fragrant, slightly earthy touch. Perk up the palate with the homemade sambal balacan and achar.

Mooving on to desserts... they were pretty scrumptious! Even for this non-sweet-tooth bovine.

The Burbur Cha Cha ($4.90) reminded me a bit of my own paternal grandma's homely version I had as a kid. Cubes of sweet potato and yam in a light, warm sweetened coconut milk-based "broth" lifted by pandan leaves. And like years ago, I still fish for the chewy colourful gummy starch bits. Guess some things never change. Moohehe.

The Chendol with Ice Cream ($5.90) was equally toothsome. Rich gula Melaka (sourced from Surabaya which apparently is of a higher quality) combined with squiggly green Chendol and red beans matched the sweet, milky notes of the coconut ice cream.

Another way to enjoy the coconut ice cream (which they got from Thailand and is really good!) is to order it with the Gula Melaka Sago ($5.90 with ice cream).

I was pretty impressed with the desserts and would definitely recommend ending any meal at O'nya Sayang with them.

Overall, prices are quite wallet-friendly and the cuisine here has a homely appeal. Cheers to a mother's love.

Thanks to Alicia for the invitation and for Zhan and Esmond for hosting moo.

O'nya Sayang
Paya Lebar Square (other outlet at Tampines Mall)
Tel: 6783 8140

Chew On This: There are future plans to bottle their sauces so keep a look out if you fancy any!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Lovely Gyoza

Life is too precious to ask questions like what should one eat at Gyoza-Ya (House of Gyoza). Gyoza, of course! Moohaha.

These babies spotted nicely pan-fried bottoms, thin, pleasantly chewy skins and a tasty pork filling. Very good price and value too at $4.80 for 5 pieces.

The Jya Jya Men ($6.50) was probably inspired from Zha Jiang Mian and featured white, flat noodles with a sauce of minced pork and miso. Tossed with the slivers of cucumber and leeks, it made for a simple and enjoyable dish. Add in a dash of white vinegar and chilli oil for more oomph.

Robinsons Orchard (other branch at ION Orchard)
Tel: 6737 5581
Opens: Mondays to Sundays, 11.30am to 10pm

Chew On This: Gyoza-Ya recommends that one leaves a small amount of noodles in the bowl, ask the staff for an egg and mix it up with hot noodle water and Jya Jya miso to taste. It was a comforting mess. :p

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Happy Leftover Mala Steamboat

Leftovers are not necessarily a bad thing especially when it comes to curry, stews and soups. I find that their flavours tend to be a little moore integrated given the extra time for them to come together.

Returning home to dinner after a long day at work and seeing this bubbling pot of leftover mala steamboat (now also known as "battleship") made moo one very happy cow. Moohehe.

Cheers to yummy leftovers!

Chew On This: Spongy tofu and luncheon meat are especially good at soaking up all that flavour when cooked and left immersed in the leftover mala over time.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Chap Gor Meh Hae Mee Party!

Chap Gor Meh or the 15th and final day of the Lunar New Year is not really celebrated as much anymore so it was Mum's desire to gather the family for one last hurrah as a close to CNY. Keeping it simple (which is very subjective in her case. Moohaha), a prawn noodles party at my home was planned for. 

A big pot of prawn and pork stock took centre stage among the kang kong, bean sprouts, prawns, pork ribs, fish cake, noodles and assorted condiments.

It was a very heartwarming bowl of prawn noodles, especially knowing the effort that Mum had put it. :) So this cow reciprocated by emptying 4 bowls of it. Moohehe.

A tray of Poon Choy with the usual goodies provided the CNY touch to the dinning table.

Yu Sheng (and probably the healthiest, lightest one I've tasted) rounded up the Chap Gor Meh dinner with tossed up goodness and blessings of abundance.

It's not the photo taken at Chap Gor Meh but it's a moore complete one with everyone (I think) in.

Till the next CNY! Huat ah, everybody!

With mooch love, health & prosperity,
The Hungry Cow

Friday, January 23, 2015

Easy-Peasy Prawns, Tuna and Tomato Pasta at Home

I don't really order pasta when dining out moost of the time because:
1) It is expensive
2) Don't like the taste of pasta
3) The portions are too ungratifying

Hooves up if you are like me and chose number 3! Moohehe.

My favourite place for pasta is actually at home, where I can do whatever I want with it and cook up a portion fit for a...well...hungry cow! LOL.

Here's an easy masak-masak recipe I whipped up for moo sister and mooself one weekday evening.

1) Throw pasta of choice into salted, boiling water. Stir to ensure they don't stick to each other.
2) Heat up olive oil (basil-fused olive oil lagi better!) in a pan/pot.
3) Add prawns. Cook, flip over and cook until about 70% done.
4) Add in chopped garlic and stir-fry until fragrant.
5) Add in tinned chopped tomatoes and canned tuna.
6) Transfer cooked pasta to the pan/pot and include a little of the pasta water.
7) Salt and pepper to taste.
8) EAT

The Hungry Cow

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Still Soba So Good

It's been (I think) almoost 10 years since I had last dined at Shimbashi Soba and so I was very excited to return to relive the fond, delicious memoories. What I just said also means that if they depended on my business, they would probably be out of business. Moohehe. 

My Yuzu Kamo Tsukemen Seiro Soba ($21.80; additional $5 to upsize the soba) hit the right spot with chilled soba served with a hot bowl of quite intensely flavoured broth. Dip a few strands of soba into the broth and slurp up for a cold-hot effect. The soba was delightfully firm with a slightly springy texture while the broth was savoury, salty and sweet. Shitake and abalone mushrooms, veggies, slices of French duck breast, tau pok and a soft boiled egg sat in the tasty broth. On the side was chopped spring onions and a dab of yuzukosho; the latter added a lovely zesty, spicy kick.

For a totally chilled soba experience, try the Gomadare Seiro ($15.20) which was refreshing and simply served with a creamy sesame sauce accented by grated ginger.

Ebi Tempura ($19.80 for 5 pieces) made for good accompaniment to the soba. Decent without being soggy nor reeking of rancid oil.

For desserts, the Matcha Warabi Mochi ($5.80) is something this non-dessert-loving cow is happy to have any time! Not too sweet, the cubes of mochi were made in-house and had a pleasant gummy texture without being heavy or stodgy. I enjoyed the slight bitter flavour of the matcha balanced by the syrup. A sprinkling of kinako (roasted soybean flour) imparted some textural contrast.
I don't why it took me 10 years to return but I'm quite sure my next visit would not be that long! Moohehe.

Shimbashi Soba
Tel: 6735 9882
Opens: 11.30am to 10pm (last orders at 9.30pm)

Chew On This: Shimbashi Soba makes its own soba on-premise from nothing moore than buckwheat flour, wheat flour and water. Come at the right time and you'll see a chef making soba at the open kitchen!

Friday, January 09, 2015

Ah Christmas!

My favourite month of the year is December. The feeling when 1st December arrives is just pure joy in anticipation of the the festive season, feasting, and general merry feeling all around. As per usual, the maternal family gathered at and celebrated Jesus, the reason for the season, at my place with.. array of yummies contributed by the various relatives pot-luck style! Christmas carols and a time of praise and worship sealed the gathering.

Famooly. :)

And look! My part-time reindeers! Moohahaha. Ok, I admit, we had to lure them with a bit of food to keep them still for this photo. See the hand at the left corner of the photo. But so cute lah! :D

Over at the office, colleagues and ex-colleagues had a party too. Lesson learnt: Never have the office cactus involved in beer pong. LOL.

I was on leave for over 1/2 the month so had time to cook quite a bit in December. Here's the Venus clams cooked in white wine which I moost have cooked like 4 times in the same month. Moohehe.


Office gift exchange time! Well, I did put a little warning on mine which some thought was reverse psychology! #seemetooup

December, please return soon. I'll be waiting.

*Gotta thank relatives and colleagues for some of the photos!