Sunday, June 29, 2008

May Makankakis Dinner 2008

It's about to be July and I've not even posted up on May's Makankakis Dinner! I need a full-timer to churn out all my back-logs man! Anyone wanna apply?

Kidding. But Minor in Entrepreneurship is sure no joke. Draining is the word at the moment.

With a short break before the quiz and exam, here's the account of May Makankakis Dinner held at Spice Junction....


...which starts unofficially with Winelearner's fried raddish cake. Pretty refreshing for a start to an Indian meal I must add. Thanks for the raddish cake, Winelearner!


Papadums have got to be the Indian snack with the widest appeal. The ones here were crisp but do eat them quickly as they turn soft faster than you can say 'papadumsrockmysocks'.


A cool minty mint dip added a refreshing match to the cumin in the Papadums.


Mutton Coconut Fry was the first starter to arrive at the table. I'm glad there was minimal muttony taste and more of the coconut-spice mixture which reminded me of a good rendang.


Next, the Murg Mali Kebab followed. This chicken dish had light flavours and subtle herbal notes from the marinate.


The last of the starters was Kerala Fried Prawns. These prawns were coated in a rich spice paste and were great with rice!

Speaking of which, we were offered a free-flow of Biriyani Rice.


The Biriyani Rice was more flavoured with cardamom and cloves than saffron. It was also less oily than most versions here in Singapore. I do miss the saffron though.

In addition to rice, we also had free-flow of Butter Naan, Garlic Naan and Kerala Parotta. Carbo-lovers rejoice aye!


Forget the Butter Naan, the Garlic Naan (top in above picture) was fantastic though a tad oily. It had a nice chewy bite and an intense fragrance of garlic. The Kerala Parotta was relatively dry and plain compared to the usual roti prata but it still was good at mopping up sauces.


Meen Pollichathu was a dish of red snapper slathered with a red spicy marinate and wrapped in banana leaf. The marinate had penetrated the fish well though the side of the fish facing the pan was over-cooked, resulting in tough meat. Good. With. Rice.


Kozhi Porichathu was a Kerala take on fried chicken. It featured chicken thigh peices marinated in chilli, ginger, garlic and curry leaves before being deep-fried. Oh yes, hard to go wrong with spicy fried chicken.


Moving on to a less-spicy dish, the Butter Chicken was d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s. Creamy and tangy with hints of corriander, the sauce was d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s. Did I just repeat myself?


Anyway, the Mutton Vindhaloo had tender pieces of mutton in a sourish curry. Rather interesting but unfortunately not quite my kinda thing.


Beef is not normally featured at an Indian restaurant. In fact it was my first time having beef in an Indian restaurant. I do hope I don't get stoned... Nah, beef is served at Spice Junction as the owner is a Christian and so consumes beef. The Chilli Beef was essentially a beef stew with an Indian twist.


The last (savoury) dish was Paneer Butter Masala- a dish of cottage cheese in a tomato-butter sauce. The cottage cheese had a very firm texture akin to tau kua (pressed beancurd) and while relatively bland on its own, it went well with the sauce.


For desserts, we had fresh fruits and the Mango Kulfi. I like the Mango Kulfi here. It had the rich taste of mango with a creamy mouthfeel to boot. Unlike most Indian desserts, it wasn't scarily-sweetened.


On the wine front, Imprezawrxsg brought a bottle of sparkling shiraz that was sealed with a metal cap! Just like an old-school Coke bottle. Maybe I'm a sua ku (mountain tortise, country bumpkin...you get the idea) but it was my first encounter with such a method of sealing a bottle of wine. Cool!


The line up of wines for that evening. It was my first time having wines along side with Indian food but is was fun and challenging to pair the two. Note to self: Avoid wines with strong tanins when eating spicy foods! The tanins amplify the spiciness.

Spice Junction prides itself on serving up authentic Kerala cuisine. Some dishes here are common but the majority are unique to the Kerala region as not many places in Singapore serve its food. Defintely an interesting place to check out!


Spice Junction
126 Race Course Road (between Muthu's Curry & Gayathri Restuarant)
Tel: 6341 7980

Chew On This: Become a Spice Club member and collect Spice Points with every dollar spent at Spice Junction. The Spice Points can then be used to discount your bills! Do enquire for more details.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Fast Food Super Hero

Superdog may sound like a cartoon character but it is pretty serious about business. Started at the basement of Vivocity a few years back, Superdog manages to survive despite its higher pricing. In Singapore's crazy fast-paced F&B scene, where consumers are rather fickle and difficult (want cheap, good & accessible), it is not uncommon for F&B establishments to pack in the crowds at the beginning and fizzle out a few months later. Neither is it rare for F&B establishments to open with a bang one day and totally disappear into oblivion the next year.

Superdog has its marketing strategies worked out with many gimmicks reasons to justify its higher-priced fast food products. Take for example the claim that they only use chilled burger patties and sausages, not frozen. Switch to frozen foods campaign not applicable here eh.


For a place that calls itself Superdog, I had better try their hot dogs. The Capsicum Chicken Dog ($3.60) came with sweet red and green capsicums and was sandwiched between toasted hotdog buns. What I found to be a pity was that the hotdog seemed to be deep-fried rather than grilled. The supple, snappy skin that I so look forward to in hotdogs was disappointingly blistered and tough. Oh well, perhaps those who like their hotdogs deep-fried would be pleased here.


Sometimes when the main star falters, thank God for supporting actors! That's just when the Chili Fries shine. Shoe-string fries fried to a golden brown and topped with a sauce that was assumingly cooked for 16 hours sounds good yea? Let the bits of cheese melt into the sauce before mixing with the fries for some seriously good eating. The tiny bits of beef added a bit of nice texture too but I still don't get the concept of American chili when it's hardly spicy.

While prices here are relatively high for fast food, their burgers and the much talked-about Chocolate Densa are tempting enough to lure me back, at least for one more shot. Oh and I hope they do offer grilled sausages too.


Superdog
#B2-40/41
Vivocity

Chew On This: According to Superdog's Hotdog Etiquette, taking 5 bites to finish a hotdog is a no-no! Go check out the rest. :p

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Primary Eats


Working for Spirit Makers took me to Griffiths Primary School for three days. It feels totally weird and refreshing to be back in primary school again. The first place to check out? The canteen!


A bowl of prawn noodles ($1.50) served as quick lunch. Nothing fancy or special but the whole act of eating primary school canteen food was amusing. With tightened security, one can no longer pop into school canteens for a meal anymore. Sigh.

Chew On This: It seems primary school kids are giants now compared to when I was in primary school. Must be the nutrient-rich diet...and Mcdonalds!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sashimi Pangs

After the uni-fied meal I had at Sushi Tei, I was soon craving for more sashimi. And I was glad to make a pit-stop at Fish Mart Sakuraya over at Parkway Parade.


Fish Mart Sakura offers lots of different types of sashimi with most being flown in from the Land of the Rising Buns Sun. Some of them that greeted me were Uni (sea urchin), Kaki (oyster), Hotate (scallop), Akagai (bloody clam) etc.


Also available that day was live Shiromirogai (geoduck). Actually, it looks the least appetising with its long trunk sliding around in the shallow water.

After some consultation with the wait staff, we placed our order and sipped on hot tea while we waited.


Minutes later, I now present to you the alive-just-a-few-seconds-ago duo- Uni ($27) and Shiromirogai ($22). The Uni experience at Sushi Tei still lingers till now and got me excited over the live one. Alas. The live Uni had a sharp metallic taste with an aftertaste vaguely resembling plastic. I was disappointed to say the least. On the other hand, the live Shiromirogai was slightly crunchy and tasted fresh. By the way, geoducks may look long and thick but after slicing them, the amount of meat really seems to shrink!


The geoduck went well with the ponzu dipping sauce. But I still think geoduck's not my kind of seafood.


The Ika (squid) was smooth and just nicely chewy.


But my favourite so far goes to the Sake (salmon). Creamy and sweet, I could have easily polished off the freaking fish. The other fish (I forgot. Anyone can help with the identification?) had a slightly "fish-ier" taste compared to the salmon and also a firmer texture. Salmon still rocks my socks!

I lost the receipt and so can't really recall the price of the squid, salmon and "mystery fish" but they go by weight and each piece is packed and labeled with the price in the chiller. You pick what you would like to have and wait with chopsticks wide open. The price is not exorbitant and the sashimi is totally worth it. Ahhh...the dietary life of the Japanese....so lucky!


Fish Mart Sakuraya (with another branch in The Village Centre and a sashimi house in Anchorpoint)
#B1-38D
Parkway Parade
Tel: 6345 4714
Opens
: 11am-9.30pm on Mondays-Thurs, Sundays & Public Holidays
: 11am-10pm on Fridays & Saturdays

Chew On This: Sakuraya flies in fresh fish and seafood from Japan every Tuesdays and Fridays! Now you know which days to go get some fresh sashimi. =)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Uni-fied!

The body craved for chilled, uncooked slices of oily fish. And the feet took us to Sushi Tei after some shopping at Takashimaya. Oh boy. Even at almost 9pm there was still a short queue. Shopping. Queuing. Eating. How Singaporean is that?


I rarely call food 'cute' but this Wasabillar Roll ($6) was cute! Haha. The thick stalk of asparagus provided some crunch and sweetness to complement the salmon. The wasabi tobikko that dotted the ouside of this roll added a small briny touch but was pretty weak on the wasabi though. Clean, light flavours. Probably the cutest roll I've ever eaten.


To keep hunger away, I ordered the Oyako Don ($8) for something more substantial. It was a pity the chicken pieces were rather bland and I suspect they weren't marinated or perhaps for too short a time. The sauteed onions, runny egg and savoury sauce over the rice made for good eating. In fact, maybe I could do without the chicken.


I've been an uni virgin till now. Going by its name, 'the gonads of the sea urchin' does not make me salivate unlike the word 'beef'. Fortunately, I don't derive pleasure from the names of food and decided to give it a shot. My first encounter with Uni ($28 for Medium) was a very pleasant one. A squeeze of lemon over the orange sacs brought forth a bit of zing and a fresh, clean mouthfeel. The uni itself was creamy and almost disappeared the moment my tongue pushed it against my upper palate. Didn't know gonads could taste this good!


After the uni-fied experience, the Amagi ($28) seemed a little restrained. It was decent and offered 5 varieties of sashimi- sweet shrimp, scallop, horse mackerel, tuna and salmon. It was a whole horse mackerel that was served together with about three slices of the rest of the sashimi. Btw, I took home the horse mackerel bone, reserving it to make fish stock.


More starch soon followed in the form of Cha Soba ($6.50) which could have been served more chilled.


This tofu dish was picked off the conveyor belt, mistaking that it costs a two or three dollars. I forgot its price but it's not worth it I reckon. Paying more for ordinary tofu in a simple dressing is No Deal!

On the whole. I am rather happy with this meal at Sushi Tei especially the uni. Comfortable setting, affordable and decent Japanese food all in the heart of town made a shopping-weary Singaporean smile uni-fiedly.


Sushi Tei (various other branches)
#02-13
Ngee Ann City
Tel: 6737 8878
Opens: 11.30am-10pm daily (last order at 9.30pm)

Chew On This: Sushi Tei is offering a Winter Promotional menu currently. Fans of Yellow Tail would wanna check out their offerings.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Curry Favor Please

I'm back from OBS and what fun it was! The Best rawked. Haha. Getting to see a spider da bao (pack away) two big ants and a pangolin at 4+am was like real life National Geographics. Kayaking around Ubin in 6.5 hours was certainly memorable too. Do note: Kayaks are really unfriendly to long-legged folks above 1.8m.

Back to regular food-blogging.

I was happy to support Hushie, Ivy et el at their poster presentation for their Final Year Project. It sure was a very big milestone in their last few months at NTU and I think I had nightmare trying to envision mine. Congrats to the graduating folks! Convo! Convo! Convo!

At the end of the poster session, we made our way down to City Hall and settled at Curry Favor for dinner.


I had the Beef Stewed Curry ($16.90) which came with a choice of either green salad or miso soup. I like the rich, earthy, savoury taste of the curry here. The sweet essence of root vegetables was almost discernible. While the cubes of beef were flavourful, they had a cottony texture that I've experienced with tenderloin sometimes. Maybe brisket or shin would be an interesting substitute. That way, some beefy goodness would have been infused into the already delicious curry.


Curry Favor (another branch in Velocity @ Novena Square)
#01-08/09
Stamford House
Tel: 6883 1087
Opens: 12noon-10pm Mondays-Wednesdays
: 12noon-11pm Thursdays-Fridays
: 12noon-10pm Saturdays-Sundays

Chew On This: Psss. This cow hears that they've got a Japanese curry buffet going on at the Velocity branch!