Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Dash Through Fremantle

The lunch at Burswood didn't leave much time for Fremantle. Martin said the weekend market closes at about 5pm so we hurriedly rushed off for Fremantle.

The weekend market had lots of stalls offering fresh fruits, veggies, jams, oils, coffee, bread, clothes, souvenirs and accessories among others. There were huge strawberries and even bigger custard apples! Interestingly, most of the fruit and vegetable sellers are Asians.

The town itself is a little sleepy as evening approaches. Check out the charming buildings!

The street itself oozed seaside creed. I think Singaporeans would drool over these tiles. :p Steamed? Chili sauce? Black pepper?

The sea front was a perfect place for an evening stroll and to unwind.

And to take a family shot too. :)

A small area with tall trees provided a green escape from the sea and concrete. It sure feels good to be free to explore and relax!

Western Australia

Chew On This:

I can't help but take a photo of the sign in the car park. Lol! Should Singapore adopt Rojak Floor, Chicken Rice Floor and Roti Prata Floor?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Childhood Yong Tau Foo

A quick break from the Aussie posts for this week Tuesday's lunch recommendation on 938LIVE's Foodie Lunch Pick.

Since I have posted on my childhood fish soup a while ago, I thought it was natural to continue to my childhood yong tau foo. (Maybe I should do a 'childhood series'!)

This stall has been here for donkey years and is still run by the same mother and daughter duo. These two ladies make their own fish paste and fish ball, and stuff their own yong tau foo items by hand! It's back-breaking work and it has literally taken a toll on their backs. Customers, won over by the delicious hand-made yong tau foo, have been loyal to this stall for years.

And it seems like nothing has changed much through the years... except for the small increases in price. Price change is inevitable. Alas.

During yesterday's lunch, I opted for kway teow soup and went on to pick my yong tau foo items (40 cents/piece). A pity quite a few items were already sold out. I ended up with a fried wanton, stuffed tofu, cured cuttlefish, fish paste roll, beansprouts and two servings of spinach!

The yong tau foo items were in general all very fresh. Special mention to the fried wanton- big, thick crispy skin that encased a tasty minced pork core. The soup was well-flavoured with ikan bilis while the sprinkling of fried shallots and salty tung cai (a Chinese preserved vegetable) enhanced the dish. I also enjoyed the spinach which was soft but not overly limp. It went well with the soup and made me feel very healthy with their vitamin A, B and iron boost.

The yong tau foo here is very simple and satisfying. It has that very rustic, homely feel which I like.

A pity their hand-made fish balls were sold out on this visit...but that just gives me another reason to an earlier time.

Healthy Yong Tau Fu
Bendemeer Market & Food Centre
Block 29 Bendemeer Road
Opens: Daily but closes once everything sells out, usually by about 2pm!

Chew On This: My parents ate here when they were pak tor-ing (dating)! And I am currently 25 years old. :D

Friday, September 25, 2009

Buffet Lunch at Burswood

After the walk in Kings Park, we were all famished. Good thing too as lunch was a buffet with Martin and his wife. The good man suggested the Atrium restaurant in Burswood.

It was a little confusing for us tourists to find the restaurant. The GPS says we are at the place but there was no sign of Atrium. After scouting the area, I then realised that Atrium was in fact under the Intercontinental group. This means it was located in the atrium of Intercontinental Hotel at Burswood!

Buffet lunch on a Sunday costs AUD$39.50 and featured soups, salads, cold cuts, chilled seafood and both Western and Asian entres. Here's a shot of my plate. The Beef Medallions range from tender to tough, depending on which piece you took. I guess the constant heating didn't do it good. The Sauteed Mushrooms were delish! Small and flavourful, I had seconds. The white fish was also good with its soft, firm flesh and tangy salsa sauce.

On the whole, I found the food to be not too bad but good company instantly elevates the meal. Oh and we caught sight of a wedding held in the garden pavillion just beside the swimming pool. Sweet! :)

Thanks for the treat, Martin!

(Note: Above photo was taken in Dome Cafe (about 5-minute walk from Atrium) after lunch, and not in Atrium itself.)

Bolton Ave and Great Eastern Highway, Perth, 6100
Western Australia
Front Desk: +61-8-93627777

Chew On This: Burswood is an entertainment complex with theatres for performances and also includes a casino. Wanna win back what you just spent on lunch? It's either that or lose dinner money as well, if one plays! Haha.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Walk in Kings Park

Day 2 started with an early breakfast at the hotel lobby (more on that in an akan datang post) before heading to Kings Park. The dude at the hotel reception did mention that it was a very nice place for a walk.

Singaporeans got take aeroplane to ang moh country to walk meh? Got! Lol. My family decided to check out Kings Park as it was just a 10-mintue drive away, FOC and it's always fun to experience a country's green lungs.

The first thing that greeted us was the distinct shape of the botak Bottle Tree. Don't they have unique-looking trunks?! For those who wanna see Bottle Trees in Singapore, there's always the two Bottle Tree Parks. :)

But what can't be found in Singapore and in such stunning beauty was the of sight wild flowers.

I don't know their names but we were awed by them!

Kids, don't try this at home. Trying to take a macro shot of a bee is scary stuff. This cow has been stung by hornets in the jungle before and know the agony they inflict! So after one or two attempts, I gave up on the buzzing creatures.

Ah ha! I spotted safer creatures. I crept up slowly. Inching my way bit by bit so that I could get a decent shot. LX3's 2.5x zoom not handy here man. :(

See? Those ducks look so cute and... delicious! Food blog lah, so must make some reference to food. Lol.

Family holiday must take family picture! Almost like Fantastic Four, no? Hehehehe.

It was a beautiful day. The green grass, brightly-cloured wild parrots, vividly-coloured flowers and occasional whift of eucalyptus was such a refreshing break from city life. Smell, see and feel the onset of Spring.

The view from Kings Park- Perth's CBD in the background and the Swan River on the right.

I couldn't help but to take a shot of this. I guess it reflects my love of double meanings, humour and a dash of sarcasm.

Kings Park

Chew On This: There are scheduled tours by guides (voluntuneers I think) who will take you around and share more about the park's history and plant info. If you're keen, do check with the visitor's centre for their timings. Else, it's great to take a little walk and explore!

The Dinner Upon Touch Down

Arriving in the late afternoon, we collected out rental car from the company Budget(thank God for GPS!) and headed straight to the Murray Lodge Hotel. The car collection process was prompt and smooth, and the drive to the hotel was just about 15 minutes.

"This is your captain speaking. The weather in Perth is cool with occasional showers and temperature ranges from 22 degrees Celsius in they day to 9 degrees Celsius at night."

Darkness here comes quickly and after exploring the streets of nearby Northbridge (aka Chinatown), we settled down for dinner in search of warmth and stomach fulfilment. Our very first meal in Perth wasn't fish & chips, bush tucker, kangaroo steak nor grilled barramundi....

It was Chinese! Lol. My family is after all Chinese and to fight off the coldness and hunger, there's nothing like hot steamed rice with a few freshly-prepared dishes. Comforting!

We were very hungry and cold so do bear with the inaccurate dish names, approximate price and whatnot. Hehe.

First to appear was Aussie Babi Pan Fried Pork (~AUS$20+). The pork was coated lightly with flour and deep-fried before being stir-fried with spring onions. Each bite was a little chewy and resilient- great for this flavourful pork! There was an alluring wok hei to this dish and just a bit of sauce to add more flavour.

The Broccoli with Egg White & Scallops (~AUS$30+) was also good. We stirred and mixed in the raw egg yolk, letting it coat the bits of scallops and broccoli. With the residual heat from the dish, this egg yolk coat made each morsel very smooth. The egg white and scallop mix tasted fresh and was lightly-seasoned, enabling the natural flavours to shine.

Moo-ving on to beef. Claypot Beef (~AUS$20) had super tender pieces of beef and tendon stewed in a thicken sauce spiced with cloves, cinnamon and star anise. I did myself a favour and scooped out more rice from the rice pot.

Then the wait staff came to check if we would like to order desserts. Being rather satisfied with dinner and since no particular dessert cried out to us, we decided to skip desserts. She smiled politely, went into the kitchen and returned with desserts!

Rather like Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong, apparently this one also offered complimentary fruit platter and sweet soup.

Fruit Platter

Sweet Soup- black glutinous rice with yam.

And feel free to BYO wines too. No corkage!

Throughout the 2-3hrs in this restaurant, I had observed couples, friends and family dining there. But only one ang moh! And he was dining with a group of Chinese. The food here certainly pleases the Chinese palate. No ching-chong rubbish please, thank you.

With happy bellies, we headed back to the hotel to rest for the night.

James St. Kitchen
Unit 7A
109 James Street
Northbridge, WA 6003
Tel: (08) 9227 1437
Opens: 11am to 11pm Daily
Chew On This:

Northbridge has this area with small, blue-lit chairs which look so cute! Plenty of Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, Singaporeans, Malaysians, Indonesians etc and also some Ang Mohs here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lunch On Board Singapore Airlines

Here comes the Aussie avalanche!

To kick it off, here's lunch on board Singapore Airlines from Singapore to Perth.

Feeling like a huge week of wining and dining was upon me, I opted for the vegetarian Spinach Tortellini Mornay with Tomato Basil Sauce. Pasta is probably not the best eaten in mid air, where it gets a little soggy and stodgy. Still as this was served hot, it was surprisingly palatable. The Potato and Tuna Salad appetiser was yums!

The other choice of Grilled Chicken with Supreme Sauce, Seasonal Vegetable and Potatoes fared worse. The chicken was tough and pretty tasteless. I have no idea what "Supreme sauce" was either. The only saving grace were the potatoes.

Vegetarian option 1; Meat option 0.

The other choice was Wok Fried Sliced Beef with Capsicum-Onion and Vegetable Fried Rice. This wasn't too bad. The beef was tender and had a tasty sauce. The fried rice was also relatively good (but forget about wok hei thousands of miles above ground). Still the spinach tortellinis rocked.

Vegetarian option 2: Meat option 0.

Singapore Airlines

Chew On This: This was my first time choosing the vegetarian option on board a flight! I also can't believe it. Lol.

Monday, September 21, 2009

"The Little Brother"

A year or two ago, il Lido, a high-end Italian restaurant opened in Sentosa and won over praise especially about its view of beautiful sunsets. Me? I can't comment much since I've only read and heard about it. The then high prices keep me away. Now they've introduced a more "recession-friendly menu".

But a month ago, I walked past what used to be NYDC at Suntec basement and saw boards indicating the arrival of Cafeteria il Lido. A cafe version of il Lido?

Then I had lunch there last Sunday. The casual, relaxed vibes and wallet-friendly menu were sure more inviting.

The Grilled Chicken ($6.50) featured thin slices of chicken fillet slathered with a mild-tasting pesto, and served with shoe-string fries. Using chicken thigh would result in a more tender bite but I suppose those who like eating chicken breast and the more health-conscious would stick to fillet.

Clams Aglio & Olio ($7.90) was done nicely with firm pasta coated in an olive oil and garlic mix. The clams were partly sweet and briny, smallish but there were thousands of them! Okay lah, thousands would be an exaggeration but there were many many.

Mushroom Seabream ($12.90) was also not bad. the fish was just nicely firm and sweet. However, I felt that it could do without the heavy brownish sauce.

The next dish reminds me of two posts that I want to do- House @ Dempsey and Ming Kee Live Seafood. The Today's Special- Smoked Duck Pizza ($12) had a very thin crust. Almost like a biscuit. The toppings were kept simple. Just slices of tomatoes and smoked duck on a cheesy-tomato base. But I like its simplicity of flavours.

The Roast Pork & Figs ($9.90) was also decent with pan-fried pieces of pork, figs (those black globular things in the above photo) and a medley of vegetables like zucchini and brinjal. The figs were sweet and paired well with the pork. A sprinkling of pine nuts and orange zest lifted the flavours of this dish.

As part of a UOB promotion, each order of a main course (fish, chicken, beef or pork) before 2pm, entitles the diner to a free soup and coffee/tea. The soup that day was a tomatoey one with peas, onions, brinjal and zucchini. Pretty average but at least I didn't have to pay for it.

In a nutshell, I found Cafeteria il Lido to serve above average Italian food at reasonable prices. About 80% of the menu are below $10. What was a shame was the repetitive flavours (same tomato sauce, brown sauce, medley of vegetables etc) that seem to appear in quite a few dishes. But I guess being "the little brother", it probably also has a little kitchen.

Cafeteria il Lido
Suntec City Mall
Tel: 6883 2341

Chew On This: While you're there, check out the beautiful decor under the overhead lamps!

Ice Cream Madness!!

I'm back from Down Under and have lots to post up from my week-long trip there. But first, do let me blog about one or two more local entries before the Australian avalanche! :)

Ice cream fanatics should scream over the Ice Cream & Dessert Buffet ($18.90 for adults; $13.90 for kids 12 years and below) at Swensen's ION branch. Offering a dizzying 50 flavours of ice cream, gelato and sherbert, it should be heaven for those with a huge appetite for these cold treats!

And did I mention that there are also over 40 toppings and sauces?! Think nuts, rainbow rice, wafers, cookies, dried fruits, chocolate chips, cereals, fudge, waffles, mini pancakes etc etc.

I was happy to see this very nostalgic loaf of colourful bread. Reminds me of good ole potong ice cream served by old uncles along the Orchard belt.

More delights can be found in a chocolate fountain with marshmallows, strawberries and mini choux an array of about eight pies and cakes.

There's even a Chop Shop for those who like mixing-and-matching flavours and toppings over a chilled slate.

On a sugar high already?

Not-so-sweet-tooth me was glad there was savoury food.

The Oven Baked Basil Chicken ($15.90) was a juicy chicken thigh with fries and a side of salad. A slight pity the pesto was overwhelmed by the drizzling of mayonnaise over the chicken.

What I had enjoyed better was the Jumbo Seafood Pasta ($29.50), to be shared among 3-4 people or 1 hungry cow. This big bowl of spicy, lemak laksa gravy with prawns, fishcake, tau pok, boiled eggs and fried soft-shell crab was quite a lot of food in a bowl. The pasta (which I'm assuming to be spaghetti) didn't feel like pasta. Intriguingly, it was like thick bee hoon. Maybe it was my mind playing tricks here. But overall, this was quite enjoyable.

Swensen's still retains its charming coloured-glass lamps and decor which many will remember them for. Foodwise, its western and fusion dishes would probably appeal to families with kids and the elderly with their localised touches. Being certified halal, they would also attract the Muslim population.

With that said, Swensen's would probably be remembered for their Earthquakes and ice cream (especially before the dearth of local ice cream companies). Personally, I wouldn't run into Swenson's for western food.... Swensen's to me is still Sticky Chewy Chocolate and Crunchy Cone!

Thanks to Kaye and Shu Rin of McGallen & Bolden, and the Swensen's management for the invitation and for hosting this cow.

ION Orchard
Tel: 6884 5967

Chew On This: Swensen's celebrates 30th Anniversary with a 30% discount on all ala carte menu items during weekday lunch, 11am to 5pm, until 31st October 2009!