Thursday, July 21, 2011

Simple Yet Good Food!

After visiting my buddy one Saturday evening, we headed in search of a near by spot for dinner. Ah, I remembered this particular casual Chinese eatery that I thought looked promising- odd-sounding shop name, old, simply furnished and operated by Chinese (Chinese from China to be more specific).

The Pan Fried Pork & Leek Dumplings ($4 for 6 pieces) turned out to be very good! Instead of the usual meat filling entirely enveloped within the dumpling skin, the ones here were sort of like cannoli, the Italian pastry. The filling was packed with the sweet, full flavours of Chinese chives and minced pork. Juicy! The bottom of the dumpling was nicely pan-fried too.

The Shanghai Steamed Pork Dumpling ($3.50 for 4 pieces) aka xiaolongbao was decent too. The slightly thicker skin (yes, apparently Shanghainese xiaolongbao has thicker skin) encased a ball of minced pork that had a small portion of fat for added flavour and a smooth texture. Good value for money xlb.

But it is said that man cannot live by bao alone.

So we ordered some noodles. Moohehehe.

Noodles with Soy Bean Paste, Beijing Style ($5.80) or better known as zha jiang mian. Crisp shreds of carrots, cucumbers and beansprouts gave a refreshing crunch against the savoury minced pork and soy bean paste sauce. Belly nice!

QOB had Noodles in Sichuan Style ($5). It stated "dan dan mian" in Chinese but it was quite unlike any dan dan mian I have seen. Chopped carrots, long beans and minced pork featured in a sauce that tasted slightly peppery and garlicky. Strange but reminded me of bak kut teh... or maybe it's just my craving lah. ;)

Here's the Seafood Fried Rice ($5) that XPP had. Sad to say it was more like fried rice paralyse than paradise.

Still feeling a little greedy and curious, we also ordered the Pan Fried Pork Buns ($6 for 4 pieces) aka sheng jian bao. These took a while to arrive as they had to freshly make this bao and then steam it and then pan fry it. Nice doughy texture of the bao and pan fried bottom but I thought the pork filling could be a bit less one-dimensional. Not bad on the whole though I think I would prefer another plate of guo tie.

On a random note, QOB ate two of the above buns! *Applause*

Finally, a cold bottle of TsingTao Beer ($6.50) felt so gooooood. This and the guo tie would be perfect together.

It was a simple yet good dinner. Moo. Will. Be. Back.

Savor Rey La Mian Xiao Long Bao Restaurant
3 Kampung Bahru Road
Opens: 11am - 11pm daily

Chew On This: No GST! No service charge! No MSG! Huh? Still want some more ah? Moohahaha.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Crystal Jade Celebrates 20th Anniversary!

Crystal Jade is a well-loved brand with casual Chinese dining, specialty restaurants, bakeries as well as fine dining options in its vast stable of establishments.

Dim sum? Check.

Steamboat? Check.

Xiao long bao? Check.

La mian? Check.

Roast meats? Check.

Popularity here in Singapore? Check check check!

I think there's no denying that the brand is well established in the hearts, minds and stomachs of Singaporeans.

Anyway, I had the privilege to attend their 20th anniversary media lunch hosted by Chairman and CEO, Mr Ip Yiu Tung, and held at the fine dining Crystal Jade Golden Palace at Paragon.

We were treated to a sumptuous 6-course lunch showcasing its new dishes.

To start the ball rolling (and the gastric juices flowing) we were served the Cold Lobster in Teochew Style & Marinated Pig's Knuckle & Pickles Wrapped with Lettuce ($32/serving). The live Aussie lobster poached then served at room temperature was succulent and delicate. The pig's knuckle tasted very refined and was beautifully flavoured with the braising sauce. I loved the Teochew preserved vegetables! Very crunchy, slightly sweet, salty and tart. They were brave to serve this to a hungry cow. ;)

Oh and notice the single blackberry (not the phone lah!)? Interesting to see it at a Chinese restaurant.

Here's the actual full portion of the lobster. It somehow makes me wanna toss it with noodles in a hot wok! Drools.

And here we present the pig's knuckle.

Then came the Double-boiled Sea Whelk & Chicken with Starfruit & Pomelo ($20/serving). I was very much looking forward to this since I'm a soup person. And it didn't disappoint. Imagine a good chicken stock flavoured with the savoury sweetness of seafood from both the sea whelk and dried scallop. The starfruit and pomelo added bursts of fruity sweetness. I've had apples and pears in soups but it was my first with pomelo and starfruit. Apparently this soup is nourishing but not heaty. Perfect for busy working folks!

The Deep-fried Chicken with Black Truffle ($80/whole chicken) was a very modern interpretation of a popular dish. The chicken had an almost fat-free crisp skin and was paired with a sauce made of virgin olive oil, mushroom and French black truffle. Though the sauce doesn't taste very Chinese, it was nonetheless delicious! The purple cauliflower (I know right?) had a pleasant nuttiness that went well with the chicken. :D Two super thin slices of jambu were at hand to cleanse the palate.

Simmered Cabbage Topped with Cordycep Flower in Pumpkin Soup ($22 for small). My favourite part was the crispy shreds of dried scallop (I think) scattered over the dish!

For a healthy alternative to fried rice, try the Steamed Assorted Grain Rice with Prawn ($20 for small). See the many many different grains? There's white rice, brown rice, red rice, black glutinous rice, wheat, black and green beans, sesame and sweet corn. The result is a tasty and very wholesome dish. But do factor in longer chewing time. Can exercise while eating....I knew chewing was a good exercise! Moohehe.

I digress. The chicken pieces were also very good. Smooth and tender- like some claypot rice versions.

Chilled Pea Cake ($1.20/ piece) & Teochew Sweetened Soup with Bird's Nest ($21/serving) rounded up the meal. The former was said to be a favourite of the Empress Dowager. It had a very fine and smooth texture and had just enough sweetness. The sweetened soup contained hashima, dried longan, lotus seed, gingko and....

Bird's nest! Someone joked that we can all skip this month's facial. LOL.

Congrats to Crystal Jade on their 20th anniversary and 100th outlet!

Thanks to Geraldine Kan of linea Communications for the invitation and to the Crystal Jade team for hosting this hungry cow.

Note: Most photos in this post are of individual servings, unless where stated otherwise.

Crystal Jade
Golden Palace
Tel: 6734 6866
Opens: Monday-Friday 11.30am-3pm; 6pm-11pm
Saturday 11am-3pm; 6pm-11pm
Sunday 10.30pm-3pm; 6pm-11pm

Chew On This: To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Crystal Jade is holding a Culinary Carnival! 5-7 Aug, outside Crystal Jade Kitchen @ nex. Catch live cooking demonstrations, learn to make mooncakes, performances by Jack & Rai, la mian competition, 12 F&B kiosks etc. Profits from coupon sales will be donated to World Vision to help needy children in developing countries!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Not all that tweets are birds....

While cows are natural-born moo-ers, this hungry one is starting to tweet too....much to the delight of his neighbouring birds. Moohahaha.

Follow this cow, his grazing, nonsense and rants @thehungrycow!

*Picture taken from ShutterStock. Don't expect me to go hunt for a cow and bird in Singapore to photograph lah. :p

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Another Tian Tian in the East!

Yes, yes. Eastie pride again! :p The popular Tian Tian Chicken Rice stall at Maxwell Food Centre has opened another outlet in the east after their Joo Chiat branch.

Located at the Simpang Bedok area, this outlet is the closest to my home. Moohehehe.

One Sunday evening, my family of four decided to check this Tian Tian out instead of our once-a-week home-cooked dinner.

Here's the Poached Chicken ($14 for 1/2 a bird). I really enjoyed this for its smooth. tender texture and flavoursome meat. The only thing I found odd was unlike most sauces used to drizzle of the chicken, the one here was gooey and viscous. Don't remember the Maxwell stall to have this gooey sauce but it's been ages since I last ate there. Can anyone confirm?

The Roasted Chicken ($14 for 1/2 a bird) didn't appeal too much to me. It was relatively rough and tough, and lacked fragrance. I'll stick to the white poached chicken. :)

You Cai or literally Oil Vegetables ($6) was a simple dish of blanched xiao bai cai, oyster sauce and fried shallots.

A surprisingly good find here is the Plain Macaroni (80cents)! It was cooked just right and there was a pleasant flavour of the flour used to make the pasta. I would have gobbled a 2nd bowl if not for the fact that my bowl was the last portion for the day.

Oh the rice! Can't forget the holy trinity of chicken rice- chicken, rice & chili sauce. The rice was very tasty with a good chicken, pandan and garlic flavour. Individual grains separated nicely with a good mouthfeel. The chili sauce, spiked with lime juice, was a little too sharp for my liking though.

Yay! I don't have to travel to Maxwell for Tian Tian Chicken Rice anymore! Yippeee.

Tian Tian Chicken Rice
12 Jalan Pari Burong (other outlets at Maxwell Food Centre and Joo Chiat)
Tel: 6448 0120

Chew On This: Are you a fan of Tian Tian Chicken Rice? Follow them on Facebook and Twitter! Woah, our hawker titans are also catching up with social media. Very cool.

Monday, July 04, 2011

A Lovely Saturday Lunch in the North

This cow trotted over to the north one fine recent Saturday. It has been like 5-6 years since I last traced this path. It sure brought back nostalgic memories. Then, it was a regular commute between army camp and home, often in semi-comatose state.

But on this Saturday, the mood was relaxed and leisurely as it was to a friend's place for a home-cooked lunch.

Maameemoomoo cooked up Malaysian-style Nasi Lemak and Chicken Rendang. It was a simple and delicious lunch, made even more enjoyable with foodie friends. :) The rice reminded me of my late paternal grandma's nasi lemak. There was a pronounced coconut milk and pandan fragrance. A little ginger in the background.

The rempah and sambal were all made from scratch. Lots of hard work and love in the cooking!

Question: Which was the hottest dish?
Answer: Sambal. Why? Because it had the camera's attention. Moohahaha! Ahem. Ok, sorry. I digress.

Dessert arrived in the form of Strawberry Mousse & White Chocolate Cream with Chopped Mangoes. So pretty right?! I dare say this would not look out of place at a cafe or restaurant.

Then this was turned into...

Lemon & Orange Yogurt Cake! She made it look so easy lah. :p

The cake looked like a pound cake but was much lighter and had an interesting slightly kueh-like texture. I loved the citrusy flavour and that it was made to be not too sweet. A cake like this is just too dangerous!

By the way, if you are female and would like to learn baking, Maameemoomoo is holding baking sessions at her place...FOC! Simply to help spread the joys of baking. What a great idea! Check it out here. July's slots are full but keep your fingers crossed for August ones.

Many thanks to Maameemoomoo for toiling on a Saturday to prepare a lovely lunch and bake for us! It was such a relaxed and enjoyable Saturday lunch that I just felt like nuah-ing. Moohehe.

Chew On This:

Or else someone else would!