Monday, January 30, 2012

Ren Re Dinner at Xiao Yi's!

On the 7th day of the Lunar New Year, we gathered at Xiao Yi's place for dinner. It's everybody's birthday! But got no cake. Moohehehe.

Check out the pot of yummies! See already also full. :p Truly generous and abundant!

Then there's the roast duck and roast pork. If you noticed the gaps in the tray of roast pork, that's because hungry fingers (including this cow's) have picked at them before the start of dinner. LOL.

Xiao Yi also baked fish with pesto. An ang moh touch to the otherwise Chinese dinner.

And since she lugged back tonnes of kim chi from Korea and despite having eaten some over Christmas, we had some for dinner too. Crunchy, spicy and tangy! Very appetising.

Here's the abalone over local lettuce, doused in a mushroomy sauce and sprinkled with fried garlic.

She's very into wines and cheese and might have influenced some members of the family....including moo. A very light, refreshing and easy-drinking Tahuna Sauvignon Blanc 2010 and a very nice Californian Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (Think red fruits, damp tea leaves, earthy and fruity sweetness.) I think this winemaker's Hokkien. Check out the label. Moohahaha.

The SIMI Cab Sauv paired beautifully with Er Yi's ngor hiang which I forgot to shoot after it arrived late. Dang.

As always, home-cooked feasts are meals made with love. Thanks Xiao Yi for your labour of love! :) Family love- truly one of life's blessings.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Souper Under-Rated

Chinese New Year's festive foods can be rich and heaty. Amdist the pigging out, a good bowl of soup feels sooooo good.

I chanced upon this soup stall after walking past it numerous times en route to my favourite fish soup place in Bedok. When I finally decided to give it a try, I was so happy I did.

The Chicken Feet Peanuts Pork Ribs Soup ($3.50) was souper tasty. It must have been the hours of simmering chicken feet, peanuts and pork ribs in the large clay vessel.

Another good option- Watercress Pork Ribs Soup ($3.50). Light yet well-flavoured with dates, watercress, pork ribs and bitter almonds.

The soups here have a certain wholesome robustness to them. Makes me wanna moo. I think my Cantonese grandma would be proud (of the soups that is).

Blk 205
Bedok North Street 1

Chew On This: Based on my visits, there is a more than 50% chance that you might get pork ribs with tendons! These are slowly boiled until gelatinous and awesome gooey-ness. :D

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Wang Lai!

Whoooooooo lives in a pineapple under the sea?! Don't care lah. This season, the only pineapple on people's minds are those in the tart form. Moohahahaha.

Just wanted to share some of the pineapple tarts I have received from the below respective companies.

These yummy 凤梨酥 from Sunny Hills hail from Taiwan and spotted a buttery crust with a lovely well-balanced, pulpy pineapple filling. Personally, this was my favourite. :) Anyway, don't they look like gold bars? Very auspicious leh!

Crystal Jade's pineapple tarts had an interesting top crust and was kinda like bo lo bao. I tilted one so you can see the top and bottom parts are actually different. The crusty top gave it a more crunchy texture. The pineapple filling was mild but rather sweet.

People who enjoy their pineapple tarts with a super soft crust and sticky pineapple jam should consider Prima Deli's. The milk powder flavour was pretty evident in the crust while the jam packed a flavourful fruity punch with a pleasant aftertaste. For more huat-ness, choose the pineapple-shaped ones that come wrapped individually in a red translucent pouch.

Have an abundant year with good eats, health and prosperity yo! Whooooooooohuat ah! :D

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Dragon Feasts- CNY Buffet

If buffets rock your boat, head over to Plaza Brasserie for their CNY buffet special- The Dragon Feasts (available from 9 Jan to 6 Feb 2012).

Their Three Kingdom Yu Sheng has traditional Chinese goodies such as shredded abalone, sea cucumber and shark's fin. With star fruits, jambu and a fruity sauce, this yu sheng was on the sweet side but with a refreshing crunch! We had a boisterous toss and were all later wiping our hands that smelled delicious. Moohehe. Perhaps a CNY-themed natural hand lotion or moisteriser eh? LOL.

If you are a hardcore yu sheng fan, you'll be pleased to know that the yu sheng is available as part of the buffet....which means you can toss as many yu sheng as you want! Toss until huat HUAT.

Besides Bak Kwa, abalone is the other thing that increases in demand and price during CNY. Here, you get unlimited Marinated Abalone! I'm not a huge fan of abalone but I can imagine fans of the shellfish going crazy here. Or learn from Daniel's Food Diary and add these into the laksa! ;)

For something warm and comforting, try the Lobster Congee. It was pretty smooth and the crustacean flavour was a subtle sweet aftertaste.

Besides the CNY special dishes, a number of Plaza Brasserie's favourites were also available. Like the roast meats station- roast pork, duck, char siew and soy chicken.

I was also very happy to see their Drunken Prawns with Chinese Wine! Prawns are auspicious (and delicious) things to eat during CNY. Ha! The Cantonese word for prawns sounds like laughter.

Obviously many people believe in 年年有鱼. Moohahaha! The signature Baked Whole Salmon seemed rather popular as evident in this photo.

In addition to the cakes, puddings and kuehs, CNY sweet treats like love letters, almond cookies, eight treasures soup and pineapple tarts are included. The pineapple tarts were a little subdued for me and could do with a more fragrant pastry though.

Damned. Think I missed out on the Durian Nian Gao with Bak Kwa! :(

Let me know if anyone tries them.

Happy feasting in the the year of the Dragon! (:

Thanks to Karen Chang of of PARKROYAL on Beach Road for the invitation. See here for pricing info.

Plaza Brasserie
PARKROYAL on Beach Road
7500 Beach Road
Tel: 6505 5710

Chew On This: CNY set dinner can also be had at the ballroom from 9 Jan to 6 Feb 2012. Be treated to lion dance performance, tea appreciation by a tea master and an appearance by the God of Fortune!

Monday, January 09, 2012

Chinese New Year Dining @ Xin Cuisine

Hot on the heels of Christmas is Chinese New Year. This year CNY comes barely a month after the Yuletide season. So it's moo-re feasting! Again! :D

It'll be the Dragon (some say drag-on) year and since we can't really eat dragons, no not even komodo dragons hence many yu shengs are shaped into a dragon.

Check out this one from Xin Cuisine over at Holiday Inn Atrium!

The Gold Leaf Australian Lobster Yu Sheng (market price) featured a whole lobster (still craving for a dish of noodles stir-fried with the head), salmon, tuna, amaebi (Japanese sweet prawns), geoduck clam and cobia- all sashimi.

With extra long chopsticks and enduring hand cramps, we heaved and tossed the yu sheng, allowing each blogger to take turns in capturing the moo-ment. LOL! A light and very fragrant yu sheng especially with the zesty mandarin peel bits.

Then the Pan-Fried Scallop with Eggplant in Japanese Miso Sauce ($30 for small) was brought to the table. The scallop was nice though I found the eggplant too oily.

Double-Boiled Shark’s Fin and Baby Cabbage in Chicken Broth ($188 for 4 pax) was comforting and homely. Love the juicy wanton!

The Steamed Garoupa Fillet with Beancurd in Light Soya Sauce ($33 for small). The fish was rather Hong Kong-style while the beancurd, with what I'm guessing were bits of waterchestnuts and Chinese parsley, had a homemade and rustic appeal.

Xin’s Prosperity Seafood Pen Cai ($298 for 6 pax, $398 for 10 pax) was a pot of abundance with ingredients like lobster, abalone, shark's fin, fish maw, sea cucumber, dried oyster, dried scallop, wolfberry, fresh scallop, jellyfish, mushroom, sea moss, bamboo pith, radish, sea whelk and Chinese cabbage. The braising sauce had a delicate seafood flavour.

There were so much ingredients that we had to portion them out into 2 bowls per person. Moo had 3 cos some were too full and could only stomach down 1 bowl. So helpful right? Moohehhehe.

Then we came to desserts.

Chewed on Deep-Fried Xin’s “Nian Gao” ($6 per pax) and the Chocolate Champagne Glutinous Rice Ball, which should appeal to alkies! Teetotallers beware. LOL.

As a final end to dinner, the Bird’s Nest with Almond Cream ($28 per pax) was perfect. Its warmth, smoothness and almond-y flavour caressed the palate. The visible strands of bird's nest added a luxurious touch. A sweet ending to the meal and perhaps a sweet beginning to the new year!

Thanks to Tracy Lim of the Holiday Inn Atrium for the invitation and the rest of the team for hosting moo.

Xin Cuisine
Level 4
Holiday Inn Atrium
317 Outram Road
Tel: 6731 7173

Chew On This: If you prefer some privacy or just want to celebrate with family/friends/business associates, consider booking their nicely done up private dining rooms. Named after teas, each dining room offers a unique tea. There is also a cosy sofa area to relax at should one have had one too many of the Chocolate Champagne Glutinous Rice Balls the table environment be a bit boring or stiff after a while. :p

Friday, January 06, 2012

Still Mama Mia After All These Years.

Al Forno is one restaurant that moo family enjoys but oddly have not returned to in the past 6 or 7 years. But boy were we happy to have revisited it recently at Dad's suggestion!

Pizza Al Forno ($23) was a delicious option topped with spinach, feta cheese and sausage meat. The crust wasn't too thin had a nice chew which I like.

We also enjoyed the Saute Di Vongole ($19)- a sliver dish load of clams cooked simply in white wine, garlic, olive oil, chili and parsley. The broth had sweet flavours of shellfish and garlic with a heat (from bird's eye chili) towards the back palate.

For those who like their rice in big portions, consider the Mushroom Risotto ($23). It's a nice vegetarian option but I found it to be a bit too rich for one person. Best shared around the table. :)

Al Forno's signature pasta dish- Spaghetti Cartocci ($59 for 2 person). Spaghetti tossed in a tomato sauce with olives, capers, crayfish, prawns, squid, clams and mussels! While the seafood was a tad overcooked for my liking, the flavours- oh rich tomato and sweet seafoody flavours were sooooo comfortingly gooooood.

For desserts Sis wanted the Panna Cotta but it was sold out. Boohoo. But no point crying over cuddled milk, no? Moohehehe. So we tried the Tiramisu ($9) instead. Pretty decent.

We brought a bottle of Teo Costa Nebbiolo d'Alba 2003 DOC which is drinking very nicely now. Corkage is $20.

Blessed Anniversary, Dad & Mum!

The place is casual and relaxed. The food is the kinda Italian food I like- rustic and homely. The portions are big (I lagi like!). I don't think we should wait another 6 or 7 sevens before returning.

Al Forno
400 East Coast Road
Tel: 6348 8781

Chew On This:
They use a wood-fired oven for their pizzas. Delivery is also available to selected areas in the east. Call 6348 8861 to enquire. Buon Appetito!

Monday, January 02, 2012

First Dinner of 2012

2012 began on an awesome note with the first church service of the year. The message for 2012? Unceasing Fruitfulness!

Jeremiah 17:8
For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out his roots by the river, and shall not fear when heat cometh, but his leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

Psalm 1:3
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

2012 will be a year where heat comes but in Jesus, I stand secure. I shall not be anxious nor worried. My health will not wither. I will be fruitful and be blessed in whatever I do.

What an assuring and powerful promise of God!

After service, we headed near home for the first dinner of 2012- at the recently-opened new branch of House of Seafood @180.

The "kacang" was an interesting medley of nuts. Gone in a flash!

The Poached Live Prawns ($6.50/100g) were very good. Fresh, sweet and the meat did not stick to the shell. Quite a bit of tasty prawn head juice too! :p

There was a small saucer of chilli oil, black vinegar and minced garlic but I felt this sauce was too overpowering. Good for those who prefer very strong (spicy! sharp! intense!) flavours but like that cannot taste the beautiful flavours of fresh seafood leh.

Another yummilicious dish to order would be the Salted Egg Crab ($45/kg; seasonal price). Fresh, meaty Sri Lankan crab smothered in a blanket of creamy, sweet and savoury salted egg sauce spiked with chilli and curry leaves. Absolutely to LIVE for! Die already cannot eat mah. Moohahaha.

This cow has never really been a big fan of shark's fins soup...but shark's bone or cartilage soup? Yes! Love the one at Man Fu Yuan. The Double Boiled Shark's Bone Soup with Fish Maw ($13.80/person) here was also quite nice. Milky, lightly thickened and with the goodness of a well-boiled soup. A mushroom and a piece of fresh fish maw accompanied the soup.

Sauteed Nai Bai with Minced Garlic ($12 for small). Simple and good.

Braised Superior Seafood Delicacies in Claypot ($48 for small) had sea cucumber, sliced abalone, scallops, prawns, mushroom and snow peas in a pot. A pity the prawns were overcooked but nonetheless, this tasty dish spooned over a bowl of rice was quite comforting.

Dessert for us was Sweetened Yam Paste with Gingko Nut ($5/person). Bits of corn kernels and water chestnuts gave the starchy dessert some crunch. I would have preferred more yam paste. This one was, to me, a bit like orh nee + corn soup. Moohehehe.

Oh and yes, I have to say that a very nice touch was the live piano performance. No GST, no 10% service charge still got live moo-sic leh! :D

Here's to a great 2012 ahead everyone! May you be blessed with good health, success and joy...and good eats!

House of Seafood @180
30 Cosford Road (Changi Prison area; other branches at 180 Yio Chu Kang Road & 36 Yio Chu Kang Road)
Tel: 6746 9000

Chew On This:

Besides air-conditioned indoor seating, there are also quite a number of outdoor tables surrounded by greenery and water features. A playground is available to keep the tots busy!

And hey! Wabbits! A small pen of rabbits prove popular with both children and adults.