Thursday, October 31, 2013

Moo First "Chindian" Makan

I love Chinese and Indian food on their own but a fusion of Chinese AND Indian? I recently had my first experience with "Chindian" (moohehe) cuisine at this restaurant called Manchurian Club.

It boasts a menu offering "Indianized Chinese cuisine". Apparently this style of cuisine resulted from the Hakka Chinese in Manchuria who later moved to India years ago. Flipping through the menu took a while as I was unsure of what to expect despite seeing the listed dishes.

Stir Fried Beancurd in Szechwan Sauce ($7) turned out to be disappointingly un-spicy despite its three chilli rating on the menu. The lightly fried tau kwa was nonetheless tasty coated with a rather sweet, piquant appeal thanks to Worcestershire sauce and bean paste. Dried chillies gave it a nice, gentle heat towards the end.   

The Mixed Fried Rice ($9) was quite interesting- light, fluffy basmati rice with a decent wok hei. Well separated long grains were fried with egg, chicken and seafood.   

As the veg dish, we opted for the Broccoli with Black Mushroom ($7). The broccoli was cooked nicely, tender with just that bit of crunch. The starchy sauce was too overwhelmingly heavy for my liking though it seemed to keep the broccoli warm for quite a long while in the bowl.

Hupak Chicken ($7) also came in a starchy gravy but was perked up with bell peppers, green chilli, black beans and garlic which all made this dish very savoury. The chicken breast pieces were lean and might not appeal to those who prefer the juiciness of the chicken's thigh. Ok, now you know what they mean when they say "food porn". Moohaha.

By the way, who/what is Hupak?

A mooment of contemplation and a pint of Brewerk's Golden Ale ($8) for good measure. :)

Manchurian Club
#01-02 Hotel Tower UE Biz Hub East2 Changi Business Park Ave 1
Tel : 6444 2600 

Chew On This: They do food delivery too! Call 635 22622

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Comforting Return to Cafe de Hong Kong

I have been wanting to dine at Cafe de Hong Kong for the longest time now since my last visit and so took the chance when some friends craved for happy juice. 

The food was comforting as always.

Their Crispy Roast Chicken was a tad dry on this visit but still tasted flavourful from the fermented beancurd marination. Its crispy skin with just a sliver of underlying fat was gobbled up happily. Moohehe.

Fish Roe Fried Rice is a must here. The tiny spheres burst in the mouth giving a fresh, briny touch.

Yau Mak Choy with Black Beans and Dace demanded for moore rice. The salty punch of the black beans and fish reminded me of homely meals at, well, home.

Ok, before this start resembling an old post of Cafe de Hong Kong, I also tried two new (or at least since my last visit) dishes.

Instead of the Claypot Mutton, I tried the duck variant. There was the same delicious sauce that was perfect spooning over rice but with a slightly lighter flavour. The sauce also seemed to tame the gaminess of the duck.

Steamed Pork with Preserved Vegetables was a plate of soulful comfort. Typically Cantonese, this dish combined fatty minced pork with bits of water chestnuts and tung choi (a type of preserved vegetables) for a smooth tasty effect.

Rather than desserts, our dinner was anchored by a serving of Braised Bee Hoon. The wok hei was beautiful in this simple but well executed dish.

For happy juice, we had a fresh Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2012 and this Bordeaux 2006. Didn't know Carlsberg started producing vino too. LOL.

We paid less than $20 excluding wines.

Cafe de Hong Kong
586 Balestier Road
Tel: 6255 3865

Chew On This: Cafe de Hong Kong offers free corkage on wines so feel free to BYO or ask its boss, Francis, for recommendations from his wine chiller.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Deceptively Punchy $2.50 Fish Ball Noodles

As I am busy with work (as usual) especially after returning from a company retreat in Phuket, I am keeping this blog post short and sweet. Moohehe.

Some things in life are like this $2.50 bowl of fish ball noodles- deceptively punchy. Its fragrance was quite unlike most fish ball noodles I've had. Aromatic with a very fragrant shallot oil, these noodles attack the nose even before eating them! The first bite of the noodles tasted sweet (ketchup maybe?) then a wave of savoury, spicy flavours followed by the tang of black vinegar. The fish balls and fish cake slices were supple and tasted fresh. The former even had an irregular shape, a clue that might suggest these were handmade.

A small amount of minced pork topped the noodles. These had a bit of cornstarch mixed into them so had a smooth feel and offered a different touch compared to moost other stalls.

If this bowl of delicious fish ball noodles stays at $2.50, life is certainly good! :D #damnyouinflation  

Meng Tai
Blk 20 Ghim Moh Road
Ghim Moh Market and Food Centre

Chew On This: I didn't even mind that there were no signs of pork lard in my bowl of noodles. The shallot oil rocks!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Erdinger's Oktoberfest at Clarke Quay

Nothing better than good beer, company and a whole load of sausages at the end of a Friday. That was all there at Erdinger's Oktoberfest.

Wouldn't this bring on a smile? :D

The beer taps flowed furiously serving up Erdinger's signature Weissbier and Dunkel. The former was refreshing and perfect for a start to the evening while the latter was probably why Darth Vader is on the deliciously dark side. Moohehe. Apparently there was even a special Oktoberfest brew but sadly I didn't get to try it.

This year, there was an appointed mayor (from an earlier Instagram contest) to tap the keg in true Oktoberfest tradition. This is like the ringing of the Wall Street bell...only more fun. Hic. Beer games and an Oom-pah band entertained the crowd who themselves also entertained themselves. Moohaha. 

People were clearly happy and in a good mood to let down their hair. Speaking of hair, Oktoberfest seem to have a special effect on some men. Long wavy, shaggy and braided blonde long hair crowned the heads of some burly men that night. So look carefully before you give that blondie a wink. LOL.


Thanks to Sheena Sim of iris Singapore and Erdinger for the invitation.

Erdinger's Oktoberfest
11-12 October 2013
Clarke Quay

Chew On This: 
Don't waste time Maybe the next time. :p

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Homely, Refined Italian plates at Da Laura

Other than Japanese, I think Italian is the other most popular cuisine in Singapore. And new Italian restaurants just seem to keep popping up, adding to the ever growing pool. Folks in Singapore now have another option for their Italian fix- Da Laura.

Opened in April this year, Da Laura (which means by Laura in Italian) is opened by Laura Forlino, who was previously behind Forlino at One Fullerton. This mucca (that's cow in Italian! Moohehe) was recently invited to check out the place for dinner. Do note dishes shown in this post are of tasting portions while prices are of the actual portions.  

Da Laura promises hearty flavours and a homely interior decked with pieces of furniture from Laura's own home in Piedmont, Italy.  

A glass of Prosecco, sticks of Grissini and squares of homemade Focaccia bread started the evening.
The first dish to arrive was the Smoked Duck Breast with pomegrenate seeds, parmesan crisps and a creamy sauce. I really enjoyed this dish. The different flavours and textures worked up a beautiful starter.

Next was a dish of Eggplant Terrine, Sicilian Tomatoes and Basil Pesto ($18). A knob of creamy burrata was lovely with the tomatoes and basil sauces. Very fresh tasting and clean flavours. 

“Tropea” Red Onion Puff Pastry with Roasted Peppers and Stracciatella ($22) boasted a large onion as the "main ingredient". Rather unusual as onions tend to be a supporting role rather than the star in moost dishes. Here, the onion was drizzled with white wine vinegar and olive oil before being baked in the oven at low heat. What emerged was a good balance of sweet and tart flavours, married with the roasted peppers sauce and creamy, fresh Stracciatella (an Italian soft cheese).   

Mooving on to the pastas, the Homemade Cod Ravioli with Spinach, Cream and Sage ($32) was a tad under seasoned I felt. 

Made with hand chopped beef rump and cooked with wine, the Home Made Tagliatelle with Bolognese Style Hand Chopped Meat Ragout ($26) was rich, heavy and flavourful. Just a touch of creaminess though chef did not use any milk or cream in the pasta dish.

Speaking of chef, here's Executive Chef Michele Blasi. The Milan-born chef serves up a range of Italian dishes from the various regions of Italy here at Da Laura. Believing that less is more, most of his dishes contain just a few ingredients. And hey, Chef Michele is a trained pastry chef too! 

The last savoury dish I tasted was the Red Snapper Burger with Altamurra Bread ($42), a crisp bread made of semolina flour. The snapper, diced into small cubes, tasted fresh. A pity the potato crisps were had gone soft. Overall tasty but nothing too exciting about this dish for his mucca.  

For desserts, the Cannoncini ($16 for 8 pieces) is a moost have! Featuring a deep fried pastry shell pumped with a light cream custard and dusted with icing sugar, this was a nice way to end the meal. :)

The other dessert of Almond Granita would please those who like almond desserts. A sweet icy mound of shaved ice flavoured with the unmistakable almond taste and topped with almond flakes.  

Da Laura has a homely feel and its cuisine is refined, restrained, with the use of just a few ingredients per dish to bring out their natural flavours.

Thanks to James Leong of James PR and Da Laura for hosting me.

47 Neil Road
Tel: 6224 8251
Opens: 11.30am to 2.30pm; 6.30pm to 10pm (Monday to Friday)
           6.30pm to 10pm (Saturday)
Closed: Sunday  

Chew On This: 
Laura is a trained sommelier and personally selects the 100% Italian wines listed in Da Laura. Ask her about the history behind these labels and winemakers and she will be happy to share!