Saturday, March 29, 2014

Simple & Good Dumpling Noodles

Moore often than not, it is not a good idea to look at your neighbour's plate after ordering food unless one is prepared to do round two. Moohehe.

I had my Cai Fan in front of me but my colleague's noodles looked so good lah. Trust this cow. Besides grass looking greener on the other side of the fence, noodles also!

So I did the expected and had a round 2 lunch of Sui Kao Min ($3 for large). The thin egg noodles, firm and springy, were deliciously tossed in a mix of shallot oil, chilli paste, a savoury brown sauce and a drop of sesame oil. The Sui Kao aka dumplings were plump with prawns, minced pork and crunchy bits of water chestnuts.

Simple and good fare from this stall manned by two elderly ladies and one elderly man.

Now, maybe I should order a $5 portion the next time...and refrain from coveting my neighbour's dish!

Qing Xiang Wanton Noodle
North Bridge Road Food Centre
Blk 861 North Bridge Road
Opens: Only for lunch

Chew On This: For some odd reason I can't explain, I ordered the noodles using my lousy Cantonese which usually happens only when I'm forced to use it in Hong Kong! #hengnothingwentwrong

Sunday, March 23, 2014

GroXers Brings in Joshu Wagyu

It was a Saturday morning but this cow was lured out of bed by well...another cow. Moohehe. Or moore specifically a deliciously sacrificed one. #youknowiamcannibalisticright 

Brought in from Japan by food distributor GroXers, Joshu wagyu is wagyu beef from Japanese Black cattle raised in Gunma prefecture. Benefiting from the area's green mountains and clear water, Joshu wagyu is known for its succulence, tenderness and rich flavour.

Chef Felix Chong showcased some yummy dishes made from Joshu wagyu at a demonstration held at ToTT.

First up an 'ice cream' of beef tartare. Gone in one mouth, the crisp squid ink wafer cone contrasted delightfully with the creamy, sweet-tangy beef tartare. Moo thinks this is a good canape idea.

Pan Seared Joshu Wagyu Beef with Capsicum & Balsamic Reduction showcased the sweet beefy flavour of the striploin though the capsicum was a tad intense for me. I tried the beef on its own and then went for moore in a stamp of approval. Moohehe.

Flame on! Someone should tell Johnny Storm from Fantastic Four to do this. Blow torching slivers of Joshu wagyu added a smoky touch and brought out some of that luscious oils.

Lightly flamed on the outside and nicely under-cooked, here's the Wagyu Ribeye with Celeriac Puree, Asparagus & Mustard Sauce. :D

If you wanna order up some Joshu Wagyu or Joshu beef, check out GroXers! They even have a 25% discount for first timer shoppers.

Thanks to Yvonne Law of GroXers for hosting me.

Joshu Wagyu
*Available at Groxers and selected meat specialty shops

Chew On This: Order $60 worth of products from Groxers and get 10% off tickets to Fantasia by Escriba (27-29 June)!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Taste Nostalgic Dishes at Man Fu Yuan

Like how the simple ratatouille brought back powerful memories of food critic Anton in the movie Ratatouille, nostalgia can often be a most wonderful flavouring.

Man Fu Yuan at the InterContinental Singapore aims to ignite nostalgia by presenting a slew of old school dishes for a limited time only- 15 March to 31 May 2014. Researched by Chinese Executive Chef Kwan Yiu Kwan and Restaurant Manager Patrick Ng, these dishes are apparently from the 1960s and are influenced by Chinese cuisine in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

My favourite dish of the lot was also the first time that was served that evening. Mixed Beef & Beef Ball Stew ($28) was a simmering claypot with ox tripe, tender beef brisket chunks and handmade beef balls in a rich gravy that almoost did me in by commanding two bowls of rice. Moohehe. The beef balls were delightfully springy and had bits of crunchy chestnut.

Fans of Pig Trotters with Vinegar ($28) can savour the version here which is made of two types of black vinegar- Gold Plum Vinegar and Chan Kong Thye Black Sweet Rice Vinegar. Old ginger flavoured the vinegary brew. Unfortunately, I am not too big a fan of this dish.

Double-boiled Winter Melon with Seafood Soup ($58 for 4 portions) is a classic Cantonese soup. Clean flavours from the melon, dried and fresh scallops, chicken and crab infused the broth. I think Jin Hua ham would have taken this up a notch.

Signature Tea-smoked Pork Belly Char Siew ($28) was a popular favourite at the table. And who could resist it with its smoky, slightly charred exterior and sweet, savoury taste. A good balance between meat and fats resulted in an enjoyable chew.

My heart (and probably arteries) cried when another pork belly dish ensued. But the Hong Kong Styled Pork Belly with Shrimp Paste ($28) is another must try! Savoury and rich with umami, this dish warrants more rice.

This is a scaled down tasting version of Man Fu Yuan Traditional Wanton Noodles ($12 per person). Plump wantons and an egg noodles (brought in from Thailand) simply tossed in lard and dark sauce were simple joys. Dab on some XO sauce for a kick.

Praise the Lard for it is good! Steamed Fish Head in Black Bean Sauce ($28 per piece) had crispy lard dotted around a flavourful black bean sauce. Really who needs fish? Moohaha. The Imperial Chicken ($28 for 1/2 chicken) in the background featured chicken seasoned with Chinese wine and presented with a dish of minced ginger.

For some variety on a plate, this platter had tongue, wings and trotters. Take your pick! :D

Six Treasures Seafood ($88 per person) seemed fit for a wedding banquet with braised abalones, very moreish fried prawns with a cornflour and salted egg yolk batter, a crispy basket of sauteed prawns, scallops, asparagus and fluffy egg white.

When this dish of Steamed Chicken with Chinese Sausage & Mushroom ($26 per portion) arrived, I wished I had a fifth stomach. LOL. The slices of Chinese sausage and mushrooms lent their sweetness and earthiness respectively to the sauce when steamed with the chicken. I didn't take to the smooth floury coating of the chicken though.

Fried Flat Rice Noodles with King Prawn ($18 per person) made me sit up, or want to lie down, depending on how you see it. Moohehe. It had a nice smoky touch though the hor fun was too tangy/sour for moo.

An iced cold glass of Liang Cha helped to cleanse the palate and placate the body of the indulgent feast.

To end the meal, a bowl of Xu Kup aka Hashima was comforting and perfect. Orh Nee would have floored me...literally. Moohehe.

That was one epic meal. Felt almoost like CNY was already here! Anyway, while I wasn't born in the 1960s and can't attest to the nostalgic-ness of these dishes, I am thankful to be able to experience a taste of the past. In fact, some elements in a few of the dishes did bring moo back to grandma's cooking.

Thanks to Teresa and Denise of the InterContinental Singapore for hosting me.

Man Fu Yuan
Level 2
InterContinental Singapore
Tel: 6825 1062 
Opens: 11.45am to 3.30pm; 6.30pm to 10.30pm

Chew On This: Private dining rooms are available for those who might wish to dine and savour nostalgic moments for business entertainment or a cosy dinner with loved ones.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Night Cap at the Auld Alliance

Sometimes at the end of a long day, a drink feels so good. Even if it is just one drink. #alkiewithcontrol

Stepping into library-like The Auld Alliance was crazy. I could feel each of the over 1350 bottles staring at me. Moohehe.

But no, I just had one drink only, opting for the Old Fashioned. Strong. Sweet. Citrus-y.

Then good night! What else you want lah. Moohehe.

Psst..for those into or keen in learning moore about whiskies, the friendly staff here are happy to indulge in liquid education. :P

The Auld Alliance
Rendezvous Hotel Gallery
Tel:  6337 2201 (from 5pm only)

Chew On This: Whiskey fans can opt for selected flights to explore verticals, regions, types etc and even a blind tasting!

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Makankakis at Jin Long

I was secretly very happy when I heard that the next makankakis dinner was to be at Jin Long...because it's near home in the east. Moohehe.

First up to satisfy hungry diners at the table was Jin Long Triple Combination. From front to back in the above photo: Crispy Seafood Delight & Duck with Crepe was a wrapped parcel of textures and flavour; refreshingly tasty Cold Pig's Trotter; and sweet and savoury Fried Mushroom featuring juicy batons of king oyster mushrooms.

This cow loves soup but was scared when he saw the name of this broth- Stewed Top Shell Soup. Not a fan of top shell lah. :p But was delighted when the bowl of clear soup arrived. There was nothing murky nor reminiscent of the canned mollusk. Instead, pieces of chicken, dried shellfish and Chinese herbs made it a fortifying, sweet brew.

Crispy Eggplant with French Beans was a simple dish but done very well. The beans were crisp while the sticks of eggplant had a tenderly soft inner texture. A little bit of heat, smoke and savouriness from the dried shrimps tossed in a hot wok.

We Chinese believe that "got head got tail" is a good sign bearing completeness. So here the Two Style Tiger Grouper featured a steamed front half of the fish and a deep fried tail portion. It was a rather large fish which probably made it challenging to cook right. This was meaty but tough from overcooking. The fried portion fared mooch better and absorbed the sauce with fried garlic (and chye poh?).

When I saw the Crispy Duck, I forgot for a mooment that I was in a heartland cze char restaurant. Maybe they should season this with olives and call it Karnah de Confit no? Moohahaha. Anyway, I had the privilege of eating two halves from two different plates on top of my own portion as diners were getting full. See why I like coming to these dinners! LOL.

But I digress. The duck was flavoured with, I suspect, five spice and garlic, but was unfortunately inconsistent with some pieces being wonderfully moist while another piece turned out dry.    

By the time the Crispy Pig's Trotter showed up. Moost people were already about to throw in the towel. But being true blue Singaporeans, we still whacked it. Wasn't particularly memoorable dish for me though.

Everyone was anticipating the Chinese Sausage with Rice or 腊味饭 and gave bewildered looks when this arrived. Actually, I had a lot moore comments on the cucumber garnish than the fried parcels of rice when I tweeted this dish. Moohehe. Was an interesting way of presenting the dish. Nice but just missing the fragrance of good waxed liver sausage.

Dessert was quite un-cze-char-like in the form of Green Tea Muah Chee & Yuzu Ice Cream Cake. Refreshing and a nice way to end the meal. :)

Makankakis dinners are to me a fun once a month get together with friends, food and wines. After a while, one reaches the highest kungfu level and realises that it is not all just about food and wines that matter. The conviviality that arises when good company, food and wines intertwine is magic.

Speaking of vino, I cracked open this bottle of Sandalford Shiraz 2005 which I brought back from Margaret River several years ago. Enjoyably smooth and matured with its fruits now less intense.

A new day breaks forth with challenges but that can wait. For now, it is the simple contentment of a good dinner, and an even better night's rest. Thank you, Jesus.

Jin Long
Blk 412
Bedok North Avenue 2
Tel: 6442 9398

Chew On This: This casual restaurant sells a small selection of wines but feel free to BYO if you like!