Thursday, March 31, 2016

Mala Mee Mystery

After hearing raves about the Mala Mee from this stall at Beauty World, I finally tried it when I was in the Bukit Timah area one recent day. Was it spicy? Yes. Was it numbing? Just a little. Was it shiok? Unfortunately, hardly.  
While the soup might look deceptively mild, it does deliver a spicy punch from the first sip. But that was it. Lacking depth and mooch flavour, it tasted weak and diluted. I also found the version with prawns to be on the pricey side at $6 with the noodles being accompanied by just two prawns, chye sim, two to three small balls of minced pork and a few slices of mushrooms. The pork ball version costs $3.  
Maybe the dry ban mian or the normal version would have been a better choice. There was a line of people queuing up at this stall and I also have a foodie friend who can eat this Mala Mee once every week so I moost be missing something here! Moohehe.

Top 1 Home Made Noodle
Beauty World Centre
144 Upper Bukit Timah Road
Closed: Tuesday and Wednesday

Chew On This: They do not offer a refund for cancelled orders unless the waiting exceeds 30 minutes! o.0

Monday, March 28, 2016

Heng Long Teochew Porridge Hits the Spot

Screw chocolate. Teochew muay is better than sex. Moohaha.

Yes, I do enjoy a gorgeous steak served with fluffed-up baked potato, good French butter and a bottle of red wine but Teochew muay oozes a comfort that seems to almoost reach the soul. My current favourite place for Teochew porridge is Heng Long in the Kovan area despite one very bad run (in) there. Pun intended. Besides the wide variety of dishes to choose from, there are several al fresco tables by the roadside so one can enjoy muay in the (hopefully breezy) outdoors.

My recent dinner there affirmed my fondness for their Teochew muay. The porridge was hot with long rice grains that were soft yet held their individual shape. The plain-looking porridge water, redolent with the flavour of rice, was comfortingly appealing. Perfect as a contrast against the muay were flavoursome dishes like Cai Poh Omelette, Steamed Minced Pork with Tung Cai and Salted Egg, Braised Tau Kwa and Tau Pok, Steamed Sotong, Fish Cake and Stir Fried Spinach. Worth highlighting was the super fresh Steamed Sotong which was simply cooked to perfection.

The total damage for 3 of us was about $24, including 4 bowls of porridge for this cow. Moohehe.

Heng Long Teochew Porridge
1006 Upper Serangoon Road (other branch in Tanjong Katong)

Chew On This: For the super ngeow fussy fish eaters, this stall also offers steamed fish which is only steamed upon order. One can pick the fish from a small selection too.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

New Scandinavian Flavours at Triple Three

Experience New Scandinavian Flavours at Triple Three, Mandarin Orchard's award-wining buffet restaurant, from 24 March to 3 April. It's a great way to be introduced to Nordic dishes and flavours featuring ingredients like herring, smoked haddock and cloudberries (no, these will not make you feel like you're floating. Moohehe).
Here are some of the Nordic dishes from the buffet spread:
Herring on Rye Bread, a canapé with the cured, briny flavours of the herring and punchy, tanginess of mustard against dense rye bread. Pair it with a cocktail made with the classic Scandinavian spirit Aquavit, lime juice, syrup, sparkling wine and blue curacao. The tipple's strong body and herbaceous flavours match the herring nicely. 

These small-ish prawns belie their deliciousness. Caught off the frigid Atlantic ocean and immediately boiled in water on board the fishing vessels before being frozen, these prawns were simply thawed and served chilled. Its flesh is small but sweet while its head is omg intensely flavoured. Distract your dining companion before you unglamourously suck on their heads! Moohehe.

They can also be peeled and assembled with mayonnaise, lettuce, dill and bread to form a tasty, rustic open-faced sandwich. The Scandinavians enjoy this with a bottle of Chablis in the summer. 

The meaty Smoked Mackerel with Sour Cream and Cucumbers played up smoky and salty notes which were quite bold but were cut by the sour cream and pickled fennel and coriander seeds. I wished there was a bit moore freshness in this dish though.

My personal favourite dish of the evening was this Salmon, Vanilla Mash with Capers and Brown Butter. The salmon was lightly seared on one side before being very gently baked in the oven to produce a wonderfully moist, almost confit-like texture. Nuttiness from the browned butter, saltiness from the capers and a perfumed sweetness from the vanilla mash all combined for a pleasant foil to the salmon. A mix of traditional European cooking with a modern touch.

Moore smoked fish! The Smoked Haddock with Leek and Cauliflower offered simple flavours that came together quite nicely. The milk or cream-based sauce tapered the smokiness of the haddock.
Stegt Flæsk Med Persillesovs (don't even ask me to attempt to pronounce it!) Also called Crispy Pork with Parsley Sauce, I found the pork slices too dry and hard for my liking. The sauce could do little to fix it.

For dessert, expect Nordic treats like this Cloudberries with Cream and Brown Cheese. The tart cloudberries get mixed with whipped cream, a little sugar and brown cheese for a unique dessert that has savoury overtones and a breakfast appeal. Moohehe.

Moore "mainstream" in appeal would be the Molten Chocolate Cake served with a Nordic twist- lingonberries. If the name of these berries rings a bell, you've probably come across it with your meatballs at Ikea! Moohehe.
The New Scandinavian Flavours promotion is headed by Norwegian born guest chef Markus Dybwad who has cooked at Michelin starred restaurants such as The Fat Duck, and at Iggys and Equinox in Singapore. Chef Markus features quality produce from Snorre Food and shares that the smoked fish like the mackerel is even smoked at a production plant in Singapore.

Besides unlimited servings of Nordic specialties, diners can also tuck into the regular favourites from Triple Three's buffet spread. Think seafood on ice, French and Irish oysters, roast beef, honey baked ham, tempura, naan and curries, sashimi, teppanyaki, cheeses and a dessert counter.

New Scandinavian Flavours ($118 per adult) is available for dinner daily and also for lunch on Sundays during the promotional period of 24 March to 3 April.

Thank you Mandarin Orchard Singapore for the invitation.

Triple Three
Level 5
Mandarin Orchard Singapore
333 Orchard Road
Tel: 6831 6288

Chew On This: UOB card holders enjoy 50% off every 2nd diner! Subject to a maximum of 8 persons per card.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Grazing on LaBrezza's New Menu Dishes

It's such a luxury to have a wonderful Italian meal amidst tranquillity in town yet away from the maddening crowd. That's possible at LaBrezza, The St. Regis Singapore's Italian restaurant. It recently launched a new menu with Chef de Cuisine Luca presenting "classic Italian nuances with modern influences".
The meal started on a fresh note with the Moioli Insalata di Mare ($29), a seafood salad featuring a medley of scallop, prawns, mussels, clams, octopus and squid with poached and lightly charred vegetables which still retained their crunch. A hint of olive oil, lemon zest and oregano provided just enough lift for the appetiser.
Next up was something warm and comforting. The Zuppa Di Porcini e Pollo ($18) with porcini mushrooms veloute, slow-roasted chicken breast, mushrooms espuma and hazelnut powder was one of the best mushroom soups I have had recently. Creamy, rich, earthy and a nice multi-textural experience.
From the pasta section, the Ravioli Del Plin ($24 for the smaller piccolo size) offered tender pillows of Piemontese Agnolotti filled with chicken, pork and veal, served with its natural braising sauce. There was a good sense of balance in the dish preventing it from being overly rich or big. Scrumptious.
By the way, pastas here come in two sizes so one can decide on the appropriate portion depending on the number of dishes one would like to order or simply the amount of stomach space. Moohehe.  
Another dish to showcase Chef Luca's balanced, restrained touch is the Baccala in Due Maniere ($36). A juxtaposition of delicate pan-seared cod fillet with a richer-tasting oven-stewed cod fish with braised onions and milk reduction. The duo were accompanied by organic polenta and charcoal radicchio which provided a hint of pleasant bitterness.  

To anchor the meal and induce sweet, meaty dreams, the Costoletta di Vitello ($48) provided a substantial bone-in chunk of veal, breaded and fried until golden and presented with buttered Kipfler potatoes, arugula, cherry tomatoes and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano. I felt this dish had a certain rustic, homecooked feel beneath that polished veneer. So good that I even ate my friend's portion when she could not finish hers. Yes, I am that helpful. Moohehe.

Dessert took the form of Sicilian Cassata ($14), a classic Italian dessert. Ricotta cheese and candied fruit terrine, citrus coulis and pistachio gelato.

Thank you The St Regis Singapore for the invitation.

Level 2
The St. Regis Singapore
29 Tanglin Road
Tel: 6506 6884

Chew On This:

Thirsty? This Chilean Hemisferio Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2014 by established winery Miguel Torres will slake one's thirst with its refreshing acidity and notes of passion fruit and guava. Oh and it goes pretty well with the oysters which are part of LaBrezza's buffet spread for Barbeque Night ($88 per person) every Friday evening. Other delights include antipasti, cold cuts, seafood on ice, and lobsters, lamb chops, sirloin and seabass grilled upon order.      

Friday, March 18, 2016

Nude Seafood

Had a good lunch catch up with a friend at Nude Seafood at Marina Bay Financial Centre. My Miso-Walnut Snapper ($23) was as they had promised- a one-meal dish that is high quality, quick and affordable. The fish was moist and tender though I wished its skin was moore crisp. Quinoa with cured duck, and greens completed the meal.
I didn't really feel full but left satiated, which is important so I don't go running to the nearest bak chor mee or Old Chang Kee store. Moohehe. Definitely no Z monster battles after this.
I guess my friend was moore hungry. He went for the Bara Chirashi Bowl, Smoked Tomato Soup, Cheesecake and a Cold-Pressed Juice. 
12 Marina Boulevard, #01-02
Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3 
Tel: 6443 1167
Opens: Monday to Friday, 8am to 9.30pm
Closed: Weekends and Public Holidays

Chew On This: This eatery is named Nude Seafood because its diners eat seafood without wearing clothes as it aims to cook its seafood simply and transparently. Personally, I think that's the best way to cook seafood! :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

BottlesXO Launches an App-Based Wine Delivery Service in Singapore

When I asked two of BottlesXO's founders on what made them start the business, their reply was very mooch aligned to my interest- "We got thirsty!" Moohehe.
First launched in Shanghai just 9 months ago by a trio of tech-savvy wine lovers, BottlesXO quickly expanded into Suzhou and Hong Kong before arriving in sunny Singapore. Need wine and need it now? Simply download the BottlesXO app, browse and place an order. Not only will the wine be delivered within an hour to any location in Singapore (homes, offices, parks, void decks, restaurants, and yes including Sentosa!), it will arrive nicely chilled. They will also come with a wine opener and plastic glasses too. *#@% delayed gratification. Moohehe.
Additionally, there is no minimum order or delivery fee.
Their range of 30 plus wine labels are from family-owned boutique wineries across Europe and prices start from $35 for a bottle of Poggio Civetta Chianti DOCG 2014 or Ca' di Alte Pinot Grigio IGT 2014. On the app, discover (ang moh) food pairing suggestions, wine tasting notes and background information of the winemakers.   

I spy a few interesting bottles including the Hecht & Bannier Cotes de Provence Blanc 2014 ($58), pretty rare to come across a white wine from this rose-dominated French region; Guado al Melo Bolgheri 2013 DOC ($62), a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot produced via natural and sustainable viticulture; and Mazzei Villa Marcello Prosecco DOC 2014, the first vintage Prosecco by Giovanni Mazzei from the notable Mazzei family in Tuscany.  

By the way, based on their name I initially thought the app sold both wines and XO but it turns out the 'XO' actually stands for hugs and kisses. Oh well, I guess with their quick on-demand wine delivery service, one has moore time to hug and kiss while waiting for the bottle to arrive. Moohehe. 

Congrats to the BottlesXO team on the launch in Singapore!

Thank you BottlesXO and Food News PR for the invitation.

Delivery time: Monday to Friday-   3.30pm to 10.30pm
                        Saturday & Sunday- 12pm to 10.30pm

Chew On This: Head down to the BottlesXO office at Level 2, 67A Kim Yan Road for their regular wine tastings. The next one is on 17 March, 6.30pm to 8.30pm. Sign up or enquire moore at

Monday, March 14, 2016

Steamboat Party with the FoodNewsies!


It has been quite several moonths since I last hosted and cooked for my ex-colleagues so it was timely for this post-CNY steamboat edition. Moohehe.
Instead of dinner, we decided on a Saturday lunch slot and what a chill one it turned out to be! Yay. Steamboat also meant that the cooking was actually done by the diners so all I needed to do was prep the ingredients and soup base, and have a beer. Easy-peasy.
Speaking of soup base, my favourite one has got to be the Japanese dashi stock which is commonly used for shabu shabu. My family used to boil pork bones, carrots and cabbage for a few hours to get stock for steamboat but after I had introduced dashi to them, we haven't reverted back to the pork-based recipe. Moohehe.
Making dashi is simple, quick and yummy-umami. Only two ingredients are need- katsuobushi (bonito flakes) and kombu (dried kelp).
Below is the simple recipe I use for dashi stock.
1) Add kombu into a large pot of water and bring to just about boiling point.
2) Lower the heat and add a big fist-full of katsuobushi and simmer for about 15 minutes before turning off the heat. Do not let it boil.
3) Allow kombu and katsuobushi to steep for another 15 minutes before straining them. The basic dashi is now ready. 
1) The basic dashi stock can be further enhanced by adding salt, soy sauce and/or miso to taste. Because my family prefer lighter flavours and salt intake, we usually just use the basic stock on its own.
2) The strained kombu and katsuobushi can be used again in a fresh pot of water for a second less-intense stock.  
The beauty of using dashi stock is that it is very light and clean-tasting, allowing the natural flavours of the steamboat ingredients to be better appreciated. It enhances their tastes with a lovely umami note. Simply add meats, seafood, mushrooms, tofu, vegetables and udon for a satisfying steamboat meal.
The perfect tipple to pair with the bubbling steamboat is well.... bubblies! Moohehe. We cracked open these 5 bubblies and sipped our way through a refreshing Cremant D'Alsace, delicate Pierre Gimonnet Premier Cru Blanc de Blancs NV, biscuity Seppelt Salinger 2008, floral and snow skin mooncake-nose Bottega Rose Gold and lastly, a fruity and sweet Wolf Blass Red Label Moscato.
Needless to say, everyone was happy. :p Aiyah, we missed Marie in the group photo!

Good catching up with this bunch of former colleagues (and now foodie friends) who have been nothing short of supportive, sincere and wonderful teammates. Only folks who have been through shit challenging times together will understand this beautiful bond. A couple of drinks might also help. Moohehe.

Chew On This:
Another good part of eating steamboat is that the next meal is essentially a quick, tasty, dump-leftovers-into-a-pot one. Moohehe.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A Taste of Taiwan at Seasonal Tastes, The Westin Singapore

For a taste of Taiwanese delights without having to catch a plane out of Singapore, head to Seasonal Tastes at The Westin Singapore. Available for dinner ($78 per adult) for a limited time from 6 to 10 March and 13 to 17 March, Sous Chef Daniel Chen from W Taipei presents a slew of Taiwanese dishes on the buffet table.

Expect signature favourites like Oyster Vermicelli aka Orh Ah Mee Sua. Its soup was slightly thick and savoury with the flavour of bonito flakes. Just fish around for hidden oysters in the pot. Moohehe.

Another hot, comforting soupy dish to try is the Vegetable, Pork Strip, Crispy Fried Egg Soup. Almoost like a stew, this Taiwanese geng (羹) featured strips of bamboo, spring onions, black mushrooms and slivers of fatty pork for a flavoursome delight.

Fried chicken from one of Taiwan's many night markets is a favourite snack. Here, it takes the form of Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken. Try to catch this when it is freshly dished out. Spicy, salty and peppery, it was tasty though I think it could be crispier and, depending on which part of the chicken one gets, more tender. 

Being the cannibalistic cow that I am, I definitely had to go for the Taiwanese Braised Beef Noodle Soup. Moohehe. Love the chewy noodles in the heady beef soup. Some of my friends at the table felt it was spicy though personally, it leaned towards the sweet side.

Though the focus is on Taiwanese dishes, the buffet line up also includes seafood on ice, sashimi, salad, cheeses, grilled meats and seafood and a small selection of Indian dishes. Hurray for variety! I went back for a third helping of the yummy mashed potatoes. #JiakKantang. Moohehe.

For desserts, enjoy a spread of Nonya kueh, cakes, chocolates (love the dark ones with nuts), gelato and the Taiwanese specials of Peanut Mochi and Sweet Potato & Taro Balls. I like the latter, a piping hot bowl of chewy sweet potato and taro nuggets in a lightly sweetened syrup of dates and wolfberries. Reminded me a little of a similar dessert I had in a recent trip to Jiu Fen.

And finally, wash everything down with Taiwan's quintessential beverage- Bubble Tea! There are a few flavours to choose from and their mini size makes it handy to try them all.

I was secretly hoping for Taiwanese Mala, Sesame Oil Chicken, Ai Yu, Chong You Bing (especially since Chef Daniel hails from Yilan!), Smelly Bean Curd and Taiwan Draft Beer but I guess these would have to wait until my next trip to Taiwan.

Thank you The Westin Singapore for the invitation.

Seasonal Tastes
Level 32
The Westin Singapore
12 Marina View, Asia Square Tower 2
Tel: 6922 6968

Chew On This: Check with them for complimentary car park coupons for diners! 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Penfolds Launches the Max's Wine Range

Popular Australian wine brand Penfolds launches its new Max's tribute range of wines in honour of Max Schubert AM, former Penfolds Chief Winemaker and creator of its iconic Grange flagship wine. The Max's range is made to be immediately accessible, contemporary and expressive with alluring fruit and supple tannin structure.
The Penfolds Max's series comprises of 3 wines:
1) Max's Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
- Dark and rich with notes of tomato, blackcurrants and olive
- Full-bodied with firm but approachable tannins
- Penfolds recommended peak drinking: now until 2020
2) Max's Shiraz 2014
- Generous, supple upfront fruit and flavours
- Think cherries, plums and a touch of mocha
- Sourced from vineyards in McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley and Padthaway
- Penfolds recommended peak drinking: now until 2020
3) Max's Shiraz Cabernet 2014     
- 85% Shiraz, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon
- Expressive, juicy and ripe
- Sweet, dark berries with a savoury hint
- Relatively firm tannins and structure
- Penfolds recommended peak drinking: 2017 until 2022

Exclusively available at all Cold Storage stores at a recommended retail price of $40 each.

This fruit-driven range targets a younger audience and would work well for those who prefer casual, easy-drinking wines. Also, those kan cheong types who moost open the bottle now and cannot wait for the wine to age a bit in the cellar. Moohehe.
Personally, I find the alcohol component too evident in the glass and on the high side with one wine even pushing almost 15%! If you've had a bad day and want to forget about it, this might be the prefect bottle. Moohehe. Moore seriously, I think the question is how much value the target market feels it is getting for this quality at this price point.

Thank you Treasury Wine Estates and Ketchum for having me at the media launch.

Chew On This:
A limited edition design is available at the same price while stocks last!

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Lady Ma Ma Macadamia Nuts Tart is Da Bomb

Like a chili padi, this Lady Ma Ma Macadamia Nuts Tart is small and packs a punch. But unlike a chili padi, this tartlet won't make you cry. Or actually I might cry because I finished the last one and there is no moore. Moohehe.
My Taiwanese uncle brought these for us when he recently visited and what scrumptious little tarts these were! Crunchy macadamia nuts set atop a crumbly tart base, the whole damn thing sang a beautiful song with caramel, maple syrup notes and a hint of salt.
If only they made huge ass versions of this. Moohehe.
Chew On This: These small, individually-wrapped tarts come in a packaging shaped like a lady's handbag. I'm no fashionista but the packaging's design is certainly modelled after Burberry's signature print. LOL. 

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Singapore Cocktail Week Returns!

After last year's wildly successful inaugural edition, Singapore Cocktail Week returns in 2016 from 12 to 19 March. And this time, Asia's biggest cocktail festival gets even bigger. Celebrating all things cocktail, this week-long festival will feature over 60 participating bars and, for the first time, restaurants, plus close to 200 cocktail themed events! I've a friend who might exclaim "fuyoh!" Moohehe.   
I had the opportunity to go on a bar tour to check out some of this year's shaken, stirred and poured offerings. Regurgitating for your benefit, here we go!
Stop number one brought us to Tanuki Raw at the National Design Centre where we sampled the Tanuki Garden, a refreshing concoction of vodka, celery juice, green apple, lime, absinthe, basil and coriander. It tasted pretty healthy! Light, delicious and defo something I could have for breakfast. Moohehe. Equally breakfast-apt was the Bakon and Espresso a very good perk-me-up which was creamy with coffee and chai spices notes though the bacon flavour was hardly discernible. 

One should head to Tanuki Raw early because of this awesome katsu-crust beef sliders. FREE during happy hours from 5pm to 7pm with purchase of a cocktail or mocktail.

Also not to be missed here is the Truffle Yakiniku Beef Donburi, a bowl of seasoned Japanese rice topped with slices of US Black Angus beef short ribs, pickles and an onsen egg. Sure, it might be a little rough around the edges but considering its wallet-friendly $18 price tag, it's a yummy way to line the stomach before hitting the cocktails.

Oh and by the way, Tanuki Raw will be presenting a cocktail brunch named Brunch Designed ($80) on 19 March featuring its signature melding of playful American street food with Japanese cuisine, two cocktails and the use of its Bloody Mary Bar.   

Mooving on, we headed to the boisterous Mexican bar Lucha Loco. Its Singapore Cocktail Week line up of five cocktails are based on tequila, mescal, pisco and gin. While I find the Pisco Sour a tad too sweet, I love their El Megroni, a smooth, rich and balanced concoction of mescal, Italian aperitif and vermouth. 

Also delicious is the Margarita Ultimo, a fresh, enjoyable sip with tequila, rinomato, lime, agave, egg white, orange zest and flamed bitters.
All of Lucha Loco's cocktails are made using agave instead of simple syrup. Agave syrup, which is derived from the same cactus as tequila, is sweet but has a deeper flavour profile than being just one-dimensionally sweet.

For something really refreshing, opt for Tippling Club's Tanaka Collins. Built using yuzu, vodka, lemon, gomme (actually means simple syrup. moohehe) and soda, this cleansed and teased the palate with its zesty flavours and gentle bubbles.

To accompany the cocktails, Tippling Club offers several delightful nibbles like the jet black Charred Peppers, Croquetas, scrumptious Manchego Bread Puffs and Curried Lamb Cigars. 
As part of Singapore Cocktail Week, don't miss out on a special 5-course dinner collaboration with renowned Parisan bar Candelaria on 17 March at $155 per person, featuring Latin American cuisine paired with signature cocktails.

We reached our final stop at the energetic space of modern izakaya Neon Pigeon where bartenders Symphony Loo and Sam Wong hold court. Expect Japanese ingredients like yuzu, matcha, shiso and even wasabi in the cocktails here. Those who enjoy the botanical flourish of gin with a fruity tone can try the Kyuri Jin, a sakura tea infused gin-based tipple mixed with apricot syrup, yuzu lime and Tonka beans.  

For something heavier yet rounded and balanced, go for the Hato Kuro. Cognac, coffee infused vermouth, amaro and black walnut bitters. Perfect nightcap to a fun cocktail-filled night.
Each participating bar and restaurant will have their own line up of Singapore Cocktail Week cocktails which will be made available from 12 to 19 March at just $14 each for wristband holders! So the best way to enjoy the festival is to purchase a set of 8 wristbands (one different coloured band for each day) at $38 from Singapore Cocktail Week. These wristbands will give the wearer full access to all Singapore Cocktail Week parties and bar pop-ups, 10% discount off workshops, brunches and supper clubs and $14 cocktails at over 60 participating bars! See the festival's website for full details.
Thank you Singapore Cocktail Week and Food News PR for hosting me.

12-19 March
Chew On This: Kick off your Singapore Cocktail Week escapade by attending the Opening Party on 12 March from 4pm to 9pm. Held at Zouk, the biggest cocktail party of the year will present exciting experiences by Absolut Elyx, Diageo Reserve World Class, Hendrick's Gin and Monkey Shoulder Whisky plus signature beats by guest DJ Kenneth Francis and percussionist Mohamed Noor. Also get a chance to meet top bartenders from Singapore and around the world in one setting. All cocktails will be priced at $14 each. Entry is only for wristband holders!