Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Keep Calm and Happy New Year

2013 is soon to pass, while 2014 takes on the baton, it's high time to do some reflection on what I have been up to for this year.

2013 hold great meaning for myself, for one.. Okay, it doesn't seemed like big deal now. But I finally made it through 2 years of national service! For those who are still in service, I encourage you guys to cherish the time: treat it as a good time to learn something, instead of treating it "as a waste of time". Basic military training (BMT) taught me how to cope with life transitions, hardships, and trusting people I've never met before. My time in Officer Cadet School (OCS) has imbued leadership and several other important life lessons (I don't think I can fit all in here). While keeping it short, army has definitely gave opportunities for me to forge new bonds amongst hardships.


School started soon after.. being a man who feared solitude, I began to forge new friendships with the people I met throughout my first semester of psychology course. Well, psychology is not easy, but school life is so much fun with like-minded people who are (nonetheless) psychos (well, as we named our clique). 


Besides church, I found a new place for my spiritual growth in the school's Christian fellowship as well. Thank God for that. We even got praised for our short "apathy" skit in World Student Day!


Overseas are difficult to come by since the start of school. It's good that we can forked out time (out from our holidays) to chill out in the Land of Smiles.. yeah, that's right. Bangkok. Crazy trip. Crazier people.



Well, I even had my first cricket in Bangkok. Having eaten more than several kinds of insects, perhaps, I should do up a post, say.. "Guide to Eating Insects".


I'm fortunate enough to enjoy a short holiday to visit my relatives in Malacca..


And a break off urban life in Redang island.


And a trip up to Cameron Highlands with girlfriend and her mum..


I haven't been drawing much, apparently this is the only drawing I've done in 2013. Yeah, that's my favourite singer, Katy Perry!


Needless to say, I am blessed enough to savour so many delicious food.

As for my dear readers, who gave unwavering support despite my lack of updates, do look forward to this upcoming year, as I will be bringing more, and better eats around in Singapore (and anywhere else). And no, I am not planning to stick strictly to FOOD, but will be incorporating more travel and lifestyle reads (slowly, but steadily) to you all. I have recently set up an instagram account at: http://instagram.com/thomaschancw, so check it out and follow me for more gastronomical updates!

Well, I can't thank God enough for the things that I am grateful for, and for the bad things that happened, I just treated them as a lesson to be learnt. As I am penning down my thoughts right now (31/12 2340hr), 2013 is coming to an end. 2014 is going to be a greater year, a more blessed one for every one of us.


CHEERS!


Best Regards,
Thomas

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Boon Kee Wanton Noodles @ Clementi Market & Food Centre, Singapore

As part of the Healthy Food Hunt, jointly organised by South-West Community Development Council (SWCDC) and premier dining guide, Openrice, food-lovers united at Clementi Market and Food Centre on a beautiful Sunday afternoon for a casual food tasting. (This is part one of a two-parts blog post, which features Boon Kee Wanton Noodles and Tanglin Halt Western Food, respectively.)

Listed under the Healthier Hawker Food Program, Boon Kee Wanton Noodles has existed in the same food centre since it's opening in 1980s. With the ongoing plans to pass on the family business to the third generation, Boon Kee has definitely etched its name on the foundations of its birthplace. No fancy presentations, no fancy prices, but no less the authentic flavours encapsulate in their signature Wanton Noodles (S$2.50).

What stood out from the rest is none other than the fundamental of this dish - the noodles. It has a good combination between eggy and springy, and has a good texture to it. What's better was that even after all the photo-snapping and waiting, the noodles doesn't turn soggy. Portions of char siew were a tad lean, but their crispy wanton were a good twist to a classic dish.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Maison Ikkoku @ Kandahar Street, Singapore

Nothing goes better than a cup of caffeine and your favourite dessert after a filling meal. Here at Maison Ikkoku, expect exquisite cuppas crafted by skilled baristas, who are well-versed in the latte arts. With selections of weekend brunch menus, salads and gourmet sandwiches, this place has become a fast-rising favourite among youngsters. The interior holds a strong rustic, cosy feeling, completed by odd-looking furniture (the table top sure looks like a door), comfortable ambient lights and a coffee bar, with a glass display of all the lovely selections of cakes.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

[GIVEAWAY] OpenRice Calendar 2014

Time flies, and as we know it, 2014 is around the corner.

With 2013 coming to an end, what better ways are there to celebrate the new year other than to get.. a new calendar? Asia premier's dining guide, Openrice has kindly bestowed me 30 calendars for give-away. Now, you can feast your eyes upon a legion of mouth-watering photos while waiting for lunch time.


Here's how you can win an exclusive OpenRice table calendar:


2. SHARE this photo on your wall

3. COMMENT on this post

The Calendar Giveaway will end at 24 December 2013 (2359hrs, GMT+8).

Winners are selected by random and will be notified via Thenomsaurus Facebook page by 26 December 2013. Prizes will be sent to the winner's residential address (in Singapore only).

Cheers!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

W39 Bistro & Bakery @ West Coast, Singapore

There aren't many noteworthy cafes in the west, hence the recent addition of W39 was more than welcomed to the people residing in the near vicinity. Jointly opened by two sisters, this cosy, brightly-painted bistro and bakery sits quietly within the residential area of West Coast, bringing little hints of nostalgia - a cheery invitation for people from all walks of life. Despite being a newly opened cafe, seats during weekends are already hard to come by without prior reservations. Find out what's drawing the crowds to W39 here:

 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Marche Movenpick @ Jem, Singapore

Unlike the typical "credit-card system" that most Marches utilise currently, the brand new Movenpick outlet at JEM serves their dishes in a la carte style, bringing about a whole new dining experience. Yet, the ambience and concept was pretty much similar, coupled with rustic furniture, miniature pots of greeneries and soothing light, that resembles the interior of a cosy country-side restaurant. Al fresco dining is also available for diners to enjoy their meals amidst the occasional night breeze.

Their rendition of fried Ravioli was surprisingly good. The exterior was nice and crisp, but unfortunately, filled with barely sufficient fillings. This dish is served with their home-made sauce, which is difficult to distinguish between cheesy and sour creamy, kinda flavour. Makes a good side to go along with their beer.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

COUNTDOWN: 3 Weeks to Christmas

Thanksgiving is never quite a big thing in Singapore, but Christmas sure is. With 3 weeks left on the countdown clock, why not set a little Christmas mood for yourself beforehand? Here's an awesome rendition from the PianoGuys, which consists of four brilliant, talented musicians: Paul Anderson, Jon Schmidt, Al van der Beek and Steven Sharp Nelson. And they aren't call PianoGuys for nothing, they did this Christmas cover of "Angels We Have Heard on High" on one single piano.



I know, I know, I have not been posting anything for as long as for two weeks. With examinations and assignment due dates piled up all over my calendar this month, free time is hard to come by. But fret not, look forward to more food reviews, including my recent food tasting sessions, as well as recipes for the Christmas.

Stay tuned and nom on!

God bless. :]

Sign off
Thenomsaurus

Saturday, November 23, 2013

GRUB @ Bishan Park, Singapore

Nestled within the lush greenery of Bishan Park, GRUB is a casual bistro that offers responsible eating, an initiation which promotes the usage of natural ingredients, without the addition of preservatives, additives or flavourings. Moreover, the head chef Melvyn and his wife, Amanda, who are better known as the people behind Cookyn Inc., also believe that responsible eating starts with good practices by the farmers, fishermen and artisanal producers.

For a start, I do not really understand why the name "grub", but they made finer dining in the park possible without having to burn a big hole in one's pocket. One more thing, they operate on a "first come first serve" basis, which means they do not take reservations. Hence, do prepare for a long queue if you are later than their opening hours. 


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tony Roma's @ Suntec City, Singapore

The snaking, long queue at Tony Roma's always put me off when I was hunting for dinner at Suntec City. Despite recommendations and ravings from most of my friends, I never really knew what was so good about their famed baby back ribs. Paradoxically, being a true blue Singaporean, long queues never fail to repel me away (and that is probably why I haven't tried out Dim Ho Wan and Krispy Kreme yet.) Anyway, it was my friend's birthday.. and Tony Roma's was selected.

With more than 150 outlets worldwide and two locally, Tony Roma's take pride in their baby back ribs which are marinated with home-made sauces and then, slow-smoked to mouth-watering perfection. Other signatures include char-grilled black angus steaks, seafood and other varieties of entrees and salads. After the long wait, looking at the menu already calls for some serious drooling to start.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Exclusive Preview: A Day on RSS Endurance

Having seen the 2012 fiction war film 'Battleship' - which features impressive special effects amidst the battle between human's naval ships and alien war-machine, getting onto one is always a far dream for myself. I mean, there is no chance of me embarking on a voyage when I was posted to armed forces, neither do I see myself signing some military contract, hence I was pleasantly surprised when the Singapore Navy invited yours truly and a few other fellow bloggers to board a warship to witness how the naval chefs whipped out a meal for 400 personnel, and of course, a little food-tasting, as well as to participate in a private tour around RSS Endurance.

About RSS Endurance

The ship, also known as Warship 207 was the first Singapore Landing Ship (LST) to be deployed to the Gulf. Featuring a whopping 141 metres length and a depth of eight stories high, the LST is usually manned by 81 crew, but its carrying capacity may be augmented to suit other support functions such as logistics specialists and medical personnel for different operations. Past operations include peacekeeping missions, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, as well as, multi-national counter-piracy operations.

The significant Sunset Ceremony


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Saveur @ Purvis Street, Singapore

Due to the over-priced French affair locally, indulgence for dishes, like foie gras and duck confit are indeed hard to come by, until the recent opening of Poulet and a personal discovery of Saveur. Nestled along Purvis Street in Bugis, Saveur is the brainchild of two young food enthusiasts, who has worked at top French restaurants, like Guy Savoy, Fifty Three and Tetsuya’s in Sydney. Their goal was never less than bringing good and affordable French cuisine to people from all walks of life. Being said that, be prepared to queue up if you are 5 minutes later than their opening hours.

Despite being a full-fledged French restaurant, most of their dishes are fusions between the former and a tint of the local Singaporean taste. Take for example, Saveur's rendition of Beef Bourguignon (S$13.90) was not the typical beef chunks, which one expected to be simmered in thick brown sauce and wine. Nevertheless, the beef slices were tender and juicy, with seasoning kept to the minimal. The dish is completed with scalloped potatoes and salad greens.


Friday, November 8, 2013

Singapore Food for Dummies

If there's one thing that Singaporeans can do well, it's definitely eating, and we owe this ability to the copious amount of good food in Singapore. Due to the large influences from other countries and our ethnic diversity - which mainly includes the Chinese, Malays, Indians and Westerners, Singapore is concentrated with food from all around the world.

At this shiny red dot, the blessed people of Singapore can queue endlessly for hours all across the island in the name of good food, partially due to our kiasu spirit (but that's not the point). I have known people who have migrated or went abroad for work/studies, and most of the time, they miss Singapore cuisine a hell lot.

Skip the expensive and swanky Marina Bay or celebrity restaurants, this issue brings you to our local and much more affordable hawker centers, like Lau Pat Sat, Old Airport Road or Chomp Chomp. Without furthur ado, here are 10 food you definitely should try when you are in Singapore.

1. CHILLI CRAB
Ranked #35 on CNN Go World's 50 Most Delicious Foods (2011), Chilli crab is considered Singapore's national dish. Despite the "fiery" name, it is not spicy at all, as the gravy contains large amount of tomato gravy. The famous dish is usually accompanied by toasted buns (man-tou), which are usually dipped into the semi-thick, savoury sauce. 


Monday, November 4, 2013

Food Tasting at BLooiE's Roadhouse Bar and Grill @ Science Park Road, Singapore

Roadhouses are a common sight in larger countries like the United States, Canada or Australia, where passing travellers would take a bite or a night's rest on the way to their destination. But when it comes to having a roadhouse in Singapore, it would be almost impossible and impractical (and I wouldn't go on grumbling about the lack of living spaces locally), not until you visit BLooiE's Roadhouse Bar and Grill. Nestled in the serene vicinity of Science Park, this casual restaurant which was opened by a Canadian named Sarge Sargeant, serves authentic Western affair in their large air-conditioned space, completed by recreational facilities, such as a stage, billiard table and a full-fledged bar. Diners could otherwise opt for al fresco dining - a great opportunity to enjoy their meal under the night sky while enjoying the breeze.

I wouldn't go so in-depth into the 12-year history of the restaurant, but I know some of you might find it difficult to process: why BLooiE? Okay, I didn't get the part why it's a complete mess of capitals, but "BLooiE" was actually the name of their beloved hush puppy, which unfortunately had passed on. Oh, by the way, Sarge has an absolute amazing Taiwanese wife, Fiona who is the proud owner of Lee's Taiwanese.

Let's start off with their signature Beer Butt Chicken (S$38.80), which is definitely a MUST order. The reasons are no less than a whole chicken marinated with spices, herbs and infused with the most amazing alcoholic drink - beer. The chicken will be then prepared for a long, slow grill to gastronomical perfection (with a can of beer up its ass).


Friday, November 1, 2013

After You Dessert Cafe @ J Avenue, Bangkok

Nestled comfortably on the streets of Thong Lor 13, After You proved to be a popular dessert cafe with endless long queues on the weekends as locals and tourists drop-by for brunch, dinner and mainly, their famed desserts. Currently, the cafe has a total of 8 branches all across Bangkok, hence if you want a shorter queue, skip the shopping mall branches and head to the one at Thong Lor instead. Nevertheless, with its famed reputation, After You is definitely in our cafe-hopping list.

Most people came for their famous Shibuya Honey Toast - cold, dense vanilla ice cream served with warm, thick butter toast and whipped cream. Now, the highlight lies in their home-made honey that could easily satisfy anybody's sweet tooth. If that is enough to get you addicted, take-home jars are available as well.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Food Tasting at PODI @ Raffles City, Singapore

Set up by The Bakery Depot which brings you familiar brand names, like Cedele and P.L.T Sandwiches, PODI is a new venture to introduce pure-offbeat-delicious-infusions through adventurous combinations of flavours and ingredients. Just before the grand opening on the 25th October 2013, a lucky group of foodie-bloggers were invited to their pre-launch event at Raffles City. What happened subsequently was a gastronomical journey which lasted for about 3 hours.

Check out their signature Duck Berry Waffle - a brilliant creation featuring gourmet duck confit, blueberry compote, egg and maple syrup vinaigrette set upon freshly baked waffles. Verdict: Waffles were a tad dry, but surprisingly, flavours and textures complement one another. But seriously, who in the right mind would have thought about throwing duck, blueberries, eggs and waffles together? Well, definitely not me. I really gotta award points for their creativeness and boldness.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Mr. Jones Orphanage @ Thong Lor, Bangkok

Step into a whimsical world filled with all your childhood fantasies at Mr. Jones Orphanage. Located at Seenspace in Thong Lor 13, this dessert restaurant is decorated with vintage prints, fluffy teddy bears and toy soldiers, that might just reveal anyone's younger self. We stopped by this quirky cafe as part of our little cafe-hopping in Bangkok, and well, as you all might imagined, once we were inside, cameras were on burst-mode, girls going crazy over the teddy bears and guys relieving the nostalgia by playing war games with those toy soldiers.

You know what? This place is magical and so alluring that once you get in, you never want to get out. Thinking about Hansel and Gretel already? Let's go!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tamako Meal @ Casuarina Road, Singapore

The everlasting hunt for food during our long breaks brought us to a homely Japanese restaurant down Casuarina Road at Upper Thomson. Whilst the cosy interior was decorated with traditional wooden furniture, Tamako Meal offers diners a quiet getaway from their bustling lifestyles. Passed down from generations since 1994, the restaurant serves hearty and authentic, yet affordable Hokkaido fare with impeccable hospitality and humble services.


Menu items include assorted appetisers, like chawanmushi (S$3.80) and potato salad (S$3.20), and an extensive selection of bento, udon and sushi sets. With reasonably priced delicacies, it is not difficult to understand why someone might want to order more than he could finish. Take for example, an unagi bento set or ten don cost less than S$10, and the quality, less the portion does not lose out to any other Japanese restaurants.

Skip the over-rated Casuarina Curry, opt for Tamako Meal instead. The exceptional quality for low pricing is not to be missed.

*James Cook University (JCU) students get a 10% off total bill.




Tamako Meal

Tel: 6553 4128

Opening Hours
Daily: 11:30 - 15:00
Daily: 18:00 - 22:00
Closed on the first Mon of every month.

128 Casuarina Road
Sembawang Hills Estate

Friday, October 18, 2013

13 MUST-TRY Street Food in Bangkok, Thailand

I am sure by now Bangkok has a portrayed image on everyone's mind as a cosmopolitan city with busy markets and vibrant nightlife and definitely for all shopaholics - a shopping haven, but do you know that the 'land of smiles' has a lot of amazing street food? Well, what you have to do is to walk on the streets. I am not even joking, they got authentic Thai delicacies lined up all across the roads. For starters, head to Chatuchak (only opens on weekends) and experience Thailand at a gastronomical level.

Without furthur ado, here are 13 must-try street food in Bangkok. My words? Do not leave Bangkok without putting all these into your belly.

1. THAI TEA (cha-yen)
Scoring the top spot of the list is Thailand's version of iced milk tea. The distinct sweet and creamy taste would leave you begging for seconds. Moreover, it doubles as an effective thirst quencher in Bangkok's hot weather.

Here we have my bestie, Putri Melati snuggling her cup of iced tea

Monday, October 14, 2013

Scoma's @ Terminal 21, Bangkok

Located at the exclusive Sukhumvit district, Terminal 21 brings the world under one roof at Bangkok. Find your exploring this gigantic shopping mall, which houses over 600 shops in nine levels - each featuring a unique theme for each city. Say for example, San Francisco on the 4th and 5th floor is a haven for food lovers, or Rome at ground level features a variety of international and local fashion brands.

After hours of non-stop shopping, the next best thing to do is probably to find a nice cafe to have afternoon tea, as well as to rest our feet (well, unless you are a shopping machine like some of my friends are). Here at Terminal 21, we stumbled upon a dainty cafe nestled comfortably on the 4th floor. Service was applaudable at Scoma's, as we soon found the branch manager more like a friend to us. But we didn't come for the service of course, Scoma's features an array of caffeine beverages, and shelves filled with cutesy-looking cakes.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Roast Coffee and Eatery @ Thong Lor, Bangkok

A recent trip to the "city of angels" brought me to Seenspace in Thong Lor 13, a newly opened boutique mall, which housed a good number of trendy and quirky restaurants, such as every children's favourite Mr Jones Orphanage and Belon, where oysters are best served fresh. Likewise, Roast offers a gastronomical haven for both coffee and brunch lovers, serving a selection of tantalising international dishes and caffeine crafted by the hands of their seasoned barristas. Amidst their decorations of mostly rustic wood furniture, small pots of greenery, and artistic art pieces hanging from their high ceilings, lies the pride of Roast - a full fledged roast machine glistering in the colours of golden black.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Health Guide: Wisdom Tooth Extraction

According to Wikipedia, wisdom teeth usually appear between age 17 to 25. While most adults have only 4 of them during their life-time, it is possible to grow more or fewer, depending on the individual. These pesky teeth that grow unwisely might become impacted or infected, causing several degrees of discomfort and pain. Well, if you are reading this, my best guess is that you are either having a dilemma on whether to have the operation, or searching for post-operation care tips. Disclaimer: I am not a health professional, but the following tips garnered from several websites (credited at the end) have served me well during the period of my wisdom teeth extraction.

Seeing a series of wisdom teeth on a food blog might not be the most glamorous thing, but I just had to show off my art pieces derived from my mouth. Here's a heart, made up of 4 wisdom teeth, to start off.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Restoran Ya Wang (鸭皇药材烧腊大王) @ Jalan Segget, Johor Bahru

Self-declared as the "king of ducks", Restoran Ya Wang holds a high and mighty reputation for their herbal roasted duck. Furthermore, they are also the appointed advisor and consultant for Dian Xiao Er's herbal roasted duck in Singapore. Together with my friend's recommendation, that already gave us three good reasons to visit Restoran Ya Wang. The restaurant is not difficult to locate with its convenient location at 28 Jalan Segget, which is just a stone throw away from City Square in Johor Bahru.

At Ya Wang, they serve duck prepared in several ways, such as the more well-known choices of original and herbal, as well as various dishes, like roasted pork, braised tofu and assorted seafood. Besides a la carte items, two set menus are available too. 



Friday, September 27, 2013

Food Tasting at Sumire Yakitori House @ Bugis Junction, Singapore

In the quest of searching for authentic kushiyaki, a Japanese classic inclusive of bite-sized delicacies skewered and grilled, I am deeply honoured to be invited to a private food tasting session at Sumire Yakitori House. With 15 outlets in Japan itself, Singapore was chosen to become the first venture outside the country, as it was seen as a growing hub for food (among other things). Their initial concept - a yakitori bar, was originally targeted at men, who enjoyed their wide range of beer and sake while having yakitori. However, the President of Sumire - Mr. Yuzawa Tadanori, thought that good food is best shared. Since then, the bar concept is molded into a restaurant, catering for people from all walks of life.

Their first local outlet is seemingly difficult to find, girlfriend and yours truly had to pace the mall and search the directory whilst trying to locate the restaurant for the first time. Well, it wasn't that difficult to navigate around after knowing it is nestled at the edge of Bugis Junction, just across Bugis+. Upon arriving (anonymously), we were greeted loudly by the chefs and service staff with smiles hanging on everyone's faces, and it was noted that greetings would be given whenever customers enter, leave or when food is being served. On a side note, these people are probably the happiest service staff I have ever came across. Another plus point is awarded to the open kitchen concept where trained professionals prepare your grills, and cosy interiors, which exudes a typical Japanese restaurant "feel" and even evokes a sense of nostalgia, if you have been to Japan.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cali Cafe @ Park Avenue Rochester Hotel, Singapore

On the constant hunt of brunch places, we recently discovered Cali Cafe on some websites coupled with deals. Although it is located within a stone's throw from my residence, this casual American cafe somehow managed to hid under our "foodie-radar". And so on a beautiful Saturday morning, we decided to give it a try out. Nestled within Park Avenue Rochester in Buona Vista, Cali Cafe prides itself in healthy dining and whips out all-day brunch and popular food choices in California, such as Steak and Fries, and Baby Back Ribs. 

Well, we settled down and had our drinks served to us shortly. Food came before we even warmed our seats. While girlfriend had their famous All-Day BDBH (S$18.60), also known as the "best darn breakfast on the hill", which consists of a wide spread of breakfast necessities - toasted bread, bratwurst sausage, baked potato , side salad and a personal choice of  eggs (scrambled or sunny side-up), and crispy bacon or honey ham.



Friday, September 20, 2013

Canton-i @ City Square, Johor Bahru

It just took a single gastronomical trip down to Canton-i for me to get hooked up and begging for seconds. The reason is none other than a table filled up with tantalizing wanton noodles, century egg porridge and a few baskets of steamed buns and dim sum. That is why on a recent getaway to Johor Bahru, we decided to bring along a few friends for some good and affordable dim sum. I mean, who doesn't adore cheap and awesome dim-sum?


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Rochor Thai Food Tasting Video

Yet, another awkward appearances of yours truly on Openrice TV again!

Here's a quick preview of what's offered in Rochor Thai:

Nestled along the bustling streets of Joo Chiat, Rochor Thai delivers authentic cuisine from the Land of Smiles to our local food scene. Helmed by a passionate food enthusiast, Joel, the exciting menu consists of traditional flavours crafted with modern Thai elements, such as their speciality green curry and pad thai talay.



If you haven't check out my food review on Rochor Thai, click HERE.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Blog Updates: New Recipe Page

The Recipe page has recently been revamped for easier navigation, showcasing larger thumbnails, lined up alphabetically. If you haven't check it out yet, the page actually consists of recipes, both originals or revised from cookbooks/internet, whilst some recipes are contributed by readers. Interested parties can drop me an e-mail, including the recipe and a high-quality snapshot of their creations at thomaschan@live.com.sg. Subjected to the author, contributions may or may not be featured. In case of the former, proper credits will be given.

Until then, have a great day ahead, and NOM ON! :]

Preview of the new layout (click on the "Recipe" tab for the full preview):


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Food Tasting at Rochor Thai @ Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore

Nestled along the bustling streets of Joo Chiat, Rochor Thai delivers authentic cuisine from the Land of Smiles to our local food scene. Helmed by a passionate food enthusiast, Joel, the exciting menu consists of traditional flavours crafted with modern Thai elements, such as their speciality green curry and pad thai talay. Hence, it was indeed a pleasure when Openrice.com invited yours truly to Rochor Thai for another food tasting session recently.

So what's on the food tasting menu?

Before dinner, an amuse-bouche ("mouth-amuser" in French) was served. Unlike appetisers, this single bite-sized creations are usually free and can be served out of the menu, according to the chef's selection alone. Joel's amuse-bouche was brilliantly crafted - cold noodles topped with pork floss, infused with the star flavours of Thai cuisine in a bite-size, namely sour, spicy and bitter.

Som Tum (top right) – Green Papaya Salad Central Thailand Style ($6.80) was served as an appetiser. It didn't pack much of an "oomph", but it did make a good preparation for the palate.

Gaeng Kaew Wan Gai (bottom left) - Chef's Special Green Curry with Chicken Thigh and Thai Eggplant (S - $11.80, L - $18.80) was my favourite dish of the dinner. The unique blend of green curry and coconut milk was made from scratch, and for those who do not take spicy food, this is a great option to go with. 

Tom Yum Talay/Po Taek (bottom right) – Hot & Spicy Seafood Soup with Thai Herbs/Clear Spicy Sour Soup with Holy Basil and Kaffir Lime Leaves (S - $8.80, L - $15.80) were pretty standardized with the average flavours and ingredients. Just a warning not to be fooled by the clear colour of the latter, as it packs quite a deadly degree of spiciness.




Monday, September 9, 2013

Recipe: Mango Tart

Fruit tarts are such lovely treats to have around, especially on a tea party during the hot seasons. This recipe contributed by Han Lin is a work of art - exquisitely decorated mango slices set upon delicious pastry cream, encased in a crumbly wall of homemade pastry shell. This is set to impress your friends. Allergic to mangoes? Fret not. Simply replace the mangoes with your favourite fruits, say strawberries, raspberries, kiwi and what's not. Sprinkle mint leaves on it and do your own customisation, just have a take on this. 

The perfect recipe for summer time.


~
Difficulty: Medium
Yields 1 9-in Mango Tart

Ingredients
(tart shell)

2/3 cup caster sugar 
1/8 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter 
1 3/4 cups flour 

(pastry cream)

1 1/2 cups whole milk or half-and-half

4 large egg yolks
1/3 - 1/2 cup sugar, depending on how sweet you want it
1/4 - 1/3 cup flour, depending on how thick you want it
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

(deco)
2 ripe mangoes
~


Steps (Tart shell)

1. Preheat over to 170C

2. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Let it cook, stirring constantly, until the butter browns.

3. In a bowl, whisk together flour and salt.

4. Add all the sugar in one addition and stir well.

5. Add all the flour in one addition and stir till a dough forms.

6. Pat the dough into a 9-in tart pan. Let the dough “dry” for 20 minutes (this helps the baked tart to be more crunchy).

7. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

8. Chill before filling.


Steps (Pastry cream)

1. Heat the milk in the saucepan over medium-high heat until it's barely simmering. Set it aside until it's cool enough to touch, but still warm. 

2. In one of the mixing bowls, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until smooth and thick. Whisk in the flour and salt.

3. Slowly pour in the warm milk in a thin stream down the side of the bowl, while whisking the egg-sugar mixture constantly. Make sure the eggs do not scramble. Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan.

4. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly with your spoon so the bottom doesn't scorch. It will quickly start to thicken to the consistency of pudding. When large steamy bubbles start to pop through the liquid, the pastry cream is nearly done. 

5. Continue stirring for 1-2 minutes longer. Set the strainer over a clean bowl and strain the pastry cream to get out any lumps. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the pastry cream and refrigerate until you're ready to use it.

Original recipe for Pastry cream here.


Assembly

1. Slice mangoes into thin slices. 

2. Beginning with the longest slices, line the edges of the tart with these slices of mango, overlapping from one slice to the next. 

3. When you have completed one full round, start a new ring closer to the centre. Form increasingly smaller rings of overlapping mango slices, working inwards in concentric circles. The mango slices should overlap each other within the same ring, as well as the previous ring before. This is to prevent any pastry cream from being visible when the tart is complete. 

4. When you reach the centre, with a space of about 4-5cm in diameter, form a mango rose and place it there. (To form a rose centre, take a strip of mango and roll it up. This is the very centre. Place shorter strips – long enough to go half to 3/4s around the centre, around the centre, overlapping each other)


Notes

You can use the pastry cream recipe as a good base for any other flavors you might want to add. You can infuse any number of ingredients into the milk while it's heating in the first step. Try cinnamon sticks, dried lavender, or coffee beans. You can also use any other extract besides (or in addition to) vanilla to add flavouring. To make a chocolate pastry cream, melt a handful of chocolate (about 2 ounces) into the pastry cream in the last minute of cooking.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Kam Ling Restaurant @ Jalan Idris, Perak

One of the signature dishes of Kampar Malaysia is their Curry Chicken Bun (面包鸡), or otherwise known as CCB (just joking). The iconic dish features a good portion of curry chicken and potato, wrapped within a gigantic loaf of bread. We were travelling within the roads of Perak, the state of Kampar and as recommended by the tour guide, this dish is surely not to be missed.

According to online findings, there are currently two restaurants, namely Yau Kee and Kam Ling selling the curry chicken bun. The former presents a thicker curry gravy, whereas the latter's version is thinner and laced with more oil. Kam Ling won in terms of popularity. Although I have yet to try Yau Kee's rendition, here's my take on Kam Ling's famous curry chicken bun (RM24/half chicken).


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Recipe: Hawaiian Tortilla Pizzas

If you have some tortilla skins lying around in your larder, why not step away from the boring wraps and create a homemade pizza that you could call it your own? I mean, there are probably a thousand and one of ingredient combinations you could incorporate, from pineapples to olives, bell pepper cubes to minced beef, and you could even utilise the leftover ham from yesterday's party. Now, how convenient is that. Without further ado, here's one classic (and safe) Hawaiian version you could start with:

Enjoy!


~
Difficulty: Easy
Yields 2 tortilla pizzas

Ingredients

2 whole wheat tortilla
1/4 cup marinara sauce
1/3 cup shredded mozarella
1/4 cup shredded cheddar
pineapple chunks
capsicum, chopped into cubes

Optional Ingredients: Onion, bacon, tomato, mushrooms, olives, pepperoni, ham, etc.
~


Steps

1. Preheat oven to 180C.

2. Using the back of a spoon, spread the marinara sauce evenly on the wheat tortilla.

3. Sprinkle the shredded cheeses on top.

4. Sprinkle the rest of the ingredients over the cheese layer.

5. Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on how crispy you want, or until crust turns golden-brown.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Din Tai Fung @ Junction 8, Singapore

Ranked as one of the world's 'Top Ten Best Restaurants' by The New York Times, Michelin-starred Din Tai Fung is the one place to head for authentic Taiwanese xiao long baos (steamed pork dumplings). Its roots dated back to Taiwan 40 years ago, when Bingyi Yang stopped selling oil and switched to making xiao long baos for a living. Businesses grew quickly with customers boasting about its exceptional quality and taste. Today, Din Tai Fung has became a widely acclaimed, international brand, offering customers distinctive culinary and service culture.

It was the 60th birthday of girlfriend's father and I thought, what's better than to celebrate over a table of signature dim-sum. As expected, getting a table on Friday evenings is pretty difficult and they do not bother with reservations under 8 persons. However, orders could be placed beforehand to minimise waiting, so food arrived even before we warmed our seats.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Baba Charlie Nyonya Cake, Melaka

In the straits of Malacca, there is a saying: "think of Nyonya cakes, think of Baba Charlie". Little did I know what was Baba Charlie prior to this tour visit, and little did I expect that such a treasure was hidden in a quiet alley along Lorong Tengkera Pantai 2C.

Established on 1988, Baba Charlie (now 3rd gen) was a door-to-door business which sold nyonya popiah and less than five types of nyonya cakes. Businesses grew and soon, Baba Charlie has made its name in the night markets (pasar malam). It was not long before it became a household name, catering their traditional delicacies to major hotels, restaurants, private functions and parties.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Jones the Grocer @ ION Orchard, Singapore

Lauching its first outlet in 1996, Jones the Grocer not only set the benchmark for premium Australia gourmet food, the iconic store also hosted Sydney's first and largest walk-in cheese room, serving a wide array of breakfast and brunch items, as well as atas gourmet food and desserts. Unlike other cafe or restaurants, Jones the Grocer serves breakfast daily (8.30am -12pm) with additional brunch hours (12pm - 3pm) on weekends. I am a brunch person, but getting to Orchard before 3pm seems like a tall order for either myself and my partner, as we both love to sleep-in late on weekends. Hence, dinner, it shall be.

The outlet that we patronised for our third year anniversary was nestled at the high floors of ION Orchard. As expected of a gourmet food store, Jones the Grocer has a lovely, elegant ambience with lighted candles and lovely wood furnitures, completed by a cold shelf of assorted drinks, such as fruit juice and wine, and dozens of cheese varieties. 


Sunday, August 11, 2013

EwF by Everything With Fries @ Orchard Central, Singapore

Established by the owners of Awfully Chocolate, EwF is slightly different from its origins, or rather a spin-off from the main branches of Everything with Fries. Nestled at the ground floor of Orchard Central, EwF is a conceptualised fast-food outlet decorated with the simple elegance of pink and white furnitures. As I was saying, EwF is a fast-food outlet, like MacDonalds or MOS Burger, hence it is all free sitting. Having said that, EwF is usually packed especially during meal times, so do expect hungry people waiting to occupy your table when you are more than halfway done.

The thing I like about Everything with Fries (as well as EwF) is that they make their food and sauces from scratch, using only the freshest ingredients. Besides their burger classics (S$6.90 - S$7.90), such as Battered Fish Burger and Slider, EwF also serves unique creations such as my personal favourite Har Jeong Kai, which is whole boneless chicken thigh marinated with Cantonese prawn paste, as well as the newest addition of Pork Belly Burger.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Recipe: Potato Salad

Outdoor activities, barbeque and children's party - potato salad is just perfect for every occasion. The reason is obvious: delectable, creamy potato salad made using the most common ingredients with the littlest effort. For me, I love using the classic russet potatoes, but again, potatoes, or rather cooking is always personal - you can always add in your favourite ingredients and call it your own. Now, what's better than that?


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Awfully Chocolate @ Upper Thomson, Singapore

Regardless of how sinful chocolate could be, it is no doubt that they serve as a great delectable, comfort food. Till now, Awfully Chocolate has became more than an average shop that was tucked away in the back streets. Over the years since 1998, the brainchild of Lynn Lee - a local entrepreneur who took the great leap of faith by leaving her law profession and enter the chocolate business, has transformed into a household name. Mention chocolate, and Awfully Chocolate comes to your mind, almost automatcically.

Nestled at the serene vinicity of Sembawang Hills, Awfully Chocolate makes a great place for residents and university students to hang out whilst enjoying their creative variations of chocolate-inspired bites. Lining their blackboard menu are (just to name some) chocolate cakes, truffles, brownies and premium ice-cream.


Friday, July 26, 2013

[GIVEAWAY] La Tarte Tropezienne

French are good at artistically portrayed romance, that's one. But do you know the pastries that we consume today are mostly inspired by the French? Take for example - the souffle, tartes, crepes, brulees, and the list goes on infinitely. Little do I know about the Tarte Tropezienne, when I was invited to sample these adorable treats from the lovely people at La Tropezienne.

I utilised my research skills by searching them on Google (now, how hard was that..), and found out that they are not really "tarts" at all, but rather a circular disc of brioche, sliced horizontally and filled with buttercream. Tarte Tropezienne derives its name from Saint-Tropez, where it is said to have originated in the 1940s from the place itself.

Photo by: La Tarte Tropezienne

Different from the original version of Tarte Tropezienne, which is about 9-inch in diameter, their rendition of the buttery-rich brioche pastry filled with flavoured cream is of bite-sized. And yes, meaning there is no need for fussy utensils and better, it is mess-free!

If you are still wondering why these little treats look familiar, the reason is because of the close resemblance of the French macarons. However, the tartes are much lighter on the tastebuds with lesser sugar content and coloring, and to a certain extent, packed with a whole lot more of textures - from the sugar sprinkles, down to the rich and tender-crumb of the brioche and finally - the thick, luscious cream. Flavours include The Original, Chocolate, Lime, Hazelnut, Coffee and Green Tea.

For orders and furthur enquiries (deliver options, etc.), do visit La Tarte Tropezienne's site here.

As you all would have known, selfish is probably the last description of myself, that's why I have asked the lovely people at La Tarte Tropezienne, and they have kindly agreed to share their dainty French treats with 5 of my lucky readers. So without further ado, here's 3 simple task that you have to do:

_________________________________________

How to Win?


2. SHARE this post on your page!

3. Leave a COMMENT on this post!

__________________________________________

The Tarte Giveaway will end at 31 July 2013 (2359hrs, GMT+8).

Winners are selected by random and will be notified via Thenomsaurus Facebook page by 1 August 2013. Prizes will be sent to the winner's residential address (in Singapore only), or if they can't resist the urges, self-collection can be made at La Tropezienne's booth at Pasarbella @ The Grandstand on 3 - 4 August 2013 and 17 - 18 August 2013.

So what are you waiting for? I mean how hard is it, seriously? It doesn't even take a minute.

"Forget macarons, Let them eat Tarte"

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Gardens by the Bay: Photo Journal

If you have not check out my review on Gardens by the Bay, please do so here (opens up in new window).

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit one of Singapore's newest and greenest attraction once again, this time with the company of my dear aunt and grandmother, who was so adorably afraid to step on the 6-storey high platforms at the Cloud Forest. Besides that, she did enjoy the vibrantly-coloured flowers to a great extent, as well as aunt and myself did. 

Look, I am not going to make this photo journal look like a blog post describing our journey to the gardens, so without furthur I present to you some of the wonders of God (aye, Christian here), which includes some of the very beautiful flowers and cacti (mostly nestled at the Flower Dome.) And obviously, these are not all of the sceneries you could expect!


Monday, July 22, 2013

BLIC Ice Cream Cafe @ Simpang Bedok, Singapore

The eastern side of Singapore is somewhere that I would rarely head to. Firstly, I reside in the west and secondly, I barely see a reason why should I travel to the other side less for a good reason. Well, they say good things are worth travelling for, I guess good ice cream is one valid reason.

Located at Simpang Bedok, somewhere about a short 5-minute walk away from Tanah Merah MRT, BLIC Ice Cream Cafe is well-known for its good service it has done for the residence at Tampines, serving authentic homemade ice-cream and sorbets of various creative flavours, such as SCaM (Soursop, calamansi and martini), Seasalt Malt, Dino Milo, Mao Shan Wang (Durian King) and the list goes on, reaching unimaginable flavours with a local twist, take for example - Sambal Sorbet and Chocolate Chip Chicken Rice.

Prices are affordable as well, with a scoop of classic flavour and premium flavour going as low as S$3.20 and S$5.20 respectively. Diners can also opt for BLIC's speciaility milkshakes, waffle or brownie combination as well, dosed with a lethal satisfaction for your sweet tooth.


All in all, BLIC proves to be a hidden gem in the east (and I bet that there are many more for myself to discover), as well as a great hangout place to chill-out after a dinner at the nearby Simpang. 




BLIC Ice Cream Cafe

312 Bedok Road

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The King Louis Bar & Grill @ Vivocity, Singapore

If you are intrigued by all those medieval knights donning a hardened suit of crimson at Vivocity, you are not alone. Those man-sized armoured models are actually advertisements or signboards for the first and only medieval castle-themed restaurant in Singapore, also known as The King Louis Bar & Grill. To have another restaurant by the name of Queen and Mangosteen, which is nestled at Vivocity fascinates me for some reasons.

That is not all, stepping into The King Louis is similar to entering a world of medieval in Ancient Europe - furnished with classic, specially crafted wooden furnitures, accompanied by a life-size white tiger model. What is a castle without knights? Well, the restaurant is guarded by knights as well, so don't try to think of any funny ideas. Ah yes, it features a scenic view of the harbourfront as well. Therefore, if you want the best seats, do yourself a favour by placing reservations early.