Tuesday, March 26, 2013

OpenRice TV: Food Tasting at Ambush

Hey guys, haven't been updating for a week or so as I was having a much needed getaway at Redang island the past weekend. Chilling out with my besties at the beautiful beaches, snorkelling with fishes, kayaking and enjoying buffet meals are just a portion of fun things that we did (definitely not including the gruelling bus rides). Like always, do expect a travelogue on my trip soon and OH, just found out that Openrice posted up the food vlog on the tasting session at Ambush (Plaza Singapura), so check it out here:



Awkwarddd.. Nah I'm just camera-shy. Anyway! If you haven't, check out my food review on Ambush here.
 
Nom on. Thomas out.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Tian Jia Fu @ Sunset Way, Singapore

Immersed with tranquility in the  early hours, Sunset Way becomes an area like no other place in Singapore. In some ways, you might find similarities in the bustling night areas such as Holland Village or Dempsey Hill, however the uniqueness of Sunset Way lies in its al-fresco dining within the residential area of Clementi. Just imagine the privilege of finer dining just below your flat. Convenient eh?

Tze Char restaurant, Tian Jia Fu is among one of the few tenants which was opened for business on the third day of Lunar New Year, so we decided to walk in to see what they have in-store for us. Hotplate Beancurd (S$12.00) was a delight for sure. Filled with big chunks of beancurd, crunchy vegetables and fresh shrimps, but somehow I thought that the omelette was pathetic, in terms of quantity.


Crabs cooked with savoury salted yolk sauce, yes, but to be honest, it was my virgin experience with eating Salted Egg Prawns (S$27.00). Quantity for the pricey tag was a minus as well, but I liked how they infused the salted yolk flavour into the juicy prawn meat.


If you prefer Indian curry over the Chinese's version, you would probably love their Curry Fish Head (S$20.00), which has a higher curry powder to coconut milk ratio than normal. Tantalizing enough.


Their signature Golden Dragon Chicken (S$28.00 for whole) was over-rated. One, the price was too hefty for what was served. Two, we felt cheated when we saw that the chicken was in thin slices (like how roasted suckling pig is served). Three, there is nothing to rave about this dish, except the incorporation of shrimp meat in it, or so it tasted.


The total bill was S$138.60 for 6 persons. Affordable? Might be, but definitely a no-no for value. Looking at the vast dining area with lots of tables, it would've attracted more of the dinner crowd. Perhaps the chef wasn't in a good mood previously. But looking at the current state, it would be a long climb before we visit it again.




Tian Jia Fu

Tel: 6872 5860

106 Clementi St 12
#01-38A/B

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Recipe: Baked Salmon with Cheese and Herbs

Salmon is highly nutritious, which is full of proteins, good fats, including the prized omega-3 fatty acids. Not only that, salmon meat can be cooked in a thousand ways, from steaming to grilling, or even eat it raw as sashimi, and still be delicious in its own rights.  

Here's one of my favourite recipe when it comes to savouring the goodness of salmon - The mouth-watering combination of cheese and herbs infused into the soft, tender salmon meat.


Difficulty: Easy-Medium

Ingredients

2 pounds salmon fillet
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp dried dill weed
2 slice of cheddar cheese

Pepper and salt, for seasoning
Spring onions, chopped

Steps1. Preheat the oven to 230 degrees.

2. Place the salmon on a large piece of foil, and season with garlic, dill, salt, and pepper.

3. Seal foil around the salmon. Place on a baking sheet.

3. Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven.

4. Top with Cheddar cheese and spring onions, and continue baking 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted and fish is easily flaked with a fork.


View Original Recipe here.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Nam Nam Noodle Bar @ Wheelock Place, Singapore

Opened by well-known Les Amis Group of restaurants, Nam Nam Noodle Bar (probably derived from Vietnam)  features iconic, tantalising Vietnamese favourites, including signature Banh Mi (baguette sandwiches) and delicious rice flour pho, paired with traditional beef/chicken broth or more sophisticated options, such as Flower Crab Noodle Soup or Dry Yellow Curry Duck Noodles.

Similar to Pho Stop's concept of bringing authentic Vietnamese cuisine to our doorsteps, it is not difficult to see why Nam Nam attracts snaking long queues, especially when their weekday lunch set meals (includes fresh southern rolls, a bowl of pho chicken/beef and a cuppa classic Vietnamese iced coffee or lotus tea - S$9.90) is up. Singaporeans, like me would be glad to know that  is absolutely no service charge and that GST is already included in prices listed.

Quang Style Egg Noodle (S$10.90, left) is an interesting combination of pork rib, prawn, fish cake and rice crackers. It has an acquired taste of Chinese mee-pok (yellow flat noodle) mixed with herby leaves among other greens. The crackers look interesting with lots of sesame seeds, but tasted too bland for my liking. On the other hand, Dry Stewed Beef Noodles (S$8.90, right) resembles Cantonese Beef Hor Fun with savoury beef chunks.

Toasted baguettes stuffed with assorted ingredients, are recommended if you prefer a ligher meal or snack. We had the Fish cake and Tofu version (S$5.90), and it tastes surprisingly refreshing. Definitely for the health-conscious as well. Oh, and did I mention that they do not add MSG in their food?

Not particularly "wow-inducing", however if you adore Vietnamese cuisine, drop by Nam Nam Noodle Bar and enjoy a delicious bowl of pho.




Nam Nam Noodle Bar
Tel: 67351488
Opening Hours
Mon - Sun: 08:00 - 21:30

501 Orchard Road
#B2-02
Wheelock Place

Friday, March 8, 2013

Food Tasting at Pho Stop @ Tanjong Pagar, Singapore

To be honest, Vietnamese cuisine is not really what attracts me the most. In fact, when someone mentioned international food, the more "mainstream" ones usually comes into mind, such as Japanese, Korean and Thai, but never Vietnamese cuisine. I, myself is guilty of that. Hence, when Openrice invited me to another food tasting and summer-roll making session at Pho Stop (pronounced "fhur"), I had an initial feeling that I would not enjoy as much.

This dainty, casual Vietnamese eatery located at Tanjong Pagar Road near Maxwell Market officially opened doors slightly less than a year ago, offering a variety of fusion cuisine and pho, a Vietnamese speciality made of noodles with rice paired with herbs and meat in broth, as their specialty. The ambience was warm and welcoming as well, completed with rustic wood panels, chalkboard-menus, huge paper lanterns, and Vietnamese artwork lining the walls.


Bryan Wong, the owner of Pho Stop, as well as Va Va Voom cafe is knowledgeable about the cuisine he is up against. With excitement and much enthusiasm, this cheerful host gladly shared his experience on not only the food, and even gave us a brief history lesson on Vietnam itself, keeping the food tasters deeply intrigued while enjoying the summer-roll making and makan session.

Vietnamese cuisine focuses much on balancing the four taste - sweet, sour, fragrance and spice in their dishes, and my favorite dish - Grilled Pork Cutlet Noodles (out in menu soon) demonstrated it well, with a combination of crunchy greens and carrots, lean pork and noodles. However, the dish is incomplete without the sauce, which is made of fish sauce, garlic and chilli. You would be amazed how well it complements the overall taste. The only downside to me is the beansprouts, which brings a displeasing "raw" taste to my mouth. Personal preference though!


Although nothing to rave about, the starters - Vietnamese fish cakes and spring rolls, are generally pleasing to the palate. Great for sharing. Just have in mind that Vietnamese cuisine is highly dependent on their dipping sauces. But again, that is what makes Vietnamese cuisine unique in its own right.


Mini glass bottles containing homemade ice cream is a must-have after the meal. With several assorted flavours such as Vietnamese coffee, Chai tea and coconut, one would be spoilt for choice. For a coffee-maniac like myself, it is a nice blend of smooth ice cream filled with the aroma of true blue Vietnamese coffee beans.


According to Bryan and further research, there is NO Starbucks in Vietnam. Surprising eh? Instead, French drip coffee (like below) that uses local brand can be found almost everywhere cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. Bryan added, that tea is almost free-of-charge (kiasu alert), as tea is massively produced locally. In a laid-back country like Vietnam, why not grab a cuppa of your favourite brew, lay back for a bit and watch the world passes by.

Just a friendly warning to non-sweet-tooth, they give condensed milk real generous as well.


All in all, Pho Stop makes a good option if you're finding decent Vietnamese cuisine, yet satisfying, and at the same time, get a bang for your buck. So why not stop by someday, be it in-between lunch hours or during the lazy weekends, drop by, enjoy the laid-back atmosphere and drown your worries away with some beer,  just kidding - pho. Pho is good.

Bryan Wong, myself and Marcus.

Once again, a big thank you to Openrice for organizing this food tasting session!


饭 lo! Never grows old, doesn't it.




Pho Stop


Tel: 
62214001

Opening Hours

Mon-Fri: 11:30-21.30
Sat: 11:30 - 16.30
Closed on Sun.



21 Tanjong Pagar Road
#01-01
Tanjong Pagar Road

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lai Lai Casual Dining @ Jurong Point, Singapore

The aftermath of my previous Taiwan trip hit me recently when I had a sudden craving for Taiwanese delicacies, especially a good bowl of stewed beef noodles which tastes so good in its own right. One might say that Singapore has so many restaurants specialized in Taiwan-originated beef noodles, but most of them do not even come close to Lai Lai (literally translated as "Come Come"), a casual dining eatery which hails from Sheraton Hotel in Taiwan itself.

Beef Noodles, be it paired with flavourful broth or thick savoury gravy is a must-try, to satisfy my personal craving and not to even mention that they are specialized in this certain dish. The tender and juicy beef chunks is set to take the home-made noodles to another level, alongside with crunchy greens. Impressive indeed.  


Most noodles/rice comes with a set meal at approximately S$13.90, which includes a side dish ranging from pig intestine to prawn fritters and a drink. Personally, I like to consume the food in between sips of their signature milk tea w/ pearls.
Beef tendon (S$10.90) is one of my favourite parts, these gelatinous connective tissues that are braised with brown cravy tasted so well together with the mild sweetness of carrots. Ooohh, somehow this dish relieves some memories of the curry beef tendon I had in Hong Kong previously.


All in all, Lai Lai proves to serve good, yet affordable Taiwanese cuisine. 


 

Lai Lai Casual Dining

Tel:  6861 1004

1 Jurong West Central 2
#03-08
Jurong Point

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Chicken Hotpot @ Serangoon Nex, Singapore

Chicken Hotpot was something we always wanted to try at Serangoon Nex - the ingredients coupled with boiling broth looks appetizing, their concept of "Shanghai-nese buffet hotpot" is refreshing, what else? Oh yes, televisions screening them as a featured restaurant and what typical Singaporeans look for in a "die-die-must-try" makan place - snaking long queues.
 
The Shanghai-inspired restaurant has a couple meal going on for approximately $30+, which includes the Spicy Prawn hotpot and Chicken Claypot, along with a jug of thirst-quenching fruit punch/soft drink.
 
The Spicy Prawn hotpot is recommended for chilli-lovers looking for an intriguing fusion in their mini-hotpot. French fries in sambal broth?! Don't be alarmed like yours truly. It was my virgin experience trying out this unique combination as well, and trust me when I say that it is addictive. Prawns-wise, the meat lacks in juiciness and appears to be slightly overcooked. For health gurus, just a friendly warning that the gravy will be quite oily to take in.
 
 
Their signature Chicken Claypot was the highlight of the entire meal, with tender and succulent chicken meat simmered in thick and flavourful base over long hours. It is paired with crunchy celery, capsicums and onions. However, the amount of chicken meat was rather disappointing, if not, paired with glass noodles, the Chicken Claypot would make a perfect choice for any individuals looking for inner warmth in a chilly weather.


Not enough? Grab some ala carte items (S$1+ to S$3+) and cook them in the refillable broth!

All in all, Chicken Hotpot is not really "wow-inducing", but it would do fine for people looking for convenient and fuss-free hotpot meals, else the slightly hefty price.




Chicken Hotpot

Tel: 66369179

Opening Hours
Daily: 11:00 - 10:00

23 Serangoon Central
#02-17 
Nex

Friday, March 1, 2013

Recipe: Bacon and Egg Breakfast Cups

I was searching breakfast ideas on the internet, when I stumbled upon these cute breakfast cups, which are made out of your typical breakfast - slices of bread, savoury ham and cheese, not forgetting eggs. What's breakfast without eggs? These adorable breakfast cups is set to make the most important meal of the day into a fun affair.


Difficulty: Easy

Makes 6 Breakfast cups

Ingredients

6 slices Wholemeal bread
6 eggs
2 slices cheddar cheese, cut into rectangles
3 slices bacon/breakfast ham (or any to your liking), cut into rectangles

Oil/Butter for greasing
Pepper and salt, for seasoning
Parsley, chopped for garnishing

Steps

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

2. Grease a 6-hole muffin tray with oil/butter.

3. Cut away the edges of the bread. Using a rolling pin, flatten the bread evenly. 
4. Then, press it down into the muffin hole, forming a "cup" shape. Grease the insides of the bread-cup.

5. Bake for approximately, until edges began to brown. The shape should hold when it's taken out.

6. Line the cup with slices of bacon/ham and cheese.
7. Crack an egg in each of the cups. Be careful not to destroy the egg yolk. Season with pepper and salt.
8. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes, until eggs become visibly hardened (yet still in a runny form). Let the cups sit rest in the oven for another 5 minutes, the heat that is retained will continue to cook the egg slowly.
9. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

Tips
1. I baked the bread edges (from Step 3) as well. They turned out to be delectable crispy and tasted real good when dipped into the runny yolks.