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).