Wednesday, August 20

Bites from Alexandra Food Village


I was surprised by the relatively short wait (10 mins?) for Depot Road Zhen Shan Mei at around 11.30am; the soya sauce chicken/ wanton noodle a couple of stalls down had a more consistently long queue. Thick and hearty, it was more of a laksa cum curry noodle concoction - one that we slurped up with much gratification.  


For something more munckin-friendly, KW got this delicious-looking plate of char siew rice from 陈记烧腊 Chen Ji Shao La. I absolutely cannot resist the darkish, caramelised glaze of such char siew! Russell had his way with it before I could snap a picture of it and this sent him into a two-nap nap that most parents would appreciate.

Monday, August 18

Saturday Social BBQ, Timbre @ Gillman

One Saturday evening, we decided to take Russell to Timbre's Saturday Social BBQ, which happens every first and third Saturday of the month at their Gillman Barracks branch. The theme for the month of August is 'Pirates' and there were many crafty and energy-draining activities to tire out entertain the little ones.


You could DIY your very own Pirate puppet. Note: Only girls at the artsy and cratsy table.


Or get a temporary tattoo. Note: Only little boys here...


A super talented little girl with the confidence of a seasoned veteran charmed the crowds. 

NACHOS WITH BEEF SALSA

Though there was a special Saturday Social BBQ menu for the event, we keep things supposedly light with a few finger food options.

Their nachos with beef salsa was serviceable though I thought the melted cheese had a real cheapo aftertaste. I think our standards for nachos has skyrocketed in recent years.

ESCARGOT BAKED IN GARLIC PARSLEY CRUST

Their baked escargots was a dish I had read about and was looking forward it. Escargots and tomato salsa smothered in mozzarella cheese and garlic butter crust, served with garlic nann slices. Serviceable to not exactly wow-wee.

TIMBRE CHICKEN WINGS 

Mid joints wings marinated in house seasoning, deep fried till golden brown. KW didn't care for the Thai chill sauce but I liked the alternative flavour it provided. Possible the best out of all three items we had that evening. 



I might not have loved the nachos but it found a fan in someone. I should honestly be alarmed by how much corn chips this dude can ingest but oh well, once in a while. 


I just might pop by their Mid-Autumn fest next month but otherwise, find out more about this event from their Facebook page or website here.

Sunday, August 17

Tiong Bahru Pau

Meet the other bun in my oven!


The juiciest da pau. Ever. 

Friday, August 15

Charlene and Jeremy's wedding lunch at Rang Mahal, Pan Pacific Hotel

I love weddings and even more so when they involve my closet friends. Last Sunday, I was super psyched to join Charlene and Jeremy for their wedding lunch at Rang Mahal, Pan Pacific hotel. I was really happy to be invited to this informal wedding lunch that was shared only with family and close friends. 

We can only met up every now and then since they are based in San Francisco, it is particularly heartening to be able to celebrate one of life's major milestones together. 


Only picture of the wedding couple.

The bride wore her mother's gown. If there was one person among all my friends that I could imagine doing so, it would be her. 


I thought the food at Rang Mahal was excellent and I was kicking myself for not taking notes of the dishes served along the buffet line. Thankfully, upon request and very promptly, the good people at Rang Mahal sent across the menu and made my life a whole lot easier. 


Chutneys / papads (Spicy papadums, speckled generously with cracked black pepper)



Mango and turnip salad (tropical fruits given an Indian twist with a  spices)


Fried moong and cashew nut (Crazy delicious, this was one of the dishes that made me sit up and go, “Whuutt”)


Other Salads:

Brown rice salad (Absolutely loved this nutty salad)

Dahi bhalla (Not a fan of this creamy starter, I’m afraid)

Artichoke pakoda (Fried food, how could I not enjoy this?)

Tandoori paneer tikka (Beware, stomach fillers)

Green salad

Cucumber raita


Soup: 

Tomato soup (Hmm ok. Nothing much to write home about.)



Vegetarian Main:

- Bharwan karela (stuffed bitter gourd)

Mushroom matter curry (KW – fan of fungi – enjoyed this, me not so much)

Amritsari bhindi (I don’t even like lady’s finges or okra but this deceptively simple dish was plain addictive. I could eat it as a movie snack. Not joking.)

Assorted plain, butter and garlic naans (Carbs, yummeh. I repeat, carbs yummeh.)


Makhani dal Jeera pulao (Aromatic and binge-worthy, found a big fan in Russell)


Dosa (My first dosa ever - a life-changing epiphany. I need to hunt down masala dosa. Hit me with your best shot if you know if any awesome ones.)


Non-vegetarian Main:

Kasundi mustard prawn (Loved loved loved this. Went for seconds.)

Murg makhani (Butter chicken, why hello there.)

Fish curry

Lamb biryani (Not much lamb to be found but still packed with flavour)


Pass Around:

Chicken Tikka (KW loved this but I very much preferred the butter chicken)

Dhokla (a sweetish savoury sponge cake)


Dessert:

Moong dal halwa (Got to be honest, I am not a big fan of Indian desserts)

Chenna payas (Ditto)

Fresh fruits (Can’t go wrong with freshly cut fruits and this was incredibly refreshing after a heavy meal)

Espresso kulfi (Kind of like coffee ice cream bars, which floats muh boat)

Coffee mousse (Another coffee dessert, which naturally makes me happy)



Food coma quickly ensued

Wednesday, August 13

Genki Sushi, Chinatown Point

We have the most delightful couple of interns at our company and one of them is currently on a project with me. Naturally one of our common topics is food and like me, she's a fan of Japanese food as well. She loved Genki Sushi and it's almost cute to see her rave about it on a weekly basis.

When she first mentioned Genki Sushi, my first reaction was, Aren't they dead? Cue flashbacks of sad lunches at Forum Shopping Centre and International Plaza. She sure caught my attention one day when she said, "I think I prefer Genki Sushi to Sushi Tei." I don't want to sound territorial but it seemed like a challenge thrown at my end and I was more than happy to accept it.

The last few times I visited Genki Sushi, it was a tired and insipid conveyor belt chain so a few things stood out to me on a recent visit to their Chinatown Point branch.


These days, they have gone down the high-tech-or-highway route and invested in gadgets such as iPad menus and train serving systems. Gimmick or gizmo? Gee, you be the judge.

Though I have had far less satisfactory iPad experiences at Hai Di Lao and Menya Musashi, Genki Sushi's iPad ordering system was a breeze to use. The only catch is you can only up to four items each time and it is easy to get carried away (like we did) and rack up a bill; that said, I later realised you can check your bill on the iPad too.


After confirming your order, made to order items are sent to your table via a Shinkasen train. Please remember to press the button to return the train back to the kitchen or risk getting told off like a student at assembly (like me, boo).

Most items on the average conveyor belt are well, less than optimal from a freshness point of view and since our food was mostly made upon order, the freshness was undeniable.


Aburi salmon with pollack roe was a clear favourite that afternoon - we had seconds and would definitely order this again on future visits.


Another sushi that wowed us was the seared fluke fin.


The otoro was a relative bargain and likely repeat in the future.


The only meh sushi was the Ahi, which was more like, "A-bye."



The hamachi sashimi was a little sad but the amaebi was peaching pleasant.

We order a few agemono items that were all freshly made and warm to the touch upon arrival. Plus kewpie makes the world conveyor belt go round.



Love deep-fried oysters! These were insanely satisfying.


Another pleasing dish that we meant to order for Russell but we ended up eating 80% of it. Little man has a small appetite - he definitely didn't inherit that from me.


Squid arm that reminded me of my beloved squid head fritters from Old Chang Kee but these were sadly on the tough side.


We would not have ordered a don if not for Russell as they are usually stomach-fillers. However, we cleaned out this tendon of last bit of grain and tempura crumb. The one thing that really stood out for me was the Koshihikari rice used. I don't usually expect much from the rice used at sushi chains but this is a game changer in my books.

I won't proclaim Genki Sushi to be better than Sushi Tei as the menu at Sushi Tei offers great variety and a less sterile ambience but this was a great welcome-back visit and I'm happy we have an alternative when it comes to affordable sushi.

Monday, August 11

Ah Chiang's Porridge, 190 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh


Work has taken my team and I to Toa Payoh Central, where we are almost guaranteed of good food - or least a novelty to what we were getting at the Bras Basah area. I can't say we have been terribly adventurous as lunches are more snap and go, depending on where we can get seats within the densely populated area.

My heart skipped a beat when I chanced upon Ah Chiang's Porridge but I was rather shocked by how the disappointment that awaited me. The mixed pork porridge was dreadfully tasteless - as you can see I had to liberally add red cut chill and light soya sauce to get through the entire bowl; and at $3.50 a bowl, ingredients were rather scanty too.

Second time round, I got the fish belly and minced pork porridge. While there was adequate chunks of fresh fish and belly, the lacklustre porridge made me worry about the amount of sodium I was inhaling with every dab and drizzle.

To file this under, I Don't Get The Hype.

Friday, August 8

Ichiban Sushi, Toa Payoh Hub

Some days you watch 'Jiro Dreams of Sushi' and you think you could never eat another sushi that was less than perfection. Other days you are like, OMG, I need to scratch this sushi itch so bad! Let's just head down to the nearest sushi chain and pray it's not Sakae Sushi.

I am sure nobody goes to Ichiban Sushi expecting to be blown away - and if you did, I would suggest you check yourself instead of the management. More people come here for the value-for-money sets of hearty permutations and winning presentations but I was here for a single reason: to get my sushi fix.

Deep Impact

The Deep Impact was the first sushi I ever had at Ichiban Sushi/Boshi (at Esplanade and yes, that was yonks ago) and it has been my stalwart ever since. I just love the itty-bitty tempura bits encased in sushi rice and topped with seasoned baby octopus and scallop. Yes, I will admit the name is cheesy... 

Crispy Lobster Salad Roll

Nights of reading about lobster rolls made me crave for lobster in a really bad way and this was kind of satisfying. Hey, at least I don't have to pay anywhere near the $40s to get some lobster. 

Spring Fever 

With a name like Spring Fever, I felt almost embarrassed for saying it out loud. Yet it was quite good, I didn't even mind the canned tuna-taste of the spicy tuna mayonnaise and the fried salmon skin didn't hurt either.

Sashimi Salad

Scraps of aburi-ed salmon and octopus playing peekaboo with us. An archetypical Japanese citrusy dressing was much needed to poke some life back into the bed of lettuce, bell peppers and raw (ugh) onion slices. 


I can't remember what this dish is called but it is something along the lines of Kaki Yanagawa. Deep-fried oysters simmering in in a pool of scrambled eggs, onion slices and dashi stock. It's funny how I don't usually take oysters but deep-fry them and I am all over it like a mutt who hash't been fed for days.


To wash all of that down, I had a dragonfruit and soursop juice from a bakery Cake House. I fear it is becoming a serious addiction but in my defense, they claim to not add any sugar or canned fruit.