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Everything posted by tonkichi

  1. I think the secret is chicken fat. The chicken which is quite fatty, is probably cooked separately from the porridge. When the extremely hot congee is poured over it, the fat kind of melt into the congee, imparting the great flavour. The smoothness is probably from a combination of using new rice, slow cooking, and the fat, again.
  2. Anything with cinnamon. If I can taste it, I will not finish the cake , doughnut , waffle etc.
  3. The other day my husband was slicing char-siew. He placed the char siew on a Plate. And he was using my expensive and v sharp 8 inch knife. Part of the blade kept scraping the edge of the plate, making my heart curl in frustration each time it happened--- finally stopped when I pushed the "cooked meat" chopping board in front of him. I have a board for cutting fruits, one for veges, one for raw meat, one for cooked meat, one for cheese,one for bread, one for herbs. I just hate it when people cut things on the 'wrong" board, not just because of hygiene reasons, but also of possible flavour contamination. Same also goes for the mortar and pestle. There's a little marble one for mixing sauces, a bigger smooth black marble one for grinding sesame and "western" ingredients, and a heavy duty unpolished granite one for grinding rempah (spice paste).
  4. Poking around my bowl of beef noodles, from the "famous" stall at Jalan Silang, Kuala Lumpur, I thought the noodles that day looked surprisingly plump. Turned out the plump noodles was the tail part of a lizard cut in half, complete with petrified feet at either side. My bloodcurdling scream had no effect on the other patrons, they went right back to their noodles after registering my find.
  5. tonkichi

    Roasted Cauliflower

    Made the roasted cauliflower last night. Used a whole head. Just EVOO and salt. No pepper at home. Was thinking a sprinkle of parmesan would be nice, but we were out of that too. Anyway, it took a long time for the cauliflower to brown, but it was worth the wait. Husband vacuumed it up within 5 minutes.... apparently cauliflower is one of his favourite vegetables. And the recipe is so simple - I've got to add this veg to my shopping list now
  6. And I don't understand the resealing part. Our granite slabs are laid really close together, so that the seams are barely visible. The contractor did not mention resealing, told us it will last years and years.
  7. Definitely Granite. We purchased a new apartment last year and renovated all the rooms. Granite for the bedroom, dining and living room floors. Granite for the bathroom and kitchen counters. Beautiful stone. Easy to maintain. The stone feels cold and clean to touch, which is great in our tropical climate. I love walking barefoot at home. Our granite comes from China, which is cheaper than those from India and Indonesia. Price of granite has come down substantially over the past 5 years, which makes it very affordable now. As for durability, most shopping malls have granite floors, they stand up extremely well to the rain and the constant shoe pounding, I have yet to see these buildings replace their flooring, and I am a dedicated shopper.
  8. Actually if you are not planning to do this often, you can use an electric rice cooker for your hot pot party. Just leave it at the "cook" setting the whole time. That's what we did when we were studying in London; every student from M'sia, S'pore, HK etc, owned a rice cooker, so for parties we would have a few pots simmering away. Great fun.
  9. We love hot pot, esp the szechuan style mala hotpot and sukiyaki. At home we usually use a meat based stock and this dish is very popular in the rainy season, like November and December. Some families also have this dish (in Singapore we call it steamboat) for the most important meal in the Chinese calendar, i.e. the reunion dinner on the eve of the Chinese new year. Some more stuff to throw into the soup: - Cooked and shelled quail eggs - Fresh liver, thinly sliced - Fresh cockles , blanched briefly. -Tofu that has been frozen and defrosted again. This "spongifies" its texture. -Whole abalone from the can, sliced thinly and again, blanched very briefly. -Fried tofu skin - Wantons and other dumplings - Fried yam slices - Wood ear fungus Sauces: we can go crazy here - Fermented bean curd (Fu Yue) mashed with sugar, stock, rice wine, sesame oil +/- chilli oil. Variation: substitute with the red curd (nam yee) or use Both types. - peanut butter/ sesame paste + sesame oil + black vinegar + sugar - satay sauce (commercial type is acceptable) - soya sauce + chopped chinese parsley + chopped scallions + chopped chillis - just a raw egg lighly beaten, esp for the beef slices. not a sauce, but we use it like a sauce. - sambal of ground chilli, garlic and roasted belacan, finished with a squeeze of lime -garlic chilli sauce - chopped ginger+ sesame oil
  10. In Singapore, I would.... - explore Little India. There's even a 24-hr shopping centre called Mustaffa's, its supermarket stocks a wonderful selection of mangoes, plus of course the usual spices etc - explore Chinatown too, but particularly Keong Saik Road, which still has a slightly sleazy air even though chi-chi places like the 1929 hotel and art galleries have taken hold. Also Club Street. Avoid the food stalls in the open air section of Smith Street, walk further along until you reach Chinatown Complex where the hawker centre at Level 2 of is more interesting, plus you can check out the wet market on Level 1. - visit Night Safari at night. Zoological Gardens or the Bird Park in the day. No cages, and plenty of engaging activities and shows. - spend a day at The Botanical Gardens, esp the orchid and ginger gardens. Bring a picnic and a frisbee. Esp on weekends - gawp at our latest architectural showpiece, the Esplanade art centre, which locals call the durian ( a thorny fruit aka King of Fruits. Eat it if you dare, the durian that is, not the Esplanade). - definitely give Sentosa Island a miss. Major tourist trap and very expensive. Ditto for Clarke Quay, Chinese Garden and the Merlion.
  11. Here in Singapore, it has been raining every day this week. Joel, let me know if you need any help on Singapore. Cheers
  12. I would not say that there are many grimy backlanes left in Singapore. The Old Airport Rd Food Centre is also Not wet and stinky. I'm sure you may be exaggerating slightly for literary humour but it is not a fair description.
  13. April 1995. I followed my dad on a business trip to Taiwan. After spending 2 days in Taipei we boarded a bus to Taichung ( which literally translates as middle of Taiwan). We arrived in Taichung at about 8 pm, and by the time we had checked in the hotel it was already 9 pm. Taichung in those days (not sure about now) was pretty quiet, very unlike bustling Taipei. We went to the restaurant next to our hotel, and the place was quiet, save for a table occupied by the restaurant staff. They were finished for the day and having the staff meal. As there was no other eating places nearby my father asked the chef if he could cook us something simple. The chef did not say anything, he just nodded his head and went into the kitchen. First came a dish of green vegetables stirfried with garlic. We did not know the name of it, only that it was tender yet crunchy, and delicately sweet. It was so good we wanted another plate but there was no more. Then came a steamed whole local fish (? name), ultra fresh and delicious. There was another dish but i cannot remember the details. My father and I ate the simple meal quietly. One of my most memorable meals in Taiwan.
  14. Hi Traminer I have one, which I bought in William Sonoma (SF) 2 years ago. Have never used it. If you like I can sell to you, together with the separately purchased canister of propane
  15. Other than Tang's, I would also try Robinson's and Takashimaya household departments. Le Creuset is available at Tang's and Taka. As for heavy roasting pan, I bought mine at William Sonoma in San Francisco on my recent trip to US. There was an All-Clad sale.
  16. I love rice noodles too. I think in general, Cantonese people in Malaysia prefer rice noodles, e.g. hor fun, mai fun (beehoon) while the Hokkiens prefer wheat noodles e.g. tai-luk meen, wanton mee; at least it seems this way among my family and friends. Also Cantonese like the thinner type of noodles and Hokkiens like the thicker type; a good example is fish head beehoon, my Cantonese dad would go for the thin beehoon while my Hokkien mum would prefer the thick beehoon. Back to Ipoh style noodles... I think it is because the best versions seem to come from Ipoh. My dad thinks it is the water in Ipoh that contributes to a better tasting noodle, which makes it that little more slippery and smooth without addition of oil or other lubricants. The water theory may be right. Ipoh is full of limestone caves, maybe the alkalinity makes the noodles more toothsome? I don't know, just my own theory. The Penang version seems to be the most popular version found all over Malaysia. Penang style means it is fried in lard, with prawns (maybe add crabmeat for luxe version), beansprouts with optional extra of chilli sauce, Chinese sausage (lap-cheung) and semi-cooked mussels. The finished dish is a pale brown, which means little or no dark soy/ sweet sauce is used. Again, some argue that the best version is found in Penang. I've tasted really good Penang style CKT in KL as well as Penang. The critical part is the wok-hei fragrance imparted from a very hot wok by a skillful cook.
  17. Oh yeah, they have places that do that. They're called "Singapore" Ouch!! We have other means. For example if you are caught using a mobile phone while you drive, you risk getting your driving licence suspended. The best punishment is to take away the toys. We don't want to kill tax payers. Speaking of carts or trolleys, I was shelling out $3 each time I used one at the airport during my recent trip to USA, and I was at a few, i.e. San Francisco, Philaldelphia and Portland. At Changi airport, Singapore, trolleys are free.
  18. Akane: we've been there twice,and both times we did the "what's good today" option, so we were mentally prepared to pay more. The bills for the 2 of us was ~ SGD 350-450. Sushi and sashimi seems to be fixed at $190 on both occasions, and the last time we ate the chef said we tried everything, including for me, uni in its shell as well as uni sushi. (pleb that i am, i preferred the sushi version more). Then the other variable would be the seasonal items, ranging from sweet potato to oysters. We would share 1-2 bottles of cold sake and maybe 1 Tiger beer. Everything would be fantastic, most of the sushi comes with its own way of eating, e.g. with salt, with lemon-soy, with sweet soy, ginger etc, or countered with deep fry fish bone etc.
  19. I tried the food at Ozeki recently. Their strength is more in interpreting Japanese dishes in a modern way, e.g. miso cod, spicy mackerel, grilled steak. The sushi and sashimi were not as sparkling fresh as I expected. Service staff were courteous and eager to help but inexperienced. S'pore Japanese restauarants are a cut better, in my experience. Some places are tiny operations run by Japanese themselves, e.g. a terrific yakitori place called Kazu in Cuppage Plaza, and numerous sushi places dot Japanese haunts at Orchard and Cuppage Plaza. The best experience for me was without doubt, at a place called Akane. It is one of two restaurants in the Japanese Association building ( the other is a casual family restaurant) and run by Nogawa; this place is definitely open to the non-members. Nogawa is only the godfather of all the other sushi chefs in Singapore, his disciples other Japanese restaurants in town. There is another Nogawa, at the Meridien Hotel, but Mr Nogawa can be found most times at Akane. They fly in the fish Everyday, as opposed to Tuesday and Fridays. If budget permits, just seat yourself at the counter and let the friendly chef and restaurant manager take you through all the freshest and seasonal items available.
  20. I Love Marmite. On toast. Made into a beverage and seasoned with chilli flakes. Favourite way to eat it would be stirred into congee, when I was young, this was how they promoted its use- on TV they show ad of mums feeding their happy children marmite-enriched congee. Never tried Vegemite. Love Bovril, sadly not available due to BSE scare. Personally feel that Bovril has a richer taste. There is something that sounds gross on the market called Chicken Marmite. Not tempted to try. Noticed that hospital pharmacy sells organic Misomite. Again, have not tried yet.
  21. I don't know what other peoples' gripe about Emmanuel's wife is, but I have my own to relate. I think her name is Edina. Two years ago, when St Pierre was newly opened, we reserved a table for our anniversary dinner. We had enjoyed Emmanuel's cooking at Fig Leaf and looked forward to the St Pierre experience; even at the initial few weeks, the restaurant enjoyed very positive reviews about their food. On the day before our appointment, my husband found out that he had to attend another function the next day, i.e. our anniversary. We called the restaurant at about 6 pm and explained that a) we are sorry that we will have to cancel the next day's appointment, b) that it was meant to celebrate our wedding anniversary and c) could they possibly accommodate us for this evening, adding that we understand they may be busy. Edina replied that she had a table free, and it was in a "secluded and private" corner. So we went to the restaurant, and were led to a narrow passageway between the small reception area in the front and the larger dining room behind. Their tiny kitchen opens into this passageway, which measured about 6 feet long and 4 feet wide. A large refridgerator or wine cabinet occupied the "far" end , about 1/3 of the length of the passageway. Between the fridge and the kitchen door, a small table laid for two was placed. It was our table. If we sit at that table, one of us would have our back against the wine fridge and the other would enjoy the breeze that results everytime the kitchen door opened. The lighting of the passageway was in the form of a candle on the table and a weak wall lamp. We realised that this was our "secluded and private" corner. Private alright, as in no one but all the wait staff would see us, unless you count the Other diners walking into the more airy dining room. Needless to say we walked out of the whole place, and have never been tempted to go again, in spite of all the awards and good reviews. She made no attempt to improve the situation, e.g. suggesting we wait for a table to be available and was blank-faced when we told her we were leaving the restaurant. I would also add that I have also met the couple briefly at a few Slow Food lunches, even before they opened their restaurant. This behaviour is completely unacceptable in a fine dining establishment. I would not have minded if she had told us she did not have a table that evening, or the only table she had was in a dark and narrow service passageway. She misled us completely, and has no idea what service to customers mean. Fortunately, our evening did not turn out badly. We had a fine Chinese meal at one of our favourite restaurants, with superb service and great food, and we did not have to tell them that we were celebrating a special occasion.
  22. I agree about this completely, but thought other airlines also have the same service, surely they would not just give this privilege to just one carrier. I felt rather bad walking past that long snaking queue, but only for about 2 seconds, surprising how a little pink sticker on your chest can make things easy.
  23. I flew business class with Singapore Airline on my recent trip to US. On the San Francisco-HK leg, one of the appetisers was a double-boiled chicken soup. It was very good, with that home-made, delicate yet herbal taste; my husband even remarked it taste better than how our mothers make it. We noticed, with surprise, that most of the Caucasian passengers finished all their soup too. The Braised Beef Rib on the same flight (pre-ordered on their Book The Cook service) was also very tasty. Another favourite dish is their Nasi Bryani, better than many versions on the ground. On the whole, I prefer their Asian dishes to Western ones. I have not tried other airline's food, but I feel that Singapore Airlines really make the effort. I also noticed they have new cutlery, which looks good and feel comfortably solid in the hands, and finally, they've reinstated the metal knives. Their new crockery (or it the correct term flatware) for business class is rather elegant too. While in the US, I flew with US Airways. I suffered muscle aches from their uncomfortable seats, bought my own sandwich into the plane, and they manage to lose my suitcase (still have not found it). It is not fair to compare the two airlines, but it really shows how bad things can get, and am I ever so grateful that I could enjoy a wonderful flight home.
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