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Everything posted by tonkichi

  1. Thank you everyone for all your suggestions. We ate very well during our trip, here are the specifics: Portland Hugo's : The food was good but not spectacular though the price was very reasonable. However, I found the service staff too aloof and even patronising. Not at all friendly as expected. Felt uncomfortable enough to leave without ordering dessert. We also had reservations at Fore Street but was too tired to drive up from Kennebunkport for it. I base my comparison to some of the other places that I have eaten that week before arriving in Portland, i.e. Gary Danko at SF and Fork at Philadelphia. BTW, I like Fork very much. Gilbert Chowder House: Lobster roll was good but clam chowder seemed to have too much filler like potato Becky's Diner: Great breakfast option. The Portland Public Market was fun, and a good introduction to Stonewall Kitchen products. Kennebunkport: Enjoyed the excellent lobster roll and clam chowder at Allisons. Enjoyed even more our huge succulent lobsters at Nunan's The Lonster Hut at Cape Porpoise. And because we were lodging at The Green Heron Inn, we breakfasted like kings. New Hampshire Yes, we ate at the Yankee Smokehouse at the junction of Rt 16 and Rt 25. The ribs were yummy. One of our favourite meals was lunch at The Creamery restaurant run by the Canterbury Shaker Village. My lunch of root beer, smoked ham and baked beans were all made on the premises. The communal table was fun too, as most of the other diners were tourists happy to share their holiday adventures. The organic pizzas at Flatbread were light and extemely tasty. Good to have every day, wish i did not have to trek to the mountains just to find it, though i notice there is also an outlet in Portland, Maine. Tasted the best chilli I've ever had (based on previous chilli experience in UK, not US) at Chequer's Villa, Tamworth. At Bethlehem we had a quiet dinner at Tim-Bir Alley which is located inside the Adain Country Inn. Fine cooking and very fresh ingredients but I was not enthusiastic about the way the chef seemed to like spicing his food- I ordered the seared tuna because I was not keen on curry-dusted pork chop, only to find my tuna was also rubbed with a spicy marinade beforehand. But it was OK, as I was already full from my excellent appetiser of grilled eggplant and goat cheese and the (complimentary) well dressed mesclun salad. We had a change of plans and ventured west to VT, exploring maple factory at St Johnsbury, the Cabot Creamery (they make very good cheddar, my favourite being their Private Stock) and Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory. Lunched at Mist Grill at Waterbury; the flatbread was mighty tasty too. My major regret was not making it to Polly's Pancake Parlour before it shuts at 3 pm. I was in maple syrup territory and was dying for a good waffle to soak it in, and it was so hard to find a place that serves any at all. pancakes yes, waffles, a big no. oh well, just have to buy a waffle iron and start making them myself.
  2. We are the total opposite here in Singapore and Malaysia. Whole fish preferred. One of the standard dishes at chinese banquets is a whole steamed fish, e.g garoupa, pomfret. Even better if it is soon-hock. People drive for miles for unusual fish like patin- a freshwater fish which has a muddy smell but sweet and delicate flesh- steamed whole and served with a carpet of minced ginger to counteract the muddiness. At the markets, most of the fish are sold whole, as buyers like to check the gills for freshness and the fish is also served whole at home. Either fried and bathed in a sauce, steamed or even baked. We don't really eat the heads of these small and medium sized fish though i would eat the cheeks. The heads of the bigger fish (not sure which type) is a different matter. Fish head curry is practically a national dish. There is Indian style, probably does not originate in India but should be- this is more spicy than the Peranakan version which has tamarind to give it sourness. Other ways to enjoy fish head- -fried and chopped into pieces in a soup with thick rice noodle. - casserole with yam and vegetables The cheeks and the gelatinous bits near the jaws and the eye socket are my favourite part. the eyeball is reserved for guest of honour but in reality most people are not that keen to eat it, myself included.
  3. Jack, sounds as if you are staying at Raffles Swissotel, run by the Raffles group. Not to be confused with the Raffles, which is historical, really classy and right opposite the Swissotel. Raffles only has suites, and does not have any towers. The Empire Cafe at Raffles is a good option for local food, even us locals eat there. Last order 11.30 pm but there is a small section that is open 24 hours. If you only venture to coffeehouses and food courts you will be guaranteed a disappointing food experience. If you read the meal threads on our forums you will notice we hardly eat at those places. Do buy a copy of the Makansutra guide from the bookshop in the shopping mall within your hotel complex. It eliminates the learning curve, you don't want to board your plane home and regret you did not explore this place properly. For restaurants, you can also pick up the annual "Wine and Dine" guides, but these are heavily sponsored, still it will be a good start. And you can get anywhere by taxi. There are loads of places that are open from 11 pm till 6 am, just not in your neighbourhood, which is a commercial district after all. Example: Balestier Rd for bak ku teh (pork in a peppery soup) and chicken rice, Geylang which is a red light district and is very happening at night, go to Sin Huat for crab beehoon or Lorong 9 for frog leg porridge. Take a taxi to Old Airport Road Hawker Centre, Tiong Bahru Food Centre, and Chinatown Complex Food Centre- just try anything that takes your fancy, or those stalls that have food guide recommendations plastered prominently on their display cabinets. Or even the good old tourist trap of Newton Circus Food Centre- the food is not bad, just be prepared to pay more if you order from one of those seafood stalls, or anything "at market price". Bon appetit!
  4. Hi skchai,the most up-to-date guide is makansutra the hard copy; it is updated every 18 months on average, this is the third edition btw. costs a measly S$10. I have two copies, one at home and one in the car. As for online: i don't think there is a comprehensive and up-to-date resource on singaporean food. The asiaone food site ( http://food.asiaone.com.sg/) has some articles on new outlets and trends worth looking at, but the target is more restaurant-type foods rather than "street" food. asiaone is the online portal for the biggest newspaper publishing in singapore (Singapore Press Holdings), so expect the articles to be sanitised and commercial. the Makantime site has no new articles for a long time, and the updates are just ad-hoc comments on some of the food outlets. Makansutra fares slightly better in terms of articles, maybe 1 article every 3 month, no one seriously visit the website expecting to read new articles. The information is in the forum, esp the Food Food Food section, but like all forums, you have to scan the discussions and do some searches. Do try the search utility, it is quite helpful. some of us are just so bored with the umpteenth request by newcomers to recommend a good place to eat steak, dim sum etc, and we usually link them to the last discussion on the topic. As for the move to solidah, there was no major issues, nothing remotely contentious with the makansutra people. Ever since it started, the makansutra forum has not had any active moderators, and they will only do something only when absolutely necessary, e.g. dubious or offensive postings, and usually after they've been alerted by one of us. Still we like it as it was free and convenient. So one of regular forum participants, a very IT savvy guy, decided to create a more conducive place for us to continue our discussion and came up with solidah. Here, all discussions are moderated, which is a big plus. And there are some snazzy features like live chat, avatars, personal settings etc that was not available at the makansutra site. But most of us still bounce between the two sites, and i will continue to do so too. Margaret chan, she is not doing much writing nowadays. she has acted in a few local TV productions. Her most (in)famous line was, way back in the early 90's, when she acted as a hysterical matriarch in a very flabby miniseries called Masters of the Sea, and she said of her nemesis.. " I will kerrrr....ush (crush) him like a cockcroach!" with a contorted expression. Serious over-acting. Very funny.
  5. the makansutra's best feature is its forum. the articles are not updated frequently. FYI, most of the regulars of the forum have moved on to a new forum as of yesterday: http://makan.solidah.com/forum/ i would not say makantime is mansutra's biggest rival, the information is hopelessly outdated. Things happen very quickly, food outlets open and shut even before we have a chance to try them. the makansutra hard copy guide is updated every 18 months, and even then we gripe that the information is not accurate, can't blame them, food centres are constantly being revamped, operators retire or change premises, and a new food trend comes along every 2-3 months- right now it is cheesecake sticks.
  6. Hi from S'pore. Will be in USA early October. SIN-SF(1 day)-philadelphia (3 days for work)- Portland (6 days for New England holiday)- SF (1 day)- SIN. Have already posted in the New England section and made restaurant bookings based on the excellent recommendations in that forum. We'll be in SF for about 2 full days. Not our first time in this wonderful city. Last time was 3 years ago. We ate well at Farallon (amazing decor), Lulu and Yank Sing. I am a Chinese, and I liked the dim-sum at Yank Sing. Things may have changed since I was last there though. We were happy to eat at the many sushi joints dotted around town - cheaper and fresher than what we are used to in S'pore. We were not impressed with Slanted Door, and breakfast at a diner near our hotel. Cheese Cake Factory was a bad mistake. The only regret was that we did not try Boulevard. This time round, we will try to eat at Zuni and Danko. Will report on our adventures. My question is where is this Ferry Market that is mentioned in some of the threads? Is it near Fisherman's Wharf? I thought Fisherman's Wharf a bit too touristy(yes, i was a tourist, but this place is over-commercialised), and am not keen to repeat a visit there when i could spend quality time gawking at William Sonoma and Sur La Table.
  7. The ones most favoured by some of us at makansutra are: 1. Peng Kee at Balestier Rd. Old-fashioned Hainanese style. Operated by an elderly couple. Lunch only. Flavoursome chicken, minimum garnishes/soy/ fragrant oil typical of Cantonese style. Side order of sambal squid. 2. Sergeant Chicken Rice at Novenaville. The stall operator claimed to be the original cook from the Mandarin Hotel outlet. Don't know how true, but the chicken is really tasty. Rice is not as rich as Mandarin's but since we are on a lo-carbo wave right now, we can overlook this. 3. For those who must have "kampung" (village) style chicken rather than battery-farmed ones, the choices are still Five Star at Katong, and Chicken House at Tiong Bahru Rd.
  8. Sin Huat is still well-known for its seafood, esp its crab beehoon- the beehoon (thin rice noodles) are braised in a delicious sauce, so yummy that many prefer the noodle to the crab. It is no frills but not cheap eating, the place even accepts credit cards and has a wine selection. Be prepared to wait, we once arrived at 7.00 but the cook only started to cook at 7.30pm. Other than the crab beenhoon, the other seafood dishes are alright, though on the expensive side. I would try them if i was feeling rich and cannot be bothered to go elsewhere.
  9. The eating scene in Singapore is very fluid. Eateries open and close all the time, and standards fluctuate quite a bit. the makantime website's information is somewhat dated. some of us at the makansutra forum hosted an American visitor (caterer from Arizona) to some of the local delights. We did not know him personally, but he contacted us via the forum. He did his homework first by reading the makantime website, and noted a list of "must-trys'. We helped him along in his quest by organising 2-3 meals, where he ended up trying quite a range of local foods, including chicken rice, durian, fish head curry and laksa, and even unusual items like ma-la hotpot and frog porridge.
  10. OK, we 've got reservations at Fore Street and Hugo's. Husband has also made dinner reservations for Tim-bir Alley at Adair Inn, somewhere in New Hampshire. The rest of the time we'll lookout for lobsters and Flatbread pizza, yum i do like a good thin-crust pizza.
  11. sounds like sticky rice from Northern Thailand.
  12. Thanks CSASphinx and Steve Klc, I really appreciate your input. We will be lodging at what appear (on the internet) to be charming inns set in beautiful countryside. Am aware that this charm may not apply to their restaurants too, having similar experiences in Devon and Lake District holidays in the UK. So your comments have given me hope that we will not be confined to eating mediocre food in overly decorated dining rooms. We are planning to hire a car (with GPS hopefully) and will definitely explore the areas you mention- Jackson, North Conway, Portland etc. We arrive and leave via the airport in Portland so we will definitely take in quite a bit of the city. And everything looks pretty accessible on the map,or so my husband says!! And thanks for the tip on the Fair, we will be heading to New Hampshire on the 6th so we will miss it.
  13. Thanks, your comments are very helpful. We have reservations for Kennebunkport Inn for the first weekend in October, then we'll explore White Mountains for 4 days, staying at Tamworth and Bethlehem. Then a day of shopping and eating in San Francisco ( we've done SF before) before flying home. Will try as much food as our stomachs and wallet can accommodate.
  14. Hello from Singapore. I occasionally post in the China/ AP forum. My husband and I will be in US early October, he to attend a seminar in Washington DC, and I will be attending a course in Philadelphia. We have been strongly urged to visit New England during that time as it is foliage season. Tentatively we are looking at 3 days Portland/ Kennebunkport/ Portsmouth and 3-4 days White Mountain New Hampshire. Will drive and explore the area ourselves (both of us have never driven on the left side of the car before!!). We will appreciate any tips and advice on good places to stay and eat. Thanks in advance
  15. You're kidding, blech. That sounds terrible I'm going to try the saltwater trick this weekend... we'll see. not at all. it is a lotus paste-filled rice cake, and served lightly pan-fried. the skin is tinged green with a little bittergourd juice, and the slight bitterness cuts through the sweetness perfectly.
  16. look at the bittergourd before you cook it. if it is the small dynamite size ones, very bitter, and used more for medicinal purposes. the more commonly available type is about 8 inches long and 2-3 inches in diameter. the ones with deep grooves and furrows are more bitter. i've not tried soaking it in salt water, what i usually do is to counteract the bitterness with something fatty and/or salty, or a different texture.e.g. 1. the home favourite: quick braised with pork ribs and black beans. variations: chicken and dried squid/oyster in place of pork, or even beef, mutton, or slices of firm white fish. 2. stir fried with crackly roast pork and a little dark soya, sugar and plenty of garlic helps. 3. yong-tau fu: cut it into rings, and stuff with fish-meat paste, shallow fried, then short braised in tau-cheo (salty yellow bean paste), ginger and a little oyster sauce. this is hakka style. 4. slice very thinly, saute with sweet onion slices and pour beaten egg over to make scrambled eggs or omelet. recently at my favourite cantonese restaurant (in S'pore), I had a bitter-gourd flavoured mochi, with sweet lotus paste filling. yum.
  17. and steamboats... this is relatively expensive compared to the other types of green vegetables in the market.
  18. tonkichi

    Mos Burger

    mos burger is popular in singapore. personally i don't like the rice burgers, because the patties always fall apart during eating. their fries are thickly sliced (like UK chips) and taste as if they are freshy made, always a highlight for me.
  19. The last time I was there, my bowl of loh-shue fan had the bottom half of a very dead lizard. I was really freaked out, initially I thought, what a strange piece of beef tripe!. On top of that, after they were done watching me scream and hyperventillate, the other patrons in the coffee shop continued to eat their noodles with total indifference!
  20. I would second that. I learnt to cook from this book when I was a homesick student in London.
  21. Yes I think so, since many Malays eat there.
  22. Here's some recommendation for KL: (1) Chinese restaurants Cheap, coffee shop (no frills, no air-con), try any of the cze char places in Imbi Rd, e.g. Soo Kee. Fancy: the restaurants in Shangri-La and Ritz Carlton (2) Dim sum specialists the Chinese restaurant at Ritz Carlton (3) South Indian vegetarian places (can be very spartan as long as the food is delicious) (4) Halal North Indian restaurants (5) Malay restaurants Not a pure Malay restaurant but Madam Kwan (outlets in KLCC and Bangsar) serves excellent local hawker food in restaurant setting, and their star dishes are nasi lemak and nasi bojari. The malay standards such as fried chicken, beef rendang, sambal kangkung, assam prawns and petai are all well executed. The ice-kachang and chendol desserts are first-rate, even better than what you can get in Malacca. (6) Roti canai/chapatti stalls The mamak stalls - open air stalls open only at night. (7) Satay places Kajang (45 mins drive away from KL), otherwise the mamak stalls.
  23. 1. Cantonese style with loads of yellow lentils, dried scallop, fatty pork, salted egg yolk and dried mushroom. 2. "Nonya" style with a sweetish pork mixture 3. Sweet red bean paste dumplings.
  24. These are the two ways I would cook the kangkung (the first method is the default style in many households here: 1. With sambal belacan and pounded ikan bilis (little anchovies) or dried shrimps. 2. cantonese style with mashed fuyu (yellow fermented bean curd), sugar, rice wine and a little stock. Add a few strips of fresh red chilli for colour. The thing my mum taught me when cooking this vegetable is not to add water to the vegetables when stir-frying, the vegetable will leach water anyway. This will give you nice crunchy stems and tender leaves.
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