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nikkib

eG Food Blog: nikkib (2011)

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@Kent - it's a mystery to me - maybe as hassouni suggests or just cooking oil?

@judiu- a black spider appears to just be a coke float, Its a new one to me too though!

@Heidi - I must have missed the durians, certainly haven't noticed them so far, I did try them in Thailand a few years back - admittedly a bit odd but I didn't have any major reaction to it either positive or negative unlike some... Will keep my eyes peeled for any durian related sweets/drinks etc though in the meantime.

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@percyn - I realized it was a diiderent vada as couldn't imagine my version eaten as a sandwich - the hunt for vadas will continue...

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Indians and Chinese are a pretty huge part of the population right? What about Malays? Wouldn't their food be as pungent? So that leaves only foreigners?

I also live in place where it's affordable to eat out every day but I don't because I find it's not very healthy. Do you find that to be a problem? Do you try to eat some of the more healthy options?

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I miss Singapore so much, and you're just making me miss it more! Although I do think KL is more interesting food-wise, the ease of public transportation in Singapore edges it out in terms of being an eating destination for me.

Any chance for a curry puff taste-off? I did one the last time I was in Singapore and my rankings were:

Tanglin Crispy Curry Puffs (at Hong Lim)

random cart at Pearl Centre (?)

OCK

Homi

1A

Muslim Nasi Pedang stall at People's Park(?)

Ci Yan (organic and vegetarian--need I say more?)

But I didn't get to Tip Top or Rex's (I think Homi was in KL, but the others were all in Singapore).

I love me some curry puffs!

If you do get to do a mini-blog for Melaka, my favourite of the trip was this place http://eatingasia.typepad.com/eatingasia/2008/07/at-830am-with-t.html . We got there too late for the laksa (11 am was too late!), but the chee cheung fun was the best I've ever had!

And we wanted to try to get to this place http://eatingasia.typepad.com/eatingasia/2008/07/heading-out-of.html but we ended up taking the bus to Melaka, so no off-the-beaten-track places for us. :(

We also became addicted to the chile con queso at Cafe Iguana. I think we had it two or three times while we were there. It's pretty much just tostitos con queso dip, but it was a very guilty pleasure.


Edited by prasantrin (log)

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Indians and Chinese are a pretty huge part of the population right? What about Malays? Wouldn't their food be as pungent? So that leaves only foreigners?

I also live in place where it's affordable to eat out every day but I don't because I find it's not very healthy. Do you find that to be a problem? Do you try to eat some of the more healthy options?

Kent - don't be telling me all these noodles fried in lard aren't healthy :wink: Usually i don't consume quite so much as this week, i am spoiling myself for the blog - i usually skip lunch and/or breakfast as i am busy working - i am also on my feet for at least 9-10 hours a day as well as trying to walk the 2K to/from work at least 4 times a week so i burn up a lot of calories - enough to keep my weight constant just the right side of cuddly ......


Edited by nikkib (log)

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I miss Singapore so much, and you're just making me miss it more! Although I do think KL is more interesting food-wise, the ease of public transportation in Singapore edges it out in terms of being an eating destination for me.

Any chance for a curry puff taste-off? I did one the last time I was in Singapore and my rankings were:

Tanglin Crispy Curry Puffs (at Hong Lim)

random cart at Pearl Centre (?)

OCK

Homi

1A

Muslim Nasi Pedang stall at People's Park(?)

Ci Yan (organic and vegetarian--need I say more?)

But I didn't get to Tip Top or Rex's (I think Homi was in KL, but the others were all in Singapore).

I love me some curry puffs!

If you do get to do a mini-blog for Melaka, my favourite of the trip was this place http://eatingasia.typepad.com/eatingasia/2008/07/at-830am-with-t.html . We got there too late for the laksa (11 am was too late!), but the chee cheung fun was the best I've ever had!

And we wanted to try to get to this place http://eatingasia.typepad.com/eatingasia/2008/07/heading-out-of.html but we ended up taking the bus to Melaka, so no off-the-beaten-track places for us. :(

We also became addicted to the chile con queso at Cafe Iguana. I think we had it two or three times while we were there. It's pretty much just tostitos con queso dip, but it was a very guilty pleasure.

Add me to the curry puff fanbase - will add them to the list of treats this week with pleasure! Thanks for the tips on malacca, I will probably leave it until the new year but looked into it very seriously for this week and am extremely excited to go! As for Cafe Iguana - I LOVE it!! Not only do they have cracking Don Julio Reposado Margaritas but yes the chile con queso is a big hit - as is the spicy prawn appetizer they have. It is one of the few times i brave the meat market that is Clark Quay....

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@Hassouni - The Kopi O Kopi C etc are i gather from Google derived from chinese or Malay but they are just listed short hand like that so wouldnt know for sure, i just ask for Kopi and get the right drink so thats all i'm really worried about :wink:

@YSL - Thanks! It is great fun here, either as a destination on its own, a stopover en route to OZ or tied in with a beach holiday somewhere like Langkawi, Penang or Thailand - highly recommend it!

Kopi is Malay for coffee. The "O" is short for the Hokkien term for black, "OO" (pronounced Orh). I'm guessing where Kopi-C is concerned, the "C" is short for Carnation Milk, a popular brand of evaporated milk.

Check out this cute pictorial on how to order coffee in Singapore (and probably Malaysia!).

Loving the blog so far!

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Nikki, if you want the Maharasthrian vada then look for aloo bonda or batata vada.

Oh and thank you for giving me a kick up the bum. I made sambar today and since I was still umming and ahhing over small batch idli creation, I bought some from a restaurant. The idli were so-so but with home made sambar they were divine. I think I will now get back to my plan to make small batches and see how it goes. You have given me inspiration again!

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@Dian - GREAT coffee guide - will be using it to get a stronger coffee from now on! Thanks!!

@jenni - coming from someone I consider to be one of my "inspiration gurus" on my quest for outstanding Indian food that is a bigger compliment than you can imagine!

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Breakfast this morning was another Singaporean favourite - Roti Prata. Rotis made fresh to order and served with curry sauce on the side - i usually have vegetarian but the place i go to know i like my curries pretty hot and wanted me to try the chicken version as it is spicer. Umm you can say that again! The curry had a real kick, in a good way and was the boost i needed to wake up thats for sure. I also love the fact that the Rotis aren't greasy here (The Mon Ami Cafe again in Farrer park) like they can be. If this isn't the breakfast of champions, i have no idea what is....

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In fairness, i knew i was going to have a busy day as i am off tomorow and have a lot to arrange so i skipped lunch and almost missed out on dinner - Liquid dinners still count right?! I Couldn't do a blog on Singapore without a singapore sling. Invented at Raffles Long Bar in 1915 it is made up of 30 mls gin, 15mls Cherry heering, 7.5ml Benedictine, 7.5ml Cointreau, 120ml Sarawak pineapple juice, 15ml lime juice, 10ml grenadine, a dash of angostura and a pineapple and cherry garnish. Nowadays to sample this "delight" at raffles it will set you back $26 (over $30 once taxes and service are added) and they serve pre mixed cocktails in order to keep up with the demand/control consistency. At that price it is never going to be a regaular hang out - and to be honest the bar is jam packed with tourists so it is not all that appealing prospect BUT.... like a martini at the Algonquin (i know it wasnt invented there but you gotta love Dorothy Parker)a Bloody Mary at Harrys New York bar and a bellini at Harrys Bar (no relation) in Venice its almost GOT to be done. I know i will take all my visitors here and i know i will enjoy it, despite the cocktail itself being far, far too sweet for me and the price stinging a bit (to put it into context , the rest of the meals on this blog so far, added up arent as expensive as this one drink) Dinner was the "monkey nuts" served with the cocktail and shells discarded on the floor

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Nikki,

It's lovely to see the Singapore Sling in its native habitat, thanks for that!

Fantastic blog. I feel that a trip in Singapore is in my future. My husband has been trying to convince me to go there for a while now. It looks like there is a lot to explore!

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Nikki, great blog! Looking forward to the rest of the week.

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Brunch today as i am off and have big plans for tonight, anothe favourite at the Mon Ami - apologies that this place features so regularly but i had an appointment near my house so this was the most convenient option for today. Masala Dosai which is a really thin pancake wrapped around a potato curry mix and served with sambar - an infrequent treat i more commonly have as dinner

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I will post some more photos later and dinner which should hopefully be pretty exciting...

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I have to ask about the strange sheets of stuff you get instead of a plate! In India it is common to get some kind of leaf (banana or sal most often I think) instead of a plate (sometimes the leaves are woven into a bowl or a plate shape - these are brilliant) but what you have there is new to me!

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@jenny We tend to either get banana leaves or this paper as shown above which is almost waxed - it's actually very good and infinitely preferable to the Nast plastic plates found elsewhere

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i usually have vegetarian but the place i go to know i like my curries pretty hot and wanted me to try the chicken version as it is spicer. Umm you can say that again! The curry had a real kick, in a good way and was the boost i needed to wake up thats for sure.

The problem with Indian and Southeast Asian restaurants in Shanghai is that they aren't spicy enough, probably because most Shanghainese can't handle spice—yet there are many seriously spicy Sichuan restaurants. Anyway, is that the case in Singapore where you specifically have to ask for extra spicy?

Nowadays to sample this "delight" at raffles it will set you back $26 (over $30 once taxes and service are added) and they serve pre mixed cocktails in order to keep up with the demand/control consistency.

I was just looking at the Tippling Club's menu and their drinks are about $23. Ouch. New York and nearly everywhere I've been is around USD 12, including Berlin and Shanghai (yes, there are good bars here). I've only heard of Japan as being that expensive. Is this all because of the sin tax?

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@Kent - no issues with spice here, having never been to India before I can't speak from experience but nothing seems to be watered down for anyone else's benefit, certainly where I tend to eat it seems authentic and the hoardes of Indian migrant workers at the weekend don't seem to have any complaints... With a few dishes of Malay origin I have been asked if I want it spicy or not and I say yes I do, which hasn't seen me suffer either way in terms of heat/lack of.

On the cocktail front, alcohol is pricy full stop - $ 16 was the cheapest drink at barkode which I considered a steal. Cocktails at over $20 seems to be the norm here..

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Ok so i promised something special for dinner and i'm hoping that you will agree as i am absolutey stuffed beyond belief after spending the last 6 hours on a food tour in Joo Chiat and Katong culminating in an epic 25 dish or so tasting.... I don't think i'm going to be able to post them all tonight as i am literally falling asleep as i type this but will give it my best shot.

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We started off at this little fruit sellers where we tried yellow and red watermelon, star fruit, mango, dragonfuit (pink and white fleshed) as well as pineapple, a special type of red apple which name i forget now sorry and finally guava with sour plum salt added to it. Longons (like small lychees) and a variety of rambutan were also added when we finished. The fruits were delicious and a nice start on the long road ahead - i especially liked the sour plum salt with the guava and shall be buying some soon so i can enjoy it at home..

Back at our base for the night we started on the meal, all picked up earlier in the day from local stalls

Otek or Oteh is fish such as mackerel mixed with herbs and spices and baked inside a banana leaf. It is milder than you might imagine - i enjoyed this

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Hebi Hiam is a dried shrimp and chilli paste which i have eaten before as breakfast when spread on toast or served in a soft bun - not as pungent as a dried shrimp and chili dish suggests either - it was served with cucmber slices

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Zongzi was next - a glutinous rice mixed with various different fillings (in this case pork) and cooked in a pandan leaf popular in Peranakan cuisine as well as chinese, thai and cambodian amongst others

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Followed by a 4 angled bean and chilli sald which i really enjoyed, it had a very satisfying crunch to it and a good kick of chilli

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Edited by nikkib (log)

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Roti Babi or more literally bread pig is essentially a french toast type dish stuffed with miced pork is another popular Perankanen dish

As is Ayam Buah - chicken stewed with black (or keluak) nuts. It is a very disctintive dish - not a million miles from mole i suppose, although this i was not such a big fan of..

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Assam Pedas is a Malay dish cooked in a sour and hot sauce along with okra, tomatoes, chilli and tamarind which is one of the key ingredients (assam/tamarind) This was one of the nights highlights, i am not usually a big fan of tamarind but i enjoyed this.

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Mulligatawny - which i have only have had in canned form came next- a famous Anglo Indian dish.Literally meaning "pepper water" in Tamil. This was a vegetarian version with dahls and chickpeas as well as a little rice.

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Beef Rendang was definitely one of my favourites. An Indonesian dish of slow cooked beef (although mutton, chicken and other meats can also be used) and coconut this was melt in the mouth tender and the spices used such as ginger, tumeric, lemongrass and chilli gave this dish another dimension.

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At this the half way mark of my dinner i shall bid you goodnight and aim to complete the post tomorrow if i am able to drag myself and all the extra weight i must have put on tonight out of bed!

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Thanks for this great tour, Nikki. Several years ago Calvin Trillin wrote a terrific piece for the New Yorker about eating at the hawker centers that made me desperate to go. Now even more. I love having some visuals! But where is the fish head soup? My most vivid memory of the Trillin article was his description of the fish head, I believe with teeth, sticking nose-up in the pond of soup!

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Ai-yaaaaaa !

I love it that the sour plum powder is rendered in Chinese characters as exactly that; yet the English on the bag is "sweet prune powder".

Assam pedas - is pedas "veggies" ? Apart from the tamarind, was the bulk anything more than bhindi & tomato ?

Do you know what base the mulligatawny used - I mean beef or something else ? I have an idea in my head that beef is (British-)authentic but thinking about it now, I'm not sure where from.

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