Monday, December 31, 2007

What do kids and food have in common? They are both a blessing! And I have been very blessed this year! Namewise, Nadine means "hope" and Jolie means "pretty/beautiful" in French (no, I did not name her after Angelina, in case you're wondering - but I do like the edgy actress, yes).

On that note, I pray everybody will have their hopes and dreams fulfilled in the new year and that life will be filled with all things beautiful. And good health, without which we can't enjoy all of the above. Here's Jolie and Nadine too wishing everybody a happy 2008! See you all next year (i.e. in a few minutes time)!!!

Most of us are feeling better now so today we had our *inaugural* family outing involving BOTH kids. Firstly, a quick hospital consult for me which helped put my mind at ease about my condition. And then a celebratory lunch!

What did we have? Riiiibs! Yes, yes, some may say better ribs are elsewhere, but for my family of differing tastebuds, Tony Roma's is usually a failsafe choice - tasty enough, moist and succulent. Their star-studded sampler (S$31.90) allows you to taste all four of their BBQ flavours. Portion's just enough for two to share (and not be satiated).



This is usually a must-have for us. Sweet onions deep-fried, coated with crunchy batter. What's not to like? Now put away your bathroom scales and just indulge!




Scaled down Caesar salad, originally uploaded by Camemberu.

When you order a combo meal, you can get a side Caesar salad with glass of fruit juice for just S$8. But the salad is somewhat paltry and spartan - it won't quite make the balanced meal in terms of greens. Juice is from concentrate, not freshly squeezed.




Luscious combo meals, originally uploaded by Camemberu.

They have all kinds of other stuff - steak, chicken, fish, shrimp - but we usually never stray from the ribs. Combo meals let you have best of both worlds though.

TONY ROMA'S
(click link above for outlet details)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Whether you celebrate it or not, Christmas tends to fill the air with cheer. But beyond the feasting, gifts exchanges and merry-making, I find Christmas is a wonderful time to reflect upon love and life. My family huddled together on the eve to watch The Nativity Story, a beautiful, thoughtful (and non-preachy) movie that even atheists can enjoy. It's exquisitely shot and emotionally moving, not to mention entertaining too, with the three wise magi providing light comic relief. Trailer below.



At the end, we felt very grateful just to have the family, all safe together at home. A blessing often taken for granted yet one that can make all others pale by comparison. May you and your family always enjoy this too. Have a lovely holiday!

Monday, December 24, 2007


Honey Walnut Loaf, originally uploaded by Camemberu.

Thanks to the Skinny Epicurean and her recipe, I now have some honey walnut bread to feast on! For some reason, I couldn't resist baking this after seeing the photos and the keywords "Honey" and "Walnut"...and I just happened to have all the ingredients at home!




Honey Walnut Loaf and Rolls, originally uploaded by Camemberu.

Fairly easy recipe. I made a small loaf plus six rolls. Oh, the smell of baked honey as the bread emerges from the oven - so delicious! The light sweetness in the bread along with the crunch of walnuts keeps you eating and wanting more. The crust turned out a wee bit hard but then again I do like it when it's browned well.



The insides are a little dense (it's not the soft fluffy Hokkaido milk bread) but it's lovely when buttered and toasted.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Beef and chicken satay, originally uploaded by Camemberu.

Satay sometimes feels like a celebratory food, like something of a treat. And there is something to celebrate today! Jolie's home!!!! Our Christmas wish is fulfilled! We can begin our family life together at last. Funny, just two years ago, I had zero kids, and now suddenly, my hands are full with two! Hopefully two future foodies to tag along on my adventures!

So back to satay. This is from my neighbourhood (read: good enough to eat if conveniently nearby but not to travel across the island for). The good thing is - these are handmade by the makcik (Malay aunties) there, not out of some factory. Meat is well-seasoned, peanut sauce is tasty (albeit a bit more watery than I prefer).

They use really lean meat, which some may find too dry. I don't mind because I don't like that fatty slab they usually weave in-between lean pieces - unless it's very well-grilled til almost crunchy like kawa (chicken skin yakitori). This stall also serves nice mee rebus.

UPDATE: Tried them a second time - meat a bit too tough and sauce tasted completely different. I guess quality can be erratic.

Malay Muslim Rice stall
MP 59 Food House
59 Marine Terrace

Friday, December 21, 2007

My first meal outside the culinary prison that is the hospital! I thought I should at least go for a confinement dish, and one such signature dish is stewed pork trotters in dark vinegar sauce. Not too familiar with many places that serve this, but I had it once at Crystal Jade in Parkway Parade, so back there we went. I realise it's no longer on the menu but it may be available if you ask for it (the waitress will check first). The portion (S$5.50) seems to have shrunk but then again maybe the price too.

Unfortunately, these pork trotters were not stewed long enough for my personal liking - they were still a bit tough and chewy. Not to mention bony, with hardly any meat. Lots of ginger pieces and sauce but the flavour is not too overpowering.



Roast pork, originally uploaded by Camemberu.

We also went for some roast pork. Nicely done as usual with crackling skin. Wish the portion was bigger, that's all.



Hong Kong kailan, originally uploaded by Camemberu.

I prefer baby kailan to Hong Kong kailan but sometimes it's good to vary things a little. I'm sure these huge stalks provided much needed fibre!



Plain noodles, dry, originally uploaded by Camemberu.

I'm avoiding prawns where possible since I've just had surgery, so I had my noodles plain and dry (without shrimp wantans/dumplings). Still tasty and only S$2.50!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Jolie and her kueh pau cheeks, originally uploaded by Camemberu.

Thank you, thank you everyone who left such heart-warming congratulatory comments in the post below! Sorry no pics then, as I was blogging off my iPod Touch and not a full-fledged notebook. But here's one photo of her now, peering up at her dad! She can open up her eyes a lot more today.

I'm home already, as usual discharged AMA/AOR style (Against Medical Advice/At Own Risk). But Jolie is still stuck in hospital (jaundice!), so we came home empty-handed. I think it might be a couple days more before she can come home but oh what a happy reunion it will be!

And for those interested, one gratituous shot of hospital food below (urgh, and this is already the set of nicer dishes)!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

OMG she's here! A grumpy chubby ruffian. In fact, she doesn't look like a Jolie, more like a Chewie (as in Chewbacca the Wookiee)! Hubby is elated - finally a kid that looks like him!

Tipping the scales at 3.8kg, Jolie is like the A380 of baby girls. She's twice the birthweight of her sister Nadine! Quite an adventure yesterday with plentiful screwups but at least she is safely delivered. Time of birth? Dinnertime! And this girl can EAT! She startled the nurse by downing 50ml milk in 3-4 gulps!

Meanwhile, I've forgotten how painful a C-section wound can be but am forcing self to be up and about. And after nearly 40 hours of no food, all they give me is porridge and Milo!

Can't wait to go home.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I'm now in the ward, still waiting for the doctor to show up. Been asked to fast (no food or water) since midnight - almost 15 hours now. Hungry but cannot eat! Looks like surgery might be in late afternoon too...wah gonna be hungry long time!

Black pepper crab, originally uploaded by Camemberu.

One last nice meal before I head for the hospital for delivery. So, black pepper crab and we didn't want any place where we'd have to queue or endure rudeness. Roland's Restaurant at Marine Parade is pretty safe. We shared one meaty and sweet Sri Lankan crab (about $38/kg) and it came drenched in lots of coarse peppery sauce. Underneath that shell was a ton of roe! Which I'm normally not fond of. But here, I found that it paired well with the sauce and ate almost half of it. Some good "wok hei" kept the crab hot for a long time too.


I love fish maw so it was a treat to have this soup. Nice, warm and comforting but it needed a fair bit of vinegar and pepper to accentuate its flavours. Lovely crunchy texture from the sliced wood fungus.



Stir-fried mixed vegetables, originally uploaded by Camemberu.

Healthy vegetable and mushroom mix to round off the meal. This is the first time I'm seeing snow fungus (which I adore) in a vegetable stir-fry. I liked the bai ling mushroom too - they're delicately crunchy, kinda like a vegetarian fish maw. All very light and delicious. Went very well with rice (good quality rice here too).

Nice meal for $66 after pickles, towels, tea, service charge and GST. We had the "pleasure" of being seated right outside a private room with non-stop karaoke. I think they brought on more contractions for me! lol

ROLAND'S RESTAURANT
Block 89 Marine Parade Central
#06-750
Tel: 6440-8205

Sunday, December 16, 2007

OK, I've been scheduled for Caesarian section delivery tomorrow - yeah, a lot earlier than my Jan 6 due date - but doc says baby's getting too big (3.3kg already!) and my blood pressure going too crazy. I can't wait to see what Jolie looks like! You know, we've had months and months to prepare for her arrival and yet, we're all still stunned that she's finally coming.

I shall be lugging my trusty old Powerbook along for my three-day stay in hospital (somehow Macs pick up wireless signals much better than PCs). I've got a few reserve posts, so hopefully I won't need to blog about hospital food!

Hmm, wait, is that a contraction I feel?

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Epiphanic lineup!, originally uploaded by Camemberu.

Hallelujah, I finally found some "Made in USA" Pringles chips - right here in my neighbourhood Cold Storage! In recent years, all the ones I saw were the awful "Made for ASEAN market" variety manufactured (no doubt cheaply) in Philippines or Malaysia. Those taste like salted paper mâché - nothing like the real deal! Turned me off Pringles for a long time. Now these US-made babies taste much better, although they're a lot lighter and more delicate than I remember. Well, maybe they adjusted the formula a bit - these chips are now lauded as trans-fat free.



Look for the "Product of U.S.A" mark when you buy. Maybe I haven't been shopping in the right places much - I heard from NinjaHelloKitty that US versions are also available in Carrefour and Jasons.



This special six-can-pack only costs S$7.95 , which works out to be only S$1.33 per canister! Two flavours of Regular, two of Sour Cream and Onion (my favourite still), one Spicy Guacamole and one Loaded Baked Potato. Perfect for the holiday season!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Found this in Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Heaven book. Cottage pie is his all-time favourite comfort food and he has it frequently with wife Tana when they dine out. Here's my variation of the recipe adapted from his. I added cheese to the equation - crispy baked cheese crust is always good, no? And I omitted red wine (since I didn't have any on hand) but you can add that if you like (about 200ml).

This recipe purportedly serves four but I think the end result could feed six or eight! Next time for my family, I would halve the meat portion but keep the potatoes (so delicious, and too little this time).




Crusty browned cheese topping, originally uploaded by Camemberu.


INGREDIENTS: feel free to scale it accordingly

900g minced lean beef
450g white onions
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked and chopped (if available)
25g flour
75ml Worcestershire sauce
1 litre chicken stock (I used stock concentrate with less water to reduce cooking time)
1kg potatoes, peeled and halved (use waxy rather than floury types, e.g. red skin or Desiree - the trick is not to let the potatoes get too watery)
2 egg yolks
grated cheese (can be Parmesan, extra sharp cheddar, maybe about 50g, I didn't measure, you can use as much as you like and see how it goes)
oil for frying
salt and pepper


DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C or 400 degrees F

  2. Heat a bit of oil in pan until smoking hot

  3. Season the mince with salt and pepper

  4. Fry the mince in batches (I did four for mine in large wok)

  5. If you have any fat coming off the mince, drain it (cos you don't want greasy mince). I didn't have any to drain for mine though, I think the high heat seared all the juices in!

  6. Fry onions, garlic and thyme until soft and golden

  7. Add meat and tomato puree

  8. Sprinkle the flour and cook a few minutes

  9. Add Worcestershire sauce and cook until liquid is reduced by half

  10. Add chicken stock and bring to the boil. Turn fire down and simmer until thick and glossy

  11. Meantime, cook potatoes in salted boiling water

  12. Mash the potatoes and beat in egg yolks, add half of grated cheese

  13. Remove mince from heat, cool slightly and check flavour (adjust to taste)

  14. Put mince in individual or large serving dish.

  15. Pipe or fork mash on top of mince, and cover with rest of grated cheese

  16. Bake 30-40 minutes until crust is golden brown


That's it. Serve hot and enjoy! :)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

UPDATE 3 Oct 2009: There is an expanded and updated list here.
http://www.camemberu.com/2009/10/singapore-high-tea-buffet-list-updated.html

There are very few updated buffet lists that focus on high teas. So I thought I'd create one. There are two types - the ever popular buffet and the more elegant traditional English tea - think scones and open-faced sandwiches often served on three-tier silver stands (fixed portions).

I have pulled together information by calling direct and off websites. The list is by no means exhaustive. If there is a place you think I should include, feel free to email or leave a comment (ideally with the full details!). I will share this list in selected forums but this post on the blog will be the centrally updated version.

Dec is a tricky month for compiling information as festive pricing comes into play for many establishments. To be really safe, please call the restaurant to confirm pricing, timing and reservations (very essential for festive periods as many places are fully booked). Prices are also subject to change in the new year - some places hinted at an increase (but can't divulge details).


HIGH TEA BUFFETS (sorted by hotel name)

ELEMENT RESTAURANT
Amara Singapore
High Tea buffet
12.30pm - 5pm (weekends only)
Adult $29++
Child $19++
Tel: 6879-2555

CAFE VIC
Carlton Hotel
Weekend High Tea
12 noon - 5pm (weekends only)
Adult $29++
Child $15++
Tel: 6311-8195

OSCAR'S
Conrad Centennial Singapore
doesn't have high tea anymore! But the Lobby Lounge has three-tier afternoon tea (see below)

ONE-NINETY
Four Seasons Hotel
High Tea Buffet offering local (Chinese, Indian, Malay), Filipino and Balinese cuisine (no International!)
2pm - 5pm (Sat only)
Adult $45++
Child $25++ (aged 4-12)
Tel: 6831-7250

CAROUSEL - see review here
Royal Plaza on Scotts
High Tea Buffet
3.30pm - 5.30pm daily
Adult $25++ (weekday); $32++ (weekend)
Tel: 6589-7799

TIFFIN ROOM
Raffles Hotel
International and local (no curries) High Tea Buffet
3.30pm - 5.30pm daily
Adult $37++ / Xmas festive price $49++ (Dec 13 - 26)
Child $23++/ Xmas festive price $32++ (Dec 13 - 26)
Tel: 6412-1190

AQUAMARINE
Marina Mandarin
Asian High Tea
12noon - 4pm (weekends only)
Adults $36++
Tel: 6845-1111

MEZZA9
Grand Hyatt Singapore
Mezzatea (modern high tea concept)
12 noon - 5pm (Sat only)
Adult $35+++
Child $22+++
Tel: 6732-1234

SCOTTS LOUNGE
Grand Hyatt Singapore
High Tea buffet (more on sweets/desserts/choc fountain)
2pm - 5pm (Sat, Sun & PH)
Adult $28+++
Child $20+++
Tel: 6732-1234

COFFEE LOUNGE
Goodwood Park Hotel
Local High Tea Buffet
2.45pm - 5pm
$28++ (Mon-Thu)
$32++ (Fri-Sun)
Click here for Xmas period dining promo prices
Tel: 6730-1746

L'ESPRESSO
Goodwood Park Hotel
English Afternoon Tea (buffet with sweet & savoury items, from scones to mini pizzas)
2pm - 5pm (Mon-Thu)
11.30am to 2pm; 2.30pm to 5pm (Fri-Sun; two seatings)
Adult $42++
Child $28++
Click here for Xmas period dining promo prices
Tel: 6730-1743

MIN JIANG
Goodwood Park Hotel
High Tea Buffet (mainly dim sum plus dessert)
3pm - 5.30pm (Sat, Sun & PH)
Adult $21.80++
Child $14.80++
Tel: 6730-1704

SPICE BRASSERIE
Parkroyal on Kitchener Road
High Tea
12 noon - 4pm (Sat, Sun & PH)
Adult $21.00++
Child $13.50++
Tel: 6428-3160

LA TERASSE
Orchard Hotel
Afternoon Tea (bigger buffet spread on weekends)
2pm - 5pm daily
Adult $28++
Child $16++

THE LIVING ROOM
Novotel Clarke Quay
High Tea - mainly European style, not Asian
3pm - 5.30pm (Fri, Sat only)
Adult $20++
Child $10++
Tel: 6433-8790

THE MARRIOTT CAFE
Marriott Hotel
High Tea
3pm - 5.30pm daily
Adult $35++ / $38++ (Dec 14-23)
Child $21++ festive pricing, will increase towards Xmas
*prices set to increase in the new year
Tel: 6831-4605

TOP OF THE M REVOLVING RESTAURANT
Mandarin Hotel
High Tea (buffet)
12noon - 2pm; 2.30pm - 4.30pm (Sat only)
Adult $35++
Child $21++ (aged 5-12)
Tel: 6831-6258

THE COURTYARD
Fullerton Hotel
Tea Rhapsody (East & West buffet)
1pm - 5pm (Sun)
Adult $48++ / $58++ (festive price til New Year's)
Child $28++ (same for festive price)
Tel: 6877-8129

CHECKERS RESTAURANT
Hilton International
12 noon - 4pm (Sat)
Adult $37.00++ festive price (no indication yet of reverting to normal price)
Child $18.50++
Tel: 6737-2233

WINDOWS ON THE PARK
Holiday Inn Park View
High Tea buffet
12 noon - 4pm (Sat & Sun)
Adult $40 for two pax (DBS promotion)
Adult $25++
Child $12.50++
Tel: 6733-8333

AXIS BAR & LOUNGE
Mandarin Oriental
Afternoon Tea Buffet - selection of local, English and Japanese items, mixed fruits, followed by the 3- tier stand (Japanese or English selections)
3pm - 5pm (Mon-Fri)
Adult $24++
Child $12++
Tel: 6885-3098

MELT - THE WORLD CAFE
Mandarin Oriental
Weekend High Tea Buffet
3pm - 5.30pm (weekends)
Adult $28++
Child $14++ (aged 6-12; kids below 6 dine free)
Tel: 6885 3082

PLAZA MARKET CAFE (restaurant's webpage not working!)
Raffles The Plaza (or is it The Fairmont now?)
High Tea
12.30pm - 5.30pm (Sat, Sun & PH)
Adult $32++ (pre-xmas festive price)
Tel: 6431 6156

STRAITS CAFE @ RENDEZVOUS

Rendezvous Hotel
High Tea 3pm - 5.30pm (Sat, Sun & PH)
Adult $24++ / $28++ (Xmas Day and New Year's Day)
Child $15++ / $17++ (Xmas Day and New Year's Day)
Tel: 6336-0220

CHIHULY LOUNGE
Ritz-Carlton Hotel
Weekend Afternoon Tea Buffet (more Western)
2.30pm - 5pm (weekends)
Adult $42++
Child $28++
Tel: 6434-5288

ROSE VERANDA - see review here
Shangri-La
*UNDER RENOVATION UNTIL END SEPT 2008* temporary location at lobby lounge
Afternoon high tea (English and Asian delights, 101 teas on WedgWood tea sets)
12pm - 6pm (Mon-Fri)
12pm - 3pm and 3pm - 6pm (Sat, Sun and PH; two seatings)
* for month of Dec, there will be two seatings every day
Adult $38++
Child $28++
Tel: 6213-4486

THE DINING ROOM - see review here
Sheraton Towers
High tea buffet
12 noon - 4pm (Sat only)
Adult $28++
Child $15++ (aged 6-12)
Tel: 6839-5621

ELLENBOROUGH MARKET CAFE
Swissotel Merchant Court Hotel
High Tea Buffet of all-time local favourites
3:30pm - 5:30pm (Sat, Sun & PH)
Adult $22.90++ / $35++ (festive price 14 dec-1 jan)
Child $13.90++ / $18++ (festive price 14 dec-1 jan)
Tel: 6239-1847/8

EQUINOX
Swissotel Stamford
International High Tea
3 - 5pm (Mon-Sat); 3.30-5.30pm (Sun)
Adult $35.00++
Child $17.50++
Festive pricing 11-22 Dec
Adult $60++ with wine ; 45++ without
Tel: 6431-5629

CAFEBIZ
Traders Hotel
High Tea
12pm - 4pm (Sat) - the only seafood is a live prawns station
Adult $35/ Dec festive price $36++
Child $17.50/ Dec $18++
12pm-3.30pm (Sun) - additional egg counter, cereals, freeflow juices, fresh oysters
Adult $45/ Dec festive price $48++
Child $24.50/ Dec festive price $24++
Tel: 6831-4374


and if you're tired of dining on land, you can try

IMPERIAL JUNK CHENG HO
Level 1 Harbourfront
High Tea Harbour Cruise
3pm-5.30pm
Adult $32
Child $16


ENGLISH HIGH TEA (NON-BUFFET)

LOBBY LOUNGE - see review here
Conrad Centennial Singapore
Afternoon tea (3-6pm) S$22++
S$28++ for Sundays/public holidays, semi-buffet style with replenishable sandwiches, and cakes/pastries on separate buffet table
Tel: 6432-7483

FOSTER'S - THE ENGLISH ROSE CAFE
Devonshire afternoon tea - scones, cakes, finger sandwiches with fresh cream, butter, strawberry preserve and choice of tea/coffee
3pm - 6pm daily
$10.50++
Tel: 6466-8939

THE BAR
Four Seasons Hotel
Afternoon tea
2pm - 5pm (Mon-Sat)
$34++
Tel: 6831-7250

THE COURTYARD
Fullerton Hotel
English Afternoon Tea
2.30pm - 6pm (Mon-Sat)
$32+++/ $48+++ 29 dec
Tel: 6877-8129

HALIA RESTAURANT
Traditional English Tea
3pm - 5pm (Mon-Sat, excluding PH)
Adult $18++
Child - separate menu available
Tel: 6476-6711

THE LOUNGE
InterContinental Hotel
International High Tea - three tier style
2pm - 5pm daily
$25++ / $35++ (four tier for festive - Dec 15-31)
Tel: 6338-7600

THE MEZZANINE CAFE & BAR or MEZEBAR
Mandarin Hotel
High Tea
12 noon - 5pm (Sat & Sun only)
One pax $29+++
Two pax $50+++
6831-6286

AXIS BAR & LOUNGE
Mandarin Oriental
Afternoon Tea
3pm - 5pm (Sat-Sun)
$24++
Tel: 6885 3098

INTERMEZZO BAR
Orchard Hotel
Afternoon Tea
2pm - 6pm daily
$18++
Tel: 6739-6668

BAR & BILLIARD ROOM
Raffles Hotel
Afternoon Tea
3.30pm - 5.00pm (Mon-Sat)
4.00pm - 5.30pm (Sun)
$32++ / Xmas festive price $48++ (Dec 13 untl 26)
Tel: 6412-1194

CHIHULY LOUNGE
Ritz-Carlton Hotel
Traditional Afternoon Tea
2.30pm - 5pm (Mon-Fri)
$32++
Tel: 6434-5288

This list has been compiled by Camemberu. For updates, corrections and additions, please check back at http://camemberu.blogspot.com/2007/12/list-of-high-tea-buffets-and.html

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The other day at Golden Mile Complex I also visited the Thai supermarket to get some authentic green curry paste. I checked out their snacks too and was happy to spot the Manora seafood chips (S$1.50 each). I had tried the prawn flavoured ones in Bangkok and liked them. They're really peppery and can sometimes make you cough while you eat. But so addictive!


These are small, coin-shaped crackers. All the flavours look alike, with just mild variations in colour (the fish one being a shade paler). The crab flavoured one is quite peppery, although probably not as much as the prawn ones. The back of the packaging says 50% tapioca flour and 20% crabmeat. The fish one contains 24% fish but is a lot milder tasting. I mixed both packs in an airtight container, so you can alternate bites between the two flavours.


Yeah I know, I know, instant noodles are not good for you. But I don't mind shaving a few years off my lifespan if I can enjoy the food and snacks that I like! Saves me some retirement planning headaches too.

The popular Mama brand offers many different spicy flavours (S$1.90 now for pack of five). The Thai supermarket here stocks the widest variety I've seen in Singapore, and I'm tempted to review every one of them! We're all quite familiar with the regular Tom Yum one on the left. The reddish pack of Tom Saab on the right is interesting - a pork rib tom yum with a strong lime infusion. It's a miracle how they manage to get all those flavours so accurately in a little sachet.


So easy to prepare - just add hot water. No cooking pot required, less washing up to do! Don't wait too long to eat them though, they can turn soggy. These Thai noodles are also tasty enough on their own to be eaten as is, without cooking. Like crunchy Mamee snacks. My only quibble is - one individual pack is only a measly 65g (compared to the regular 80-120g portion of local, Japanese or Korean instant noodles). One pack is too little, two packs is too much (for my conscience, not my tummy). And often, after you eat, the savoury spiciness just leaves you wanting even more! Argh!

YEN INVESTMENT THAI SUPERMARKET
#02-64 Golden Mile Complex
Tel: 6293-2780

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

While in Balestier picking up our popiah supplies, we dropped by Boon Tong Kee (BTK) for lunch. Would you believe this is my first time at this restaurant? Yeah, talk about overdue. Anyway, this is the original BTK, the real deal and frequently quoted as the best.

Of course you must have the house specialty chicken rice (S$10 for two persons). Nicely steamed and laced with the most fragrant soy-sesame sauce, this was a good plate of chicken. Even the breast meat was remarkably tender and succulent.


When you're having chicken rice, everything must come together well - right down to the condiments. The rice here is moist, tasty and not overly oily. The slightly tangy ginger-chili goes well with both rice and meat and the dark soy sauce adds sweetness to it all.


The restaurant menu also features a whole host of Chinese dishes. We opted for a fish-and-vegetable dish (S$15). This was surprisingly delicious! Lots of fish, kailan done just right. The taste is fresh, clean and lightly savoury. I even scooped up the garlic bits and gravy at the end.

Boon Tong Kee at Balestier is air-conditioned, and service is fairly quick and warm (the aunties fuss over you and make you feel quite at home). The dishes are a bit pricey but it's quality worth paying for. Oh and I loved the crunchy pickled vegetables they serve upfront.

BOON TONG KEE CHICKEN RICE
401 Balestier Road
Tel: 6254 3937

Monday, December 10, 2007


Popiah ingredients, originally uploaded by Camemberu.

Hubby held a potluck gathering at home for office colleagues yesterday. It was a popiah and pizza party on our part. Initially we wanted to get the DIY popiah supplies from the famed Kway Guan Huat at Joo Chiat. But we were a bit stunned by the exhorbitant price of S$37 per set (8-12 rolls, and some people only get 6-8 rolls out of it as they roll too thickly, says the shoplady). We'd need 3-4 sets for our purposes (S$111-S$148). Hmm, that's some premium popiah, considering S$40 can buy you Peking Duck already.


With that in perspective, I started hunting for alternatives. I saw a recommendation from renowned foodie umami for Benny of 968 Popiah at Balestier. She says he is the best there is. I also saw a good review at HungryGoWhere. A much more reasonable $30 for 25 rolls with two days advance notice. We put in an order for 40 rolls to be safe. He doesn't do delivery but neither does Kway Guan Huat which also oddly requested us to bring our own large pot for the turnip filling.


Turns out Benny is very generous with his portions! The popiah is not too bad, quite tasty. The turnip filling is fresh and very sweet, and the crispy fried fish batter is a savoury alternative to the usual crushed peanuts. Chinese sausage is not included in the package but we added our own. Beware the killer sambal chili - it really does pack in a lot of heat!


For the pizza, we went with Rite Pizza because they really give a lot of cheese. Plus it's halal (we had one Muslim guest).


Unfortunately, this time round the pizzas we chose seemed less impressive. Yes, lots of toppings and ingredients drowned in cheese but everything tasted a bit bland somehow.

Anyway, I think we had too much food in the end - pizzas were huge and popiahs probably enough for over 60 rolls, even using double skins. It was popiah for breakfast, lunch and dinner today, and there's still MORE we don't know what to do with! But you know what, I'm still not sick of it. If it wasn't so filling, I would eat more.

968 POPIAH
Lam Cheong Eating House
312 Balestier Road
Contact Benny at tel: 9648-9350

RITE PIZZA (see earlier post for contact details)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

I have an interesting post today. Got an invite to a bloggers breakfast hosted by Philips Electronics. The event showcased "next generation high-definition and fully inclusive high-fidelity surround audio" movie and gaming experiences, based on Philips' new range of HDTV and audio products. Curious?



Well, I love food and I love tech (especially when it comes to movies and gaming), so certainly I had to come take a look. It was held at Corduroy Cafe in Vivocity.


They started with the demos of the big screen HDTV but let me jump straight to the Philips Ambisound HTS8100 Soundbar home theatre system first. This is something I really like. If you've ever owned a 5.1 multiple speaker home theatre system, you might be well-acquainted with the hassle of ugly wires and plugging in of so many components. Not to mention worrying about your dog/cat/gerbil chewing through the many cables, leaving you with effectively just 1.1 sound quality!

With Ambisound, that's history. A whole array of technologies (you can read more on the website, I won't bore you with details) enable 5.1 surround sound through one single speaker bar and a subwoofer. That's it. No rear or multiple speakers necessary! You still get the immersive multi-dimensional sound - the difference was clear when the presenters played demos of both multichannel and stereo modes.



Interestingly, this award-winning technology was developed proudly in Singapore itself, by Singaporeans. It was spearheaded after focus group research found that many consumers did not like the clutter and wiring hassle associated with multiple speakers. I fully agree! My home already has too many cables as it is!


Form factor really shines in the Ambisound products, right down to the subwoofer. DoubleBASS(tm) gives you extra deep bass performance (my bassist hubby will be happy to know that). You can even connect your iPod - that's always a big plus in my books.

If you prefer the more conventional two speaker format, there is the HTS6600 (S$1,018) which uses the same Ambisound technology. It's just the DVD player/display panel, two speakers and a subwoofer for the same 5.1 surround sound effect. But you know the HTS8100 Soundbar is just so much more cooler!



Now for Philips Ambilight in the flat screen TVs. This feature is not new - it's been around since 2004. You may have already seen it in the shops. A soft background glow is projected onto the wall surrounding the TV, and it changes colour to match the on-screen visuals. No big deal?

Well, it seems this is not just an "aesthetically cool" feature. This lighting effect has been scientifically proven to reduce eyestrain and increase viewing comfort. The 2007 FlatTV range now features LED lighting for greater saturated colours and energy efficiency. I must say it did look somewhat soothing.



It's also fully HD-ready in 1080p resolution. You can plug in your Xbox, Playstation, Wii gaming consoles, Blu-Ray players and PC media centers to the system. Car chases, crashes, shoot-them-ups will be bigger than life!




Main demo display, originally uploaded by Camemberu.

I have a Philips "Pixel Plus" TV at home but I think that picture improvement feature is well and truly outmoded by the new Perfect Pixel HD engine that these new models sport. The picture quality is indeed very sharp, vivid and clear, even when viewed from a distance. Ah sigh. Must learn to be content with what I have...

This 47-inch beauty you see here retails for S$6,599. The 42-inch version can be had for S$4,999. Know what you want for Christmas now?




My breakfast, originally uploaded by Camemberu.

OK, OK, enough about technolust...onto another kind - food! We had a nice spread catered for us. I'm not sure if any of this is available on the regular Corduroy menu, but some of it sure is tasty.



Rich, soft, flavourful. The scrambled egg married the salmon well. It was so comforting, I regret not taking an extra portion, along with the chicken sausage, which was extraordinarily juicy.




Caesar salad with butter prawn, originally uploaded by Camemberu.

Bit early in the day for Caesar's salad? The lettuce may look a bit bruised but still had some crunch. Fortunately, the prawns were nice and firm to the bite. But I would probably not get this dish for breakfast on my own.



Apple and potato salad, originally uploaded by Camemberu.

The creaminess of the salad overwhelmed the delicate apple bits in this little starter. Went well with the new potatoes, although I would have preferred it more tangy than sweet.



The hash browns were well-fried - still crunchy despite being cold. Didn't get to try everything else. Most of my food-testing was done very hurriedly.



I know a lot of people swoon over macarons. Their appeal still eludes me. I gingerly tried one - ack, sickeningly sweet. Meltingly soft and creamy but still not my kind of thing.



This was not too bad. Crusty brown on top but soft and tender inside. Went very well with the milky vanilla sauce. I always like bread-and-butter pudding. Comfort food.



Many of the little desserts got swiped before I could try them. Must have been good. Fruit salad nobody much touched. Guess the chocolate cakes were too enticing.




Corduroy Cafe at Vivocity, originally uploaded by Camemberu.

It was a pretty enjoyable event with a good turnout - more than a dozen bloggers were present and they were not afraid to ask questions. This is one of the first of such events I've seen targeting bloggers as a media platform and viral/word-of-mouth marketing. Hopefully we'll get to see more in future as the blogosphere expands and matures in Singapore.

CORDUROY CAFE
#01-106, 1 HarbourFront Centre Walk, VivoCity
Tel: 6376-9895

 
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