Thursday, April 30, 2009

Charcoal Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee
This was pretty good, much better than I expected. Charcoal fried Hokkien mee at the Kim San Leng coffeeshop on the junction of Telok Kurau and Changi Road. Yummy enough to get me thinking about coming back even before I left.

Charcoal Fried Hokkien Prawn Mee
It's so gooey and rich, but still has lightly charred bits of noodle and egg. They use thin beehoon here, which works very well. Don't wait too long to eat it (as if anyone would), as the stock or gravy kinda coagulates when it gets cold. The S$3 portion is a rather small plate, but gives you at least 4 prawns. I'd order a larger plate next time.

At the Kim San Leng coffeeshop on junction of Telok Kurau and Changi Road
The heat from the charcoal stove is so strong, I could not bear to stand long in front of the stall. But I welcome the "wok hei" for the dish itself!

I actually came for oyster omelette, which is apparently quite good too, but they didn't have it that evening. All the more reason to come back again!

Kim San Leng Food Centre
324T Changi Road
Singapore 419799
Open 11am to 10pm (closed Tuesdays)
Tel: 81823745

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dr Evil image from Internet, copyright not mine
Around 10.43am today, this blog reached its 1,000,000th pageview mark! ONE MEEEELION page views! In just under two years. Thank you to all my readers who made this possible.
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Dr Evil image from the Internet, copyright not mine

Monday, April 27, 2009

Please be of legal drinking age if you intend to read this...

K1664 Blanc
Beerfest Asia is on this week (29 Apr - 3 May)! There'll be over 100 varieties of beer on show from all over the world. They sent me some samples.

The Kronenbourg 1664 is a premium French beer, launched in honour of the brewery's founding year. It was also used to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's coronation.

K1664 Blanc
It's a light, golden yellow beer. They use the Strisselspalt hop (exclusive to Alsace) that give the beer its unique aroma. Slightly bittersweet with a citrus hops taste. Fruity and gently spicy. Almost like sparkling wine meets beer.

Doggie Style
We also got three different bottles of Flying Dog ales, all with cheeky and edgy names. First up, the flagship Doggie Style Classic Pale Ale.

Flying Dog - Doggie Style
It's a clear, brilliant amber beer with a rich head. Strong on hop flavour and aroma. Just a bit too bitter for me, but this pale ale was hubby's favourite. It's purported to go well with burgers, brats and the typically hearty American dishes.

In-Heat Wheat
"In-Heat Wheat" is a German-style Hefeweizen. Malted white wheat gives this beer a fuller mouthfeel.

Flying Dog - In-Heat Wheat
This one is rich yellow and more opaque. It's spicy with cloves, nutmeg and has hints of banana and vanilla. Goes well with warm days and spicy foods! Possibly fish, chicken and salads too.

Old Scratch Amber Lager
"Old Scratch" Amber Lager is apparently the most award-winning American beer ever.

Flying Dog - Old Scratch
A lovely rich copper with creamy head. It was very malty and had an aroma almost like honey. Great with roasts, breads, BBQ and spicy foods. This turned out to be my favourite of the lot.

The US craft beers like Flying Dog are quite interesting. There will be about 40 of these on show at Beerfest Asia. There's also food, games, music and entertainment. Check out the website for details and ticketing info. Thanks again to Beerfest Asia for the beer samples!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sushi of the Day - extremely fresh neta that's bigger than the rice!
I've often felt that good Japanese cuisine is a form of meditation unto its own. It simply commands you to partake in a moment of contemplative appreciation. Zen monks famously eat in silence, to fully be aware of and appreciate the food served (even though it's simple fare).

And this platter of freshly made sushi is nothing less spectacular than satori - the sudden flash of understanding and enlightenment. The maguro (tuna) melted so sweetly in the mouth. It was a surprise worthy of the Japan Hour "Umai!!!" exclamations of joy.

They are generous with the neta (fish topping), which is long enough to wrap around the appropriately small mound of rice (and good quality rice it is too). The sushi chef took great care assembling each one, as he did with the sashimi.

Sashimi of the Day - sweet and fresh!
The sushi and sashimi is part of Chiharu's "Weekend Chef Treat Omakase" - a veritable feast of 38 dishes (S$48++ per person, weekends and public holidays). Each guest gets one serving of the sushi and sashimi (also incredibly delicious). Special mention goes to the ama ebi - succulently sweet and firm. I am normally squeamish of raw prawns but this one made me understand why people love ama ebi. I also enjoyed the marinated tako (octopus) stump - very savoury.

It was a rare weekend that Nic was in town. So I, Keropokman and Momo, Nic and XiuLongBao (whom I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time) came to Chiharu last Saturday. We came, we saw, we ate. Everything. And then some. Here are photos of the rest of the dishes, which are in freeflow tasting portions. I hope you'll enjoy them in meditative appreciation as much as we did.

* * * * * * * * * THE COLD DISHES * * * * * * * * * *

Horenso Goma-Ae (Spinach with Sesame Dressing), Hiyaya-ko (Chilled Bean Curd) and Wakame Kyuri-su (Vinegared Seaweed and Cucumber)
Top: Horenso Goma-Ae (Spinach with Sesame Dressing)
Left: Hiyaya-ko (Chilled Bean Curd)
Right: Wakame Kyuri-su (Vinegared Seaweed and Cucumber)
All these cold appetisers were very nicely executed.

Kamo Roast Yaki - Roasted Duck Breast
Kamo Roast Yaki - Roasted Duck Breast: wonderfully done (and I'm not even a fan of duck). We felt like a second helping but we had to pace ourselves. Long journey ahead.

Chiharu Karupacho - Thinly Sliced Raw Fish Salad
Chiharu Karupacho - Thinly Sliced Raw Fish Salad: If you didn't get enough of the sashimi, you can have more via the carpaccio. May not be the best cuts but the slices are refreshingly doused in a tangy ponzu dressing with shredded daikon, cucumber and carrots.

Hiyashi Tomato - Chilled Tomato
Hiyashi Tomato - Chilled Tomato: wonderfully sweet and invigorating.

Maguro Yamakake - Cubed Tuna with Grated Mountain Yam Paste
Maguro Yamakake - Cubed Tuna with Grated Mountain Yam Paste: that grated sticky white yama imo paste is an acquired taste, so not everyone may like this. It went well with some soy though, as recommended by the waitress.

* * * * * * * * * THE GRILLED DISHES * * * * * * * * * *

Tori Tsukune - Grilled Chicken Meat Ball
Tori Tsukune - Grilled Chicken Meat Ball: amazingly moist and juicy! No char or hard exterior. Just a very light coating (egg white?) protecting the fine chicken mince within.

Tebasaki Shioyaki - Grilled Chicken Wing with Salt
Tebasaki Shioyaki - Grilled Chicken Wing with Salt: you can tell it's grilled with care, the wings are not dry at all.

Shake Shioyaki - Grilled Salmon with Salt
Shake Shioyaki - Grilled Salmon with Salt: grilled until very lightly crisp on the outside.

Shitake Kushiyaki - Grilled Fresh Black Mushroom
Shitake Kushiyaki - Grilled Fresh Black Mushroom: oh my, these were bursting with savoury juices. Too many places make overly dry versions, so this was a nice change.

Jagaimo Bacon Maki - Bacon-wrapped Potato Roll
Jagaimo Bacon Maki - Bacon-wrapped Potato Roll: what a difference good bacon makes! Or maybe it's the chef's grilling skills. Whatever it is, I can never get bacon to taste so good at home. Unfortunately, I see this is missing from Chiharu's menu this week. Instead there's grilled sanma and shisamo.

Atsuage Yaki - Grilled Dried Bean Curd
Atsuage Yaki - Grilled Dried Bean Curd: This item has also been removed from the menu, but it probably will raise little ire (except from hardcore tofu fans).

Satsuma-Age Yaki - Grilled Japanese Homemade Fish Cake
Satsuma-Age Yaki - Grilled Japanese Homemade Fish Cake: this was so good. It's simple fish cake but so sweet and umami.

* * * * * * * * * THE DEEP-FRIED DISHES * * * * * * * * * *

Kisu Nebuka Age - Deep-fried Sand-borer Wrapped with Welsh Onion
Kisu Nebuka Age - Deep-fried Sand-borer Wrapped with Welsh Onion: an unusual creation that I've not seen elsewhere. Kisu (the white fish often used in tempura) wrapped around negi, battered and fried.

Tenpura Moriawase - Assorted Tempura (Prawn and Vegetable)
Tenpura Moriawase - Assorted Tempura (Prawn and Vegetable): this was not too bad. I felt like having more, but tempura (unless it's of the Tenshin variety) can fill you up all too quickly.

Cream Korokke
Chiharu Cream Korokke: a small and compacted korokke, rather too firm and starchy. But at least something different from your run-of-the-mill industrial croquette.

Hamo Chikuwa Tenpura - Deep-fried Fish Cake
Hamo Chikuwa Tenpura - Deep-fried Fish Cake: oh this was very, very nice! Chikuwa is that long hollow fishcake, and Chiharu's version is very tasty. Not too dry here.

Ika Tatsuta Age - Deep-fried Marinated Squid
Ika Tatsuta Age - Deep-fried Marinated Squid: these are a little too hard and dry. Somehow the deep-fried items seem to lack the finesse of the grilled ones when it comes to heat control.

Agedashi Dofu - Deep-fried Bean Curd in Warishita Sauce
Agedashi Dofu - Deep-fried Bean Curd in Warishita Sauce: the tofu they use in this is incredibly soft! I almost had difficulty lifting a cube off the bowl. How on earth do they manage to deepfry this and keep it intact?

Wakadori Tatsuta Age - Deep-fried Marinated Chicken
Wakadori Tatsuta Age - Deep-fried Marinated Chicken: this is too similar to the deep-fried marinated squid. Again a little dry. I guess it didn't help that we were having all the deep-fried items at the same time, so after a while it got a bit "jelak" (satiating).

* * * * * * * * * THE WARM & MAIN DISHES * * * * * * * * * *

Buta Shogayaki - Pan-fried Sliced Pork with Ginger Sauce
Buta Shogayaki - Pan-fried Sliced Pork with Ginger Sauce: delicious thin slices of pork (no foul porky aroma) pan-fried in savoury sauce.

Shira Konyaku Dengaku - Grilled Homemade Jelly Yam Topped With Miso
Shira Konyaku Dengaku - Grilled Homemade Jelly Yam Topped With Miso: I liked this, but it's best taken in little bites. It looks like it's been replaced in the menu by Gyuniku Namban Yaki though.

Beef Teriyaki - done just right
Gyu Teriyaki - beef pan-fried in teriyaki sauce and sliced. As you can see, it's done just right. Almost like having a mini-steak. The sauce is incredibly good too. We had another serving of this!

Tori Teriyaki - Pan-fried Sauteed Spring Chicken in Teriyaki Sauce
Tori Teriyaki - Pan-fried Sauteed Spring Chicken in Teriyaki Sauce: If you don't take beef, there's spring chicken teriyaki. Also very nice.

Furofuki Daikon Ebi Miso - Boiled White Radish Topped with Minced Prawn Miso Paste
Furofuki Daikon Ebi Miso - Boiled White Radish Topped with Minced Prawn Miso Paste: OK, this one was a little bit too exotic for us. I didn't think the minced prawn miso worked, but perhaps it's an acquired taste.

Final Dishes
Top left: Chawanmushi - chockful of ingredients but a bit too firm.
Bottom left: Yasai Takiawase - simmered seasonal vegetables in light soy. Some mushrooms, Chinese broccoli (?) florets and a yam ball.
Top right: Nori chazuke - seaweed porridge
Bottom right: Ume chazuke - red plum porridge
The chazuke are clean-tasting and of good quality, but I usually find chazuke a bit bland. Perhaps something I will appreciate in my old age.

Zaru Soba - Cold Soba
Zaru Soba - Cold Soba: gorgeously al dente soba noodles. I know we often try to avoid the carbo filler dishes in a buffet, but this is a must-try!

Zaru Udon - Cold Udon
Zaru Udon - Cold Udon: again, very al dente. Talk about bite - this is beyond QQ! You can try it with the chilled dipping sauce on its own, and then with the grated ginger and onions. What we did was mop up the noodles with the beef teriyaki's sauce - a fantastic combination!

* * * * * * * * * SALADS & DESSERT * * * * * * * * * *

There are three rather similar salads to choose from.
Left: Kani Salad - crabmeat with tomato and assorted vegetables in wafu dressing
Top Right: Chiharu Salad - shredded chicken salad with wafu dressing
Bottom Right: Green Combination Salad - asparagus and vegetables in thousand island dressing

Freaking Good Ice Cream - Passionfruit, Raspberry, Chocolate, Baileys and Tiramisu
I wasn't expecting much for dessert but turns out Chiharu serves freaking good ice cream - we tried Passionfruit, Raspberry, Chocolate, Baileys and Tiramisu. The fruit-based ones are delightfully fragrant and tangy. The cream based ones are rich and smooth. A lovely ending to the long, indulgent meal.

Interior of Chiharu - ground floor
On top of the good food, we had exceptionally good service. Discreet and thoughtful waitresses kept our table clean and even arranged for appropriately sized serving portions for our table of five. The assistant manager William also saw to our needs, and even gave us a quick tour of the premises. We had such a good time, we didn't realise we stayed beyond their closing hours!

Private dining available upstairs
Private dining available upstairs (two rooms divided by partitions), and there's even an al fresco balcony. There is also a sake bar upstairs.

On the whole, Chiharu was a pleasant experience - they do sushi and sashimi really well. It's a fairly high end restaurant, so the brunch is really good value for money.

Check out Keropokman and Momo's first and second post on this! Can't wait to see Nic's photos!

Sake Bar and Seasonal Specialties
779 Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 269758
Tel: 6769-1929

The Weekend Chef Treat Omakase is from
11:30am to 2:00pm (last order) on Sat, Sun & public holidays.

P.S. This is officially my longest post ever!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sake Inn is the first such specialty store in Singapore
The Tampines 1 blogger tour also brought us to Sake Inn - Singapore's first shop dedicated to sake and other Japanese drinks (juices, tea, etc). Pardon the photos - I had to use my C905 cameraphone because my 50mm lens would not accommodate wider angle shots.

Wall display on sake classification - you can click on the picture for a bigger version to read the details.

Small to large bottles of sake, chilled
Sake lovers can now enjoy premium imports previously not available in Singapore.

Chilled sake, juices and treats!
They also carry Japanese wine, canned drinks and juices. I love Japanese drinks!

Little cans and bottles
Can you see stuff you recognise? Some of the brands they carry include Sapporo Beer, Mei Jiu, Iichiko, Ozeki Sake, and Tamanohikari Sake. They even have "Healthy Vinegar"!

All kinds of sake!
I love Japanese packaging - so intricate and gorgeous.

They also stock other Japanese goods like sauces, and limited crockery
You can also find small varieties of Japanese sauces and products at Sake Inn. There's even a small crockery corner.

Thanks again to Tampines 1 for the tour. This is the final post on the shops there. You can find more of what's happening there at their blog.

#B1-30 Tampines 1 (can't miss the 50 huge sake barrels in front of the shop!)
10 Tampines Central 1
Singapore 529539
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