Friday, October 29, 2010

Ribeye Steak served with onion salad and wedges
Oh yes, you read it right. This is New Ubin Seafood. But it serves a really good steak! Choice US ribeye steak broiled and served with potato wedges and caramelised onions.

And you'll find this restaurant in the most unlikely of places. It's in the heart of the Sin Ming Road industrial zone, a neon-lit facade nestled among car and machinery workshops. First-timers may have difficulty locating the place, but the effort is well worth it.

What led us to this hidden place? The June 2010 Makansutra forum members dinner. These very often showcase some of the best cze-char gems on this island. Oh yes, I'm quite behind in posting these lovely dinners - I have three more to go but I will blog them all, as they're all good!


Mussels de Blanc - fresh local mussels braised in claypot with spring onions and white wine
This dinner was slightly unusual, it had 13 dishes in 9 courses, meaning some courses had 2-3 mini dishes. This is Mussels de Blanc - fresh local mussels braised in claypot with spring onions and white wine. It was served with the next two dishes...


Salted Egg Squid
Salted Egg Squid. My memory is hazy but I think the squid was quite tender and the sandy egg yolk seasoning addictive.


Stir-fried Beansprouts with Home Cured and Smoked Sea Bass
Stir-fried Beansprouts with Home Cured and Smoked Sea Bass. Ah, this I remember well. The restaurant has its own smoker, so they do their own cured/smoked items...to good effect too. We absolutely loved the treated sea bass. It was almost as good as bacon.


Hei Chor - deep-fried prawn rolls with water chestnuts
Hei Chor - deep-fried prawn rolls with water chestnuts - was part of the third course. Decently done, but not mind-blowing.


Baby Shrimp - wild shrimp caught off Singapore coasts, plain-fried
Baby Shrimp - wild shrimp caught off Singapore coasts, plain-fried to allow their natural flavours to come through. I can't argue with crispy stuff.


Flower Clams cooked in white wine and garlic
Flower Clams cooked in white wine and garlic. Not too bad.


Birthday buns!
Oh, as it was Tony's (and a few other people's) birthday, we started off with longevity peach-shaped buns. Nice appetiser with lotus paste filling.


Ang Kah Hei Garlic Pepper Prawns
After those baby shrimp, we had the supersized Ang Kah prawns, done in garlic and pepper. Greasy but good. Maybe slightly overfried, but I enjoyed them still.


Sambal Kang Kong
A duo of two vegetables followed. The perennially popular sambal kang kong, which was very nicely executed with generous sambal...


Chinese spinach with garlic
...and some Chinese spinach with garlic. This vegetable has lots of stems generally too fibrous and bitter for me, so I skipped this.


Smoked Pork Knuckle Mee Sua
Smoked Pork Knuckle Mee Sua. Oh yes, another item from their smoker. The mee sua had absorbed all the smoky flavours too.


Classic Chili Crab Ubin Style
As if all that food was not enough, we had chili crab coming as well! Classic Chili Crab Ubin Style. The taucheo (fermented bean paste) was very strong in this one, and it was quite salty. Not too spicy.


I love deep-fried mantou! Crispy crust!
The best part about chili crab for me is ironically the mantou - those lovely deep-fried buns! Look at the gorgeously crispy crust on these! Sink your teeth into these sweeties, and life's worries will melt away for a moment.


Yam Paste with Ginkgo Nuts
I think by the last course, most of us could barely handle dessert. And it was a heavy one too. Yam Paste with Ginkgo Nuts (with coconut cream on the side, if you so like it). I love orh-nee, so no matter what, I had to have a bite...and I almost wanted a second bowl!


Soundproofing with egg cartons?
One of the odd things you'll notice about the ceiling (especially if you're horizontal after too much wine), is that it's padded with cardboard egg cartons! This is the air-conditioned dining area (fits about 10 tables) - things must get pretty noisy or rowdy here, to require soundproofing effort! There are also "al fresco" dining tables outside.

So there can be some good food in the deepest of industrial estates. If you ever find yourself in Sin Ming looking for food and prefer something more substantial than the famous bak kut teh or prata nearby, there's always New Ubin Seafood.

P.S. Someone asked about pricing - we paid about S$38 nett per person for this lovely feast.


NEW UBIN SEAFOOD
Block 27 Sin Ming Road #01-174
(Behind Block 26)
Singapore 575680
Tel: +65-6466-9558
Open Daily: 11.30am–2.30pm, 5.30pm–10.30pm


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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Homemade char kway teow
Homemade char kway teow. Something for you while I work on the 30-odd posts in my backlog...

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Celebrity Chefs Charity Cookathon by De Dietrich

De Dietrich is presenting a charity cooking marathon featuring some of the most prominent chefs in Singapore. The Celebrity Chefs Charity Cookathon will benefit the Little Arts Academy (LAA) which provides professional training to children in dance, arts, theatre and music.

Watch each chef whip up a dish based on their childhood memories. And you will be able to taste it afterwards in an 8-course degustation meal. Guests will also receive a limited edition autographed recipe book, share a cocktail session with the chefs and photo-taking opportunities.

The sterling cast of chefs include:
  • Chef André Chiang from ANDRE
  • Chef Diego Chiarini from Oso
  • Chef Francois Mermilliod from Absinthe
  • Chef Frédéric Colin from St Regis Hotel
  • Chef Julien Bompard from Le Saint Julien
  • Chef Ryan Clift from The Tippling Club
  • Chef Laurent Bernard from Laurent Bernard
  • Chef Janice Wong from 2am Dessert Bar

The cookathon will be at the St Regis Hotel on 28 Nov 2010 from 10am to 6pm. Only 150 seats are available. Ticket prices are at S$180 each, and all proceeds will go to charity (The Business Times Budding Artists Fund, of which the LAA is an initiative).

Check out more details of what the ticket prices include, and how to register, on their Facebook page.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

One of the best kway chap around
This is one of the best kway chap around. The innards and pork belly are incredibly clean-tasting and well-braised with a touch of spice. It's also not cloyingly sweet. Thanks to recommendations from Byron and Jimmy, I finally found the other Blanco Court kway chap I have been looking for all these years.

I have fond memories of Blanco Court when visiting Singapore as a very young child. Even though it was dark, crowded and poorly ventilated, the supremely delicious food more than made up for it. There was only one thing we came here for, and that was kway chap.

Years afterwards, I tried to track down the original kway chap sellers - there were two, I vaguely remembered. Unfortunately I didn't know the names. The famous Garden Street one tasted a bit too bland for me. I didn't know where the other stall went. Until I found these guys. Tong Lok Kuay Chap has been operating quietly in a coffeshop at the junction of Pepys Road and Pasir Panjang Road, serving up the good stuff.



The boss and his wife are friendly people!
The boss and his wife are really friendly people. They look like they're happy doing what they do, and that is such a blessing.


Everything is very neatly organised
Look at how everything is neatly arranged - braised eggs, pork belly, pork skin, taupok, tauhu, large and small intestines, fish cake, preserved vegetables and so on. There's a lot of work involved in preparing kway chap, most of it in preparation and cleaning of the intestines.


The braised duck is fairly decent too
They have pretty good braised duck here too - it's soaked up all the well-spiced braising flavour. We had two kinds of chili sauce - a sambal and the orange-coloured vinegary and garlicky one. We didn't get to try the pork trotters. But I'm sure I'll be back.



Tong Lok is at junction of Pepys Road and Pasir Panjang Road
They are located at the same coffeeshop that serves Fei Zhai pork rib prawn mee and Soon Heng wantan noodles.  I really have to go back again.


TONG LOK KUAY CHAP
114 Pasir-Panjang Road (corner with Pepys Road)
Singapore 118539
Open Tues - Sat, 7am to 3pm
(don't go Sundays, Mondays or public holidays)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Each banana fritter has 1.5 bananas inside for more bulk
There's lots more to explore at Taman Jurong Market and Food Centre, like the ngoh hiang, fish soup and some cze-char. But after having bak kut teh, curry puffs and roast duck with char siew rice, we were stuffed. Another trip in future, perhaps. I decided to pack some snacks home for my mom-in-law who loves banana fritters.

These were pretty chunky fritters. Each banana fritter has one-and-a-half bananas inside for more bulk. Crispy batter and fluffy insides, not too sweet - just nice. Best eaten hot and fresh, of course.


Bunches of bananas
You just can't miss 56 Li Ji (or is it Lee Kee?) up on the third floor with their conspicuously abundant bunches of bananas hung above their stall.


56 Li Ji at Taman Jurong
They also sell various other fried snacks, like tapioca, sweet potato and yam. Prices are pretty decent, from 60 cents to 80 cents (the signature bananas).

56 LI JI
3 Yung Sheng Road
#03-172 Taman Jurong Market and Food Centre
Singapore 618499

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Superb roast duck!
Let me continue my good finds in the West. I came to the Taman Jurong Market & Food Centre to check out some recommendations from Southernoise who's a regular here. It's pretty far west, but one trip here is not enough - there are many stalls worth checking out! Tien Lai Rice Stall serves excellent Hong Kong style roast duck and meats. Beautiful glistening skin and tender meat! I'm not even a fan of duck, but I enjoyed this tremendously.



Very good char siew too!
The char siew too is gorgeously moist and caramelised. It carries none of the garish red dye that inferior char siew tends to sport. You also get a small bowl of decent soup to go with your rice.


Tien Lai Rice Stall at #02-66 Taman Jurong Food Centre
The signboard says RICE, so don't expect noodles here. It's a smart move, actually. Rice can be quickly scooped and served, whereas noodles need cooking. So while there is a queue, it moves pretty fast. Note that they open only from morning til lunchtime (2pm).


TIEN LAI RICE STALL
3 Yung Sheng Road
#02-66 Taman Jurong Market & Food Centre
Singapore 618499
Tel: +65 6264 1506
Open 9.30am – 2.00pm
(Closed on Saturday)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Happee Day at HortPark - A day of fun in the sun for 30 kids with cancer
Mother, Inc. is helping the Children's Cancer Foundation organise a mini-carnival on 31st October at HortPark. Happee Day is a chance for some 30 children with cancer to come out and enjoy themselves, to have a day of fun in the sun. There will be mascots, balloon sculptors, face painting, magic shows, and a truckload of balloons. It may only be for a day, but what a difference a day can make, especially when suffering countless injections, chemotherapy, puking and mood swings.

Cancer in children is something no parent should ever have to bear. I know of some parents who went through this. It's heart-wrenching. All we can do is make our little ones as happy as they can be, no matter how short their time on earth is. To let them know there are people who care about them and are cheering them on.

You can help by being there, or by donating, if you are unable to go. See details (and CCF donation link) here. All proceeds go directly to the CCF for subsidising treatment and daily expenses for the children, and not the running of the event which rides on sponsorships and other personal donations.

I am going to try to be there, and bring Nadine and Jolie. Fortunately, it doesn't clash with the Special Olympics Family Day on 30th October!

I do strongly believe social integration in whatever small form helps children with conditions that hinder their full interaction in society. Not just for kids with cancer, but those with disabilities as well.

H&K Green Day at Botanic Gardens for kids from Rainbow Centre
Last year, Hill & Knowlton organised a "Green Day" outing at the Botanical Gardens for kids from Rainbow Centre. They really had fun with the "Amazing Race" style friendly competition, dashing from one zone to the other, while experiencing nature.

Nadine got to go too. She naturally had a blast, having the huge gardens to roam around, and so many friends to play with!

H&K Green Day at Botanic Gardens for kids from Rainbow Centre
We were all stunned to learn from the special school that this kind of company activity was a very rare occurrence - companies volunteering their time. They were very appreciative.


Later on, during the Chinese New Year period this year, I was heartened to see staff from Barclays Bank volunteering to spend time with the little ones from Rainbow Centre. They set up a mini-carnival too, with little activity stations. They helped the kids make lanterns using angpow paper, they put up pussy willow trees for kids to hang those lanterns and also played "match the candy" games. Of course there were lots of treats and snacks for the kids too.




So if you or your company are looking for some meaningful team-building activity, why not spend a day with these kids? They might just brighten up your day as much as you'll brighten up theirs.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pierre-Yves Rochon, Joël Robuchon and Roger Lienhard
I met Joël Robuchon today. I was this close. Front row seat!

Chef of the Century (a title given by Gault Millau) Mr Robuchon, 65, needs little introduction as the world's most decorated chef with 26 Michelin stars in the 2010 Michelin Guide. Here's an in-depth interview at eGullet which gives a glimpse into how he works.

He will be bringing to Singapore not one but three three concepts - the fine-dining Joël Robuchon Restaurant, the less formal L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, and The Pastry Shop and Lounge. The first two will be launched at Hotel Michael, Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) as early as mid-Feb 2011 (if everything goes as scheduled).

Friday, October 8, 2010

What a feat getting all these chefs cooking in one kitchen!
Wine aficionados, mark your calendars. The Austrian Wine Festival (see Facebook page) is returning in even grander fashion this year from Oct 15 to Nov 15. Expect wine dinners, wine fairs, housepours and tasting sets at some of Singapore's restaurants, both renowned and new.

These include the likes of Les Amis, Brasserie Wolf, Esmirada, Bistro Soori, Fifty Three, Song of India, Bodega Y Tapas, Angelo’s, The Steakhouse, Warehouse Bistro as well as all four F&B outlets (Golden Peony, Lobby Lounge, Oscar's and The Terrace) of festival partner hotel The Conrad Centennial Singapore.

At a wine-tasting session for the media, they managed to garner all the top chefs cooking signature samplers in one kitchen at Brasserie Wolf. This was absolutely something I had to see. I'm sure you recognise some of the more famous faces here.



Thursday, October 7, 2010

The curry puffs are a pretty good size
Big, flaky crust curry puffs!

What if you were craving one at 3am? Well if you live in Jurong, you might be in luck. Richie's Crispy Puff is open 24 hours. Take your pick from their flavours - curry chicken, sardine, lemon tuna, Thai spicy crab, mutton curry, black pepper chicken/beef, vegetarian curry and even durian puffs!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Joo Siah takes up two stalls
Some time back, I did a quick little food trail in the far West of Singapore. The wild frontiers have been pushed back by urbanisation, so there's actually quite a few good eats in this part of town.

One of the famous hawker eats here is Joo Siah Bak Kut Teh in Jurong West. By now, most people know that this is the fruit of an engineer who learned the trade from his brother-in-law in Sin Ming and started his own stall here. He's been very successful for 20-odd years now.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month!
October is Breast Cancer awareness month! Our beloved comedienne Koh Chieng Mun (best known to many as "Dolly" of Under One Roof) and chef Samia Ahad (she owns Coriander Leaf and the Screening Room) have come together to present some healthy recipes using Norwegian salmon.

I remember Chieng Mun as one of the four celebrity proponents of the pink ribbon movement and early detection via mammograms, but I did not know she herself was later diagnosed with breast and kidney cancer. Fortunately it was detected early and she is today a happy survivor.

I had my own little health scare earlier this week (hence the lack of posts, sorry). Doctors could not trace the source of my internal bleeding, but one of the many things they considered was indeed cancer. I have to go back for some tests, just to be sure.

Episodes like this of course will make you swear you'll overhaul your lifestyle, but I'd already been wanting to eat healthier way before this. Before I fell sick, I was lucky to meet the two celebrities at a cooking demo held by the Breast Cancer Foundation and Norwegian Salmon Export Council. These two are working together to help promote awareness of breast cancer, healthy eating and personal well-being.


It's Dolly! I mean Koh Chieng Mun
I paid great attention to Chieng Mun when she elaborated on what she ate when she was recovering. "Fresh food," she emphasised. "Nothing old...meaning nothing preserved." Everything fresh and unprocessed, as natural as possible. Of course, lots of fruit and vegetables. Basmati or brown rice is always better than refined white. She ate very little beef and stayed off chicken (hard to find hormone-free varieties, she said).

But hmm, "nothing old" caught my attention. My first thought - does that mean no cheese? Certainly no chye poh (preserved radish), no lap cheong (Chinese sausage) or bacon/ham/sausages/pepperoni/Spam/iberico/all those delightfully cured meats. No salted fish, ikan bilis, dried scallops? No pickles, dried mushrooms, salted vegetables or salted egg? No kiam sng tee (preserved fruits/snacks) for sure. Maybe no wines as well. There's a lot of "old stuff" out there and I'm only scratching the surface.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

They are running out of places to draw blood...
"My Jedi mind trick is not working today, I wonder why!"

I am very sorry for the lack of posts the past week. Some mysterious internal bleeding landed me in SGH's high dependency ward on Monday morning. It seems I had a few danger signs - tachycardia (elevated heart rate), low blood pressure, pallor, some shortness of breath and nearly blacking out a couple times. These did not seem like much to me, but I later learned they meant I lost quite a bit of blood. I am very grateful to whoever donated the pack of blood that was transfused to me.

The doctors never found out where the bleeding was from, as it stopped before they managed to trace it. They kept me on a drip, without food for nearly 70 hours!! Quite frankly, I felt much stronger after they eventually allowed me a cup of Milo!

I pleaded for discharge and they finally let me go home on Friday, with an MC for 36 days! Isn't that crazy? I thought this was too exaggerated, and that I could spring back almost immediately, but nooo. They were not being funny. The enforced bedrest in hospital had made me feel deceptively OK, but once home and walking about, I find I'm so easily worn out. Even a simple thing like blogging seems to require monumental strength and concentration. Looking at the screen makes me tired. My blood count is not back up to its normal levels yet, I guess.

But, but, I am very glad to be home. I should be putting back the 2kg I lost, cos I am going to EAT!

As for the 39 posts in my backlog yet to be posted...hmm, one at a time. Might be a bit slow.

P.S.  If you ever need to have an IV plug set, ask for one near the elbow instead of back of hand - it's a whole lot less painful! I don't understand why they set 3 separate IV plugs for me, when one should have theoretically sufficed. And I learned there are so many vein sites you can draw blood from (I can still see my 12 punctures). Needles, needles, everywhere...


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