Saturday, June 29, 2013

Tim Ho Wan: Singapore vs Hong Kong - Are they equally good and worth queueing for?

If you're a fan of dim sum, you probably would have heard of the long queues at Tim Ho Wan, or even joined them. Both in Singapore and Hong Kong. So what do you think of the Singapore outlet? Is it worthy of the original outlet's name and its Michelin star fame?

I made a side-by-side comparison of some of the signature items. Some surprises here...

Story is on Yahoo Makanation and Makansutra (which has gotten a nice revamp, by the way).

Incidentally, I first got to try Chef Mak Kwai Pui's baked BBQ pork buns when he came to RWS two years ago. That was before any talk of the Singapore branch. Chef Mak is so nice and down-to-earth. He just wants to make good dim sum. Expanding and keeping the same quality consistent is not easy, but I think the Singapore branch is holding up fairly well.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Chef Domenico di Clemente Shares Recipe for Warm Chocolate Tart with Coffee Zabaglione

Earlier this year at the Regent Singapore, I got to attend a fun and enlightening workshop with two lovely chefs:

All the way from Florence, Italy, we had Chef Domenico Di Clemente (right) who is Executive Pastry at the stunningly gorgeous Four Seasons Hotel Firenze. Oh my, that hotel is now on my bucket list. It's so pretty. On my left is Regent Singapore's Executive Chef Simone Cerea.

Chef Domenico shared his recipe for Warm Chocolate Tart with Coffee Zabaglione. It's a super chocolately treat you can make at home. Even the tart pastry is chocolate based.

The recipe and full story on Yahoo Makanation:


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Platters Bistro Presents Buko Nero's Oscar and Tracy Pasinato as Guest Chef Edition No.4

Platters Bistro and Wine Bar presents Oscar and Tracy Pasinato from Buko Nero as the stars for their fourth guest chef edition which runs til end June.

Platters basically advocates "social dining" and serves up tasty treats for sharing on wooden platters. Some things are better shared indeed. Every three to four months, they invite a guest chef to interpret his or her cuisine on the signature wooden boards. Note that the chefs are not there personally to cook; they help conceptualise the special menu and .

The highly acclaimed Buko Nero run by the husband and wife team continues to see a waiting list of three weeks. Oscar is the chef and Tracy oversees the service. I have yet to get a reservation myself.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Okinawa: A New Tour Concept Studying Longevity

Hello folks, I am in Okinawa again!

They are developing a new tour concept to showcase the island’s secret of living healthy and maintain an active life well into 90s and possibly 100s. I hope to be able to show some of that when I get back.

On my previous trip, we also got to see some of their lifestyle, diet and outlook that help to contribute to happy and long lives.

I wrote a piece then for Yahoo Makanation.

Food plays a big part, but so does their attitude. "Nan kuru nai sa" (難来る無いさ) literally meaning "hardship won't come" or everything will be all right.

You can also see all my earlier Okinawa posts - Churaumi Aquarium, Cape Manzamo, JAL Naha (incredible food) and an intro.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mystic Point: Hong Kong Disneyland's Newest Attraction

Behold! Hong Kong Disneyland's latest attraction! See the unusual and exotic looking Mystic Manor behind us? It's part of this new zone called Mystic Point which officially opened May 17, 2013. This area is located just beyond Grizzly Gulch.


Friday, June 14, 2013

Dining at Hong Kong Disneyland - Disney Dim Sum, Character Dining (Breakfast with Mickey and Gang)

There are plenty of dining establishments at the Hong Kong Disneyland Park. But the one most people would look forward to might be the Crystal Lotus restaurant which features the signature Disney dim sum.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel and Disney's Hollywood Hotel

Julia and I stayed at the Disney's Hollywood Hotel, one of the two available within Hong Kong Disneyland. The Hollywood one is decked out in art deco splendour, with Disney accents throughout.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Hong Kong Disneyland Park Attractions

Is anyone ever too old for Disneyland? Well, there's a difference between staying young at heart and never growing up, but we should never outgrow childlike wonder and joy. I'm still hoping that someday I can visit the the parks in the United States. Maybe I'll bring Nadine and Jolie. When they are tall enough for all the rides, that is. They would so have a ball.


Cheap and Good Food at NUS Campus

Look at this plate of pork rib noodles with five chunky pieces of juicy braised rib atop QQ noodles in delicious soy gravy. Can you believe this is only S$2? In today's climate of rising prices, this kind of price is unheard of. A drink at a food court can sometimes cost more.

Of course, this is subsidised food: one of the cheap and tasty choices at the National University of Singapore (NUS) campus canteens. But they are open to the public.

My story in Makanation covers four more stalls:

I really shouldn't be making the queues any longer, but these are just too amazing not to share.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

American Express Launches Ascend Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

How many of you out there are Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer members?

If you are one, here's a way to earn more miles and enjoy more benefits. American Express and Singapore Airlines (SIA) have introduced a co-branded card nicely called Ascend.

Apply online now and enjoy:

* First Year Fee Waiver
* DOUBLE KrisFlyer miles on all eligible purchases made in the first 3 months, up to a cap of 10,000 bonus miles
* Welcome bonus of 5,000 KrisFlyer miles upon first transaction (for those not holding other existing Amex-SIA credit cards)

The card will let you enjoy complimentary access four times each year to participating SATS Premier Lounges in Singapore as well as all Plaza Premium Lounges around the world. This privilege is transferable, so this means you can enable up to three family members and friends per year to these lounges too.

You also get a complimentary night’s stay per year in any of the over 80 participating Millennium Hotels and Resorts properties worldwide.

Check out all the card details and benefits here. There's also a Facebook promo for a Dream Journey worth up to S$15,000 if you sign up for the card. Just choose where you want to go.

The card is very elegant and understated, with a hint of the signature batik pattern that graces the kebaya uniforms of the SIA crew.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

World Street Food Congress Jamboree - Some of the 37 Dishes to Check Out!

Have you gone yet to the World Street Food Congress Jamboree with its 37 specially chosen street food masters from around the world? Save yourself a trip to as many as ten different countries to try their signature street food, because the world has traveled to you!

Here's my write-up on some of the dishes that I really liked at this street food festival.

My top three favourites - Noma owner Claus Meyer's Porc sandwich with juicy pork, crispy crackling, apple slices, gherkins, creamy yoghurt-cider-mayo on organic bread; the Hoy Tord (crispy griddle-fried seafood-egg pancake much like or luak), and the shisamo sambal that comes with Pisang Roa. But even the closer regional fare like Penang rojak is amazingly good.

What I do notice is that different people had totally different reactions to the same dish, so just go and try for yourself something even if someone didn't like it. Or temper your reactions if someone raved about something.

It's a great outing for a group of foodie friends - go with more people to try more food! The ones you like, you can go back and have more helpings of! There's indoor seating and lots of space. Paper tissues are available at the drinks/beverages tents, which can also make you your favourite local coffee/tea in addition to providing soft drinks and beer.

From now til Friday Update (waiver extended to the whole weekend!): Just tell them you are "Patricia's guest" and get the S$8 entry fee waived! Also students get S$10 off the entry ticket pass, and senior citizens automatically get in free. Just bring respective IDs.

Enjoy! There are also music concerts at night. It looks a lot more festive in the evenings too. The F1 Paddock and Building is right by the Singapore Flyer.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Are Our Hawkers Michelin-Worthy Heroes?

HungryGoWhere just published a feature, "Are Singapore hawkers not Michelin-worthy?"

Sure the Michelin stars are extremely prestigious awards and often focus on high-end fine-dining. But should hawkers be sidelined simply because they prepare delicious everyday food on the cheap? Well, that mould kinda got broken when Tim Ho Wan, the famous hole-in-the-wall dim sum eatery in Hong Kong (now a chain though), won a star.

The Michelin guide being related to the Michelin car tyre manufacturer, was originally meant to encourage travel. It susses out good food and ranks their excellence according to how worthy of traveling effort. Please also note that Michelin stars are awarded to establishments/restaurants, not chefs per se.

- One star: "A very good restaurant in its category"
- Two stars: "Excellent cooking, worth a detour"
- Three stars: "Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey"

Given that we happily scour the island for the best eats, and some of these eateries are certainly worth a special journey, would these hawkers not be worthy of a Michelin mention or two?

It's interesting to see the debate that this has sparked. Because some of my friends fervently believe Michelin stars should only be for very special food executed by highly skilled chefs, not to a run-down joint with someone dishing out a quick stirfry.

But who is to say that that quick dish is not as satisfying as a gourmet meal? Maybe it takes even more skill to prepare some hawker food than restaurant food? From ingredient knowledge, preparation diligence, and wok control and cooking techniques, serving up a hawker dish may look easy but is not something that's easily mastered. Some hawkers have honed their skills for decades.

I'm not dissing the skills of those amazing chefs in highly established restaurants. But it would be interesting to see if a chef from a Michelin starred restaurant can learn and execute a hawker dish just as well.

It's sad to see many excellent hawkers passing on without handing down their skills, knowledge and trade. I'm sure these businesses deserve accolades in a star category all their own, and might even help to shore up the interest from the new generation in upholding this precious but disappearing culinary legacy.

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