Monday, August 31, 2015

Singapore Best Young Hawker Examples


Young hawkerpreneurs are truly an amazing breed - the passion and perseverance alone that keeps them going is admirable. I'm always on the lookout for young hawkers to showcase and encourage; they are truly our culinary rock stars, keeping our hawker heritage alive.

If you haven't visited them, check out the full list of Singapore's 10 Shining Young Hawkers in my Yahoo Makanation story.

https://sg.entertainment.yahoo.com/news/singapore-shining-10-young-hawkers-040848819.html

It's also on Makansutra:
http://www.makansutra.com/stories/2/1499/Singapore%E2%80%99sShining10YoungHawkers








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Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Carvery at Park Hotel Alexandra


The Carvery at Park Hotel Alexandra is a meat-lover's dream come true. It is a buffet restaurant staking its name on roast specialties. Unlimited servings of roasted meats - beef, pork, lamb and chicken - await you at the 3m long carving table right at the entrance.


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They will rotate the kinds of meats - you might get crispy pork knuckle, prime rib, ribeye and rotisserie chicken. The Australian prime rib is dry-aged inhouse. Dinner and weekends are when you will see more premium cuts.


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Yorkshire pudding waiting to be devoured with gravy.






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What makes the experience even more interesting is the array of condiments - various rock and sea salts, flavoured butters, piquant mustards and sauces.




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Oh yeah, go ahead, customise your platter like an artist's palette. The meats taste amazing with the different combinations. My favourite was the medium rare beef so juicy and tender.

Many people like the truffle butter  (ahem, if you want to keep your appetite, do not Google the alternative meaning of truffle butter) but I personally preferred the anchovy butter.



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The meats are accompanied by quite a variety of side dishes. Besides a DIY salad station decked out with all kinds of olive oils and balsamic vinegar, there is a daily changing fish (salmon, halibut, red snapper and sea bass), beef bourguignon, coq au vin, seafood bouillabaisse marinara, roast garlic and onions, a glorious mash potato, braised daikon, olive rice, lamb stew, French beans, fries, sausages and so forth. There's a small cheese and fruit selection too.




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So even if you don't take red meat, there's plenty of other options.

Wait, there's even more food. It so happens that it's not all meat that is good here. The Carvery is also a carb-lover's paradise!


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A wood-fired oven means beautifully baked pizzas and crusty breads. I had to stop myself from eating too much of these.



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Do not miss the thin crust pizzas. Look at the glorious crust and the melted cheese!



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They have a small selection of desserts, including this gorgeous bowl of trifle which is just lovely.




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The Carvery looks out to the pool area, so it's a pretty nice place to relax and enjoy the view.

The best part is - The Carvery is seriously good value with their prices.

BUFFET PRICES
Lunch: $38++ (daily)
Dinner: $52++ (Sun-Thu), $62++ (Fri-Sat) includes premium cuts and seafood on ice

The hotel is also right next to IKEA Alexandra, so I know where to go now, if I don't feel like cafeteria food after shopping there!


THE CARVERY
Park Hotel Alexandra
323 Alexandra Road
Level 7
Singapore 159972
Tel: +65 68288880
Opening Hours;
Daily: 12pm - 3pm, 6pm - 10pm



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Friday, August 28, 2015

Eat Drink Buy WA - See Perth and Margaret River with Chef Wan!


You guys know Perth is increasingly happening and Margaret River is a mini Mecca of great produce and food. Now Tourism Western Australia just launched an Eat Drink Buy WA campaign that features a whole suite of travel packages including foodie tours led by Malaysian culinary personality Chef Wan!



Chef Wan is such a high-spirited and natural comedian, so it's hard not to find him entertaining and adorable. When we met him at the residence of the H.E Philip Green, Australian High Commissioner to Singapore for the launch of the campaign, he instantly charmed us all. Oh how he regaled us with stories of his naughty childhood being punished in school for talking too much (hey, that's a valuable life skill, from the looks of it!). He also emphasised the importance of being diligent and having the pride in doing things right. Even as a waiter in his days studying in Australia, he was super dedicated and observant. That trait pays off, because people will notice and value you.



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Traipsing with Chef Wan
Chef Wan will be leading three foodie tours, infused with his wit and humorous banter, to Western Australia:
5D4N Perth and Swan Valley Gourmet Experience, 15-19 November
5D4N Margaret River Gourmet Escape, 19-23 November
5D4N Margaret River Foodie Experience, 22-26 November

The tours cover Margaret River attractions such as Farmers’ Market, Cheeky Monkey Brewery&Cidery, Olive Farm and Vasse Virgin Olive Oil and fruit picking at Wonky Windmill Farm & Eco Park in the Margaret River region as well as Swan Valley attractions such as Whistlers Confectionery, Mondo Nougat, The Cheese Barrel, Asparagus Master Class at Edgecombe Estate and Caversham Wildlife Park. Foodies will also get to visit the Lobster Shack and Pinnacles Desert in Cervantes and ride over the sand dunes in Lancelin. Package prices start from S$1,488 without taxes.




Gourmet Free & Easy Land Packages
Foodies who enjoy the freedom of driving around on their own can choose from these packages, which comprise accommodation, Hertz car rental and a Swan River Cruise:
5D4N Perth & Southwest Gourmet from S$668*
5D4N City Coast & Southwest Gourmet S$718*
*Land only without taxes, available until December 2015

Travel agent partners: Chan Brothers Travel, Dynasty Travel, Euro-Asia Holidays, Farmosa Holiday Tour, Flight Centre, Jetabout Holidays, Misa Travel, Pricebreaker, Scenic Travel and Sino America Tours

Lucky Draw
From 14 August to 13 September, customers making purchases at Oh Deli, The Wine Palate, The Moomba Shop, Cold Storage or Yahava Koffee Works ;or dine on WA inspired menus at The Pelican Seafood Bar & Grill or Bedrock Bar & Grill; or The Big Buffet at 1 Market by Chef Wan, stand a chance to win “A Gourmet Holiday in Western Australia.”

The prize includes a pair of air tickets to Perth with accommodation, tour and tickets to the Gourmet Village during the Margaret River Gourmet Escape – worth S$4,000. Four pairs will be given away together with other attractive prizes worth a total of S$17,000 in September 2015.

For more information, visit Bestperthdeals.com/Singapore. Terms and conditions apply.

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All photos (except Instagram one) courtesy of Tourism Western Australia. 



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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck and Kway Chap in Chinatown



I finally visited Melvin Chew to try his family stall's Duck Rice and Kway Chap Bento. Gosh, it is such a generous platter of all the goodies - tender braised duck, savoury duck rice rolled into balls, luscious kway chap, lean pork, pickles and Japanese-style runny yolk lava eggs. This bento is one of his innovations to engage the younger generation's interest.

For the portion, the S$8 bento is really good value. I think two people could easily share this, or maybe it will feed one very hungry army boy.

Melvin's family has been running Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck and Kway Chap at Chinatown Complex Food Centre for over 30 years. After taking over, Melvin introduced some new tweaks, like making the "lor" or braising gravy a little thicker and sweeter. Traditionally, they had kept to the Teochew way of making it thin.



Jin Ji Braised Duck and Kway Chap
The braising sauce is also used to make the kway chap, which I really enjoyed as well. The complex sauce features a secret mix of herbs and spices, and the flavours while complex are nicely balanced.


Jin Ji Braised Duck and Kway Chap
Melvin also came up with a "dry kway" which is quite nice. It took me a while getting used to it, but it's almost like a horfun with potent sauce. Great for those who don't like soupy stuff!



Jin Ji Braised Duck and Kway Chap
What is amazingly good there and not often mentioned is the tangy chili sauce that Melvin makes. It's a wonderful mix of garlic, belachan, dried shrimp, vinegar and chili that really perks up the both the duck rice and kway chap.


Jin Ji Braised Duck and Kway Chap
Melvin is one of the talents I featured in my Yahoo Makanation story on 10 of Singapore's shining young hawkers. It's always encouraging to see younger people continuing the hawker trade.

Look for his stall located at the breezy side of Chinatown Complex. The bento does very well as a takeaway too. Surprisingly, I liked the duck rice a lot more than I expected. The duck is extremely tender and beautifully braised, and the rice is so tasty with yam and dried shrimp mixed in. I usually never order duck rice but I shall be back for this.


JIN JI TEOCHEW BRAISED DUCK AND KWAY CHAP
Blk 335, Smith Street #02-156
Chinatown Complex
Singapore 005335
Opening Hours:
Mon-Thu: 10am - 7pm
Sat-Sun: 10am - 7pm
(Closed on Fri)
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Monday, August 24, 2015

The Most Satisfying Food in Singapore - Hell Yes, We Deserve It!


I was talking to a headhunter friend of mine the other day. He told me working hours in Singapore have become insanely long. The corporate world is worse today than some years back when I was last in it. Damn, I was already working until 10-11pm many nights back then.

According to one study, Singaporeans clock the longest hours in the world. On average, each worker spends more than 2,400 hours a year toiling - sounds like a cruel sentence! Yeah, well, I'm sure some of these hours are spent "eating snake", Facebook-ing and going for tea breaks, but being at work still takes up a lot of our time.

So, not surprisingly, many of us are completely drained by the end of the day.

There have been occasions when I have felt too punctured to actively seek out good meals, and settle for what's nearby and convenient. Inevitably though, I will regret the food that's not worth the calories.

So what I find useful is having a list of food and places to always fall back on, when your brain is too tired to think.

Here are 12 local dishes that always make me most satisfied, in random order. I like to chase them down with a refreshing ice-cold Coke zero® or Coke light®; it's easy, convenient, and has consistently good taste!  

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Capella Sunday Brunch: National Day Special


Sunday brunch at The Capella Singapore is always a luxurious treat. The Knolls offers a small but well-curated brunch buffet - it's clearly quality over quantity.




I love the meats here - the grilled items and charcuterie are so satisfying!


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There's also sashimi, sushi, cold seafood and of course oysters.


A photo posted by Catherine Ling (@camemberu) on


Oysters from Ireland, Canada, France, and the U.S., all freshly shucked and plump on the half shell.





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To help commemorate Singapore's 50th birthday, they have come up with some "fusion" creations - a spin on local favourites. Normally when we her fusion, we shirk away with doubt and skepticism. But some of these dishes actually work pretty well.

Witness "Chilled Mee Siam" using capellini in mee siam gravy; Maki Roll of Chicken Rice (this one actually works) and Chili Crab Kueh Pie Tee.

There's also Foie Gras Terrine in Rojak, Popiah with Crispy Roast Chicken, and freshly made light chiffon Durian Cake. The Roti John and Otah Bun drizzled with a sweetish cheese aren't really a hit but heck, there's lots of interesting bread rolls along with Beurre d'Isigny (just about the best butter ever; yes, I like it better than Echire).

This buffet will also feature barbecue satay like Pork Belly, Wagyu Beef, Chicken Wings, Chinese Sausage, and Seared Swordfish with Sambal Chili.


A photo posted by Catherine Ling (@camemberu) on

Kueh Pie Tee stuffed to the brim with Chilli Crab! Best way to eat chili crab - already shelled!



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I also liked the Oysters with local condiments and sauce - ginger, scallions, soy - much like what they do with bamboo and razor clams.



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There are a few local desserts too: a pandan creme brulee (right) and a most addictive banana sago gula melaka concoction topped with coconut cream, cookie bits and coconut flakes.


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To top it all off, they've also dedicated a cocktail, The Red Island, which symbolises our multifaceted, ethnically diverse nation. Drawing influences from the Chinese bingtanghulu, the cocktail comes with a skewer of blueberries coated with brown sugar. The pandan evokes memories of Malay cuisine and plantations. Gold dust represents the Indian community, and the red wine glass is a nod to the Eurasians.



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The Knolls will also be decked out with vintage photos. But honestly, the biggest attraction is kicking back with a great view of the pool and South China Sea, and enjoying the sun.


Details of the National Day Sunday Brunch (one day only)

Date: Sunday, 9 August 2015

Time: 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Venue: The Knolls Restaurant

$288++ per adult, includes free flowing vintage Taittinger Champagne, seasonal boutique wines, specialty cocktails, and international beers

$228++ per adult, includes free flowing Taittinger Champagne, wines, specialty cocktails, and international beers

$188++ per adult, includes free flowing soft beverages and fresh juices

$118++ per child ages 7 to 12 years, includes free flowing soft drinks and fresh juices

$78++ per child ages 4 to 6 years, includes free flowing soft drinks and fresh juices


THE KNOLLS
Capella Singapore
1 The Knolls
Sentosa
Singapore 098297



Many thanks to Capella Singapore for the preview of the brunch!

Photos taken using the Canon 7D Mark II kindly loaned by Canon Singapore





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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Keisuke Laksa Ramen for SG50


Laksa ramen: it's so good! Keisuke Takeda the Ramen King has concocted this beautifully intense bowl to celebrate Singapore's birthday and his Tonkotsu King outlet's anniversary in August.

Only 50 bowls a day will be prepared each day at the Suntec City outlet. Proceeds go to the Tanjong Pagar community and the underprivileged, as with previous years.

I had a sneak preview of this incredible laksa ramen when I went to review his Ginza Tendon Itsuki shop selling tempura-don. You can taste how much effort went into the spices alone. At only S$15, this is a steal. It's only going to be available for the month of August. I wish it could be a permanent item.

This is Keisuke's first local flavour ramen. He picked laksa because he likes it. I think he has done a fabulous job giving it his own interpretation. It is evident he loves strong flavours, and so do I, so this was perfect for my palate. Some people may find it a little too rich but for me, that's never a problem.

It does sort of remind you of curry noodles though. But in a good way.


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The laksa comes with additional "sambal" for you to tune up the chili heat, if preferred. You will also be served this crispy rice cake (somewhat like the crispy burnt rice at the bottom of claypots) for you to dunk into the laksa broth and enjoy.


KEISUKE TOKYO
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KeisukeTokyoSG
#02-391/392 Suntec City Mall,
3 Temasek Boulevard,
Singapore 038983
Tel: +65 6337-7919
Open Mon to Fri 11:30 - 15:00 / 17:00 - 22:00
Sat, Sun and Public Holiday 11:30 - 22:00






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