Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Grain.com.sg: Healthy, Tasty, Singapore-wide Food Delivery Under 45 Mins


I've liked Grain.com.sg ever since its young but talented team started the venture four years ago to feed people better. Grain creates and delivers nutritious and well-balanced meal boxes. These are cooked by professional chefs and not only look amazing but taste good enough that you might find yourself wanting seconds or maybe the very same meal the next day. I like the the meals are well thought out and sophisticated enough to keep interest going. And they're certified halal!

I particularly appreciate the detailed nutritional breakdown you get with each meal box - calories and macro breakdowns - which are so essential for planning your daily intake.

They used to only serve the CBD (using technology and apps to swiftly deliver orders in 15 minutes) but now deliver islandwide within 45 minutes.



I got a sample of four different dishes, and they are all so beautifully packaged. Here are the official descriptions and my verdict.


Untitled
Roasted Thai Chicken with Sautéed Greens ($12.95)

This dish was so popular that it was brought back in 2018 with a healthy makeover. This Thai-inspired twist on a classic Sunday roast turns up the heat and delivers on flavour. Roasted chicken thigh is served on a bed of antioxidant-rich sweet potatoes and sweet purple potatoes. We've also added spinach to our version 2.0 – a powerhouse of nutrients. Still as tasty as ever, this dish is just what you need after party season.

VERDICT: This was my favourite of the lot! The richly marinated chicken yielded beautifully aromatic flavours and the sauteed greens were just crunchy and gorgeous. Pour on the dressing for an intense tangy effect.





Beef Brisket Rendang on Butterfly Pea Rice with coconut flakes and long bean achar ($12.95)

This striking dish takes inspiration from Nasi Kerabu, a North Malaysian specialty. Chunks of beef brisket are cooked low and slow in a thick velvety sauce with star anise, cinnamon, cardamom and turmeric. This is paired with fragrant basmati rice enriched with freekeh, a nutritious whole grain. The brilliant blue colour of the rice comes from the petals of the butterfly-pea flower. Achar, spicy Malaysian pickled vegetables, brings all the elements together with a perfect balance of spicy, sour and sweet flavours.

VERDICT: This is quite appetising eaten with the achar, and the rendang spice mix is not too overpowering (it didn't even need the rice). I found myself wishing there was more beef (I was sharing) but the portion was just nice for one actually. Do make sure you eat this within two hours as the rich coconut in this may spoil easily especially at room temperature.



Tofu-Powered Tabbouleh with aubergine, roasted pumpkin and bulgur ($9.50)

This plant-powered dish will put a spring in your step, even for meat-lovers. The meatiness of aubergine contrasts with creamy roasted pumpkin and nutty bulgur wheat, a hearty Middle Eastern grain. Silken tofu carries the Japanese flavours of soy and mirin, with a delicate citrus note. This dish is all about the interplay of textures and naturally vibrant ingredients.

VERDICT: This is vegan but oh so delicious! It's chilled and refreshing; the combination of ingredients just works. I also like how the soy-ponzu dressing ties everything together. This pack is also the lowest calorie one among the four I got. 



Pan‑seared Norwegian Salmon with citrus vinaigrette on pasta ($14.50)

This vibrantly hued dish is a real feast for the senses. Norwegian salmon is slow-cooked for a buttery texture and seared in a sizzling pan. A zesty citrus vinaigrette keeps things fresh along with crunchy edamame beans, cherry tomatoes and fusilli pasta. Super-satisfying and packed with omega-3 fatty acids, it’s as good for you as it looks.

VERDICT: What seems to be a simple salmon pasta is elevated by an unusual dressing. It's a little on the sweet side, but the fruity accent is interesting. The fish is fresh and cooked perfectly - not dry at all. 


Check out their easy-to-use app.

Use my code RF40460 

and we’ll both get $5 towards good eats!



Meanwhile, Grain is launching a subscription plan, Grain Up, that is currently in its pre-release phase. For a monthly fee, subscribers will enjoy unlimited free delivery and savings up to 25%, depending on which plan they choose. The Mid and Premium plans come with meal credits which can be used to purchase meal boxes, and any unused meal credits will be carried over to the next month. If you are interested, you may email the team at hello@grain.com.sg to register your interest.





Many thanks to Grain.com.sg for the meal boxes. Good luck with the new plan!
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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Morton's S$98 Sunday Lunch Menu Has New Dishes


Morton's has introduced new dishes to its Sunday lunch which it started two years ago. For S$98, you get a three course lunch of starter, main and dessert. From the mains, you can choose from the 8.5oz Filet Mignon above, served with asparagus and mash potato. New items include Short Rib Tacos and their Crab Cake BLT. A la carte options are still available.
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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Shermay Lee Peranakan Signatures at The Dining Room Buffet at The Sheraton



If you love indulging in a good Peranakan spread, you might like to check out The Dining Room and Shermay Lee's collaboration. This sixth generation Nyonya needs no introduction but she's probably most well-known for her award-winning cookbooks featuring recipes from her Peranakan grandmother.

Shermay has curated 20 heritage favourites for Sheraton Towers' The Dining Room x Shermay Lee's Kuehtessentially Peranakan showcase. It happens every on weekends in April (7 to 29). These are some of the dishes you can look forward to.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

March 21: World Down Syndrome Day

I couldn't resist sharing this photo. She's the cutest baby I've seen in a long time.

March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day. Folks are wearing #LotsOfSocks today, and indeed odd socks because chromosomes are shaped like socks and people with Down Syndrome have an extra one (three copies of the 21st chromosome).

As some of you may know, I am blessed with Nadine who has Down Syndrome and taught me so much about joy, tenacity, love and creativity. Yes, she tests my patience too, like any other kid, and is sometimes a little too good at problem-solving for her own good (getting to food hidden high up, opening doors and locks, designing wacky hairstyles, finding horror game videos on YouTube). She's also better than I ever will be at Minecraft and Goat Simulator.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

IZA at Siglap: Your Local Izakaya Bar


Siglap got its own edgy izakaya bar when IZA opened there last December. It's got some creative Japanese-inspired dishes married with local flavour as well as grilled skewers in its collaboration with TSB (The Skewer Bar).

You can even get a window seat to the grilling action. This was our favourite part - watching the food caramelising is totally ups the anticipation of the dishes to come.

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Friday, March 9, 2018

March 21: Goût de France (Good France) with Air France Celebrates French Food Worldwide


Ah, France...we have such romantic visions of the country, its people and its feted cuisine. Little wonder it is the world’s most visited country (nearly 89 million visitors in 2017) and a third of these tourists come for the outstanding culinary heritage.

But it's not merely the food itself that the French have elevated.

The French treasure dining so much that the act of enjoying a gourmet meal in good company – the French répas or gastronomic meal – is now protected as a UNESCO Cultural Heritage.

In the spirit of living to eat and drink, the French are celebrating the best of their cuisine globally with Goût de France or @good_france on 21 March, the first day of spring.

The Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and chef Alain Ducasse are organising this event involving 3,000 restaurants in over 150 countries all offering French menus on that day. French embassies and chefs will be collaborating for the world's largest dinner reception. Singapore has 10 restaurants participating:
  • Brasserie Gavroche
  • Entre-nous Creperie
  • Ginett Restaurant & Wine Bar
  • Le Bistrot du Sommelier
  • Mad About Sucre
  • Racines
  • Saint Pierre
  • Wine Connection Bistro Capital Square
  • Winestone
  • Xperience Restaurant
They will each offer a menu with an aperitif with finger food, a starter, one or two main course(s), a cheese platter and a dessert, accompanied by French wines and champagnes.

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Thursday, March 1, 2018

Fixing Four Common Living Room Mistakes

You guys may have seen that I'm selling my house. I'm really looking forward to doing up my next house, and have been reading up on interior decor and design.

This is a piece contributed by Masons Home Décor with some useful tips.

photo from Skitterphoto


Fixing Four Common Living Room Mistakes  


The living room is often the most lived-in room in the home. In Singapore, it is also the room that often suffers from common design mistakes with regard to the arrangement of your furniture.

Keep reading to identify the mistakes you may be making, why what you’re doing doesn’t work and how to make some effective changes. Most of these problems are fairly easy to fix, and a few tweaks can make all the difference.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Starbucks Sakura! Japanese Cherry Blossom Spring Merch


I am such a sucker for sakura designs. The ethereal Japanese cherry blossom is the symbol of transient life and appreciation of the moment.

Starbucks has just released drinkware in blooming pink with watercolour-like prints. They are so pretty.

Tumblers and bottles in the Petal Rain series, from left to right:
12oz: S$25.90
12oz: S$22.90
16oz: S$22.90
16oz: S$21.90


Photo courtesy of Starbucks
Blush
Left, 16oz: S$36.90
Right, 16oz: S$42.90



Photo courtesy of Starbucks
Blossom Rain
Both designs, 16oz: S$29.90 each
Pouch (comes with fabric marker): S$9.90




Photo courtesy of Starbucks
Tumbler 16oz: S$29.90


Photo courtesy of Starbucks
Green Tea Blossom Cake
Light, fluffy green tea sponge cake sitting between layers of luscious cherry blossom flavored cream. A sprinkle of dried rose petals completes the gorgeous cake.


Photo courtesy of Starbucks

NEW! Spring Season Blend (250gm, S$16.90)
Starbucks® has also introduced its Spring Season Blend celebrating a time of year marked by new beginnings and renewal. It's got dark cherry notes and a big syrupy body, also available in VIA and Origami formats.

This seasonal blend combines Ethiopian sun-dried beans with a striking flourish of dark cherry; aged Sumatra, loved for its syrupy body and cedary spice notes; juicy herbal and complex coffees from Papua New Guinea; and Colombian coffee, bright, balanced and nutty.

Also launching as part of the Starbucks® Single Origin Series is the Papua New Guinea Highlands roasty sweet with subtle spice and herbal complexity.

I never drink Starbucks coffee but the Spring Season Blend has me curious. If any of you like it, do let me know!




All photos courtesy of Starbucks
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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Andre Chiang: The Future after Restaurant Andre


This was a difficult post for me to write. Last week on the 14th of February 2018, we saw the last day of service of Restaurant Andre in Singapore. Andre Chiang and his wife Pam held a cosy family-style meal for a small group of media. My heart broke as I watched Pam sob uncontrollably on a friend's shoulder. This was not an easy decision for them on many fronts.




We huddled and watched a breathtakingly poignant movie (see above) on why he is leaving and what he wants to delve into next. It's an homage to the perfection he seeks and that the team has achieved; there are gorgeous scenes of Taiwan, his homeland; and how the end is a beginning. He's going back to his roots. When people ask him where he's from and what's over there, he's often at a loss for words. So he's going to explore and discover, share and educate.



Restaurant Andre last day family meal

We are undoubtedly sad at losing what many consider the best or most groundbreaking restaurant in Singapore. Andre is a culinary artist whose mastery of flavours has put us on the world map of fine-dining. But there's also lots more to look forward to. Asia on the whole will certainly benefit. In the media Q&A, Andre gave us some insight into the next 5-10 years.




He's spot on about food education in Asia. Those who want to be professional chefs usually have to seek formal training at culinary schools in the West. What about learning our own history and cuisines first?

Meanwhile, Andre will still have a presence in Singapore. While he will be spending half his time at RAW in Taipei, he will also focus on managing the seven (soon to be 10) concepts under his restaurant group. In Singapore, he has Bincho, Burnt Ends, Meatsmith and Restaurant Andre, which will be redeveloped into a new and never-before-seen fine-dining concept by end of the year. He also has one restaurant each in Paris, Taipei and Chengdu. Three more are coming up in Asia...to be revealed in due time.



Restaurant Andre last day family meal

How is he going to attain perfection while spreading himself over so many projects? His answer has piercing minimalist clarity. "What I does for each project is not to add more things to the cuisine, but to take out what is unnecessary. Just go straight to the DNA. That's really what I do."

"It's just like painters," he had said earlier. "It doesn't matter what you paint, as long as you understand colour. Ingredients are my colours. Doesn't matter if it's French or Chinese. I understand the chemicals between ingredients and formulas of taste."






"I like challenges; I like doing different things. I want to try completely different categories I've never tried before. Maybe beverages or pop-ups," he says. He doesn't mean bars or alcohol. They had developed 16 different fermented juices at Restaurant Andre. "Why not fermented juices? Why not tea? I think we can apply something from a chef's perspective. It could be cool."

As for RAW, which he has asked to be excluded from Michelin Guide consideration, he says it's a unique platform to showcase Taiwan's best.

"I have nothing more to prove. I want to keep it simple. I want people to just enjoy it. People say how can you open such a restaurant with such quality and setting and only sell US$60-70 a night for everything? It's not about how much money you make; it's a gift."


Chef @andrechiang_sg’s Taiwan beef noodles are mindblowingly phenomenal. If I have to go to Taipei to eat this again, I will! . . . . #andrechiang #restaurantandre #taiwanese #beefnoodles . . . . . #sgfood #sgfoodporn #igfood #sglife #exploresingapore #wh
Meanwhile, I am hoping his joke about doing pop-up street food stalls, "maybe selling beef noodles!" will actually come true. Seriously, his beef noodles are exactly my fantasy of how they should actually taste! All those "famous" places in Taiwan no matter how good, were always just short of wow. This version blows everything out of the water.

Perhaps with this new beginning, back in his homeland, Andre is finally completing his circle.



“What we call the beginning is often the end.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from.”
T. S. Elliot




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Monday, February 19, 2018

Delicious Hawker Food with DBS PayLah: Use my code CAMKTX907 to get $5



Isn't it nice to leave your bag/wallet behind and just bring your phone for lunch? I like this move towards a cashless society. I hardly even go to the ATM these days.

So when DBS invited us to try out their PayLah service at hawker stalls, I was more than on board. PayLah is convenient for paying people digitally without having to go through the whole hoopla of authorising payees via bank account numbers. All you need is a phone number. I've had Carousell buyers pay me using PayLah. For hawkers, all you need is to scan their QR code.

If you still haven't gotten the app, you can...

Use my code CAMKTX907 to get S$5

Disclosure: You get S$5; I get S$5 (but it's really a token, up to 10 referrals only).


Check out Lennard's and Diana's food trail challenge.



Fancy going on a similar but challenge-free food trail? Here are some hawker centres you can use PayLah at. The full list of hawkers is here.

  • Yishun Park Hawker Centre
  • Tanjong Pagar Plaza Food Centre
  • Zion Road Food Centre
  • 724 Ang Mo Kio Food Centre
  • ABC Food Centre
  • Beo Crescent Food Centre
  • Redhill Food Centre
  • Clementi 448 Food Centre
  • Maxwell Food Centre


These are the places I really enjoyed. Swipe to see more photos, and the process!


Alexandra Village #01-56: Shanghai La Mian Xiao Long Bao





Alexandra Village #01-27: Lye Bo





Amoy Street Food Centre #02-096: Mr Batang Fish @96

年年有鱼! 哈哈! If you’re back to work this Monday, keep the festive mood going with some fish in your lunch! Mr Batang @96 is open at Amoy Street Food Centre. Nice sweet broth with fresh fish slices, prawns and mince (Assorted seafood $4.50). Top up $1 for fried fish. The lady even gave me a “gold ingot” for good luck! Me? I gave her digital money, so she didn’t need to get hands dirty. . #DBSPayLah lets you go cashless at select hawker centres. 1. Scan the QR code (pic 2) 2. Key in amount 3. Confirm amount (pic 3) That’s it. Enjoy your food! . Don’t have PayLah? Use my code CAMKTX907 and get $5 in your wallet! . . #dbsbank #dbs #sglife #sgfood #sghawker #uncagestreetfood #mrbatang #amoystreet #delicious #fishsoup #fish #soup #foodies #burpple #hungrygowhere #shiok #love #cny2018 #hawkerfood #amoystreetfoodcentre #yummy #年年有余 #新年快乐
A post shared by Catherine Ling (@camemberu) on




I'll be adding more as I find delicious food at hawkers accepting PayLah.






Thanks to DBS for the invitation
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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Folklore's Peranakan Tok Panjang Buffet Feast for Chinese New Year

If you're looking for a Lunar New Year feast of a slightly different persuasion, take a look at Folklore's Tok Panjang - a sumptuous spread of up to 15 elaborate Peranakan heritage dishes prepared true to Chef Damian D'Silva’s grandmother’s recipes - running from 15 February to 2 March 2018.

Tok Panjang is traditionally a lavish feast laid out on a long table during special occasions at Peranakan households shared with family and friends. “Tok” is the Hokkien word for table, while “Panjang” is the Malay term for long. All this while, I had thought Tok was a grandfatherly term (Malay), and didn't realise it is such a true-blue Peranakan word blending Chinese and Malay words.

Of course, every Peranakan household will have their own rendition of Tok Panjang, usually showcasing more than 15 different dishes. For Chef Damian’s Peranakan maternal grandmother, her long table fare would easily be a proud display of up to 20 dishes, mostly her loved ones' favourites.


Chef Damian D'Silva
“Tok Panjang is to intimidate the guests when they enter into a Peranakan family’s home,” quipped Chef Damian. “At grandma’s, it was how she would present her heartfelt hospitality to her guests during Chinese New Year. Grandma prepared every single dish from scratch, at least two months in advance. I would help with the preparations, like pickling the achar and making the desserts during my month-long school holidays staying with her.”

Like all Chinese New Year reunion feasts, the dishes prepared for the Tok Panjang convey well-wishes for the new year. Seafood was considered a delicacy and served only during special occasions like weddings, anniversaries and lunar new year. Hence, dishes featuring seafood signified wealth and abundance for the new year. Another festive staple was the bamboo shoot, a seasonal produce harvested in early Spring denoting the beginning of Spring and representing good luck and prosperity. 顺顺利利!


Fish Maw Soup
Representing abundance 年年有余 is the hearty Fish Maw Soup, a rich broth using fish, pork and prawn stock, brimming with ingredients - pig stomach, intestines, fish maw stuffed with minced meat, fish and prawn balls, and sea cucumber. You can tell this has been brewed for many hours from the way the flavours of the items have been coaxed out.



Peranakan Prawn Salad
A Peranakan festive must-have, signifying wealth and luck, is the Peranakan Prawn Salad. The refreshing appetiser features poached prawns topped on a bed of fresh Chinese lettuce leaves, drizzled with chilli plum sauce and lime juice. Beware: this is rather spicy, but it really does perk your appetite up!



Soup Bakwan Kepiting
My favourite Peranakan soup is usually the Bakwan Kepiting or crab meat balls soup. Fresh crab meat is removed from the shell and mixed with minced pork, prawn and bamboo shoot and rolled into the shape of coins, then cooked in prawn and pork stock. But as good as this one was, I think the Fish Maw soup had the edge from a more complex broth.






Pie Tee
Pie Tee, the well-loved Peranakan starter, features crispy thin batter cups bearing meticulously hand-shredded turnip, carrot, bamboo shoot cooked in prawn and pork stock. Chef Damian's version is much more potent and flavourful from ingredients simmered in a highly reduced stock. You really just can't stop at one.



Otah
Otah - mackerel marinated in a richly aromatic spice mix with coconut milk, wrapped in banana leaf, and then steamed - is nothing short of glorious here. This and some fluffy rice is surefire heaven.



Babi Pongteh
Of the "mains", we liked the Babi Pongteh the best. This hearty braised pork is slow-cooked with fermented bean paste, bamboo shoot, dried mushrooms and dark sugarcane. It's just so comforting.




Itek Teem
The third soup is the Itek Teem – duck stewed with salted vegetables and a little spicy heat. Chef Damian insists on calling this Itek Teem instead of Itek Tim because Tim is somebody's name.



Ayam Buah Keluak
Ah, buah keluak, how more iconic is this as a Peranakan ingredient? It's an acquired taste for most, though. You either love it or you wonder what the fuss is about. I'm a fence-sitter but I do remember Chef Damian's buah keluak fried rice as being pretty moreish. Buah keluak lovers can look forward to limitless helpings of Ayam Buah Keluak and Sambal Buah Keluak here.

For the Ayam Buah Keluak, the pulp of the Buah Keluak nut is first extracted by hand, cooked with lard and salt, then individually filled back into the Keluak shells. The stuffed Keluak nuts are then slow-cooked with the chicken till the flavours unite.

The Sambal Buah Keluak, a popular classic at Folklore, is a rich and earthy dish of keluak meat cooked with sambal and minced pork.






Grandma's Curry Chicken
Grandma’s Chicken Curry is one of Chef Damian’s beloved dishes from his grandma’s repertoire. He particularly likes to pair this with black sauce and chilli padi. The curry chicken is cooked with a spice mix of shallots, dried chillies, ginger and homemade curry powder. Oddly enough, it tastes like a cross between typically smooth Chinese curry and a potently spiced Indian curry.


Sambal Belimbing
The Sambal Belimbling had us coming back repeatedly for more. This palate-cleansing stunner features belimbing (miniature starfruit) in sambal. The sharp tang of the fruit helps to cut through the richness of the other dishes.

Other Peranakan favourites include Ngoh Hiang, Peranakan Chap Chye, Garang Assam, and 4-Angled Bean Salad.


Kueh Kosui
Finish off with some Kueh Kosui, lauded by some as the best in Singapore. It's even better than I remember. There's also Chendol and an assortment of Peranakan Kuehs handmade by Chef Damian.



Folklore at Destination
Folklore Chinese New Year Tok Panjang is available for dinner from 15 February to 2 March 2018 from 6.00pm to 9.30pm daily, at $68++ per adult and $28++ per child (12 years old and below). Chinese New Year set lunches are served at $18.80++ per person.

The a la carte menu will not be available during this promotional period, but if you prefer to go light, you can opt for the lunch set menu.

Chinese New Year Set Lunch

15 Feb to 2 Mar 2018
$18.80++ per person

***
Soup of the day

Choice of a meat
Babi Pongteh
Grandma’s Chicken Curry
Ngoh Hiang

Choice of a seafood
Otah
Garang Assam
Peranakan Prawn Salad

Choice of a vegetable
Peranakan Chap Chye
4-Angled Bean Salad

Served with steamed rice

Dessert of the day
***


FOLKLORE
Destination Singapore Beach Road
700 Beach Road, Level 2
Singapore 199598

Tel: +65 6679-2900 / +65 9021-9700
Email: reserve@folklore.sg
Instagram: @folkloresg
Facebook: folkloresg

Opening hours
Monday–Sunday: Lunch: 12.00 pm – 2.30 pm (Last order 2.15 pm)
Dinner: 6.00 pm – 9.30 pm (Last order 9.15 pm)







Many thanks to Folklore for the invitation
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Monday, February 12, 2018

台北新馬辣經典火鍋 Taipei New Mala Premium Hotpot: Best Steamboat Buffet I've Had In A Long While

This has got to be the BEST value mala hotpot you can find in Taipei. Now, we all know the popular brand 馬辣火鍋 Mala Hotpot there, right? The all-you-can-eat hotpot with impossibly long queues?

Well, building on that success, they have in the past year opened a premium line of outlets called 新馬辣火鍋 Xin or New Mala Hotpot offering higher quality meats and seafood for just 10% more in price. Dinner is only NTD725 (about US$24.70 or S$32.80)! Just look at the feast!

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Sunday, February 4, 2018

Chinese New Year at Man Fu Yuan, InterContinental Singapore


Every year, the Chinese New Year dishes at Man Fu Yuan are a real treat we look forward to. They are especially well-known for good suckling pig, but this time, I found the Steamed Lobster with Chinese Wine and Egg White even more enjoyable. Chef's addition of crispy pork lard pieces were the perfect garnish.





You can scroll through the dishes here, but I'll also show you some highlights.



IMG_1005
The Treasures Yusheng with baby abalone, Hokkaido scallops, salmon is dressed with a sake goma sesame sauce which is a delightful Japanese touch.



IMG_1006
The soups here are always well-brewed and satisfying, and so too was this Double-boiled Chicken Soup, Fish Maw, Bamboo Pith, Matsutake Mushrooms. Every mouthful feels like a blessing.



IMG_1015
This year's Roasted Suckling Pig paired with Foie Gras, Daikon and a crepe. The meat seems more gamey than previous years' (almost like a Western-style roasted piglet) and the foie gras is probably a little too rich a partner, but the pickled or braised daikon makes a gorgeous foil.



IMG_1046
I am glad they serve dessert in whole coconuts here. I absolutely love scraping every last bit of the fresh coconut meat; it's rightfully a separate dessert on its own. The warm Double-boiled Hashima in Whole Coconut has many other ingredients in it that make it look appropriately festive.



Many thanks to Man Fu Yuan for the invitation.
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Saturday, February 3, 2018

Chinese New Year at Wan Hao, Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel

Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant at Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel is generally a reliable stalwart for Chinese cuisine. We tried the Chinese New Year (CNY) offerings, and they did not disappoint.

The Crispy Pork Trotter (above) is served with gorgeously coloured juliennes, and a rather unusual wolfberry sauce.




Their yusheng this year is an indulgent Lobster, Scallop, Salmon, Tuna and Caviar with Kumquat Sauce (S$298 for large). But some bitter pomelo came out a little too strongly in some of our servings.


Wan Hao CNY Pen Cai
Wan Hao's Imperial Pot of Prosperity Pen Cai (S$1088 for 10 pax)
This is a feast of Australian 3-head Abalone, Crispy Oyster, Braised Irish Duck, Whole Pig Trotter, Conpoy, Sea Cucumber, Fish Maw, Japanese Shiitake Mushroom, Iberico Meat Ball, Black Moss, Baby Chinese Cabbage, Mustard Greens, White Radish, and Beancurd Sheet.



IMG_0930
Deep-fried Cod Fish with Celery Sauce
The fish is fried to impeccable perfection and the intense sauce pairs well with the fatty fish.


Marriott Singapore Wan Hao CNY Dishes
Braised US Short Ribs in Japanese Light Soya Sauce
This was okay; tender beef infused well with a rich soy flavour.



Marriott Singapore Wan Hao CNY Dishes
Dessert is Chilled Lemongrass Jelly with Lemon Sorbet. It's light and refreshing, so you can't go far wrong with this.


What's really cute are their nian gao tarts - a creative way of making the sticky rice cake more alluring!

Check out their CNY page for more details!







Many thanks to Wan Hao for the invitation.
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Friday, February 2, 2018

Swissotel Merchant Court Singapore: Family Staycation


Swissotel Merchant Court Singapore introduced the "Family Fun" package last year which comprised two interconnecting rooms, special treats for kids, and guaranteed late checkout at 2pm. You could even have one of the rooms transformed into a Swissôtel Kids Room with special amenities.

The other highlight of staying here though is the Ellenborough Market Cafe (above) with its nice buffets.

Here's what the rooms looked like:

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Fast & Fresh Durian Delivery; Plus Durian Pengat Recipe!



Durian fans now have a hassle-free way of getting fresh durians delivered directly from the plantation to their doorstep. It's fast too. You can get your durians in two hours upon ordering.

Brand new venture DurianDelivery.com.sg has its own plantation in Malaysia, so it is able to ship them in fresh and control the quality. They carry the popular varieties like Mao Shan Wang, Red Prawn, and D24. The durians are no more than 6-12 hours old and are transported in air-conditioned vehicles. You can read more about their process (they seem quite dedicated!).



Most people would prefer to choose their own durians. But we also hear horror stories of dishonest durian sellers. So we sometimes aren't able to pick out the best ones at the stall. Then again, it is also a matter of trust when it comes to allowing an online vendor to pick out the best for you.

I'm no durian connoisseur. In fact, I'm one of the rare ones who sit on the fence - I neither love nor hate durians - so while I'll happily eat them, I don't crave them or go out of my way to get them. I also have family who abhor durian, so it's not something we bring home often. That makes me not terribly experienced at choosing durians. Go durian stall sure kena chop cialat cialat.

So if there is a reliable durian seller doing delivery, that's a bonus for me.

Jonah the founder sent me three packs to try.





Durian Delivery
Hand-Picked Royal Old Tree MSW Durian (TSW) S$32.90
Plucked from only the oldest, most premium trees, these look really ripe and have a beautiful aroma. The flavour is decidedly rich and complex, with a hint of bittersweet. This is probably my favourite of the lot.


Durian Delivery
Mao Shan Wang (MSW) S$29.90
The Musang King is one of the most popular. It's definitely bittersweet and heady. While it's rich, it somehow is just a notch below the TSW. This one was also a little softer and more squishy or "watery".


Durian Delivery
The XO D24 (S$21.90) is incredibly creamy with a strong alcohol-like aftertaste. Some say watery flesh is better for XO durians, as this means they would have had a longer fermentation time in the shell. If you love stiff drinks, that would be true. This was a little too strong for me and my kids didn't take to this one as well.



Durian Delivery
Each pack is 400g. According to the site, typical durians yield an average of only 230g-280g, depending on type, per kg.

This certainly was a lot of durian. I had enough leftover that I decided to whip up a durian pengat.

Durian Pengat Recipe

Here's what I used. It's so easy it's hardly a recipe. You also don't need to follow it closely as you should really adjust the ingredients depending on the durian type you use, and according to your taste preference (e.g. how sweet or creamy).

INGREDIENTS
  • Flesh from about two durians
  • One disc-like block of gula melaka (approximately 50g), shaved
  • 250ml coconut cream
  • Generous pinch of salt

METHOD
  1. Mix all ingredients together until well-blended. Adjust to taste.
  2. Chill and serve.

Durian Delivery

Damn shiok. I had a good tub of it lasting me a while in the fridge. I set aside some to see how long it would last and the durian still tasted good even after a week. But honestly, the bigger challenge is to not finish the whole thing in one go. So delicious, this thing is!





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