29 December 2014

I Love Tai Mei

What can I say? I can't believe I have missed out on the best fried chicken in my life since 2009, the year which I love Tai Mei first opened.

That is like how many fried chicken I have missed. 

That is like how much income I love Tai Mei could have earned from me. 

Anyway what has passed is past. I can finally die in peace. This is now my permanent record of "to eats".

The menu items are named after famous Tai Mei (Tai Mei means Taiwanese girls). So far I have tried Selina and Hebe. Selina is BBQ chicken (photos 3 &4 above) and Hebe (photo 5) is the original crispy chicken. As for Ella, coming soon. 

Selina BBQ chicken takes a longer time of around 15 minutes to prepare. But it's worth the wait. The meat juices were retained, rendering the chicken to be moist, tender and flavorful. The crispy barbequed skin is topped with sesame seeds. And the portion is very huge. 

Hebe is original crispy chicken which is also awesome. Somehow, I love Tai Mei's chicken are tender, juicy and substantial. However, I prefer Selina more as it is more unique and juicy.

Ok sorry Hebe fans.. I will punish myself by stuffing myself with calories.... From tofu fries. Seaweed flavour. Cut into fries shape, the outside of the fried tofu was crispy, which became soft and fluffy when my teeth sunk into it. The seafood flavour complemented the tofu very well.

As for the drinks, I tried both green milk tea and honey lemon. The green milk tea is smooth not overly milky. Which is what I like because I don't really like milk. The honey lemon tea is refreshing and a great thirst quencher, especially for fried food. 

1) Bugis Street: 52 Queen street #ABFL-21 Singapore 188539
2) Bugis Junction: 200 Victoria Street #B1-K11A Singapore 188021

13 December 2014

Set Contemporary Cuisine

Set is a restaurant that offers set menus. At really cheap and affordable prices. $28.80 for 5-course set lunch and $38.80 for 6-course set dinner. I was invited to a tasting session for the 6-course dinner. 

There are 6 courses and each course has 4 to 5 choices to pick from. I was amazed at my ability to stuff all of the choices into my little tummy. #AchievementUnlocked.

Picking the right choice for each course was crucial. I have sacrificed myself to eat everything and hence let me share with you which would constitute a good choice. 

Chef Starter | Bacon mushroom with cheese which was creamy and contains nice cheese with bacon. It was a perfect match with the lightly toasted bread that was crispy on the edges.

Cold dish | From top: Huai san carpaccio, Smoked duck breast, Salmon garvlax, Tomato carpaccio 

Out of the five cold dishes available, the tomato carpaccio which was cheese cream on tomatoes was my most favourite. It's airy texture yet rich flavour was like from a spray can.

Side dish | Grilled oyster mushroom that came with teriyaki and mayo sauce, and accompanied by truffle foam. There is no oyster. This is an oyster mushroom. Never a big fan of mushroom. So it was just ok for me. A bit rubbery but not tough. 

Soup | Left: Miso soup with sake, Right from top: Pumpkin soup with truffle oil, Double-boiled herbal chicken, Mushroom veloute with peanut butter

By now, I was wondering if my tummy would survive to see the main course.  Out of the four soups, my favourite was surprisingly the double boiled herbal soup. The herbal soup was intense and the flavour was full of herbs. It was hearty and warming to the stomach, helping to expand the stomach for further consumption of the main course. A close runner-up would be the pumpkin soup with truffle oil which was rich in flavour. 

Main course | From top: Roasted chicken pullet, Grilled snapper with salsa, Marinated rack of lamb, Roasted beef tenderloin, Baby pork back ribs

I'm not a red meat person but the roasted beef tenderloin scores for me. It uses the loin part which was fork tender with the right amount of fats. Second favourite would be the honey glazed baby pork back ribs which I was looking forward to. However the meat was a bit too soft and tender for my liking. 

Desserts | From top: Coconut cake, Poached pear with gelato, Pistachio panna cotta, Huai San jello, Espresso creme brulee.

You might hate me if I tell you I love all five desserts! Hmmm this would be a tough choice but I would go for either the Huai San jello and espresso creme brûlée. If you like something light, refreshing and healthy, go for the Huai San jello. The espresso creme brûlée was strong coffee flavored and topped with a crackle-thin crust of caramelized sugar. 

Overall | Great place for those with a tight budget but unlimited budget for stomach space. Dishes are hit and miss.. So make the right choice. 

Address: 1 Selegie Road, POMO #02-01 Singapore 18830

Telephone: 6337 7644

Website: http://www.set-sg.com

Thanks to Petrina and Lay Peng for the invite.

6 December 2014

Kotsujiru Nabe & Dessert Station

Everytime when I passed by this open concept restaurant in Bugis Junction basement, the kaypoh side of me will stretch my kaypoh neck to see what the diners are eating. The food looked good.. Gyozas in soup. So one fine day, my friend and I decided to step in.

I love restaurants that use electronic ordering system. Super efficient and less errors. 

I don't like restaurants that charges for water. Tap water is drinkable. And Kotsujiru's water at $0.30 is non refillable. 

Kotsujiru Nabe's specialty is its mochi like gyoza. There are 4 different soups that you can choose from: Original, Miso, Miso Kimuchi, Tom Yam. I got the tom yam soup + pork ($20.80). The thinly sliced pork that were delicious and flavourful. The soup was really spicy and sour. My friend got the original soup with pork ($18.80).

The only thing that the gyoza is different from the usual Chinese soup dumpling is the Mochi-like skin. The skin is thicker and has a snowy texture that is chewy like mochi. Other than that, the meat is similar to those in Chinese dumplings.

The set comes with meat balls which we loved it to the max. Glazed with caramelized sweet soya sauce, they were really crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Hmmm overall I find it quite expensive for the quality of food which I think is slightly above average. I think it's overpriced. 

Address: Bugis Junction B1-21/22
Telephone: 63380343

Dessert Station @ Albert Market

The feast continued with Part 2 which is dessert from our favourite dessert station in Albert Street Market Centre. They have a killer Cheng Tng which has a generous amount of longan, dates, sago, barley, ginkgo, white fungus and a lot of other ingredients in soup that is light and yet well balanced with sweetness.

My friend loves the sesame paste which was thick and awesome too. Desserts are around $1.30. Cheap and good :) We love Chinese desserts and I highly recommend this one at Albert Market!

Address: Albert Centre Market & Food Centre, 270 Queen Street, #01-41, Bugis

20 November 2014

Mr and Mrs Mohgan's super crispy roti prata

Roti prata - my most favourite form of breakfast. And Mr Mohgan served one of the best I have ever eaten. 

Located in a Joo Chiat coffee shop called Poh Ho that looks pretty old, one feels like time has stopped here. 

I ordered two plain prata ($0.90 each). I love my prata to be plain because it is healthier. Healthier than those with fancy stuff like cheese.

As per the name of the shop, the prata is indeed crispy but it is not super crispy. But I love love love the way it is. And it is slightly charred on the outside and soft on the inside. And that gentle crackling sound when it is cut. Perfect when eating with the accompanying spicy curry. 

I also like that it is not dripping with oil. I also like that it is easy to cut the prata with the spoon. I've eaten prata which is so hard that it is difficult to tear the prata with the spoon. 

I caught the owner Mr Mohgan smoking when not working. The stall name is Mr and Mrs Mohgan. But that day I didn't see Mrs Mohgan. Mr Mohgan said she was washing plates at the back. Haiz so old still need wash plates themselves.

I asked Mr Mohgan how did he make his prata so crispy.. He refused to say. I told him that his prata was very nice. He smiled.

What can I say.. This is simple food that is done to perfection. Strongly recommended if you are in the east. 

Address: 7 Crane Road 

16 November 2014

Cambodia | Siem reap's other non-temple adventures (part 3 of 3)

This is the last part of my Cambodia trip which documents my adventures in the non temple region of Siem Reap.

Pub street & night market

Siem Reap has lots to offer apart from the famous Angkor Wat. When in Siem Reap, must go to Pub Street.  It's also the most happening place in Siem Reap any night. Pop English songs played loudly in the bars that lined up the street. Tuk tuk drivers trying to get business. Beggars and disabled come here but they do not pester for donations. 

Pub Street is also an alcoholic's and smoker's dream come true. Cheap booze and cigars. You can get beer for as low as US$0.50.

Are we talking about the same cocktail?

Sorry mama.. I was thirsty. The water was $1.50 but the beer was $0.50.
So beer became our daily supper event before we go back hotel.

The night market nearby tests your bargaining skills. One tip is don't display too much interest. And bargain at 50% of the prices. Pretend to walk away. If you are in groups, you have more bargaining power and ask for more discounts if you are buying more than one item. But if the item is really cheap already, don't still gien beng. Let people earn some money lah. 

Open concept massage house are available if you don't mind noises from nearby restaurants and occasionally a whiff of the kitchen's oiliness. Fish spas are very common too but we were kind of grossed out by it. Our favourite massage place was Master Feet near Old Market. US$6 only for a shoulder+head+legs massage. And it was ultra good!

Cambodia cuisine

Cambodia cuisine is less spicy than Thai cuisine. Major ingredients include lemongrass, pepper, palm sugar, fish sauce.

One of the famous Cambodian dishes is the Lok Lak, which is usually sliced chicken/beef and stir-fried in soya sauce and black Kampot pepper. We had one at Khmer Family Restaurant which was near the temple area. It was so good.. the meat was well marinated with the spices and sauces.

And not forgetting amok! The Mekong river cuts through Cambodia and hence seafood forms a major part of Cambodian cuisine. The catfish is commonly used in amok and it is steamed cooked in curry, coconut milk to create a creamy, souffle like texture. The best version we had was at Romdeng in Phnom Penh. We got to eat another version at Khmer Kitchen in Siem reap, which was not as nice as it is more soupy.

Luckily the banana blossom salad and lok lak were not too bad. In fact, the banana blossom salad which was sweet and crunchy left an impression and I picked it as my dish during a cooking class which I attended subsequently. The whole meal was less than US$15.
Banana blossom salad

Cambodians loved their barbecues. We tried one at Cambodian BBQ. And they served shark and crocodile meat? Not sure if it's the real thing but the shark meat tasted like normal fish meat, and the crocodile meat tasted like chicken!

Dessert time was corn ice-cream
And I ordered their iced lemon tea. Everytime. Somehow Cambodia's version had the right ratio of sweetness to sourness, unlike the overly sour or overly sweet version I usually get. And every restaurant's lemon tea was awesome.

Old Market
The old market was frequented by both locals and foreigners for day to day goods. There was a wet market located in it. Our cooking class's teacher brought us to tour the wet market and purchase the ingredients we need for our cooking class.

Hmm not sure why must the chicken legs straightened this way?
An auntie selling pre-made sauces.

Different types of rice

Cooking class
We signed up for a cooking class at Le Tigre for US$14. It was one of the best decisions we made. After attending the cooking class, I appreciated Cambodian cuisine even more because each dish required so much effort and time to make. For example, a simple banana blossom salad had probably more than 20 ingredients. Just the sauce required at least 5 to 6 ingredients to be chopped and mixed up. And I believe most South East Asian cuisines require effort, time and dedication to cook. Totally falling in love with South East Asian cuisines, including Singapore.

Our teacher was really humorous and patient. But I don't understand why she keep saying, "It's Ok.. " to me when I was cooking? HAHA. And I loved how she tried not to waste food. For example, she taught us how to make garnishes from the extra carrots.

So many ingredients for a banana salad
The amok paste production process really burnt all my fats. I had to pound lemongrass, tumeric, finger root, shallots, garlic into a fine paste. Reminds me of Little Nyonya.

And presenting to you our masterpieces... Needless to say, every dish was awesome because it was made with lots of love and dedication!
Spring rolls
Fish amok - The other 2 Australians who did the class with us praised this version made by me!
Beef lok lak
Dessert was banana with coconut milk
This marks the end of our Cambodia trip. We took Jetstar back and arrived I think 0.5 hour ahead of schedule because it flew back earlier. I think because all the passengers boarded. I like how close Cambodia is to home. We were back in our sunny island in just 2 hours :)
The resort-like airport
Bye bye Cambodia!
Other parts of this trip:

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