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:

12 November 2014

Crystal Jade Steamboat Kitchen

OK when the previous non-food post was out, I had friends who were like, "WTF??!!"

WTF means "Where's the food?" hor.

So I decided to do a food post before I do my Cambodia Part 3 of 3 post. Dedicated to the famished and starved.

When I think of Crystal Jade, I think of three words - reliable, good and affordable. The dining scene in Singapore is not some easy game. Hence, to not only survive but also thrive for such a long time, Crystal Jade must have got it right.

And not just get it right today, but also getting it right tomorrow by constantly changing its strategy to suit the changing trends.

So when an opportunity to revamp the Crystal Jade Kitchen at Plaza Singapura arose, the management transformed the outlet into a new hybrid concept restaurant - an all-you-can-eat 90 minute steamboat, and Cantonese delicacies and dim sum. Since steamboat is the trend now. A totally feasible feastible concept for me, the glutton.

I had the blessings to be invited to try out the best of both worlds of steamboat and kitchen.

Deep fried yam puff with minced meat ($4 per serving of 3 pieces)

This is as delicious as it looks. Deep fried with a delicate, golden, wispy covering, the yam paste and the minced meat were moist and savoury with a salty finish. Great appetizer.

Steamed pork & shrimp with crab roe dumpling ($4.20 per serving of 3 pieces)
Siew Mai was fresh and the meat was chewy. The shrimps they used were pretty huge. And I like that the skin doesn't stick to my teeth. If you know what I mean.

Steamed shrimp dumpling / Har Kau ($4.60 per serving of 3 pieces)
The shrimps used for their har kau were nice, big and fresh.

Pan-fried fish cake with radish ($4 per serving of 3 pieces)
This is unique to the Crystal Jade kitchen and hard to find in Singapore. It is made by stuffing minced fresh fish cake and radish between two layers of wonton skin, and then deep fried until crispy on the outside. It's like eating a fried har kau, but without the inconvenience of the skin flying all over the place. Yummy.. must try!

Roasted combination platter ($25.80 per serving)
Crystal Jade's roasted combination platter comprises of my favourite roast meats: Roast duck, Char Siew (honey barbequed pork), and Siew Yok (pork belly).

I personally find the char siew and siew yok to be average and I've had better ones. But the roast duck stole the limelight. The roast duck is a product of Crystal Jade's hard work and research. Based on their research, ducks which were grown up to 49 days have the best meat. Wah so sad, like the Korean drama 49 days. Can only live for 49 days.

Anyway, I have personally tested their hypothesis and am glad to report the meat is indeed very tender and had the perfect proportion of meat and fat. During the roasting process, the chef has to keep turning the duck and add on a sweet glaze that helps to caramelise the thin layer of skin for a crispy texture. Goes well with the plum sauce. Must try!

After eating the above, I was kinda full. But the never-say-die spirit in me persevered to continue the steamboat buffet. The steamboat buffet was truly value for money.

Induction cooker

Mix your own sauces!

There are six different soup bases to choose from: Pork's bone soup, tomato soup, curry soup, miso soup, superior soup, and spicy mala. Each steamboat pot comes with two compartments so you can choose more than 1 soup. So no need to fight with your friend.

We got to try the pork's bone soup and curry soup. The curry soup is not like our Singaporean curry soup. It's not the "knock you out" kind of spiciness. There's no coconut milk in it, unlike the Singaporean curry. Most of the rest preferred the pork's bone soup. I personally preferred the curry soup as it is more flavourful, and the maggi noodles soaked the flavours pretty well.

The above shows the meat paste. It tasted like minced meat but smoother in texture. Must try!

We also got fried fish skin and mushrooms, which can be eaten as such. However, we think it tasted better when dipped in the soup as they absorb the soup flavours very well.

QQ rice (above) is something that only Crystal Jade has. It is made of both Thai jasmine rice, and glutinous rice. Add some freshly made scallion oil and it turns into flavourful rice that has more than one texture.

The buffet comes with free flow of drinks (soft drinks, hot tea, coffee) and ice-cream.

Don't know why there is lever for the "vanilla" and "chocolate" at the ice-cream machine. Because obviously people will take the "mixed"? Hahaha..

But maybe not because the chocolate was not intense enough.

We were given a bottle of chilli oil as a gift. I forgot to ask if they sell chilli oil separately. Because it makes a perfect gift for friends/family who are abroad. I got this delivered to my friend who was on a London secondment. By passing to another colleague who happened to be flying there. Delivery time was not perfect, tracking service was nonexistent, but never mind since it's free delivery.

Overall, I think Crystal Jade Steamboat Kitchen is an awesome place to dine in. The pricing is right. The food is right. The location is right. Great for gatherings. Hmmm, really difficult to find a reason not to visit this outlet. Maybe that is Crystal Jade's strategy for surviving and thriving so long in the local food scene.

Thanks to Crystal Jade and Joh-Ju for the invited tasting!

Address: Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Road #02-32 s238839

Tel: 6336 2833
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