17 January 2016

The Snacks of Bangkok

So I went to Bangkok last month for a short holiday and before it becomes another one of my undocumented travels (like my Taiwan trip in Dec 2014), I thought I'll better write it down before I forget everything.

Basically I put away the weighing machine and turned on the feasting machine.  Of course I didn't eat all day. When I'm not eating, I'll be shopping for snacks to bring home. A list of my favourite snacks:

1. Cuttlefish snacks - blue, red, orange, in order of increasing spiciness (Big C)

My favourite is actually the blue one. Don't judge. Its level of spiciness is more acceptable by my taste buds. 

2. Mama Tom Yam Goong instant noodles (Big C)

This is supposedly one of the top ten instant noodles in the world. I find the taste a bit underwhelming despite using all the sauce and mix. Nevertheless, still not too bad compared to other brands I had.

3. Thai Milk Tea (Big C) 

Requires no introduction. It's way cheaper in Thailand.

4. Koh Kae Peanuts shrimp flavour (Big C)

Was trying to find the Tom yam flavour in Big C but can't find. So I got the shrimp flavour to try. The peanuts are crunchy and coated with thin layer of shrimp flavored mix. Quite palatable and addictive.

5. Pretz Tom Yam flavour (Big C)
Addictive mid day snack but some might find it overly seasoned. Might be bad for health but who cares..

6. 林真香 crispy thin pork biscuits

I call them paper pork because they are as thin as paper. The pork meat is pressed and baked into a crackly and light texture. 

7. 林真香 XO egg roll with pork floss - a must buy

Fragrant XO sauce fluffy pork floss is wrapped in a thin crackly egg roll. A simple snack that offers enjoyment in texture and taste.

8. Koh Kae Peanuts Tom Yum Flavour (Chatuchak Weekend Market) 

I was hunting this in Big C and every single convenience store. Lo and behold I found the Tom yum flavour at a Koh Kae speciality store in Chatuchak! Addictive and irresistible, I am amazed at the quality of the crunchy peanuts and how Tom Yum matches it so well.

9. Rice crackers crab curry and Tom Yam flavours (from airport)

These lightweight rice crackers surely made me feel less guilty even if they are crab curry and Tom Yum. 

The Clifford Pier

In the nineteenth century, it was a port that marked both the end and start of the journey of immigrants who sailed to seek new fortunes in Singapore. Fast forward to today, the port was revamped to become a classy dining destination called the Clifford Pier. 

With that provenance, local delicacies, naturally, take centre stage in the menu offered at the Clifford Pier. The menu is mainly made of $15 laksas, chicken rice and other local hawker fare which you could get for less than one third of the price in a real hawker centre. Which is also a reason why I have put on hold a visit to Clifford Pier for a long time. So this visit was made only due to a request by a friend whom I was supposed to treat.

Located on the ground floor of Fullerton Bay Hotel with high ceilings that gave the place its grandeur, the restaurant ambience was cosy and sophisticated without being intimidating. We were there on a weekday and most of the patrons were made up of the business crowd, tourists and occasionally the tai tai

Complimentary appetizing crackers helped to soothe the agony of waiting for our food to arrive. 

We took a two-course set lunch at $31 menu. Starters featured Kong Bak Bao, Satays, fried carrot cakes, rojak. We got the fried carrot cake which was surprisingly same same but different from the hawker centre version. The larger than usual carrot cake pieces were addictive and a burst of sweet and savory in every bite. I loved the full prawns that accompanied them. Give me this version anytime.

Instead of going for hawker cuisine for our mains, we got the lobster roll (+$15)  and the Porchetta (+$19). Ironically, a very Singaporean thing to do. Luckily the lobster roll did not disappoint. The lobster meat was tasty and succulent in delicious mayo that filled a well toasted brioche bun. 

As for the Porchetta, just skip it.

Service was very attentive without being intrusive. My friend accidentally watered a pot of hot water on me and the waiter dashed from nowhere to render assistance before I could recover from my shock. However, the same lightning speed cannot be said for the serving time. One bowl of Keropok is not enough to feed our impatience. 

Overall, we largely enjoyed our experience dining at the Clifford Pier.  It did certainly clear some of my bias of it being a touristy restaurant with the chi chi associated. I would say it's a decent place to bring a foreign friend to for some local food in a comfortable setting.

Address: 80 Collyer Quay, The Fullerton Bay Hotel, Singapore 049326

10 January 2016

I'm Kim Korean BBQ

It's only the 2nd weekend of 2016 and the new year resolutions to eat clean were broken. All thanks to Kim. Located at the School of The Arts (SOTA), this place is popular with a young crowd for its pocket-friendly BBQ buffet priced at $29 after gst and service charge. 

Arriving at I'm Kim without prior reservations meant a waiting time. Just by standing outside, I already smell like a piece of barbeque meat on the grill. A bottle of Febreeze Fabric Refresher was placed at the cashier counter but no amounts can alleviate the lingering scent.

The place is a huge dining hall with separate tables. The atmosphere is rowdy and sizzling to the point that I thought the owners could just switch off the Korean pop MTVs showing on the TV screens since we can't hear them anyway. It's airconditioned but there are also ceiling fans to blow the choking smoke from the grills to your face. One can only seek respite by heading to the buffet counters more often. The buffet is self-help style which means it is more advantegeous to be seated closer to the buffet counters. 

The variety is reasonable and there are beef, chicken, pork, seasoned or non-seasoned. After the first round of sample tasting of various meats, my target for the night was narrowed down to the garlic/spicy marinated chicken. The meat was tender and flavourful even if the cook was mediocre (aka me), unlike the pork collars which were tough and not so tasty. A range of cooked food such as Korean ginseng soups, rice cakes, complement the meats and act as appetizers while we were cooking the meat. We loved the sweet crunchy garlic-glazed "irresistible Korean chicken wings" which required some stalking of the kitchen staff in order to acquire as they always run out within seconds after each refill.

Enjoying a Korean BBQ requires mastering the art of cooking food before it's burnt. It's a great way for big groups to socialize. Bigbang was showing their dance moves in an MV. In an interesting comparison, a group of four middle-aged uncles, sitting next to the TV, were waiting for one of their "bros" to arrive before they start the BBQ. The bro code is abided even if the clock is ticking (the buffet has a time limit of 1.5 hours). This place has no age limit. The only limit is one's stomach's ability to eat all you can within 1.5 hours.

Address: 1 Zubir Said Drive Singapore 227968

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