Category: Desserts

AmaSoy – How I Ended Up Helping to Create These Collagen Puddings

By , June 26, 2013

There is something about me and soy. I grew up drinking it, which is perhaps why people say “I am blessed with good skin”. That is really kind of strange for a guy to hear. Some people still call me the ‘Tau Hway Boy’ or ‘Tau Hway Blogger’ after a blogging incident last year.

And now, there is AmaSoy.

The story is very simple actually. Early this year I got to try AmaSoy when a friend recommended. I was as usual in my skeptical mood (huh, another one of those soy brands?) and became surprised at how smooth and slippery it tasted. It really tasted good, especially when chilled… BUT the truth was I have never heard of AmaSoy.

The founder told me that ‘Ama’ means ‘sweets’ in Japanese and also ‘grandmother’ in the Chinese dialect (Ah, a smart and catchy name.) After stumbling upon a delicious bowl of Tounyu soy pudding in Japan that also reminded of what she had with her grandma, she got a Japanese Chef to recreate that ultra-smooth texture and subtle taste after countless experiments.

So how did I come in?

I can’t remember exactly how and why, but made certain suggestions there and then (in my usual food blogger critique mode). “Since it is Japanese in flavour, why didn’t you have matcha, or even matcha with red bean?”

One thing led to another, and we ended up creating and brain-storming several flavours together. Like several.

I don’t say I am an expert in food, or cooking for that matter at all. All I knew was one simple rule. At the end of the day, the basis is simple – use only quality and fresh products, nothing artificial, nothing fake and the product will be good.

So we ended up sourcing matcha all the way from Kyoto Japan to create the matcha soy puddings, and used real mangoes with diced mango fruits to create what I would call “Mango-Mango”. I am sure you have your fair share of eating some desserts that tastes fake or cheap – I didn’t want that to happen.

The Strawberry flavour was the most interesting ‘discovery’. We created a version with strawberry fruits, another with a jam-like texture seen in your strawberry cheesecakes. Each version felt that there was something missing. Then we experimented with mixing the two up… and *tadah* a really special strawberry jam with strawberry fruit pudding.

And AmaSoy now comes with both Collagen and Omega3 (DHA), probably the first pudding in Singapore (and perhaps the world).

I am personally envious of older people who look so radiant with everlasting youth. So I casually asked this girl friend of mine her age and was totally shocked. Her actual age was 30+++ but she looked like she just graduated from Uni! “What’s your secret?!”

And she said… Collagen.

Turns out the boss of AmaSoy (who refuses to tell me her age, but I can make a wild guess from her years of experience) is also a fan of Collagen, and her skin is really supple and smooth, exactly like the Japanese tai-tais. No kidding.

So presenting the AmaSoy Collagen soy puddings, the final product created after months of trying with the team and trying hundreds and hundreds of versions. I am not exaggerating about the amount of effort we put in.

We also created a new Hokkaido soy milk series which is somewhat like your familiar soy milk drink, but added with a delicate silky texture of creamy Hokkaido milk. My personal favourite flavours? Azuki red bean and Matcha.

As with any food products, there will be compliments. there will be criticisms. I do hope that you can give it a try and tell me what you think. The price is pretty affordable at $2 ($2.50 with toppings) considering what quality ingredients go inside.

I am no food or marketing guru. I just tell myself that I have to believe – that if your product is good, it will take off.

AmaSoy
Clementi – Clementi Ave 3 Blk 442 #01-93
Great World City #B1-16/17 (inside Food Junction)
Orchard – Ion Orchard #B4-64 Orchard Turn
Serangoon – Serangoon NEX, 23 Serangoon Central #02-04/06
Jurong – Jurong Point 2 #03-42/47 (Soy Puddings only)
Tampines – Tampines One, 10 Tampines Central 1, #04-15 (Soy Puddings only)

Ladurée – Their Macarons Make The World Go Round

By , January 3, 2013

[Tokyo, Japan] The favourite past-time of Japanese ladies seem to be sitting down at a cafe, savouring a pretty tiny piece of cake after a tough day of shopping. One of the cakes places to be caught in is definitely Ladurée in Tokyo, which are available at Ginza Mitsukoshi and Shinjuku Lumine. Having pastries and tea here is ‘tai tai’ life at its best.

Think about it: Luxurious European furniture, macarons of every colours, cakes that are just too pretty to eat, packaging boxes that comes in pink, violet and beidge, with the touch of ribbons and their signature pastel green paper box. This is the place to be seen. And perhaps having silent conversations of handbags and flowers.

Yes. I also felt awkward to be the only guy in the entire store.

For fans in Singapore, if you still have not heard, Ladurée is coming to town. What’s the fuss you may wonder? They ARE the inventor of the double-decker macarons (one ‘O’ please), known to be one of the best macaron makers, and still sell more than 15,000 of them every day.

From Singapore’s hearty love for macarons sold anywhere from Antoinette, Au Chocolat, Obolo, TWG, Canelé, Jean-Philippe Darcis, and Jewels Artisan, you know we have a slight obsession with the dainty brightly coloured sweet things.

The Parisian luxury patisserie chain is reported to be located in town, close to its sister company PAUL Bakery at Orchard. Let me make a guess, Paragon? (Read: PAUL Bakery)

Full Post Ladurée – Their Macarons Make The World Go Round

Ladurée
Ginza Mitsukoshi 4-6-16 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-8212, Japan
Tel : +81 (0)3 3563 2120
Shinjuku Lumine 2, 1F, 3-38-2 Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0022, Tel : +81 (0)3 6380 5981

Other Tokyo Entries
Café & Meal Muji (Ginza, Tokyo)
Tsukiji Honten (Shibuya, Japan)
Menya Musashi (Shinjuku, Tokyo)
Mutekiya Ramen (Ikebukuro, Tokyo)
Tsukiji Fish Market (Tsukiji, Tokyo)

Au Chocolat – Don’t Miss This Sweet Treats Paradise at MBS

By , January 2, 2013

Au Chocolat is a delightful additional to Marina Bay Sands, with a part-pretty part-whimsical décor, and a huge 4,700 square feet space comprising bistro, confectionary, gelato counter and even a retail segment.

Located above the skating rink at MBS, you may have thought that Au Chocolat (pronounced o ∫okola) with all the chi chi tai tai dining ambience would have been opened by the French. No, it is actually opened by Singaporeans, by the same people who brought us Ku De Ta and Catalunya nevertheless.

There is a childlike charm at Au Chocolat. There is a little girl Danielle (created after the owner’s niece) who is the central character at the retail side, soft toys of two dogs OO and Yu Fa (also inspired by the owners’ pets) and a running train on the ceiling. You almost feel like a child walking into a big candy stall.

The bistro offers a delightful selection of all-day breakfast, salads, pastas, roasted meats, crepes and munchies.

Its Truffles Fries ($15), strips of crispy potatoes drizzled with white truffles oil, seasoned with truffle sea salt, and coming wrapped in a made-believe newspaper, is easily one of the best around. The New Paper’s Wee Teck confirmed this. The fragrance of the truffles is impeccable and you can almost do it without the mayonnaise and BBQ sauce served.

Who can deny that eggs benedict is THE IT brunch dish of the year? Au Chocolat’s version ($18) has its eggs almost perfectly poached, coming with hollandaise sauce infused with red wine and dark chocolate. Surprisingly, the chocolate sauce does not overpower the dish, and adds an interesting twist to the otherwise predictable flavour.

Full Post Au Chocolat – Don’t Miss This Sweet Treats Paradise at MBS

Au Chocolat MBS
Bay Level L1-03, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956 (Bayfront MRT) Tel: +65 6688 7227
Opening Hours: 10am – 12am Daily

Other MBS Entries
Caffe B (Marina Bay Sands)
The Moluccas Rooms (Marina Bay Sands)

Ice Cream Chefs – ‘Fry’ Your Ice Cream

By , October 23, 2008


520 East Coast Road  #01-06 Ocean Park Tel: 6446 6355

Imagine having your Ice Cream made in front of your very eyes. And you can choose whatever you want in it. No kidding.

The one thing unique to this ice cream place at East Coast is the Chef’s Rock. Otherwise known as an ice-plate, this freezing cold sheet of metal allows you to mix and match any combination of munchies into a personalised treat. And the ‘chef’ will ‘fry’ your ice cream right there before you.

The Ambience
Ice Cream Chefs was started by 2 partners who loved desserts and would travel hours just to satisfy their sweet tooth. While they were in the United States, they chanced upon a popular ice cream parlour with such concept and thought that it would be a great idea if Singapore had one.

This concept was then started in Singapore, but with an extension of having the ice cream home-made freshly everyday and catering to the local tastebuds.

The shop is cutesy violet and small, and almost always crowded. The walls are plastered with printed photos and you may spot some celebrities’ leaving their mark in the pictures. (Like Island Creamery)

The Ice Cream
First pick your favours such as Beanie Vanilla, Milo Peng and Mocha Madness, with the top 3 most popular flavours being Chocolate & Hersheys, Durian Decadence and Kaya Lotee.

Then choose your mix-ins, from the usual Oreos, Kit Kat, M&Ms, Koko Crunch and different type of nuts to be blended together. I hear that the maximum mix-ins they ever had was 8!  And it had to be served on a bowl since it was hugh and overflowing.

Customers have brought their own items for mix ins! Like potato chips (surprisingly nice!??), gourmet chocolates and truffles (from overseas). One even brought in French fries (What was the person thinking?) But the parlour generally ONLY allow dry food.

There was also once where they were catering to a group on the mobile
unit and they requested to mixing in some bee hoon noodles and rice that they were having. (!) Fear Factor yah?

The conservative me had a Mrs. Smith with Banana Nut Crunch. The result was a smooth creamy rich ice cream with sweet/sour apples and a great chomp as your teeth sinks in to the crunchy bits.

It’s better than the usual, say cookies and cream because the its fresh and the fillings still retain the bite. (Not lao4 hong1 yet)

The Verdict
I am a converted fan. 3.50*

Island Creamery – Chendol, Teh and Milo in your Ice Cream

By , September 29, 2008


10 Jalan Serene #01-03 Serene Centre

Somebody gave me two tubs of ice cream during my birthday – this friend certainly knew what BanBan craved for.

I still distinctly remember it said ‘Pineapple tart’ ice cream in a cute white little tub. It was a life changing experience. Crunchy butter bits with sweet strips of pineapple danced a waltz with vanilla ice cream, and this new year goodie never tasted the same again.

The Ambience
Island Creamery is located at Serene Centre, and constantly visited by young people (eh-em like me) and tertiary students, most coming from nearby my old school (Hwa Chong Ke Ma Ma!). There is so much positive and energetic vibes here, and I do aim to open a café like this one day.

The girls serving ice cream are usually cute and bubbly, but with an occasional bitchy one (could hear her complain and gossip constantly!).  You may spot the friendly looking owner Uncle Stanley right behind, who started this shop to provide quality local flavoured ice cream.

The Ice Cream
Chendol, Horlicks, Tiger Beer, Bandung, Burnt Caramel, Black Forest, Apple Crumble, Reverse-O and Cookies & Cream are some of the usual flavours. Many adults would throw their calorie-counter out of their windows (temporary), and get excited over so many favourite childhood dessert flavours.

I heart the Pulau Hitam. Somehow it never registered with me when it’s a hot piping dessert, but the cold creamy version was a familiar and sweet experience. Yummy.

Strangely, I never liked Nutella on my toast, but it being in an ice cream sent bursts of excitement if you want something to compliment your chocolate ice cream.

In my most recent visit, I had a Milo Ping Pong and Teh Tarik combination ($4 for 2 scoops) as I wanted to try how my two flavour drinks would taste frozen. Unfortunately, there were too many marshmallow in the Ping Pong ice cream (inspired by Lee Jia Wei is it?) and the Teh Tarik ice cream lacked a strong tea taste. So it felt neither-here-nor-there.

People come here from various reasons: to people watch, to study, to catch up with old friends or to look at pictures. And here’s one of mine I spotted on the wall taken two years ago! (Sigh. When we were still young…)

The Verdict
With such delicious ice cream, being here is almost always a happy experience. 3.5*

Corduroy Café – We are now Closed!

By , September 2, 2008


1 Harbourfront Walk #01-06 VivoCity Tel: 6376 9895

I hate to say ‘Good Bye’. It wasn’t too long ago that Corduroy Café announced proudly that ‘We are now Opened!’

I loved being here.

After a show, I would just sit at the corner on the large mahogany seats, drink hot chocolate, and watch the world go by.

Just imagine having a cake with your loved one or friends, amongst the European style furniture, chandeliers and old picture frames, chatting about the next holiday plans. In the evening, you can set your eyes on the sun going down not too far away at Sentosa. Beautiful.

It’s the quietness. To be away from the busy and frantic stress of the mall crowd just outside. But it’s also this quietness that took it away.

A place for romance, friends, chill-out music, delightful cakes and a simple time. Corduroy Café… Thank you for the memories.

Bird’s Nest Café – Singapore’s Very Own ‘Bird Nest’

By , August 26, 2008


#01-13, 160 Orchard Road, Orchard Point S(238842)

The Olympics had kicked off in Beijing’s ‘Bird Nest’ with a bang. While in Singapore we may not have the a ‘Bird Nest’, we do have a relatively unknown Bird’s Nest Café.

Finding this Bird’s Nest Café tucked at the back of Orchard Point’s OG is a rare discovery. It does not only serve the commonly known bird nest’s soup, but other fusion creations and even ‘zhi char’ as well. The location may be obscure, but it is probably targeted at tai-tais who still enjoy shopping at OG. 

Celebrities such as Fann Wong and hair stylist David Gan swear by bird’s nest for its beautifying properties. The high price tag is due to the risks involved in harvesting the nests from high caves. But this café imports them from “house nests” (i.e. farmed nests) from Indonesia, and thus the more affordable price. 

The Ambience
The café has a modern décor with full black tables and chairs, with man-made cave walls with fake wooden birds to simulate the surroundings. Yes, nice try. It has an open kitchen concept, and no big storage fridges to assure customers that their food is freshly made. 

The Food
For your staples, you can choose the Cod Fish Noodle with Bird’s Nest and Teriyaki Sauce, or 6 Head Abalone Noodle with Bird’s Nest. I personally find the noodles above average, but the bird’s nest is completely wasted in an already flavourful sauce.

Similarly, the dim sum and sushi (such as California Rolls) are indeed fresh, but the tiny strands of bird’s nest are insignificant in enhancing the taste. I highly suspect it is just a novelty thing. 

Thumbs up to the Flambé braised three-head Abalone with Bird Nest, with the abalone succulent and tender without the typical rubbery bite. Imagine hot sauce over a chunky abalone, with a tablespoon full of bird nest’s at the side. In fact, it is heavenly! (if you ignore the $68 price tag) This dish alone deserves a 5-star rating.

However, the bird nest is really quite tasteless for some of the food. Like shark’s fin, bird’s nest does not have much taste on its own, and needs the other ingredients to help bring out its essence.

The desserts such as Chilled Fresh Mango Pudding with Bird’s Nest, Double-boiled Bird’s Nest with Rock Sugar, Double-boiled Bird’s Nest with Pear and Snow Fungus and Double-boiled Almond Cream with Bird’s Nest in Papaya should be better options.

The café remains ‘affordable’ with an ‘all you can eat’ buffet for high tea at $18.80++, set lunch at $23.80++, and set dinner at $33.80++. Separate purchases for its abalone (free cooking included), American ginseng and dried bird’s nest are also available for those who want to please their mothers and in-laws. 

The Verdict
This café does has its appeal and perks, but is also evidence that an eatery must understand the product fully to best utilise it because even delicacies can go to waste. 3.25*

Sun with Moon Japanese Dining & Cafe – Cake in a Cage

By , August 25, 2008


#01-170/71/72, 6 Eu Tong Sen Street, The Central Singapore 059817

It’s amusing to see many ladies after their fill of main courses, still having much room for sweet treats. “There is another stomach for desserts. It’s a separate space.” exclaimed a female colleague. I believe.
 
Yes, not when your supposedly sinful treat arrives in a little bird cage, ready to escape right into the gastronomical pleasure of the owner.

Contemporary Japanese dining takes place at Sun with Moon Japanese Dining & Café. ‘Sun’ represents the main dishes, while ‘Moon’ appeals to the other and softer side – The desserts.

The Food

The delightful Tofu Cheese Cake ($5.50) is a must-order for many ladies. The homemade cheesecake with a crunchy biscuit bottom already scores in presentation ,as it comes cooped in a mini-cage with a paper crane within. If you don’t favour the cheesier American version, this light and petite one may just soften in your taste buds, sending the beancurd essence all around.

Here are my Top 3 favourites:

1. Matcha Tiramisu ($6.00)
Tiramisu means ‘pick me up’in Italian. I swear this piece right in front of me says the same. “Pick me up! Pick me Up!” If you have tried making a Tiramisu your own (like I did), you would have realized it’s extremely challenging to have up fixed. While the Matcha Tiramisu stands firmly up, the soft and delightful cream crumbles right in your mouth.

2. Goma Pudding ($5.50)
It could be my penchant for anything black sesame, but the Goma Pudding does achieve the taste to the right combination. Sprinkled with white sesame seeds on top, the black sesame is neither too sweet or bitter.

3. Matcha Ice Cream ($3.50)
Soft and milk green tea ice cream with azuki red bean paste on the side… Life’s pleasures can be a simple thing.

The Japanese desserts are not only delicious, but pieces of art. Imagine sharing with your loved one a stick of mochi, looking at the bumboats at Clarke Quay and listening to the waves of the Singapore River. Life is Good.

The Verdict
Desserts make the world go round. 4.0*
 

Xi Yang Yang Dessert 喜洋洋甜品 (Novena)

By , August 7, 2008


101 Thomson Road #B1-20 United Square Tel: 6255 6477

All these years, I have been in search for a ‘perfect’ hei-bai 黑白, the half-and-half dessert of almond and sesame paste. The best I have eaten was miles at Hong Kong’s Honeymoon Dessert.

Those I have tried locally either have the wrong proportion, or just dump the two together, even to the extent of mixing it already. Then, what’s the point?  (See negative demonstration.) 

踏破铁鞋无觅处,I finally found THE right one hidden at a little corner of Novena United Square. Looking like the yin yang symbol, somebody finally got it correct.

The Good To Know
Newly opened just months back, the owners wanted to develop the Hong Kong desserts niche in Singapore. I hear that the chefs are employed from Hui Lau Shan 许留山  and HoneyMoon in Hong Kong. ( Dessert King Hui Lau Shan ended its run in Singapore years back, possibly due to high rental cost and unsatisfactory location.)

The Food
The menu includes the signature dessert specialties such as Mango Sago Pomelo with Coconut Cream  & Mango Ice Cream 杨枝金捞($4.80) Durian & Black Glutinous Rice on Snow Sago ($5.50), Steam Egg Pudding with Ginger Juice ($3.00) and Almond Cream Harsma ($6.80).

The must-order is the Mango Sago with Pomelo 杨枝甘露 ($4.80), with generous portions of grapefruit, pomelo and sweet mangos which you can slowly savor. It’s how it tasted like when I had it in Hong Kong, and suddenly there was a great sense of satisfaction.

For light bites, you can try the Mango ($2.80) or Durian ($3.00) Pancake. With soft thin skin, white fluffy cream and delightful mangoes, the snack will melt in your mouth.  But two small pieces for the price of $3.00 may be considered steep to some.

The Glutinous Mango Balls ($3.00 for 3 pieces) felt like ‘odeh odeh’ with light coconut shavings  on the outside and cold mangos on the inside. Rather average for the price.

For a drink, the Mango Coconut Juice with Aloe Jelly ($3.80) comes in 3-layers of white, yellow and green. When mixed, slurping the smooth coconut and chewy jelly drink is an enjoyable experience.

The shop is not without its flaws. But with the right kind of pricing and marketing, it has potential to achieve great things. I have been there twice, and certainly will not be the last.

The Verdict
The familiar taste of HK. 3.5* 

Tong Shui Café (Zion Road)

By , August 1, 2008


54 Zion Road S(247779) Tel: 67376946

Shocking pink and lime green walls – if ‘clash’ is the word, then clashed it shall be. With interiors said to be inspired by the Shanghai-French experience, Tong Shui is all out to make that difference.

Raymond Khoo, Managing Director of Tong Shui says, “Whilst the recipes are all something that you can fix in your own kitchen, few would dream up the fun concoctions that we have”.

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