Category: travel

Of Phuket and Liquids!

By , March 8, 2011 3:50 pm

Who’s a big fan of Tom Yam Soups? *wave hands frantically in the air*

We were in Phuket last week for a coupla days and I tried to have Tom Yam Soup every lunch and dinner. In fact, I realised that the liquids were what satisfied me the most, of all the meals we had (which explains this post)….

It is hard to go wrong with Tom Yam Soup in Thailand but there are exceptions. (Just like chicken rice in Singapore – you’d think one can’t go wrong there but it can…. )

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I couldn’t find my way back to this little store that we stumbled upon on our first day, but it served the bestest Tom Yam Soup I had in the 4 days we spent in Phuket. It wasn’t very oily, and it wasn’t overly spicy (which may mistakenly be the benchmark for how good a Tom Yam soup is in Singapore). It had the fullness of all the different spices that makes a Tom Yam soup well, a Tom Yam Soup! I could just about taste every ingredient that went into the making of it – the galangal, lemongrass, lime leaves and tomatoes…. no expense was spared to make this soup flavorful. I loved it!!

Oh, this little store also served an incredibly memorable strawberry smoothie :

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Even the colour tells you it’s gonna be a rich and tasty strawberry smoothie, right?

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 The above was my second favourite Tom Yam soup in Phuket – it was a little coconuty and had a little chilli oil which made a big difference in the taste of the soup. It was really good too and I think being being generous with the ingredients was key….

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The above is the Tom Yam Talay – clear Tom Yam soup which can pack a punch but this one didn’t. I included it for reference/variety’s sake. I had two not so good Talays – so disappointing right?! For days when you just want something really spicy, Thai Express serves a clear Tom yam soup that burns a passage down your tummy =)

The rest of our eats in Phuket were mediocre. Yes, even the grilled lobsters and mantis shrimps(Dan says it’s like eating an alien hurhur). I blame our lack of homework on where to go but then again, me and Dan have always preferred to walk into shops with no expectations and our fingers crossed….

Oh and since we’re on the topic of liquids, let me also share this picture :

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You have to go island hopping to see waters this clear – we were at Khai Island(above), Maya Bay(where Leonardi di Caprio filmed The Beach), and Phi Phi island – they were the best body of liquid on the trip….!!  =)

Heart the Sweets in Perth

By , August 2, 2010 11:18 am

I know my blog says “Everybody loves a sweet ending”, but I suspect (almost)everybody loves a sweet beginning and sweet everything in between too! Just like our recent trip to Perth – generously interspersed with many sweet treats!

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Does coffee count? I like my my latte sweet =P And coffee somehow tastes better when it’s cold outside, with a simple muffin(or anything for that matter) to go along.

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And this simple muffin isn’t all that simple – it’s fluffy and light and the epitome of the perfect muffin.

crepesuzette1I have to say that it is worthy of all the praises I’ve heard sung about it! This soft crepe wrapped around nutella, bananas, strawberries and a scoop of vanilla ice cream is the absolute best I’ve had. It was the absolute messiest eat too but so worth it! JC

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A friend staying in Perth recommended this little cafe which has the honor of the best patisserie in town (the patrons there said the same when they spotted me taking pictures!). I think using only the freshest of ingredients and being generous with it gave this place its reputation. You can tell just by looking, that the strawberry tart is going to taste divine, can’t you? (it did) The custard in both the croissant and donut had just a hint of a alcohol in it, giving the simple custard an interesting twist. Soooo good. Oh and we learnt that the best way to eat the donut is to hold our breaths and bite down else the powdered sugar snows on everything. The jam donut was a winner too!! 

This same friend also showed me the best macaroons in town:

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This would give Canele and Bakerz zero business a run for their money if they came to town! But I doubt they will because this cafe is a small setup and obviously run by people who make them cos they love to. At AUD3 PER macaroon, it helped deter me from buying another hundred or so home. It also made me miss making macaroons.

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We couldn’t resist ordering the mille feuille cos it looked so yummy. Dan asked how it was pronounced and the lady said she has no idea. Calls it the milli filli hurhur. Anyhow, this has 3 layers of puff pastry, a butterscotch glaze,a hazelnutty pastry cream and I suspect a thousand calories. I finished everything. Holidays are great. (Thanks Ning!)

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And when in Perth, we always visit the Margaret River Chocolate Factory (this is the Swan Valley outlet) to have their hot chocolate. We’d swipe a handful of “For tasting” chocolate pastilles from the big bowls to give our hot chocolate more oomphf. Might have overdone it this time (it was awfully sweet =p)

Holidays are such a great excuse for pigging eating!

The sweet bits of my trip :)

By , November 8, 2009 2:16 pm

We had sooooooo many meals in Japan it wasn’t possible to document All the food. Take a kaiseki meal for example (a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner) with its 12 plus or minus exquisitely prepared dishes – we just wanted to enjoy the meal instead of take a picture everytime a little dish appeared.

Honestly, I thought the quality of Japanese food in Singapore comparable to that in Japan (maybe I didn’t go to the best eateries there). Of course the ambience in Japan takes the culinary experience to another level but if we just compare the food,  I really think Singapore is doing well 🙂

The sweets, on the other hand, are a totally different ball game. They do their pastries, cakes and breads uber well! Add to that their presentation and we are left smelling the smoke 😛 Here’re some of the sweet schtuffs we enjoyed :

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ShinOsaka train station had so many choices for food we were spoilt for choice when we arrived. This is a Beard Papa outlet – they had these pastry rings which are filled with fresh cold custard. Dan thinks it’s better than our version because the cream tasted richer and more flavorful, and the pastry lighter. He was thinking about it before we went to bed that night. It was that memorable.

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On the first night, we also tried these pastries from a chain called Choco Cro. Much like a chocolate croissant but with the chocolate inside. Maybe it was the quality of the chocolate, or the fact that we stepped in just as they popped these lovelies out of the oven, or that it was a cold night and hot pastries just taste great. Anyhow, It Was So Yummy. The pastry is uber light to the bite but not overly flaky, and the chocolate just the right level of sweet. *SIGH*

Littered around Japan, are Doutor Coffee outlets, much like the Starbucks/CBNTL here. Thank goodness for friends who know what’s good or I doubt I’d have gone in cos they look so modern and we were looking for authentic 😛 Their hotdogs are fantastic, as are their cakes :

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Honey flavored mille crepe : The first mille crepe I’ve had was at a house warming – Diya and Carrie bought them from JB. After tasting these, I think it’s hard to go wrong with mille crepes – they just taste really good. Let me share my mille crepe making experience in another post. We need some mille crepe outlets in Singapore!  

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Chestnut cake: The strips are chestnut flavoured cream piped across a soft chiffon cake. There was also some light whipped cream just underneath the surface. I typically wouldn’t try chestnut flavored anything cos I’m not a fan, but this is reeeally yummy. I could taste a tinge of chestnut and it’s difficult to describe how it came together pleasingly in my mouth.

In a shopping street called Teramachi in Kyoto, we tried Japanese crepes. Not just any ordinary crepe, but a matcha crepe! It was filled with cornflakes, soft vanilla ice cream and topped with mochi balls, strawberry and red bean. Love the combo!!! 😀

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Later in the night, after a gut busting beef shabu shabu buffet, we couldn’t resist the rows of prettily displayed ice creams :

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So we ordered this : It’s the ordinary sorta good (so spoilt aren’t we!) but check out the presentation!

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At an old post town called Tsumago-juku (we drove so this place isn’t typically on foreign tourist routes), we decided to try this matcha ice cream cos every student there(class excursion we think) had a cone in their hands. Best matcha ice cream I’ve ever had. My friends had the chestnut flavoured one and they said it was also really good 🙂

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Tampopo (the Japanese restaurant in Liang Court) serves some pretty good Japanese cakes. If you aren’t flying to konichiwa land anytime soon, you might wanna try a fix there 😀

Fresh sashimi in Nagoya.

By , October 31, 2009 8:19 pm

When in Japan, it’s almost a sin to not order sashimi so Dan did. Afterall, we’ve heard so much about the freshness of their sashimi.

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There’s no doubt that the fish is very fresh, but after my initial fascination, I felt really terrible for the fish. Much emphasis is placed on the humane killing of livestock for food and fishes shouldn’t be any different, right? There should be a sign with a warning on the menu… Interesting experience tho.

Will update on the rest of the trip when I’m rested from the trip hehe Hope you have/had a happy Halloween!!!

PS: Despite his bravado, Dan said he’d prefer his food unmoving in future thank you very much.

missed out 的东西!

By , March 10, 2009 12:43 pm

i think it’s a very singaporean trait to mix languages. i ought to stop doing that cos i’m beginning to sound like i can’t speak any language well.

that aside, i can’t believe i missed out on this outstanding meal we had at the wynn casino in macau. they served up the best peking duck and suckling pig (skin) with rice i’ve ever had – that it was reasonably priced for the standard of food made it even more delicious. if i don’t remember wrongly, it was 30SGD for half a duck (actually, i’m quite clueless about peking duck prices. it sounded reasonable to me…)

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my apologies for a blur pic. i usually try not to upload blur pics but this was the only one i had – i may be maligning dan, but i think he was rushing me to finish with the picture taking cos he wanted to tuck in. see how crispy thin the suckling pig skin is? it was uber yummy.

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the wraps came in bamboo containers which kept them soft, warm and chewy. the duck. oh the duck. *slurp i’m salivating thinking about it although i think i oughta be shot for still wanting more food after having had buffets the last two nights.

peking duck in macau rocks doubly!!! (cos roast duck in hk rocks. yar. quite lame.)

dinner 吃的东西!

By , March 5, 2009 12:04 pm

many people tell me that i mustn’t miss seafood in hongkong cos it’s very fresh. but isn’t that the case of any place that have their fishes/clams/lobsters swimming in a tank? how much fresher does it get?

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i liked the above meal for the simple reason that we didn’t over order, and that the dishes were all flavorful and yes, fresh. this restaurant is in kennedy town (hong kong island), very near the wharf – if you really get there, look for the tanks of seafood outside the shop. (i think i sound more informed?)

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back to meats. yung kee is supposed to be uber famous for their roast meats. it’s along lan kwai fong – ask around if you’re there. they’re so “big” they have their own lift within the restaurant.

i thought the meats tasted as good as the others i’ve had although the char siew does outrank any others i’ve tried before. the taste was Just Right. the texture was Just Right. hard to beat. dan was very impressed with their appetizer, the very soft century egg (last picture). i think century eggs are vile tasting and asked him what about it he liked. 

“don’t you think it’s amazing we can eat something like this and not get a tummyache?” 

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the above is a rather small stall we chanced upon at luei yan gai (women’s street), the ladies market. they had these newspaper clippings pasted outside so we decided to give it a try. there were only women working in there (might’ve been like a location theme. kidding.) and it looked like the food would be good cos.. how do i put this delicately?  ok, if they had a hygiene grading sign like in singapore, it would’ve been a C or D. you do know about the usually inverse relationship between hygiene ratings and taste of food right?

the shanghai dumpling soup had these flavorful juicy meat/veggies filled dumplings that satisfied with every bite; the beef brisket rice was very good cos the meat was oh so tender and tasty. the chicken wings were nothing to shout about; their signature noodles – a lump of dough goes into this machine that’s directly above a pot, and comes out as noodles, straight into the soup. quick and easy way to cook. pity i didn’t like the taste much cos the soup base was the ma la sorta spicy and i’m not a fan, cos the noodles felt like they were overcooked (or maybe it was intended to be that soft but i’m also not a fan) and cos it smelt funny.

that’s the end of my hongkong foodworthy report. there were many other pictures of roast meats (they all look the same after awhile), and also this half priced japanese restaurant that served very good sashimi (and we totally over ordered there). but we have good jap food here too. not at half price but let’s not rub our noses into our lackof shall we 🙂

tea time 吃的东西!

By , March 4, 2009 12:17 pm

disclaimer: this is a food travel entry. not a restaurant/cafe recommendation entry. (for those wondering why there are no addressses alongside the pics – i forgot to take them down)

tea time one of the days was at a pretty looking restaurant called ant (i have no idea where in hk this is).

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on the left is filo pastry with whipped cream and strawberries in between. simple combos sometimes work the best. on the right is bubur hitam with mango drowning in coconut cream. it was awwwright.

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on the left is beef steak which had too much sauce but the beef was super tender. on the right, is crispy soft chicken bone. i was surprised when it was actually crunchy soft chicken bone. i have no idea why i thought they misnamed it on the menu or why i expected to taste chicken tenders. suffices to say, that plate was mostly left uneaten.

another tea time another day, was along lan kwai fong. this cafe had pictures of goose and duck outside the shop (which is a fat lot of help given that many cafes have that. i just wanted to sound like i remember something about the cafe)

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dong leng mud – it’s one of my favourite drinks when in hk except that i just realised i am not sure what’s in there other than alot of lemon and something sweet. i like that hk cafes are very generous with their plump, juicy and fresh lemon slices.

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on the left is the supremely oily toast with peanut in between. since it’s already got so many calories, i decided to add alot of maple syrup to it. i dont understand that logic either. the phrase 一错再错 comes to mind (my translation: since it’s wrong already, let’s just go with it). and then there is this other bit i also didn’t understand – why i’d order yu dan fun, their version of low calorie fishball kway teow soup. a little like ordering diet coke with an upsized meal.

dan just wanted his meat :

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which he got of course. if it’s on their menu, it’ll be on our table. roast duck in hk rocks.

买东西!吃东西!

By , March 3, 2009 1:18 pm

i think this tag is one of the most successful ads run by the hong kong tourism board. it’s just so honest.

no prices for guessing that i was in hongkong last week and did just that. i shopped and i ate. all in excess of course because it’s a holiday! (my favourite excuse)

i diligently took pictures every mealtime to share here, but to put them all in one post would be a little excessive (to look at i mean). so here’s one of our meals.

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when in hong kong, do as the hongkongers – they yum char(drink tea) and have dim sum in the morning. before you think that ALL that food was consumed by just me and dan, it was actually me, dan and our brother in law. boys do eat alot more you know? (note to self : no one’s judging)

it tastes very much like dim sum in singapore, except that their xo sauce flour roll (second from top row) is very crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. the zhar leong(first on second row), which is fried you tiao wrapped in chee cheong fun, is very crispy on the inside and soft on the outside. the contrasting textures make these dishes especially good.

also their char siew bao (third from second row) is more salty than sweet and the outsides are extremely light and fluffy. like the tanjong rhu baos (i’m biased – that’s my favourite!).

other than that, i’m proud to report that i could have tasted the same dishes in singapore (maybe in two meals because i dont have the excuse of a holiday to binge).

oh oh i nearly forgot this dish that i left out in the montage cos it was so good it deserved its own 400pixels. 

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this is VERY good roast duck. the skin is crispy with a thin layer of fat underneath. the moment you sink your teeth into it, it’ll seem like you haven’t really tasted roast duck before. no i’m not kidding. hong kong does make superbly good roast meats. you’ll realise from the next few posts just how much we loved roast meats in hong kong. i’ll go make more montages now.

Dr Frog

By , November 5, 2008 3:47 pm

Dr Frog is unfortunately not in Singapore. It is a nice italian restaurant located next to a viewpoint between Lamai and Chaweng beach in Koh Samui. Uh huh – that’s where we disappeared to for a relaxing week 🙂

I know it’s odd to want to share about an italian restaurant in Koh Samui when I should be going on about authentic Thai food. However, the better Thai food we had was usually by candlelight, and candlelight provides such poor lighting for phototaking(altho it’s great for ambience). So here’re pretty pictures of the fantastic italian meal we had.

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duck spaghetti  – extremely tasty and the pasta had just the right texture. dan shared half of his meal with me cos i liked it so much 🙂

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safe (and boring) beef lasagne which was run of the mill sorta nice. and i shared half of my meal with dan cos i didn’t like it so much 😛

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the easiest way to tell if a restaurant can make good pizza, is if their margherita tastes good. and this tasted great. the pizza crust was done to perfection as was the proportion of cheese and tomato filling.

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the steak with blue cheese didn’t quite do it for me cos i thought the blue cheese tasted unrefined and the steak too aged. but dan polished it all off so i suppose he didn’t mind it.

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i’m not a fan of lemon tarts, especially hard and frozen ones cos i mind that it goes “thunk” when i hit it against the plate. the mister didn’t mind one bit.

in short, great pasta and pizza – which is what one usually goes for in an italian restaurant anyway, right?

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Oh and add to that a nice cocktail (mojito) with a cliff view – very relaxing if you don’t mind that you’ll probably be supremely stuffed if you had as much food as we did.

There’s great seafood in Koh Samui and if you’re feeling adventurous, you can go fishing like we did and make a dinner of the day’s catch too 🙂

getaways are great.

sacher torte

By , July 7, 2008 10:40 pm

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before i’m accused of lying by omission, i’ll first confess that i did not bake the above. I’ve seen the recipe for “Sacher Torte” in my favourite baking book, but have not tried it because it requires for me to separate 4 eggs and it just sounds like alot of work eggs.

when i was in vienna, our tour guide specifically pointed out a certain hotel sacher – the birthplace of sacher torte. i’m not quite sure what i got excited over (just recognising a name or maybe that i could make that), but insisted that we try it. y’know, just so i’ll know the difference between how it shd taste vs how mine will taste (when i make it).

its introduction reads very grandly : “The Original Sacher-Torte is not just a piece of culinary history, but also a major export product and an economic factor. More than 360,000 cakes are sold in Austria and abroad every year. The cakes are still produced by hand today, just like they were in the 19th century. The recipe of the the Original Sacher-Torte has remained a well kept secret of the Hotel Sacher to this day.” here’s more of its history.

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so understandably, after reading all the materials and reviews on it while waiting for the cake to arrive, we were quite ready to be wowed. the taste? most diplomatically – not to our tastes. our conclusion is that to build up expectations is a really dangerous thing.

i’m now half hearted about baking the sacher torte cake with the recipe i have at home. on one hand, i think that since i know how the original tastes (and am not a fan), maybe i should skip. on the other hand, they claim to have guarded the recipe safely, so maybe better copies were made. hurhur

we’ll see.

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