Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Steak, cheese and egg bagel, Mcdonald's, NYC

Yet another result of my jetlag; found myself up at about 6-ish looking for food. Chanced upon a Mcdonald's and true to the bagel culture in New York, they have them here as well. I went for the steak, cheese and egg bagel which included some grilled onions as well. This wasn't too bad really, albeit quite greasy and the bagel didn't really taste that fresh. I need to get over this jetlag soon.


Monday, July 30, 2007

47th Street Growers' Market, NYC

Whilst I was taking a walk down 2nd ave, I chanced upon this little congregation of growers selling their produce. It then dawned upon me that I was told of this grower's market before. Well, since I was here I decided to have a look around. I don't know which days exactly that they're open, but I was here on a Wednesday. It's July which is the season for berries. Although the blueberries did look very tempting, I get a better deal at my local supermarket haha.

I did pick up a punnet of white cherries though. I've only seen these once in Singapore and didn't buy any, so I was definitely going to try some that day. These tasted very similar to red and black cherries, maybe just very slightly a tad less tart. Then again, the novelty was quite fun.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Diner Breakfast, NYC

One thing funny (actually it's not funny, more like annoying) about jetlag is that you wake up at the oddest hours. So here I was laying in bed at 3am, by about 5am it was getting bright, so I ventured out for some grub. Not many places were open then (maybe it was a Sunday as well?) except for Dunkin Donuts which seems to be a 24hr joint here (and yes, there's no queue).

This little diner was just opening for the day and since I was rather famished at this point, I decided to hop in for a breakfast platter. Here's a standard breakfast platter with sausage, sloppy fried potatoes, scrambled eggs, buttered toast and a refreshing glass of orange juice. This wasn't too bad although it's still rather weird that I'm eating breakfast when my stomach was tuned in to dinner mode. If there's one thing I hate more than 18hour longhaul flights, it'll be jetlag.


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Coda (Goodbyes taste like 85% cocoa chocolate)

It's been almost a year since I started blogging about food and perhaps to a lesser extent, my travels as well, which pretty much focused on food anyway. It's quite a pleasant revelation, really, that I've surprised even myself with staying on this blogging thing for that long.

It's almost funny how this blog was started in Australia, based pretty much in Singapore but will not get to celebrate her first year's anniversary there. Well, Singapore did share her 100th post milestone, which till today is one of my favorite posts.

A new place beckons, with a totally new environment, people and of course foods to check out. I do not think that the question of whether I'll continue blogging or not needs to be asked.

I'm in this one for the long-run. Heck, I've known relationships to last even shorter than my blog haha!

I guess you can take the guy out of the blog but you can't take the blog out of the guy. Wait a minute, that sentence didn't really make much sense haha. Oh well, I'm rambling on again, but I was never one for waxing lyrical, rather preferring to write in prose; I write like how I'll speak.

I'm actually typing this rather belatedly for I've actually already left Singapore quite some time ago but I felt I needed to post the "Farewell" ones first for completeness' sake.

Anyway, here's the giveaway to where I'm based in now.

Stay tuned for more.



Friday, July 27, 2007

Kuriya - Farewell III

The third and last farewell meal in the series saw us back at Kuriya again. We decided to do the seasonal kaiseki this time round.

We started off with an additional order of seared duck breast with sorbet. An odd combination but I liked how the tangy and slightly sweet sorbet paired up with the savory duck flesh.

The appetizer course of grilled pike eel skin, wax myrtle, egg omelette, boiled squid with thin tofu and black sesame seed tofu was not bad. The best in this trio would probably be the grilled eel skin in my opinion, but I've always liked eel.

Then came the sashimi, seabream tasted the best this time round. Then again, this is coming from a non-sashimi fan.

The grilled item of sweet fish with Dengaku miso paste was pretty good, especially the fish, which I felt tasted better alone because the miso paste was slightly too sweet and thick for my liking.

I quite enjoyed this dish of eel on foie gras mousse with pumpkin sauce. The matching of the ingredients complemented each other very well.

As usual, Kuriya's nigiri sushi is always pretty satisfying.

I do apologize for not having any pictures (my battery died on me!) of the last two courses of soup and dessert but if you trust me, you may take my word for it that they were pretty good. Especially the mango flan which came with the dessert.


Tian Tian - Farewell II

We seemed to be hitting all the old favorites in this little farewell series. Here's the front of Tian Tian, which I don't see very often because I like to sit in the alley behind. There's something about eating in an alley which accentuates that whole feeling of "hardcore" dining haha.

We started with the usual staples such as the steamed bamboo clams with garlic.

Deep fried rock oysters.

The prawn paste chicken here is pretty good although my preferred choice is still Fatty Weng's.

This is the first time I'm trying their prawns fried with salted egg yolk and it's not too bad. It's abit different from the ones in Hong Kong due to the addition of the curry leaves and chili bits but that didn't bother me.

Salt and pepper spareribs, just some mammal to balance the meal.

I've always liked the fried rice here because the rice doesn't stick together and each individual grain has an intense smokey wok hei flavor. This came with scallops and huge ones they were.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Wo Jia Can Ting, Shanghai

As the name suggests, when you dine here, you're actually really dining in someone's home. This small joint tucked away from most of the public eye is a little gem in Shanghai which serves traditional Shanghainese fare.

We started off with some cold dishes; this is honey barbecued pork.

Pork cooked with Shaoxing wine.

When I read the menu, which described this as sugar tomatoes, I thought it was a variety of tomato as sweet as sugar. Turned out, it's a dish of tomatoes with sugar scattered on it! Needless to say, this was rather sweet.

The fresh water shrimp was sweet too but in a good way because they were so fresh, they exuberated this natural sweetness.

The salt and paper pork rib batter was slightly too heavy, but other than that, this was pretty ok.

Their noodles here are excellent. This is just a plain noodle with some oil and seasoning. A huge serve for less than 1sgd, this is large enough to feed three.

A nice change from the more commercialized eateries in Shanghai, do try to drop by if chance permits.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Steamed Buns, Shanghai

As mentioned earlier, wheat is the predominant carbohydrate staple in Shanghai. As such, little stands like these which serve steaming hot buns are popular all year round.

Here's a red bean bun which was surprisingly pretty good, the bread being soft and fluffy and the filling, not too sweet.


Mutton Skewers, Shanghai

These are the mutton skewers (akin to China satays) which I enjoy so much during Winter. Since I was here, I had to grab some for old time's sake.

The meat on the skewers is now removed into a little paper cup, so you don't get to eat off the skewer anymore. A spoonful of chili powder, pepper and we're ready to go.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Qing Quan Fang, Hangzhou

We stopped by at another place that seemed popular with the locals which was also conveniently on the way to the train station.

The cold chicken had a nice hearty bite but other than that didn't really have much flavor.

The Hangzhou specialty of braised belly pork in soy sauce and dark vinegar was pretty king. Stewed to tender perfection, this is something that definitely demands seconds. See the nice marbling of fat? That's right, you eat that too.

The vegetables tasted pretty fresh and the broth was quite tasty but this wasn't really anything out of the ordinary.

The final dish of shrimp fried with longjing tea leaves was a bit of letdown though. Considering this took 40 minutes to prepare and cost more than the other dishes combined, there wasn't really any longjing flavor in this, the scant dressing of tea leaves would make even a stripper look modest. Maybe we didn't order the right dishes but the only thing here which will be memorable was that pork belly, in fact I feel like some right now!


Chamber Rouge, Hangzhou

With the new high speed train, it takes only slightly over an hour to reach Hangzhou. Hangzhou is such a scenic place and a nice change from the busy Shanghai city. This used to be the place where the Emperor would take his concubines to on dates; it's that good. Besides being home to pearls, silk and longjing tea, Hangzhou also has some pretty tasty cuisine which is unique to herself.

This joint was recommended by locals and it was crowded with locals. I'm not sure how the translation ends up with "Chamber Rouge" but that didn't really affect the food.

Braised waxed duck is a specialty of Hangzhou. The duck is waxed and preserved first before braising. Although it may sound like it'll be really salty, it wasn't really. In fact this was pretty fragrant and tasty. A pity the duck became pretty scrawny after the whole cooking process and each mouthful had to compete with some pesky bones.

I forgot the name of this fish but it's another specialty of Hangzhou. The texture of the flesh is pretty tough, almost like chicken in fact, which may be a turn off for people who prefer soft flakey fish flesh but I'm ok with a little chew.

A deep-fried long spare rib is good to grace any table, any time. This rib is heavily seasoned in five spice and preserved bean curd which gave it a rather unique flavor.

The beef with green chilies were tender and succulent with the chilies adding more of a fragrance than any heat (in the spice sense), in fact these chilies weren't hot at all.

I'm not a fan of cabbage usually but I was pretty wowed with the stir-fried cabbage. It wasn't overly fried so it maintained a nice crunch and I think the slices of fatty pork belly and preserved clams helped enhanced her flavor.

We finished off the meal with another Hangzhou specialty dish. This is a pasta dish commonly known as "cat ears" because the pasta supposedly looks like cat ears? Cooked in a broth of pork and preserved vegetable, this is a good filler at the end of a meal or could even be a meal just by itself.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Train Snacks, Shanghai

Wow, I'm so glad there's a highspeed (averaging almost 90mph) train to Hangzhou now. Sure beats the old one which took abit too long to get there. Anyway, since I was rushing for the train, I didn't have time for a proper breakfast and hence decided to get some snacks on board. This is a pack of Glico Pretz pizza sticks. Nothing really different from the "Made in Japan" ones, salty and crunchy they were.

Having being always intrigued by these pre-packed sausages that I see some of the other commuters tucking into, I decided to give in to curiosity and picked one up.

Boy did curiosity kill this cat. This was pretty bad, it wasn't soft and mushy but neither did it taste meaty. I don't know how they bulked this up, it tasted like cardboard, then again, it could have been cardboard!


Xiao Yang Shen Jian Bao, Shanghai

Xiao Yang is pretty much an institution in Shanghai. These fried buns make a great snack at any time.

Come rain or shine, there's always a queue going on here but it helps that the cooking is run like an assembly line. As such, it'll take you only a few minutes of patience to get your share.

The constant queue ensures your portion is always fresh and piping hot. A generous scatter of sesame seeds help enhance the fragrance.

The skins are thin and slightly crisp on the outside, which give way to the explosively (this stuff can be dangerous) juicy inner center. For about 1SGD a serve, there's really no reason not to give this place a shot when you're in Shanghai.