Saturday, September 27, 2008

Merchant Court Ellenborough Cafe

Yummy Buffet dinner at Merchant Court! Roast duck was good! the fried section not bad, the peranakan section was also yummy! Best of all... durian puree 

This is nice and warm, must be home-made! Love it! What i love most tho was the company! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ya Kwang Dai Pai Dong

One of those little words post... lazy to type so here are the photos! 

Didnt really like the teriyaki ribeye, thought it was a little too sweet. 

This is my favourite dish! Crab Tang Hoon

Overall the meal was alright, the kway teow and tang hoon was good! Fried chicken not too bad! But because I have read so many rave reviews about this place, my expectation was sky high, and anyway I walk away feeling that the place was a little overrated. 

Walk a few metres down to Rochor beancurd for a bowl of tau hwey

Ya Kwang Dai Pai Dong
709 Geylang Road (Lor 37)
11am to 11pm

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Was up battling scripts of papers with my trusty red pen till the wee hours of the morning and since it was already 430am I decided that I shant go to bed and I should stay up updating my blog and at 530 I could fetch my mum to the market. Yes yes my mum goes to market very early in the morning so that she could her a precious Ikan Kurau filet. 
Of course a trip to the market would comprise of breakfast - My favourite meal of the day. 
Ba chor Kway Teow soup with dumpling. A very popular stall with long queue forming when the clock strikes 7!
Mum and i shared another plate of Vegetarian Bee hoon. 
Blk 46 Bedok South Market 
(This is a temporary stall, heard they are going to move back to the original location at Blk 58 from 1st Oct)

Vietnam - Ho Chin Minh Final part

Our last lunch in HCM at Wrap and Roll. Another one of those sterile places serving Vietnamese food with a twist. Our first dish, yummy sotong!
Cant remember what is inside this curry puff looking thing

Yup! this is an example of a plate of grass that annoyingly appears on our table every meal! 
ahhhh very addictive fruit shake! so addictive that I crave for it the moment i step out of the shop. In the words of piggy 'you have been whining about wanting to drink fruit shake after we left [wrap and roll'
Vietnamese wrap with a fusion twist. Looks like chee cheong fun! This ought to be my favourite, the chee cheong fun skin is so thin and smooth that it slithers down your throat! Perfect skin is what makes a good chee cheong fun, not the fillings!
It seems weird without some carbo, so I had to order a plate of fried rice. This place dont serve noodles, if not it would have been a bowl of pho! 
We seem barbaric eating so much compared to the other tables. We attracted stares and dagger eyes from others either because of the amount of food we ate or because of our irritating laughters. Piggy kept complaining that I am a messy eater and I had to defend myself that she was no better in terms of dining etiquette. If you could catch a glimpse of her 'veryyy clean' plate, she irritatingly vacuum up every morsel of food on her plate in contrast to my extremely 'messy' plate of wasted food. 

After lunch, yet again we went for a walk and ended up at the Tax Dept store, formerly known as Russian market. This is the street that we went up and down several times hunting for food and places of interests. 
A rather retro looking war world 2 hotel. 
Ended our trip with a visit to the War Museum. Whether or not you are a museum person, i really think this is a must-see in HCM. At least it gives you a glimpse into the recent history of Vietnam. I guess at the end of the day, no matter where you visit, no matter how boring or interesting a place is, it is important to catch a glimpse of the culture, history and yes Geography of a place so that you can leave a place with the brain feeling a little bit more enriched.
Having said that this is a must-see in HCM, I really have to add that this museum can be highly bias and in many ways propaganda in nature. Bearing in mind that this museum was set up by the government just a few months after the Vietnam war, and the purpose was probably to unite the Vietnamese and promote a political cause that Northern Communist government  is here to save the country from the ruthless, violent Americans. It was a glaring one-sided view of the Vietnam War. Nevertheless it tells us how at the end of the day, no one benefits from a war and the ones who suffer the most are the civilians. 
It is a museum with many photographic exhibits of the war taken by local and foreign correspondents. It is really quite stomach-churning seeing the photographs. Really very sad =(
Live exhibits of the war machines
Flight home - this is my air craft food. Vietnamese curry chicken rice

Vietnam - Ho Chin Minh Part 3

Day 2 begins with a tour of Mekong Delta... 
Our first stop - honey making farm?! erm but then again it is really not exactly a farm, we were herd into a little hut to drink honey. erm so where are the bees? I don't know... 
Next stop, making of coconut candy. I was reluctant to try cos i never like coconut-based candy but well it turned out not too bad, the candies were nice and warm, freshly made. Tip: never ever buy anything from touristy places like that, just pop over to supermarkets or any markets and you will probably get it at a much cheaper price!

Dragon fruit plant! Pitaya or Dragonfruit as it is commonly known,  is a cactus. The flowers bloom only at night. I guess they are creepers that creeps onto the host plant, depending on it for support. Errmmm when i took the photo, the dragonfruit was seated comfortably on the tree... I suspect (should have gone to touch it!) it was placed there by the people for the sake of us tourist. The fruit should rightfully be hanging off the leaves
Next stop: went on a row boat through the little stream.
Lunch, rice with pork chop. And with this it marks the end of a tourist trap!
Dinner at Quan An Ngon, apparently it is a must-try for all first time visitors to HCM. They have a branch in Hanoi too. It is street food in a sterile environment,  very popular with both tourists and locals and of course locals with foreign friends! When we left at about 7 plus, the place was packed! Well... i think it is a good introduction to Vietnamese food, as to whether or not the food is good, I really wouldn't know cos it is veggies and veggies and more raw veggies... so i can be highly bias when i have to consume or even just set my eyes upon mountains of greens!
This is mince beef on sugar cane. Well in most cases in Singapore, I would have happily eaten the meat off the sugar cane, full stop. But here in HCM, we were introduced the proper way of eating (oh yes, there is a lady who had to teach us 'how to eat'), slice the meat off the sugar cane, wrap it with vermicelli, bean sprout, basil leaves, lettuce and rice paper roll. 
My cocktail, creatively named yellow cocktail cos it is yellow
The server recommended the Vietnamese pancake. Not too bad, but erm too many beansprout =/ yes at this very moment I can hear Ann screaming at me! 'You are sooo narrow minded! you need to open up your mind and learn to eat your greens! blah blah blah!!!' and I still maintained that 'you like it or you dont like it! nothing to do with being narrow-minded!' but yes i believe some food are what you call 'acquired taste', at this moment i still have not acquired the taste of bean sprout!
This was my main, pork chop with vermicelli! Piggy had pho! I should have just stuck to pho instead! Didn't enjoy the vermicelli, thought it was kind of plain. But oh well... yes yes keep an open mind. 
The paper roll that we used to wrap everything!
After dinner we went for a walk and after our walk... yet again, we settled down for food! We end off our night with ice-cream at Kem Bach Dang. I ordered the mixed fruits ice-cream in coconut and piggy ordered the longan ice cream. We decided to make a switch after one mouth of our respective ice-cream. So in the end she had mine and I had her's.
Ice cream in coconut topped with watermelon, longan, dragon fruit and strawberries

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Big D's Grill

Made a swift escape to Big D's Grill today. Have been having the strong urge to try this place since reading posting. I told myself I need, I must, I will have the Kurobuta Pork!
I was told I have to wait 20min for the chef to fire up the grill, hence I ordered the soup of the day, clam chowder, to keep me occupied. Clam chowder was ordinary, in fact a little diluted but I love the very 'garlicy' toasted bread. 
Ohhh this is what i came for. For the sake of Lynn, she has ordered me to explain what IS the kurobuta. 
Kurobuta are Berkshire Pigs. Berkshire pigs are rare breed of pigs originating from Britain. They are "Britain's oldest pig breed". Kurobuta (Black Pig) is the Japanese term of the Berkshire breed given to Japan by English diplomats in the 1800s. Like the Kurobuta beef's analogues (Wagyu Beef) the pork is well known for its superb meat marbling. The character Napoleon in George Orwell is a Berkshire. =)
Hmm so how do i find the cute black pig? First bite (with the fats) very tender, full of flavour, juicy, best piece of pork I have ever eaten. Second bite with the apple sauce that was given, wow! Perfect match of both the fatty meat and the tangy apple sauce, really wonderful complement! Match made in heaven! Third bite still very delicious. Fourth bite taste like Char Siew! Fifth bite, somehow without the fats the meat seems a little too dry and too salty for my palate.  Tasted abit like smoked ham? Towards the end, I had to drown my meat in the apple sauce cos it was too salty and dry. As always the first two bites are always the best! Whatever it is, worth trying at least once!
One of the side was pumpkin mash, the other side I'm not too sure, some sort of beans I guess, maybe Pinto beans? Anyway the 'i dont know what' was certainly better than the pumpkin mash. Nevertheless both the sides were unique and good, not your usual french fries, bakes beans that you get in a kopi thiam stall. 
Yes! this is the pinkish meat that is characteristic of Kurobuta!
Finally! Homemade dessert, Bonet! Mention ieatishoot and you get a free dessert worth $4 for every $30 spend. This I must say is the highlight of the meal! I am not someone with a sweet tooth, but this smooth, rich, bitter sweet chocolate pudding with caramel sauce is simply heavenly! It slides into the back of your throat and gives your mouth a sweet bitter feeling. Certainly more than satisfy my week long craving of dark chocolate!

For a hawker stall this is not cheap, Pork cost $36, but I guess if you are going to have the Black Pig in a restaurant, it will easily come up to about $50. They have other items like beer battered snapper fish, bangers and mash, beef goulash, boneless chicken leg, pasta etc. Oh you can join the facebook: Fans of Big D's Grill for more information. 

Big D's Grill
Blk 18 Bedok South Road (Opposite Temasek JC, far end kopitiam)
Daily: 11:30 - 14:30
             1800  - 2130
Thurs: 1730 - 2130
tel: 96627040

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Buko Nero

This is a photoless entry cos the restaurant imposes a no-photography rule. Nevertheless I had to make this entry cos it is probably one of the more memorable restaurants I have been to this year. I don't know if it is memorable because of the yummy food or because of the long waiting list of reservation of this restaurant (A had to make a reservation 2 months in advance just so that R and I can eat here) or because A treated us to this meal! Btw thanks for the yummy treat! Plllleaassseee my turn next time!! Pleaaaseeee!!! Put time and place for our next makan outing.

I cant really remember the names of the food we had cos they were all 'chim' Italian fusion names. We had the set meal and we ordered another appetiser - tau kwa tower which is not bad. 
The 1st course which was an appetiser from the chef was very tasty indeed! Thinking of it makes me drool! Of cos I didnt manage to catch the name. It is some mince beef on thin toasted bread slice, top with finely sliced apple and wasabi sauce. 

Second course was a pomelo salad which was forgettable, then again I could be bias course I am NOT a green person. and YES! I hate tomatoes!

Third course was soup, something like Cannoli Beans with crab meat soup. Didn't really enjoy the soup, was kind of blend and tasted a little weird... or rather on the positive side, unique!

Fourth course was rock melon  YU ZU (in other words those tiny mandarin orange) sherbet. Well.. i thought this was addictive, as much as I dont really fancy sherbet, but this one here with its unique blend of rock melon and tangerine hits the right spot! It opens up your appetite, cleanses your palate in preparation for the main course.

Fifth course, Entree, I had the Pork Saltimbocca with curry leaves sauce and something else which I cant remember. Very delicious indeed! R had the cod with rosemary crust and tamarind. It is good too, I especially love the crispy crust. The tangy taste of tamarind can be pretty subjective, if you are not someone who loves sour food, you probably wouldnt appreciate this. A had the mince beef mix with braised pork ravioli (they use wanton skin for the ravioli), not bad too! Thinking of it makes me drool even though I just had my dinner 15minutes ago. 

Last course: dessert was milk chocolate cake, alas, this was disappointing! Erm but nevertheless I ate up every bit of the cake. 

Finally our meal was accompanied by a bottle of white wine which complements the entire makan session. hmmm how I wish we could go back again... which means, call now and wait for 2 more months!

Buku Nero
126 Tanjong Pagar Road
Tues - Thurs: 1830 - 2130
Fri - Sat: 1200 - 1400, 1830 - 2130
Closed on Mon, Sunday and PH
Tel: 63246225 (reservation is a MUST!)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Vietnam - Ho Chin Minh Part 2

Day 1 - Part 2
This posting marks the second half of our major stoning day in HCM. This day is a walk, breathe carbon monoxide, eat, drink, stone, eat, eat, walk, stone, laugh, eat eat eat, take photos, eat day! I miss my story books! Should have brought along a story book to read, then again, I know i will probably end up stoning rather then reading. Pig brought along her work, travelled everywhere with it, but never seem to have done anything at all... despite her relentless 'bored bored bored I am borrreddd!' 
Our next stoning pit stone takes us to Sofitel Saigon for a chocolate buffet!
This is part of our little booth. 
The only proper photo I have of the chocolate buffet! The rest turn out too dark and yellow and boo hoo hoo i forgot to take a photo of the 'buffet spread'. The rather pathetic chocolate buffet spread that left me hungry at the end of our 3 hour stoning. Ohhh how i regret not taking a photo!
After the buffet, the sky was already dark and because it was drizzling we decided to take a cab to Diamond plaza, a spanking new shopping mall in the heart of HCM. 
This photo is taken outside the HCM Post Office along Dong Koi Road. Pretty building yeah? I think this is probably one of the prettiest building in HCM. 
The interior - thats Mr Ho Chin Minh staring at us.
The Notre Dame Cathedral - one of the many landmarks in HCM, just opposite the post office. 
After shopping at the Supermarket, Parkson, we had dinner at the popular franchise PHO24 (there is an outlet in Millennia Walk, Singapore). My special bowl of Pho, with different parts of the cow. 
Piggy likes fried stuff... so this is ordered specially to entertain her. 
So this is the end of piggish day 1, dinner. Boring as it may seem, I think once in a while, we should be thankful that we are bored. Boredom is a blessing, can be a blessing, it is just a matter of perspective.