Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Bao Today (包今天) @ Marina Square [Singapore]

A cheeky take on Justice Bao (the famous legendary judge in the Song Dynasty), this dim sum eatery had been at Marina Square for a long time and although attracting my attention every time i walked past, it wasn't until last weekend that i finally got myself seated in its premises! 

It didn't take me long to tick off what i wanted from the order list; the typical dim sum dishes that everyone would have on their table. Most importantly, i needed a drink and my parched throat finally got soothed by the sweet yet richly infused honey chrysanthemum tea. 

Alex opted for Chinese tea and got a shock when this bowl of hot tea was placed in front of him. His immediate retort was an exaggerated "how to drink like that?!" as he had expected either a pot of hot Chinese or refillable Chinese tea in a tea cup. 

Har Gow (Prawn Dumpling) - no complaint even though i must admit i am seldom incredibly impressed with har gow and would be easily satisfied so long they don't come with a thick layer of skin and the prawns tasted fresh.

Siew Mai - Another of those basket dim sum that one would typical order; these were not too bad and i could actually have second helping if not for consideration for the plate of chee cheong fun that had yet to arrive on my table. 

Chee Cheong Fun (Prawns) - Alex is actually quite easy to take care of since he usually goes for the same thing and for dim sum, you can just throw him order a few plates of chee cheong fun and he will be happy. Hence, he asked for two plates of chee cheong fun as he didn't want to share! 

Two issues with the chee cheong fun; the sauce wasn't flavourful enough and my taste buds would be better off smearing the chee cheong fun with chilli sauce; secondly, the prawns in the middle of the folds had a weird, flattened shape with a dense, dry texture. 

Golden Sand Bao - despite its vivid green coloring (reminding me of the pandan chiffon cakes that i have been baking recently), these buns had a light subtle pandan fragrance that didn't have that artificial aftertaste my pandan chiffon cake had, which is a good thing. 

And of course i couldn't resist biting off just a small chunk of the green bun to expose the rich, thick and creamy salted egg sauce! Yummy indeed! 

Red Bean and Banana Pastry - these were addictive and mind you, they were scalding hot; do handle them carefully as i burned the corner of my mouth in my excitement! I so love the combination of red bean paste and mashed banana and enjoy them better when a generous amount of them are encapsulated in thin, deep fried pastry; as in this case!  

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Overall, some hits and misses and i definitely wouldn't mind dropping by again or their golden sand bao and the red bean and banana pastry! 

Location
6 Raffles Boulevard, 
#02-234/235/236, Marina Square
Singapore 039594

Order List
As above.

Pricing
Homemade Chrysanthemum Tea - S$1.80
Chinese Tea - S$1.20
Har Gow (3 Prawn Dumplings) - S$4.50
Siew Mai (3) - S$4.50
Chee Cheong Fun (Prawns) - S$4.20
Golden Sand Bao (2) - S$3.00
Red Bean and Banana Pastry (3) - S$3.80
(Subject to GST and Service Charge)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Paris Van Java - Just Like Bugis Junction IMHO @ Bandung [Indonesia]

Paris Van Java is known as the biggest shopping centre in Bandung and don't ask me what we were doing there since we had plenty of shopping malls back in Singapore.

A panorama i took showed the scale of Paris Van Java; it didn't have many levels and from the differing facades, i was under the impression it was made up of individual, standalone stores! 

Since i didn't do much research about the place, i suggested going to the top floor and then walk down. Turned out the top floor was more like a kid zone with a children's playground which would be good news if we were travelling with our Jerald and Jovyn but we weren't.

Colourful spinning pinwheels - i always wanted to buy this for my house although i don't have a garden and i might just leave it to the dust as time goes by.

Can you guess where my mum and sisters spend the next hour? At Sogo! As i am not keen at all to waste my precious time at department stores that are commonly found in Singapore, i arranged to meet up with them later at a specified time. 

Lined with shops of brands not uncommon to Singaporeans, the first thought that came to mind was "this felt just like in Bugis Junction" even though the air conditioning for the latter was much cooler and concept was "European" rather than "Asian"!

I didn't feel a big urge to shop though since i always prefer to buy branded products at home. Furthermore, the discount wasn't enticing enough. Hence, it's more like window shopping for me while waiting for the ladies.

Just like bugis junction, smaller stores marketed their wares through the kiosks along the walkway; i noted flower pattern plates that were popular when i was a kid and fridge magnets, just to name a few.

As i entered from one end of Paris Van Java, walking to the other end made total sense and it's time for me to venture indoors where the air conditioning would be stronger. 

Comic figurines for sale. 

Kids playing with hot wheels using a purposely built circuit. Even though the toy had a history stretching from 1968, i remember them from the late 80s when numerous catchy advertisements were shown on television.

It's always about the 360 degree turn! 

A lot of people were crowding the Hot Wheels circuit around lunchtime; i presume there was some kind of competition with a good mix of adults and kids. 

The inner section was like a dead town and it sure didn't sound too good on a Sunday when business should be roaring! 

There's a Daiso too! Pricing was almost similar to Singapore and since the price difference wasn't great and it's not worth my time to trawl through a million items, i gave it a miss.

An A&W outlet - do you know that A&W is very much a memorable childhood memory for me and even more than MacDonald's! I remember the coney dog, their waffles, the curly fries and of course the marvelicious root beer float! 

I had to get one mug!

Ventured to Carrefour - the first hypermarket in Singapore that had since bumped out! Nowadays, i would purposely visit overseas supermarkets just so that i can check out the pricing of their baking materials / ingredients; the Koepoe Koepoe Pandan paste was priced at 10,000 rupiah! 

Noted that Indonesians use Blue Band margarine whereas the choice for Malaysians / Singaporeans is Planta; strangely, both fall under the same mother company; Unilever. 

Ending our visit to Paris Van Java with lunch at Pepper Lunch! Yes, why pepper lunch and no some unique restaurant that i couldn't find in Singapore?! Why why why?  I don't know as i recollect going along with the flow and didn't reject when my sister suggested the place.

Receipt for your reference - not exactly cheap. 

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Location
Jl. Sukajadi no. 137-139, 
Bandung 40162, Indonesia


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Seoul Chicken Korean Restaurant @ 435 Sembawang Road (Near Chong Pang, Yishun) [Singapore]

Sembawang Road is blessed with clusters of 2-storey shophouses that stand apart from the numerous contained shopping centres we have in Singapore and with growing interest in having their business in a unique brick and mortar environment, food operators have been making inroads to such shophouses, despite the inconvenience and short supply of parking for motor vehicles. 

A new entrant that took over the space from a Chinese restaurant would be Seoul Chicken Korean Restaurant - those familiar with the popular Chong Pang Nasi Lemak shop would not have missed Seoul Chicken as they resided at literally each end of the row of shophouses. 

Interior design was simple, non-fanciful yet gave me the impression of dining in a typical restaurant at Korea that served the mass population. 

It's actually a full fledged Korean restaurant and having the word "chicken" on its signboard gave people the wrong assumption that it's going to be another "fried chicken" joint in the market. I patronised thinking it's fried chicken and it's fried chicken i must have! 

Side Dishes
A mainstay for most decent Korean restaurants - there were six placed on our table; from the usual kimchi, radishes, beansprouts, cucumbers, beancurd and omelette.

I had the most hope for the omelette which turned out to be relatively normal. Put it this way, i am now quite a master of fried omelette after i moved out of my parents' place. 

My personal favourites would be the sourish, crunchy kimchi, the cool, crisp cucumber and the inari-like fried beancurd. 

Seafood Pancake 
In spite of the high pricing, i simply couldn't resist ordering Korean pancakes. As i am with Alex, spicy kimchi pancake was a no-go and had to settle with the seafood version. Nevertheless, i heard from friends that kimchi pancake is utterly easy to make! 

Now coming back to the seafood pancake at Seoul Chicken, the batter was thin, lightly seasoned and fried to a crisp. I was most impressed with the seafood (prawns, squids etc) as the chef was generous with them (rightfully so for the price i am paying) and they tasted fresh! 

The lightly seasoned batter i mentioned earlier had resulted in a rather bland outcome; the waitress had reminded me to dip the pancake into the sauce in the middle and boy was she right! There was a tingling spicy aftertaste but it did its job by enhancing the palatability of the pancake.

Fried Chicken with Sweet Soy Sauce
With five pieces of korean style crispy fried chicken that are not our usually smaller winglets / drumlets, i can roughly tell at one look that the batter on the skin would be too thick for my liking. 

The truth was as predicted although the appetising sweet soy sauce marination wasn't just reserved for the batter; it can be felt even as i tore through the juicy chicken meat! 

Dessert
Like the side dishes, dessert would be provided even though it was less practiced by Korean restaurants. In our case, it was a small bowl of fruit cocktail served in a milky liquid that suspiciously like Calpis! 
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I wasn't blown away by the fried chicken and i guess the operator did sense it as she insisted that i should try the BBQ in the future. Now, i love Korean BBQ and to me, that's a dare. Should it fail to impress me, i would definitely pen down my truthful review in this blog.

Location
435 Sembawang Road,
Singapore 758398

Map
As above. 

Facebook Page

Pricing
Side Dishes - Complimentary
Seafood Pancake - S$19.90
Fried Chicken with Sweet Soy Sauce - S$21.90
Dessert - Complimentary
(Subject to GST)

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