Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Stressed-Induced Craving for Aston's Specialties @ Sembawang Shopping Centre

The work stress is really getting into me and my big brain is just too filled with work-related matters to think of any new posts.

When Cavin is stressed and wants to unleash the blood-thirsty devil within him, he will crawl to Aston's Specialties for a chunk of economical red meat that still oozes blood in the middle.

What else can be better than this?

Using nectar-sweet blood to cleanse the internal bloody soul!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Qiji (奇) @ Century Square

I am still down with a persistent cough and an irritating scratchy throat but i have to blog this local cafe that has sprouted numerous branches in Singapore.

The first item that caught my attention was their popiah.

At S$1.90 for a regular roll without prawns, this is much more expensive than the S$1.20 per roll i usually have in Yishun Central.

But it was also much more delicious with a paper thin popiah skin, moist filling and most importantly, a lot of desirable sweet black sauce (now we know why the popiah looked so dark)!

Looking at the tables surrounding us, we saw a lot of diners wolfing down Nasi Lemak.

The elder sister, unfortunately, ordered the Laksa...

:(
Well, the mom was craving for some soupy stuff.

I had a taste of the laksa and found the gravy to be lacking in flavour, thickness and creaminess.

====

My parched throat is now craving for the black popiah!!

Location
2 Tampines Central 5,
#01-36B, Century Square Shopping Centre

Other branches can be found here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Han's @ Thomson Plaza

My first memorable cake came from Han's, then a bakery near the kampong i resided in Old Nee Soon.

The creamy black forest cake with its distinctive cherry infusion left a really deep impression in my childhood memory.

As i was growing up, Han's expanded with another branch in Yishun, then my family's new home in the concrete village that the gahmen was encouraging.

In my teens then, peer pressure entailed hanging out after school and Han's was a favourite hangout place amongst students for its economical set meals, air conditioning and cafe style format.

Fish and Chips was another dish arising from my teens that was unforgettable in my 30 year old memory.

And it was exactly with these fond memories that i visited a branch in Thomson Plaza, expecting no less from what i remember.

Disappointment greeted me when i had a bite of the fish and chips.

The exterior was too soft with a (too) thick layer of mushy batter while the fish meat should have been flavourful but came out tasteless.

This was the time when chilli sauce no longer served a complementary role but as an important condiment for me to finish the food.

A side order of custard cream puffs was thought to save the day (the black forest cake was sold out!).

With a thick layer of custard cream smacked in between, this was surprisingly yet another almost tasteless order.

Is there anything wrong with my taste buds?!

========

Prices
Cream Puff - S$2.00 for two
Fish and Chips - S$8.80 for a set.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Yuanjiajie Scenic Area (袁家界景区) @Zhangjiajie (张家界), Hunan, China

My last post for a trip made last October!

In order to get to this highly elevated area, deemed to be the most beautiful in the whole Zhangjiajie region, there is this outdoor elevator (Bai Long Scenic Elevator) that will bring us 335 meters up.

The scenery was amazing, offering a bird's eyes view of the surroundings that inspired Avatar the movie.

It was probably at this time that i felt a pang of regret; of not buying a DSLR earlier!!

After walking for around one hour though, we get kind of jaded. It's roughly the same rocky formations again and again, with only slight variation to the height, width and/or gradient.

The troops of tourist invading the viewing platforms and jostling for much desired photographic spots were also getting to our nerves.

If people ever say Singaporeans are very kiasu (afraid to lose), i presume they have never been to China!

Despite the above factors, one spot worth noting was the magnificent natural bridge! Yes, you can confidently walk and cross over to the other karst pillar!

As with most overseas destinations, certain myths are fabricated to generate much interest and of course, additional tourist dollars.

One such myth is the heavenly lock!
This is so cheesy, like the Merlion we have in Singapore.

Well, at least the tourists are really passionate about it!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

F.I.S.H (by Fish & Co) @ 313 Somerset

Talking about F.I.S.H (which is brought to us by Fish and Co), my first visit was more than half a year ago at their Tampines One branch.

The Hae Bee Hiam Spaghetti (then) left a very deep impression and I was shocked that such an unlikely combination could be so delicious! 

Today i am back again, this time with my Mom.

The sister had lamented that i never ordered fish dishes when i went out with mom. Being the filial son i am, i had to do something!!!

Thus this visit! 

Shrimp & Egg on Toast with Rocket
Two sunny side up eggs with runny yolk (note: singular) on top of a slice of well toasted bread and sprinkled with tiny portions of baked potatoes, tomatoes and whole fresh prawns! 

Such a simple dish yet it generated a lot of praises from my mom and I!

It was almost perfect (one of the yolks was not runny) and there was a special taste (that left a burning sensation on our tongues) differentiating itself from the ordinary eggs and toast we usually have.

Char-Grilled Codfish Fillet w Lemon Pesto
Mom's favourite fish as codfish has high Omega-3 fatty acids, high protein, low fats and low calories.  

Being char-grilled, this codfish differs from the steamed version my mom prepared at home. 

The meat was drier and not as smooth (lack of oil). To the expert (mom), it was a healthier choice that was unfortunately almost tasteless.

The saving grace was the slice of lemon......... and chilli sauce.

Chicken Cacciatore
I was so pleased i ordered a chicken dish, disgracing the fishy name of this restaurant.

The meat was surprisingly succulent with a savouriness that was on equal par with the almost tasteless codfish in the opposite spectrum!

The keys were on the marination and dressing (cacciatore) that contained tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and other unknown ingredients.

 ====

Location
#B3-37/38, 313@ Somerset

Price
Shrimp & Egg on Toast with Rocket - S$5.90
Char-Grilled Codfish Fillet with Lemon Pesto - S$15.90
Chicken Cacciatore - S$10.90

Subject to 10% Service Charge and 7% GST

Additional Information
The ambience for this branch in 313@Somerset is acceptable but if you prefer a more unique environment, try the branch in Tampines One! 



My mom LOVES fish; not so much of putting them in an aquarium for visual appeal and positive mental stimulus! She loves them for their health benefits after digestion. Haha!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Combat Durians (空军) along Balestier Road

Along the lengthy Balestier Road and next to the historical Da Bo Gong temple is a small durian stall that was heavily recommended by Ms Kat Ho over my preferred Sindy Durian

Despite my frequent visits of bringing my mom to the temple next door for her endless praying, it was always with disappointment since this Combat Durian does not normally operate on Sundays.

Until this fine day on 13 June 2010.

The species in question (between Ms Ho and I) is the ultra rich butter durian (aka Mao Shan Wang) and with that in mind, a 1.6 kilogram fruit was ordered for comparison!

Resembling my favourite Mao Shan Wang (aka Cat Mountain King) from Sindy Durian, the meat was creamy with an unmistakable integrated sweetness-bitterness taste. 

Characteristic of the butter species, it has a really Lilliputian seed! You can imagine how shiok it was when i dumped the yellow pulp into my mouth and all i felt was the flesh!

The above two paragraphs aside, this durian from Combat has its differences. The taste was pretty thin and lacked the richness i experienced in Sindy.

Furthermore, the price may be cheaper at only S$12 per kg but the 1.6 kg fruit had only 6 pathetic seeds. Compare that to the fruit i had in Sindy at a more expensive S$20 per kg, the 1.9kg fruit had 18 seeds!!!

Sindy Durian has a significantly better deal!

===

Location
Opposite Hotel 81 Balestier and right beside a traditional temple stage!

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