Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fresh Figs (无花果)

Figs (无花果)

This is not with reference to the recent drama serial by the same name on Channel 8! I am talking about the usual edible stuff i am known to post on my blog!  

Anyway, the above picture shows the dried figs i know from young. Eventually, i get to know of preserved figs that are way sweeter than the dried version.

I am ashamed to declare that it was only recently i realised figs can be eaten fresh without any kind of processing!
Thanks to episode 16 of the Korean variety show, Family Outing!

And it was with thanks again, to Mr Korny Kon, who brought us a bag of fresh figs all the way from China (thanks, as well, to his sister in law)! 

This afternoon made it the first time i actually see a real fig with my own eyes and caress its sticky greenish body with my bare hands!

From far, the flesh of the fresh fig looked like an infected bloodied wound with tiny worms!

The taste was of course not as disgusting; refreshing sweetness that screamed out the goodness of nature!

Question:
Why is a fig (the fruit of the ficus tree) known as 无花果 (directly translated as no-flower fruit in Chinese)?

No teaser today since i am really tired after a super short and tiring weekend!

Answer:
According to wikipedia, "The fig is commonly thought of as fruit, but it is properly the flower of the fig tree. It is in fact a false fruit or multiple fruit, in which the flowers and seeds grow together to form a single mass."


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Powdered Milk under Tight Security

I am not ashamed to proclaim i love shopping in supermarkets! That had already been evidenced given my post HERE.

And i always make it a point to shop in supermarkets whenever i am overseas; a very small one if time doesn't permit.

Love it when i can see the various unique products (dried snakes, starfish etc) on the racks! Hate it when i realise i am paying double or even triple the price back in Singapore! WTF!

There is also the packaging that makes me wonder; like these tins of powdered milk containers with a special cap that reminded me so much of those covers used for heavy industrial chemicals!

And when my eyes caught the powdered milk cartons, it was again the same tight security given to expensive software found in computer stores!

Anyone knows the reason why is there such a packaging for the milk powder in Bangkok, Thailand?

Please let me know!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Beancurd (豆花) @ Rochor Original Beancurd

Beancurd (豆花)
@ Rochor Original Beancurd

I was somewhere in the vicinity of Selegie where i remembered having beancurds in a very crowded shop with the starhubbers!

Although the Teo family had very full stomachs at that point, my itchy mouth cannot resist paying this popular shop a visit after such a long absence!

With a bit of intelligence (and reverse psychology), i managed to persuade Alex to queue and pay for the food!! Wahahahaha. Shan't say too much!

Looking soft and tender, there must be something good about this beancurd that keeps people coming back.

As i slurped my first scoopful, the first sensation given was the delectable reddish syrup that stands uniquely amongst its competitors! It was fragrantly light without being overpowering sweet.

Coming to the beancurd (i ordered hot), the silky texture was normal but i could not help noticing there was a slight roughness beneath that softness.

It was a notch higher than the beancurd from Selegie Soya Bean purely because of the syrup.

An order of two great looking jin dui (金堆) with that glistening sesame seeds dotting the golden brown crust was bought, for the sake of buying.

Having an almost perfect outlook (it will be perfect with more sesame seeds), it was a slap on the face to find such dry, apparently generic factory made paste!

Ugh!!

=====

Location
2, Short Street
(very near to Peace Centre) 

Price
S$1.00 for a bowl of beancurd
S$0.80 for each jindui


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) @ Bangkok, Thailand

Some people argued that whenever you are overseas, you should try authentic food that the host country offers, instead of items you could have back in your home country.

I beg to differ, slightly; at least try the fast food restaurants! Like the Macdonald's in Thailand, they could have offerings that are not available back in Singapore.

One fast food restaurant i frequently patronise when i am out of Singapore is Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC).  

Original Recipe Chicken from KFC Singapore
Sick and tired of hearing people complain that Singapore's KFC is the worst in the whole (note: WHOLE) world, i would try KFC in other countries if time permits and fate decides.

So far, the countries are Malaysia, China and most recently, Thailand.

Ordering the set that cost 119 Baht (about S$5.30) with 2 piece chicken, 3 hot wings and 1 cold drink, i was cautiously warned by the cashier that the wings were very hot!

They were not hot...

From a person who doesn't take chilli like the pros (Hannah Lim, Kasie Au etc), you can imagine how un-hot they were to solicit that kinda comment from me.

But they sure were tasty with a very thick coat of spicy powder (spicy, not hot though)!

Coming to the very important chicken, which was more like the hot and crispy version in Singapore.

The batter was much better with a thinner, even coating that didn't even come with that pungent oily taste that was so prevalent in the KFC (hot n crispy) in Singapore.

Meat wise, i personally thought it tasted fresher with more moisture. Mommy was not impressed since she felt that the fried chicken lacked the rich flavour (maybe she meant the secret recipe consisting of 11 herbs and spices) back in Singapore.

Nonetheless, i thought the KFC in Thailand was comparable to Malaysia's version (worst i had was in China). There's however one grouch i need to get off of my chest!

A cup of cold drink had more than half a cup of ice!!! Bloooody unhappy lor......... Especially when it was the day of high temperature in Bangkok!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Too Much Luggage?

Those who are connected to me by Facebook might remember a status i updated back in Bangkok.

You will never fully understand the intense anxiety and panic i get whenever i sense a virtual "overweight" sign above my baggage!

And we all know how misery budget airlines can be with the check in luggage limit; in the case of jetstar, only 20 kilograms (KG) per person!

Mind you, every one KG in excess constitutes a payment of 600 baht (roughly S$30)!!

There's no way i can check the weight of my luggage in the hotel and this is bloody frustrating!

Thank god for this digital weighing machine in Suvarnabhumi airport!

Well, you have to pay for its usage but what's 10 baht compared to a potential charge that could run up to thousands of baht?!

Although i was comforted that we were within the limit, the mother had an additional bag that might be too big to hand carry into the tiny plane.

Having said that, we were prepared to tear open the many bags of food (bought by Mom) and ate them within the three hours before boarding!

Fortunately, things were not so extreme! The pretty lady in the check in counter allowed us to check in the additional luggage even though the maximum limit was breached!

Limit : 40 KG for two persons
Actual : 43.5 KG!

I was so grateful i almost wanted to kiss her!
Didn't do it because i am shy. :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pet Peeve with Unethical Companies

Pet Peeve
with Unethical Companies

Having worked in the retail industry for a few years, i know the importance of honesty.

Therefore, i will always check with the employees whenever i sense an act of dishonesty. This is just in case there has been a miscommunication, misunderstanding or something the management is unaware of.

One recent incident involved Ochado (茶の道) in Chong Pang, the milk tea store i posted a few days ago.

While waiting for our milk tea, the gang of four was going through the receipt after Mr Kon commented that the drinks were quite expensive.

Comparing the price with the big big menu above the counter, the large Oolong Milk i purchased should have been S$3.50 and after including the S$0.50 pearls topping, it should at most be S$4.00 and not S$4.30.

The supposedly correct price was also reflected on their pamphlets.

So what's wrong? I raised my query with the counter staff, who explained that it was the fault of the company who made the menu board and printed the pamphlets.

Well, the damage is done so there's no point in pointing fingers. What's important is that Ochado has to make sure the right price is reflected for the consumers benefit.

To that, the staff told me it is too expensive to change the menu board and the pamphlets and having a sticker over the wrong prices is too ugly.

Valid business considerations but shouldn't the company inform the customers when they order? Goodness sake, that's the bare minimum they can do!

At this point, i guess this particular male staff member was slightly frustrated with me. Nonetheless, he maintained his composure and replied politely that he can refund the difference to us.

Again, this is not my point! If i have never sought any clarification, i would have deemed Ochado as an unethical, dishonest and zero integrity establishment.

Is that what they wish to portray, being a new kid in the competitive milk tea industry??

The above is the mission statement for Ochado. I am afraid the satisfaction is seriously lacking in this instance.





Monday, October 25, 2010

T & K Seafood @ Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand

The epic battle in Bangkok is never between the political-driven red shirts and yellow shirts.

Instead, a continual battle occurs nightly at a side road along Yaowarat Road (otherwise known as Yaowaraj Road) in Chinatown, noticeable by the distinct segregation of red shirts at one side of the road and the green shirts on the other.

It’s the battle for meeting one of human basic needs (and my personal favourite need); food!

According to various sources on the World Wide Web, green shirts (aka T&K Seafood) seem to be the popular choice and this is what I am going to concentrate on today!

Shark’s Fin Soup
This is as good as you can get from most of the wedding banquets that actually serve shark’s fin soup!

Unlike the banquets, this special claypot shark’s fin soup was served with an additional plate of bean sprouts, spring onions and coriander leaves.

Depending on your preference (Karen Au, for example, will never add bean sprouts), a rich and thick broth is guaranteed with the refreshing fragrances of spring onions and coriander leaves. And before I forgot to add, the crunchiness of fresh bean sprouts!

It has never been a question of the fins for me; I would feel equally satisfied to chomp down a bowl of pseudo shark’s fin soup from the pasar malam. And judging from the picture above, I have serious doubt on the authenticity of this shark’s fin.

Grilled Crab (Small)
I have never known grilled crabs can be so delicious!

Granted the meat was dry when compared to the steamed version, this cooking process locked the natural crabby flavor and resulted in a meat that tasted much better.

My only grouch with grilling was that whatever little meat left in those crustaceans legs needed a lot more effort to excavate! And that’s too time-consuming when you are holidaying!

To extract the sinfully high cholesterol meat, steamed crabs are much easier!

Oyster Aor-Saun
A typical oyster omelette (Orh-Jian) we can get from most hawker centres in Singapore, this dish was prepared to look like a pancake.

Looking so perfect on that bed of bean sprouts (did I mention I love taugek?), the taste was unfortunately without much seafood flavor although we counted 17 (small and medium) oysters!

Even the eggs failed to save this dish!

Fried Squid with Garlic
Deviating from the usual fried squid we know, this had a generous sprinkling of fried garlic that enhanced the seafood taste so much!

You want the perfect way to eat this?

Dip the lightly battered squid into the bowl of chilli that came with the dish AND dump it into this bowl of green chilli that the waiter served before the arrival of all your dishes!

Seafood Soup
Mom loves drinking soup although she is not Cantonese! And seeing this hotpot on most tables made her wonder if we should also order.

Normally, it’s pretty safe to assume that a particular dish is good when you see most of the diners having it on their tables.

Fresh seafood makes the tastiest soup and this did not disappoint us! Awww, the fresh sweetness of clear seafood soup!

Bird’s Nest (Small)
One of the cheapest quality bird’s nest soup in Bangkok can be found at T&K Seafood (only 100THB that was roughly S$4.50)! Of course, please don’t get your expectation too high as it was not a thick serving of dried-up saliva!

Unlike Nam Sing, this did not have any gingko nuts. For better quality bird’s nest that would definitely burn a bigger hole in your pocket, I would recommend Nam Sing!

=====

Location
49-51 Phadung Dao Rd, Chinatown, Bangkok.

Using White Orchid Hotel as a landmark, you turn left after coming out of the hotel and walk less than minute till you come to a side road. You should see a prominent green building; that, my friend, is T&K Seafood!

Price
Shark’s Fin Soup – 300 Baht
Grilled Crab (Small) – 250 Baht
Oyster Aor-Saun – 120 Baht
Fried Squid with Garlic – 150 Baht
Seafood Soup – 100 Baht
Bird’s Nest (Small) – 100 Baht

Additional Information
Sad to say, I have never patronized the red shirts since I have always been extremely satisfied with the greenies! So don’t expect anything from me on the red hotties.

The restaurant is open from 4.30pm to 2.00am. For those who preferred a lesser crowd, do reach between 4.30 and 5.30pm!

Third level dining area!

The second level that you need to take out your shoes! Shun this level if you know your feet stink!
Right besides the alfresco area is an air-conditioned building with three levels that are available for pampered Singaporeans like me who prefer a cooler dining environment!

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