Monday, February 28, 2011

Philippine Food @ Harbourfront Centre


Philippine Food
@ Harbourfront Centre

This is going to be a short post because i just got home after a temple ceremony at the God of Fortune elaborate, decorative abode. No thanks to my mom who cheated me by implying that it will be her normal praying session.

Anyway, it is my first time having Philippine cuisine and though i have seen it around in Singapore for years, i had never taken the step forward to try.

But i finally did last Saturday when my brother in law decided to try something new and ordered grilled chicken from the Philippine cuisine stall in Food Junction at Harbourfront Centre.

The immediate recognition when i set my eyes on the grilled chicken - wasn't that the panggang chicken from Indonesian stalls in Plaza Singapura or NUS canteens?!

No, they look similar but the deciding factor is on the taste. Never in my life had i have such delicious chicken meat! The glutton ghost in me almost could not control ordering another one to satisfy that insatiable craving!

Pale pinkish meat that was tenderly soft and a layer of slightly charred skin filled with the sweet goodness of perfect smoked-grilled technique coupled with the savoury sauce!

Definitely my "type" of food!

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To be eaten with plain rice as the sweetness might be a bit overbearing for some.

Location
Located within Food Junction,
Level 3 of HarbourFront Centre

Price
S$5.80 per plate. The main reason why i stopped myself from ordering more than one plate. Frankly, it's too pricey for such a misery portion.




Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Drive Up Mount Brinchang @ Cameron Highlands

(Part 1 of Nature Discovery Tour)

A 'three days, two nights' stay in Cameron Highlands means that i have no choice but to sign up for another tour through Titiwangsa! This time, the Nature Discovery Tour shall bring us to Mount Brinchang and the Mossy Forest.

The direct road access to the top of Mount Brinchang is so much more convenient as it will be physically draining for my parents (and me) to climb up the 6,666 feet high mountain!

Disappointment greeted me when all i can see upon the summit was a communication station and tall greenery blocking whatever nice scenery it might offer.

Nothing's lost yet with this old and rusty observation tower! Safety was my topmost concern and it was especially disturbing when you see van-loads of tourists trying their best to clamber up to the top level and as a result, dangerously raising the centre of gravity!

With such steep metal stairs, my parents were surprisingly game enough to bear the risk and check out whatever the highest level can offer. Seriously, anything is better than staying put at the bottom of the tower and doing nothing.

Typical of Cavin, let's have a panoramic picture first. The view was beautiful but definitely not breathtaking with its various shades of green.

Having been exposed to unique terrains in China (like Zhangjiajie or Tianmenshan), the rainforest view is getting to feel a lot more at home.

The many communication towers stationed on top of the mountain are actually visible from our hotel in Brinchang town, which isn't very far away in terms of distance.

Heck, you can even see Equatorial Hotel in this zoomed up picture!

Without any doubt, Daddy Teo adored the view! I guess i inherit his taste for scenery although i was never a scenic lover in my younger days!

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A jungle track is available if you love the nature and are keen to spend more time in Cameron Highlands.

Many Singaporeans love to drive up to Cameron Highlands but do take note that although Gunung Batu Brinchang has a road up to the summit, it is narrow and very challenging for urban drivers.

For the sake of your loved ones, join a tour lah!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Char Siew (叉烧) @ Kay Lee Roast Meat Joint

Char Siew (叉烧)
@ Kay Lee Roast Meat Joint

Firstly, a BIG thanks to Mr Kon (and Ms Tan) for bringing me to this roast meat shop along Upper Paya Lebar road! There's no way i can find this place without getting all flustered and impatient!

Mr Kon, a foodie who frequently dispenses superb recommendations, gave super high marks for the Char Siew in Kay Lee!

Having been exposed to one of the best Char Siew in Malaysia (note: Restoran Overseas), i wasn't too keen to try Kay Lee (blame the lazy bug) until today.

The shop wasn't too crowded - attributed to an off peak timing at 4pm when we reached and today being Saturday. The newspaper articles and accolades pasted were reassuring though.

Roast Duck Rice
Meaty with nicely glazed skin that wasn't too fatty, i found this to be too salty without a fragrant marination that roast duck must have! The sauce over the rice tasted too generic and could do with a bit more herbs (think Dian Xiao Er Roast Duck).

Roast Pork Rice
Generous serving of roast pork satisfies many people. However, for a person who doesn't really know how to appreciate it except for the golden brown cap, i can only say it was still a tad too salty for me.

Not sure if it's a result of the medication i am taking for my sore throat!

Char Siew Rice
This has to be the best i ever have!

A puddle of blackness and fattiness that daddy teo will frown upon; this was sinful to the max and not helpful at all for my over-the-norm cholesterol!!

Surprisingly, the burnt caramelised exterior encompassed only a thin layer and though crunchy, was not rock hard and chewy like many others! The white, fatty portion was of course, the most desirable!

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Location
125 Upper Paya Lebar Road
(Turn in from Little Road)

Opening Hours
10.30am to 7.30pm
(Close on Tuesday)

Price
S$5 a plate! For such coffeeshop environment, it is daylight robbery when other places are selling the same type of food for not more than S$4! Sad to say, I would not mind to be robbed just to have a bite of the char siew!

Additional Information
Kon loves the chilli here! It had a sour aftertaste that was quite addictive but given a choice, i will still prefer the sweet sauce on my rice!




Friday, February 25, 2011

Yuan Yang Steamboat @ Restoran OK Tuck (Malaysia)

Since i was in Cameron Highlands for 2 nights in January, i had to make full use of the cooler temperature by having steamboat dinner for the two consecutive days!

Purely for information, Restoran OK 德 (Tuck 火锅饭店) is one of the most recommended steamboat restaurants in Cameron Highlands!

Though i would have loved to try them first, its shutters were tightly closed in the first evening i was there and Restoran Kwan Kee was chosen instead as an alternative to satisfy my craving!


Unlike Kwan Kee, OK Tuck serves only electrical steamboat but provides Yuan Yang (two soups in one pot) for extra variety.

We opted for the RM35 set (sufficient for two persons) after Daddy Teo insisted he had eaten too much! C'mon, it's only some western food 3 hours ago! Anyway, if there are three or more of you, each pax will be charged RM15.

A closer look at the ingredients for steamboat! I could not help but agree that Kwan Kee's selection seemed to have more ingredients - for one, they have ee-mian, which tastes so delicious in soup!

Let's now run through the soups; mom selected tom yum soup simply because she loves spicy stuff (even if the men in my family don't take too kindly to chilli) while herbal soup was chosen so that we can make a fair comparison to Kwan Kee's version

Conclusion?
Tom Yum was way too spicy while the herbal soup was a bit too mild for our liking: without the Chinese gooseberries, it loses quite an amount of preferable sweetness.

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It's not difficult to guess which steamboat restaurants i prefer in Cameron Highlands when you have read my original post on Kwan Kee!

Location
Taking KFC as a landmark (in Brinchang town), OK Tuck is directly opposite; near to the area where passengers alight from coaches originating from Singapore.

With such huge signboard and catchy name, it's really difficult to miss OK Tuck.

Additional Information
Don't go too early! Try after 6pm!

An outdoor area is available for diners who love the intimate contact with the great outdoors where cars pump out their carbon monoxide. It's a bloody busy street!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Solid Gold Statue @ Wat Traimit, Bangkok

Just when you thought i am done with my Bangkok trip, i am going to surprise you with another entry! Frankly, i may even touch on memorable Yunnan despite the three years lapse.

Coming back to this solid gold statue, i am inclined to talk about this because i did not manage to win the top prize in the S$10 million TOTO draw. To put it more bluntly, i spent S$100 but did not win a single cent. Mathematically, i made a book loss of S$100!

Blogging on this "world's biggest solid gold statue" will hopefully bring me some financial luck in the coming year. Though i know of its existence for a long time, my virgin visit to see this 5,500 kilograms effigy was only on my fourth trip to Bangkok last October.

Located on the top floor of this pagoda with a long spire, the statue has a very interesting history, especially its miraculous discovery. You may read more via the wikipedia page here.

The praying room is actually quite small and it can get crowded with devotees and tourists jostling to pray and take pictures respectively. Maybe because of this, my mind was not able to get into the Zen peacefulness normally associated with Buddhists abodes like Buddha Tooth Temple.

The true face of the three-meter tall golden Buddha! Just for information, the current gold price will put this at a delicious US$249.975 million dollars! Gosh, i sounded so blasphemic!

Whatever! We have not even included the historical value, which may push this to the priceless range - just like MasterCard! *rubbing hands with glee*

Please accept my sincere apology. I have erred badly as a Buddhist. From this moment, I will not crave for anything that this statue is made of. However, i shall not deny any money luck it can possibly give me, even if it's a golden fart from the back!

I digress. Mom was praying to the metallic statue and i could imagine her wishes; "more toto and 4D winnings, fantastic health for the family, happy working environment, young daughter can get married as soon as possible so that the house will no longer be a pigsty and so on and so forth...."

Entry is not free (not surprisingly in Thailand) but if you cannot even afford 40 baht (equivalent of roughly S$2); you can try to sneak in. I have seen a few visitors bypassing the ticket officers when busloads of tourists arrived at this famous attraction in Thailand.

Alternatively, treat the 40 baht as payment for complimentary bottles of mineral water placed freely in the temple. Unscrupulous business-minded individuals can even sell these for a quick profit outside the temple by labelling them as holy water!

Shameless to the max (if you ask me).

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Location
Very near to Chinatown! The famous Odeon Gate of Yaowarat Road (Chinatown) is noticeable in this picture taken from the pagoda in Wat Traimit Wittayaram (พระพุทธมหาสุวรรณปฏิมากร).

Get the city map from Suvarnabhumi Airport and you should be able to spot this Temple of the Golden Buddha somewhere in between Chinatown and Hualampong Railway Station.

Additional Information
Do pay a visit to the Yaowarat Heritage Centre at the lower level of the same building! My mom and i were so obsessed with shopping in Bangkok; we decided to forgo this for retail therapy instead in MBK!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

TBB - The Box Bistro @ Courts Tampines

It's really fate that pulled me to The Box Bistro (TBB) at Courts Tampines.

Thanks to a crowded, queue-laden IKEA restaurant, a hungry stomach craving for lunch at 3pm and an insistent Alex who wanted to buy a laptop in Courts.

TBB sounded like a western bistro and it does have spaghetti, steaks, pizzas etc on the menu. However, a portion of the menu is reserved for Malay/Indonesian food like Mee Soto, Ayam Penyet and Ayam Bakar!

Absolutely not keen to pay S$9.90 for a bowl of mee rebus, i decided (after much procrastination and comparison) on a plate of spaghetti and two pieces of TBB special chicken wings (my original intention was to have the IKEA chicken wings....)!

Alio Olio & Prawns
I am not exactly a pasta expert and could not tell the difference between Penne, Fettuccine and Linguine - if i even know the pronunciation for these pastas!

In general, the alio olio (shouldn't it be aglio olio?) was not as spicy as i thought it should be with the little flakes of chilli. It was a tad too dry but i still consider this better from the many i tried before.

Each strand of pasta, in particular, had speckles of chopped up parsley stuck to it. Contrary to popular belief, i have never considered parsley to be a mere decorative garnish; it does have a special taste that elicits extreme response from different person.

TBB Special Wings
The buffalo-wing outlook gave me the assumption that this could be spicy hot with an Asian twist.

I was so wrong! It was an unmatched combination of a surprisingly sweet sauce with some Asian spices that didn't create even a slight explosion on my tongue (or lips for that matter)!

Definitely the reason for patronising TBB again!

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Location
50, Tampines North Drive 2,
Level 2, Located in Courts Tampines

(The popular enclave that has the biggest IKEA, Courts and Giant within walking distance)

Price
Alio Olio & Prawns - S$12.90
TBB Special Wings - S$3.80 (2 pcs)

Subject to GST but No Service Charge!
Plain water available upon request

Additional Information
For parents, there is a relatively big play area for your children! Dump them inside and enjoy the food at The Box Bistro, while you can.

And best of all for my Muslim friends, TBB is Halal certified!





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