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Zaru Soba - Shokudo

Pit stop at Shokudo - Raffles Shopping Centre. I had the Zaru Soba for a snack. Ok while this may not seem like a snack to you, it was still a snack. I particularly love to eat cold Japanese noodles. They seem so soft and glittery and with the light sauce dip just complementing the refreshing bite. Burp Burp Burp, but for $6.50, I reckoned they could have given slightly more noodles though I must agree that that serving of wasabi at the side add a fiery fire to my tastebuds.

Price : $6.50

Rating for Zaru Soba at Shokudo : 4/5

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What a beautiful skyline...as we waited and waited for the bus to arrive.

Well for dinner, we got lost. Trust me, when I say we got lost, we got lost. My mum, grandaunt, aunt, cousin, uncle and I wanted to head to Whampoa to check out my Uncle's (another uncle) new home. We took Bus Service 124 but ended up going to Orchard. (It was the other way...just imagine that) And I am not saying that the bus service was especially efficient. We had to wait approximately 45 minutes in total for the buses and went traversing all about Singapore. Talk about Singapore being a small country and getting lost, just imagine this was some gigantic island...

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Well the journey to Whampoa was not a disappointment as there herein lies the famed Whampoa Food Centre. There have been so much buzz about this place that I really had to go there and check the food out (Even though it was more of a "coincidence" setting really)

Somehow the Hokkien Mee (specifically Singapore Fried Hokkien Mee) attracted a very long queue. And I must agree while I was queuing up for Ruby's Popiah (see below), a man walked past me with a plate of that particular hokkien mee and my head turned to follow the waft of fragrance.

The Hokkien Mee was heavily charred to a perfect mix (often with the "clack clack" sound of the ladle hitting the wok, much like a true master) and the toppings of prawns, squid and egg wasn't too skimpy. Perhaps the one true outstanding taste of this dish is really the fried chilli. It really added that extra zing to each morsel. Still I reckoned it would be better with a scatter of Fried Pork Fat...please ??

Price : $3

Rating for Singapore Fried Hokkien Mee : 4/5

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I mentioned earlier about queuing at Ruby's Popiah and honestly the only thing that attracted me to this dimly lit stall was really the queue that snaked from it. Come on, who in the world would queue for Popiah unless it was really good. I had to bet my tastebuds on it and for $1.20 per piece, well it was worth the wait.

Apparently the sole factor which really stood out for Ruby's Popiah is the ingredients which was wrapped in it. There was a good mix of the standard ingredients (turnip, sprouts, chinese lettuce, chopped omellete) plus Lap Chiong (chinese sausages), hard boiled egg and Pork Fat (I presume its pork fat because that was what it looked like. Wrap all these up in the Popiah skin and with a smattering of black sauce and chilli, it was ready to go.

I really enjoyed each bite. It was a good blend of flavours and with neither ingredient being too strong. The best part came when the crunch of the Pork Fat erupted in my mouth and I had to go "ooooh" Excellent Excellent.

Price : $1.20

Rating for Ruby's Popiah : 4.5/5

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My cousin Jeremy, and I had chicken wings and Chinese rojak for dessert. Though the real highlight here is the Chicken Wings which were oh so tenderly barbecued. I cannot say much about chicken wings except that these are crispy on the outside, with all the chicken fat smothered about, with the meat succulent and tender on the inside. The drizzle of lime juice and the dip of spicy chilli with the chicken simply tickled my tastebuds even more.

I have nothing to say, except that these are really good. If you are ever going to Whampoa, you should honestly try these BBQed Chicken Wings. O LALA =)

Price : $1.10 per Wing

Rating for BBQ Chicken Wings : 4.5/5

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Note : I can't really tell you the stall name as I am not especially good in traditional chinese characters, but you can see how the stall looks like from below.

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Overall Comments

I entered Whampoa lost and in despair because of the wrong bus ride but left the food centre stuffed to the max. The 3 stalls above are really must tries if you ever go to the Whampoa food centre (though the Zaru Soba is just as good=). Simple yet delicious ( deliciously priced ) dishes, that is sure to satisfy that stomach growl of yours.

Nature's Purple Passion

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Now who knew I would have a cube of amethyst lying around the house. This purple passion is truly a work of art from Nature and through the dextrous craftsmanship of a skilled messier, a beautiful cuboid is hewed right off the rock.

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Its very unique how this striking piece of amethyst is able to give off a glow when seen in the sunlight (look above) - As though within the gemstone itself there was a light bulb shining its way out. Such a wonder.

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Historically believed by the Ancient Greeks and Romans as a jewel that prevents harm and intoxication, it was much sought after by the nobles. Furthermore, the stone itself represents understanding, knowledge, and philosophy. 

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However, this purple beauty is found in various hues as well. There are amethyst in brown, yellow, red and even pink. Just imagine a string of amethyst in different colours but all cut similarly. It would be almost like a glittering rainbow of mystical wonder.

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For all you February babies out there, this is the gemstone that represents your month. A jewel with its extravagance in violet.

An exquisite collection from my mum's humble treasure cove.

More Please! Sir? Sir?

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Fried Hokkien Mee with topping of luscious Pork Fat

Down the road from Block 921 at Yishun Bus Interchange, I found another coffeeshop which had more hustle and bustle than even a school canteen at lunch time. It was a quaint little shoppe located around the bend and a particular sign board caught my eye.

One of the stall's signboard (though it might not have been very obvious) said 921 Yishun Fried Hokkien Mee. See the link? Two 921 Hokkien Mee stalls at two different coffeeshops. Well which is better?

This serving of Hokkien Mee was quite generous in noodle portion and each spoonfull (or chopstick full) carried an air of a heavy seafood stock. Still, I think that for the price of $4.00 they should have given a little more toppings and ingredients, like the sliced pork belly which was all but there.

The chilli though red hot in colour, proved to be inadequate with the quality of the dish. It was somewhat too strong in its prawn paste smell and tasted a little like chilli from the bottle.

Therefore in comparison with this version of Fried Hokkien Mee and the one located at Block 921, it seems that the latter wins this dish hands down. Though it would not hurt to try out different styles of cooking.

Price : $3.50/$4.00

Rating for Fried Hokkien Mee : 3.5/5

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Hainanese (Debone) Chicken Rice

The coffeeshop's serving of one of Singapore's most Singaporean Dishes - Hainanese Chicken Rice attracted a queue. In Singaporean terms, anything with a queue must be good.

I ordered the $3.50 serving of the Boneless Chicken Rice to find out what was so good about this stall's speciality. The chicken was served mostly without its skin (excellent for you health junkies) though the ladle of light sauce and sesame oil was a little too heavy for my liking. The meat was soft and a little juicy and pair this with the serving of warm chicken rice, it was good!

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I particularly enjoyed their rice. It was grainy but not too hard with each grain being a little oily from the chicken fat. Also it was not overpoweringly fragrant and provided a delicate complement to the meat.

The chilli sauce provided is something I really enjoyed. I presume it was blended from Chilli Padi so even a little dip of it on the meat made the bite fiery hot. For all you spice haters, beware!

Arguably this is one of the better Hainanese Chicken Rice I have eaten though it would be better if they were to go a little easy on the light sauce. It is not the best so far where in the lights of Yet Con along Purvis Street but for a neighbourhood whipping up of the dish and with it boneless, it is deal definitely value for money.

Now I know why there was a queue.

Price : $2.50/3.50

Rating for Hainanese Chicken Rice : 4/5

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Dim Sum in a Coffeeshop? Who could have guessed!

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Singapore Favourite Foods - Chinese Rojak

Almost every other coffeeshop has a stall selling Chinese Rojak with its crispy You Tiao, tau pok, turnip, cucumber, dried squid all mixed in a big bowl of prawn paste with chopped nuts.

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Today's Chinese Rojak called for the addition of Century Eggs - Duck eggs covered in mud and buried underground for 100 days till its ferments. Yummy! The acquired taste of the century eggs is definitely a strong ally with the sweet taste of the prawn paste and couple that with a slice or two of the crispy you tiao, oh my gosh, you are in heaven!

While the prawn paste that coats this Rojak isn't too strong, the chef was a little heavy handed with his use of sugar, so I didn't really enjoy the sweeter version of this popular Singaporean Dish. Now if they threw in a tau pok or two, this would really make a dish value for your money.

Price : $3.00 + $1.20 (century egg)

Rating for Chinese Rojak : 3.5/5

Comments

If you really are craving for an above average value for money deal at a coffeeshop at the Yishun vicinity, you might just want to pop by at this neighbourhood coffeeshop. While it does not serve the food like those in restaurants and posh cafes, it still bodes strongly of the local flavour and you might just be surprised at what dish you could really enjoy!

Location : Yishun 81 Food Court. Near Yishun Bus Interchange.

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A La Carte Side Dish - Fried Cuttlefish

Ajisen Ramen opened a new outlet at Causeway Point and I must say that it certainly is very popular with the crowd. Perhaps its just the yellowish, perfectly rounded strands of noodles that attract or maybe its just the trend to eat there. Experience at the new store was not entirely comfortable, with a slightly lower then expected service from the crew.  There was hardly a person at the entrance to guide us to our seats and when there was finally one, it was more of a "here's your seat" and immediately thereafter left.

Now this is good! Crispy yet easy to savour. The fried cuttlefish meat was not too tough like all the other deep fried cuttlefish you might have encountered. And while this would have been better with a sprinkle of salt, it is good enough to complement the ramen.

Rating for Fried Cuttlefish : 4/5

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Spicy Cuttlefish Ramen (Dry) - Chef's Recommendation and Mine too!

Still while service may not be up to expectations, the food is arguably good though I have to admit it is a little too pricey for a bowl of noodles with toppings that could have been a little more generous with.

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Nonetheless, I particularly enjoyed the Spicy Cuttlefish Ramen (Dry) which tasted almost similar to a bowl of noodles with chilli paste. The slices of pork topping was tender and with fat that was almost the standard of 'melt in your mouth' but the cuttlefish is perhaps a little too small to even notice it being there once you mix everything up. The noodles were good with a fine texture that was not too chewy or too easily broken. This is one dish I recommend! However do ask for more chilli if you want that extra spice.

Set meal price : $14.80

Rating for Spicy Cuttlefish Ramen (Dry) : 4/5

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Seafood Ramen

The Seafood Ramen is not a dish that deserves alot to be shout about. It was average in taste and quality with the stock hinting a tad of MSG (I'm not sure, but thats what I felt how it tasted). An OK dish but I have no idea how it is one of the most popular dishes available.

Set meal price : $13.80

Rating for Seafood Ramen : 2.5/5

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Pumpkin Croquette

A savoury and tasty dish with a generous mashed pumpkin filling that has been deep fried to a crispy golden brown. Slightly sweet though it could be improved by draining the excess oil on the surface of the croquette. It literally glitters in the light.

Rating for Pumpkin Croquette : 3/5

Overall Conclusion and Feel

Ajisen Ramen certainly lives up to its standards of serving some of the better ramens around. There is a wide selection and variety though I have to admit it is a little over the top in its price for a simple meal of noodles. There are commendable dishes like the spicy cuttlefish ramen which is definitely a must try if you visit the outlet but it will definitely be a more memorable visit with better service standards from the crew.

Jewel of the Orient

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The marvelous Jadeite, a tender beauty of nature with a history of ages old. In times past, Jadeite or commonly known as Jade has been considered to protect a person from harm and to bring him good luck. It is also thought of as a stone with healing properties and was frequently used in Chinese alchemy and medicine.

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Jade, considered as the stone of heaven, was once a symbol of rank and nobility in Ancient China where it was heavily appreciated. The gem, with its lustrous shine, is found in a wide spectrum of colours and is also varied with its translucency from opaque to glass. The most precious of Jadeites are the rare few which bode an imperial green colour with a glossy surface and an exquisite translucent interior. 

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I think Jade is one of the most fascinating gemstones. It exudes a pleasant calmness and gives a cool feeling to the touch. A sense of serenity which perhaps no other jewel can fulfill.

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Every piece is unique and no two similar stones can be found. Each has its own beauty, colour and character. Artistically crafted by man, created beautifully by Nature where creation tells its own story and journey.

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The precious love of my Mum's humble treasure cove....

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I seem to always have that craving for Burger King! Especially that Mushroom Swiss Double. So exceptionally delicious. That beefy patty topped with the oh my goodness mushrooms and melted cheese. One of the best comfort foods in the world.

Well I tried (I say again..I tried) to duplicate that fabulous topping but with what ingredients I had. Let's say..I looked in to the refrigerator and I found Garlic Sprouts (to scare vampires away?), 1 packet of Fresh Shitake Mushrooms, oh yeah and lots of cheese (the cheap processed kind sold in slices, not something like Fetta, Cottage, Mozerralla which are like $$$ to a student)

Its a good effort and I particularly enjoyed the soft mushrooms and the salty taste of that melted goodness. Though one thing for sure, I didn't really enjoy the garlic sprouts (I became scared that I would scare vampires away I just didn't enjoy it)

Wanna try this recipe out?

Shitake Mushrooms, Garlic Sprouts with Melted Cheese

  • 1 pack Fresh Mushrooms ( or 10-12 pieces)
  • 2 stalks of garlic sprout
  • 2 slices of processed cheese
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Oyster Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of Oil or Butter
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  1. Slices the mushrooms and sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over them.
  2. Cut the garlic sprout into smaller pieces. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil or butter (preferably) in the pan.
  3. Stir fry the garlic sprout. Once garlic sprouts are slightly soft, add in the mushrooms and oyster sauce. Stir fry till slightly dry, add in about 2 tablespoons of water. Give or take 2 minutes for mushrooms to be cooked and become soft.
  4. Once mushrooms are nice and soft, add in the slices of cheese in the pan. Turn heat to small. Slowly use your ladle and mix the cheese and mushrooms together. The cheese should melt on its own. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve =)

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You could be like me and serve that fabulous experiment dish with fresh Cod, tomatoes and some corn. Yummy. Burp. I think I can open my own Burger outlet =)

P.S Before I go, I have to say this, last night I chanced upon a trade secret, a very old recipe, by using a certain something to coat my fish and deep frying it. LOL, obviously it may not be a trade secret but it certainly is an old way of doing it, but not many are doing so these days...Till then=)

Botak Jones Luncheon Again..-.-!

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Rosemary Lamb Chops - er I didn't taste any Rosemary..?

Today's lunch outing had me travel all the way to Woodgrave Woodgrove for Botak Jones! Yes yes. the place is rather silent with the main hustle and bustle being in the Fairprice Outlet there, but to go all the way to some outskirts in Woodlands (I exaggerated a teeny weeny bit), its plain ridiculous!

The Botak Jones outlet at Woodgrove is rather new having been established only a couple of months back. Placed prominently in the residential Kopitiam, I could hardly miss the banners hailing the presence of Botak Jones (O Mighty One!)

Rosemary Lamb Chops was up on the menu for me today, and I must say that I am not very impressed by it. For $12.00, 200grams worth of Lamb Chops and 2 side dishes, it was not entirely a value for money dish.

It is true that you get premium meat, but sincerely while I admit it is juicier, there is a stark difference in taste for my regular Lamb Chops at the coffeeshop, which do taste better at a more value for money price.

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A delicate portion which is average and pricey

Still, while I may not appreciate the quality of meat entirely, the dish does have its good points. It was juicy, tender and topped with a generous serving of white mushroom sauce.

The two side dishes (I chose Potato Salad and Mexican Rice) were average in texture and quality, with nothing spectacular. But if you are a fan for potatoes and egg all mixed in one, you might enjoy the eggy potato side dish =) I reckoned a sprinkle of salt could have been drizzled over the Mexican Rice for more flavour.

I presumed that while they called it "Rosemary Lamb Chops" I would find more obvious portions of Rosemary cooked with the Lamb, but somehow the fragrance of the herb disappeared. Nonetheless, there was this little drop ( about 2 spoonfulls ) of green sauce at the side of the lamb chops which I eventually guessed it to be the Rosemary sauce. A tad too sour for my liking which for me did not complement the flavour and tenderness of the meat.

In Overall, the Rosemary Lamb Chops at Botak Jones Woodgrove Outlet, while not entirely a huge disappointment, still ranks some points in the quality and presentation department. If you are a hardcore fan for Lamb, you might just want to go Baaaa....

Price : $12.00 (200g serving) with 2 side dishes of your own choice.

Rating for Rosemary Lamb Chops : 2/5

Botak Jones Woodgrove Outlet (located at the Kopitiam, opposite St. Anthony's Church). Get there with Bus 912 from Woodlands Interchange

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Can't get enough of the Botak Burger...topped with Shitake Mushrooms!

Ah hahaha ... I couldn't get enough of the Botak Burger! I had to order it again with Shitake Mushrooms topping! Yum Yum. Now this you must try! Tender and juicy, with fragrant mushrooms to top - ahhh heaven =)

I have a confession - My new found love - THE CHEMPEDAK! I'M going NUTS over it. Juicy, sweet, so much like the jackfruit and the durian - almost like a crossbreed. Burp...going to buy more ... hehe ...

A slight randomness of my own ;)

Till then.

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I must be mad about Chempedak. 

Ampang Yong Tau Foo - Sedap?

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This is honestly my first time trying Ampang Yong Tau Foo. Sure, I have eaten the normal Yong Tau Foo served dry or in a soup with noodles. However, Ampang Yong Tau Foo is slightly more different than being your ordinary Yong Tau Foo.

The dish originated from a street called Jalan Ampang in Malaysia where there are 3 stalls selling a similar style of this Yong Tau Foo. Hence the name "Ampang".

What struck me first is that the Ampang Yong Tau Foo comes served in a plate rather then a bowl, and while the variety of ingredients is standard fare, the largest differentiating factor is perhaps the dish is topped with a ladle of heavy mushroom sauce.

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I particularly enjoyed the meal as the Mushroom sauce really made the mark. While the normal variant would have red sweet sauce and chilli sauce all mixed together with the Yong Tau Foo, it was really interesting having a hearty mushroom bite. The yellow noodles that came along had a drizzle of black sweet sauce which I must say was a clever way for presentation and taste in what would otherwise be a very dry accompaniment.

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While Ampang Yong Tau Foo is nothing fantastic, it still is a healthy dish (if you don't eat much of the sauce and order all veggies) which will delight many. Well, what separates this Yong Tau Foo from the 'traditional', perhaps its the mushroom sauce and the way it is served. Apart from that, not much of a difference.

I had mine at Causeway Point Food Junction.

Location : Sungei Wang Am Pang Yong Tau Foo, Food Junction, Causeway Point

Price : $0.50 per piece of Yong Tau Foo (min. 7 pieces)

Rating for this stall : 3.5/5

Snow flakes so pretty...

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There is always something about Snowskin mooncakes that rivet my attention.  The idea of a soft and chewy skin coupled with the sugary goodness on the inside is as delicate as the dew on a blade of grass. I think that in our modern era, the snowskin mooncake is definitely a way of having traditions keep up with the younger generations.

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This particular pure white snowskin mooncake hails from the famed Raffles Hotel. Packaged in an elegant box featuring a chinese lady in her traditional attire on the cover, the box alone is exudes the moments of time coming to a stand still.

Inside the box, one would find a second layer of wrapping, that of the baking paper emblazoned with "Original Raffles Hotel Mooncake" - leaving me to wonder if there are fake raffles lying around!

 

 

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Still, I was impressed with the neatly arranged snowskin mooncakes in the box. Each had their own little 'apartment' in the golden tray. Well, it had to be golden else it wouldn't be from Raffles Hotel, would it?

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Perhaps the real deal comes from tasting the mooncake itself, regardless of how well packaged the traditional goodie comes in. I found the snowskin mooncake to be soft but not too mushy. There was a delicate balance between the sweetness of the 'skin' and the filling.

As part of a new creation, the snowskin mooncake came with a white chocolate ball filled with liquor. The chocolate simply melts in the mouth while the alcohol slowly oozes out onto your tongue, leaving you in sheer ecstasy. It was a memorable experience.

Now, at this standard, quality and texture, its no wonder these snowskin mooncakes are from Raffles Hotel. Any less, and it would not be fit of the name.