Happy Birthday Singapore Pancakes Recipe!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR SINGAPORE… HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!

It’s Singapore’s Birthday today! To commemorate such a special day, I’ve decided to have a special post today and unveil my cutest creation yet! Since today is National Day, I decided to put a spin on some regular pancakes to make it… SINGAPOREAN! I have written down the recipe for you guys down below in case any of you wish to try it out! It is really simple and does not require any special ingredients! (You could also tweak the colours and spice it into different flavours) Without further ado….

THEFOODIEPEOPLE’s HAPPY BIRTHDAY SINGAPORE PANCAKE RECIPE

Makes 6 Pancakes

Ingredients:

100g Self- Raising Flour

2.5 Tablespoons of Regular Sugar

1 Tablespoon of Corn Starch

A Pinch of Salt

1 Egg

120ml Fresh Milk

1 Tablespoon of Cooking Oil

Optional:

  • Fruits for Decoration
  • Maple Syrup
  • Red Food Colouring
  • Or any other seasoning

Directions:

  1. After Measuring the specific amounts required, add the Self Raising Flour, Sugar, Cornstarch and Salt to a sieve and sift the ingredients through
  2. In a different bowl, Lightly beat the egg
  3. Add in Milk to the Egg and mix well
  4. Add the Dry ingredients to the Egg & Milk Mixture quarterly at each time
  5. After adding all, ensure that the mixture is blended well (avoid mixing too much though as it might cause a textural change)
  6. Pour the entire mixture now through the sieve again to allow it to blend properly
  7. Add the tablespoon of oil before wrapping the bowl with a plastic wrap and leaving it in the fridge to set for 5 minutes.
  8. At the 4th Minute mark, heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. As the pan gets hot, remove it from the fire and let it cool on a wet rag before replacing it on low heat
  9. Take out the batter from the fridge and scoop about half a ladle of batter onto the pan
  10. **OPTIONAL STEP** Mix a few drops of the colouring into the batter should you choose to create coloured pancakes/ flavoured pancakes
  11. Cook the batter thoroughly, make sure that bubbles appear on the surface before flipping (Try to avoid flipping the pancakes too much, it will cause the pancakes to become denser)
  12. Flip with the spatula and cook till the other side is slightly brown
  13. Repeat the steps to complete the rest
  14. Garnish with whatever you like

 

Note: For the garnish I used strawberries, peaches, white and dark chocolate chips as well as Maple syrup but the option is really yours. My dad ate his with Kaya. You could also choose to melt chocolate and have chocolate syrup instead of maple. The possibilities are endless! So just have fun cooking!

 

Just for Some Ideas, this is what I did

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Jabistro Review

Last summer, I went touring around the different provinces in Canada, hopping along Toronto (Ontario), Montreal (Quebec), Edmonton (Alberta). My mom was so excited towards visiting these places that she searched for the restaurants with rave reviews and shortlisted the few that we should eat. Coincidentally, one of my foodie friends just came to Vancouver after studying in Ontario for quite a while and suggested a whole list of places that we should try out in our food hunt. According to my friend, the sushi at this place was to die for. Any takers on guessing what this place is?

Jabistro is the answer! The reservation process was admittedly a little more complex than what we assumed it to be (we decided to call two days in advance for dinner reservations) but only to find out that this place was so popular that all reservation spots were booked and they told us to try walk- ins. Left with no other choice, we decided to head down to Jabistro for an early dinner. (Note: Jabistro opens for dinner at 5pm) Originally we thought that we were the only group to arrive so early, right on its opening time but alas, there were other people there for early dinners too. Thankfully, we managed to get a seat after assuring the waitress that we would be able to vacate after an hour.

We tried out the wagyu oshizushi, JaBistroll as well as the Sampler Sashimi Platter. I must admit, I have never tasted such delicious Sashimi ever. On normal days, I tend to be a little more conservative and stick to either Salmon Sashimi. An adventure to me would be trying out Tuna. However, I fell in love when I tried their Sampler Sashimi. The Sashimi pieces seemed to melt in your mouth with freshness at it’s very best. The Wagyu Oshizushi was pressed wagyu beef sushi. It had a very unique taste as most sushis tend not to use wagyu beef. The JaBistroll was a blend of different seafood like salmon, snow crab and uni. The delicate balance was captured very well in the roll and it left me longing for more.

I probably should not compare a good restraunt against another but Jabistro overall seemed like the Toronto version of a Miku. Whilst it ranges on the pricy side with each roll being about 20 CAN, it was worth every penny. However, I must say that I felt that Jabistro did a much better job on the Sashimi in comparison to Miku which is a little fascinating given Vancouver is a city close to the sea but Miku wins with it’s variety of different rolls available. Nonetheless, both restraunts are great in their own right and visiting either would be a treat for your taste buds.

As usual, to end off, a ranking of this unforgettable taste experience.

Food Taste- 9/10 (Same as Miku, a taste to remember)

Ambience- 8/10 (It is slightly small but given that it is located in Toronto’s downtown, a space like that would probably be quite expensive)

Location- 7/10 (I don’t recall it being located near the bus or train station. If you do know do leave a comment and I’ll be sure to rectify it.)

Pricing- $$-$$$

The official website with all the menus available for anyone interested –>  http://www.jabistro.com/index.php

 

No photos by me I’m sorry. They all had such bad lighting that I felt so ashamed to post them TT

 

Cafe Galilee Review

“Don’t Study Hard, Study Smart.”

-Unknown

Hey guys, I’m back once again with a review for you guys! It seems as though July has literally flown by and exam season is once again fast approaching (in Singapore) and if I’m not wrong in Vancouver final exams are also just a blink away (or have they ended…). However, unlike Vancouverians who will be having their long awaited summer break whilst Singaporeans sadly have already had our month long summer break. Either ways, back to the topic of reviews, I thought why not write a review on the place that most of us are holed up in during exam prep. Of course, it is none other than the LIBRARY! Well more specifically Cafe Galilee that seems to be a friend of libraries (because I’ve only seen them in the Library setting)

Honestly the idea to have a cafe in the library is probably one of the best marketing ideas ever. As food gives a comforting presence during the long hours of studying (and keeps our eyes a centimeter more open too), it comes as to no suprise why Cafe Galilee would be pulling in big bucks. On average the prices can be considered slightly average to any other Cafe in Canada but with drinks available from 70 cents onwards in Singapore, the 5-6 bucks a drink does seem a little pricy for a day to day basis. To counter that problem, Cafe Galilee does offer the Cool Card and a Warm Card which does help cut down the prices slightly especially for those repeated visitors. I can’t recall how much each drink costs if you buy a warm card (I’m sorry) but I think a drink costs about $4.20 with the Cool Card (available for 5 drinks although you have to pay the lumpsum of the 5 drinks at one go). Whilst it still may not be considered a cheap option, it is does allow you to save a buck or two from each drink.

Personally my favourite drinks from the menus are the tea freezes? First off, I’m more of a tea person rather than a coffee person (coffee tends to get me very hyper for a very long time- and it would be more likely to cause me to feel drowsy the next day since I wouldn’t be able to sleep well that night) and the second reason is probably just because I do like the fruits they use for their tea freezes. The Peach Tea Freeze is more smooth with less of a residual texture whereas the Orange one does have bits and pieces of fibre in the drink. So it really depends on what kind of drink you like.

Orange Tea Freeze (L) & Peach Tea Freeze (R)

I have also heard positive reviews on the Milkshakes. So far I have only managed to try the Apple one if I am not wrong (sorry for the failure in remembering the names and the Cafe Galilee website doesn’t have the full selection sadly) Whilst the overall taste is a not too bad, you really do have to like your milk to finish the entire thing. I admit I am not really a milk girl either and I am very, very, VERY fussy about my apples so despite giving it an overall okay, I know I wouldn’t be trying that again. The apples were more of the sappy kind and I only like crunchy apples if it makes sense.

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Apple Milkshake

Oh yes, the Honey Lemon. MHMMMMM. I liked it. It is one of the cheaper items on the menu of drinks so if you do buy a cool card, yes it does let you save a few pennies but as I said, it’s pennies and not dollars which would be what you will be saving if you got the energy boosters or smoothies. A clear not blended fluid, extremely suitable for people who hate crushed ice or tend to get brain freezes really easily, the honey lemon does give you a sweet kick and since it is honey, you don’t need to worry about getting a sore throat from the stress! It is though a tinge on the sweet side so consider yourself warned!

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Honey Lemon

Mocha Ice Blended was the last drink I think I had from my cool card. As I said, I don’t tend to buy coffee or chocolate flavoured drinks so this one actually was for my mom. I tried a bit and found it rather interesting. It tastes quite similar to a mocha frapp which you can get from starbucks. With the blend of coffee, cream, chocolate and ice, I suppose this is would be a fan favourite to some. To put it bluntly, there is nothing very special about it, but it certainly doesn’t taste terrible. Plus I is slightly more affordable than a grande starbucks right? (with the cool card discount and everything)

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Mocha Frap

Snacks Snacks Snacks. When I was still studying in Singapore, Cafe Galilee was my haunt. Literally since one of the staff members of the cafe from my usual library can actually recognize me. I used to order the onion rings, loving the ratio of the batter to the onion rings. It really is one of the best onion rings around that I have tasted in Singapore. Another one which I tried out was the chicken bits (it looks a little like popcorn chicken only in a bigger scale). I would say it tastes okay but I would still stick with my onion rings.

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Chicken Bits

Another tip that I can give is that you can make friends with the server. As I mentioned earlier, my repeated visits made the staff recognize me and there was once they gave me a student price for a meal which made it much more affordable. I am not too sure if they still do have this promotion going on as it is quite a while back and they did tell me that there was a specific time that the offer lasts, but feel free to check it out and well, if it is still going on, you got yourself a good deal there!

Here comes the grand finale, the part where I am sure most people are interested in, the rankings!

Food Taste- 6.5/10 (When you’re craving for food but have to study, this place would be your prayers answered but it does still pale in comparison to the other possible good food you can get out there)

Ambience- 7/10 (It really depends on the time you go and which branch you are at and occasionally there are those people who are quite inconsiderate by talking really loudly, I mean it is a cafe and you can talk, just no need for the shouting yeah?)

Location- 7/10 (I think most libraries have this cafe at least most of the bigger ones :))

Pricing- $

ONE AND A HALF CHOPSTICKS RANKING

 

Featured Picture courtesy of the Cafe Galilee Website (http://www.cafe-galilee.com/)

Miku Restraunt Review

“First We Eat, Then We Do Everything Else” 

-M.F.K. Fisher

After final exams ended (of course this calls f0r a celebration), my friends and I took off in hunt for good food and where did we end up? Based on the title, it’s quite apparent where we decided to grab our celebratory dinner at. Miku. I’ve only been t0 Miku twice but the allure of Miku seems to never fade.

Okay let’s start off with the breakdown of the menu. (I must put a disclaimer in here though: Miku Lunches and Dinners vary based on location. The one I went to was the one located at 200 Granville Street #70, Vancouver, BC V6C 1S4) With that said, let’s get back to my description of the delicious food you can get there. Miku specializes in Aburi and Oshi Sushi which means blow- torched and pressed sushi respectively. I admit, after a nasty experience with Aburi sushis, I was quite appalled by the idea of eating Aburi but luckily, I managed to conquer that fear for the Aburis at Miku’s are probably the best I’ve ever known.

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On my first trip there, I tried the Miku Signature Selection, Sashimi Platter for 2 and the Salmon Sashimi whereas on my second trip, I was not so hungry and just got a Aburi Sushi Sampler.

The Miku Signature Selection is a varied selection of various traditional and Aburi Nigiri (the sushi with just the ingredient on top of the rice), oshi sushis (pressed sushis) as well as the specialty rolls. For anyone giving Miku the first try, this would probably be what I would reccommend because you could get a taste of quite a number of items Miku has to offer . Some of the sushis featured in the Signature Selection is the Salmon Oshi sushi, Sunrise Roll, Ebi (Prawn) Nigiri, Aburi Yellow Tail Nigiri and many more.

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Another option for a less hearty eater is the Aburi Sushi Sampler. With 5 sushi pieces, it is pretty much the minature version of the Miku Signature Selection which has 10 sushi pieces.  The Aburi Sushi Sampler had the Aburi Yellowtail, Scallops, Sunrise Roll, Salmon Oshi Sushi and the Ebi Oshi Sushi.

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Whilst the Sashimi platter and the Salmon sashimi was indeed fanatastic at it’s own right, I think that it pales in comparison to the wide selection of sushis available.

Miku has commonly been a place with a chic, high- class vibe to it. With most patrons being business professionals, it is of no surprise as to why it emits such a vibe.

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To conclude! A ranking time!!

Food Taste- 9/10 (One of the BEST sushi places available)

Ambience- 8.5/10

Location- 7.5/10 (There is a gorgeous view of the waterfront but only if you get the window seats)

Pricing- $$$

Here’s the official website for those interested in swinging by to try –> http://mikurestaurant.com/

THREE CHOPSTICKS RANKING

Sorry for the Crappy Photo Quality I have no idea what happened ><

Gyu Kaku (Vancouver) Restaurant Review

“I was supposed to have a nice body for summer, but there is one small problem… I love food more than anything else…” – Relatables

Hey everyone and welcome back to the weekly saturday review and today’s spotlight is none other than Gyu Kaku (Vancouver edition). This treat is specially for one of my friends who read all of my reviews in a shot and eagerly hoped for a review on this Japanese BBQ Restaurant. According to my friend Google, Gyu Kaku boasts a fantastic international scope of having 800 restaurants all over the globe. Singapore, Thailand, Canada, Some States in United States and of course it’s home country, Japan just to name a few. With such an impressive resume of branch locations, let us zoom in on well the Gyu Kaku in Canada, Vancouver to be exact.

Back when I was in Singapore, many of my foodie friends have raved to me time and time again about this restaurant. Eager to try it out, I went there for my birthday celebration a few years back, blowing a whole three hundred over dollars just on one meal for four. Dumbfounded and thoroughly shocked by the price, one trip to Singapore’s Gyu Kaku was enough for my poor sulking wallet. (Let us save the SG Gyu Kaku experience for another post yeah, moving on…)

Sadly, the so called ‘fast’ did not last, when I went to Vancouver, I started to understand the appeal of Gyu Kaku. I mean 20 odd bucks for a decent BBQ, I wouldn’t deny that Gyu Kaku was not as pricy as I had always assumed it to be (maybe it is just the Singapore branches). Oh yes disclaimer before people start screaming at me, my 20 odd bucks calculation was done from the division of the Meat Lover’s set by 3. Yes we had 3 people sharing it so it did help to reduce the price tag. Back onto the actual food…

Through my few visits, I tried the Meat Lovers, the Shogun as well as the Matsuri Sets. Okay, if you were to bring people like me (whose appetite can be considered as a smaller than average), the number of people would be a bad gauge for it. Since there are carbohydrates given and the amount of protein is definitely enough to go around. I would recommend bringing one more person than the said number. Then again, you could always grill the meat and pack it to take home (although the tenderness will never be the same). What I like about Gyu Kaku Vancouver is that whilst the meat is the star, the sides have a very nice complimentary taste. The Corn with Butter and the Mushroom Medley are two of my loves. Plus I mean the most important thing about a BBQ is the sauce am I right? Secret tip, mix the sweet sauce with the chilli at a ratio of about 6 (sweet) : 4 (spicy) or the otherway around if you would like a slightly spicier kick. The Yuzu or was it Ponzu sauce… was not so much to my liking(?) but that is also because I don’t tend to favour sourer tastes.

Another piece of advice I would give is that unless you are looking for variety, ordering A la Carte may not be a bad idea either, especially if you know what you like (My top pick would be the Angus Beef Ribs). Whilst A la Carte might be a little pricier overall, it helps you avoid the meat that you aren’t keen on eating (Personally I didn’t think the spicy pork was all that great)

Furthermore there are discounts for the A la Carte Menu should you choose to go during their Happy Hour Promotion. Reservations are always useful or you might just end up waiting half an hour which was what happened to me once when I tried to go on impulse.

The benefits of having grill BBQ is that you can have the power to adjust how cooked you would like your beef to be. Sadly this power comes with a price though, having the privilege to cook also means that you will most slightly be smelling like a piece of BBQ-ed meat after dinner. Consider yourself warned. BBQ overall also has a tendency to fall on the saltier side with Gyu Kaku not exempt from this so daily BBQ fests are going to take a toll on your health (or at least your sodium levels) but who am I to spoil the fun? Enjoy some BBQ whilst summer is still here!

Here’s the link to the Gyu Kaku: http://www.gyu-kaku.com/

Just Click the Locations & Menus and choose your location to take a peek at the menu available!

 

Food Taste- 8/10 ($20++ bucks for a BBQ, an occasional splurge? YES. )

Ambience- 7/10 (One thing that does happen to me when eating there is I have yet to eat there and not see someone I know… odd eh since Vancouver is pretty huge… )

Location- 6/10 (Okay I admit, if I wasn’t brought by my friend the first time, I would be lost, completely, it is quite remote even though it IS in downtown and near granville street…)

Pricing- $$

TWO CHOPSTICKS RANKING

 

Featured Pictures Credits to Gyu Kaku’s Official Page.

Ding Tai Fung Restaurant Review

“There is No sincerer love than the love of food.”

-George Bernard Shaw

Now if you are a foodie in Singapore and you love dumplings (especially xiao long baos) you can’t possibly not know this place. (Cues my drumroll please) It’s none other than… Ding Tai Fung. I know many people have challenged the fact that Ding Tai Fung has ‘the best dumpling in Singapore’ but the fact is that Ding Tai Fung is probably the most renowned dumpling restaurant in Singapore. With over 15 restaurants at all corners of Singapore, Ding Tai Fung has cemented its place as one of the go to restaurants for locals and foreigners alike when searching for a good Chinese place.

Originated from Taiwan, Ding Tai Fung has won many accolades for it’s most famous dish, the xiao long bao. Ding Tai Fung’s xiao long bao is characterized with a particularly thin dumpling skin that despite its fragile look and feel, has the right amount of strength to hold the soup without breakage. Personally, I feel that whilst many places have been able to rival the taste of the xian (the meat inside) the dumpling, many have failed in their attempt to make thin yet sturdy dumpling skins. Out of my multiple times having their xiao long baos, never once have their skin given way on me and had the soup within the dumpling leak out.

Although the xiao long bao is Ding Tai Fung’s highlight, Ding Tai Fung does have a huge array of different chinese dishes available to go alongside the dumplings. When my friends from Canada came to visit Singapore, my family decided to bring them to Ding Tai Fung and their sentiments were identical to ours. That Ding Tai Fung is indeed a strong competitor in the field of Chinese Cuisine.

During that particular trip, we ordered the

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醉鸡(drunken chicken)

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紅油抄手(wontons with black vinegar and chilli oil)

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酸辣汤(hot and sour soup)

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牛肉面(beef noodles)

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翻炒菠菜(stir fry spinach)

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虾煎饼(prawn pancake)


and of course, the
小笼包(xiao long bao)

On my first taste, I felt that the drunken chicken felt a little too salty. It seemed to me that it lacked other flavour profiles besides being salty. However, as I tried more pieces, I began to fall in love with the lightness of that dish. The wontons was indeed spicy and sour, just like the traditional style. The balance was ideal and was basically the best ones I’ve eaten in quite a while. The beef noodles (as you can see from the picture) really looked unappetizing. However, the noodles were stretchy and the soup was also tasty. In Singapore, this beef noodles would probably be ranked highly in the hearts of many foodies. Yet if you compare it very critically to one from Taiwan or Hong Kong, it seems a little average.

Moving on to the spinach (before people start bashing me on my comparison scales) the spinach was not too bad, generally falling into the ‘okay’ category. It didn’t taste bad, it just didn’t taste memorable (sadly). The prawn pancake was interesting really, it was thin and was created from the prawn paste. This dish definitely can hold its own as a side but I enjoyed dipping mine in the vinegar and chilli oil to spice everything up (oil over oil. I need a oil intervention…)

I suppose I have raved enough about the xiao long bao that I don’t need to give any further descriptions about it. Definitely a must try. (Don’t blame me if you get addicted though)

Ding Tai Fung is one of the few restaurants I tend to go to time and time again because of its captivating tastes. The best thing about Ding Tai Fung? There are so many chain stores all over the world that you can try the different ones around and compare them! Within Singapore, my foodie sister recommends the Marina Bay Sands one (which I agree wholeheartedly- it’s a good plus especially when bringing your friends from other countries no?) and the one at Paragon. Personally I’ve only tried the ones at Marina Bay Sands, Junction 8 and Wisma  Atria and I think the one at Marina Bay Sands has the best service and food based off my experience.

Food Taste- 9/10 (You really need to try it. Once at least.)

Ambience- 8/10 (It can get a little more hectic during lunch and dinner time. It also depends on which one you head to, the Junction 8 one to me seems the most hectic and cramped)

Location- 9/10 (Just find the one nearest to you. Even if most aren’t near you, most are easily accessible by train and are in town!)

Pricing- $$-$$$

THREE CHOPSTICKS RANKING

 

Schwartz’s Deli (Montreal) Review

“Food is for Taste. Happiness is taste of Life.”

-Kazeronnie Mark 

I think this food find that I am about to introduce is probably the most popular one and probably well known to almost every Canadian. It is… *Drumroll please* The Montreal Smoked Meat. Of course one of the most famous delis when one talks about smoked meat is the Schwartz’s. Tourists and locals alike flock to this tiny deli and queue up to an hour at peak times in search of this flavourful dish. Takeaways, Dine-ins, there is always a long line for this delight.

The deli itself is quite humble with no fancy decorations. It may not be the most beautiful restaurant in Montreal, yet loads of people head there because the food is just that good. The meat just simply falls apart in your mouth leaving a mouthwatering taste. Previously when I was there, I ordered a smoked meat sandwich and the poutine. The poutine was great but the smoked meat sandwich was undoubtly the star of the meal.

Sandwiched between two pieces of bread with a thin layer of mustard coating one side, the meat given was generous in it’s amount. I found myself wanting more even after finishing the entire bun and my tummy was bursting at it’s seams.

Eager to try out whether I could replicate (or somewhat replicate the taste of this dish, I bought the frozen pack and spices that the deli sold. The frozen pack was vacuumed packed and that was definitely a plus as it made it easy for me to bring it back to Vancouver.

Although it was a great pity when I tried to recreate the dish, I fell short of the standards of Schwartz. However, as the smoked meat was pre-done, it was very convenient as a packed lunch, as I just needed to defrost it and pack it as a sandwich and could heat it in school using a microwave. The spices were also very flavourful. They had varying spices available for different kind of meat and it did really work efficiently as a spice rub for the meat.

One important thing to note whilst there though is that they only accept cash which is a hassle for most Canadians since Canadians tend to travel cashless most of the time. Nonetheless, this place is superb place to get smoked meat. For all those meat lovers out there like me, you may just end up utterly in love with this quaint deli.  

To end of my usual reviews, a ranking!

Food Taste- 9/10 (Worth Every Single Penny)

Ambience- 6/10 (It’s pretty tiny and it’s not the kind of place that you can be expecting first class service-especially since you have to queue (in the heat during the summer and the cold in winter >.<) and reservations aren’t accepted.)

Location- 6/10 (Probably the easiest way to distinguish it is it’s long queue outside the restaurant. Frankly considered as an inconspicuous place with no train or bus stopping very near)

Pricing- $

THREE CHOPSTICKS RANKING

This website will redirect you to the French page/ English page depending on your preferences → http://www.schwartzsdeli.com/

P.s. I’m sorry I didn’t take photos of the delicious smoked meat 😦

Cover Photo Credits from the official Schwartz Deli Page 🙂

Kiseki Review

“Japanese Food Makes Me Feel Particularly Good.”

-David Mitchell

In all honesty I was in fact not planning on posting this review (given that it is literally fresh out of the oven→ I’m squeezing all my writing juices here) but one of my dearest friends requested that I post this particular review so here is my review on… Kiseki!

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The first time I was introduced to Kiseki was when my teacher (now my godma) wanted to give me a birthday treat. At that time, I thought Kiseki was like a dream come true. With unlimited Sashimi (and they did have a rather wide range of sashimi selections at that time) and various types of teriyaki, this japanese buffet made my tummy a happy one. Following that visit, I visited Kiseki a total of 3 more times, twice before I left for Vancouver and once earlier this Monday.

I must say that Kiseki indeed has changed a lot since it’s start. For example, the sashimi corner no longer had so much variety. Previously, they had yellowtail and tuna sashimi available and also a special marinated Salmon sashimi. Although I admit that my default sashimi choice would usually be Salmon, I do know some people who absolutely adore Tuna sashimi. Furthermore, I thought that the marinated Salmon Sashimi (whilst a little oily in it’s marination) was a rather unique dish that I didn’t see elsewhere. What is left now in their Sashimi collection is Imitation Abalone, Octopus and Ebi. Salmon Sashimi was also available at request (they no longer leave it outside for customers to pick but they would prepare servings on plates that you can take freely (still unlimited thankfully) Okay, I admit that my taste buds have been spoilt by the freshness of the sashimi in Vancouver and sashimi in Singapore would somehow fall a little short. With that said, I must commend Kiseki because the Salmon Sashimi available there really does fall above average amongst Japanese restaurants in SIngapore. I could coin it a ‘worth your buck’ visit for my fellow sashimi lovers out there. The imitation abalone tasted really like regular imitation abalone, only it seemed to be bordering slightly on the salty side (but that may be just my own personal preference). The Octopus was interesting since I wouldn’t specially order it at a restaurant and Octopus sashimi is pretty rare at Japanese buffets in Vancouver. I suppose what always draws me into eating at Kiseki is the fact that when they say it’s a buffet, it really is, there is no limitations to the number of sashimi pieces you can order (unlike most Japanese buffets in Vancouver).

Moving on to the teriyaki, I noticed that the teriyaki selection also has had quite a drastic change since my visit a few years back. They used to do the teriyaki selections by orders (I vividly recall going with one group of my friends and ordering a little too much and so we had to stuff our faces full) However, now it goes by a ready made form where you can pick how much you want. This of course has it’s pros and it’s cons, you can take lesser (like just one piece if you wanted a sample) but it also means that it is sadly not freshly made. I also noticed that they no longer serve my grilled portobello mushrooms T_T. Those were the best really.

Another change made was the change in the mini hotpot. I must say that this change was the most disappointing. Both the ingredients and the broth changed. There used to be seafood with a saltier broth but was replaced with pork and a clear broth. Personally I missed the old broth although it contained seafood like prawns (which I was happy to give anyone else) I suppose there would be split opinions on the change of broth but I for one would have liked to have the old hotpot.

The last change that was quite shocking was the loss of the pizza. Yes eating pizza at a Japanese buffet may be a little odd and it may be a little waste of space (considering the amount of carbs it has) but I think the little kids loved it. In the past, I would see the little kids hogging the pizza station. Sadly, all that is left is sausages. A little sad I must say.

Old things gone, new things in. There were some new and rather fascinating things available. For example, they have a wider selection of fried items with things like french fries, crab claws etc (the crab claws seemed to be a huge hit amongst the customers). Also freshly in (or maybe I never noticed but now I do) is the takoyaki? It tasted decent, having the required elements but it just wasn’t fantastic. I regretted taking too many and filling myself up with too much carbs. As of what remains the same, the tempura, sushi, stir fry, salad bars all seemed to have retained it’s original outlook.

As for my favourite food picks? I would recommend trying the Chuka Idako (seasoned baby octopus), the Tempura and THE CHAWANMUSHI. Oddly enough the chawanmushi would be my go to food. I waited for around 3 rounds to get one cup. Whenever the Chawanmushi came, it was like as though a wave of people would sweep all of them away. Regrettably I only managed to eat one on my latest visit but boy was it yummy. I would also suggest having some watermelon, or choosing to get some salad if you don’t tend to eat so much regularly. Having a salad really helps balance the food and not make you feel overly stuffed and nauseous at the end.

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Oh yes, my dessert bar seemed to have some changes too. They used to serve waffles but now they no longer do so (sadly) but they do have a rather cute selection of ice cream, cakes and jellies coupled with a chocolate fondue fountain. A warning though, the green ice cream is NOT matcha, it’s Wasabi! Have a little try and tell me how it goes? I fear that my wasabi levels would be severely challenged if I took some.

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All in all Kiseki is a rather nice place to have lunch with your friends and bond over random things in life whilst having a decent Japanese buffet. It does have a comparatively wide selection and it doesn’t really hurt your wallet too much. (Around 23 bucks for a weekday lunch? I would say that price is agreeable) Furthermore it is convenient, just located in Orchard Central, the building next to 313 which hosts Somerset station (MRT). One thing to note though, booking a reservation might be ideal or else waiting in the queue can be pretty frightening.

 

Now that I have spilt all my beans on Kiseki, I need to head off and cook. Feel free to drop a comment on any special requests or opinions!

 

The link for Kiseki→ http://kisekirestaurant.com.sg/

 

Food Taste- 8/10 (It’s decent, not fab but worth the price you pay.)

Ambience- 7/10 (It can be a little noisy. Plus the usual things happen at buffets- you know, when the food hasn’t been replaced and you really want them etc.)

Location- 9/10 (Just a short 5 min-ish walk from the MRT→ P.s. If you walk by orchard gateway, you don’t even need to worry about the rain!)

Pricing- $$

TWO CHOPSTICKS RANKING

(I’m honestly sorry but I cannot justify my loss of portobello mushrooms and nice tasting hotpot T.T)

Dark Table (Vancouver) Review

“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.”

-Helen Keller 

As the hype would have it, I visited The Dark Table with my friends a few months back. (Yes I know I am a little late writing this review but better late than never yeah?) The Dark Table was truly a very unforgettable experience. Dining in the dark. These words probably don’t mean a lot to many but till one really experiences it, the words no longer just sound the same anymore, it has an elevated meaning to it.

Unlike most restaurants, there was no counter as you entered the restaurant, in fact, you had to wait in the designated area outside and make your orders before you enter the restaurant. From the moment you enter the restaurant, you are enclosed in darkness. It sounds simple but at that moment, I remembered being lost. Without vision, it felt as though I was thrown into a danger zone even though I had the prior knowledge that I would be dining in the dark, my mind still started whirling. My eyes probably realized it’s uselessness in keeping it open, it actually started hurting and closing my eyes was a better alternative because it didn’t feel so prickly and so close to tearing.

We were led to the table by a waiter in a line (just like how we used to do when we were children, with our hands on each other’s shoulders) As they guided us to our seats, we fumbled around before actually finding our seats. Since they had yet to serve our dishes, we had quite a while to acquaint ourselves with the culinary before us. Note that though we did have menus to choose our dishes, there starters and desserts were all mystery dishes, we only had the choice of our main, you could choose the surprise dish too. It is important to inform the front of the house what allergies you have though since the dish is a mystery.

The mystery starter came for one of my friends (the rest of us all ordered main + dessert) and the amusement began. Frankly I think going there with a bunch of your friends could be very entertaining. We had a lot of laughter that night since none of us could actually use our phones so we chatted and spent some technology free time together.

Before going to The Dark Table, I once read about this article that said that when one of your senses fails you, the others would be elevated. At The Dark Table, I realized how true that statement was. My tastebuds became much more sensitive to the taste of what the food were. The textures, the taste, the smell, my senses became more astute to what I was eating (probably also because I was dying to know what I was eating). Eating at The Dark Table though, is bound to be a messy challenge. You will realize that the amount of food that leaves the table somehow never tallies with what you ate simply because the food probably dropped somewhere on the way from leaving the plate to your mouth. If you are lucky, you dropped it back onto your plate. Unlucky and your outfits would be stained (IMPORTANT TIP: DO NOT WEAR WHITE. OR ANY VERY PRETTY ATTIRE)

I shan’t spoil the surprise by telling you what we ended up eating but the experience was probably one of my most memorable experiences eating with that bunch of friends. I must say that you should visit the Dark Table at least once in your life as you won’t regret it. Better yet, go with your friends and you can play with the food merry go round like we did (we tried ordering different dishes and drinks and sharing it around)

On a more serious note, some of my close friends are aware of this fact that well I do have a rather serious eyesight problem. This trip to Dark Table made me realize that my fear of loosing my eyesight was very real and it gave me the opportunity to better understand the pains of the blind members of the society. What seems easy to us, may be a huge effort for them. Don’t let them feel under appreciated.

P.s. technology was forbidden so as to achieve the full effect and experience so no photos my friends. (if you do go, please avoid using your phone in consideration of others!)

 

Food Taste- 6.5/10 (I had the shocking experience of eating a broccoli and well I dropped most of my food sadly- maybe they should invest in glow in the dark utensils? Although I’m not too sure if it will be poisonous O.O)

Ambience- 7/10 (I wish I could elaborate more about the atmosphere but all I can tell you is that it is 1. PITCH BLACK 2. Noisy. There are people talking in every direction so it trains your ability to recognize voices)

Location- 6/10 (I’m afraid it isn’t near the train station. We took a bus there but after dinner, the place is rather quiet so. You have been warned)

Pricing- $$

THREE CHOPSTICKS RANKING (Frankly the food gives a Two but the experience is invaluable.)

 

For those interested, here is their official page, yelp and zomato 🙂

Official || http://www.darktable.ca/about.html

Yelp || https://www.yelp.ca/biz/dark-table-vancouver

Zomato || https://www.zomato.com/vancouver/dark-table-kitsilano-vancouver

Featured Image = Absolute darkness 😉

 

P.s. Please ignore the terrible English. I just came back from a camp and I haven’t had much time to proofread this piece. XD

 

 

recreating Disney’s Ratatouille

“In France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport.”

– Julia Child

Before returning to Singapore, I created a long list of dishes that I really wanted to try create during my break back in Singapore and one of the dishes on it was ratatouille. Admittedly the first time I heard about ratatouille was from the Disney movie of the same name. At that point in time, I didn’t have an interest in cooking but I found the storyline to be extremely adorable and so when I began cooking, ratatouille was always on my i-want-to-cook-it-at-least-once-in-my-lifetime kind of a dish. I was so excited to recreate the dish that I saw in the big screen that I didn’t even realize how difficult recreating the dish was.
Here is the recipe I tried to follow:Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.54.18 pmScreen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.54.32 pm

Or you can also find it through this link…
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/222006/disneys-ratatouille/

Okay now here comes my thoughts…

First, cooking western dishes in asian countries can prove to be a tall task sometimes. For example, I couldn’t find squash or yellow zucchini from the local market nor the stores near it. In the end, I gave up creating the traditional ratatouille and ended up doing a alternative version

Substituting tomatoes with carrots and pumpkin for squash and adding in mushrooms for an extra flavour, I would say that the basis of a traditional ratatouille was pretty much altered by me.

Another huge problem I encountered was the fact that I did not have a Madeline. Cutting the vegetables to try to have them the same size was close to a real life nightmare. Personally I found the zucchini and eggplant the easiest to cut. The mushrooms overly soft texture and the overly hard texture of the carrots made it really taxing. Thankfully, I managed to press on and complete cutting (with the assistance of my mom)

The end result was quite disappointing to me. Whilst the sauce indeed had a very unique taste to it, rich and flavourful. However, I thought the vegetables on whole were a little unappetizing.

For all the work that this dish required, I had high hopes. Thankfully, my family seemed to enjoy the dish much more. They loved the blend of the sauce coupled with the vegetables which was very heartening.

I must say, I think the most crucial element to nailing this dish is the sauce. The need for a sauce to glaze the baking pan and also some more sauce used in serving. If you want a slight tinge of acidity, you could add about a tablespoon of lemon juice and just some fine grated lemon zest for that extra yum.

Whilst I might not have loved this dish, I must give a thumbs up to the low calorie count this dish generates. Traditionally just plain veg (I added shrimp since my carnivorous family would have been in agony without any protein) and even with an addition of meat, this dish still does not contain much sugar or excessive amounts of oil (unlike most) which makes it a go to for my calorie counting friends out there.

For those curious, I simply deveined and ‘butterflied’ my shrimp before taking some of the sauce from the ratatouille itself and used it as the marination before I stir fried my shrimp and served it.

This was the end result of my Ratatouille…

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Taste: 3/5 (I really wasn’t particularly impressed by this dish but my parents seemed to like it)

Difficulty:  If you want a traditional ratatouille, I would say maybe it would 1.5 frying pans worth of difficulty? (out of three I mean) But if you are determined to recreate the disney’s version with the plating and everything, the difficulty level is upped to about 2 frying pans (because really slicing without a slicer is a nightmare. Especially for not really fully skilled or trained cooks like myself.)

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