Friday, 26 February 2010

Sakae Kid's Bento

This coming Sunday 28 February 2010 will mark the last day of Chinese New Year which lasted for 15 days. And according to Chinese Tradition, the 15th Day of Chinese New Year is also known as the "Yuan Xiao Jie - 元宵节" where all the family members will get together and have a bowl of sweet glutinous rice ball brewed in soup which is called "汤圆" to symbolise the harmony of the family. So before the ending of the Chinese New Year, Joyce and us decided to go for another round of our favourite "荣" Yu Sheng - 鱼生 at Sakae before it ends on Sunday.

While waiting for our "Yusheng - 鱼生" to be served, Rey ordered a set of Train Bento from the Kiddy Menu after much consideration on what to choose. This is the 2nd time we have tried their kid's bento since the 1st time in a few years back. The Train set that rey ordered consists of a Elmo Rice Ball that is filled with sandwich tuna, Fries, Tempura and Chicken Karaage. And all kiddy meals are served with a bottle of Yakult. But when the bento arrived, all of us were shocked on the outlook of the Elmo. It seems like the set shown on the menu is very different from what we get....... and the Chicken Karaage are also over cooked as it is sort of tough and cold to taste. End up, Rey didn't eat much of the bento instead he picked up two plate of his favourite Tamago Sushi to fill his tummy and leave the Train Set for me and Joyce to finish up.

Finally our STAR for today's lunch is here...... This is my either 5th or 6th "Rong Yusheng" for this year..... and today's ingredients are very fresh on look as well as taste. After this, we will have to wait till next year Chinese New Year in 2011 before we will have another chance to taste "Yu Sheng" again..........So once again, I wish everyone a Happy and Prosper Chinese New Year!!!! Huat ah!!!! Lastly I wish to thank Candice and Sakae Sushi for giving me a chance to be part of their e-journalist for the past 6 months too. Posted by Picasa



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Sunday, 21 February 2010

Famous Crab King @ Marina South Pier

Time past really fast during festive season, last Sunday we just had our Reunion Dinner @ Si Chuan Dou Hua and today we are having another New Year lunch organised by Aunty Lily's family @ this "Famous Crab King Seafood Restaurant" which is located at "Marina South Pier - 滨海南码头".

"Famous Crab King - 强盛海鲜楼" has two branches in Singapore which is located in Toa Payoh Industrial Park and Marina South Pier. According to those who frequent these branches, they do have a solid reputation for providing fresh, quality food at reasonable prices. Marina South Pier branch is located on second storey of the pier and it's has an excellent view on the harbour despite you are dinning in the air-conditioning room or balcony view which you can enjoy the sea breeze/scenic while having your meal.

Upon arriving at the restaurant, we find that the dinning atmosphere was great with the harbour view clearly seen from the inside of the restaurant as well. Beside the that, they also have a few tanks of live seafood showcase at a corner near the kitchen area.

As usual, since it is still within the first 15 days of Chinese New Year, the custom of serving "Yusheng - 鱼生" as the starter of the meal still continued. The Yusheng here is quiet different from the usual one that we have, especially on their ingredients. From the name " Salmon Raw Fish Yu Sheng With Snow Pear - 水晶雪梨发财鱼生", you will be wondering how is the "Snow Pear - 雪梨" being incorporate into the Yusheng. To our surprised, they actually replace the white radish with shredded snow pear, and also some colourful "tadpole" eggs like sago which you don't really find in other Yusheng outside. So we give this dish about 8/10 for it's taste, colour and self-made crispy bites too...

While waiting for other dishes to be served, Rey and I went out to the balcony area where we can have a better view of the harbour. "Marina South Pier - 滨海南码头" is located in Marina South(used to be the place where people will gather around for steamboat, kite flying and etc during weekends) which is used as a terminal for tourists and day trippers who are boarding small boats and ferries heading for the Southern Islands. This pier was built to replace Clifford Pier since April 2006 to provide regular ferries to Kusu Island and Saint John's Island operate daily.

Em... This dish look sort of like "Pai Gu Wang - 排骨王" at first glance, but accordingly to my cousin, this is one of their famous signature dish known as " Pan Fried Pork Chop In Sweet & Sour Sauce - 翡翠香酥肉". The pork chop is very tender, juicy and fill with the aroma of the sauce. Most important, it does not taste/smell of those porky taste. This sure goes well with a bowl of steam rice.........

I love this " Braised Assorted Mushroom with Beancurd in Abalone Sauce - 鲍汁鲜菌豆腐". The outer layer of the doufu is crispy while the inner layer is soft and moist, accompany with the assorted mushroom and abalone sauce on top really enhance the flavour of the doufu. Other than these, this dish also served with some blanch "Spinach - 菠菜" on the side and the mushroom sauce goes really well with spinach.

Guess what, this is one of our all time favourite, "Deep Fried Prawns with Cereal - 麦片虾". Cousin was indeed very thoughtful that he actually give instruction to the chef to remove the shell of the prawns before stirring it through the cereal mixture. The cereal for this dish is nicely fried with that great aroma and the colour is still remains as light golden instead of over cooked/burnt. Overall, everyone of us give praise to this dish.

Em... this is the 4th Roast Chicken that I had for Chinese New Year dish. I still wondering why they must used roasted chicken instead of steam...........guess maybe is due to it's golden colour after deep-fried. I find this is rather a special dish that drizzle some combination of "Garlic, Spring Onion and White Onion" mixture on top of the roast chicken. But half of us still think that this combination should be placed on steam chicken instead of roast chicken so as to let the chicken absorb the fragrant and taste of the mixture.

Here comes the "Stars" of today's menu. We have two Crab dishes that is cooked in different method. First to come is their signature crab dish known as " Pumpkin Custard Crab - 金瓜奶黄蟹". I have read a few good review from magazine about this dish and today finally I got a chance to look and taste it. The pumpkin custard taste great with the deep-fried "Man Tou - 馒头", the sauce does not over powder by the pumpkin taste and they really combined well with the crab.

Next they served the "Fried Crab With Custard & Salted Yolk - 金沙奶油蟹" which is arranged in a very unique way that most of us have not seen before. They actually stacked up the pieces one by one on top of the crab shell to form a tall tower. This can be consider as one of the best Salted Egg Crab that I had tried before, the combination of the sauce is great, not too salty, not too sweet. Everything is just well combined and the crab pieces is nicely fried and overall we loved these two crab dishes. We do recommend you to give these a try if you do love crab too....

Lastly, cousin also ordered one of my brother's favourite dish which is this "Stewed Ee-Fu Noodle with Yellow Chives - 菲皇焖伊面". Accordingly to the dish, it supposed to be stewed with Yellow Chives, but when the dish is served we find there is a lot of assorted mushroom in it instead of yellow chives. I guess maybe they are out of stock for chives so they replaced it with mushroom instead....... The texture of the noodle is ok, but the taste of the sauce is not really good, still can have some room for improvement on this dish.

Finally, it's dessert time...... I have being waiting for dessert as usual. But I was kind of disappointed when they didn't served the "Chilled Mango Cream with Pomelo - 杨枝甘露" and replaced it with this "Red Bean Cream with Lotus Seeds - 莲子红豆沙". This red bean cream was kind of diluted rather than the creamy texture, and guess the serving waiter is either kind of new or he is simply not doing his job well as some of the bowl is only half filled and with too many lotus seeds while some bowls are empty with just the red bean soup instead. Posted by Picasa

Overall this place is still great for it's dish at a reasonable price if you wish to find some seaside view for dinning. Or if you are hanging around at "Marina Barrage - 滨海堤坝" area, perhaps you would also like to drop by for lunch/dinner which is less than 5 minutes drive from the Barrage. To get to Marina South Pier, you can either drive or travel by MRT to Marina Bay Station, and take bus service number 402 outside the station.



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Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Hollywood Dinosaurs @ Jurong Bird Park

Wow.. I am sure upon looking at this photo you will be feeling just as shock and excited like us. Imagine if you are able to walk into the long lost world of ancient Dinosaurs to see and understand more details on their life-style isn't that be great and wonderful.......

Although this Hollywood Dinos Events started since last year mid December but unfortunately we are not aware of it until Mum got these complimentary tickets from one of my uncle during Chinese New Year. According to the ticket, the last day of this event will be on this coming Sunday, 21 February 2010 from 10am - 10pm.

Since there is a long holiday during Chinese New Year period, we decided to use these ticket on the 3rd Day of New Year. In order to go for New Year visit, we decided to set off at our destination early in the morning and hope to reach by 10.30am to as to avoid the noon crowd or hot weather. But....... these photos proofed that we were wrong, when we reached the traffic junction along "Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim" towards the "Jurong Bird Park" entrance. We were shock to see the Super long queue of cars along the road from the traffic junction all the way up to the car park entrance of the Bird Park. I think we waited for at least 30 - 40 minutes before entering the car park.........

Rey was very very excited even though we were stuck in the car during the waiting time. He was very eager to take a lot photo shots during on the Bird Park signboards, traffic jam, tress and etc. This was because, last week during his school "Field Trip" to Jurong Bird Park he was very upset as he didn't managed to take many photos due to camera battery die off(partly because I forgot to charge the battery for him and secondly he has being taking too many photos of his classmate in the bus during the journey).

But today he managed to take all these photos before the entrance of the Bird Park which he wanted to show me badly during his field trip. (p/s: this set of photo above is taken by him.... :p)

After spending some photo taking time at the entrance, finally we are in the world that is full of "Dinosaur's". At the entrance of we greeted by a "Therizinosaurus" which look pretty real and scary. Most of the kids in front of us was very excited and kept touching it's crawls and body but Rey on the other hand was kind of held back on the photo taking/touching.

In the 1st cave, there is this walking "Dinosaurs" that will dance with the background music and most of the kids/adult were enjoying it. This dancing dino will suddenly attack the audience in the first row without giving any warning sign and you can heard scream and laughter during the 10 minutes show.

Next we move on to the "Vine Lizard - Ampelosaurus" which is about 2 meter tall or above. According to the information given, this is found in France's Paleontogoist in 1989. Most of the little kids love this "soft looking" dino which seems to be more friendly for the kids.

Round the corner we were at the entrance of the 2nd cave, the 1st Huge Dino that greeted the visitor is this "Tyrannosaurus" which means tyrant lizard that appear during the late Cretaceous Period.

Passing through the second cave, it will lead you into the 3rd cave which is pretty dark and with sandy floor. There is also a rocking wooden bridge which you can walk over it and experience yourself in forest or so with dinosaurs chasing after you. In this cave, you can find "Suchomimus" which is a large spinosaurid-type dinosaur from the middle Cretaceous period. Rey was kind of turn off by the gaint flying lizard which is known as "Quetzalcoatlus" where their first fossils were found in Texas.

There are all kinds of Dinosaurs which is either display in door(in the dark caves with special effect) or outdoor which can look real from far. Despite which is your selection, I am sure this is a very good and interesting Educational Tour to bring your kids along during this coming weekend if you are interested before the ending of this event on Sunday, 21 February 2010.

There is also a time map at the resting tank after the 3rd caves where the kids can read and refresh their memories on those Dinosaurs that they have saw along the journey.

The whole visiting time takes about an hour to an hour and half depending on the kids and the photo session during the peak hours. All visitors are also encourage to take part of the lucky drawer where you need to answer 3 simple questions where you can find the answers along your dino hunting journey. At the end of the tour, you will find a little souvenir shop which is selling all kinds of Dinosaurs products, from soft toy, bags, caps and etc..... But the price is......errrrr....... to expensive.. imagine a medium size(about 2 feet or more) dino soft toy cost around S$120.00........

Overall, this is still a very worth going trip for kids to know more about Dinosaurs as well as seeing/touching them in real life. For more details about this event, click HERE. Posted by Picasa



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Sunday, 14 February 2010

Reunion Dinner @ Si Chuan Dou Hua UOB Plaza

This year is my brother's turn to arrange the venue and crack his head on which menu to select for our 10 persons Chinese New Reunion Dinner gathering. So without hesitation, he selected one of his favourite hangout @ " Tian Fu Teahouse - 天府茶艺馆" which is one of the tea house concept by "Si Chuan Dou Hua Restaurant - 四川豆花饭庄" which is located at the UOB Plaza 1, level #60-01.

For reunion dinner, this restaurant offer similar timing like most others do which you can select either the earlier timing which will ends around 8pm or later slot which start serving at around 8.30pm. Upon seated, we are being served with a cup of traditional "Long Jing Tea - 龙井茶" that is prepared with exact measurement of tea leaves and served in an amazing way by the Tea Master. Other than their special tea, you must also try their very own appetiser, "Si Chuan Pickles - 四川榨酱菜 " which is crunch and tasty.

Our today's menu will be the "Prosperity Set - 大展鸿图" that serves with 7 dishes and 2 desserts. After about 10 minutes of waiting, the 1st dish of the night, "Ikan Parang Yu Sheng with Golden Fish Crisps" arrived. According to the waitress, this is known also as "风生水起" where she will help to add/pour in the ingredients one at time with auspicious greetings used for Chinese New Year. When she has finished the process, it is our turn to use the chopsticks to stir the ingredients together and lift it up as high as possible to represent good luck, prosperity, promotion and etc.

For your information, there is a plate of "Deep-fried Salmon Skin" which is prepared by the restaurant for this Yusheng dish.

Another 10 minutes or so our "Braised Shark's Fin Soup with Crabmeat - 双喜展亦翅" came. Most of us was quite disappointed with this dish because we find it too starchy which we think it look and tasty like those sticky dessert rather than shark's fin soup. Moreover, I don't even seen any crabmeat which mentioned is most of the bowls, but rather we found a lot of chicken cubes in it.

While waiting for the chef to sliced off the crispy outer skin of the "Bei Jing Roasted Duck - 北京脆皮烤鸭" and the preparation of the pancake parcel, our "Stir-Fried Prawns with French Beans in Garlic & Chilli - 欢乐满华堂" was served. The prawn balls are very fresh and crunch and it goes well with the chilli sauce which we find it similar to chilli crab sauce.

But I was rather attracted to the chef and waitress who is busying slicing the roasted duck and rolling the pancake parcel. My brother loves their Bei Jing Roasted Duck and he ordered this for an extra bonus dish for us to try. We were all amazed by the chef skill in slicing the duck which is still piping hot with smoke filling in the air. The pancake still is kept warm in a bamboo steamer which two tone of colour which is jade green and white. The waitress quickly spread a layer of sweet bean sauce(hoisin sauce) then top with generous amount of crispy duck then wrapped it into a pocket parcel.

The remaining parts of the duck will be made into a second dish called "San Choi Bao - 生菜包" where they cut the duck meat into small cubes and stir-fry it with spices, spring onion, white onion and etc. This dish is served together with a plate of "Iceberg Lettuce - 生菜" leaves that are used to wrap the duck meat mixture and eat it as a finger food.

Next dish on the list is "Pan-fried Pomfret in Soya Sauce - 年年添有余". This can be consider as a normal classic homecook fish dish that can be found is most family. I remember, my late dad used to cook this dish for us at least once a week. I love the outer crispy texture of the fish that goes well with taste of soya sauce base.

"Braised Pork Knuckles with Dried Oyster & Sea Moss - 发财就好市" is the 5 dish on the menu list. According to the myth of most Chinese, they believed that dried oyster sounded like "好事 - good deeds" whereas moss sounded like "发财 - get rich" in Mandarin so when these two ingredients put together with pork kunckles it became another auspicious name such as "横财就手". I love this dish, because I love Pork Knuckles that is braised in such method where the meat and fat are so soft and smooth like jelly texture.

Eat out during holiday season like Christmas or Chinese New Year can be a great problem because due to large crowds they might be a longer waiting time interval before each dish is being served. It's already 10.30pm and we still have another 2 more dishes and 2 dessert to go. And because of the late dinner and waiting time, by the time they served this special and attractive "Crispy Roast Chicken - 金风报佳音" we were almost too full and tired to try. Most of us love the toasted almond flakes topping which bring extra fragrance to this dish.

Now we reach the last dish which is "Glutinous Rice with Waxed Meat wrapped in Lotus Leaf - 五谷贺丰年". At first, mum suggested that perhaps we shall ask the waitress to help us pack-up this dish and served the desserts instead because everyone of us are too full to eat any rice dish. But after seeing the actual portion, uncle James feel that it is alright for us to take a small portion after divided into 10 serving. Although we are all very full, but we must admit that this dish is indeed very nice, fragrance and most of all not greasy.

Finally! Here comes our desserts of the night. I have being waiting for these two dessert before even the main course is up. First to come is their "Homemade Beancurd with Red Bean - 红豆豆花". The sweet and aroma of the cooked red beans goes very well with their homemade silky beancurd. Even though I am very full after eating the above dishes, but I don't mind having a second share of the extra bowl of beancurd :p


My excitement of tonight focus on this special "Steamed Layer New Year Cake with Egg Custard - 千层煎年糕 " which I am able to it from the restaurant "Imperial High Tea - 宫廷下午茶 " dim sum which is being feature on TV entertainment programme, "NEW CITY BEAT - 城人新杂志". These new year cakes are being served on a cute little bamboo hanger in the bamboo steamer. Each cake comes in about 8 layers in a mixture of Nian Gao, Egg Custard and the white portion seems like bread/cake/or something like rice flour texture...... Overall it's a very delighted sweet dessert for both Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day. Posted by Picasa

Overall everyone of us are very satisfied with today's menu and each of us have our own preference on each dishes...... And I am looking forward to try their limited period promotion on the "Imperial High Tea" which is till 28 February 2010. If you are interested in the unique Imperial Dim Sum that serves with good grade of tea by the tea master, perhaps you can consider this offer at either UOB Plaza 1 or Park Royal Hotel(Beach Road).



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Saturday, 13 February 2010

Chinese New Year @ Chinatown

Every year during a few weeks before Chinese New Year, most of the people would love to hangout around "Chinatown - 牛车水" area. No matter which country you are from or going to visit, you will definitely see crowds of people gathering in Chinatown area in order to join in the Chinese New Year atmosphere or they will be there either buying or sourcing for New Years goodies and clothing.

Since this year, we are busying with the house renovation @ Pinnacle - Duxton, we have more chances to roam around Chinatown area which is within walking distance to the apartment upon taking MRT.

Along the Temple Street @ Chinatown area, you can see the Chinese New Year Flea Market which starts from 23 January 2010 to 13 February 2010 which is the Eve of Chinese New Year. The Flea Market starts around noon time till late evening where it is much cooling to enjoy the night lighting as well as stroll through those stalls along the stretch where you can sample most of the goodies before buying.

There are stalls selling all kinds of Chinese New Year goodies like:- Pineapple Tarts, Shrimp Rolls, Love Letters, Peanut Puffs, Kueh Balu, Bee Hives and etc. Whichever it is, this is the time where you can get to eat all sort of your favourite New Year goodies till your waist length expanded :p

Other than the above Chinese New Year goodies, here are some of the "Must" have in each household too.... "Mandarin Orange - 橘子/柑" which everyone who goes to house visiting/greetings will accompanied with a pair of this which is a traditional practice among the Chinese. It symbolises "Gold" and all the good wishes for the new year.

"Pomelo - 柚子" is also a common fruit that can be found during Chinese New Year and Mooncake Festival. The mandarin word "柚子" sounds like the word for "to have".

"Bak Kwa - 肉干" is usually minced pork with seasoning/spices that are made into thin square layer and BBQ over Charcoal fire. And the price of this can be higher during Chinese New Year season at around $50 or more per kg for brand like Lim Chee Guan that people will spend hours queuing for their Bak Kwa..

Cakes such as "Sticky Rice Cake - 年糕" have symbolic significance on many levels. Their sweetness symbolizes a rich, sweet life, while the layers symbolize rising abundance for the coming year and lastly the round shape signifies family reunion.

There are also a lot of Auspicious Chinese New Year vegetables that can being seem and found during this period of time. And out of these vegetable, Chinese Leek is the most common type that each household will grab and store at home. They believed that it sounds like "counting - 算" in Teochew dialect.Posted by Picasa



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