Monday, December 20, 2010

Korea: Seoul

I must admit that on my first trip to Korea, I hated the food. But I think at 10, my taste buds were probably not well-trained enough and I probably could not appreciate anything beyond fries.

Having come back some 10+ years later, all I can say is, I really love Korean food!

The quintessential Korean street stall

Koreans love street food. And whats not to love?
Deep fried sausages covered in fries and lathered with chilli sauce, fish cakes in hot sauce and other snacks on a stick. 

Street food in a tent.
The rice cakes, pan cakes and other stir-fried delights. 
There are no price tags though so unfortunately we were totally over-charged (as tourists). The 3 dishes above costs us 30,000 won.

Seoul is dotted with cafes of all kinds selling the most wonderful pastries.
Our favorite would be Paris Baguette chain (think Singapore's breadtalk but with much nicer bread)

Another breakfast favorite was the porridge

I fell in love with pumpkin porridge after the first mouthful. Silky sweet smooth yum!

There are several PRCs living in Seoul and hence it is no surprise that some of the food here are Chinese- inspired. These dumplings were great, and some were stuffed with kimchi which worked surprisingly well.

This one tasted like our Xiao Long Baos, but without the soup bursting out.

Of course, one can never come to Korea without tasting the famous bbq.
The best thing about eating in Korea is all the side dishes, one meal can consist of as many as 20 different types of dishes. From the common kimchi, potato salad, pickled veg and seaweed soup to more unusual such as steamed egg and tempura.
Eating BBQ is a requires several steps. 1: bbq the meat to perfection 2: wrap the meat in lettuce/any other big leafy vegtable 3: add onion/kimchi/garlic/whatever floats your boat 4: dip into sauce 5:eat
Such a fun way to eat eh?
Unless you are willing to pay, I would suggest ordering pork and not beef. The beef in Seoul tends to be frozen and not ideal for bbq (perhaps because we didnt order the top-grade ones). Stick to the pork.

bimbimbap, I love the tiny roe! 
I love the different colors of bimbimbaps

The hot soup with random ingredients is probably the staple diet of koreans.
They basically eat this with rice ALL the time. This had oysters in it :)

Korean cold noodles. Looks quite gross but its awesome.

Ginseng Chicken soup,
Still not a fan but I guess I never liked ginseng in the first place

Kimchi noodles with cheese.
I was skeptical but it really works. The cheese breaks the spiciness and you are left with a bowl of gooey goodness. Shall try this at home.

One pot meals. Everything is dumped into a pot and left to simmer.

After 3 minutes. 
We had this pretty popular one at Ehwa Women's university (its in the alley next to aritum and theres always a queue). It was pretty darn good.

Fried Chicken! TwoTwo fried chicken is awesome, esp with beer. 
Go for the original and the bbq sauce. The rest are forgettable.

Other posts on Korea:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Forty hands

Forty hands is one of those delightfully indie and well-hidden gem of a cafe that you stumble upon and try to keep it a secret from everyone. Just so that you can call this place all yours.
However, Singapore is a small city and word travels fast. So we werent surprised when we turned up on a sleepy Sunday afternoon to discover that this cafe was well, quite full.

Such a quaint little place, delightfully old-school, right down to the plates and sugar holder.
Forty hands gets its name from the fact that an average of 40 hands are required in the production of coffee. From bean to cup. Yes this place takes coffee seriously. And it shows.

I had the cappuccino and it was mindblowingly awesome. Deep strong fragrance, full-bodied. Ahh the perfect start to a Sunday. Hands down one of the best coffee I ever had. (Even better than the so-called $11 cup of coffee at the blue mountain cafe) And best thing was very reasonably priced! 

Whats a Sunday without brunch eh?
Eggs benedict with spinach and a side of salad leaves.

The eggs benedict was unfortunately not very good.
Eggs were a tad overcooked and the sauce was too weak. Too much acidity and not enough cream to balance this dish. I guess for a better eggs benedict, I would head over to Rider's Cafe

We also had the salmon hash with crusty bread and fries.
Oh this was intense. Very bold flavors and very generous hunks of salmon.
The sauce (while a tad too salty) was absolutely delicious when eaten with the bread. And of course, we couldnt resist dipping the fries into that thick rich sauce.

I would come back in a heartbeat. Just for another divine cup of coffee

78 Yong Siak Street
#01-12 Tiong Bahru

Thursday, November 25, 2010

East Ocean Restaurant

If you are in the mood for some old-school dim sum, East Ocean is the place to go to.
Inside a bustling restaurant, with old waitresses carrying trays of dimsum, hawking them to each table. Full tables, minimal decor. No frills. Just the noise of chatter and clatter of chopsticks.
Probably just like in Hong Kong.

Food here I would say, some are hits while others are misses. There are so many items on the menu that one would be really spoilt for choice!

Here are some that we ordered which I would recommend

Carrot cake. Moist and tasty

I am not a fan of almonds but the almond crusted prawns were delicious.
Little fried crispy balls with a big plump fresh prawn.

Lotus leaf rice. Really huge portion and great for sharing. It was nicely done but I prefer Crystal Jade's version. Much softer in my opinion.

The roasted pork here was decent though my heart still remains with Imperial Treasure's version. 

Now the salted egg yolk custard bun was AWESOME.
I am a huge fan of "liu sha bao" and when I see that golden custard liquid just flowing out, I get all happy and giddy. The ones at East Ocean were just about perfect; sweet custard with just that hint of saltiness. Ahhh. 

The egg tarts here were great as well! Small little golden delights :)

My friend swears by the char siew shou here and he was right. These were the best that I had. 
Flaky buttery pastry enveloping the sweet red char siew.
Nicely done East Ocean.

Of course we had other dishes which werent so great. So maybe going to East Ocean for the first time is like a gamble. You never know which item you choose would be good.

One thing to note, the prices at East Ocean are surprisingly high. Given the crowd and the rowdy atmosphere, I would actually prefer going to Imperial Treasure paragon instead for dim sum.

East Ocean Teochew Restaurant
1 Scotts Road Shaw Centre
6235 9088

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Seafood Paradise

When i have a craving for Seafood, the first place I think of is Seafood Paradise.
Yes, Jumbo, long beach etc might be the traditional places that we grew up eating but Seafood Paradise just serves better quality food. There.

Went here for my Mum's birthday dinner and ordered the set dinner.

The soup of the day, lovingly doled out by the waitress at the restaurant. 
Tender pork ribs, soup that was boiled for several hours. No complains here and I am a true-blue cantonese. I know my soup.

The veg dish - bean sprouts with salted fish. 
It was done well.

Tofu with prawns. Ah this was good. Soft melt-in-your mouth pillows of tofu with plump prawns.
Great with rice!

One of seafood paradise's signature dish is their coffee pork ribs.
And I love this dish! Sweet and savory, with those charred bits and that tiny hint of coffee to keep you coming back for more. 

The assam fish which was great for people who likes the sour taste of assam.
The fish was really fresh as well

And of course, the dish of the night. The one MUST-ORDER dish at Seafood Paradise.

The Butter Crab. Ah the sauce! SO. GOOD. 
Dip your mantou into it and just savor it. Sweet, salty, rich, creamy. Delightful.
Drizzle over your rice, your veg, basically everything. 
A word of caution: this sauce is really heaty, so try not to go overboard or you may end up with a nasty throat.
Remember to make reservations!

Seafood Paradise
91 Defu Lane 10
#01-01 Swee Hin Building
6487 2429

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Werner's Oven

Werner's Oven is a cosy German restaurant in the middle of Siglap that has quite the following
As far as German food goes, this place was good. Much better than Brotzeit or Paulaners in my opinion. 

Started with the Fritierter Camembert Käse
- Breaded cheese served with cranberry sauce ($9.80)

A huge slab of cheese, definitely an appetizer for sharing amongst friends

When one goes to a German restaurant, the must orders are beer and sausages, so thats exactly what we did. The sausage came served with sauerkraut and potato salad. Pretty decent.

The grilled chicken (served with fries and salad) was tender and tasty.
Though nothing really special in my honest opinion. But really cheap though!

The ubiquitous Pork Knuckle! Only order this dish if you are sharing (or if you are a really huge fan of pork). The pork knuckle here was good, tender meat with the most delicious mashed potatoes. 
Very good value for money too at $21.50

The winning dish of that night in my opinion was the Ox-tail stew
Rich in flavor with that intense depth and ox tail so tender its falling off the bones. Dip your bread into the stew and you are set. Mmmm

6 Upper East Coast Road, #01-01/02/03

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tung Lok Seafood Restaurant

Having received a voucher for Tunglok, my family decided to heed down to the branch at East Coast Park for dinner. Tung Lok is one of the well-known places for seafood in Singapore, up there with the Jumbos, Long Beaches and Seafood Paradises. For some reason, I am always under the impression that Tung Lok is more classy and upscale than the rest. 

The Tung Lok at ECP was big, think of a giant dining hall filled with tables. I think it could be a little too cramped when the tables get filled up? But perhaps the hustle and clanging of chopsticks is what a chinese dinner is all about.

Started off with half a peking duck

The skin was passable, thin and crispy but not the best duck I have had. 
I think the Peking Duck at Imperial Treasure Peking duck has set my expectations for duck way high

Our vegetable course: Broccoli with Scallops
Pretty mild-tasting in my opinion. Could do with more seasoning

Salted egg yolk prawns.
When the dish was first delivered to our table, the golden brown color of the prawns and the thought of salted egg yolk melting in my mouth got me wayyy excited.
Alas, like the vegetable dish, the taste was quite mild. Not as robust and salty as I would have liked.

Other dishes we had which were all pretty average to me.

The chili crab was probably the biggest disappointment of the night.
To me, this dish is all about the sauce. It has to be thick, sweet yet spicy and with that gooey egg running throughout. As you can see, the amount of egg to sauce was too little and the sauce was too runny.

On the other hand, the white pepper crab was excellent!
Stir-fried with leeks and white pepper, each bite provided the much needed kick. 

Overall, I felt that the food was maybe too mild and elegant for me. I like my food more flavorful and exciting and I think only the white pepper crab really did it. For seafood, I would heed over to Seafood Paradise anytime.

Tung Lok Seafood Resturant
1000 East Coast Parkway
2F Marina Cove Singapore
6246 0555