Thursday, August 13, 2015

Bincho - Where you can eat Cock's Comb

 The unassuming door to Bincho. In the morning it's a coffeeshop but it turns into a restaurant at night.
Since its a chicken speciality restaurant, it was a no brainer for us to select one of the chicken menus available. They also have a variety of other dishes, but since it was our first time there, we decided to stick to their sets.

I got the $65++ set, and 'shio' yakitori
 The assorted appetiser, which had this delicious chicken pate (see left bottom).
 Salad sticks and miso paste, as well as the "shio' platter with has chicken necks...

And a variety of chicken parts which also included the bishops nose (which is one of the things I don't eat), kidney etc.
The 'shime' of the day which was oyako don (chicken and egg on rice) - no complaints here - I really liked the chicken broth that came with the oyako don.
Dessert was a variety of jellies.

I added on 2 dishes to the above set :

 The Cock's Comb ($5) - which I was truly fascinated with. When I asked the waiter what this was - he said it was the red thing on top of the rooster () but just that it was not red after cooking anymore. No one else at my table wanted to try it. Surprisingly it tasted pretty good! It has the texture of chicken feet but not as soft, and slightly smoother.  I finished the whole plate myself :D In Mandarin it's called 
The grilled chicken hearts ($5) were also pretty awesome - I love the texture of the hearts and it doesn't have the gamey taste of the kidneys/liver. I thought that it went really well with the wholegrain mustard.

The rest tried the Chicken Hotpot ($150 for 2persons) but since I'm quite adverse to steamboat cos of all the double dipping and when people throw in raw stuff when I'm trying in vain to scoop out the cooked foods already. That's why my favourite steamboat is the Bijin Nabe from Tsukada Nojo (since they have tongs and cook everything for you).
The said hotpot - it's actually a portion for 4 people but since our table was too small they cooked it at the side for us.
 Fried chicken

 The yakitori from the hotpot set - no innards here - chicken neck, chicken wings etc

The delicious soup - it's similar to the soup I had with my oyako don. It was a really interesting dining experience - would definitely be back to try more of their yakitori dishes...

There's also a bar where you can get cocktails - about $20+ per drink

Since the 3 little pieces of dessert wasn't enough to satisfy, we trooped over to PS cafe for more desserts.

78 Moh Guan Terrace 
Singapore 162078
Tel 64384567

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


When I read about Babette in the papers, I sort of dismissed it cos it was in some funny place which I didn't know how to get to (easily). Too lazy to use my brain or google maps to search out new restaurants. I didn't realise that Babette was located right behind Lavender food centre - always thought it was hard to get to so I never attempted to go there myself. Big mistake cos the matcha lava cake is to die for.

I'm a great big fan of matcha flavoured stuff, even since having an matcha epiphany after eating the Haagen Daz green tea ice cream (my second most favourite flavour, just after coffee, which has been my favourite flavour the nearly the last 2 decades).

The piece de renaissance - the matcha lava cake is really to die for (I am salivating away as I type this). According to MT, who is the Babette expert, the standard of the cake varies and sometimes, the outer crust is too thick. As I am a novice matcha lava cake eater, I did think my cake was really well done - the thin crispy shell, oozingly sweet matcha lava flowing out after I dug a hole in it (didn't manage to take photos - too excited trying to eat it).  I really liked the ice cream (Kapiti, same as my favourite dessert from Marmalade pantry), and despite disliking adzuki beans, I felt that these went well with the whole Japanese dessert theme.

I don't know why more people don't come up with the same dessert - it's such a refreshing change from the run of the mill chocolate lava cake.

Sashimi Salad
So after learning of their awesome matcha cake, I revisited the place about 4x in the last 2 months. The chirashi don is very affordable, but I do wish they got rid of those interfering bits of pickled carrots and daikon. I don't particularly like the taste, and in the dark it's hard to see if it's a piece f salmon or a carrot - and when I'm expecting a soft fatty piece of salmon, I instead bit down into a hard, sour piece of pickled carrot.

I have a photo of the sashimi salad with their special house dressing. It's essentially the same toppings as the chirashi don, including the interfering bits of pickled vegetables.
No complaints about the roasted avocado , except that they have the same annoyingly interfering bits of carrots and daikon. I'm not sure if this is done to bulk up the filling or what, but it is really intensely annoying to me at least (my dining companion was definitely not bothered by the same things as me).
  The truffle fries are pretty average, not bad but nothing to shout about.
 I think this was some garlic rice or something - it was too gooey for my liking.
 The chilli crab linguine - sauce was way too sweet and tasted like the bottled Thai sweet chilli sauce .
 The wagyu beef don which everyone is raving about - topped with a piece of oozing foie gras no less. My friends seem to like this - keep eating this whenever we go to Babette.
The pork don with onsen egg - apparently can't compare to the wagyu don.
 The asparagus with sesame sauce - the sauce is really nice - rich and creamy. Chicken wings were pretty average.

The savoury food here's pretty much hit and miss, but the green tea lava cake is the best! I'll come back here as long as they serve it...

165 Tyrwhitt Road
Singaproe 207569
Phone 63417727

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Grand Mandrina

I'm not a big fan of Chinese Food (other than Dim Sum) but during special occasions/once in a (rare) while my parents do like to get some Chinese food. If I get it my way, I would go to a Japanese or Italian or French restaurant without a doubt. So we ended up at Grand Mandrina cos my parents friends invited them for a meal and I tagged along. 

The charsiew from Grand Mnadrina really lives up to its reputation. This is a charsiew not meant for daily nomms, it's a charsiew that should be reserved for special occasions (i.e. CNY, impress your MIL, impress your colleagues at some house party). I really love the crispy layer of caramelised sugar (think the surface of a perfectly done creme brûlée ). I'm not particularly fond of the layer of fat, but it does make the charsiew more juicy than the lean ones. Which is why I say that this isn't meant for daily consumption - not only will you get high cholesterol, you will very likely get diabetes too. The roasted duck was also perfectly done - with the skin shatteringly crispy and not a trace of fat under the skin. Paired with the truffle sauce, it was really memorable.

 The steamed Sea Bass - well executed and no complaints about this dish at all.

The prawn with egg white is a variation on the usual scallops and egg white, and goes really well when topped on white rice.

 Stir Fried Dou Miao with Garlic
The obligatory vegetable dish. I really love dou miao, especially the one from Ding Tai Fung. No complaints about this Dou Miao.

We also tried the Ee Fu Noodles but I've somehow lost the photo.
The ee fu noodles were really one of the best I have tasted - neither too soggy nor too dry, just perfectly braised with minimal interfering toppings so that the full texture and taste of the noodles could be enjoyed.

Out of the 3 desserts we sampled, I would strongly recommend you to take the hot hashima and red dates. For $15, you get a bowl that's packed with hashima. Not just a few miserable bits. Compared to the other desserts that I tried (coconut ice cream with ai yu jelly, and the pumpkin puree with yam ice cream, which costs $12 each), the hashima was the most worth it dessert. I would suggest that if you don't like desserts to be too sweet, do request for it to have less sugar added.

The parking here's a major pain. They should really build a huge multi-storey carpark somewhere...

Grand Mandrina 
325 New Bridge Road 
Singapore 088760
PHone 6222 3355

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Milo Ice Energy - Does it Really Taste like Milo Van Milo?

It's SG 50 this year so there's lots of hype, with lots of limited edition SG50 paraphernalia being sold and such. Milo has been an integral part of every Singaporean's childhood. It used to be THE morning drink that everyone drank before going to school. There's even a whole page of Milo related recipes from The Smart Local here.

The Milo Van used to be the highlight of my school life - whenever there was some sports related event (i.e. track and field/swimming competition/cross country), the Milo van was the sole and main attraction (for me at least). I used to hate all these sports days cos everyone will be packed under some horrible stifling hot tent, and we were forced to do cheers etc. I even felt that it would be much better having a regular school day than going for such events. Plus it usually meant that we would have to go to somewhere else (i.e. no transport back to school, since I live a stones throw away from school), eat some sad food, and the only facilities were superbly dirty toilets (also with long queues).
Nostalgia in a cup 
Whenever we saw the green milo van, there would be a mass exodus of students from the seating area, and snaking queues would be formed along the sides of the van. Once one side was empty, the metal shutter would come down. I could drink 5 cups at one go (since the cups were so small) and since I wanted to do it discretely, I used to drink from one side of the van, then walk over to the other side to get the next cup :D

I used to be very sad and disappointed when I saw the MacDonalds van instead, cos it meant that there was this really horrible tasting orange squash drink (even more so cos I hated orange). And the artificial orange squash drink could never compare to delicious milo.

I always felt that the powdered milo could never compare to the Milo Van milo, or the canned/packet milo. So when I found out about the SG50 Milo Ice Energy, which supposedly tasted like Milo Van milo, I couldn't pass up on the chance to try it.

"Normal" Milo 3-in-1
Perhaps I'm older and more cynical now, but even though I followed the measurements on the Milo Ice Energy packet, I felt that the drink still didn't taste like the Milo Van Milo. Then again, it's been a decade since I've had the real Milo van Milo (tragic, I know... but it also means that I haven't had to go to some stuffy sports meet).

I have been drinking the 'normal' powdered milo from the tea/coffee/milo machine in the tea lounge quite regularly, about 2-3x/week during my morning break, but I don't usually drink milo at home. I happened to have a pack of 3-in-1 Milo lying around at home, so here's a comparison of the ingredients from the Milo Ice Energy and Milo 3-in-1.
Milo Ice Energy
Milo 3-in-1

So both of them have Palm Olein (!!) which is the fancy word for palm oil. Can't be very healthy...
Other than having sugar as the first ingredient (which means that the amount of sugar is mor than the amount of coco or malt), both contain Protomalt (which is Milo's signature barley malt, think it's similar to Horlicks), and some minerals. There also isn't any skimmed milk in the Milo Ice Energy, perhaps that's why it can be dissolved easily in cold water.

The main different I can spot is that the Milo Ice Energy has 'Medium chain triglyceride'. On searching Wikipedia, I found that these medium chain TGs are supposed to help burn extra calories, promote fat oxidation and reduce food intake. You can also read more about it here from webMD.

Milo Ice Energy
Milo 3-in-1

Nutritional Information for both - it's pretty much comparable in terms of caloric content as well as sugars and fats (the main things I look out for when I read the labels) and despite not having any skimmed milk, the Milo Ice Energy has more calcium than the 3-in-1 milo.
Milo Ice Energy powder 
The powder is super fine compared to the usual milo powder, and it dissolves very easily in cold water. I made my first cup of Milo Ice Energy following the instructions on the packet, which was to dissolve 5 teaspoons of Milo Ice Energy into 150ml of cold water. It was VERY sweet, and noticeably thicker than the usual milo.
Milo Ice Energy Drink 
Because after the first cup, I couldn't decided if it did taste like Milo Van Milo, I decided to drink a second cup. But after the second cup, I was way too full to drink the 3-in-1 Milo to make a fair comparison. Also it was so sweet I felt worried for my pancreas #firstworldproblems

I do feel inclined to do a blinded study, just to check if it really tastes better than the 3-in-1 milo. I shall rope in my colleagues to do a taste test soon - stay tuned!

Each packet of Milo Ice Energy costs $7.95 and no this is not a sponsored post.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sin Lee Foods

Tucked away in the sleepy Bukit Ho Swee estate is Sin Lee Foods. Although the name sounds like a Tzechar restaurant (it actually retained the name of the coffeeshop that used to be there), it's actually a cafe serving really interesting cafe food. Since my food radar has been down for quite a while, I've completely missed this place. But thanks to  G who somehow found the place and booked it. This was the day that I also went to watch Jurassic World but then due to unforeseen circumstances (and bad planning on my part), didn't get to finish the show and I guess I never will :(
Salted Egg Sweet Potato Fries ($12)
Twice Fried sweet potato fries, house made salted duck's egg sauce, crispy curry leaves 

The salted egg sauce was one of the best I've tasted - great flavour and no skimping on the amount of duck eggs, and the aromatic curry leaves made it even more fragrant.
I somehow didn't really think that the sauce went particularly well with the sweet potato fries (though I also can't think of what would have gone better with the sauce). Sorry for the un-constructive criticism... I'll write it down when I finally think of what would go better with it...

Mentaiko Crab Mantou ($21)
Golden Fried Mantou, housemate mentaiko cream, season and breaded whole soft shell crab, papadum crisps 

Really interesting dish, though it's rolling in oil - fried papadums with orange sugar, crispy mantou (my favourite and most unhealthy carb), with deep fried soft shell crab. Unusual combination but really well executed. Would recommend this dish if you're not afraid of raising your cardiovascular risk.
The one and only Sin Lee's Fried Chicken and Waffles ($21.90)
Juicy boneless chicken leg, Iron waffle, house slaw and melted maple butter

I thought that out of all their other main courses, this sounded the most mainstream. It wasn't exactly mind-blowing. Sure, the chicken was done well, waffles fluffy, and the coleslaw reminded me of the homemade kind you get form the western food stores in the hawker centres (which I really like btw).

The texture of the waffle was good, but was a bit too light to hold up the weight of the chicken, and it became a soggy mess with the maple butter.
The Croissant and Butter Pudding ($14)
Butter croissant, vanilla beans, assorted fruits, vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce
Think of this as a level up from the usual bread and butter pudding. Worth a try.
Don't quote me but I think it's Kapiti ice cream that they use. Kapiti vanilla ice cream is the best! Especially since its the same ice cream that Marmalade Pantry uses.

We didn't manage to try the Aburi Broccoli salad ($12) which sounds really interesting, or the Macklemore ($20) which is spanish mackerel with corn and lap cheong relish, cos we were really really stuffed from the above dishes.

The restaurant seating area is REALLY tiny so do book in advance if you want to sit inside (i.e. aircon). The parking's also quite a pain.

I could feel plaques forming in my arteries after the meal. But it was really delicious and unique. Will definitely come back again since I'm nearby.

Sin Lee Foods
4 Jalan Bukit Ho Swee
Singapore 162004

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Smoked Duck from Dirty Duck Diner, Ubud

My blog's collecting dust cos I'm very busy. Just a short update on what I've been up to in June, which involved contributing to Indonesia's economy thrice. 

Went to Ubud for 4 days in early June to take a much needed break from work. My 2 months of misery has such long lasting effects - my friends think that I've undergone reformative training, and one even claims that my handphone has been hacked -___-" 

So many people have been raving about the Crispy Duck from Bebek Bengil, so I had to be one of those lemmings. I did my research before going there, so I managed to try both the crispy duck and the smoked duck (cos I can't pass up the chance not to!).

Being my greedy self, I ordered the smoked duck (comes in a standard portion for 2 people) even though I was dining there myself, just because I simply could not have gone all the way to Ubud and not try it. It costs about SGD$30 for the whole set which includes keropok crackers, rice, some sticks of satay, a vegetable dish, and 2 fruit punch. 

The smoked duck has to be preordered 24hours before, so I got my driver (yep got a driver cos I didn't want to worry about transportation) to drop me at the restaurant the day before to put in my order. They didn't require a deposit - not sure if it's cos it's low season but I read somewhere else that they do require a deposit?

The smoked duck has a very strong herby taste, and a more gamey taste than the crispy duck, which is really quite dry and pales in comparison to the rich smells and flavours of the smoked duck. The duck is smoked in a betel leaf and stuffed with traditional herbs and spices. It looks like a mummified duck (as pointed out by WKR) but it's really very soft and moist, with the meat easily falling off the bone. Definitely a must try if you go to Ubud. 

Managed to get a table on the 2nd floor, overlooking the paddy fields (which are increasingly being cleared to make way for new restaurants and hotels).  I hope that there are still rice field left in the next 5 years. 
Dirty Duck Diner (Bebek Bengil)
Jalan Hanoman, Padangtegal, Ubud
Gianyar Bali 80571, Indonesia 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

h a p p y !

I know I've been MIA-ing again - but today is an AWESOME day (minus me being extremely rusty)  I am now so much more appreciative of what I have :D

Here's a photo of Project Acai's Large Acai bowl cos it looks so bright and cheerful!

I think I have increased my risk of coronary artery disease at least a 1000 fold, grew at least 100 strands of white hair and numerous wrinkles, and that is not counting the zillions of pimples in the last 2 months!

Seriously, I 'm not a self help book/video/article person but I did discover some good resources online. If you're unhappy please go and read this article  (I promise you it's awesome, too bad it came out about 3 months too late for me) and get this book (I read it from cover to cover). Or if you're too angsty and not in the mood to read anything - then watch this 10+ minute Ted Talk with 11 million views (seriously there's SO MANY unhappy people in this world!) But I'm now not one of them!

Alternatively, you can try some small changes (as recommended by the above Ted Talk), if you want to find out more you should read the book which explains why each method is successful in your journey to finding happiness.

1. Writing down 3 gratitudes everyday
Which I tried for like 2 weeks then failed cos I couldn't find anything being the highlight of my day, besides having a proper lunch break of a decent duration. There are a lot of apps which are free (another realisation that there are so many unhappy people in the world).

2. Journaling
I'm not into keeping this diary thing.

3. Exercise
Tried but didn't find it very useful, got an uneven tan and probably will get more age spots.

4. Meditation
Deep breathing exercises/yoga which works for the duration that I'm there, but my zenness dissipates within a day.

5. Random acts of Kindness
Didn't really try this since I usually just go to work and back without doing anything in between, besides exercising and meditating, which didn't seem very effective.

Perhaps I'll be able to dig up a bit more inspiration to write my blog now that my stress levels have normalised and my mood is better.
My black bunny, me, and white rabbit sweet hairband
You can also hug or rub an animal, which supposedly brings down stress levels. Bunny received many hugs and rubs.

Or you can also perhaps repeat the Serenity Prayer many many times (but I don't find it very helpful). Probably would be helpful if you are the religious sort.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Honey Creme

So the K-wave is far from over - but the good thing is that we have now gotten more delicious soft serve ice creams in Singapore. I'm such an old fossil (secretly 82) so I didn't want to go and crowd with all the other young things - so I have happily waited till the craze has sort of died down, before going to Honey Crème.

One of my friends who is in the F&B line has told me that soft serve ice cream is one of the most preservative filled artificially flavored foods ever, but I really love the taste and texture of it, and shall stubbornly remain in blissful ignorance.

I had to try their signature Honey Comb ice cream - which has their original soft serve ic cream with an entire comb honey. Honey on top of soft serve ice cream - such a brilliant idea - to add something sweeter to an already sweet item.

I don't recall ever eating real honeycomb ever (unless you count those fakey ones from the ting ting tang store wrapped in popiah skin with a dash of crushed peanuts). I didn't like the waxy taste that it left (spat it out cos it really was quite waxy) but the honey on top of soft serve ice cream exceeded my expectations.

It's supposed to have a whole lot of minerals, trace elements, amino acids and enzymes but I'm pretty sure that the purported health benefits are vastly shadowed by the amount of insulin resistance you're at risk of...

They have quite a few other flavours, including a cotton candy one (sugar on top of ice cream, just like honey on top of ice cream). I think ths was the tea flavoured one with pearls. Great to have more choices than Llao Llao  or Tsujiri only!

Honey Crème
313 Somerset Orchard Road
Singapore 238895